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System and Method for Approximating Actual Effort of Tasks

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000206828D
Publication Date: 2011-May-10
Document File: 6 page(s) / 102K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Accurate tracking of the actual effort spent by each team member on each project’s task is one of the key issues for the precise project tracking.The actual effort expended for each task, if recorded correctly, provides a reliable foundation for a variety of project management goals, such as calculating the project cost and productivity, understanding the project aberrancy against the planned effort and schedule, and calibrating the effort estimate for the future tasks. There are three main branches of approaches to addressing this problem. Timesheet technique and the supporting tools rely on the developers’ manual input completely. Time tracking solutions track the usage time on development tools, IDEs, and operating systems as the efforts expended. Regressive approaches employ regression techniques to recover the relationship between the actual effort and the selected properties of tasks. In this disclosure, a system and method for approximating the actual efforts of development tasks is presented. The method performs lightweight analyses on the status change data generated while managing tasks. It first identifies the task blocks. Two tasks are in the same block if their duration intervals directly overlap or if one can be reached from another through a chain of overlapping tasks. Tasks in different blocks are non-overlapping. After that, a block is "sliced" into time intervals corresponding to the start and end of each task in the block. Thirdly, it distributes the efforts of the intervals shared by multiple tasks to appropriate tasks.

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System and Method for Approximating Actual Effort of Tasks

Project Management is concerned with planning, organizing, and managing resources to meet project objectives. With the aids of project management tools, data is collected and analyzed during the course of the project, and the results are presented to the project manager - either qualitatively or quantitatively. Accurate tracking of the actual effort spent by each team member on each project's task is one of the key issues for the precise project tracking.

The problem we are addressing is the following: A team member works on a number of tasks in a given time period. How do we determine how much actual time the team member spent on each? If the team member is fastidious in tracking when she starts and stops working on each task then the actual time spent on each task can be easily computed. However, most team members do not track their efforts so rigorously. In most projects in practice we know only the start and end dates for a task are recorded accordingly. This gives us the elapsed time but not the actual time spent. The figure below shows an example with two tasks for the time period from June 1 8AM to June 3 5PM. If the team member starts both tasks on June 1 at 8AM but work solely on Task 2 until it is finished on June 2 at 4PM then the elapsed time for Task 1

will be

3 days but the actual time spent is only 1 day.

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The method takes in a set of tasks for a team member. Each task is supplied with start and end times. The method identifies the "blocks" of tasks in the task set. Two tasks are in the same block if their duration intervals directly overlap or if one can be reached from another through a chain of overlapping tasks. Tasks in different blocks are non-overlapping. The method slices each block's time interval to find shared time intervals among the tasks in the block. The method computes the approximate actual effort for each task. The method advises weights for approximating actual effort for each task.

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