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Tempo Timesheets Tip of the Month: Vacation Planning in Tempo

Have you wondered how Tempo’s time planning and planning approvals process can help your team plan and manage time for this year's staff vacations? Look no further — we’ve got you covered!

As we inch closer to vacation season, in this issue of Tempo's Tip of the Month, we’ll show you how you can create internal issues or activities for employee vacation time, how to plan time on those issues or activities, and how to implement Tempo’s approvals process to make sure that your team remains in sync, so you’re not finding yourselves understaffed and in a pinch.

Setting Up Vacation Time

Setting up internal issues and activities in JIRA and Tempo for employees to log their time against is easy. Many organizations use internal issues for logging employee time on things like sick time, vacation time, meetings, travel time, and much more.

In Tempo, there is a difference between Internal Issues and Internal Activities. Internal Issues refer to JIRA issues that users will log work against (i.e., by creating worklogs) in Tempo, while Internal Activities are used for planning and allocating internal time — vacation time, for instance. Organizations that wish to be able to plan and allocate time relating to internal issues should configure Internal Activities as well.

Internal Issues are configurable by JIRA and Tempo administrators by doing the following:

  • Log in with the Tempo administrator permission
  • Select Administration from the Tempo drop-down menu in the top navigation bar
  • Choose Internal Issues
  • Then, select an existing JIRA Issue and convert it to an Internal Issue, or add an internal Issue to the list of available Internal Issues

Setting up Internal Issues

Likewise, Internal Activities are configurable by JIRA and Tempo administrators by doing the following:

  • Log in with the Tempo administrator permission
  • Select Administration from the Tempo drop-down menu in the top navigation bar
  • Choose Internal Activities
  • Click the Add Activity Button to add it to the list of available Internal Activities

An Internal Activity for vacation planning can be a Project (e.g., “Staff 2013 Non-Working Days” or “Staff Vacation 2013”), in which case the Activity will fall below the Project umbrella, and will display in a Project Timesheet view or in the Project Calendar view, which is specifically for time planning. An Activity can also be designated as a Version or a Component for more granular designations.

Once an Internal Activity is assigned for ‘Staff Vacation 2013’ (or something similar), and an Internal Issue is also created for vacation time, we can plan and log time in Tempo.

Planning Vacation Time

Once an Internal Activity has been created, Tempo Team Members can plan time against that Activity. They can do so by clicking the Plan Time button, which is located at the top of every screen within Tempo. This opens up the Plan Time dialog, where users can plan their vacation time for one day or for a concurrent series of days by adding the dates, number of hours, and a brief description.

Tempo Plan Time dialog

Alternatively, vacation time can be planned for the Internal Activity on a User's timesheet by selecting Activities in the Views list so the activity displays on the timesheet. In the Team and Project timesheets, Internal Activities will automatically display. By clicking on a cell in the activity line, the Plan Time dialog will open.

Plan for Another User

Tempo Team Leaders can also plan time for their Team Members using the Plan Time dialog, where they can select the user they want to plan time for in the User Picker.

Plan Time for Another

Users can also plan time directly in the ‘Staff Vacation 2013’ issue view by selecting the Plan Time link from the issue Action list.

Tempo Issue Planning

Issue and Activity planning is also possible in the Tempo Calendar view by clicking in a cell in the calendar and then opening up the Plan Time dialog.

Tempo Calendar Planning

Planned time generally displays as orange in Tempo (unless a custom color is assigned to it), while logged time displays as green.

Viewing Planned Time

Organizations may not only desire to have employees’ plan their vacation ahead of time for logistical purposes, but they often need to plan around that vacation time as well.

It’s important for Team Leaders to be able to glance at planned vacation times to work around any foreseeable staff shortages when considering project plans, or conversely, to look at scheduled projects and timelines when deciding whether to approve or reject an employee’s requested time off (more on that below!). Likewise, Team Members may need to view their planned time on other projects and activities when deciding whether a particular period is an appropriate time to take a vacation.

There are a number of ways that users can view planned time in Tempo. Tempo’s Calendar views are intended for planning purposes, and enable users to view who is planned to work (or not work) during a given timeframe. If Tempo’s planning feature is enabled, users can view calendars by User, Team, or Project by week or by month. In this view, a user’s planned time, including vacation time and time planned on other Activities and Issues, is visible. Likewise, planned time can be viewed by Team and by Project in the Tempo Calendar view.

Team Calendar Planning View

If the Project that the Internal Activity for vacation planning (e.g.,“Staff 2013 Non-Working Days” or “Staff Vacation 2013”) is visible, users have browse permission to view planned vacation time for that period.  This means that Team Leaders who are determining whether to approve a Team Member’s requested vacation time, or whether to staff more people on a Project, given other members’ absence, can use easily these views as a guided reference.

Individual User, Project, and Team timesheets are a good way to view weekly or monthly schedules and workloads, and to determine who is available and scheduled to work on a particular project, and who will be or would like to be out of the office. Tempo’s timesheet views also display planned and logged work by color, which makes it super easy to see whose time has been allocated for what.

Team Timesheet Planning

Tempo’s Vacation Approvals Process

Another way to ensure that your team isn’t understaffed for an important deadline, and to help keep track of user requests, is by utilizing Tempo’s Planned Time Approvals process. This feature is a Labs feature, and needs to be configured in the Tempo Global Configuration by a JIRA administrator.

Tempo Planned Time Approvals Request

If enabled, users can plan their vacation time using the Plan Time dialog, which will display a list of reviewers to choose from to approve their planned time request. This list of possible reviewers is particularly useful if a team’s usual manager is out of the office.


Once planned time has been requested, the plan status is displayed in the user’s timesheet cell(s) with a yellow background. This indicates that vacation time has been requested but has not yet been approved. If the vacation time is approved, the background color changes from yellow to green. If the cell is red, it means that their reviewer has rejected the planned vacation time, and if it’s blue, it means there is more than one status for planned time on that date.

Planning Approval Select Reviewer

The planning approvals process will be displayed in the requesting employee’s Activity Stream if he has selected to view all Tempo Activity in their dashboard. Likewise their supervisor will also be notified if a planned vacation request has been submitted.

Tempo Activity Stream Vacation Approved

We hope these planning features will help your team stay on track, avoid disaster, and enjoy some well-deserved R&R this holiday season — stay safe!

Ahh, vacation!

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