Boost your development with an SLA in Jira Software

Boost your development with an SLA in Jira Software

What would happen if you could implement flexible timers and countdowns in your Jira boards? In this article we look at how Task Egg Timer can change the way you approach reviews, project milestones and bug fixes by replicating SLAs.

Table of Contents

I’m going to convince you that having an SLA in Jira Software might not be such a bad idea in the first place. So bear with me for a sec as we dive into the temporary realm of Task Egg Timer!

I’m a Card Ageist – are you?

Even if you’ve never heard of time in status before… when your tasks stay in the same status for a long time, you know that you have a problem. Pick any of the examples below:

  • You’re trying to do too many things at the same time
  • You’re waiting for somebody else’s review
  • You haven’t decided if you should do that task.
  • You’re working on things that aren’t captured in cards
  • The task is so boring you can’t help but procrastinate
  • The task is so large you don’t even know where to start

Regardless of the reason, visualizing card age is an important practice in team collaboration, as it will help diagnose and take action.

Card Aging in Jira Service Management with SLAs

A Service Level Agreement (SLA) in Jira is a formal agreement between a service provider and a customer. It defines the level of service expected. It includes response times, resolution times, and other performance metrics.

JSM clearly shows the time remaining before an SLA is exceeded in a customer request. When an SLA is exceeded, that means that the agent failed to reach a certain goal in the expected time. That goal can be a simple action, such as giving a first response; or a more comprehensive one, like actually solving the problem.

SLAs are essential in helping agents meet the company goals and provide timely responses and resolutions.

Setting up SLAs in Jira Service Management

But per se, there is no such thing as an SLA in Jira Software.

Bringing clarity with an SLA in Jira Software

Our newest app, Task Egg Timer, brings the clarity of SLAs to your Jira boards and allows you to:

  • Immediately read the time in status of a card
  • Count deadlines down to hours and minutes
  • Set Custom Timers for Specific Task Types
  • Select your preferred time metric (choose between Time in Status, Lead Time, and Cycle Time)
A board in Jira Software configured to display Task Egg Timer on each card

It’s important to note that Task Egg Timer countdowns will apply the same period of time to all issues, and are therefore more similar to SLAs than to date-bound deadlines. For example, if the time limit is set to 1 week, every new issue will have a week of time when it starts being processed.

#1: Accelerate Reviews with a Time in Status stopwatch

Why review timeouts are unacceptable

Reviews, approvals and feedback rounds are critical handovers in any collaboration workflow. I’ve seen many companies with excellent talent losing their cutting edge because they lacked the right processes and incentives to give continuity to work across colleagues, experts, and departments.

If you feel like your team is guilty of this sin, then you may want to start using Task Egg Timer to measure exactly how long review rounds take. It might be very painful at first, but it will probably be worth it, even if the immediate result is an awkward conversation on… why is this taking so long?

Using Time in Status for Reviews with an SLA mindset

Time in status for issues in the review/feedback stage

Imagine a scenario where a developer finishes programming and transitions the Jira issue to “Review.” Task Egg Timer starts the stopwatch, tracking the overall time until issue moves out of the “Review” column. Over time, the team notices that reviews are taking longer than expected. This might be because colleagues don’t have the right incentives to review pull requests. Whatever the reason may be, the team can have a constructive discussion to understand delays and improve the review process.

By looking at the overall review times, the team can also set benchmarks for acceptable review durations and recognize individuals or teams that consistently meet or exceed these standards.

#2: Enhance project milestones in Jira with a Time in Status timer

Epics, deadlines, and time spent on the epic.

Jira doesn’t have milestones. But there’s a very easy way to capture them: simply attach a deadline to an epic.

The benefits of visualizing time in status for planners

Many planning jobs can benefit from visualizing time in status with Task Egg Timer. For example:

  • A release train engineer can have a summary board with epics from a collection of projects
  • A QA manager can align testing schedules with release deadlines, ensuring that quality assurance processes are completed in time for the final go live.
  • A marketing manager can track campaign launches to coordinate the team effort and priorities.

You can obviously just show the due date on an epic.

However, showing the combination of the due date and the time that has been spent on that status gives a more compelling image on the team velocity.

Time in Status for Epics

The visualization will give your core business milestones the same treatment your customer requests get from your support team, translating the successful story of SLAs into Jira Software and Jira Work Management!

#3: Expand SLAs to prioritize bug fixes in Jira

A true SLA in Jira Sofware. This view allows to see how left is left for a bug to be solved.

We’ve seen how prominent SLAs are in JSM, particularly when they overrun. As they navigate through their queues and support cases, agents are always aware of SLA. ALWAYS, with capital letters.

Developers don’t share the SLA mindset by default

But that’s not always the case for the developers that they often need to rely on to fix certain issues. Developers have a very different mindset, and it can be difficult at times to empathize with the sense of urgency of customers and customer care specialists.

That’s why it can be a very good idea to affix timers to bugs, mimicking SLAs within Jira Software. Contrarily to the other use cases in this article, I personally wouldn’t recommend capturing the Time in Status for any particular column. The more powerful idea would be to specify an internal SLA that can serve as a reference for fixing bugs, and then setting that as the lead time.

This setup implies that the time doesn’t start counting when the developer starts working on the bug: it starts as soon as the bug is reported – this is the actual time that the customer is waiting for a fix.

Does it sting? Well, it should! Sometimes tracking time is painful.

How to build an SLA for lead cycle in bugs in Jira Software

Here’s what the settings would look like:

  • Issue type: Select “bug”
  • Time metric: Select “Lead time”.
  • Status on which to pause: leave only “done”.
  • Timer type: Countdown
  • Countdown time: Pick whatever makes sense for you, and consider aligning this to your Time for Resolution SLA. As an example, I picked 4 days.
Task Egg Timer Settings


If you ask around why SLAs don’t exist in Jira Software, you’ll find many experts stating what’s obvious: SLAs are very important when the nature of your work is to fulfill customer expectations, but they’re simply not a good fit for how software teams deliver value.

While that’s obviously true, in this article we’ve seen that SLAs can be an excellent model for communicating a sense of urgency around critical tasks.

With Task Egg Timer, you can bring the clarity and urgency of SLAs to your Jira Software boards, enhancing transparency around the expectations for the team productivity and delivery. Whether you need to accelerate reviews, manage project milestones, or prioritize bug fixes, deadline management can benefit from even more effective communication!

Start enhancing your team’s workflow today by evaluating Task Egg Timer for free, and experience firsthand how visualizing time in status and counting down deadlines can transform your agile processes.

We’d love to hear your feedback and feature requests! Share your thoughts with us to help make Task Egg Timer even better.

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