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Tempo Planner and Out of Office Integration: Automatic Handovers for Vacations

Tempo Planner and Out of Office Integration: Automatic Handovers for Vacations

Tempo plans for time off don't block incoming work. But the new integration with Out of Office Assistant does.

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Tempo Planner and Tempo Timesheets for planning vacations

Tempo’s ability to make time tracking seamless has been a huge success. With its detailed timesheets, estimated plans, and cost tracking capabilities, the product is a must have for any company implementing a billable hours model in Jira. One where reminders are ideally not that that important…

Timesheets reminders panic

But what if you want to plan your time off with Tempo? Can that be done? Are there any limitations? And how do you orchestrate team collaboration around anybody’s absence?

That’s what we’ll be unveiling in this article about a brand new integration of Out of Office Assistant and Tempo Planner.

Start using Tempo Plannner for vacation tracking

Tempo can be used to plan vacations, PTO, sick days… or trip to Mars, as you can see in this nice little tutorial.

Tempo doesn’t block new plans on top of your time off plans

But there’still an aspect of vacation planning that Tempo is not getting into: blocking assignments to absent users.

Absent assignments have become a terrifying pain that haunts power users, IT specialists and admins. It keeps them awake at night, while they wonder:

What if I plan time off, but people keep assigning work to me??

Plans in Tempo Timesheets, where a plan for sick day is overlapped with a plan for a productive issue
Even if your schedule is fully planned, Tempo will allow to overlap additional plans.

Tempo will not block additional worklogs or plans when you have already planned time off. This means that even if your request for PTO was approved, somebody can still overlook it and allocate important work for you during that time.

This is a huge productivity loophole. Without any built-in controls, work is likely to creep in: At some point you’ll be expected to deliver while you’re on PTO, sick, or busy with internal activities like trainings or business trips. Even if those non-billable activities were actually logged with Tempo!

If you’re concerned about getting angry phone calls from your boss while you’re hiking in the jungle, worry no more.

We’ll block additional assignments with a new integration between Tempo Planner or Tempo Timesheets and Out of Office Assistant for Jira. Companies combining these two apps for Jira Cloud are seeing that no work slips through the cracks: no matter who is absent at which critical time, there’s always an arrangement for tackling incoming work.

And that ultimately means happier customer, less frustrated employees, and less SLA breaches. And no mad calls from above!

3 Examples of automated handovers in Jira with Out of Office and Tempo

Out of Office decision making tree
This is the question that should be answered by your vacation plans in tempo will answer to the question

The new integration with Out of Office gives the ability to add automated handovers for those issues that still get assigned to an absent user.

In other words: your vacation plans in tempo will answer the question: what should happen to any issues that are assigned to me during this time?

And there are multiple possible answers:

  • Should they wait for me to come back, just warning the reporter of my absence with an Out of office message?
  • Should they be reassigned to a different owner?
  • Should they be reassigned to different owners, depending on the type of task?
  • Should they be triaged by someone during the absence?

Let’s look at three examples of automated handovers triggered from Tempo Planner: a simple handover to a colleague in charge of triaging issues; a VP of sales in the Americas delegating contract opportunities by region; and a CTO delegating approvals during a month packed with business trips.

Handover 1: A Single User to Triage every incoming issue

Back from her safari, Martha stares into the void of corporate life. The only thing rescuing her from her misery is the list of issues that were reassigned away from her during her absence.

In her role as an Innovation Manager, Martha is a firm believer in lean business processes: simpler is often better. For that reason, she has decided to appoint her right hand, Uziel, to triage everything and anything coming her way during her vacations.

Vacation plans in Tempo mapped to a simple triage rule in Out of Office
Vacation plans in Tempo mapped to a simple triage rule in Out of Office

Uziel is aware of every project, is familiar with Martha’s innovation strategy, and is the next best person for making tough calls on what should be prioritized – and what will have to be waitlisted.

Martha is going on a two-week Safari to Kenya in September. She has been planning this trip for the last year, but it’s back to school season, with many projects, initiatives and ideas been thrown at her every day. She knows it will be busy.

Here’s what her vacation looks like in Tempo Planner

Tempo Planner with a Safari plan
For a Safari, never plan less than two weeks.

But thanks to the integration with Out of Office Assistant, every request or Jira issue assigned to Martha will be reassigned to Uziel.

Out of Office Assistant rule in Jira generated by Tempo
Out of Office Assistant rule in Jira generated by Tempo

And he will have to decide what to do, following this rule of thumb:

  • Non urgent but qualified work will wait for Martha’s return
  • Oliver will own urgent work for which he’s qualified
  • Oliver will manually reassign urgent work for which there is a better owner
Decision making for a triager
“What should I do with my colleagues tasks?”

And hopefully, s*** will not hit the fan!

Bonus tip: Handing issues back to Martha (works even in the gloomiest times)

When Martha comes back from her safari, entirely reconsidering her life and looking at her corporate job as a hamster wheel that leads to nothingness and ultimately death, there will be few things rescuing her from her misery.

One of them is the issue filter showing everything that was reassigned to Oliver during her vacation.

JQL filter for reassigned tasks
What happened to my issues? Don’t ask your colleagues — ask Jira with this simple JQL filter

Martha doesn’t even have to talk to any humans to know what’s going on. She can keep watching videos of wildlife, dreaming of how life would have been if she had been born 1 million years ago (hint: not that great), and mindlessly going through the waitlisted tickets until her despair subsides. Then, she’ll be ready to be fully briefed by Uziel and storm into the office life like the cheetah she’s always been.

Handover 2: Account Management and Contract Preparation

While Satt’s drooling like a baby with the flu, the accounts he normally manages can be handled by different deputies per region

Even the best of us can fall sick.

And that’s what’s happened to Satt. He’s a brilliant (and a bit arrogant) Sales Director for the Americas at an up-and-coming startup… but now that he’s got the flu, he’s drooling like a baby and sneezing like a hurricane, remembering how sweet it was when his mommy would comfort him by the bedside.

Account Management delegation
Capture any business dimension in JQL to refine work delegation.

Luckily for everybody, the accounts that he manages don’t have to rely on the poor impression that he’d do right now and the poor decisions that would come from his headache… because he’s got a pretty good Tempo Plan to trigger a great handover for him.

When he calls sick, his Jira Admin creates a Tempo Plan for him for an entire week. This can always be extended.

Sick day plan in Tempo
Sick day plan in Tempo created by an admin

As a result, the Tempo plan triggers the handover of his accounts, per region, following the initial design:

List of Out of Office
One plan, three rules: work can easily be delegated in multiple streams. We already have customers delegating accounts!

And as new contract work, meetings, and other important business opportunities emerge in the region, the best person is always in charge!

Bonus Tip: ESM done well.

This use case falls quite well into Enterprise Service Management, defined by Atlassian as “the extension of IT Service Management (ITSM) principles to enable better service delivery for business teams”. If any business team is using Jira, they should include a Tempo Planner + Out of Office handover process to their workflows!

Handover 3: Approvals during a business trip

Kimberly would normally have been very hesitant to spend three weeks in business trips because of the hundreds of approvals that would be stalling for weeks. At her new company, she just needed to appoint Terry as a delegate!

Kimberly is not going to be in the office for three days in a row for the entire month. The new repositioning of the company is going to have a huge impact on the relationships with tech vendors, and she’ll be on a tour to meet face to face with most of them, at the highest level. Nothing she’s looking forward to. But when she took the job she was already aware not every minute would be passionately technical.

Here’s what her schedule looks like in Tempo:

Business Trip Plans in Tempo Planner
A busy calendar with on and off business trips all over the globe!

But in her role as a CTO, there are so many things that she won’t be able to oversee during this time.

In a different company, she would have been very concerned about the hundreds of approvals that would be stalling for weeks. Expenses, travel bookings, critical purchasing… it’s hard to measure the impact of all those delays.

Diagram of approval delegation
Waiting for approvals that never come? Delegate them and stop waiting for busy execs!

At her new company, she was told that the only thing that she needed to worry was finding the right delegate for her approvals. And from the first day, she realized that Terry was perfect. Loyal as a best friend, unimaginative as a cow, and structured as a classic German stereotype, his decisions would probably be very similar to hers, and there would be no risk, no surprises.

List of rules generated by a number of Tempo Plans for business trip
Each plan of the same type generates a new line in the table of Out of Office rules coming from Tempo

How to Setup the Integration of Tempo Plans

Since we’ve released this integration to the Marketplace, there’s no need to ask your developers to work on stitching the Tempo API to the Out of Office Assistant API.

Once you have both apps installed in your instance, the integration can be activated in two steps:

  • First, an Admin needs to activate it
  • Then, each user can design its own handovers

How to integrate Tempo Plans with Out of Office as an Admin

Besides pasting the Tempo API Token in Out of office, Admins have a simple but important task: they need to decide which internal issues will be available for mapping Out of Office rules.

This depends entirely on each companie’s HR policies, but here’s a very common list that combines internal activities with PTO and sick leaves:

  • Training
  • Business Trip
  • PTO
  • Parental Leave
  • Sick Day
A classic list of PTO and other absences, captured as internal issues in Tempo: Parental Leave, PTO, Business Trip, Sick Day, Vacation, Non-Paid Time Off
A classic list of PTO and other absences, captured as internal issues in Tempo: Parental Leave, PTO, Business Trip, Sick Day, Vacation, Non-Paid Time Off

Read the documentation on how to activate the Tempo integration as an Admin

How to setup automated handovers with Tempo Plans and Out of Office Assistant as a user

Any user can create their own Out of Office templates and apply them as they wish to. As we’ve seen, there can be very simple mappings, where the same Out of Office rule template is mapped for every type of time off.

Simple mapping of Tempo Plans to Out of Office Rules
The simplest stragegy for the integration is to appoint a single coverer, no matter the type of absence

But you can get as fancy and specific as you wish, and map dozens of templates per internal issue. As long is it helps issues find their rightful owners, you will be making it right!

Complex mapping of Tempo Plans to Out of Office Rules
An example of a more complex plan that delegates work per region in the case of sick days.

Read the documentation on How to Setup your Automated Handovers as a User

Admins can activate Tempo plans for other users

Just remember that, depending on your permissions, Tempo power users will probably be able to plan time for other users. This means that team leads, admins, or any administrative support can help trigger the handover, whenever anybody calls in sick or absent unexpectedly!

Read the documentation on How to use Tempo Plans for Activating Out of Office Rules


If you’ve been wishing for a comprehensive Calendar of your PTO in Jira, search no more! The integration of Tempo Timesheets and Tempo Planner with Out of Office Assistant provides a complete platform for ensuring that your company’s productivity stays at its maximum levels, even when key contributors are away!

Regardless of whether you will implement a simple triage system, a complete segmented handover, or a delegation of your Jira Service Management approvals, your team will benefit from it!

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