Simple cost management feasible?

Added by Neil McFarlane over 8 years ago

Hello,

First off, my thanks to everyone involved in the development of Redmine, it's a fantastic product!

Would the idea of integrating optional simple cost management be feasible? In my humble opinion, it's the one major feature that Redmine's currently missing for enterprise usage (where all projects are tracked on cost, time and quality)

Here are the modifications I'm thinking:
  • Users would get one new field: "Hourly rate"
  • A new module would be added for the project settings: "Cost tracking"
  • If Cost tracking is enabled for the project, each issue will get a new field: "Cost"
  • Costs are logged identically to "Spent time"; multiple items (each with an optional comment) can be added to each issue and the sums of these values propagate upwards through any parent tasks up to the project overview page itself
  • If both "Time tracking" and Cost tracking are enabled for a project, and the assignee has an hourly rate, then the following occur:
    • Each time the user makes an entry logging their time, a copy of the assignees current hourly rate is placed in a new column in the spent time details table (this is to protect integrity should the hourly rate change in the future)
    • The main "Cost" field on the page is the sum of any added cost items as well as the sum of the values (time * hourly rate) from the logged spent time

IMHO, I think this functionality could prove quite useful to those of us using Redmine in a corporate environment and I believe it could be implemented with relatively little effort. If this proposal does sound feasible for mainline inclusion, I'd be happy to help out either through direct effort (I've never done Ruby before, but I do have a programming background) or to provide some measure of compensation to the Redmine project for the time needed to work on it (I'm not super well-off or anything though, so I'm thinking ~ $50 - $100)

Thoughts?

Replies (12)

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Neil McFarlane over 8 years ago

I should have mentioned that when "Cost tracking" is enabled, there should also be an "Estimated cost" field added to the issues. If there is no time tracking, or there is no assignee hourly rate, then this field behaves identically to estimated time.

If, for an issue, cost tracking, time tracking and assignee hourly rate are all present, then the default value (i.e. field left blank) for estimated cost would be a calculation of hourly rate * estimated time. Any other value in the field would override this calculation.

This field would be numeric with one exception; it would allow the use of a prefixing "+" sign to indicate that it is to use the calculated (hourly rate * estimated time) value and add more to it.

For example, let's say I have an issue with an estimated time of 8 hours and my assignee has an hourly rate of $20. If I leave the field blank, estimated cost would be $160. If I edit the field and put in "120", then it will be $120. If I edit again and put it in as "+120" then the value will be $280 (160 + 120).

Thoughts?

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Neil McFarlane over 8 years ago

One more thing (until the next thing... :P). To maintain integrity, the hourly rate used for estimated cost should not be affected by a change in hourly rate of the assignee following issue creation.

Ideally, there would be a visible field asking us what to use as the hourly rate which could then be modified (populated at the time of the assignee being assigned to the issue), but I think it would be quite acceptable if this value were simply in the background and would only be changed if the assignee is changed (so, if for some reason you need to reflect a new hourly rate in the cost estimate, you'd have to change the assignee and then change back).

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Stefan H Singer over 8 years ago

You could have a look at Eric Davis' Budget plugin. I use this for these purposes.

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Neil McFarlane over 8 years ago

Hi Stefan,

I have looked at the budget plug-in, and am likely to use it as my "plan B". My line of thinking is costing really should be considered a "core" part of any project management tool. Beyond that, I really don't need anything quite so intricate, and, by having the cost tracking as part of the core, other plugins (like Redmine --> Project 2007) would likely also take advantage of it.

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Stefan H Singer over 8 years ago

Actually, I might be mistaken. It might be enough to have just the rates plugin, which lets you set the going rate per member in a project, and get cost reports in the time reports!

So, timesheet + rate plugin might be enough for you.

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Neil McFarlane over 8 years ago

That one I had not heard off, I'll check it out, thanks.

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Stefan H Singer over 8 years ago

It's part of the same "suite". Budget needs Rate :)

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Neil McFarlane over 8 years ago

Sorry, one more thing. I'm a bit new here, is there some reason why cost tracking is not already part of Redmine core? Just curious if there has been decision to intentionally exclude it for some reason or another.

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Stefan H Singer over 8 years ago

Most people probably don't use it. What is a plugin vs what is in core is a never-ending debate I guess :)

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Neil McFarlane over 8 years ago

Well, count me firmly in the "should be core" side of this, be nice to have a fully maintained common solution that all of the plug-ins can pull from. I'll go ahead and formalize my proposal on the wiki before making a feature request.

Thanks for your help! :)

RE: Simple cost management feasible? - Added by Neil McFarlane over 8 years ago

Replaced the page w/ a feature request (#7382)

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