How to manage effort and duration

How do I set effort, what is the difference between effort and duration?

Reinder Visser avatar
Written by Reinder Visser
Updated over a week ago

This article will show you how you can set effort and duration on cards, what it is, how it can be updated and how they work together.


Card effort is the work time in hours or days (you can decide how to set this) that is needed to complete a card. For example, if it takes me a full day of work to complete a card, the effort will be 1 day or 8 hours.

In Placker, you can track both the estimated and the actual effort in order to understand the planned and the actual workload and the differences between them.

How to use the card effort?

Planned and actual card effort can be used to estimate the workload of your team and to understand how you are actually spending your time. The effort is also an attribute that can be selected to be shown in the graphs, for example, to show the allocated effort for each team member.

You can use the effort to set the duration (see below), i.e. when the effort is set to 2 working days, the duration of the card is 2 working days by default.


Card duration is the total time in hours or days (you can decide how to set this) that is needed to finish the card.

Effort and duration are not necessarily the same. They can be different in different scenarios:

  • When the workload (e.g. 1 workday or 8 hours) is spread over multiple days (e.g. 1  week), the effort (1 day) will be spread throughout the duration (1 week). In other words, there will be 1.6 hours worked per day instead of 8.

  • When multiple people are assigned to the same task, the effort (e.g. 1 week or 40 hours) will be condensed into the duration (e.g. 1 day). In other words, there will be 40 hours worked per day instead of 8.

Tracking the difference between effort and duration allows you to understand these differences.

Setting and updating the effort and the duration

You can set the effort or duration of the cards in two ways:

1. Dragging the bars in the Gantt chart timeline will update the duration (and effort if they're linked).

2. Changing the effort or duration attribute in the detail panel will update the effort/duration.

How are timelines updated when updating effort or duration?

When you are making updates to the cards on the Gantt chart, the plan dates, effort and/or duration will automatically get updated. This is based on the following logic:

When you update either the planned start or planned end date, also the duration will get updated (and effort if linked). When you update the duration attribute, also the plan start/end date will get updated accordingly.

When the start date is set, the plan end date is updated based on the start date + the new duration. When the start date is not set (and the end date is), the start date gets updated based on the end date and the new duration.

Notice how the end date, effort and duration affect each other in the recording below:

Unlink effort and duration

When you don't want to automatically link effort and duration, you can disable this in two ways:

  • When you only want to unlink it for one or several cards, but not on the full board, you can disable it on the card. (be sure to click 'show empty attributes' at the top')

  • When you want to unlink effort and duration for all cards, you can disable this on the board.

This recording shows both ways. Notice how changing the duration after it's unlinked will keep the number of working hours, that is, 8 hours per day for 4 days, or 6.4 hours per day for 5 days:

Displaying Effort and Duration

You can change the way effort and duration is shown in Placker, by default we show a combined string representation of the effort, for example 1w, 2d. It is also possible to show the effort and duration in days (e.g. 7d, hours (based on your calendar settings, e.g. 56h) or minutes (3360m). These settings are available when you double-click the board title:

Is anything still unclear?

We understand, these concepts may be tricky. Feel free to reach out in the chat if you have any questions.

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