Reboot Your Jira

Everything needs a little spring cleaning from time to time - even Jira
Erika Pillmeier

Jira is an application that grows organically over time. While the initial set up is carefully thought through, after years of use, small changes here and there can add up to become a bit of a mess. We want our Jira to be our single point of truth, and that can only happen when users feel comfortable using the tool and feel that it fits their needs. So how do we make sure our users feel this way and our Jira stays accurate?

Ask around!

Assess your current set up to see how satisfied your users are and where they see room for improvement. No one knows the pain points and areas of improvement better than the people on the frontlines. But to do that, we first need to ask:

Who uses Jira?

It’s easy to take a look at current users and ask what they think; they’ll be able to provide quick feedback. But the more difficult question is, who could be using Jira but isn’t? Are there projects running that are being managed in another tool, or perhaps not in any tool at all? Having a central place to share and work is essential, both for the project and for your employees. According to a study by Slack, 24% of workers are dissatisfied with communication at work, including how information is shared [1]. Having everything be in one place gets you closer to solving that problem.

Reboot your Jira blog post
Image: Atlassian [2]

It’s important for everyone to be in one system so that you have accurate reporting, standardized processes and open communication, because how can Jira be your single point of truth if it’s not getting the whole picture? Make sure there aren’t any teams or relevant stakeholders excluded.

Once you know who’s using Jira, the next step is to find out:

How do you use Jira?

Take a look at your projects and all of your schemes. Are you using a one-size-fits-all project approach, or is every team doing something different? The key is to find some balance in the middle. We encourage sharing schemes across projects; it’s easier to administer and better for performance. However, we also understand not all teams work the same way. Sit with your stakeholders and take a real look at your projects – could this be optimized? Are teams changing their ways of working to fit Jira or is Jira fitting them? Because it should be the latter. Look for opportunities to share schemes across projects, but keep in mind that that might not always be possible.

Now that our projects are in shape, do we have the views that we need? Boards are workflow visualizations, but you don’t need to show the whole workflow on one board. People need information at different times, for example, the difference between product owners and developers when working in one workflow. While product owners need to groom the backlog and work heavily at the beginning of a workflow estimating and refining stories, developers only want to see tickets that are ready for them to work on. Creating different boards that suit the needs of your team lets them focus on what’s most important to them.

Jira doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s part of a larger ecosystem where users work. No one wants to do double work when automations and integrations can take over. To help your developer friends, you can see whether your repository can be integrated with Jira to save time. Using Smart Commits [3] [4], you can easily transition, comment and log time directly from your commit message. And with a marketplace with thousands of apps [5], you can expand your Jira by creating automations and integrations to help save time.

Reboot your Jira Blog Post
Image: Atlassian[6]

Take a look at your workflows and see where efficiencies can be made through automations and integrations with other tools.

But, not everything needs to be in Jira. Documentation is an important part of any process, but keeping this in Jira might not make so much sense. For documentation you need things like version control and in-line commenting. This can all be done with Confluence, where you can link between relevant Jira issues and Confluence pages [7] while explaining the whole overview in one place.

Reboot your Jira Blog Post- Jira link Confluence
Image: Atlassian [8]

Now that we’ve done our review, it’s also a good idea to see if there’s anything outdated that could be cleaned up. Take a look at your administration area. Are there any orphaned schemes or abandoned statuses that are no longer being used by any projects that can be deleted? Any duplicate custom fields that can be consolidated? Any projects that can be archived? Now that we know how we want to use Jira, let’s clean up the leftover and start fresh.

Now that you have everything set up and refreshed, how do you keep it this way? Changes are a part of everyday life and they need to be accounted for. Create a Jira ‘Jira’ project to effectively manage these changes. All of your other work goes through a process, why not this?

Photo Credits: Unsplash