Project Management in Jira 2022 news at ITIL.press

Project Management in Jira


Jira is one of the most versatile project management tools in the areas of finance, software development, marketing and HR management. The service is great for small teams as well as for corporate use.

Jira is useful for organising workflows, recruiting employees, managing company policy updates, tracking interviews with candidates and brands, and organising events.

It is a great tool for time and error tracking, as well as evaluating each employee's skills. It offers a wide range of options for any team. But there is a downside to it. It's easy to get lost in all the functionality, especially for an inexperienced manager. Poor project organisation within Jira leads to a confusing activity log, making it difficult even for employees to understand the goals of the project.

Today we won't talk about the basics of Jira. These are well described in the documentation, so there's no point in repeating them again. The article will cover some types of workflow, tricks of using Jira, common mistakes and useful integrations.

Why many people hate the Jira configuration

One of the main difficulties with Jira is the need to pre-configure the project itself. Creating a standard workflow seems like a very simple task. Usually the workflow is enough for small projects. But after a couple of months, any manager will have a larger order and will have to organise more individual tasks.

At such a point, everyone discovers things like workflow diagrams, transitions, problem screens, permissions, problem configuration diagrams, event logs and more that had never even been thought of before. This can be a big challenge if the manager has no idea how it all connects.

Usually, when a company buys a new tool, they don't put extra effort into setting it up. Some don't even think about training their employees, mistakenly believing that any project management tool should be simple by default.

Given that most of the time a manager is working on projects of a certain direction, they don't need to create unique customizations every time. To this end, Jira offers workflow templates. But the template does not take individual needs into account.

As a rule, a manager has several project management workflows. They need to be customised each time. Even an experienced user can get into trouble if he or she forgets to check a certain box.

To avoid this outcome, simply use the 'Create with Shared Configuration' feature. This option is useful when the project has the same schemas and configurations. It is important that the description, participants and components are not copied. Only the basic configuration, which consists of the following elements, is repeated:

  • permissions scheme;
  • scheme of notifications;
  • Issue security scheme; — Issue type (task) scheme;
  • Issue type (task) scheme;
  • issue screen layout;
  • field configuration scheme.

Notably, it remains possible to make changes to the schema in any of the projects that depend on the original one. But in this case the edits will be implemented in all related configurations. Therefore it is recommended to make changes only if a more efficient variant has been found.

Optimal workflow

Getting the workflow right in Jira is almost half the success of project management. There are dozens of approaches depending on task types, scope of work, team size, and other factors. The Jira community has developed optimal workflow templates for most projects.

Cascade

The model is well suited for website development teams. It is widely used because it fits the client's vision of website development.

For example, developers evaluate the process in a modular way. However, the client believes that the site is created page by page. Convincing them otherwise is difficult because the modular evaluation of the site is based on technical knowledge.

It was much easier to make the modular process of writing the site based on a page-by-page model. This way, the development team does not move away from the modular programming method, but can provide the client with a visual representation of the page at any time.

HR process

HR management plays an increasingly important role in the development of a company. Competition for every position is growing, so it is much more difficult to evaluate potential employees. Accordingly, a certain work algorithm is required.

Jira makes it possible to create a suitable workflow. In essence, it is somewhat like a cascade, as it has a sequence of activities. This approach makes it possible not to miss anything, to get complete information about each candidate, and to analyse the best competitors in detail.

Three-step process

This method is suitable for most small projects. It is analogous to a simple kanban board and consists of three elements: "Must do", "In progress", "Done".

The idea is to solve tasks that do not require complex planning or testing. It allows for quick identification of performers, setting deadlines, but has low flexibility. In the case of any deficiencies, errors can only be pointed out through communication rather than marking under the task.

Big startup

This approach is good for start-up projects with wide outreach, or for corporate tasks. It includes most elements of the Jira workflow (from the activity log to testing, user evaluation and bug tracking). It is designed for large teams. At the same time, it requires more control.

Important: The above examples are only the most used templates, but there are many more variants. It is worth understanding that even when choosing one of these approaches it is not necessary to strictly adhere to it. The manager can implement any idea for extending the workflow if he or she can see the objective benefits.

Common tricks

Once again: Jira is a project management tool. Above all, it is designed for managers. But many users decide that such services should automate work by default. In reality, they only simplify the organisation.

Keep it simple

A good manager is one who takes into account the requirements of his subordinates. That is true. But in this context, it is important to get the concepts right. "Considering" does not mean "always satisfying". What does it mean?

Many users want to have a certain status for their section. For example, a "To Do" section might correspond to a status of "Open", "Repeat Work". Sometimes this can actually be a good approach, as it makes for a branched network and allows for more detailed tracking of progress.

But on larger projects, it leads to complexity and lots of transitions that end up slowing things down. First, the manager needs more time to learn about the progress of a particular task. Second, it is more difficult for project participants to keep track of the problems on which their task depends.

Instead, it is worth aiming for simple scalability. How to do this? Check the progress of each task and assess whether it needs to be subtasked or added to.

Assemble the right team

Let's say a manager has 100 people under his belt at all times. But only 40 are needed to successfully complete a project. Is it worth adding everyone? No. It's like cooking: the more cooks for one dish, the worse it will be.

So you need to follow two rules:

  • Gather the most effective staff in a particular field.
  • Strictly adhere to the required number of staff.

But you must never select one person for a particular task. Why? He may not be useful to the project once it has been completed.

Divide up tasks and delegate authority

"If you want something done, do it yourself" is one of the worst approaches to work. It is also a bad idea to trust only a few members of the team. So don't be afraid to delegate some authority on a big project to someone else. It will be much easier to control the progress of the project.

It is also recommended to divide complex tasks into subtasks in large projects. First, it will create a clear structure of the workflow. Second, it will speed up the work because it will be consistent. Thirdly, it makes it easier to evaluate each employee.

A savvy manager uses services like Jira as an assistant tool. A bad manager uses it as a substitute for himself, letting the work go to waste. But it's important to remember that even when using such services, the principles of project management remain the same.

A few tricks to make life easier

Prolonged and extended use of absolutely any tool makes it clear that sometimes deviating from the instructions increases efficiency. In addition, the manager realises that some functions can be misused. Jira has a huge amount of functionality and is accordingly full of all sorts of tricks.

Its own search engine

Search engines increase a website's ranking, which reduces the number of clicks required to reach a goal (e.g. buying a product). Increase the ranking of your project for yourself by reducing the number of clicks to navigate to specific sections or subtasks. How to do it?

In Chrome, add a custom search engine via Settings > Manage search engines. In the first two lines you should specify a search query (for example, it could be the letter "t"), and in the last line the corresponding address (for example, a link to a specific sub-task).

This is a useful feature for large projects where many processes need to be controlled. Adobe products work along similar lines. Instead of selecting a specific action via the navigation bar, an unlimited number of hotkeys can be assigned. By memorizing them, you can achieve your objectives much faster.

Navigation links

Common chats are always created in some kind of messenger to work on a project. Also, many projects require constant monitoring of the client company's situation. You can make tabs in your browser or keep a permanent link on your desktop. But Jira allows you not to take up your space with such links.

Inside the project there is an option to "Add a link" and provide a URL which is frequently accessed by everyone on the project. You can also add the email address of any contact person there. This will greatly increase the productivity of the team.

Accessing the Jira database

Who says that databases are exclusively confidential information? The database stores everything related to activities on the site or its service. A project manager should get access to Jira's databases. How to do it?

A paid service. Jira provides access to the project with which the manager is associated. The access level is "Read Only". Why this is needed? To understand the structure of the data, to effectively clean up schemas and to audit the work on the project. This access unlocks many mysteries and gives the manager a different perspective on the project.

Become part of the community

Many people forget that making an application popular means having a large and experienced community. And this is one of the best and easiest tricks. Why? Because learning by doing from other users makes you one of the first to learn about tricks that aren't even on the web.

Integrations empowerment

One of the key tricks of any project management tool is integration with other applications. The more there are, the more convenient it is for teams to work. Jira provides access to almost all services: Timesheets, Outlook, Adobe, Google, Evernote, etc. Some of them greatly improve the efficiency of your workflow.

One of the elements of working with Jira is creating a full-fledged task report. But its design can be not an easy task. First of all, this is due to the need to perform hundreds of simple actions that add up to a lot of time. But this task can be simplified. One way is to integrate with Usersnap.

To do this you need to insert Usersnap widget into your site or its prototype. By taking a screenshot of the error, the employee can add meta-information about the session (operating system, browser version, technologies used, etc.). This will make it easier to analyze the error. Correspondingly, fixing it will also become easier.

Chats and Jira

How does the manager communicate with the team when working remotely? With the help of chat rooms. Slack is one of the most well-known services for corporate use. With this integration, you can simplify team communication, receive notifications of all changes directly in Slack instead of via email, and learn about new statuses. This will speed up the resolution of every problem.

Jira provides integration with most chat rooms like HipChat. No matter which chat room your team prefers, you can always link it to your project.

Github — the key to successful development

Jira has become a very popular tool among software developers. Such professionals are almost inextricably linked to Github. Thanks to the integration with Jira, the project team will be able to see the branches and commits created, so that they can use best practices in writing code for an application in time.

Other tools

Jira can also be integrated with other project management tools like Trello, or Asana. If you're working on a large project and some employees prefer to use another tool for some task, you can implement such integration. This way, the manager is always aware of all the activities regardless of where they are performed.

Conclusion

Have you heard about Jira recently and become disillusioned with it? Try some of these tricks and you will immediately change your attitude towards the service. Are you an experienced manager? Then you've definitely got your own set of tricks. How do you use Jira and what tricks do you know?

And the last 5 cents from me personally — being a project manager for a long time, knowing subtleties in communication between 2 parties: developers and customers, I can now confidently say that a project manager is a jack of all trades. He should be able to do some layout (if needed), and graphics, and share screen clients. Some of these things are quite trivial, but design can be a problem, especially if previous experience was quite different. but that's no problem — our 3-minute video will help get you up to speed quickly, and even do an upsale on design and graphics!