4 minutes

Apply best practice to maximize your team’s experience with Jira. From understanding the main components of Jira to preventive maintenance and housekeeping, we have some tips for you to utilize and optimize workflow.

Jira is one of the most popular software out there used for bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management. What makes it so powerful is the user’s ability, or their hired help’s expertise, to customize it in a way that best suits their team. Having a software that’s flexible enough to be tailored to a team’s need has important implications for productivity and surely creates opportunity to optimize workflow.

The software on its own can only do so much and it’s up to the user to take full advantage of Jira’s features. By exercising best practices while using Jira, even more potential for efficiency and productivity can be unlocked. When we say best practices, we mean the methods or techniques that are generally accepted as the standard way to do things and provide the best output.

Standardization means more efficiency across the board. Best practice comes from tried and tested processes that have been done to figure out what the most advantageous way of doing things is. Most problems or inefficiencies from doing things a different way are recognized and therefore avoided. Standardization also means learnability. Since procedures and operations are already known, they become easier to teach or learn instead having someone figure it out on their own. This is especially useful when it comes to using a complex piece of software.

Jira’s Main Components to Know

As a powerful piece of software there are a lot of best practices to be aware of when using Jira. Before jumping into using Jira though, it’s best to first understand the main important components of Jira. The first term to know is projects. Projects in Jira are collections of issues, or building blocks, teams work on together.

Within projects are workflows and workflows are the set of statuses and transitions, or the organizational process, in which a project is worked on and resolved. Integral parts of projects and workflows are epics and stories. Epics are a large body of work that is broken down into smaller tasks or stories. This makes a seemingly daunting project much more manageable.

In Jira each user is assigned a role. The default roles are administrators, developers, and users. As you can assume, each role fulfills different types of tasks and depending on the team can be restricted access from different parts of the project. Assigning roles may seem arbitrary at first, but you will soon understand just why roles are so important.

Status and reporting in Jira allows users to see their progress through displays and visualization. Being able to track how progress is doing lets users know what’s working and what needs to be improved. It’s also useful for clients that request certain information.

The last component of Jira to know is its Agile project management capabilities. With Kanban or Scrum frameworks available, Jira allows teams to pick which works better for them. Regardless of the framework, key to using Jira is how the program allows teams to break down, organize, and prioritize tasks. This is the core of Agile project management.

Want to know more about the different components of Jira and how to apply best practices? Check out Atlassian’s Jira Software best practices reference page for articles based on commonly asked questions regarding those important components.

Our Best Practice Tips for Jira

When it comes to using to Jira we encourage always applying best practices, but there are some general tips we think you should take particular note of. First, make sure you understand all the major components of your project in Jira. We’ve already given you a head start with explaining the main components of Jira above. Once you’ve made sense of your project components establish templates for different project types and stick to the template. As you’re working with the template, make adjustments only if they will improve workflow.

Make sure roles are clearly defined when assigning roles make and that users know exactly what their functions are. You want to avoid people doing the wrong or repeat tasks. Also, establish permissions and ensure the right people have the right permissions. Speaking of permission, consider limited the number of users in administration. You don’t want a “too many cooks in the kitchen” type of situation. Too many managers may result in things being overlooked or just simply missed.

Being proactive with monitoring and housekeeping is a tip that can’t be stressed enough. Proactive maintenance involves keeping up with upgrades or updates and performing user audits to make sure users are in the right roles, doing the right tasks or should still even exist. More maintenance includes archiving unused projects, running health checks, or combing through custom fields and workflows to find irregularities or inefficiencies. A preventative strategy could keep future problems from arising.

The last tip we suggest when using Jira is to consider a test system or environment that new users can play with and learn on. Letting a person with no or limited background in using Jira could be disastrous and the whole point of best practice is to avoid catastrophe. That test environment could also be used as a stage to try a new type of process.

Be on the Same Page

There’s only so much preparation you can do before actually using Jira and figuring out how the software will work in the most optimal way for you and your team. Maybe that testing system would be good to utilize for the entire team to start!

Key to best practices is having components, templates, tasks, and roles as clearly defined as possible. Clear definitions means accessibility and your team being able to understand what’s required and expected of them. You want to makes sure your team is all on the same page. Combining best practices with your team’s specific operational details can provide just that.

If you’re not sure where or how to start in implanting best practices reach out to professionals like us for guidance.