Have you ever noticed that fixing specific problems might be a door opener for a bigger challenge, affecting a wider audience? This was exactly the case when we, as a service company working with multiple clients, missed a highly critical request raised in our client’s Jira. The reason was obvious – we did not expect that to happen. So as a post-mortem analysis of that incident, we decided to make sure that in future we wouldn’t miss any important issues – no matter which of clients’ environments it comes from. We took it further to realize that it is a common case when one has to work with many Jira instances at the same time.
The management process is more challenging when it comes to large teams in a distributed environment. Sometimes different parts of the team use their own setup relying on a dedicated Jira instance. In this case, retrieving data and tracing real-time updates in different Jira instances become a real challenge on a project management level. As a manager, how would you track the project progress having all the tasks dispersed across multiple Jiras? Let’s start with identifying what those cases might be.
When working with several Jira instances, you should keep all the issues together in your mind. This results in a human factor affecting the success of your projects’ development.
Jira allows organizing a workflow by creating issues which, in essence, are tasks to do (for example, write a code snippet, edit a text, publish a post on the website). It is easy to track and manage all the issues if you work with only one desk but it becomes more complicated when you are forced to use several Jiras. So, you should always be aware of the most important changes that occur with your projects.
There is always a risk to forget something important (for example, critical assignment notification in piles of emails stacked in your inbox) when you manage several projects simultaneously and use more than one Jira for it. So, working with several Jiras you should always keep in mind the most important issues that must be solved to release the project.
Working with several projects in several systems means that your attention will be constantly sprayed. It is very hard to stay focused when you need to switch between different contexts multiple times a day. Therefore, the best way is to gather your projects in one place.
There are three methods you may use to manage projects in several Jiras simultaneously.
The essence of the federation approach to project management through Jira lies in its name. You manage several projects at once that are autonomous and independent from each other, but they still remain interconnected and interoperable.
This approach will suit you when there is a need to synchronize one system with another, for example, when two or more departments of a company work together. If this is the case, it is possible to use special services, such as Backbone Issue Sync. This tool will help you to align your projects within Jira and create interrelated workflows for every department.
There is an opportunity to use an app solution like WatchTower by Rozdoum. Its main purpose is to gather all the tasks in one place. As a result, you get a unified agile board that combines issues from all the projects under your supervision. WatchTower is a feature-rich tool that assists managers in migrating projects with no data loss, making immediate changes and updating tasks and matching statuses from external instances – all within a single board that can be shared within the team. The WatchTower app offers a cost-saving solution as all you need is a single license for one Jira instance.
As you can see, there are three basic approaches to managing multiple projects in Jira at the same time. The first one is federation, and its main advantage is the fact that you do not need to use additional tools. The obvious drawback includes the risk of missing something important since the projects are still separated.
As for the second option, you can synchronize the data from several Jiras with the help of special services. The big advantage of this solution is that you can get together all the tasks from all the systems that the departments of your company use. However, this is easier said than done, especially when it comes to setting up the sync tool. Such tools require complex configuration setup and might result in data loss or redundancy if poorly configured.
When talking about the last solution, using the WatchTower allows you to grab issues from different sources into one Agile board, so there is no need to switch between Jiras, and thus, the risk of missing something important tends to zero. In practice, this means:
So, if you face the need to control projects in several Jiras and consider it to be more trouble than it's worth, give WatchTower a try. Install the app from Atlassian Marketplace, take a look around, and leave your comment under the article. If you are interested in a walkthrough and would like to check WatchTower's features against your specific management needs, book a demo here.
Andrey Dekhtyar _Rozdoum_
Last week Megan Cook, Head of Jira Software and Mahreen Khan, PhD, Organizational Psychology hosted an “ask me anything” session focused on the psychology of agile teams. We received 22 questions, 16...
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