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Managers don’t need data.
I know. WHAT? Who is this crazy Berry and what is he on?
Hear me out.
Data isn’t useful. It’s only useful once it becomes insights. As in, once it’s able to answer our questions. By itself, data can’t answer questions. Well, not without sifting through reams of numbers till our brains melt through our eyes. To provide insights to be acted upon, data needs to be turned into reports.
Managers have various questions that reports can answer. Some of these could be:
What is my team working on?
Are the company’s projects progressing smoothly?
Is my team experiencing blockers?
Is everybody’s workload balanced and fair?
Are we delivering what our customers and stakeholders need?
What work do we need to prioritize?
By answering these questions (and many others), reports help managers increase productivity and efficiency and improve performance against their company’s overarching goals.
There are 2 methods of reporting available in Jira: project reporting and dashboard reporting. Project reports only give you insights on a single project. Managers often need to look at multiple projects side by side, particularly if they’re overseeing more than one team. This is why dashboard reporting is the better option.
With a Jira dashboard, you can have multiple live reports spanning any number of projects and teams, offering a smart visual overview of the big picture.
Let’s look at a few examples of reports you can have on your Jira dashboard, which offer managers particularly useful insights into how their teams are performing.
The Activity Stream gadget is a Jira dashboard report that comes out of the box and provides a feed of all updates that have been made in the Jira instance. The feed includes the Jira user who made the update, the date, and details of each activity.
Having this on a dashboard gives managers an immediate sense of what’s being worked on and who’s doing it. Users can also add comments and watch issues directly from the feed. This is a great, interactive report that lets managers and other team members provide feedback or ask questions around updates.
This bar chart is a custom report that can be built with the dashboard reporting app, Custom Charts for Jira. It shows the average time in hours that Jira issues spent in each status across multiple projects.
This chart is extremely useful for management, as it helps them understand where bottlenecks lie in the flow of work. Looking at the chart above, we can see that issues sit in “To Do” for 17 hours, meaning it takes 2 days to get started on work. This delay needs to be investigated. Is work sitting in “To Do” for 2 days because our team doesn’t have the bandwidth to take on more? If so, it could mean additional hiring is needed.
This particular time in status report is a bar chart, but you can change the chart type in one click if you’d rather visualize the data some other way. All chart types in Custom Charts for Jira can be made using the same gadget on the dashboard.
Managers want to make sure their team members are staying on top of their workload. Understanding how work is distributed can help them provide support to those who may have too much on their plate. A pie chart offers a good visual indicator of whether the workload is balanced and fair.
The native Jira pie chart gadget will work here, but if you’d like more flexibility in terms of customizing colors, charting by estimates or time spent, or showing/hiding specific assignees, you can make one with Custom Charts for Jira.
In addition to the extra customizations, the Custom Charts pie chart above can be filtered down to only show Jira issues that meet certain criteria. You can do this with an additional gadget that comes with Custom Charts called Simple Search.
In the pie chart above, we can see that Andy has the fewest issues, which raises the question: can he help Becky and Courtney, who have the most? The other thing this chart highlights is how many unassigned issues there are; none of them will progress till someone takes responsibility for them. To find out what these issues are and start allocating team members, managers can simply click on the segment. Then a list of the unassigned issues will open in a separate tab, with their Jira fields and additional details included.
This 2D line chart was made using 2 apps from the Atlassian Marketplace: 1) Custom Charts for Jira and 2) Jira Misc Custom Fields (JMCF). JMCF allows users to create custom fields for collecting data that the native Jira custom fields do not permit. For example, JMCF has a field type called “Transition Count” that counts the amount of times issues were in their various statuses. If you create that field in your Jira, you can show the field on Jira issues and use it in reports.
This is what we’ve done here. We’re pulling in issues from multiple Jira projects and, thanks to JMCF, calculating and displaying the average number of times issues created in the last 30 days have moved to each workflow status.
We can see that in the week beginning August 21st, issues entered the “Reopened” status over 7 times. This typically means issues are being marked as “Done” before the problem has been resolved or the work has been completed. The projects our issues are coming from include our Jira Service Management project, so if any of the issues reopened that week are customer-facing requests, it might be best to check on them. Customers could be disappointed by the service they’re receiving if they’re not getting the solutions they need.
We can also see that issues are entering the “Blocked” status consistently at least once each week. If deadlines are being missed, this information can help managers find out why. They can click on the blue circles to open a list of the blocked issues and their information in a separate tab. This enables them to devise a plan to get the delayed work, and the team, back on track.
Having a list of issues on the Jira dashboard is great for management to get a deeper level of detail about what the team is working on. You can either use the out-of-the-box Filter Results gadget for this, or the Custom Charts for Jira version, which offers extra capabilities. These include options to:
select Projects, Saved Filters, or Advanced JQL as the Source of your Issue List
filter down the list with Simple Search
add Quick Filters directly on the Issue List
add Smart Labels to issues that you specifically want to highlight
In the Custom Charts Issue List above, we’re pulling in issues from our sales team’s Jira Work Management project, which they’re using to track customer deals. We’ve added some Jira fields as columns, including Priority and Due Date, so that managers can see what deals are closing soon, and which ones deserve the most attention.
We're also using Quick Filters and Smart Labels. If dashboard viewers click the Quick Filter “Issues due this month”, the list will update to show only the deals that are set to close by end of the month. We also have Smart Labels, which are tagging issues we’ve indicated as being “At Risk”. If managers see that an issue is due soon AND at risk, it could mean it’s time for them to step in and re-engage the customer.
With the reports above, managers have insights into workload, customer experience, impending sales, bottlenecks, and the specific issues and projects being worked on. They tell managers when they need to step in and take action, whether that action is further investigation into the reason for a delay, reallocating work, or offering the team some additional support.
As a result, your Jira dashboard can become a powerful engine for decision-making and continual improvement.
Try Custom Charts for Jira on the Atlassian Marketplace to see how its flexible, accessible, and colorful reporting can make a world of difference in your day-to-day.