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Lesser-Known Jira Add-Ons That Actually Save You Precious Time [2023]

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People love writing about grandiose stuff. There’s always a larger-than-life new product that’s destined to disrupt, change, and revolutionize everything it touches.

I, on the other hand, find much more pleasure in little, yet tangible things. Products that affect you every day without you even noticing it are my forte. I find my zen in writing about stuff that helps you get through the day-to-day grind. Stuff like Jira add-ons. 

Let’s take a look at a checklist add-on as our example. You’ll probably be doing a lot with a checklist without even thinking twice about it. Decomposing a complex task into structured, tangible elements, adding the Definition of Done or Definition of Ready, and outlining your PR - all of these things will seem like second nature to you. Now imagine your daily routine if the checklist functionality was suddenly gone.  

Sure, it won’t mean the end of the world. You’ll still get your job done. But it will become much more tedious.

A good add-on solves your problem and doesn’t add extra ones. If I had to define it - not buggy, well documented, with clear UX. - Julia Romanenkova, Product Manager at Railsware

How to choose a good Jira add-on?

  • Functionality: This one may seem a bit on the nose but, at the end of the day, you need an extra add-on to do a specific thing that will help you be more productive. I’m mentioning this because many plugins on the Atlassian Marketplace serve the same function but differ in certain elements of functionality. 
  • Price: Add-ons from the Atlassian Marketplace are installed per Jira Instance and charge you per user on that instance. If you are trying to improve the workflow of a handful of people, there might not be a point in paying for an add-on everyone on the instance will have access to. 
  • User reviews: Let’s be real here. It’s 2023 and everyone here knows that most of the reviews on the internet are… let’s say they aren’t particularly helpful and leave it at that. Atlassian tries to mitigate fake reviews as users need to install an add-on on their Jira instance to leave one. This doesn't mean that there are no fake reviews on the Marketplace but I tend to look at that from a slightly different perspective: if there are reviews on a product - at least I know that the company that made it cares about it one way or the other. Still, take them with a grain of salt. 
  • Documentation: I’ve talked to several engineers and project managers about the importance of documentation and the ways it can impact their decision. I must admit that I do not have a definitive answer. Some are very keen on exploring the documentation to make sure that a given add-on is exactly what they need. Others take a look at the product and feature description, install a trial version for free and try to learn it kinesthetically. There’s one thing I can say for sure - both groups check if the documentation is present and up-to-date whether to study it or to be sure that it will be available once the need arises.

Add-ons, especially smaller ones, can be “behind the scenes”, meaning people may not remember the brand or the add-on name. Sometimes we have cases of people contacting our support but they are using another checklist add-on. 😅 - Julia Romanenkova, Product manager at Railsware

Let’s take a closer look at some of the best add-ons for Jira that you probably won’t notice while they are doing their magic in the background. I’ll also try to focus on some of the lesser-known tools as you probably already know all there is to know about apps like ScriptRynner or Zephyr. 

Smart Checklist for Jira

Smart checklist has a pretty self-explanatory name (you’ll probably notice this pattern as we go through the add-ons one by one).Checklists will work better than a subtask when you want to break down work into smaller parts while keeping your Jira instance much cleaner and easier to navigate.  

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Functionality

Smart checklist has customizable statuses like “to do”, “in progress”, or “done”. You can add custom statuses like “in review” or “in QA”. This helps the team stay on the same page as to the overall progress on a given issue. You’ll also be able to use Markdown formatting via a full-screen editor to add links, deadlines, and assignees to your checklist items.

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Smart Checklist offers checklist template functionality for recurring tasks. Let’s take onboarding as our example: you need every newbie to finish certain predefined steps like logging into their corporate accounts, reading through the company’s or product’s wiki, etc. You’ll be able to set up your automation in a way where when a new onboarding ticket is made, it will already have a checklist with a list of items a person needs to do during their first day, week, and month.  

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Smart Checklist is integrated with Script Runner, JMWE, and Automation for Jira. What this means is that users can set up their automation in a way where a checklist is added based on the content of an issue and their workflow setup. You’ll also be able to set up validation making sure that issues can’t be moved to a different status unless certain items are checked.  

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Who is it for?

  • Project managers: Project managers will appreciate the ability to decompose complex tasks and the option of adding more context to them. Smart Checklist’s automation functionality helps with recurring tasks and tedious routine. 
  • Engineers: Our engineers use Smart Checklist to automatically have the Definition of Done in their issues. They also use checklists to make Acceptance criteria more visible, and for their PRs.
  • QA engineers: software engineers will appreciate the template functionality and the overall availability of clearly defined steps they need to take when managing tests.
  • Human Resources: Our HR team appreciates the ability to use detailed checklist templates for onboarding tickets and knowledge sharing. 
  • Finance: There are many steps one must follow to a T, especially when 1 mistake can cause a lot of financial damage.
  • Personal use: Having a #ToDo list at hand is always nice.

Examples of use cases

  • Definition of Done
  • Acceptance Criteria
  • User story implementation plan
  • Release checklist
  • Business Process ToDo list
  • Onboarding

Pro tips and easy-to-miss features

  • Smart Checklist has a Trello power-up that allows you to migrate your checklists from Trello into Jira
  • You can export issues with checklists to CSV
  • You can clone checklists by cloning a Jira Issue
  • You can turn on email notifications about checklist items being assigned to a user. They are turned off by default so your mailbox doesn’t get cluttered. 

Plans for the future

The team is currently working on two new features. One will add the ability to have multiple checklists in one issue. You can currently use Markdown to add formatting through header tags and separators to visually diversify between checklists, but this workaround is somewhat limiting when it comes to automation.

Pricing

Smart Checklist has a free version. It limits you to 20 checklist items per issue and you’ll only be able to have 5 project and 5 global templates. 

There’s also a Smart Checklist Pro version that doesn’t have any limitations. The price starts at $5 per user per month and there’s a 30-day free trial.

Deep Clone

Deep Clone is the No.1 cloning app with the most installs on the Atlassian Marketplace. You can use it to clone entire team- and company-managed projects, Bulk Clone up to 100,000 issues, and clone between cloud instances.

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Functionality

  • Project Clone - Clone Jira projects along with issues, components, and versions.
  • Epic/Tree Clone - Clone epics or larger issue hierarchies.
  • Clone and Move - Clone issues and move them to other projects all at once. 
  • Post-Function Clone - Trigger an automated clone on a status transition.
  • Instance Clone - Bulk Clone issues from one cloud instance to another.

Who is it for?

  • Project managers: Project managers and team leaders who manage repetitive projects are seeking a solution that can effectively minimize the amount of manual work required.
  • Jira Admins: For Jira Administrators who intend to migrate issues across various projects or cloud instances, they require a straightforward and secure approach that ensures the safe transfer of a significant volume of issues without any loss of data.
  • First-tier support agents: First-tier support agents require an uncomplicated solution that allows them to communicate software feedback and report bugs to second and third-tier support teams.

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Examples of use cases

  • Cloning template issues or projects: Our customers regularly deal with repetitive tasks, such as onboarding new clients. Deep Clone enables them to easily duplicate multiple template issues or entire projects in bulk.
  • Escalate support tickets: In support teams, multiple "support lines" are involved. When a customer reports a bug, the first-line support team escalates it by duplicating and transferring it to the second-line support project using Deep Clone. Our app is capable of including comments in the clone, which often contains crucial information to resolve the issue.
  • When significant corporations alter their approach, it may become essential to make critical modifications within vast Jira instances. Deep Clone for Jira allows you to transfer up to 100,000 issues to other projects or instances, enabling you to test changes before they become operational.

Pro tips and easy-to-miss features

  • Presets: Custom Deep Clone configurations can be saved as presets for frequently used cloning actions. Moreover, a preset can be added to the issue action menu, significantly reducing the number of clicks required to clone an issue.
  • Using Jira Expressions in Clone and Edit: While cloning, it is possible to modify fields such as changing the assignee of the cloned issue. Utilizing Jira Expressions, values can be dynamically set, for instance, the current date can be set as the value for a date field.

Plans for the future

The team is continually developing new features for Deep Clone for Jira, and there is much more in store for the future. I’ve reached out to Marlene from Codefortynine for an update and learned that their next big thing is preset for bulk clones and epic clones. This will greatly accelerate the process of cloning a large volume of issues.

Pricing

Deep Clone is free for up to 10 users and starts at $0.99 (average) per user per month for larger teams.

XPorter for Jira

This app allows you to reduce manual work when creating reports and extracting data from your Jira instance. It supports most of the common formats like PDF, DOCX, XLSX, SVG, and ODT and allows you to automatically send out extracted data to stakeholders via email. 

Functionality

Obviously, XPorter allows you to export data from Jira. You can export data from a single issue from the issue screen, or a selection of issues from the search screen. 

That being said, templates are a much more time-saving feature of XPorter as you don’t need to build up the data you’d like to extract for a report from scratch every time. You can even use MS Word and Excel Documents to build and modify your own templates. The templates you create can be configured per scope, project, issue type, project roles, and users.

Who is it for?

Generally speaking, XPorter is a tool for managers who are looking to quickly extract data from Jira and communicate it with others like the team or stakeholders. 

In addition to that, QA engineers might appreciate XPorter when they need a test report, requirements report, or test set. 

Examples of use cases

There are many ways you can use the data stored in Jira. For example, you can download a Customer Portal Report that will provide a summary of requests in your customer portal. 

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Or you can create an Issue Creation Activity Chart that will tell you about your activity from the list of your total created issues.

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Pro tips and easy-to-miss features

Pay attention to the data you can export because the odds are you might miss something. For instance, you can export comments, image attachments, and work logs in addition to tasks, subtasks, and linked issues. It is also important to notice that XPorter supports scripting languages making the search for what you are looking for so much simpler. 

There’s also an XPorter templates store you can use to download templates.

Pricing

This app is available for Jira Cloud, Server, and Data Center and the pricing is $1 per user (average).

Conclusion

Staying productive is much simpler when you have the means to automate the process that takes time instead of offering value. Luckily, the Atlassian Marketplace is filled with Jira’s little helpers.

1 comment

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Jennifer Choban
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
May 31, 2023

Thanks for the nice article, Oleksandr. These are indeed useful apps. Note that there are several checklist app options available in the Marketplace including:

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