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How many Jira admins does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 💡

Dave Liao Community Leader Jul 02, 2021

...or to administer two Data Center instances serving four business units, with users geographically distributed worldwide in five cities?

Or to administer a single Cloud instance with teams in Los Angeles and Paris?

For those running operations in Jira, what are the factors you considered when staffing up (or training existing staff!) to support your Atlassian stack?

Thanks to Tobias for inspiring me to post here.


Dirk Ronsmans Community Leader Jul 05, 2021

Excellent question!

Personally I feel like "the less the better", not considering the idea of job protection, I feel like having too many cooks in the kitchen is a recipe for disaster (pun intended!) 

If you are working with a larger organization (mainly splitting geographic locations and timezones) it will be feasible to have at least a single admin in each zone with a backup available (at least for day to day business).

If we are talking about development of new features there I believe it takes good procedures and perfectly outlined responsibilities to be able to manage it. One thing I hate the most is working in an environment where you have multiple admins changing things and nobody knows what the others are doing and impacting each other.

It also depends on what the role of the admin is. Are we talking a technical person that changes items in the instance(s) or do we also consider support staff for simple questions and technical/business analysts for process discussions?

TL;DR: one is the minium, two seems like a good fit, and depending on the size of the organization roles could be separated :)

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Dave Liao Community Leader Jul 05, 2021

@Dirk Ronsmans - good call on mentioning the geographic aspect of this job! If you're a multi-national, regional admins is super important. Who wants to wait an entire business day to get something done because your admin is in a dramatically different time zone than you?

Dave Liao Community Leader Jul 05, 2021

Re-posting my answer from the original post here:

Context: When I first started using Jira, I was at a small company and no one knew Jira well. The admin role was shared between 3 teammates to split the work, especially if someone was on vacation.

As we learned Jira, 2 of us handled most admin tasks, while the third helped when it got busy.

Who to bring on? I recommend an admin who is part of process/project management (or works closely with them), and another admin who is responsible for IT services (think service desk, centralized IT, etc.).

Scaling up: At larger companies, the number of admins needed depends on how many requests/changes there are, and the request types being handled (specialization).

  • I've seen entire service desk teams with global admin permissions
  • I've seen business unit representatives (1-2 people) with global admin permissions

Of course, for the above, everyone is educated on what is "safe" to change at a global level (e.g. renaming Statuses is NOT safe!), and what should go through change management.

Full-time or not? Certain companies may not have the budget to have a full-time Atlassian admin, even though they have the need. If Atlassian tools are core to the way your business operates, and you have many people who depend on you, hopefully some of your admins are dedicated to keeping your Jira running smoothly full-time.

One is screwing a lightbulb and another is creating issue for this.

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Dave Liao Community Leader Jul 20, 2021

@Stanislav - haha yes! 💡👨‍👦

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Dave Mathijs Community Leader Nov 23, 2022

Love your answer

Like Dave Liao likes this

I am alone for my 100 users instance

the good thing: I can do what I want ;)

the bad thing: jira admin is 5% of my work, so important changes in jira take som time till I can do it

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Dave Liao Community Leader Jul 26, 2021

@Alexander Pappert - only 5% of your work? Lucky 😂

Like Alexander Pappert likes this

I really like this question, and I'm probably not the most technical person to answer that, so I'm going to base my answer on two brilliant resources:

  1. This blog post @Rodney Nissen, a.k.a. The Jira Guy did, where he describes which professional profiles a company should hire to basically having a small Jira services agency in-house >> 

  2. And this presentation, which is more focused on the tooling (which doesn't stop of being relevant on this thread) introduced by @Flora Rubio _DEISER_ where @Brian Watts [Austin,TX AUG] explains a fascinating use case on how, as a Platform Integration Architect from UHUB, an internal Atlassian services provider of WPP, have created this HUGE system for Program Managers located around the world. >>

I hope you find those resources useful!

Like Dave Liao likes this
Hana Kučerová Community Leader Aug 01, 2021

A few ideas to this topic...


I think it also highly depends on the quality of the implementation. I've seen so many badly configured Atlassian systems with a lot of problematic applications and duplicate functionality... If every request takes a lot of time to implement, because somebody needs to do deep analysis and test the change milion times, more staff is needed to take care of the systems...


With so many new functionalities in cloud lately, I believe the companies will be forced to have more staff dedicated for Atlassian with some capacity for studying, because it just simply can't wait, the systems can change overnight and the admins should know, what's going on...

Nice analogy drawn  @Dave Liao  and thanks for raising. I am not quite regular to this group. To be honest, it depends on how it's maintained and people should learn from mistakes and not to follow any market prescribed solution with out studying and knowing the limitations.



Like Hakeem Olasupo likes this
Dave Liao Community Leader Aug 08, 2021

Agreed - any market-prescribed solution is hopefully designed for a specific situation. Does that solution apply to your situation? 😉

Curious what methods you follow to figure out what's appropriate for your day-to-day in your job?

Daniel Eads Atlassian Team Aug 09, 2021

Love reading everyone's thoughts here! I personally err towards "only grant admin to qualified individuals". A word of caution to the sole-administrator sites however. We often see support cases where the admin has left the company or gone on extended vacation, and they've not even added a second billing contact. The card on their account expires, and users find themselves with the site deactivated.

So word of the wise: have a backup person for billing purposes, even if there's an implicit understanding that they won't be doing any application administration.

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Dave Liao Community Leader Aug 09, 2021

@Daniel Eads - good call! I've seen companies use billing@companyco.corp (instead of an individual person) for their billing contact. Of course, then they should ensure multiple people are able to view that inbox.

Hopefully it's kosher for companies to set a distribution list as a billing and/or technical contact?

Daniel Eads Atlassian Team Aug 09, 2021

I think that's good practice. That list could include accounts payable / billing / finance folks.

The alternative is typically "re-enable the administrator's email account, reset their password, and dig through their inbox". Depending on the company, that's no big deal. Some places have policies where a departed employee's email gets routed to their manager for 90 days, as an example. But depending on the company policy, it might be messy to try and get access to a departed user's mailbox (requiring Legal, HR involvement, etc). When we see support cases like this, they tend to take longer to resolve.

Pramodh M Community Leader Jan 31, 2022

Leading Enterprise Migrations, Implementation for Customers for Premium Plan in our team and It never stops!!


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