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What would you tell your younger admin self if you could?

Over the years, we've gained experience, good habits, and probably a few bad ones along the way. ;-) All part of the job! 

If you could go back in time and give yourself advice when you were starting your first gig as an Atlassian Admin, what would you say?

What are some things you wish someone else told you when you first started out?

What kind of advice would you give a new admin starting out today? 


1, Purpose - what is the purpose of Jira, what teams will be using, what reports will be needed, etc. This will determine how to structure it. 

2. Think it Through - think out ALL possibilities up front. Plan for them. Involve others. 

3. Governance Committee - involve others from ALL departments. Set up "guardrails". Do this early and before launching to the entire company. Have a plan. Define your terms. Not everyone defines "Done" the same way. 

4. Training - train users, train admins, train backups, etc. There can never be too much training. Take advantage of free training. Document your training. Record it and share it. 

5. Expansion/Growth - have a plan, include training new members, maybe some sort of training that they sign off on. 

6. Consistency - be consistent. Yes, you can make changes, but try to be consistent. 

7. Daily - update daily. Jira should always be open and updated daily. Updates should be understandable. If a new team member needs to find information on a project from 2 years ago, is the information in Jira understandable/sufficient? It should be, but oftentimes is not. 

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Yes, and...

  • Use a defined request process for changes;
  • Track your changes (to fill in gaps in Jira logging and reporting), such as in a project with a Kanban board;
  • Use a defined off-boarding process for people leaving the company (planned and unplanned);
  • Ensure there are backup site admins.
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Study!  And also use a personal Jira instance intensively to test out how Jira works

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@Sarah Spalding has a great list for all things related to the governance of JIRA 

It is not an easy question. Why? Because JIRA has evolve so much since I started being a JIRA administrator more then 14 years ago. The best practices of today could not be put in place by my younger self because a lot of functionnalities did not exist.

But these things are a must:

  • Use context as much as possible (with custom fields)
  • Use roles with: project permissions, security, notifications
    • Never use a user for all those things it is a nightmare to manage
  • Restric the global permissions to "responsable users" and not all users
  • If the users came from an LDAP and a user receive a "new" username (promotion, move to another teams, etc) make sure to "modify" the existing account with the new info.
    • If you don't do that the user will lose his/her history.
    • You have to do that BEFORE the user create something with the new account because after that time you won't be able to modify the old account with the new info.

The list can, and will, go on and on but those are the things that came easily to mind.



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  1. Use Sandbox. Cannot stress this enough. Things tend to go south and having a safe environment to fail (and learn) is invaluable.
  2. Keep track of exact changes you make on Sandbox so it can be redone in exact order on Production. Plus these tracks will eventually develop into runbooks that can be either automated or delegated to junior members to ensure consistent outcome and expected quality.
  3. Understand why before what. Another important one. The worst you could do for your customer is to do exactly what they ask you to do. As opposed to understanding the customer problem and coming to a solution that actually solves the problem (or improves things along the line).
  4. Befriend your customers and observe how they use what you have set up. This will result in invaluable insights how your work if used, how effective and efficient it is and whether it help to streamline the effort tracking or introduces any roadblocks or hurdles eventually slowing the delivery down.
  5. Understand what statuses are and what they represent (current state VS pending state). For example the workflow "To Do" > "In Progress" > "Done" can be expressed equally as "New" > "Pending Completion" > "Done" where both variations might have a very different meaning and reporting capabilities to the teams that use those.
  6. Be curious and brave. Try new things, break things down, recover from failures, learn from those, and keep moving forward. Because technologies constantly change and introduce new ways to solve old problems.

There's more, but these would be the core ones.

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Good question, I thought about:

  • Introduting naming convention for fields, schemes and screen names.
  • Limiting the number of Jira administrators
  •  Always use a separate Jira test instance for bigger changes
  • Having a change process for Jira requirements in order to have a kind of treacibility
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Taranjeet Singh Community Leader Jan 05, 2022

This is a great question!

In addition to all the wonderful suggestions given above by our Community experts, I would advise new Atlassian Admins starting today to join the Atlassian Community as soon as possible to accelerate their learning experience for Atlassian tools and to help them in case of any issues faced with these tools. This will also help them grow their career as an Atlassian professional.

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All users should have the fewest permissions possible!

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Aradhana Gupta Community Leader Jan 06, 2022

Well, have learnt a lot... 

So a lot to tell my younger admin self..

But most importantly.. not all requirements need to be met in the manner that the requestor wants to see it.

If the end goal of the requestor is met and we an solve the problem with the existing configurations.. spend more time educating the requestor on how to use that to their advantage rather than creating a new board, filter , dashboard to give them what they exactly want..

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Curt Holley Community Leader Jan 09, 2022

Great question! and some great answers as well.

Here are the Do's and Don't I've put together as part of a Confluence based Admin Hub I'm building as part of training up new admins.

do dont.png


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