How many designers out there rely on Jira Software for their day to day work? We often hear about Jira Software being the source of truth for product managers and developers, complete with powerful integrations and custom configurations. But how does this extend to designers?
As a designer on the Jira team, this has been a point of interest to me. From our research with designers from other companies, we’ve learnt that some designers appreciate the ease of collaborating with dev teams in Jira Software, while others feel that Jira Software is unfamiliar and sometimes overwhelming for day-to-day work.
We’ve also heard that Jira Software doesn’t speak the language of designers. Designers don’t deal with issues; we speak in users, flows, nuances and how things behave in a certain context. It’s all about sweating the details, keeping track of all the specs, and collaborating with other team members to create the next cool thing that matters. Many designers seek advice on how to best use Jira Software for their design team.
With the new Jira Software, we’ve been working hard at making the whole experience simpler and more intuitive. And we’re doing it without sacrificing the deep customisation and extensibility that made Jira Software the successful tool it is today. Along this journey, we’ve also picked up a couple of tips and tricks that have really helped our whole design team move faster. So after a year of using the new Jira Software (a.k.a. next-gen template), I wanted to share some practical tips that will help design teams to succeed using Jira Software.
The first step is to create a unique project where everything design-related lives. In the past, if you wanted your own bespoke design workspace within Jira Software, you’d have to ask your Jira administrator to create a project for you. This would typically take a couple of days or weeks to set up, depending on your requirements. The good news with the new Jira Software experience is that now all end users are empowered to create their own project. Creating your own brand new project is simple enough to get done in a couple clicks so give it a try!
Once you have your own design-centric project, it’s time to define what kind of work your team does on a regular basis. There are some default types of work (known as issue types) like Stories, Tasks, Bugs, and Epics. These might not be very useful for designers. The good news is with next-gen projects you can easily custom tailor your issue types for designers. (You do this in Jira Software’s project settings in the issue type section).
For the Jira design team, we created 5 unique issue types for our Jira Software design project:
With next-gen projects, we’ve made this process easier than ever. You can simply invite people and collaborate straight away — no admin approval required. If you’re a designer within an agency, you can also invite external contractors and grant them different permissions under Settings to make sure they don’t see any confidential material.
One of the biggest benefits of the next-gen projects is how easy it is to create a unique workflow for your team. On a foundational level, a piece of work always goes through three main stages in its lifecycle: “to do,” “in progress,” and “done”. It’s natural that this evolves over time as the team matures. With next-gen projects, it couldn’t be easier to adjust your workflow as your requirements change.
On the Jira design team, our workflow has evolved quite a lot. Here’s what our workflow looks like today:
To further enhance the workflow capability, in next-gen projects you can now automate basic tasks with the rules feature. For example, when a card gets moved into the “copy review” column, the content designer we work with will automatically be notified. This helps you to save time and focus on the things that matter.
Lastly, if you’re always on the go, the next-gen template is also available in Jira mobile. I personally found this helpful when I was doing a remote working stint in Japan. When a product manager or developer lead asked me for the latest update, I could simply pull Jira mobile out of my pocket, comment on some tasks and instantly get everyone on the same page.
This is only the beginning of the journey to reimagine Jira Software. We hope you find our next-gen template a big improvement for your design team. Hopefully these tips will help you better track your design work and provide visibility where you need it. But there’s only one way to find out: give the new project type a try and let us know what you think. And if you have any tips, tricks, or suggestions, we hope you’ll share back with other designers on the Atlassian community.
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