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What's your best Jira Software tip/trick/workaround?

Corinne Dent Atlassian Team Aug 13, 2019

Howdy 👋🏼 this is Corinne from Jira Software Cloud’s Product Marketing team. We're working on an initiative to help our customers make their Jira implementation the best it can be. To that end, I want to tap into the collective Community brainpower to find out all the tips, tricks, hacks, and best practices you utilize to keep your Jira instance (and, consequently, its users) as happy and productive as possible. For example, one admin shared that being ultra-disciplined about the number of custom fields in an instance keeps it clean and user-friendly (and better for reporting!). 

I’m open to hearing about settings, boards, issues, fields, reporting… you name it! What advice would you give others who are just setting up their Jira instance or are looking for ways to make their existing instance better than it is today? I am primarily interested in Cloud-specific best practices, but if you have one that runs the gamut of Cloud & Server, fire away!

Who knows, your advice could appear in a content piece that helps thousands of other users.

Cheers,
Corinne

20 comments

Here are few tips that I use,

  • Always keep issue summary and description clean
  • Put some keywords in description, this will make issue easier to search
  • Try to use all Jira fields, like don't put environment information in description there is field for it.
  • Always assign dates to issue (Due date, etc)
  • Incorporate important points from comments to description, this makes life of implementer easy.
  • Links are your friend use them. But always assign correct link type.
  • Learn JQL
Like # people like this
Corinne Dent Atlassian Team Aug 14, 2019

Thank you @DPK J ! These are such simple best practices but so impactful in the long term.

Jack Community Leader Aug 13, 2019

Here is my starter kit for new users...

  • Plan on adding one or more automation addons, e.g. Automation for Jira, Scriptrunner, Power Scripts, etc. You can really extend JSW and JSD to the next level with these. Examples: create recurring activities on a schedule, use Epics to create common tasks to maintain process adherence, i.e. when you create a Epic meeting certain criteria then create all associated tasks and assignments.
  • Make sure to incorporate Resolution into your workflows. Either use a post function to set the Resolution when transition to Done or present the field in a transition screen for selection.
  • Make use of FIlter Subscriptions to remind users of due dates or similar so things don't fall thru the cracks.
  • Use Sub-tasks as approvals for a given task and set it up to prevent moving task to done until all sub-tasks are done.
  • Last but not least, stay connected w/ the Community for a wealth of tips and assistance.
Like # people like this
Corinne Dent Atlassian Team Aug 14, 2019

These are great. Clearly you are right on the last bullet :) Thanks for chiming in.

Like Andy Barker - TWNKLS AR likes this

Nailed it!

Like Andy Barker - TWNKLS AR likes this

Rachel Wright has many tips at her site https://www.jirastrategy.com/ and in her book.

Like # people like this
Scott Theus Community Leader Aug 14, 2019

Rachel Wright is my hero.

Like # people like this

Totally epic. The book is high in my Bucket List of reads....!

And the website is great; the only non-Atlassian website saved as a favourite in my Atlassian favourites tab 🤩😎👍

@Rachel Wright  : your fan club is assembling.... ! ! 😍💝

Like # people like this

I also refer new admins to both of Matt's books, published by O'Reilly books:

- Practical JIRA Administration

- Practical JIRA Plugins

Mike Rathwell Community Leader Aug 13, 2019

To extend/spin @Jack 's comments:

  • Assume that you will be adding Automation for Jira, Scriptrunner, JMWE, and JMCF so... just do that. A solid basic toolset for most of The Things.
    • Learn Groovy.
  • Try to follow the principles set forth in recent articles to avoid "anti-pattern" but don't do it at expense of making the tool fit the use case. If you force fit a process control on a process that doesn't fit well, adoption will be painful/unsuccessful.
  • Re-use as much as you can. For snowflake fields, set the field context to keep 'em in check
  • Add "Notification Assistant" to make lots of nice targeted, automated and/or time delayed "reminder" emails.
  • Make it look nice. A small thing but going to the effort of finding good icons and setting corporate colors make it feel 'homey".
  • Automate as much as you can. Make Jira do stuff for the users so a) it gets done (correctly) and b) makes their lives easier.
  • Don't try to force Jira to do your reporting if it gets complex; Jira macros in Confluence (often inserted in other macros) allow reporting/documentation to be in a home suited to it.
  • Keep stuff in people's faces just below "car alarm" status. Slack integration can be your friend here.

Beyond that, for my part, spend the time noticing what your user base does day-to-day. Walk around. If you see someone trying to run a process from a spreadsheet and email, offer to fix it for them.

Like # people like this
Mike Rathwell Community Leader Aug 13, 2019

Oh... forgot one more that works well for me...

When I am creating/updating/etc workflows, I tend to version them... Not deeply, a VM.m type of versioning. I don't always update the version with every change if small but if there is any substance to a workflow change:

  1. Copy the current workflow and give it a new version (Major if a huge re-write, minor if adding more than a few changes/features
  2. Make the changes on the new version just created but not yet in production
  3. Replace the old workflow with the new one when ready.

This affords a couple of things:

  • If there are many interrelated changes to make, one can get them all done and apply all at once especially if some stuff breaks other stuff until all the things are done
  • If Something Bad happens, one can very quickly roll back to the previous version

However, if you have automatic transitions and they're looking for a transition in a named workflow... they break. I found this out the hard way... 

Like # people like this

I find it very difficult to build hierarchical views to grasp the whole picture of our work. I should be able to build queries from the top down and vice versa with ease. For example I may want to query what’s flagged for a fix version from the bottom up or what releases are epics and stories mapped to for an initiative. Duplication is fine if that’s reality. An epic may span multi-releases. It should be easy to provide these answers to executives. I use structure a lot and love it, but some queries I just can’t figure out and they seem practical. Not all teams are mature and we need to see current state to evolve -  life is messy. 

Like # people like this

Hi @Corinne Dent ,

Its will be helpful If You and Your team Concentrate on Basic Could Enterprise Software Bugs. 

 

1. Cloud: Download Morethan 1000 + rows

2. More Control to Admin based on role or users wise.

3. https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/JRASERVER-64477 : This is Very Basic Bug in Any Could Enterprise Software system.


4. Don't Force the Companies to use 3Party plugins for very basic things 

I found these issues in My One moth Experience in Jira while doing Integration with JIRA. There are many Tickets with same bugs with Different status. It will be useful for the customers, you or your team consolidate those bugs and fix them instead of waiting for the bugs fixes for years

Thanks. 

Like # people like this

@Corinne Dent - what a GREAT thread! Kudos to you. 🤩🥇👏

It sounds really boring, my ultimate top tip is....... WEB BROWSER FAVOURITES ! !

I love being overtly organised - OCD-vertly OCD-rganised??? 😎🤘 - and get great joy from the knowledge that all my favourite JIRA and Confluence pages are within two clicks of opening. 

(I have the same for Atlassian and everything to do with Community and Support, including saving my favourite blogs... which I just did with this one! #NERD 🤓)

Untitled.jpg

Like # people like this

This is such a good one!! Thank you! Also feeling very honored to be part of your bookmark folder!

Ignacio Pulgar Community Leader Aug 14, 2019

A couple of things I'd ensure all Jira Admins know in advance:

  1. Custom field contexts
  2. Global looping transitions

Both features can save tons of time while keeping your instance in good shape.

Like # people like this
Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Aug 14, 2019

There are so many good tips here.  As an admin for Jira server that is in the process of migrating to Cloud, my best tip for any other server admins attempting to make this type of migration would be to sign up for a trial instance early and familiarize yourself with the administration UI as there are a number of things that are quite different that what you may be used to using in server.

Like Andy Barker - TWNKLS AR likes this

Such a good tip @Jimmy Seddon ! As a Cloud user who enjoys a weekly update on UI without warning, I would add: do this weekly and as close to the migration as possible :)

- Don't add a lot of issue fields / integrations, that are used only once in 1000 issues. It makes Jira slow and not fun to work with.

- Don't restrict users to certain flows - Make it simple and flexible like trello.

- Keep it organized - we do weeklies to make sure there aren't duplicates and all issues are understandable.

- Use next-gen projects!! They're so much better then the classic ones, unless you need more complex configuration.

Like # people like this
Corinne Dent Atlassian Team Aug 15, 2019

Thank you for the feedback @Tal Levi . Love to hear you're having success with next-gen projects!

Like Andy Barker - TWNKLS AR likes this
Mike Rathwell Community Leader Aug 14, 2019

Oh.. one more simple one... I just dropped a ticket with a plugin vendor for an odd problem. They use (duh) JSD. It returned the default JSD response:

"Just confirming that we got your request. We're on it."

That reminded me of this tip....

I ran into a case where a person in the user community, base on the wording of the default auto response that we were, in fact, working on it that very moment. We weren't. It was in our queue. in the interest of semantics and a clearer statement of fact I changed it to:

"Just confirming that we got your request. It has been added to our service request queue"

Like # people like this

It's a polite fiction intended to make you feel good. 

"Your call is very important to us"

"We are experiencing higher than usual call volume"

Like all cliches it has a limited lifespan. 

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Mike Rathwell Community Leader Aug 14, 2019

"The check is in the mail"

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Andy Heinzer Atlassian Team Aug 14, 2019

My favorite thing is a simple one.  The use of GG.  

It's a keyboard shortcut that works in both Jira Server and Jira Cloud.  Simply press the G key on your keyboard twice quickly to bring up a menu search.   You can use this to search for specific admin pages, like Global mail settings, Lexorank, look and feel, etc.  Or it can be used on an issue details page to see what actions you can take, like edit, transition, comment, etc. 

You don't need to memorize the location of everything in Jira, you can use this to keyboard shortcut your way there.  This search is not for looking up issues in Jira, use the quick search or the issue navigator and some JQL for that.  Technically this is not Jira Software specific, all Jira flavors (Core and Service Desk) can use this little feature.  But I am frequently surprised at the number of users that don't know about this keyboard shortcut.

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Jack Community Leader Aug 14, 2019

yes indeed. I use the "." frequently.

Like Andy Barker - TWNKLS AR likes this

Wow... this blog is fast becoming one of the greatest knowledge shares of allllll time ! !

A second tip I would like to add is another simple one that is damn useful, especially when the back-log is built up for the first time and looooooads is going on:

Version & Epic assignment on Back-Log items.

By first clicking on the version and epic I need to assign a back-log item to... it ensures that I don't have to do it later, which can be such an arduous task if done incorrectly.

(I once went on holiday during a project start up and came back to a back-log of over 100 issues and not a single one assigned to a version and/or an epic. 😵 Thankfully I am the Admin and have BULK change rights....!!)

 

Untitled2.jpg

Like Ignacio Pulgar likes this
Corinne Dent Atlassian Team Aug 15, 2019

Thank you @Andy Barker - TWNKLS AR - the screenshots are super helpful too.

Like Andy Barker - TWNKLS AR likes this

Welcome @Corinne Dent . I loooooove getting visual. Always happy to put in a Screenshot!

Last tip from me.... really make use of the Saved Reports function... especially when it comes to having to review Tempo work logs on the daily !

Untitled5.jpg

The simplest things are usually the better ones. So [not taking into account huge setups that might be required for some particular purpose] the basic guidelines in my opinion would be:

 

Be clean. Use of custom screens

  • Create the fields you need and assign them to the screens you need so no extra unneeded fields are on screen.
  • Create specific screens to assign for important transitions wich show the information that the user has to enter at that point in time. Maybe a field doesn't need to be mandatory but if the information is availiable it should be entered in time, not whenever. Having the field pop up in front of the user will remind him to fill it.

Be sharp. Use of custom workflows

  • The default workflow is great for general purpose tasks but you'll find very convenient having mapped every relevant status for you. Also, this allows to introduce conditions to execute transitions (aproval, validations...) and automate to some degree what happens after a transition (a whole bunch of postfunctions)
  • A great trick is to add a date/time field that autofills on transition because you can export that field to any report you might need later.

Be organized. Use of custom dashboards

  • You don't need to get fancy using a lot of gadgets. My advice would be to really take a look at what you can do using JQL and with that in mind use the custom filter gadget to grant that those important tasks are allways easy to see.
  • Also, create different dashboards for people with different needs.

Improve to fit your needs. Use of plugins/apps

  • Expand the capabilities of vanilla JQL (JQL Booster Pack)
  • Have more postfunction options for transitions (Jira suite utilities, workflow enhancer)
  • Automate some key steps (automation for jira, scriptrunner)
  • Have more custom fields (power fields)**

 

** Specially interesant: SIL customField. That's a field where you can write your own code, having into account multiple variables related to not only issues but also your jira instance and it returns the corresponding result.

 

I believe the rest of things that come to mind right now are not so general but solutions I came up with for some very specific scenarios. So... those were my two cents.

Like # people like this

Screens and Fields

- Keep them simple

- Use Tabs to prioritize fields

Workflows and Boards

- Keep your workflows simple.

- Map all statuses to columns on your board.

- If possible, no more than 7 statuses!

Notifications

- Don't send too many Notifications, the team will start ignoring them.

Like # people like this

I couldn't agree more with the notifications part. Send notifications only if action is required or as a summary of a completed fairly complex action. And very important: format those differently so it is very clear when an action is required.

I don't agree 100% with the "keep the workflows simple part". Allow me to elaborate: keep it simple FOR THE END USER.

As an admin you should provide your workflows with as many functionalities as needed. One very useful thing I normally do is having workflows that show different routes for different users based on the user permissions, on the values that are being introduced during the life of the issue, on time elapsed, on responses received from other systems... This is simple FOR THE USER, since he only has access to the one or two transitions he is allowed to execute but internally this is some sort of basic automation like the one I talke about in my answer.

Basically just some conditions and postfunctions working together.

Like # people like this

Yes, that's true. Thanks for your feedback. Speaking of simple workflows the main point I also want to make is the use of transitions instead of extra status steps and to recognize the difference in the process of drawing business process. 

Manon Soubies-Camy Community Leader yesterday

Lots of good advices in this thread! My tip for Jira Software users would be to use the right-click on the Backlog view to:

  • Send an issue to the top of the backlog or to the current sprint
  • Split an issue
  • Perform a bulk change (you can select multiple issues using Shift or CTRL)

 

backlog.png

Like Zigmars Rozentals likes this

Yes indeed. It's great that Jira has a right-click menu! I use it occasionally to move issues into a sprint or for prioritization. 

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