How to manage integrated support and development via JIRA and/or JIRA Service Desk?

We have been using JIRA for our software development for many years and are pretty happy with it.

Our software is being used by many customers at many sites. 

We are now investigating how we could use our current JIRA server and/or JIRA Service Desk to manage support requests. Basically, customers would contact us for support, which may either be questions, consultation, defect reports or anything else.  We would like to document and track these support incidents here. Specifically, incidents should be linked with a specific site. We have a database with sites, where support engineers should choose from.

At the same time, support incidents may also trigger development tickets (=JIRA "issues"), for example bugs that need to be fixed or improvements that should be implemented. We would like to link these two entries, i.e. see the support incident from the development ticket and vice versa.

More advanced integrations could be around status management, i.e. a support incident is in a specific status while it is waiting for a development ticket to be fixed and gets re-activated once the ticket is done.

How should this be approached? I know there may be multiple ways of doing this, but the many different options make it difficult for me to see the best option.

Specific questions/thoughts:

  • Should support and development be done through the same JIRA instance? In theory, JIRA is flexible enough, so we could have a custom workflow, statuses, etc.. Note that I do not like the idea of managing support and development in the same project, though. Would this be the best option?
  • Would JIRA Service Desk be better suited for managing the support incidents? If so, why? Would it be able to link incidents to a site? Does it give me anything that JIRA cannot do?
  • I assume, JIRA and JIRA Service Desk could be linked. Are there any pitfalls or disadvantages?
  • Alternatively, how could a JIRA support ticket be linked to a site? Looks like a custom field, perhaps with lookup support through a plugin, like nFeed.

How is everyone else doing this? I think we would not be the only ones with in this situation.

1 answer

In our instance we have a similiar situation. We have multiple development projects and one support project, in past in seperated instances, but since you can combine core and software licences in one instances we have migrated them to one instance.

Iam not a big fan of the service desk component for JIRA, but we also only get support requests via mail so we dont need the service desk interface. We handle the service desk support part with the "Email this issue" addon which offers really great features to do this.

To link your tickets to sites you could either link them directly to the url of the page, or really create a custom dropdown field with all the sites you offer support to and then select manually from them. i prefer using custom field for simpler filtering.

I was not aware that Service Desk is just a plugin to JIRA, so the same instance could handle both.

I assume, that would facilitate linking of support incident issues to development ticket issues - as it would be normal issue linking?

What does Service Desk add that JIRA does not do or can be configured to do? I may need to talk to an Atlassian rep regarding this.

It's not "just a plugin", it's one of the first two "applications" for the JIRA platform.  (You can argue that an application is a "jumped up plugin" and I wouldn't disagree to be honest, as it's only really the licencing that matters)

Service Desk projects do have a simple link for SD Agents to say "create an issue in a development project" and link them together.  Exactly as you have said, it is a normal issue link, but it's automatic, so it saves a bit of time.

For "What does SD do that JIRA does not?":  SLAs, queues, agents, free customers, helpdesk reporting, and a simplified front end for customers are the headlines, and there's a load of minor related stuff that goes into it as well.

Sorry, I also forgot - Atlassian don't really have "reps".  Feel free to ask the community detailed questions instead.  We have a lot more real-world experience than Atlassian (there are about 2,000 Atlassians, most of whom don't use SD as an agent or admin daily.  I suspect the community has way more than 2,000 SD admins, let alone agents)

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