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How to organize Jira projects in software product line

Hi Atlassian Community!

I would like to get your feedback about this topic: how to organize Jira projects in a software development based on a product line / platform and in the derived products.

To begin with, I would like to let you know that currently we are using one big Jira project to track all the issues related with our platform or software assets. We are managing in the same Jira project all the software components available in our platform, that can be used to derive products, and even all the "auxiliary" app-s used for testing or diagnostics purposes. Even docs-related issues are in this unique project.

I am fully convinced that this approach has been the more efficient during the first development phases, with all the info centralized in the same projects. I am not so sure now that the project is evolving to a maintenance phase, with independent releases for the "main" platform and for the "auxiliary" app-s, but let's leave this discussion for another day, and let's assume that we have one unique Jira project for the whole platform.

In our product line based approach, we are starting to derive more and more products from the platform. Until now, we were adding this products in the same Jira project but, it's becoming bigger and bigger and the question has arised. Is this the best approach or should we switch to a model where we create a Jira project for each derived product?

Whereas new versions of the platform are released more or less periodically, new versions of the derived products are released on demand and with no temporal relation with the platform. Moreover, we need to version both the platform and each of the derived products, each of them with its own version. But I am afraid that having so many projects will become unmanageable.

Nevertheless, we need to keep the issues at product level linked with the issues at platform level (where the software components are mainly included).

Could you give me some advice about the best practices regarding this?

Many thanks!

1 answer

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Wolfgang -Litew8 GmbH-
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Jun 22, 2023

Hi @i_larranaga 

here are some thoughts that might help you. Please comment if I misunderstood your requirements.

  1. Separate Jira Projects for Platform and Derived Products: As your product line grows and you start deriving more products from the platform, it is generally advisable to create separate Jira projects for each derived product. This approach helps maintain clarity, focus, and manageability. Each project can have its own unique set of issues, versions, and releases.
  2. Linking Issues: While having separate projects, it's still important to maintain the link between the platform and derived products. 
  3. Versioning: Since both the platform and derived products have their own versions, it's recommended to switch to separate projects, as each project has only one set of versions that applies to all issues. 

Now with that in mind, let's talk about your concern of keeping Jira manageable with increasing amount of projects.

  1. Think about who should be allowed to create projects.
    Jira native only has the global Jira administrator permission, which requires giving everyone that should create projects huge amount of power. There are addons that can help here.
  2. Templates vs Shared settings
    Jira native templates are great to start, but each project created based on them creates a chunk of schemes, that are most likely duplicates to existing schemes. Now if you want to add a new custom field, or status in the workflow you have a lot of work to change it everywhere. 
    Therefore it is generally advised to create project based on shared settings. During project creation you should find a checkbox 'Create with shared settings'. Clicking this you have to select a project. The new project will have shared schemes with the selected one. Meaning any changes to workflow will affect both projects. If you want to opt out, you have to clone the workflow afterwards and assign it to a new scheme. Again, you might be interested in addons that allow to create custom project templates that allow for a more granular configuration and allow to additional specify project content (components, versions, project role assignment, issues)
  3. Regular cleanup
    Despite the measures above, your instance will grow and it will get cluttered, so you are advised to look into cleanup resources like this one
    and establish a routine of having a quick cleanup every 6 months or so instead of letting it get too much out of control. Also here you'll find addons that assist you if your interested.

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