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Task Management for IT Operations?

Hello everyone,  I have been recently hired to manage a small 7 person IT operations team.  My initial assesment is that we need a way to track Tasks for the whole facet of running a mid tier enterprise system.  Its the full range of running an IT shop.  Maintenance, upgrades, patching, improvements, etc... from a small workstation, to multiple servers in a VM environment across 3 networks that are physically seperated across different states.

The main purpose is so I can keep folks on track to complete any of the above, set priorities, change priorities if necessary, complete tasks that can be short (1 day) to deadlines that could be 6 months or a year out. 

My biggest need for this is that management likes to throw in new tasks, yet expect us to meet deadlines of other tasks and we end up with many priority 1's, but not enough staff.  This makes us look bad.

I really want to show management some reports of what everyone is working on, a calendar of tasks that are due and the biggest is to show that when they throw in a new task how it moves other "pri 1" tasks to the right.

This should keep folks on track, let everyone else know what each other is doing, and I can show metrics to management.

We do not do Agile/Scrum.  We meet once a week to go over what everyone is working on.  I do not plan to adopt Agile/Scrum sprints right away.  This may change, but not what I need from the start.

I have been involved with other teams that do sprints using JIRA and I like the product.  I have never configured JIRA, just created taks related to the small area of things I was working on.

So all you smart JIRA people.  Can I use JIRA for what I need?   IF so, which install? Based on my searching, it looks like I only need server CORE and can add others later if I need to.

Your help would be appreciated.

2 answers

Hi @Alexander Chemerys,

As any IT team, you need to deal with a mix of planned and unplanned work. If you need to manage all of that with a small team of 7 superheroes, they will most likely be involved in both types of work.

If you want to create visibility to both your team and your stakeholders, it is crucial to get all this work in a single place. Defining tasks, both planned and unplanned must be easy to do.

Even if you don't use scrum, JIRA Software also has Kanban boards which are richer in functionality than the boards in JIRA Core. Your team will very quickly appreciate that they can use nifty things like quick filters and swimlanes to have an organised view of their work.

For unplanned work that's coming in, JIRA Service Desk is a great assistant. Not only because the UI is super easy for your users, but also to help your teams prioritise (through queues, SLA's and out of the box reporting on workload and performance, with Confluence attached to it you even get a knowledge base along with it).

I would also recommend you to get in touch with an Atlassian Solutions Partner nearby, as they will definitely be able to assist you in translating your requirements towards the best tooling fit. JIRA definitely is capable to fit your needs, and as you gently suggest can grow along with how your team evolves.

I am doing the same as Alexander - using JIRA to track operational tasks of a small team.  Some tasks will be as short as a few hours, other tasks will last a few weeks, some will be months.  It appears that, for reporting, the best solution is to create different projects for each collection of tasks.  For example - if we participate in an audit (SOX etc) that should be one project; if we are completing incremental improvements to the business that should be another project, do you agree?

This was very helpful for me in thinking about what was being asked. I do agree that Jira is a great tool for this purpose, but I would also advise adopting some level of Agile from a governance perspective - believe it or not, that one meeting a week that is happening could well be turned into a weekly Standup or Sprint Planning meeting to organize the work for the week ahead, and maybe use every other meeting or a different meeting to do other ceremonies such as Retrospectives and other things. This will not just organize your team but also have them look at each others work more holistically.

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