Using JIRA as an universal intranet solution

Hi,

I'm evaluating JIRA if it's the right tool to use it not only as a project management tool for our software developer but also as an "universal" intranet solution for things that are not necessarily project related.

Yesterday, I saw a very inspiring video called Mastering JIRA Workflow (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvUnF6RGD1Q) and it looked like JIRA is capable of more than just project management and bug tracking.

The intranet solution I'm planning to build should be able to handle things like:

  • daily time tracking of all employees, regardless if project/issue related or not
  • vacation-planning with a workflow to approve/deny
  • file server (finding imortant pdf files, templates, etc.)
  • creating issues for buying stuff or booking a flight/a hotel room and then having some worklow mechanism to approve/deny the request by the respective department
  • providing access to our qm-handbook (ISO9001)
  • and other administrative things

Can those things be done with JIRA (and maybe Confluence for excessive documentation work ;-))?

It would be interessting to see what you at Atlassian are using as an intranet solution? :-)

Thanks in advance for your help.

4 answers

If you extend JIRA's core capabilities too much with plugins, you can eventually run into situations where you can't upgrade without paying for a once previous free plugin. Or worse, you may have to drop the plugin altogether. Do your research!

That's a good point, thanks!

I'm still not sure if it's the right way to use JIRA for an intranet solution. I mean, it seems like you can do a lot of things with JIRA but is it recommended to do it? Just because it's possible dosen't mean that it's a good idea.

The point is, I'm trying to find a good solution for our intranet that can grow with the company. I don't want to run into situations where I have to switch to a complete new software because our requirements have changed or we want to implement some new features.

I'm still curious about what Atlassian is using for their intranet :-)

@Martin Aparicio

I assume that such free plugins received a lot of donations. (6)

:-P LOL

You should try it. Jira workflows can be designed freely. Most business processes can be covered by a simple workflow. Nevertheless, you need to provide access to Jira for all people that are involved in any process. You should ask yourself if it is worth to spend a Jira license to each of them (which might cost more than the workflow benefits to your organization).

If licenses are no issue I would say: why not. You can save most of your time as you are tracking stuff in one tool. And you need to maintain one tool only.

In one of my previous companies we did almost everything in Jira. HR processes (Hires/ Leaves), Work station and work space management, user account & software access management, supplier contract management, content management, marketing, business analysis, (of course project mangement, development, bug tracking), release management but also summer party organization.

Nevertheless, I agree that you should try to cover as much as possible with the standard tools as you do not want to loose functionality when upgrading Jira (but the plugin that you are depending on is not supported anymore). The more third-party stuff is installed the more you are depending on old installations and cannot benefit from latest Jira developments.

Wow that sounds great! JIRA really seems to be very flexible. Are there any pages/tutorials/etc. to learn how jira itself, workflows, issue screens and fields can be configured to build such things?

When you first install and login to jira, everything is focused on software development tasks. What is needed to make jira also accessible for non-developers?

How would a jira installation have to be configured to do use it for HR processes? How do you handle job applications? How do you store all information about the candidates? When someone gets fired (I hope this doesn't happen too often!) what would the process look like?

Maybe you can give me some examples. :-)

HR processes are a bit difficult to be honest. You have to pay attention to local legal regulations. For HR you (probably) have to define a dedicated permission scheme set (which is quite easy) so that not everyone can view candidate profiles. In general, we did it the following way:

We created a parent issue that was describing the position that we want to fill. Once we received suitable applications a sub-task was generated containing details about the candidate plus his CV (as attachment). Steps of the workflow were quite simple: CV Review -> Telephone Interview -> Face-to-Face Interview -> Contract Offer -> Done. Of course, each step had a separate step to get closed if the candidate did not meet our requirements or did not want to go the next step with us. Once we found a candidate we closed the parent.

If someone gets fired it is important that the contract closure but also everything around system logins, software licenses get cancelled, remove employee from different company distribution lists, check that there are no open Jira tickets assigned to this employee, deactivate the entrence door batch card or key code, handback any company devices (laptop, mobile phone), etc. This needs to be managed. So - this is a bit tricky - you need to create a workflow that generates a set of predefined subtasks that always come up when someone is leaving. So, this is a kind of routing slip that can be distributed to the departments that are responsible for the stuff. Vice versa, you can use a similar process for new hires that need to get equipped. You can define due dates (which is the first date the new employee starts) so that all departments know until when to deliver their part.

I would recommend to handle these tasks in separate Jira projects so that you can separate development tasks from administration tasks.

Whatever you can define as a process or as a flow chart you can design in Jira as well.

Thank you for the really informative reply! :) I certainly will have a deeper look into workflows in jira. It's really powerful.

Short answer is yes. The long answer is too long to be posted here; along with Jira you have to evaluate some plugins which extend Jira beyond a bug-tracking tool.

Thanks for your reply. But your short answer is a little bit too short ;-)

What plugins would be necessary and where can I find more information?

Is it even the right tool/way to go?

  • daily time tracking of all employees, regardless if project/issue related or not
  • vacation-planning with a workflow to approve/deny

https://marketplace.atlassian.com/search?application=jira&q=time-tracking

file server (finding imortant pdf files, templates, etc.)

providing access to our qm-handbook (ISO9001)

https://marketplace.atlassian.com/search?application=jira&q=document+management

creating issues for buying stuff or booking a flight/a hotel room and then having some worklow mechanism to approve/deny the request by the respective department

and other administrative things

https://marketplace.atlassian.com/search?application=jira&q=scripting

HTH

Thanks, I'll take a look at the pages :-)

file server (finding imortant pdf files, templates, etc.)
providing access to our qm-handbook (ISO9001)

I have to ask: why you couldn't you use a wiki? Wikis are specifically designed for document management. Moreover, Confluence is specifically designed to work in conjunction with Jira.


I already mentioned Confluence in my first post but thanks for the hint ;-). I bought the confluence starter license but I didn't had time to install it.

I would partly recommend Confluence. In QM it is more important to show excellence in "living" a process. In Jira you can define any process that each member of the organization has to follow. You can reduce monitoring of correct process execution as long as people follow the workflow. Of course, Confluence would be the better choice of process documentation. But here again, tracking document changes is much better in Jira again.

I would use Confluence as the documentation tool. So if employees wants to read about how things are handled inside the company, they can look it up in Confluence. The implementation of the defined processes would happen as Jira-Workflows.

I don't see how you can have both, implementation and documentation of the defined processes, in Jira. The only thing I can image is to define "documentation issue type" to write down how a certain process/workflow is defined.

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