Which plug-ins/add-ons should we use?

We have a team of 9-10 people who will be actively using Jira. We have about 10 full-scale projects going on at any given time, a help desk that serves approximately 200 people in our organization, as well as recurring tasks/processes and other odd mini-projects or tasks that pop up somewhat regularly.

What configuration of software offerings/plug-ins/add-ons do you recommend we use? We are considering Balsamiq, Gliffy, Bonfire, and Structure.

Thank you.

6 answers

1 accepted

1 votes

Depends on what you're doing really. I'd always add the Jira Toolkit and the Jira Suite utilities to any installation, plus the charting plugin, but beyond them, I'd be led by what you need from it.

Your list implies you're doing software development and testing(Bonfire), including design (Balsamiq and Gliffy). Which is roughly what I'd have recommended a look at anyway.

I'd shy away from the structure plugin at first because I find a lot of the complexity it introduces can be completely unnecessary, and it's often worth using a tool for a bit before you discover if the limitations it's trying to address really are serious limitations for you. (I've used it in three places - two of them are no longer using it because they've realised they don't actually need more than task/subtask)

I'd look at Greenhopper, especially if you are going to try to be "agile" (heck, it's pretty good for any development methodology, not just agile).

Finally, seriously consider hooking your source-control into Jira. Subversion, Git, Mercurial, Perforce etc - there are plugins that give you varying integrations with Jira (mostly it's about answering questions like "why did you commit X? Answer - Jira Y". Or "what code did you commit to fix Jira-Z?"

I suspect you'll discover more needs as you go and can find more to add.

Yep, start basic and work on fixes as needed to solve pain points. I wonder how long it will be that you have 9-10 active JIRA users? If you helpdesk has 200 users to support and they use JIRA, that means your users dont have access to JIRA? There are helpdesk automation tools that can help, later, I think.

Hi Nic - I'm intrigued by the cases where they stopped using Structure - would you mind chatting about that? Basically, why would they try it in the first place, was there a problem to be solved? Please let me know at sereda@almworks.com, if you will.

@TaraB Nic is right - Structure adds a considerable layer of functionality, quite diverse, but all based on the issue hierarchy concept. It's also not cheap, so make sure you need it! We've seen companies of different sizes use it quite rigorously, as well as companies that don't need it.

I would recommend you to first roll-out a plain vanilla Jira instance and let your users get familiarised to JIra. Once they are familiar and you have optimised your configurations on Jira then would be the time to start thinking about addons. There are loads of add-ons in the market and each of them has a specific functionality. So it is difficult to say at this point which add ons would suit the needs of your organisation.

If I were you I would first concentrate to roll out jira to our users.

Rahul

0 votes

Depends on what you're doing really. I'd always add the Jira Toolkit and the Jira Suite utilities to any installation, plus the charting plugin, but beyond them, I'd be led by what you need from it.

Your list implies you're doing software development and testing(Bonfire), including design (Balsamiq and Gliffy). Which is roughly what I'd have recommended a look at anyway.

I'd shy away from the structure plugin at first because I find a lot of the complexity it introduces can be completely unnecessary, and it's often worth using a tool for a bit before you discover if the limitations it's trying to address really are serious limitations for you. (I've used it in three places - two of them are no longer using it because they've realised they don't actually need more than task/subtask)

I'd look at Greenhopper, especially if you are going to try to be "agile" (heck, it's pretty good for any development methodology, not just agile).

Finally, seriously consider hooking your source-control into Jira. Subversion, Git, Mercurial, Perforce etc - there are plugins that give you varying integrations with Jira (mostly it's about answering questions like "why did you commit X? Answer - Jira Y". Or "what code did you commit to fix Jira-Z?"

I suspect you'll discover more needs as you go and can find more to add.

Thank you for all your great suggestions and information, as well as your speedy responses! It has been very valuable to have feedback from people who have experience with the software.

It looks like we are going to take a look at source-control options and probably reconsider whether or not to go with Structure at this time.

0 votes

For what it's worth - if you run without Structure to get started, it really is very easy to implement it later if you think you do need it!

I'd be strongly tempted to just run with the basics, get that working, and when you have time, put a demo copy of Structure in your test system and see that it solves the requests. It's well worth trying it with a spot of well known existing data though.

Nic, that is route we are leaning towards. It was very helpful to learn about potential caveats before complicating things unnecessarily. Once we are "into it" and familiar with the ins-and-outs it will make more sense to add another management layer - if we decide we need it.

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