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Did you ever wondered how to share releases across multiple projects in Jira, or create cross-project releases if you like?
In this article, I’m going to show you what's Jira's release capability today and how you can create cross-project releases and reports with the Swanly Jira plug-in.
Let’s first have a look at what Jira offers out of the box in terms of release functionality.
In Jira, you can create different projects and under these projects, you can then create releases and issues and link them together.
This is particularly useful if you want to track what issues are being delivered in your release. And you can also track the time spent on release and so on.
The problem is that you cannot link a release that belongs to one project to the issue from another one.
Usually, with smaller projects, it's not an issue because you can manage all your work in one project.
As the operation gets bigger, you get more people and teams, it often happens that we split work into many Jira projects to give teams more autonomy into running their day-to-day work. But you still need to track issues under a single release from across these projects.
What some decide to do is to create a version in each of these projects that has the same name. This then enables them to link issues to the same version name, search Jira issues and run reports.
The tricky part is to keep these versions in sync. The name, description, release date, or even the status can change in one of the projects and that might cause inconsistencies.
If you have a small number of projects where you need to manage cross-project releases it might not be such a big issue and you can do this manually. But if you release often or run releases across tens of projects this can quickly become overwhelming and time-consuming. Not even talking about potential errors when you forget to update one of the releases.
Swanly is a simple project management app for Jira cloud that also helps tackle release management in Jira and cross-project releases are one of many functions that it brings to the table.
After you create a cross-project release in Swanly, in each project that you selected Swanly creates a version with the same name, description, start and end date.
If we would then go and change the cross-project release name in Swanly this change will be reflected in all these project versions too.
And this synchronization works the other way as well. If we would go and change the status in one of these versions in Project releases then the change will be reflected in all other project versions that are linked to this cross-project release.
The Fix version/release attributes that get synchronized are:
👉 Version name
👉 Release start date and end date
👉 The release status
👉 Archived and unarchived
The only thing that doesn’t get synchronized is when you delete a version in one of the projects. In that case, only that version gets deleted and the other remain as they are. If you would like to delete the cross-project release as a whole you need to do so from Swanly.
First, you need to install Swanly from the Atlassian Marketplace and access it from the main Jira navigation menu Apps > Swanly roadmaps.
The first view that is open is the issue view so you want to switch to the release view to manage releases. (If you want to know more about the issue view you can read this article on how to create cross-project issue roadmaps)
To create a cross-project release just click on the +Add release button and then open create release modal by clicking on the plus button.
In this simplified create release form add your cross-project release name and select projects that should be part of this release and click on Create button.
Now when your release is created you can find it in the list view in Swanly and you can click on the name to open the release report where you can edit the release name, description, assign scope or edit the release dates.
You can add issues to the cross-project release either from Swanly or in Jira directly from the issue detail using the Fix version field.
1. Adding issues from Swanly
You can add scope to your release from the release detail report view.
There is a scope section where you can simply click on the Add issue button and link the existing issue from the linked project to the release or you can create a new issue.
2. Adding issues from Issue detail view in Jira
If you would like to link issues to the version in Jira you can do that from issue detail using a field called Fix version where you can find a release and link it to the issue.
There are many more useful things that Swanly can do for you. It for example automatically generates reports so you can understand how is your team progressing on a certain release, and you can also share them!
👉 If you would like to give Swanly a try you can find it on the Atlassian Marketplace.
There is a 30-days free trial and as a bonus, the app is free for up to 10 users 👏