JIRA Structure - Synchronizer or Automation ?

Fazila Ashraf Community Champion Jun 26, 2016

Hi 

We recently upgraded to JIRA structure V3.2.0 from V2.x

The question is that, it is not clear when to use Automation and when to use Synchronizers..

I cannot see a reason right now why we should still use Synchronizers?  Can we start disabling synchronizers and switch to Automation generators? Is there still any specific use case for Synchronizers?

1 answer

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Hi Fazila,

Eugene here from ALM Works. The short answer would be - we recommend using Automation whenever possible.

Automation was created as a new way to build dynamic structures and it's much more intuitive and safer too. It also offers better performance in most cases.

The key difference is that with Automation structures are "generated" when you open them, based on the rules that you define. With Synchronisers, there will be a process that continuously monitors changes in JIRA and Structure and makes necessary updates. If you define contradicting synchronizer rules, you can get some unwanted changes to your JIRA data - with Automation this risk is minimised practically to zero.

Plus functions like grouping and sorting allow you to build all kinds of issue views, which was not possible with synchronizers. For example, it's really easy to do capacity planning by grouping your issues first by sprint and then by assignee or team and see totals for the estimates and other fields rolled up to the sprint/user/team level.

If you are trying to build a certain structure and have some questions what's the best way to do it - please don't hesitate to contact us through our JIRA or email us at support@almworks.com.

I hope this helps,

Eugene

Fazila Ashraf Community Champion Jun 28, 2016

Hi Eugene

Thanks for your answer! So, synchronizers can be replaced by Automation and Automation has additional features as well.. There is no specific use-case for creating synchronizers instead of automation in the structure boards any more. Can you confirm?

Thanks and regards,

Fazila

Hi Fazila et al,

There is a use case to use a synchronizer rather than generators.

If you are using epic link and issue link relationships between issues, the link synchronizer can be configured with a sub-issue filter "Epic link" is EMPTY to prevent that an issue is added (again) in the hierarchy when it already has been added by the agile synchronizer or the "epics and stories" generator. When using the "linked issues" generator, it would automatically be added twice at the same place when the epic link and issue link contain the same parent.

 

Of course, it is arguable that having both epic link and issue link (to the same parent issue) means the issue should appear twice in the hierarchy. However, with Structure v2 when having both Agile and Link synchronizers on a structure would automatically add (and even replace) the Epic or Issue link when (manually) adding one of these links, and vice versa. So coming from Structure v2 it is quite natural to have both Epic and Issue links to the same parent issue.

Switching to Structure v3, I don't want to count double on accumulated estimates, so somehow I need to prevent the issue to appear twice at the same place.

Regards,

Frank.

Hi Fazila,

What Frank says is certainly true and there are actually other cases, when you cannot get something with automation, but you can do that with synchronizers. But we are working on improving the automation rules to make them more flexible - for example, filters for parents and children for the links extender is one of the top items in our backlog.

So to sum it up - when you create a new structure, we recommend to try automation first and if you cannot get it working - please contact us and we'll see if there are some workarounds for your specific use case. If it's not possible, but possible to do with the synchronizers - we'll suggest the best option.

Regards,

Eugene

Fazila Ashraf Community Champion Jun 29, 2016

Thank you Eugene and Frank for your inputs!

@Eugene Sokhransky [ALM Works]

Hi Eugene,

Is there any update on filters for parents and children for the links extender generator?   According to my account I am on Structure 4.6.3.  Also, is there a way I can set the level depth for link synchronizers?

Thank you,

Jordan

Hi Jordan,

I'm afraid the answer is no to both questions, but depending on the exact use case there might be workarounds available. 

For example, if you use extenders, you can apply filtering on top of their result. If you use synchronizers, you can try using filters for parents and children to make sure it doesn't pull in unnecessary issues. Can you please send us some more details? 

You can send them to me directly at eugene@almworks.com and I'll try to come up with some solution.

Thanks,

Eugene

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