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How can I track a hardware project concurrently with a software project in Portfolio?

Al Flint
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September 13, 2019

We have been using Portfolio to track a software and related firmware project.  I would like to add the hardware tasks so they can be tracked concurrently.  However, not all team members use JIRA (or have a real need to) and some tasks are assigned to outside resources (contract manufacturers, metal fabricators, etc.)

From what I have read, there is no way to assign tasks to "phantom" members - it is my understanding that tasks can only be assigned to those with JIRA accounts.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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September 13, 2019

Hi @Al Flint

You're correct that you can't assign an issue to a user who doesn't have an account. I can think of two options.

External Assignee Field:

  • Create a custom field - such as select list or custom label - to house the users who do not have user accounts
  • Add this to your screen and populate the users in there
  • You could also add one "phantom" user called External Assignee or Phantom User - which you know refers to that field when viewing those issues.

Non-Access Users:

You can create users which don't have access to Jira - but are still assignable. This doesn't count towards your licences as long as they're not in a group with application access. To do this:

  • Go to Settings > User Management > Groups
  • Create a new group - External Users. Don't give this group application access to Jira
  • Create user accounts for your external users. As they won't be accessing Jira through them - you don't even have to use their emails!
  • Ensure the only group they're added to is the "External Users" group - so any default group added is removed.
  • Next, go to Settings > Issues > Permission Schemes
  • Locate the permission scheme(s) relevant to your project and click into them
  • In the top-right, select Grant Permission
  • Select the permission "Assignable User" and choose to provide it to the "External Users" group and press Grant

^ This should provide access to assign the user without them having access to login to Jira nor using a licence. 

If preferred, to avoid giving them access you can change the default group applied to new users to one without application access - so to make the default "External Users"

  • Go to Settings > Applications > Application Access
  • In the top-right is a button - Set default for new users
  • Within here you can set what access new users have by default - including removing access as a default


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