Jira Project Management: Made Easy 101

on Confluence, Data Driven Strategies, Jira, Project Management Tool • November 18th, 2021 • Write for Hevo

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Remember the days when you had to laboriously put together a project plan in a cumbersome spreadsheet. However, today you can use Project Management software that makes Project Management a piece of cake. Project Managers and their teams can browse to-do lists, produce and share analytical reports, and check the project’s progress in real-time using new Project Management tools. This transparency can be especially beneficial for teams that embrace Agile approaches.

Jira is a popular and robust Project Management software offering extensive feature sets and the ability to extend those capabilities through its marketplace. It takes an Agile approach to product development, unlike typical Project Management software. Jira is a collection of product platforms aimed at assisting Agile teams in doing what they do even better, allowing them to Plan, Track, and Deploy amazing software every time. It allows you to have total insight into all aspects of your process and continuously improves your performance based on comprehensive real-time data.

In this article, you will understand more about Jira as a Project Management tool. You will understand the key features and workflow of Jira Project Management. In addition, you will also learn the various challenges faced. Moreover, you will explore the 5 best Jira Project Management Strategies and also unravel some tools commonly used with Jira. So, let’s dive deep into the world of Jira Project Management and look at how you increase your team productivity.

Table of Contents

Introduction to Jira Project Management Tool

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Jira serves as a one-stop-shop for all of your Project Management needs. It began as a bug tracking tool for Software Developers and has now evolved into an Issue Tracking and Agile Project Management tool. Atlassian, a renowned Australian software firm specializing in software for software development teams, developed it. Jira has risen in popularity over time, with 180,000+ users in 190+ countries.

Jira Project Management Tool is very versatile, and it can be tailored to work with your team’s specific workflow resulting in enhanced productivity and visibility for teams of all sizes as they work toward creating exceptional software and products. Teams can use a project template as a starting point or develop their bespoke workflow. Jira issues, also known as tasks, keep track of each item of work that must be completed via the workflow processes. Moreover, Admins can choose who can see and access certain content with customizable permissions. Furthermore, reports can be created with all project information in place to measure progress, productivity, and ensure nothing is overlooked.

Jira’s dashboard has many useful features that make dealing with issues simple. It helps teams, be it IT, Operations, Software, Business, or other teams to manage their work more successfully.

Key Features of Jira Project Management Software

Due to its incredible capabilities, Jira Project Management Tool is one of the most popular Project Management software among developers. Let’s take a look at some of Jira’s significant features:

  • Agile Project Management: All of the features of Scrum Boards and Kanban Boards may be used seamlessly with Jira. Jira also has a variety of reporting tools, such as Burn-down/up Charts, Sprint Reports, and Velocity Charts, that allow teams to monitor their progress in real-time. You may use Jira’s Agile Roadmaps to plan long-term project initiatives, identify bottlenecks, and improve your Project Workflow.
  • Rich Toolkit for Developers: Developers will have access to a Jira Query Language (JQL) that will allow them to create filters and manipulations rapidly. To provide backlog-to-deployment traceability, Jira can be linked to BitBucket and GitHub, and new workflows can be built to manage the multiple ways users build, test, and release their apps. 
  • Workflow Customization: Jira can be customized to fulfill any requirement, whether it’s for Project Management, Issue Tracking, or Task Management. Workflows, reports, Scrum Boards, and other components can be customized as well. 
  • Robust Integration Support: Developers have access to flexible REST and Java APIs, as well as the Atlassian Marketplace’s 3,000+ add-ons and plugins, making it simple to extend Jira’s capability and tailor it to your company needs.
  • Enterprise-Grade Security Control: Jira Software and other Atlassian Cloud solutions use Bank-Grade Security and centralized, management to protect data and files. Admins can create a flexible plan that doesn’t limit access or cooperation while still allowing them to use the tools and processes they require.
  • Mobile Apps: Jira’s native mobile applications link users on Android and iOS, making it suitable for big or distributed teams working in a plethora of locations.

To explore more about Jira, visit the Hompage here.

Understanding Jira Project Management Workflow

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Jira’s Agile capabilities are a great fit for your team because it was created specifically for teams using an Agile Project Management methodology.  Features are available at every step of the project, from design to delivery. In this section, let’s look at the Jira Project Management Life Cycle in more detail.

1) Envision and Brainstorm

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The first step in any project life cycle is to define the problem you’re attempting to address as well as the importance of solving it. Speak with your target customers, both internal and external, to have a complete understanding of the issue space. Focus on what you want the client to be able to do while creating a business case for your project. Analyze various aspects of a problem and compile your ideas for solutions.

Your team should brainstorm about ideas such as how you’d execute your project, and how the finished product would interact with the consumer, what are limitations in this project, and so on. To learn about some Brainstorming techniques, refer to the 6 Step Brainstorming Technique with a Twist

After performing your market and customer research, you need to bring together individuals who have the necessary expertise to address the problem. Assemble a multidisciplinary team with people from various backgrounds and problem-solving techniques. Define each person’s position and role on the project and what is expected of them for the group to succeed. Set goals as a group and agree on how you’ll track your success, i.e. establish metrics. Make sure your idea is user-friendly, realistic, and beneficial to both the client and the company.

2) Plan and Set Deadlines

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In this step, you need to break the project plan down into individual pieces of work and estimate the time and effort necessary for each after the scope has been agreed upon and dependencies have been recognized. You may then forecast when you’ll reach significant milestones and set a deadline for completion. Then organize all of your tasks into a backlog that you can utilize to plan in short, iterative cycles. Jira Project Management Tool has powerful Project Planning capabilities that allow you to combine numerous projects into a single comprehensive plan or keep them independent.

You should prioritize what to include in the project based on input from early testing and your success metrics. Make sure you understand the trade-offs you’re making. Even if bottlenecks cannot be resolved at this time, they must be identified and factored into the project planning process.

3) Execute

Now that you have a strategy in place, it’s time to break down the tasks and get started on the project. Before you can do that, you must first set up Jira for each project team member. Not every project team member needs the same level of Jira access. Hence, Jira administrators can change Jira’s settings, connections to third-party apps, and other features that need access.

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The permission systems in Jira come into play here. Permission patterns enable you to build a set of default permissions for Jira users, saving you time by eliminating the need to configure permissions for each user manually. You can adjust permissions so that some people are unable to see certain tasks. Then assign tasks to your Jira team once they’ve been set. Jira allows you to keep track of team capacity and determine whether a person’s workload is too much or too little.

Now you can organize and prioritize your project in an adaptable manner. This includes knowing which tasks are completed, how much budget is left, and if you’re on schedule to achieve your deadline. Jira has many tools for tracking project progress such as Jira’s reports and a dashboard that can be customized to showcase essential information about your project.

4) Deploy and Deliver

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When a project’s objectives have been reached and all tasks have been accomplished, it’s time to call it a day. Jira gives you two choices. You can utilize the system’s built-in archive feature to close a project and remove it from current use. When you archive a project, it is no longer editable or viewable except in Jira’s archived projects area. You can also make a project read-only by turning off permission rights to edit. This prevents users from adding new tasks to a closed project while still allowing you to search for and see things in it.

Make a note of the things you’ve learned and share them with your colleagues so they may benefit as well. Also, don’t forget to discuss how you could improve on what you just presented. Moreover, you can create a report for your project’s sponsor using the budget data you’ve been collecting throughout the project.

5) Improve and Update

Technically, improving on what you just delivered is a continuous process, rather than a “step”.   Each improvement/upgrade becomes its own mini-project once you’ve decided what upgrades to make. Alternatively, you can combine many improvements under a single umbrella project. This technique is excellent if each update will require around the same number of people, since it may be easier to organize their time in one huge block. In either case, you’re effectively returning to step 1.

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Challenges with Jira Project Management Software

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Jira has progressed from a competent bug tracker to a robust Agile Project Management solution over time. With Jira’s evolving features and integrations, certain users may have difficulties when working with it. Let’s have a look at some of the common challenges faced with Jira Project Management:

1) Complexity

Jira users’ most prevalent gripe is that the software is overly complicated and bloated. It’s not easy to set up and navigate. Jira has developed additional features and functionality throughout time to appeal to a larger audience. The features are fantastic. The plethora of choices and settings, on the other hand, might make it difficult to operate effectively. It’s simple to make mistakes because the UI isn’t intuitive.

Using too many features, according to some users, creates performance concerns. Hence, team performance might be hampered by the complexity. When a team member has trouble using Jira efficiently, it slows down the entire workflow.

2) Steep Learning Curve

The majority of Jira’s components are straightforward to use on their own. However, getting the most out of them needs preparation and practice. When you onboard a new team member, they must learn how to use Jira in your organization. Even experienced Jira users may find it difficult to come up to speed. They may have worked in a system that was substantially modified, or you may employ a different set of features than they are accustomed to.

It’s tough to switch from another system to Jira. Most of the time, you’ll have to manually relocate all of your projects, tasks, tickets, and other assets. That’s a time-consuming task that will require a lot of patience.

3) Built for Developers

This isn’t an issue if you solely want to utilize Jira Project Management to handle development projects. However, if you want to use Jira to handle Marketing, Sales, or other aspects of your company, you could find it a little more challenging to utilize.

Jira is extremely Developer-focused because it originated as a bug tracker. The app’s nomenclature, common templates, and basic functionality were all created with Developers in mind. Jira Project Management tool may be more confounding to your Marketing and Customer service representatives than other Project Management platforms.

5 Best Practices for Jira Project Management

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For every project planned using Jira Project Management Tool, you can try to use some good tried and tested strategies to improve your team’s productivity and achieve outstanding results. Listed below are a few practices that can help your Jira Project Management team.

  • Choose Jira’s traditional template when creating a project to avoid out-of-the-box schemes that might limit capabilities later. Jira Classic makes advantage of Jira’s default schemes, which you may tweak to meet your requirements.
  • A Confluence workspace is included in every Jira Project Management software. Use it to talk about the big picture of your team and project, then connect to further in-depth conversations. Effectively use  Jira’s Kanban and Scrum boards for reporting, as well as custom Jira dashboards, scheduled emailed reports, and Confluence site scripts.
  • Jira Project Management workflows provide you the ability to customize workflow schemes and conditions, post functions, and other workflow attributes, giving you more power and flexibility. To get the most out of workflows, make sure they’re simplified and tailored to your project’s requirements, and that the final workflow diagram that users will refer to is clear and concise.
  • Jira is terrific software for Agile teams with a boatload of functionality and development tools. Make use of plugins created to assist teams exactly like yours. Many plugins smoothly connect into Jira to ease your development and enhance your business process. In addition, Atlassian marketplace provides a variety of Jira apps that provide effective solutions to streamline your Project Management life cycle.
  • Make sure that all Jira Project Management users with access to your project are aware of their roles and know how to get the most out of Jira Project Management Tool. You should also prioritize each work item so the team knows which items require quick attention.

Unravel the Top 5 Tools Used for Jira Project Management

Jira Software is used by 65,000+ organizations across the world to manage their projects, while Jira Software Cloud is used by 3400+ enterprises. Atlassian provides some amazing tools to help every Jira Project Management team unleash its potential. Some of the popular tools used widely are:

1) Confluence

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Confluence allows teams to work and share information from a centralized location. Users and team members can use the tool to build and edit pages and blogs with the most up-to-date SDLC information. You can keep all of your Jira Project Management data in one place using Confluence.

Confluence helps you to easily put up the plan and manage the project till completion, from outlining the problem statement to developing a business benefit description. It assists you in setting and achieving goals, objectives, strategies, and timetables for the introduction of your products. Confluence guarantees that your product specifications are fully linked with your build and release environments. Greater visibility of the project’s needs will help everyone on the team. You can get started quickly with templates for anything from Minutes of Meetings and Project Plans to Requirement Specifications, and adjust the content to match your needs.

2) Trello

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Trello allows you to create precise project boards that monitor every element of a project, from defining requirements to launching or releasing it. It employs Agile approaches to verify that tasks are moving in the right direction. Tasks are kept as cards, which are moved across the board in columns to create a visual picture of progress over time. You may connect files to Trello cards, establish due dates, incorporate checklists, and set up notifications, among other features.

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Teams remain on track, interact easily on issues, and generate higher-quality code using Trello Jira Project Management connectors that drive Project Management cycles. The top card always gets first priority when adopting the basic structured task method, ensuring that the team is focusing on the most important issues first.

3) Bitbucket

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Bitbucket is a centralized repository management application designed specifically for professional teams working with proprietary code. It allows teams to collaborate on code and optimize build, test, and release workflows, resulting in a more efficient continuous delivery pipeline. Your teams can organize code into projects to keep the emphasis on the goal and accomplish the objectives. 

Teams can manage workflows from the board and arrange tasks according to priority with the Jira Project Management tool and Trello integrations with Bitbucket. When you move tasks across columns, the status is updated automatically, and team members are notified. You can also use sprint completions to automate build, test, and deploy processes.

4) Sourcetree

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Sourcetree offers the necessary controls for any business that needs to improve monitoring and engagement with their code repositories, as well as the build, test, and release management processes. Atlassian’s Sourcetree is a robust Git Desktop client that is available for both Windows and Mac. You can improve the way you manage your repositories by using Sourcetree to ease your interactions with your code, including visualizations.

You can constantly keep up with every change your team makes thanks to the rich branching diagrams offered. Sourcetree, being a full-featured client, has a user-friendly interface that is ideal for novices. With Git status updates, Sourcetree keeps you up to speed on changes in the repository. Instead of using command-line interfaces, you can now retrieve the modifications directly from your desktop.

5) Bamboo

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Connecting the proper tools at the relevant phases of the Project Management life cycle is key to improving build and release processes. Bamboo allows you to describe the complete deployment project as a single process, allowing you to use the automated infrastructure you’ve previously built while centralizing all build and release-related data.

Bamboo is compatible with Agile, Kanban, DevOps, and other hybrid development methodologies. You receive total insight into the process from planning to delivery when Jira Project Management software and Bitbucket are connected. From a single view, you can simply examine their issues and monitor their solutions. This enables your team members to better organize their work and understand what you anticipate of them in the future.

Conclusion

In this article, you explored Jira as the Project Management Tool. You learned about the key features and the life cycle of Jira Project Management. Moreover, you understood some of the common challenges faced by Project Management teams while working with Jira. In addition, you unraveled some popular tools used with Jira and also understood the best strategies to work with Jira Project Management Tool.

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