Software companies have built multiple models to see out their Development Process, but they still suffer from issues that arise during the whole Product Lifecycle. Manually tracking such issues while managing a project will slow down Product Development and will consume a lot of resources. To overcome these bottlenecks, software companies are drawn towards online tools that can take care of their Project Management and Issue Tracking needs. Jira is one such popular tool.
Jira is an intelligent software tool that can automate lengthy & complex tasks related to Project Management and Issue Tracking. It supports teams to detect and update issues throughout a Product’s Life Cycle. Moreover, Jira is highly customizable and contains features that can carry out your Agile Methodology-based Projects. However, understanding the complex world of Jira can be overwhelming for new users. In such a situation a well-ordered tutorial can be of great help.
This article will introduce you to Jira and take you through the important aspects of this tool to provide you with a sense of familiarity. The article will explain its key features and will list down the major products offered by this Atlassian tool. It will also walk you through the advantages and limitations of this tool and provide the major uses cases of Jira in current times. The article will also provide popular alternative tools if Jira is not able to fulfill your requirements. Read along to get an in-depth understanding of the Jira Project Management tool!
Table of Contents
Introduction to Jira
Jira is a software tool widely known for its Issue Tracking and Project Management capabilities. It is a Cloud-based technology that helps teams plan, execute, and report their work. This software finds applications in Bug Tracking, Issue Tracking related to Software and Mobile Applications, and Project Management. Projects based on Agile Methodology be it Kanban, Scrum or any other Agile view utilize Jira for managing software projects. Furthermore, Jira provides you the flexibility of managing, tracking, and scheduling all your agile software development projects together.
Today Jira is a popular Project Management software, but in 2002 it was designed to track issues in the Software Development process. The Australian company Atlassian developed it using the Java Programming Language. Over the years it has become a popular name in the world of Agile Methodology-based Software Projects.
Key Features of Jira
Jira offers the following key features to enhance your Project Management and Issue Tracking tasks:
- Time tracking: Tracking the time sent on issues is an important part of Project lifecycle management. Jira provides a great solution for Project Managers when it comes to time tracking. This feature covers various parameters and views, like Working hours per day, per week, weeks, etc. Furthermore, the Atlassian Marketplace has plenty of integrations that can offer time tracking at an even deeper level.
- Project Roadmap: The Project Roadmap provides a structure to your Product Development process. It allows you to segment your Development Lifecycle to assign work to individual teams. The Project Roadmap is the bridge that connects all of your teams. It helps you to create a timeline, direction guidelines, and list of goals that you want to work upon. Your Business Executives use it for planning the Development process and explaining it to other stakeholders. The Development team on the other hand uses it to map their progress during a Project’s Lifecycle.
- Mobile Acess: Apart from its Web version, this Atlassian tool also comes in the form of a Mobile application. This is popular among Project Managers that travel often and may not be able to use their desktops frequently. The Mobile Application of Jira allows you to manage your Backlogs, Create Tasks, or Edit Issues. It even supports real-time notifications about Project updates.
- Dashboards: Its Dashboard is a console that enables you to control and manage your ongoing projects. Using Dashboards, you can track assignments and issues of any project from a single platform. Moreover, Jira allows you to create separate Dashboards for different Projects to provide a better control structure.
- Security: Businesses today put great emphasis on safeguarding their data and applications. Jira offers advanced security features that can prevent your Project Roadmaps from unauthorized access. Two-factor Authentication and Password protected policy controls keep your application from outside threats.
To learn more about Jira and its features, visit here.
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Types of Jira Products
Jira offers the following 3 versions which provide services according to the user’s needs:
1) Jira Core
It is the original Project Management platform consisting of the basic features. It provides Business & Task Tracking for your project and supports general Reporting tools. It also supports Workflow that allows you to manage the flow of your tasks. This simple platform is for non-technical teams which wish to perform general Project Management work. Your HR, Marketing, and Operations Teams can benefit from the Jira Core tool and use its Dashboard for Reporting and other basic operations.
2) Jira Software
This is an extension of the Core tool and is designed for Agile Developers. Its main features include Virtual Scrum Software Development tools and Kanban Boards. Moreover, it is useful for Backlog Planning, Sprint Management, and designing Progress Reports for Software Development Teams. Software Teams deploy Jira Software for Bug Tracking, Task Management, and Product Management in their Agile-based Product Development. Scrum Master, DevOps Teams, etc, are the main users of this tool.
3) Jira Service Desk
Jira Service Management is popular for offering Information Technology Service Management( ITSM )solutions related to managing tasks and resolving critical issues. Moreover, this Atlassian ITSM tool provides a single source of truth for your business and enables your teams to extract relevant data while maintaining overall consistency. It promotes a complete overview of business data and maintains a common understanding between teams. Features like Streamlined Workflow, unique Service Level Agreements (SLAs), etc., have made this tool the preferred choice of IT companies.
Using Jira in Product Management
Today, companies implement this Atlassian tool in Product Management for the following reasons:
- Product Management is a lengthy process that contains various Development Tasks. It with its Product Roadmap feature allows your Product Management Team team to automatically sync task updates with the Project’s progress. This way you can present an up-to-date view of the Development process to the stakeholders, and your Developers can consider the updated Roadmap as its single source of truth.
- Among the many tasks involved in a single phase of the Project Development process, you must prioritize certain tasks over others. This is critical for meeting the deadlines and keeping the development process aligned to the Product Roadmap. It allows you to compare the Costs and Return of Investment (ROI) of your planned initiatives to decide which task your team should pick up first. To do this, you can import all the tasks into your roadmap application and use its Parking Lot platform to generate a side-by-side comparison. This way you can compare them on parameters like the items and weigh them against each other according to factors such as potential risks, implementation costs, resources required, etc., and sort the tasks in priority order.
Advantages of Using Jira
It has been consistent in the market due to the following advantages that it has over the other tools:
- Affordable and Hassle-free: Its per-user cost is almost half as compared to its peer products. Moreover, it provides a hassle-free experience in terms of customization and maintenance. It also has a feature called Confluence Pages. They enable you to connect any issue in the software in a few clicks. it also allows you to update the product to resolve the issue directly from its Confluence Page.
- Easy-to-Learn: It offers a wide range of product documentation and discussions on community support forums. This supports and guides the users in their learning curve. Moreover, it allows users to solve each other’s doubts and have an insightful discussion about Its services.
- Complete Solution: It has a rich ecosystem covering 2,000+ Market Add-ons, a REST API Library, and Software Development Kit (SDK). This provides a set of essential applications and tools all in one place for Software Development tasks. Moreover, It supports Integrations with Financial Applications, Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMs), and other tools that you can collectively use to build a strong business solution.
- Plan, Track and Work Faster: In the field of Software Development, the product’s release date brings new challenges for both Software Developers and Testers. They need to track the new issues and also maintain the proper documentation of the changes. In such a scenario, Its Bug Tracking ability and Tracking Management streamline the above problems.
- Information Source: Its Tracking tools and Reporting imply that it can act as the main source of information for Developers when working on the next version of the software. They can add new features fix bugs in the next release by referencing Its Documentation of the previous product version. Furthermore, the Testing Team can track the status of any new functionality can decide on how to document the new version.
Limitations of Using Jira
The usability of Jira is sometimes hindered by the following limitations:
- In contrast to the Web version, the Mobile version has tedious navigations that become a major limitation for its users. Its users thus prefer to use the web version only as it has straightforward features while the Mobile version suffers from complications.
- Migrating projects from other tools into this Atlassian is a time-consuming process. For example, if you wish to import a project from Microsoft Team Foundation Server into the Jira environment you, are required to manually migrate each artifact into Jira.
- You cannot download Jira reports, in a visual format like images. Moreover, if you will take the help of third-party software for the same, it will result in a poor quality image.
- A major complaint among users is regarding its User Interface (UI). Users find the UI a bit cluttered, and even the search filters are not straightforward. Furthermore, you may find the configurations somewhat confusing, because you will have to browse a lot of options to get to your exact requirement.
Use Cases of Jira
Different businesses use this Atlassian tool according to their own needs. The following use cases will summarize the main areas for applying Jira:
1) To Create a Systematic Workflow with Issue Tracking
This Atlassian was developed as an Issue Tracking software only and you can still implement it to monitor and solve issues hindering your progress. It also allows you to customize workflows to help the tracking software in separating Bugs from other tasks. This way you can avoid any confusion between your various teams. Another advantage of using Jira for Issue Tracking is that your teams will get real-time notifications regarding Bugs and work reviews and will also notify the customers once the Bug is fixed.
2) To Manage a Kanban Project
In recent years, Atlassian has acquired Trello which is a popular Kanban Project Management tool. Due to this new addition, Jira has become a great choice for using Kanban Boards-based tasks. You can easily set up your Kanban Board or even add a new Kanban Board into any existing Projects.
To enhance your user experience, Jira will ask you about the amount of experience you have with this Atlassian and your management type (for which you should select “Kanban”). Moreover, it will provide you with a tutorial that will clear your doubts regarding Kanban Boards. Kanban Management is beneficial as it provides a full picture of your project. It involves tracking the progress of error-free tasks and reporting issues that are creating bottlenecks in your Project.
3) To Manage a Scrum Project
This Atlassian tool lets you track your Sprints and create Backlogs to support the Agile Methodology of Product development. It also segments the complete process into smaller sprints to facilitate a fast process execution. This Atlassian tool provides a simple drag and drops option using hic you can move tasks from the backlog and into short-duration sprints. Furthermore, it provides an efficient way to switch between Kanban and Scrum views.
Alternative Tools for Jira
Today, businesses want a tool that apart from being functional is also developer-friendly and provides speed and efficiency to their development process. The limitations of this Atlassian have led to many developers opting for the following alternative tools:
Zepel is a project management tool that provides a transparent picture of your Product Development projects at various levels. Moreover, it allows you to bring customer feedback, and bug reports and keep your teams aligned to the project roadmap. Similar to Jira, Zepel supports both Scrum tools and Kanban Boards thus promoting the Agile methodology of Software Development.
2) Pivotal Tracker
Pivotal Tracker is a Project Management tool that is solely designed to manage projects based on Agile Methodology. This tool has advanced features that help you in maintaining a balance between Tasks implementation and Bug Tracking. Moreover, it also computes your team’s progress based on the average estimation points which they completed in the last iterations. Pivotal Tracker is a great option for teams working on Agile Methodology but is not capable to fit other development methodologies.
Workzone is a software tool popular among teams that are not involved in the Development process. This tool is beneficial for Service Companies, and even for Marketing teams that need to manage multiple clients. Workzone offers various features like Expense Tracking, Reporting, Alerting Team Members, etc. Workzone has an easy-to-understand User Interface, however, it falls short in terms of features when compared to Jira.
The article introduced you to Jira and provided a detailed explanation of the various key aspects associated with this tool. It listed down its main features and the 3 products offered by this Atlassian tool. The article also explained the role of Jira in Product Management. Furthermore, it compared the advantages and limitations of using this software tool. The article then described the main use cases of Jira and 3 alternative tools that you can use as Jira’s substitute.
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