Getting the Most from Jira: Tips to setup an easy-to-manage and flexible cloud instance
This is part one of a three-part series on increasing efficiency with Atlassian Jira. This series explains features and steps you can take to increase efficiency, gather data for metrics and reporting, and automate mundane, repetitive tasks.
“Setting up a Jira instance correctly will reduce admin and management time, and allows developers to navigate through projects & tickets more easily”
Atlassian Jira is used across Mobile Mentor to manage our Agile teams and projects.
Jira has made a huge difference in the efficiency of our development and security teams, especially when working across multiple projects at a time; however, it’s taken us some time to get it right and fine-tuned for our needs.
We’d like to share a series of tips on what we’ve learned. We’ll begin with how to correctly setup a Jira environment, and then we’ll dive more deeply into some of the powerful features we’re using!
Setting up a Jira instance correctly will reduce admin and management time, allows developers to navigate through projects & tickets more easily, and makes it easier to scale your projects and teams.
From our own initial experience, a poor configuration creates an administrative nightmare, decreases developer efficiency, and prevents the flexibility required for efficiently creating new projects.
Use Jira Groups to manage users’ access & permissions
When creating a new Jira instance, the most important feature to leverage using groups to manage your users. Groups are the best way to provide permissions across Jira (and other Atlassian products such as Confluence and Jira Service Desk) as well as manage licensing (important as you pay per user).
At times contractors or customers outside your organisation may also need access a specific Jira project or confluence page to collaborate with you. Groups allow you to provide granular access to only the resources you want to share.
Using Jira Groups effectively
First, consider how your team is setup and what kind of access you need to provide. At Mobile Mentor, we create groups based on projects, allowing us to provide access just to the team working on that project. Alternatively, you could just create a single group for all internal users if you are a start-up with only one team.
For each project, we create a second group for external users, for example a customer’s project manager, internal dev team or 3rd party vendors involved in the project.
To manage groups, go to Settings and then User Management and then Groups. From here you can create and manage groups.
Once created, you can then add your users to Jira, assigning them to the groups they need to access.
Make use of Jira Schemes to provide flexibility for different project types
Schemes are a configuration of settings for Jira projects, that you can apply to one or more projects. Schemes streamline how projects can be configured. If you change a scheme, it changes all projects that share that scheme.
It’s important for your projects to share a similar look, but some projects may be different and it’s important to have flexibility to customise Jira for that project’s needs. Schemes facilitate this flexibility
At Mobile Mentor we find it useful to create a base scheme that’s used for most of our projects. When customisation is required, we duplicate the base scheme and customise its settings. In this way we don’t have to start from scratch and don’t make changes to other projects using the base scheme.
When customization is not required, we simply duplicate the base scheme as is for the project. The base scheme is our template. It’s important to note, this base scheme is never used by any project to avoid accidental changes.
We recommend reviewing the base scheme twice a year once it reached maturity.
Issue Type Scheme This defines the types of issues in a project. You may want a specific issue type for a new project, but you don’t want ALL projects to grow a long list of custom issue types that aren’t used. Custom issue types also help with reporting and filtering, making it easier to see and report on where your team are spending time.
Workflow Scheme This defines how status of an issue transitions over its lifecycle. A customer may want an extra status for issues that are specific to that project.
Fields Scheme This defines the fields that are used for issue types. A project may need a custom field for the “Bug” issue type.
Notification Scheme This defines who/how project notifications are received. A project may require a custom notification for some users/groups.
Setup a master team project and include all active tasks
With multiple teams working across multiple projects, switching between individual Jira projects is not only frustrating, but makes it difficult to visualise the overall work planned over a sprint.
Using Jira, it’s possible to setup a master project that shows all active sprint tasks. This allows scrum masters, team leads, and stakeholders to see all the tasks across different projects in the sprint and provides a way for team members to work from a single workspace when needed.
At Mobile Mentor, we have setup an internal project for our cross functional development teams, displaying all active project tasks and backlog items. We may have a few customer and internal projects going on at any one time and this allows teams to visualise the overall planned objectives.
To achieve the same, create a new project then choose Board settings and Saved Filters. From here you can then adjust the filter settings to display the issue types from a range of projects you want to include.
Ken has worked across our managed services, security and app development business units for the past 6 years. He is currently a business analyst in charge of managing daily operations for the app development team.
Ken loves delivering new mobile apps for customers and seeing the difference it makes to their business.