The importance of effective project management cannot be understated when it comes to remote work. With distributed teams working across multiple time zones and schedules, proper project management tools are vital to simplifying and expediting project pipelines, and one such tool is Jira. Built by Atlassian, an Australian software company, the Jira tool was originally designed as an issue-tracking software for tech companies. However, it has become a widely-used tool for managing projects by agile software teams.
As someone looking to hire software developers and manage their projects smoothly, you must include Jira in your company’s tech arsenal.
Jira is a project management tool developed by Atlassian. It was first launched in 2002 as an issue tracking system, but now encompasses several key processes in agile project development.
"Jira" comes from the Japanese pronunciation of "Godzilla", which is "Gojira". This name came from the product’s original name: "Bugzilla" (which referred to the product’s ability to track and eliminate bugs in software).
Jira comes in three suites:
· Jira Core is a basic project management platform for non-technical teams. This can be used to plan, track, and report on work across multiple departments.
· Jira Software is another general project management platform, but this time geared towards software development teams. It's used for tracking bugs, adding new features, and assigning/following tasks.
· Jira Service Desk is an add-on to the versions above. Jira Service Desk is centered around customer support, acting as a platform for IT, customer support, and help desk agents. It also offers features like ticket tracking and incident management.
Features of Jira:
To start with, Jira comes well-equipped with various features. However, if you still find anything missing, you can simply visit the Atlassian Marketplace. This online store is packed with third-party software and tools to complement Jira’s capabilities. For example, the Trello-Jira integration allows teams to use Trello for executing projects, automatically syncing data across the two platforms.
Jira’s workflows also allow teams to check and track the progress of each task on the dashboard.
Speaking about what Jira is used for, customization is one of its prominent offerings. This also goes into the Jira workflows, which users can customize according to their teams’ specific needs.
For better progress tracking, Jira offers detailed and individual reports for projects, allowing teams to assess the status of each project and analyze critical insights. These reports are crucial as they help detect potential issues, overburdened team members, and project task timelines.
Additionally, Jira’s automation engine allows teams to detect repetitive tasks and save time and manual effort. You can implement this engine to define trigger reactions and actions.
Which teams could benefit from Jira today?
Jira was originally meant for software teams to track bugs and other issues. However, as it turned successful and agile development became more widely used, Atlassian decided to expand the Jira platform, offering its tools and services to various teams. Currently, various teams can use Jira and its various tools. Let’s take a look:
Non-technical teams - Non-technical teams mainly use the Jira Core tool, which is Jira’s basic project management solution, built for such teams. HR, finance, operations, marketing, and other relevant departments can use the Core tool for the usual task management like approving workflows, changing requests, etc.
IT teams - IT teams use the Jira Service Desk, an add-on designed specifically for these teams. Helpdesk agents, call center managers, and other support teams can use the Service Desk for incident management, change management, and issue ticketing.
Software development teams - Software developers or development teams primarily use the Jira software, which entails all of Jira Core’s features and also, agile functionality. Teams can easily use Jira Software for managing regular development tasks, bug tracking, and product management. Plus, the tool supports development teams that use Scrum, Kanban, and other switch agile frameworks.
Agile enterprise planning teams - Jira also comes with a tool called Jira Align, mainly geared towards teams/personnel responsible for agile enterprise planning. It offers visual reports & tools and portfolio management and supports agile, flexible frameworks.
What are the benefits of using Jira?
Big enterprises such as Twitter, Lyft, Reddit, and Pinterest utilize Jira for their project management requirement. Needless to say, Jira Software is one of the most popular projects management tools.
The biggest advantage that sets Jira apart from other project management tools is its fantastic reporting. The Jira Software hosts 16 reports with elaborate progress statistics and insights to help software teams intricately analyze their projects’ performance.
As such, Jira can help project managers obtain actionable data about performance on a task, team member, project, or team as a whole. Listed below are the reports Jira offers currently: -
User workload report
Time tracking report
Average age report
Pie chart report
Created vs. resolved issues report
Resolution time report
Recently created issues report
Single level group by report
Version workload report
Time since issues report
Cumulative flow diagram
While Jira is an excellent tool, it still comes with certain disadvantages. The key drawbacks are listed below:
Absence of timeline views
While Jira stays ahead of most of its competitors, there’s one area where it does lag behind: timeline views. Unlike most project management tools, Jira doesn’t offer Gantt charts or timeline views. These features are useful as they help teams determine how one task is connected to a subtask. Plus, project managers can use timeline views to adjust project schedules if problems or bugs occur.
Having said that, there is a fix to this. You can get a separate Gantt chart by visiting the Atlassian Marketplace and connecting it to Jira.
Designed mainly for technical users
The biggest downside of Jira is its nature of being geared toward tech users. As a result, non-technical users often struggle with coming to grips with the interface. In fact, the setup itself can be challenging due to how complex the user interface is. Yes, software developers or engineers usually have no issues using Jira. But non-technical team members can often struggle while using this tool.
Insufficient collaboration tools
Given that team collaboration isn’t Jira’s top priority in project management; the software has limited team collaboration capabilities. It is mainly limited to the Kanban and Scrum boards. You can solve this issue by integrating third-party apps such as Slack. Plus, Atlassian provides various collaboration solutions, like Confluence and Trello, to be integrated and used with Jira.