TOP 5 TIPS: Write Jira tickets that save time and energy


TOP 5 TIPS: Write Jira tickets that save time and energy

Jira has a massive problem. And it’s not even Jira’s fault.

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Tickets often have to be rewritten
  • Problems slip through to staging or production
  • Constant back and forth, just to get clarity

This is all because of Jira tickets; not how Atlassian has created the platform – but how we, as users, are writing them.

Jira tickets, when written badly, can destroy productivity, cause friction, and lead vocal members of your team to demand a switch to a different platform. To avoid this, it’s important to know how to write Jira tickets effectively from the get-go.

Here are five ways to write better Jira tickets.

1 – Use precise language

Always be clear, concise, and avoid any chance of ambiguity. If you’re worried about the ticket sounding rude, don’t. Wasting time with a super-long, ambiguous ticket is rude – giving the person the exact information they need is far kinder.

Assign exact names to features and user interface elements, and stick to them. Give actions rather than a laundry list of problems

Most importantly of all, write a good title.

Use verbs (doing or action words) to prompt the action. For instance, do not simply write the feature you want – ask for the feature to be implemented.

The clearer your ticket can be from the start, the more likely it will be done without back and forth.

2 – Use markdown and keyboard shortcuts

Format your tickets clearly, with bold text, italics, and clickable text links. Using markdown for specific text types can greatly improve the speed of writing Jira tickets – but you can achieve the same result with keyboard shortcuts.

Learn Jira’s markdown features and keyboard shortcuts.

Messy tickets take longer to read and longer to action – so make sure you clarify at the start with clean formatting.

3 – Illustrate with screenshots and gifs

A picture is worth a thousand words. So show, don’t tell.

Adding screenshots to a ticket, or a gif if the issue is time-based, will clearly show the recipient what the problem is, without you needing to explain much.

Before you start, your Jira admin must enable specific user permissions so that you can add attachments and screenshots – You need the “create attachments” permission.

Once you have it, you can drag and drop images, gifs, and other files into your Jira tickets. You can also browse your files by navigating to More > Attach files within Jira, while writing your ticket.

4 – Focus your acceptance criteria

Make it as simple as possible – because often, things get complex when you’re trying to figure out if you’ve done what was needed.

At its most basic, your acceptance criteria should be a checklist; done or pending, true or false. In more detail, this includes your Definition of Done: a clear and concise description of what qualifies a task as complete.

So, focus on the reason for the ticket, and the outcome. Give it a clear list of qualifiers for being done. Make the language precise, free of ambiguity. And if possible, simplify it to true/false statements – so there’s absolutely no question of what “done” is.

5 – Make use of plugins

You could write your Jira tickets in Word or Google Docs, to get spell checking and grammar fixes on the fly – or you could use a browser extension plugin like Grammarly, to fix it in-situ. Much faster!

Speaking of plugins, the Atlassian Marketplace is full of powerful add-ons to make Jira tickets more effective: like the Bitbucket plugin.

The Bitbucket plugin adds to the already seamless Jira and Bitbucket experience, by allowing the two tools to talk to each other. Simply include a Jira ticket number in a commit or pull request, and the Bitbucket activity will be tracked alongside the ticket.

Or how about the Slack plugin, which gives you chat notifications for any relevant ticket activity.

Jira can be customised so deeply, from the template level to plugins – so use it! Make the most of your tools, and get the best results.

And if you need support making Jira work exactly as you need it, we’re here to support you – with the brightest talent in the industry.

Need help with Jira? Hire freelance Jira Experts

ClearHub specialises in finding freelance Jira experts – vetted, skills-checked and ready to work. To get started, call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to

Atlassian alternatives: tools that (kind of) work the same


Atlassian alternatives: tools that (kind of) work the same

The tech-first world we live in might never have been, were it not for Atlassian.

Atlassian’s product family includes some of the most advanced productivity platforms and software tooling systems, all intimately linked. Every tool works together seamlessly, facilitating everything from DevOps to Payroll, and from support tickets to marketing plans.

But Atlassian isn’t the only player in the game. There are alternative platforms outside of the Atlassian stack. So, what Atlassian alternatives are there – and should you be using them?

Alternatives to Atlassian tools

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” – Newton’s third law.

This happens in software all the time, too. For instance, Microsoft’s local email client, Outlook, was turned into Hotmail – a browser-based email platform. Then Google came along and dominated the market with Gmail by simply zigging where Microsoft had zagged: Google chose simplicity over Microsoft’s complexity.

Everyone got into the email game, with different spins on the same channel: enhanced privacy, or enhanced personalisation. Platforms evolved and diverged down their own paths – and whichever one you adopted early became the one you stuck with.

Now, there’s more choice than ever – and the lines between functionality are becoming blurred. No matter which platform you choose, you’re likely going to get a great product.

And this goes for Atlassian’s rivals, too. The Atlassian stack has so many advantages (which we’ll cover shortly), but it doesn’t exist in isolation.

Read more: The Atlassian Stack: All the tools – and how to use them

So, what alternative tools are there to Atlassian’s offering?

Jira alternatives

Jira is a workflow management tool – it lets you track tasks from start to finish. Tasks can be assigned to users with a due date, and given a custom status like pending, in progress, or on hold. Jira comes in a variety of flavours suited to software development or service management, but each variant is flexible and adaptable.


If you work in tech, you’ve probably used this platform before. Basecamp is a do-anything project management platform, with simple tasks and to-do lists, messaging, file sharing, and task assignment. It falls far short of Jira’s personalisation and integrations – but for most non-development focused, or multidisciplinary organisations, it’s more than enough.


Asana facilitates communication and collaboration across the entire project management team, and has many similarities to Jira. It is growing in adoption, and supports agile project management through boards. It has an activity feed, allows user permissions, and works as a calendar. Asana has an internal messaging platform, and it’s likely that email reliant businesses will bounce between their email client and Asana, as it doesn’t easily integrate with email.


Notion is a super-basic but refreshingly useful all-in-one platform. Notion lets users create documents, manage projects, create tasks, and practise the kanban method – all from one place. Templates are simple, but powerful, meaning projects can be set up and run in a few clicks. Simplicity is also its biggest weakness, and power users accustomed to Jira’s flexibility and app integrations might struggle. For generalists, though, Notion is a huge productivity booster.

A well-marketed and powerful project management and productivity powerhouse, promises users the simplest GUI – and it delivers. For general project management and single-minded focus is almost unbeatable; but it’s far less flexible. And, while it can integrate with Jira, the cost alone could make out of reach for most smaller organisations.

Confluence alternatives

Confluence is a collaborative team workspace. It’s a knowledge collection and sharing hub, where all documentation can be stored. It’s like Wikipedia, but just for your organisation. Of course, this isn’t a unique offering, and the competition in this space is pretty fierce.

Google Docs

This has become the de facto file creation and sharing platform of the decade. It is infinitely flexible: it translates Word documents to Google Docs and vice versa, outputs to the most popular document formats, and integrates well with almost any platform you can imagine. It has excellent permissions and sharing features – and it’s completely free to use, up to 15GB of data. But anyone who has collaborated in Google Docs will know how messy it can get, and live updates are ropey-looking at best. Useful, but not very slick.


One of the greatest unicorn stories in history, Slack is what other workspace platforms aspire to be. The UI is as perfect as we’ve ever seen. It comes ready to integrate with any other productivity tool and document creation platform, and it is deeply customisable without ever being intimidating. Global internal comms have never been easier to manage. It “just works”. But it’s essentially a chat platform, with extra features. It relies entirely on other tools to be useful for more than simple comms, and won’t be the all-in-one that other tools can offer.

Basecamp,, and Asana

All three have Confluence-like features built-in to them, and seem to be geared towards marketing and sales more than, say, software development or DevOps – but they can be templated and tweaked.

Pros and cons of using Atlassian over other alternative tools

Atlassian stack pros

Atlassian’s tools are market-leading, industry-leading, award-winning and ubiquitous. Jira is the best-in-class platform for software development. Above all, Atlassian tools all communicate with each other perfectly, out of the box; no fuss, no code.

Adopting the Atlassian stack is cheaper than building a custom stack, but no less customisable. The marketplace is filled with apps that enhance functionality to new heights, and organisations can develop custom solutions within the Atlassian ecosystem. 

In terms of versatility and integration options, Atlassian is widely regarded as one of the best in the industry. And the update cycle is relentless – the best version of your tools is always being worked on.


There are, of course, drawbacks. Going all in on one toolstack means all your eggs are in one basket. If that basket were to break – well, there go your eggs. And you may find that your team prefers to use different platforms that require some level of custom integration. For example, if your dev team works best in GitLab, moving them over to Atlassian’s Bitbucket and stalling productivity doesn’t make sense.

The good news is that Atlassian’s tools are pick and mix, and they all integrate well with other best-in-class tools through plugins or apps. And if you need someone to help you get the performance you need from a custom Atlassian setup, we’ve got the world’s top Atlassian experts ready to go.

Hire World-class Atlassian Talent

Let’s help you get the most out of your productivity tools. ClearHub specialises in finding the best Atlassian contractors in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to go. To get started, call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to

Software startups: how to avoid growing pains


Software startups: how to avoid growing pains

We live in a time where information is everywhere.

Information about everything. How to make perfect pasta. When to plant potatoes. Which exercises build muscle the fastest. Even how to start a company, and how to run it.

This is all truly great stuff that blurs the lines between education and entertainment. You can learn how to do something, from an experienced practitioner, and usually for free.

But the reality of software startups is almost always shielded from you.

The hard work and the failures of tech startups are rarely shouted from the rooftops, and when they are, it all seems so inevitable and obvious. We only tend to see the ones that make it, and assume that they’re the best. The ones that fail? They didn’t have “the formula”, or the “mindset”. Or the product.

Survivorship bias leads us to believe that you must do things a certain way in order to succeed. You’ve got to have all that trendy startup stuff – open-plan offices, a dog, flexible working, unlimited time off, beer fridges, ping pong, and above all, total freedom.

This is your company culture, right? Isn’t this how all the best software companies motivate their teams to produce their best work, and ship fast?

Not really. Because nobody tells you how bad it can get when this culture of freedom collapses in on itself, trapping those within it in a cycle of burnout.

Freedom versus burnout

A well-intended culture of freedom, styled after the “best in the business”, can turn sour. Usually, it’s slow and insidious. Like boiling a frog slowly, employees don’t immediately leap out when it all gets too hot to handle.

Take flexible working hours, as an example. It’s such a great concept on paper – and in bigger organisations, it works well.

But employees in startups more regularly feel a sense of duty – to always “be on”; emails, Slacks, WhatsApp groups – notifications are constantly pinging. And not just in work hours. At bedtime, on weekends, during annual leave… It’s never-ending, and always urgent, somehow.

Flexible working practices can work brilliantly at established software firms, where there’s plenty of headroom. At a startup, with only a handful of developers and coders, it’s a one-way, fast-track ticket to crunch and burnout. Employees can suffer in silence during phases of growth, stretched to their limits, working all hours.

But you’ve got unlimited paid time off, so that’ll balance it out… right?

Well, only if there’s enough staff to cover the employees taking unlimited PTO. And if they’re even willing to take it.

Have you heard of “option paralysis”?

When humans are presented with unlimited choice, we can become paralysed by the options, never choosing anything for fear of making the wrong choice.

Unlimited time off can have the same effect on our brains.

Imagine sitting down for a meal at a restaurant, and being presented with an enormous menu. Tens of pages of dishes, and each one sounds completely delicious. How long will it take you to order?

Now imagine you’re at a food truck that sells tacos. Just tacos. There are 3 toppings. How long are you going to take to order?

The point of all of this is: there is such a thing as too much freedom in software startups. But the very things that make startups attractive to talented devs and coders – like agility and autonomy – need a level of freedom.

So how do you balance it?

How to ship and version software quickly

The answer is to maintain the sense of freedom, but contain all activity within a structure. There must be processes, and clearly defined boundaries. That structure will look different at every software startup; because all of them have learned in very different (often painful) ways, that one size does not fit all.

It’s the ugly stuff that nobody talks about. The pain of growth. The lessons learned.

You need to be able to work as a team, at all times – even if that means taking a long break to be at your best. Above all, you need to define your processes, and your workflows. 

Reduce burden, improve productivity, and give freedom to innovate within frameworks and allotted time.

Shipping software fast means using time where it counts, and front-loading releases for the best outcomes.


1.  To ship software fast, implement code reviews. More often than not, the biggest problems come from code that wasn’t reviewed before launch.

2. Measure everything you possibly can, both in-house and user metrics. What’s the development lifecycle? Where are the bottlenecks? How are users interacting with the software – and have there been any dramatic changes in usage since the last version was shipped? Keep watching those metrics – because they’ll guide improvements in speed and quality.

3. Roll out slower. This sounds really counterintuitive – if you want to ship software fast, why would you push for a slow rollout? Well – by introducing changes to a smaller group of users first, you can track their experience, perform A/B testing, and limit the number of incident reports – allowing your team to work faster overall.

Scaling with contractors

Another, and an increasingly popular answer to the growth problems startups face, is to expand your team on a per-project basis.

Hiring experienced, ready-to-go contractors allows startups to scale up and down with requirement – and the freelancers you hire in can impart valuable knowledge onto your core team.

ClearHub helps software startups in the most important phases of growth, to hire DevOps contractors and consultants, and seasoned practitioners, who can jump on a task and just get it done.

We find the people who push teams forward and pick up the slack during heavy workloads.

Read more – How to manage a mix of staff and contractors

We’ve got decades of experience in enabling fledgling software teams to become industry leaders. And we do that by placing the right talent at the right company,

Let’s do it for you. To get started, call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to