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

icons8-team-dhZtNlvNE8M-unsplash

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 info@clearhub.tech.

How to use Jira for project management

octavian-dan-b21Ty33CqVs-unsplash

How to use Jira for project management

Atlassian’s flagship products include the mighty Jira – born as a tool designed to track the status and progress of issues and bugs in software development.

But Jira has come a long way since its first release in 2002. Today, Jira can be deeply customised, and integrated with the whole Atlassian stack. It has evolved into an incredibly powerful tool – and not just for development.

What is Jira used for?

Jira is a complete workflow management system. It was originally designed to track bugs and issues in software development.

So, if it’s a dev tool, why use Jira for project management?

Over time – and with apps and add-ons – Jira has become more versatile and flexible. It can now be used to set, monitor, and complete tasks in virtually any department of a business.

Detailed reporting and analytics allow users to access workflow data, for performance insights.

It’s highly secure, and promotes accountability, good communication, and trust. This all makes it a potent tool for project management outside of development – but to get the most out of it, you need some background on how it works.

Understanding how Jira works

Units of work in Jira are called “issues”, harking back to the platform’s IT and development roots. Issues can be created, categorised, and prioritised into workflows.

Jira’s project management capabilities rely on these workflows, which control the rules used to transition each unit of work to a different workflow stage.

As an example, an issue could be created, and immediately be labelled as “pending” in the workflow. Once a team member starts working on it, the label changes to “in progress”. When it’s finished, it can move out of the workflow and into a “completed” list.

These stages, and any others, can be added to the workflow in Jira.

Workflows can be customised to any application, with multiple checkpoints – like in editorial work, where additional review stages and final sign-off are required, or in graphic design where client approval is needed. Jira can even be used to move candidates through the recruitment process.

But let’s get into what we’re here for – and find out how to use Jira for project management.

Configuring your project

First, choose a Jira template to set up your project.

Templates are a quick way to configure your project – and Jira comes with lots of built-in workflows. Users can also download readymade workflows from the Atlassian Marketplace.

You might find that the preset templates are perfect for your needs, but you can customise the defaults further, to get exactly what you need. Templates can be saved for future projects, and can easily be tweaked as your workflow evolves.

The planning stage

Every project needs goals. And to achieve goals you need a plan.

Read more – how to write SMART goals

Jira lets you set out project plans for on-off projects, and for ongoing, monthly or weekly work. Each goal can be broken down into a series of issues, which appear in Jira as a digital card, containing the requirements for completion.

To start building out your project, create issues. Label each issue clearly with the task at hand, and set its due date. Add any documents, images, or videos to the issue, to give further clarity on what needs to be done.

You can set each issue with a priority, independent of the due date – and break up larger blocks of work into smaller subtasks within the issue.

From here, you can assign each issue to a member of the team, or bank it for a later date.

Jira also lets you create different versions of a project, which is useful for modelling and projection, or course changes within a project.

Setting up your team

Everyone involved in the project will need access to Jira – but not necessarily the same level of access. The majority of users will just need to track and complete issues in the workflow. Jira allows multi-level permissions, from unlimited access down to view-only for specific issues. This is useful if you hire Jira contractors or have other users outside of your company – to limit what they can access and see.

Once everyone’s set up, you can assign issues to them, and track their progress.

Tracking project progress

You can track your project in multiple ways – down to the time each issue takes to complete. The Atlassian Marketplace is full of apps and add-ons that can make project tracking more tailored to your business. 

Jira’s built-in reporting is powerful, and allows project managers to clearly see outstanding work, bottlenecks, productivity – and if deadlines are going to be missed.

All of this can be viewed in Jira’s dashboard, which can be customised to show key project information. The dashboard shows an overview of progress – but can can drill down to a granular level, allowing you to see the work assigned to each team member. You can change the dashboard to show the most important information to you.

Once the project is completed, it can be archived – and you and your team can celebrate a job well done!

Looking for a Jira expert?

Want to set up a custom Jira workflow for your next project? ClearHub specialises in finding the best freelance Jira experts in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to go. To get started, call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.