Tips for writing better Jira tickets

Contractor working on phone

Tips for writing better Jira tickets

Jira is an extremely useful product that has made working easier for countless businesses – but it does occasionally get something of a bad name. The key issue here is not that Jira causes problems by itself, instead it is the human input issue that creates the challenges. When Jira is poorly managed or misused it can make everything feel far more complicated than it needs to.

If you can start using Jira the way it is intended, it can have positive influences on productivity and efficiency. In this blog, we present tips for writing better Jira tickets.

Remember your audience

It is crucial when writing Jira tickets to remind yourself that this ticket isn’t for your use. It is so often the case that Jira tickets are too short and simply don’t provide the kind of useful information that they need to have on them. Take a look back at tickets that you have written – you might find that while they make perfect sense to you, they could easily be misinterpreted or may be missing crucial details that allow someone else to work with it.

For example, Jira tickets are often written by designers for developers. In doing so, it can be easy to forget that people in different departments don’t use the same software or hardware as you day-in day-out.

Be precise 

One of the most common problems with Jira tickets is ambiguous language. Writing good tickets means being precise with your word choice and ensuring that only one possible meaning can be inferred by reading the ticket.

Remember that you understand what you mean but if you use language that doesn’t make everything extremely clear, it can be misinterpreted. For example, if you were describing a user interface you should avoid vague phrases like “the third section” or “the footer” – make sure it is unambiguous and clear which part of the interface you are talking about. It is better to over describe than to assume.

Make use of templates 

It is often the case that key information is left off Jira tickets. This information inevitably has to be queried and corrected, and this whole process can take longer than the query even would have taken to resolve in the first place. It is tempting to just say: avoid making mistakes. But these mistakes don’t happen on purpose, they are simply oversights.

It is often the case that key information is left off Jira tickets. This information inevitably has to be queried and corrected, and this whole process can take longer than the query even would have taken to resolve in the first place. It is tempting to just say: avoid making mistakes. But these mistakes don’t happen on purpose, they are simply oversights.

Make acceptance criteria a yes or no

 

One of the biggest problems with ambiguity in a Jira ticket comes in relation to the acceptance criteria of the ticket. You are often going to be dealing with fairly complicated issues, so it can be a great idea to break it down to something like a checklist that requires either yes or no answers.

Once again, this comes back to making everything as easy as possible to understand and removing the possibility of misunderstandings.

Use screenshots and GIFs

It is far too often the case that Jira tickets are simple, plain text. Not only are tickets like this dull to look at and read, they also are often not as effective as visual aids. It’s a great idea to use screenshots of what you are talking about to illustrate what you mean. Even better is creating a GIF that shows the issue happening.

At ClearHub, we are specialists in finding high quality Jira contractors and matching them up with businesses. If you are interested in hiring a Jira expert don’t hesitate to get in contact with the team at ClearHub today.

Is there a skills shortage – or are you just looking in the wrong places?

Is there a skills shortage – or are you just looking in the wrong places?

The government website updated its skilled worker visa list in February 2022.

According to this list, the UK’s skills shortage is deep; everyone from senior care workers to dancers is in demand, and visas are on offer to those who can fill those roles.

One of the most surprising fields to see in the list is “IT business analysts, architects and systems designers” – solution-makers, DevOps practitioners, tooling specialists, developers… 

And we’re surprised because, as far as we can tell – there’s no shortage at all.

In fact, our cup runneth over with Software Architects, Cloud infrastructure specialists, freelance DevOps engineers and freelance Atlassian experts. Some of these people are the best in the world at what they do.

So, why are we talking about a skills shortage in the UK?

Is it really a skills shortage – or are you trying to fill “roles”?

We believe that there’s an abundance of skills, but employers are either unwilling to look beyond the superficial metrics of skills, or are blind to the possibilities of recruiting outside the box.

Sometimes, people in a completely different role can display all the skills and competencies that your open roles require. But they fly under the radar, because their job title doesn’t match.

Or they’re not experienced enough.

Or they don’t have the certifications, or the degree, or the technical chops.

Here’s a thought; an inexperienced individual with the right attitude is a better choice than an experienced person in it for the wrong reasons.

People who are driven and proactive enough to take responsibility for their own learning and development will become experienced. They’ll earn their technical ability. They will not rest on their laurels, or chase a salary or title, or get bored waiting for a promotion.

They’ll want to learn and evolve, and will actively fill your skills gaps.

Contractors, full-time employees, interns or CEOs – it makes no difference. Finding people who will level up and gain skills is fundamental to tackling the skills shortage; not attempting to marry up prior experience and job titles to vacant roles.

Look for skills, not job titles.

Widen the net – let them work from the place that suits them best

There’s also the fact that WFH has completely transformed the way people want to work – and yet, so many employers are seeking to end it.

Read more: Cancelling WFH caused the Great Resignation. Why push for it?

Overseas recruitment, accommodating accessibility requirements and allowing remote working can potentially turn a candidate pool of ten amazing people into a pool of thousands.

The shortsighted push for an end to WFH, shutting down remote work in the process, is going to harm employers in the long run; especially when you take into consideration the sheer volume of freelance talent emerging from the rubble of the pandemic.

Creative recruitment: embrace contractors

One of the positive consequences of the Great Resignation is a larger pool of freelance talent. Freelancing exploded during lockdowns, and then again as offices took away the option of WFH. Some of the UK’s (and the world’s) best talent went solo, operating as specialist contractors.

Freelance talent is highly skilled, confident, and experienced. It carries a different set of risks – but overall, the benefits are truly worthwhile.

Download FREE ebook: how to increase the productivity of any contractor

Innovation, imparting their knowledge, opening their methodologies and practices to your business – contractors can do it all. Plus – as long as they have the tools and project brief to do so – contractors don’t need hand-holding or pulling up to speed. They’re self-sufficient, business-minded and capable.

Just give them a clearly defined task, and off they go to do it.

Hiring contractors is an excellent yet often overlooked recruitment channel; it can feed the short-term hunger that a skill gap instils, but can also lead to long standing work relationships, and even full-time hires where the cultural fit is just right.

Working with a mix of full-time staff and contractors does pose challenges, that’s for sure – but most problems can be avoided with effective communication:

  • Great briefs and project goals
  • Introductions and integrations with the team
  • Giving them access to assets and tools

What about the risks?

Well, contractors can terminate a project if it’s not working out – and that’s up to them. IT could be for a million reasons, but poor fit, feedback or communication is usually top of their list.

And it’s rare – but sometimes, freelancers don’t have the skills they’ve advertised. And that can be much more difficult to navigate.

ClearHub offers a solution to that problem – by finding technical contractors who are vetted, tested and fully qualified. We bridge the IT skills shortages  in your company, while making sure your contractor is a great fit for your team – and go the extra mile by continuing to assist you and your freelancer, with a combination of dedicated project management and technical support.

Our goal is to make your skills gap disappear, and we’ll do anything we can to make it a success.

So, maybe it’s time you started looking for skills in a new place?

Hire a freelance Atlassian expert

ClearHub specialises in finding the best Atlassian contractors in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to maximise your productivity.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the ClearHub team today. Call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

Cancelling WFH caused the Great Resignation. Why push for it?

walking in shadow
walking in shadow

Cancelling WFH caused the Great Resignation. Why push for it?

We humans are forgetful creatures.

 

Hopping from one crisis to the next, we forget the staggering lengths we’ve been through to get where we are. We forget the chaos, and the uncertainty.

 

Cast your mind back to March 2020 – if you haven’t blocked it all out, that is.

 

The UK, USA, and most other countries around the world had either entered or were entering a national lockdown, in response to Covid-19.

 

If you were lucky enough to evade the virus, for your loved ones and friends to be safe, and to still have a job – you felt grateful. Many of us did.

 

But not all of us were as lucky. Some of us lost people to covid. Many more lost work, as entire industries fell apart.

 

For the lucky ones, we either got put on furlough, or got put to work remotely.

 

They were interesting times, to say the least; especially for people trying to work while raising children (if anyone’s been through home schooling and work, you’ll know how utterly impossible the two are in tandem).

 

But working from home, for the majority of office-based workers, was a revelation, and a revolution – a proof of concept that they could have it all.

 

Once office-bound workers could now do their job from their dining table, bed or sofa. Their commute was eliminated. They got to have more family time, eat cooked lunches, take meaningful breaks, and explore their own passions with the hours saved each week.

 

So, when that call came from business leaders to say “we’re going back to the office now” – you can imagine the response among those who wanted WFH to stay.

 

They begrudgingly went back to commuting one hour in both directions. Back to eating flimsy, overpriced sandwiches. Back to dreaming of the hobbies they had time to pursue in their longer evenings.

 

Where they once felt grateful for still having jobs, they suddenly felt resentful.

 

“We’ve seen the other side; and the grass really is greener”.

 

Returning to the office felt like a punishment. No more time for personal growth. Less sleep. Hours of your day, lost. Motivation – sapped.

 

And so, workers started to quit.

The evidence is mounting: ending WFH is driving up quits

This isn’t so much an anecdote about the end of WFH, as it is a reliable process for decimating your own workforce; if you really wanted to shed some employees, just tell them to come back to the office full-time.

 

They could be one 360-second meeting away from throwing in the towel.

 

The evidence for this is piling up. Workers would rather quit than go back to the office. 

 

Ending WFH it wasn’t just a mistake in 2021 – it’s a mistake now and forevermore – because the world of work is never going to be the same.

 

Our mindsets have shifted dramatically from “live to work” to “work to live”.

 

And there’s absolutely no good reason for employers in offices to demand an end to WFH. The majority of it boils down to corporate paranoia, and old-school mindsets about who should be doing what in order to be productive.

 

Hey, leaders: busy doesn’t mean productive. If seeing your people in person, sat at desks, doing “stuff” is your measure of productivity and success, then – sorry to say – you’re wrong.

 

Instead of fearing remote work and assuming the worst of employees working from home, look at KPIs. Look at your HR stats, like retention. What’s scarier; an hour of “productivity” lost to YouTube or Facebook – or costs reaching into the hundreds of thousands to replace experienced practitioners?

Afraid of remote work? Here’s something much scarier

The cost to replace the average UK worker is £11,000.

 

The cost to replace seniors and specialists is between £40,000 to £100,000.

 

That’s big money in a climate of seemingly flippant job-hopping, where employees are keen to set clear boundaries between work and life.

 

Let’s say you run a small workforce of 25, in a competitive industry like marketing. Your company turns over £1.8 million in a good year. You decide that it’s time to end WFH and get back to “reality”.

 

Let’s use the conservative estimate that 38% of those workers are going to quit within 6 months to a year, rounded up for easier maths.

 

10 of your team quits over WFH ending; 8 entry-level executives, and two seniors. That could cost your company a total sum in the region of £250,000.

 

So, what’s scarier? Losing 13% of your turnover to poor (and avoidable) employee retention, or WFH?

 

Why are so many businesses that can enable WFH still pushing for a return to the office, instead of leaning into remote?

The benefits of remote working

Productivity

If you trust your team, and give them the tools to work remotely, you can actually boost productivity. Working from home caused a productivity uplift of 13%, even if it’s just for one day a week.

Lower carbon emissions – and overheads

Not only does WFH eliminate commutes, it eliminates heating and powering giant office spaces. That means lower bills and smaller business infrastructure for you, and less CO2 pumped into the air for everyone else.

Better comms, better accountability

WFH forces better communication and accountability. No more “he said, she said” or undocumented conversations that get forgotten. It’s all tracked and traceable. Say you’ll do something, and there’s a record of it.

Remote workers are happier 

Research from before the pandemic has already shown that remote work can improve productivity, employee retention, and generally makes employees feel trusted. It’s a boost to quality of life, and business outcomes.

 

WFH is the future – and with the right culture and tools at your company, that future is bright.

How to nail your remote working strategy: hire Remote Working experts

ClearHub’s remote working experts have helped countless teams in complex IT, software, development and DevOps roles to change the way they work together over long distances. By hiring in expert consultants to design and develop robust remote working platforms, you can retain your best talent, attract new talent, and maximise productivity – with a remote working expert on your side. 

Everything that happened at Atlassian TEAM 2022

team members event
team members event

Everything that happened at Atlassian TEAM 2022

TEAM ‘22 Highlights

  • Atlas launched – the ultimate teamwork directory
  • Compass unveiled, for distributed architecture
  • Atlassian Data Lake introduced
  • Atlassian Analytics Hub introduced
  • Security updates and new integrations announced

We’re back! After what feels like so many years of travel restrictions, uncertainty and covid-related chaos, the ClearHub team is so excited to be back in Las Vegas for Atlassian’s flagship conference event.

TEAM ‘22 is our 13th Atlassian conference, and our first in-person conference since 2019, so it’s safe to say we’ve all been pretty excited about it.

Aaron, our Global Contractor Support Manager, took his spot representing ClearHub at Stand 9 – talking to would-be and existing customers, excitement building as the event progressed…

And what an event it has been.

After buzzing around, saying our hellos and settling into the electric atmosphere of TEAM ‘22, the event kicked off properly. We were there for the opening keynote, delivered by Atlassian Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Scott Farquhar, and COO, Anu Bharadwaj.

Here’s what happened…

Atlassian launches Atlas, to connect all apps and keep projects on track

Atlas is a cross-platform project management tool, with a difference. It promises to be a robust solution for remote working teams: keeping track of who is working on what, deliverables, when they’re due – and crucially, the importance and value of their work.

It gives teams accountability (and stakeholders regular progress updates) by prompting weekly updates on work – limited to 280 characters, to stop reporting taking over their real jobs. Atlas creates a personalised digest for every user, every week – giving them updates on the projects that they follow.

Notion, Google apps, Monday.com – Atlas integrates with everything, including Microsoft Teams and Slack, bridging gaps and keeping work moving in the right direction.

Atlassian calls it a “teamwork directory”. And that’s fitting. Atlassian has recognised that teamwork happens in multiple platforms, but communicating status between them has been way too complicated.

Atlas is completely free to use, company-wide.

Get Atlas for free.

Atlassian introduces Compass (in Alpha) for distributed architecture

Compass is a developer experience platform that helps teams navigate their distributed architecture, bringing disconnected information about engineering output and the teams collaborating on them together in a central, searchable location.

Learn more about Compass.

Atlassian introduces Data Lake

Atlassian tools are critical in many companies, and generate huge firehoses of data – on workflow, productivity, performance and ROI. This data is produced over the entire stack of Atlassian tools, and until now, there hasn’t been a simple way to collect and make sense of it all. But that’s changing.

Companies can now gather and interpret cross-product and cross-instance data, for easy analysis. Atlassian Data Lake currently includes data from Jira Software and Jira Service Management, and will eventually work across all tools.

Atlassian Analytics Hub

Atlassian knows that data without context is nothing. Getting insights from Atlassian Data Lake requires a partner application – and Analytics Hub is just that. It can create custom reports and visualisations, to make sense of data and offer insights into everything your company is doing with its tools.

Eventually, Analytics Hub will be able to connect with other business intelligence tools, blending data from other sources and building a complete picture of company performance, within a single platform. 

Find out more.

New features, integrations and security updates

Confluence can now automatically create charts out of data, and change the chart type with one simple click – available in web and mobile editor. Confluence Cloud can now be integrated with Microsoft Teams.

  • All products will inherit the editing capability
  • More security in Atlassian Access

Taking a stand – at Stand 9

Stand 9 was our own little patch at TEAM ‘22, so we decided to use it for good. The ClearHub and Clearvision teams dedicated Stand 9 to supporting Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine is a personal matter for us. We have Ukrainian teammates and friends – and we can’t just stand idly by while our own people are put in danger.

So, we set up fundraising and Amazon gifting links – as well as a donations box at our stand. And the people of Atlassian TEAM ‘22 have not disappointed.

Your generosity will be distributed between authoritative, accountable British and Ukrainian charities, to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainians.

We want to help in any way we can to ease the suffering of innocent Ukranians caught in the conflict – and we’re extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed so far.

Get an Atlassian expert on your team

ClearHub specialises in finding the best Atlassian experts in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to fill your Atlassian skills shortage.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the ClearHub team today. Call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

Optimise Jira for your company; why – and how?

race car
race car

Optimise Jira for your company; why – and how?

Do you drive a car?

If you do, it probably has four wheels, four doors and four reasonably comfortable seats. If you have kids (or maybe even if you don’t), it’s probably smeared with snacks, the boot’s likely stuffed with sun tents and footballs and kites, and whatever else you’ve shoved in there and forgotten about. It’s not the fastest thing in the world – but it goes.

Now, compare that to the vehicles of Formula 1.

One seat, if you can call it that. No doors. Not a smear in sight. It’s fast. It is incredibly light, and engineered with such precision that it will only work when it’s come up to an optimal operating temperature.

Okay, great – but isn’t this like comparing apples to space stations? Yes – and that’s the point.

While they’re both cars, with engines and four wheels, one of them will do a school run comfortably, and the other one won’t even make it out of a driveway.

Each car in this example has been optimised for its environment and use-case.

Companies should be treating their Jira instance in the same way; optimising it for particular working practises and workflows. Half the time, we end up trying to take a family of four to Butlins in an F1 car. The other half, we’re trying to whip a fully-loaded 7-seater round a chicane.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

But what if we only had one tool for the job? We’d have to modify it to work as a competent racer, a family car – or be one or the other at any given time.

And that brings us to Jira. It’s a brilliant tool out of the box; but, like any software, it’s not always a perfect fit, especially when deployed at scale. 

Thankfully, it can be customised and optimised for any business to get the best from it.

The problem with large Jira instances

Larger Jira instances can often be slow to respond, with long load times due to the number of configuration items. But they can also suffer from:

  • Poor stability and failure rates
  • Difficult maintenance and indexing

Optimising a Jira instance from this state requires a sequence of procedures, with constant monitoring and maintenance. And that can require a team of admins.

Needless to say, optimising a poorly-performing Jira instance can be resource-heavy. But the payoffs will be felt long down the line, as productivity and efficiency improvements make for faster turnaround and happier users, all-round.

Getting started with Jira optimisation

The secret to managing Jira optimisation more effectively is to create a custom Jira solution, using add-ons and apps from the Atlassian App Marketplace, before tuning the platform to your specific requirements. And to get the best results, you need to know where the improvement has to happen first.

Jira optimisation step 1: assess your situation

Using a Jira analytics add-on, you’ll be able to see bottlenecks and pain points much more clearly. This allows your team to focus on key areas for improvement, and use time most efficiently. It’ll also show where your Jira customisation needs to be optimised, and which workflows aren’t working as well as they could be.

Jira optimisation step 2: automate and streamline everything*

*Within reason.

A big part of optimising Jira is automating processes that are prone to human error, or are repetitive and time-consuming. Jira has a built-in, no-code automation feature, based on triggers/conditions/rules. These are rules that basically state  “if X happens, do Y”.

But things can be taken further, by running scripts or implementing custom code. The solution you’ll need depends on how complex your requirements are.

Jira optimisation step 3: integrate everything

Using apps and customisation, Jira can be configured to do anything you need it to – down to the UI and core functionality. But even at its most basic, Jira is super powerful when used in conjunction with other tools.

Connecting Jira to other applications gives you the ability to view lots of data in one place.  You can connect Jira to Hipchat, to post a message any time a new issue is created – or connect Jira to Confluence, to create a reciprocal link between issues and related pages.  

Jira optimisation step 4: into the Cloud we go

If you don’t need deep customisation, but want better response times, speed and performance, Jira Cloud offers all this and more.

Jira Cloud deploys best-in-class tech as it becomes available, and features are rolled out and implemented as they happen – giving you the optimum out-of-the-box experience.

But if you need deeper control and customisation, there’s always Jira Data Center, which helps you retain full control.

Find out more about Atlassian Cloud migration, with a certified Atlassian expert.

Customise your Jira for optimal results – with an expert contractor on your team

ClearHub specialises in finding the best Jira contractors in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to optimise your Jira instance.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the ClearHub team today – call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

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