Jira is the most used tool when it comes to agile practices. Close to 67% of organizations are looking at Jira as one of the critical software to manage their agile projects or, I would say, track the agile projects when it comes to management. Originally Jira was intended for being used as a bug tracking system. But now they have added a lot of things, and it is one of the most widely used tools. They provide you with a number of templates that you may find helpful, especially Kanban bug tracking. In the case of standard project management, Jira will give you some of those templates because when you take the Jira platform, you get all the things related to Jira core. In this article, I will discuss the Jira best practices which you must follow when using Jira. So, let’s get started!
1. Design Workflows with your Team
When it comes to workflows, you should consider building the workflow with your team because, obviously, every member of the team has a role to play. So, it is always better that you sit with them and create the workflow. Don’t do it on your own, and don’t try to create too many statuses. It just creates a lot of confusion in terms of what is happening in the workflow.
2. Ensure Stories are not Orphaned
Many times, you will notice that there are multiple stories in the project that are not tied to a parent (feature or epic), they are called orphaned stories. Such stories will never be a part of the higher level initiative, and they will not get enough visibility. So as a Jira best practice, you should always make sure that your project should not have any orphaned stories, which means each story should be a part of an epic in Jira or feature in Jira align. Go to Program > Backlog and select all the orphaned stories and add them to a parent.
3. Ensure every story in Jira has an estimate
Every story in Jira should have an estimate so that it is easy to forecast the completion of the project. You can configure each portfolio in Jira align to either use “Modified Fibonacci or Power of Two” to estimate stories. An active sprint should not have stories without any estimate. In Jira align, go to Program > Backlog and select orphan object to list all the estimated stories. Then add estimation to these stories.
4. Status Removal
There would be cases in the project lifecycle where you would remove a few statuses from the project if they were not relevant anymore. But be aware that if you are going to remove statuses as a project admin, it could impact your reports and dashboards as they were a part of the project initially.
5. Remove unfinished stories before closing the sprint
Many times, when you close the sprint, there will be some stories in the unfinished state. These unfinished stories will move to product backlog when the sprint is completed. If another team picks up these unfinished stories in their sprint, a lot of confusion happens because it creates confusion about which ones belong to which sprint team. To avoid this, when you are closing a sprint, permanently remove the stories from it. Or you can also split the story, so a part of it will be marked as finished in one sprint and the remaining part in another sprint.
6. Assign proper access controls
There can be different levels of people who would be working on a Jira project, and their roles would be different. So, according to the user profile, the correct access controls should be available. The administrator control is usually given to the team leads, and they can control project role membership, create different versions and components in their projects. Team members will be the users who are responsible for working on the issues and can execute workflow transitions. Everyone else is a normal user who can browse, create, watch issues on Jira.
7. Don’t use too many custom fields
Depending on the complexity and uniqueness of the project, people often create too many custom fields according to their need, but this can have significant disadvantages. Creating too many custom fields can become overwhelming to the users and have negative performance effects. Until and unless you have a proper justification as to why a custom field is needed in a project, don’t use custom fields. For most of your work, use built-in system fields and reporting. You can use historical JQL queries, and custom fields won’t be really required in most of the cases.
8. Use one Rapid Board at a Time
Jira is able to achieve the concept of a “Team” using agile boards in Jira agile. Each team should have its own rapid board, so one rapid board per team. Each issue defined in Jira should belong to one team’s rapid board at a particular time. Also, every rapid board should have only one active sprint at a time, and other sprints can be in a “not activated” state.
So, these were some important Jira best practices that you must know while you are working on Jira. Once you have set up the Jira projects, you must follow these best practices, which have emerged from industry and practical experiences. Following these practices will help you enhance the performance of the project and will provide a better overall output. Companies that are using Jira very intelligently are able to showcase its worth and productivity. These practices help you use Jira workflows, Jira stories and epics, Jira roadmap, etc. in the best way possible. So go ahead and start implementing these Jira best practices in your projects.