One of the biggest complaints we’ve heard our clients make about their JIRA usage is the fact they feel they have inaccurate metrics or insight into project or programs being tracked in JIRA

  • When there are multiple vendors leveraging JIRA for status, the reporting is not consistent
  • JIRA being used just to report, not to accurately manage and track status
  • Lack of insight into code quality or coverage
  • Inability to track accurate or consistent metrics on overall vendor performance

There’s an old saying – garbage in, garbage out.  If you are trying to manage a large program with multiple vendors and multiple projects, your dashboards will only be as good as the JIRA data being entered.  The key behind getting valuable dashboards in JIRA is to establish a process where the data gathered is consistent and to be deliberate about the metrics that really give you the insight your decision-making requires. Tackling this can be broken into the following three steps:

A. Nail down your business objective

What is critical to the success of your project?  Knowing the information you hope to track highlights which fields will need to be standardized across your JIRA projects.  An example would be release dates deadline-driven program.  JIRA should be leveraged to clearly define and track those release dates and the Affects Version/s’ and ‘Fix Version/s’ fields should be a part of recording all JIRA issues and tasks.

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B. Make the information driving your dashboards mandatory

Determine the fields which will provide the information for your JIRA dashboard and have your administrator flag them as mandatory as part of your workflow.  This can be done either within the JIRA screen schemes or within the workflow scheme as a condition.  Using the same example of deadline-driven projects, the Affects Version/s’ and ‘Fix Version/s’ fields will be critical for tracking so they should be marked as mandatory in the JIRA screen scheme by the system administrator.  A process of managing and maintaining the releases in all the projects will need to be put in place.

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C. Enforce JIRA Usage a Standard Process

In environments with multiple vendors feeding information to a single JIRA program, setting down standards is tricky but critical for ensuring the data being reported is consistent.  Clear program reporting expectations need to be communicated and enforced.  Users will still will have the freedom to run their projects as individual teams when standards are set.  But the overarching dashboard data will be more consistent if they are based upon mandatory fields that are shared as a standard across the projects.

JIRA is powerful for project task and issue management because it’s highly configurable and may be customized.  However, because JIRA is highly configurable and customizable, it can become an unfortunate nightmare. As with any tool, JIRA is dependent on the skill of the and expertise of the persons using the tool.  If you have a JIRA administration team that works proactively and understands project process, you will spend less time reacting to poor metrics.

Charles Hudson have spent considerable effort to analyze the usage of JIRA by our eCommerce customers and developed best practices and key metrics that allow anyone to get a head start on the process and start gaining insights you can use for proactive decision making. We have programs to assess and improve your existing JIRA deployments in short time frames.