Jira software from Atlassian can quickly become very complex. There are countless plug-ins, adjustments and settings that you can make to individualize Jira. All these functions and possibilities lead to the fact that the software becomes quite complex in handling and administration. But don't worry or "don't panic"! We've put together a little guide that will help you get started as a Jira admin.
1. Admin permissions only for employees who know what they are doing
In Jira, a lot can break pretty quickly if you don't know what you're doing. For example, if you change the shared workflow in one project, there is a high risk that other projects will be affected as well. This problem can always occur when the schemes are shared with other projects. A typical and frequently occurring scenario, which illustrates this problem once again, are changes to "Issue Types". Often these schemes are used as standard templates for several projects. Changes, or even worse the deletion of issue types quickly leads to the bugs described above.
It is therefore advisable to only give admin permissions to people who know what they are doing. All other users should only be assigned certain functions.
Manage users and groups on a scheduled basis for accelerated authorization & permission management
2. Carefully read the official Jira documentation
'Out of the box', Jira already offers a huge range of standard features that will make your life as a Jira Admin a lot easier. So it's best to start with the Documentation from Atlassian. This already offers a variety of tips and tricks that you can use every day.
Find out how to establish Jira in your company in the long term here: Guide - Easy implementation of Jira software in your company
3. Define standards for workflows & working methods for all users
Jira is an excellent collaboration tool for standardizing the way teams work. Before unleashing Jira on the teams, it is advisable to look at the working practices of individual teams beforehand. Ideally, if all teams have to adhere to a certain project process it can be easily adapted to Jira. This way, all teams can use the same workflow, which an admin creates in advance as a standard scheme and ensures that this scheme is actually used when creating a new project. The assignment of default schemes can be implemented on all projects in Jira and offers the charming advantage that you do not have to administer a large number of schemes and that fewer schemes also brings an improvement in performance.
Therefore, consistent standards for workflows, approaches and structures should be created in advance. This brings the big picture back into focus.
→ Digitization and automation of Jira processes - Learn more
4. Archive completed projects
Over time, more and more new projects are created in Jira. As a result, one can quickly lose the overview and get confused when creating a ticket or working with Jira. It is always advisable to archive a project at the end. On the one hand, this makes these projects no longer visible to users and on the other hand, it also improves the performance of the entire Jira instance. How to archive completed projects can be found in the Jira Documentation.
5. Keep the number of schemes manageable
If you ask ten different people from ten different departments what their processes look like, you'll get hundreds of different answers. So it feels like every project has a different process and approach. From the perspective of a Jira admin, it makes sense to analyze and understand how the departments work via a workshop, with the goal of defining a uniform project structure ("common denominator") in Jira. Once this is done, projects with the same way of working can use the same schemas and the departments are enabled to work together e.g. via KANBAN or SCRUM board.
6. Make sure that the number of custom fields remains manageable
Similar to workflows, teams love custom fields. But if new custom fields are created all the time, you will lose the overview here as well. Here you should rather make sure that already existing fields are reused and can be used in a new context if required.
Many Jira admins take over existing systems in the new job to "clean them up". When taking over, it turns out that there were 40 different iterations for 'Start Date' and 'End Date'.
The consequences of this were more than visible in daily use. For example, it was no longer possible to display all issues with a start date of 08/01/2020 for projects A, B, C etc.
Therefore, make sure that existing custom fields are reused.
7. Document your approach
How many times have you thought "How did I configure this project?" Probably countless times. To ensure that the approach to a configuration is not lost, comprehensive documentation is essential. In this case, it is a useful approach to document your approach in Confluence, with the ability to link individual projects to a Space (area in Confluence). This way a comprehensible documentation can be built up.
The provision of knowledge in the company is essential for employees and leads to more know-how, professionalism and productivity in the long term → The provision of knowledge in the company is essential for employees and leads to more know-how, professionalism and productivity in the long term. Learn more in our article on knowledge management
8. Board configuration (KANBAN, SCRUM)
Whenever possible, assign the status of a project exclusively to one column in the board configuration. In addition, it is important to ensure that the name of the column is either the same as the status or that a similar term is chosen. This makes the board easier to use for users, as it is immediately obvious to which column the corresponding status belongs. Otherwise, it is not possible for users to move issues with a simple drag-and-drop if the source and target statuses are both assigned to the same column.
9. Use the main filter of Kanban or SCRUM boards correctly
Always set the main filter of the board with "...ORDER BY Rank ASC" at the end. Otherwise you lose the ability to order the displayed issues vertically, which is essential for backlog management and a useful thing to have control over the display order of the cards on the board.
10. Use Quick Filter
Set Quick Filters as needed to ensure clarity on the boards. You can set a Quick Filter for any field in Jira via JQL in the board configuration. This way, a crowded board can be reduced to the desired information very quickly. For example, if you want to show tickets on the board that are only assigned to your person, a corresponding Quick Filter could be "Assignee = X", or better "Assignee = currentUser()". You can find more information about Quick Filter here.
As a Jira Admin, you don't just have to make sure the system runs smooth and stable. You have to make sure that the system always remains clear and that well-considered adjustments are made. Customizations in workflows, projects and custom fields help the teams in their daily work, but make it difficult for you to keep the system "clean".
Do you need help using Jira or does your company want to customize the system to meet its needs? Our Atlassian consultants will be happy to help you. Contact now.