Guide - How to successfully implement Jira in your company and team

Introduction of Jira

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There are many project management tools on the market, but none of them is as versatile as Jira. The software integrates perfectly with common project management approaches, including the agile SCRUM methodology. Jira is therefore perfectly suited for software development, but it can also be used for many other business areas. Digitizing existing business processes and centralizing the way we work encourages collaboration on cross-functional topics and creates a shared understanding for common issues and projects. But as with any new tool, each employee first needs an introduction to Jira software as well as to a different approach to work. Find out how to successfully implement Jira in your company here.

Content

  1. Convince your users from Jira
  2. Introduction to agile project management
  3. Understanding the language of Jira - terminology and co.
  4. Organize Jira correctly
  5. Working with Jira

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1. convince your users

Every employee is skeptical at first and has lots of questions. Why do we need a new project management tool? What are the advantages of the software? Where are the differences to the old solution? Why should we want to use Jira at all? What will Jira do for me?

This is where understanding and answering the "why" and "what's in it for me?" is important. It will help you drive adoption of Jira and thus gain internal Jira champions. This way you guarantee early support for the cause. Conviction is thus one of the most important factors. 

Now you're probably asking yourself how you can best accomplish this task. You should focus on communicating to your employees why Jira is used and what added value (e.g. through features or benefits) the software brings. Benefits can be time savings, digitalized and automated processes, or improved productivity. If your company is also active in software development, you can talk about the synergies of Jira with agile methods such as SCRUM.

Kanban and SCRUM in Jira

2. introduction to agile project management

You could almost say Agile is Jira and Jira is Agile. Jira provides everything you need to introduce agile project management into your organization (if you haven't already).

What is "Agile"?

Agile is a process of project management and software development that helps teams deliver value to customers faster and with fewer defects. Agile is an iterative approach that helps teams deliver work in small but actionable units. Requirements, plans, and deliverables are continuously evaluated so teams can easily respond to change.

➞ Learn more about Agile here


In agile project management, this is usually based on two frameworks resorted to. Kanban and SCRUM. Both offer a number of advantages in the handling and execution of tasks.

SCRUM Board and Backlog in Jira

SCRUM

SCRUM is ideally suited for software development. This has the advantage that a project can be completed in a structured manner in a series of time-defined iterations (sprints / work packages). In each Sprint, the tasks defined in the sprint planning are processed and the tickets are discussed in daily stand-ups.The point here is to find out what everyone is working on and to solve all possible problems (Blocker) to identifywhat could prevent a task from being completed within the sprints timeframe. 

Kanban Board in Jira

Kanban

The Kanban framework is, unlike with SCRUM, based on a continuous delivery of work packages / tasks (tickets) In addition, the status of a ticket can be viewed at any time (e.g. Todo, In Progress, Done). An essential component of Kanban is to manage the Limit "Work in Progress (WIP)".The limitation of work-in-progress allows you to identify and eliminate bottlenecks in the workflow faster. Kanban is perfectly suited for teams that are not involved in software development (e.g. marketing, design, sales, etc.).

An Introduction of Jira also means using agile methods and internalize it. 

The last question to ask is why adopt Agile?

Agile has some benefits that are hard to ignore. One key point is that Agile bridges the gap between development and business

Example: 

Management has decided that a new intranet should be developed. The new development has an impact on several business units and teams. Besides development, IT infrastructure, marketing & communication and design are involved in the project. In addition, the finance department has an eye on the development costs. 

The stakeholders involved therefore need a tool and framework to handle the project. So in Jira, multiple teams can work on a project with different frameworks. Marketing, design etc. with the help of Kanban boards. Development and infrastructure with SCRUM. 

Understanding the language of Jira - terminology and co.

Terminology

Jira Terms and Structure

With every new tool, a new terminology is introduced into a company. However, it is not always easy to make sense of it, especially in the beginning. When introducing Jira, you should therefore make sure that every employee is familiar with it. new terms and ticket structure understands and internalized. 

  • Jira Issues: Work packages or tasks of any size are a fundamental element of Jira and come in different types (e.g. Story, Epic, Task or Bug).
  • Boards: A visual illustration of all active issues
  • Projects: These consist of a collection of issues with the same content reference and workflow.

The Terminology in Jira can be a bit overwhelming.

So here's an example:

A new corporate website is to be developed (the project). The project then includes several larger project steps such as content, website environment and design. These are then the so-called Epics. Within the Epics there are further individual Tasks. For the epic content these can be texts and graphics. For the environment, the purchase of a server. Within the tasks it can happen that further subtasks are needed, like texts for home, products or services. 

How you ultimately divide up these tasks is, of course, up to you and will vary depending on the project.

Workflows

Jira Workflows

As already mentioned, in agile project management, Work steps mapped by workflows. A workflow is, so to speak, a Cycle through the issues. Each step in the workflow represents a specific Status. Initially, the status is declared as "To Do". Only when you start working on the ticket, it slides into "In Progress". When you have finished the task, you move it to "Done". 

4. organize Jira correctly

To properly organize Jira, you first need to understand the terminology. Then you can get started and configure Jira according to your company's (or team's) needs. 

Labels, Components & Versions

With more and more tickets, issues and projects, Jira can also become increasingly confusing. In order not to lose the overview then, Jira offers an additional organizational level. These are Labels, components and versions. This increases the findability of your tickets / issues in Jira and refines the search. 

  • Labels: Think of labels as tags. They can help you categorize and search topics, and also have the advantage of allowing you to use multiple labels per topic.
  • Components: Components are subsections of projects. They merely subdivide a project into smaller parts.
  • Versions: Versions are specific points in time in a project. They mainly help you to define milestones.

Access permissions and user roles

In Jira, you can assign different roles to users (and more). Each of these roles has certain rights & privileges. However, it's important to note that not every user has full access to all of Jira's features. Grant certain rights only to system administrators. Otherwise, at some point everyone does what they want and countless different elements are created. Ultimately, this makes the system unmanageable and confusing. When implementing Jira, you should make sure that every user understands their role.

With the right configuration of user roles you can prevent this. If you want to know more about user roles, access options and rights, our solution for Identity and Access Management helps you equip users with the right roles.

➞ How to automate user permissions: XALT IAM

Working with Jira

5. working with Jira

They say preparation is half the effort, and in the case of Jira, that's true. Creating issues (tickets) is easy to understand. Users just have to make sure that the correct issue type is used and the ticket is created in the applicable project. 

Users should give the issues a clear title and in any case add a short description of what is to be achieved. Additionally, issues can be prioritized in the ticket creation to convey the importance of the task.

Once the ticket is created, you can find it in the Backlog of the respective project and you can set the status to "To Do" if required. 

Collaboration 

Another important tool for working with Jira is the commenting feature. Through @mentioning, you can bring a specific issue to the attention of your team members and take many conversations out of isolated areas like email and chat to have the respective communication transparent and contextualized in the related issue. It's just like mentioning someone on Facebook, but this way you can make sure your team members are notified. 

Summary

As a project management tool, Jira offers countless functions and personalization options. In order for your team to be able to work with the software right from the start, it is up to you (a Jira Champion) to convince them of this. However, you can only do this if you demonstrate all the advantages of Jira in the best possible way when introducing it and remove any reservations. You should therefore make sure that everyone understands and internalizes the Jira terms. Also, make sure that user roles are different from each other and have certain rights.

Unleash your Jira potential

Jira Consulting

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