Who’s in Charge? Jira Governance for Business Teams

Getting off to the right start is always the best way to go. It’s not always reality. We usually inherit things- business processes, Jira applications, our parents’ bad habits, etc.  In her excellent resource, Jira Strategy Admin Workbook, Rachel Wright recommends starting out by creating a Jira Advisory Board. If you’re starting from scratch, this is a great first step. If you’re already using Jira, now might be the time to put your Board in place, especially if you’re considering expanding Jira to other teams in your organization.

Different organizations have different ways of governing their processes. Rachel recommends that the role of the Advisory Board include:

  • Deciding what customizations to create and support in order to strike a balance between giving teams what they need and maintaining a manageable, high-performing application.
  • Setting standards for privacy, security, and storage and handling sensitive information.
  • Developing a process for providing support for teams’ Jira projects.
  • Determining what a successful Jira application looks like. What metrics will define success?

Who Should be on the Advisory Board?

When you consider how powerful and mission critical Jira can be for your organization, it’s clear that it shouldn’t be directed by just one person. But who else should be on your Board? Rachel recommends a group of about five people including:

  • An end user - techy-minded or not
  • A Jira Administrator who understands the application’s capabilities
  • A Project Manager, Business Analyst or Strategist - basically a process-oriented person
  • A high level manager or VP who’s ultimately responsible for the work that gets done in Jira
  • A wildcard member to keep everyone on task

Consider having your end user or your wildcard member come from a non-technical business team.

Why Create a Jira Advisory Board Now?

You’re probably thinking, we’ve managed this long without a Board, why do we need one now? If that’s the case, one of two things is probably happening. Either your Jira Administrator is handling everything on their own; trying to please everybody or relying on their own knowledge for deciding what should and shouldn’t be implemented.  Or you do have a group of people who work together to set standards and support Jira users - you just don’t think of them as an Advisory Board.

If you don’t already have one, the moment of expanding Jira to business teams is an excellent time to establish a Board. Here’s why you need one now, even if you didn’t think you needed one before:

  • Expanding Jira to business teams will mean more requests for customizations; more custom fields, more screen schemes, more configurations. With each request, you will need to decide if it’s worth creating and supporting the new asset or whether an existing field, scheme or configuration can be shared.  You’ll come to better decisions if you include multiple points of view.
     
  • You’ll also be collecting more sensitive information. Consider all the personal information HR keeps on employees. You need a policy to determine what kinds of sensitive information can be stored in Jira. Expanding to business teams also means you’re inheriting all of the privacy and security standards that apply to those teams. Again, you don’t want to be deciding how to navigate that alone.
     
  • Finally, teams may be skeptical as to how well a solution developed for IT can address their needs.  That’s understandable.  We’re all experts in our own areas.  Having an Advisory Board that includes non-techies will help people feel more assured that their needs will be considered.

Easily Convert Business Teams to Jira

Expanding Jira to business teams is a great opportunity to bring a tool you already know, love and support to wider use in your organization.  Teams from Finance to HR will love handling their requests in Jira, being able to measure and predict their workload using Jira’s reporting and knowing that their backsides are covered with Jira’s end to end traceability. 

Along with making sure business teams’ conversion to Jira is done right (the reason you’re setting up that Advisory Board), it would also be nice to have it done easily.  This is where ProForma Forms & Templates for Jira can help. ProForma offers a template library and an easy to use form builder that puts teams in control of collecting exactly the information they require, without the need for custom fields, screens and configurations. You may actually find yourself doing less Jira admin even as you bring more teams into Jira.

You can help your business teams have it all: a great tool, a well-governed application and an easy conversion.