And the Best Tool for Managing Jira is…Jira!

Perhaps it’s stating the obvious, but Jira is complex. There are a lot of parts to manage. In order to keep everyone who uses your Jira application happy you need a way to receive their requests and feedback, to keep track of all of your Jira projects and to manage requests for customizations. In other words, you need Jira to manage Jira.

Creating a Jira Support Project

In the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook, Rachel Wright describes how to set up a Jira Support Project which can be used for just this purpose. Your Jira Support Project is the mechanism for:

  • Creating and archiving Jira projects
  • Managing customizations and requests for customizations
  • Responding to user support requests
  • Measuring how well you’re doing providing support to Jira users

The Workbook provides detailed descriptions of the issue types, fields, screens and workflow you’ll want for your Support Project.  You can expedite the process of creating a your project by taking advantage of the forms and templates already available in the ProForma template library. These include processes for managing requests for:

  • Custom fields
  • New projects
  • New user accounts
  • Permission changes
  • Project access
  • Project closure
  • Workflow changes

Using ProForma forms to handle these requests not only means you can get going quickly, it also means you can reduce the need for custom fields. This is a good practice, as you will find yourself telling others that they need to limit their use of custom fields.

Customer Feedback

Great minds think alike.  In his presentation Five Strategies Simple Strategies to Jira Service Desk Success, Greg Warner of ServiceRocket recommends creating a feedback request type so that you can constantly be improving. 

Rachel takes this a step farther, describing how you can ask customers to verify completion of their requests and create a transition screen with a few quick survey questions to collect their feedback. Collecting and using feedback will improve your systems and help users see themselves as valued stakeholders in your Jira application.

The Jira Support Team

A lone Jira Administrator is not a support team. It takes a village. Along with a Jira Advisory Board, Rachel recommends having a team of Jira Ambassadors who serve as liaisons between you and the Jira users you support. These could be Project Leads, or other power users who have a good understanding of Jira. Ambassadors are important allies in answering common questions or getting the word out when there’s a change to your application or your procedures.

In what is perhaps the most creative suggestion in the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook, Rachel suggests creating a few fictional characters to help disseminate information. She uses the Jira Genie and Gerry the Jira Gerbil. Jira users receive a lot of notifications. Fictional personas help messages stand out, get opened, read and shared. (I’d rather not speculate as to why we’re more likely to read a message from a fictional character than from one of our actual co-workers says about as humans…) Plus, it’s almost always advantageous to deliver important information with a light and humorous tone. 

Limitations

There is one time when Jira is not the best way to manage Jira -  during an upgrade or a "lock and rebuild" reindex.  Your plans, notes and documentation will be temporarily unavailable at that time.One solution, if you're using ProForma forms for your documentation, is to download a spreadsheet of the relevant information before starting your upgrade or reindex.

The job of managing your Jira application is a big one. You can be successful with the right tools and the right team.