One to Many: Collecting & Structuring Data in a Jira Issue

Jira’s awesome for tracking information, but what about gathering the right data in the first place. A simple solution awaits…

Using Forms to Collect Data in Jira

Jira issues are designed to collect the basic information needed (summary) and more if necessary. But that more was originally created with software development in mind- hence fields like version and release date.  Jira’s powerful workflow engine and end-to-end traceability make it a great tool for teams beyond software development (think HR, Procurement, Legal), but what about their data collection needs?

You have three basic options when it comes to collecting data in Jira for non-tech, business teams:

  • Use the description field - You can adapt the existing fields, especially the description field, to be used for non-software development processes. Descriptions are just that. They could contain any of the details needed to respond to and process a request. The challenge comes when there are a lot of those details.  Will the reporter remember, without being prompted, to include all the different pieces of information the agent needs so that time isn’t lost going back and forth? How much time will the agent have to spend parsing out separate pieces of information that are lumped together in that one field.
     
  • Use custom fields - Jira allows you to create whatever fields you need. This makes for great flexibility. It can also make for a lot of work. Teams like HR, Risk Management and Finance will not only need to collect information that is different from what is needed for software teams - they will need to collect information that is different from each other. Using custom fields to accommodate the needs of multiple business teams will create administrative, governance and even performance problems. 
     
  • Use a form - The best solution to collecting specific pieces of is to use a form. Forms have persisted as a business tool because they get the job done.  They prompt users to answer the right questions. They allow you to to require the data you need and to format it the way you want.

ProForma Online Forms & Templates for Jira

You have several options for creating Jira issues from webforms, but ProForma offers the advantages of not needing a third party integration and of providing increased flexibility in form design. ProForma also allows you to break away from that one to one relationship between forms and issues. The reality is that business processes are complex and a single request may require information from more than one source.

Edit a Submitted Form

ProForma forms can be either locked or unlocked. If a form is unlocked, the agent receiving the form can edit its contents.  This is can be helpful f you want to make a minor correction, such as if there are silly spelling errors that you’d rather not see carried through to reports. Or you can design a form which has different sections to be completed by different people (the requestor and the agent).

Your choices for form design will be informed by your business processes. Since ProForma makes it easy for teams to build, deploy and manage their own forms, teams can choose what works for them.

Attach Multiple Forms to an Issue

Another option is to add a second form to the issue. ProForma supports adding as many forms to an issue as needed. This gives you another layer for structuring data within an issue. Attaching an additional form (or forms) is a good choice if you want to:

  • Preserve the request that was originally submitted without any alterations
  • Collect information from more than one party
  • Collect extra information (such as an expense code, etc.) as part of an approval process 

Attaching multiple forms to an issue makes Jira even more flexible and adaptable. A small business might create an issue for each of their employees and attach all the relevant HR forms, saving themselves from the need to invest in an HR system.

A particular item could be tracked from order, to delivery, to fulfillment of a warranty contract (and if things go wrong, through return and refund), with appropriate forms, collecting the appropriate data for each step along the way.  The possibilities are endless.