Process Perfect: Getting Business Processes Right in JIRA

We’re all about empowering your teams to manage their processes in JIRA. ProForma is designed to make that conversion easy. But implementation is also an opportunity to review your and refine your procedures.  After all, if you’re going to build your processes into a software system (and isn’t it cool that the process can drive the software and not the other way around?), it’s a good time to step back and make sure you have the right process in the first place.

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The Workflow Design Meeting

In JIRA, process is embodied in workflows. So as a starting point we can follow Atlassian’s guidance on conducting a Workflow Design Meeting:

  • Gather all stakeholders.
  • Map out the process on a white board. How do things get from not done to done?
  • Identify who owns each task.
  • Identify any approval points or special conditions - the things that will become your conditions, validators and post-functions.
  • Err on the side of simplicity.

This gives you the basic information you need for building a JIRA workflow. But there are a few more steps to consider, especially for teams that are converting to an online system for the first time.

Change Your Point of View

Before you enshrine your process in a workflow, it might be a good idea to let it sit for a bit while you think about someone else’s process - your customer’s.  What does the process of accessing your service look like from their point of view? What are the pain points? What would an ideal process look like from the customer’s angle? If you serve both internal and external customers, consider these questions for both.  

Now return to the workflow you designed. Are there any changes that could make things easier, faster, less painful for your customers? Maybe you’re already doing things in the best way possible, but imagining how things would be in a perfect world from the customer's point of view is good way to start thinking outside of the proverbial box. The way things have always been done is not necessarily the best (or the worst) way to do them.

What Inputs Do You Need?

Having mapped out a process that serves both your team and your customers, you’re ready to create your workflow.  But if JIRA is going to be your team’s chief mechanism for serving customers, that workflow isn’t the only thing you need to consider. What information do you need from customers in order to serve them? Asking the right questions up front will save time for both you and your customers. Make sure that you’re asking for all of the information you need, and not asking for any information you don’t need.

You could use custom fields to collect this information, but as more teams move more processes into JIRA that could mean a lot of custom fields to manage.  A simpler option is to use a form (or a set of forms) to gather the information you need.  ProForma allows you to build the forms you need for any process and attach them to a JIRA request types/issues. That way your team gets all the information they need up front. The right information and the right process. That's a recipe for good service.