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Jira for task management

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An agency is selected, the goals are agreed upon and the work on the website is commissioned - then it's time to work on the many to-dos. But how do we as a project team always keep an overview and can plan the next steps together? There are task management tools for this purpose. As an issue tracking system, they manage requirements and upcoming tasks for collaborative work.

At undpaul we like to use Jira Software from Atlassian for requirements management. Jira is very comprehensive and thus offers many possibilities for individualization, but is still intuitive to use. With Jira complex processes can be mapped, but also in easy steps an already very helpful tool for joint project work can be created.

Jira configuration in our web projects

Every project and every customer is different. This means that the configuration in Jira is also individual and different in each of our projects. However, a certain basic framework (basic configuration) has proven itself for our Drupal projects.

Manage different requirements with Issues

All requirements are collected in Jira as so-called Issues. We use different issue types to structure the different requirements.

  • A story describes a new feature or function for the website. Since we work according to Scrum, the story (in Scrum "User Story") focuses on the end-user perspective and mainly includes the functional acceptance criteria.
  • A task describes a rather technical task that is necessary for the project but has no direct visibility to the end users.
  • A bug describes an unexpected, incorrect behavior on the website, especially for functions that have already been implemented correctly in previous requirements.
  • An epic basically represents a large user story and collects stories and tasks that belong to one topic.

Each issue passes through different statuses during editing. In our Jira projects, we use the statuses mainly to differentiate the degree of completion and the different areas of responsibility. An issue usually passes through the following statuses: In planning - To Do - Needs Info - In progress - Testing - Customer acceptance - Done. The workflow in Jira allows us to control the order in which the issues pass through these statuses.

Views for different purposes

The Jira backlog contains all issues of the project that still need to be worked on and do not have the status "done". It gives us an overview of all tasks still to be done. In the backlog our customers sort the requirements by priority and together as a project team we plan upcoming sprints.

Furthermore, we use two different boards, i.e. different views on the issues. 

The Sprint Board is our working tool in the active development phase, the Sprint. During the sprint period, the development team works its way through all issues on the Sprint Board and pushes them from left to right through the statuses until they are completed. Our customers are directly involved in the development work with the Sprint Board. This is how all communication runs through the Jira comments and issues in the status Customer Acceptance is a work package for the customers.

We use the SLA Board for customers with an active maintenance contract. It is an ongoing collection of issues that are errors on the website or hinder the website. Our customers create these issues themselves in their Jira project, we receive a push notification and can start working on them.

Setting up a free Jira instance

Some of our customers already use Jira within their own company and can add us to their instance for the web project. For other customers, we set up a new Jira instance for our web project. This is easier and (up to a certain point) cheaper than expected: the cloud version is available for up to 10 users for free. In most of our projects these 10 users are sufficient.

Setting up a free Jira project is quite simple. Follow the steps below and in 5 minutes the new project will be ready.

  1. Log in to the Atlassian website with a user account.
  2. Enter a name for the instance.
  3. Invite other users. This is optional and can be done later.
  4. The next step is to create the actual Jira project. Several different Jira projects can be created in one Jira instance.
  5. As a basis for a project we choose the Scrum template. Within the project different boards can be created later.
  6. Enter the name and key for the project and then it is already created.

You can read more about this in the more detailed instructions of Atlassian

Multiple Jira instances at a glance

As an agency, we manage various customer projects in parallel - usually each with its own Jira instance. Not losing the overview can be quite a challenge. 

We found the best solution for us in the Jira Watchtower App. It visualizes issues from different Jira instances in one view. Thus, we have clearly arranged all our project tasks in one undpaul internal board.

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