Enterprise software development has changed a lot over the last two decades, from expensive server farms to the explosion of the web and mobile applications to the rise of the cloud. Yet surprisingly, a lot of developers are still using the same basic tools to manage the complicated process of building and delivering software, and Atlassian is one of the mainstays.
Teams that follow the agile methodology require the support of a proper project management tool that fulfills their unique agility requirements. Jira Software has gained a lot of popularity among the agile development teams because of the ways it supports the agile project management methodology used for developing software. Whether it’s Scrum, Kanban, or mixed agile methods, the extensive customization options of Jira allow adapting it to the way your teams actually work.
Jira: A Short History
JIRA launched way back in 2002 by Atlassian. In the beginning, it was purely a bug and issue tracking platform for software developers. Now JIRA has turned into a comprehensive project management tool for the development teams of all sizes.
Bugzilla — Gojira —JIRA!
Like all great software products, the name JIRA originated within the company as an in-house joke. But, it wasn’t originally known as just “Jira.”
At the start, the team behind Jira was using “Bugzilla” for tackling bugs, but engineers being engineers, they decided to start calling the system by the original Japanese name for the King of the Monsters, Godzilla or in Japanese “Gojira.”
When they got around to creating their own unique version, it was then that Jira started its life as Gojira. Soon Jira dropped the “Go,” and the product management tool “Jira” is born.
It's used by everyone in product development
Perfect for small and large companies alike, JIRA is a one-stop-shop with lots of choices for project management. That’s why it’s no wonder that the extensive system is in use by some of the world’s top companies.
The exact number? 83% of Fortune 500 companies use Jira for their project management needs.
Will using Jira help you get to the top? Who knows! But it certainly doesn’t hurt your chances. And you don’t have to worry that the company will go away any day soon with all your data.
Not just for tech-heads!
Think Jira is just for software developers? Think again. It’s true that Jira does provide seamless and almost endless possibilities for software development teams. But, did you know that over 50% of Jira’s customers use the software for non-IT projects?
According to Atlassian, more than half of their users employ this massive ecosystem for projects outside the realms of IT and software development!
Here are some of the findings:
- Jira has sustained over 100,000 end users for one of Jira customers;
- It can support over 5,000,000 issues in a single instance, while the average number of issues for large customers is 1,400,000;
- On average, 400 workflows (and 900 custom fields) are used by JIRA’s largest customers.
Should You Use Jira for Project Management? What People Say
Deciding if you should be using Jira for project management? It can be a tough choice, especially with so many options out there on the market. At the end of the day, it will be up to you and your team to decide if it’s right for you.
Our JIRA Setup
We started using JIRA when we switched from Trello which served our purpose of product management for more than a year. We wanted to analyze and optimize our product management metrics to enhance our processes. We have come across Jira which is being used by most of the product development companies across the globe.
You can adjust Jira Software to how your teams work without any problems. It doesn’t matter if your team uses Scrum, Kanban, or a mixed methodology — JIRA has all it takes to make the work of agile teams easier.
For example, your team can use an agile board and agile reports that allow planning, tracking, and managing all the agile software development projects inside a single tool. JIRA is agile-ready on many levels and supports different agile methodologies in unique ways. It helps organizations to ensure that teams can keep on working at top efficiency without having to adjust their workflows to the project management tools they’re using.
Create Projects for Any Product that can be ‘Released’ to Consumers in More than One Iteration
At Janaspandana we have a lot of different types of products and projects that we need to manage, we also need to manage the different aspects of project management such as — UI/UX Design, UI Engineering, Database & API Development, Server Maintenance, Bug & Issue Testing & Tracking.
We like to keep everything tracked in JIRA, but we found that a rule that works well for us is: If it has a code base, or it’s something that you release and update regularly (versioning), create a project for it.
Create Product Releases (Versions) for Every Project
Once you’ve created projects for your products create releases and versions! A release should be created anytime you have multiple stories (As people call them submodules/tasks/features) that lead to something that will be shown to your clients after every sprint.
You can make several releases for future plans, each one will become more well defined as you complete the ones preceding it. Start adding your backlog to the releases. As you work and create bugs, add them to the release as well if they are going to stop you from shipping the particular release. JIRA provides some great tools for seeing how your release is coming along.
Jira — A Single Sprint at a time
It’s tempting to create multiple sprints for each project based on the scope of work or the stage of work, but we’ve found that this can get unwieldy fairly quickly — especially if you have cross-functional teams. The length of the sprint is your team’s choice, but we use weekly sprints to avoid excessive per-sprint meetings (estimation, planning).
If you have specific release deadlines, your product releases can adhere to these deadlines, so it’s best to just to leave a sprint as a sprint — avoid the temptation to always use a sprint as a release, especially if a release can’t happen without X or Y feature, as your sprints can end up going on forever.
We host a single stand-up
Finally, host a single stand-up. It feels wasteful, and sometimes it is, but there are some huge benefits to doing this. For one, the entire team understands what’s going on in the company. Second, this ensures we all agree with the day’s priorities. Finally, you increase the cross-pollination of ideas and communication between team members. We’ve found this can often lead to new solutions and ideas.
As long as you enforce the typical rules of a daily stand-up (15 minutes max, everyone stands, talks about what they did yesterday, what they do today, and any blockers)
Story Points — This makes our work fun
We assign and track the number of points for every story completed by our team to understand the effort at the end of every sprint. Jira Software allows estimating, tracking, and reporting on story points to help your team be more accurate in estimating tasks for future sprints. It doesn’t matter what method of estimating you use, you can be sure that Jira has your back.
Now track your employee efficiency easily
Jira Software offers a number of agile reports that are specifically designed for the needs of Scrum teams. By using Scrum reports, you will make your sprint retrospectives more data-driven and productive. Highlighting areas for improvement during the upcoming sprint will be easier as well.
Here’s a short overview of all the essential Scrum reports featured in Jira:
- Sprint report — a sprint report helps the team to understand the work that has been completed or pushed back to the backlog in every sprint. That way, you can see whether your team is overcommitting or you’re suffering from excessive scope creep.
- Burndown chart — you can use this chart to track the total amount of work remaining in the sprint and the likelihood of achieving the sprint goal. Burndown charts help to manage the team’s progress and respond to changes quickly.
- Velocity chart — managers, use this chart to determine their teams’ velocity and estimate the amount of work they can realistically complete in future sprints. It basically tracks the amount of work completed from sprint to sprint.
- Cumulative flow diagram — the diagram shows the number of issues for each status. It allows to easily identify blockers: a high number of issues increasing in any given state is an indication of that.
Jira will save you a lot of time
Many of the processes we utilize in software development (Agile, Scrum, Kanban, etc…) are designed for larger companies with dedicated teams and roles. As an emerging product development firm, you’ll often find yourself with cross-functional teams and constant pivots as you take your product(s) to market. Our process is always changing, and this is simply a snapshot of what we are doing today. We’d love to hear your thoughts, what’s worked (or failed!) for you, and any other tidbits you’d like to share.
We use Jira to build every project — irrespective of size, team and features. This has helped our team to track every aspect of the product development. This helped our team to increase the transparency, inter-department synchronization, reduction in the TAT for product development.
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