Using Jira for Project Management

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Rafael Timbó
By
Rafael Timbó
|
Chief Technology Officer
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Table of Contents

Use our step-by-step guide to learn more about using Jira for project management, including its key features and how to use it within an Agile framework.
Published on
October 5, 2023
Updated on
May 29, 2024

Managing projects can be challenging, especially if you're using clunky spreadsheets. That's where Jira project management tools come in. A software application developed by Atlassian, Jira allows teams to manage projects, tasks, and teams. Some of its key features include Agile tools, reports, and automation.

Read on to learn how to use Jira for project management, Jira's key features, and how Revelo can help you build and implement your project management team.

What Is Jira?

Jira is a subscription-based project management tool that started as an information technology (IT) tool. However, it now supports many uses, from non-tech project management to IT ticketing systems.

Jira provides a comprehensive tool suite for collaboration, project planning, and reporting. Teams can use it to accelerate the project pipeline, regardless of company or project size. Over 65,000 companies use Jira for project management, including Airbnb, Cisco, Spotify, Square, and eBay.

Jira for Agile Project Management

The Jira project management tool was specifically designed for teams that follow the Agile approach. Agile is a project management approach that splits projects into repeating phases, emphasizing collaboration and continuous improvement. IT teams can use Agile to create high-quality software and apps that fit customers' ever-changing needs. There are several types of Agile methodologies, including:

  • Scrum: In Scrum, a product is created in a series of fixed-length iterations called Sprints. Scrum gives Agile teams a framework for releasing software regularly.
  • Kanban: Kanban is an Agile framework that requires full work transparency and real-time communication of the team's capacity. It uses a Kanban board to visualize project steps.
  • Scrumban: This framework merges Kanban's flexibility with Scrum's predictability to make teams more efficient, agile, and productive.

Companies often use Agile with squads — small teams of developers who focus on one functional area of the organization's product line. Benefits of squad-based Agile development include:

  • Faster product development: Under squad-based Agile development, squads have complete autonomy to update software versions and push new updates to users without external approval. This means faster cycle times, more efficient product development, and higher quality products.
  • Flexibility: Squad-based Agile development doesn't dictate how squads work. Because each squad can create its own work processes and customize workflows, they can develop systems that work for them. In contrast, teams that don't follow this squad-based Agile development must follow the methodology adopted by leaders far removed from the squad's everyday workings.
  • Industry experience: Squads consist of experts with a singular goal: to create the best module or app according to stakeholder and user requirements. Unlike generalists, squad Agile developers have a deep understanding of their specialized area. There are no siloes in the team since every member understands all aspects of the project. If one member leaves, future development phases and product maintenance won't be at risk.

Related: Product Manager vs. Product Manager: Assessing Your Team Needs

Key Jira Features

Jira's platform has many powerful features, including intuitive Agile tools, detailed reporting, issue management and bug tracking, automation, and top-notch cybersecurity.

Agile Tools

Jira offers a broad range of Agile and Scrum project management tools to help visualize workflows and track projects' progress. Managers can use Jira's Agile tools to spot project bottlenecks, which tasks team members are doing well on, and which ones are behind schedule. 

Jira's Agile tools include the following:

  • Kanban boards
  • Agile boards
  • Scrum boards
  • Integrations to manage your projects
  • Roadmaps
  • Version management
  • Story points
  • Sprint planning
  • Easy backlog grooming

Reporting

Jira provides several ready-made reports for delivering actionable insights. Use these reports to track progress, determine which team members are overburdened, spot scope creep, and make data-driven decisions. 

The Jira project management software provides many report types, including:

  • Control charts
  • Pie charts
  • Velocity charts
  • Average age reports
  • Resolution time reports
  • Recently created issues reports

Issue Management and Bug Tracking

Jira is also widely known for its issue management and bug-tracking abilities. Developers can use these features to easily pinpoint, track, and record bugs in their software and applications. They can then use the backlog to see every bug and prioritize which to fix first.

Automation

Jira project management also comes with an automation engine for addressing repetitive processes and tasks. Use this feature to give your team more time and energy to focus on tasks that require human ingenuity.

To use the automation engine, define the rules that trigger automation actions. For example, you can create an automation action that emails the project manager whenever the team completes a task.

Cybersecurity

Jira takes cybersecurity seriously. It was created in compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), ISO/IEC 27001, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), AICPA SOC, and FedRAMP. It also uses tools such as secure software development and external penetration testing to help you protect your data.

How to Use Jira

Jira's project management capabilities consist of several Agile solutions that help teams collaborate during all product lifecycle stages. Project managers can use many specialized Jira tools and features, including project templates and reports, to ensure everyone works effectively and efficiently. 

Follow these steps to start using Jira for software development.

Step 1: Choose a Jira Template

First, pick a Jira template to create your project. Be sure to choose a template that fits your company's processes. 

For example, if your team uses Scrum, pick the Scrum template. You will then be able to manage stories, workflows, and tasks for a Scrum team. Similarly, you should select the bug-tracking template if you use Jira to track bugs. Jira's bug-tracking template lets you manage a list of development bugs and tasks.

If you choose the Scrum and Kanban templates, Jira will prompt you to choose from the following:

  • Team-managed projects are meant for independent squads or teams who can control their working practices and processes in a self-contained space.
  • Company-managed projects are created and maintained by Jira administrators. Pick this if your team wants to standardize working methods across many teams.

Step 2: Build a Project Plan

The next step is to plan your project. Jira allows you to create project plans for set-deadline projects and roadmaps for iterative Agile projects.

To create your plan in Jira, start by defining project issues. Issues are the building blocks of your project, and each can represent a bug, story, epic, or feature to be built. Here's how you can define project issues in Jira:

  1. Explain each task.
  2. Add images or documents that elaborate or explain task details.
  3. Identify the most crucial tasks. 
  4. Select due dates.
  5. Split larger items into sub-tasks.

After creating your Jira tasks, add them to your project plan. Identify and map dependencies to prevent these tasks from hindering your team's progress.

Step 3: Invite Your Team

Now that you have a project plan, you can invite team members to Jira.

Keep in mind that not every project team member needs equal Jira access. The Jira administrator needs full access to configure Jira's settings, third-party app connections, and other functions, but others may only need Jira to track work and complete tasks. If you grant every team member equal access, you may compromise project security. Team members may also misuse their privileges, making it harder for the administrator to manage the project.

Step 4: Move Work Forward

Once your team is using Jira, assign tasks to each team member. If you need more clarification on who should be given a specific task, put the task in the backlog and wait until you understand it more clearly. This will ensure that tasks are assigned to the appropriate team members. 

After assigning tasks, use Jira's reporting tools to monitor team capacity and progress. If you are involved in a Scrum project, you must create and start a Sprint to track work. If you are in a Kanban project, you can begin monitoring work on the Kanban board. Move an issue from one column to another as it moves through your team's workflow.

Step 5: Wrap Up the Project

Once the project is finished, you can produce summaries and reports of your project. For example, you can perform a retrospective of the last Sprint in a Scrum project. Retrospectives can determine where improvements can be made and where the team succeeded. You can also use velocity charts, release hubs, and other reports to visualize the improvement areas.

Build Your Management Team With Revelo

Managing a project can be an uphill battle, especially if you don't have the time, expertise, or resources to use Jira as a project management tool. 

Fortunately, Revelo can help you build your management team. As Latin America's leading tech talent marketplace, we match businesses with skilled Jira users in U.S. time zones. Our managers have been rigorously vetted for knowledge of (among other things) Jira software project management tools, soft skills, technical skills, and English proficiency. Additionally, we can handle payroll, local compliance, taxes, benefits administration, and onboarding, so you can focus on building software.

Interested in building your management team with Revelo? Contact us to start hiring today.

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