How to Use Jira: Complete Beginner’s Guide

Jira SoftwareJira software consists of several Agile work management solutions that help an organization’s various teams collaborate at all stages of a product and/or service’s lifecycle. For the project manager, Jira offers many specialized tools and features, including:

  • Project templates that may be configured to fit any type of project
  • Customizable permissions regarding who can see and perform which actions
  • Report generation to track progress and productivity and ensure that no crucial requirements are overlooked

This article will provide an overview of Jira’s comprehensive suite of project management tools, showing you how to use Jira software for project management.

Read more: Jira Software Review for 2022

Jira and Scrum

Most project managers, particularly in software development and IT, choose to employ an Agile project management methodology, such as scrum, to guide their workflow in Jira. Scrum encourages team collaboration by focusing on a single goal at a time and delivering in incremental steps.

Project development is broken down into two-week iterations called sprints. At the beginning of each sprint the project or software development team creates a product backlog, which contains outstanding issues for software developers to work on. Each team member estimates how much of the backlog he or she can complete in that sprint.

Then, the sprint begins, and the team goes to work on their chosen tasks. At the end of each Sprint, the team determines what work to tackle next based on the outcome of the previous sprint, and the project management process repeats.

Jira software is fully compatible with many of the popular Agile methodologies practiced today, including scrum, Kanban, and even mixed methodologies such as scrumban. It incorporates the fixed-length sprints and roles from scrum and the focus on work in progress (WIP) limits and cycle time from Kanban. Kanplan is another example of a mixed project management methodology that adds a backlog to the Kanban board.

What Are Jira Workflows?

Jira workflows are essential to project management activities as they represent processes in your organization and control the rules used to transition project tasks between workflow stages. At its most basic, the project management project template offers a simple workflow of only three steps: To do, In progress, and Done. These allow you to begin working on a task and continue to progress at it until complete.

Workflows in the software are fully customizable as per your organization’s particular requirements. For instance, if a completed task needs to enter a review stage, you can add that step. Jira software comes with many default workflows to get you started; even more pre-built workflows may be downloaded from the Atlassian Marketplace.

Read more: Best Jira Tutorials & Training Courses for 2022

What Is Issue and Task Management in Jira?

During project development, it is integral to track issues and tasks in a systematic way. In Jira software, you can create tasks for yourself and members of your team to work on, along with its details, due dates, and reminders.

Moreover, large tasks may be further broken down into more digestible subtasks. Team members are then able to view all Jira tasks on the board to quickly and easily ascertain each task’s status. They can also choose to be notified whenever a task is completed.

As issues arise, you can quickly capture, assign, and prioritize bugs through the software. It provides a clear view of an issue’s status and automatically notifies you as issues transition from backlog to done. By default, issues in a task project contain the following fields and values:

  • Issue type: Task and subtask
  • Issue: Summary, Issue Type, Reporter, Attachment, Due Date, Description, Assignee, Priority, Resolution, and Labels
  • Resolution: Done, Won’t Do, Duplicate, and Cannot Reproduce
  • Priorities: Highest, High, Medium, Low, and Lowest

The project manager can customize these defaults. For example, you could add other issue types to the project, or add custom fields to the issue type.

What Are Epics and Stories in Jira?

As in Agile methodologies, epics and stories classify volume of work and are a significant part of how software teams manage work in Jira. An epic captures a large body of work that can be broken down into a number of smaller tasks. Those smaller tasks, called user stories, are the source of product backlog items, often written from the point of view of end users.

What Reports Are in Jira?

Project reporting is critical to helping deliverables get done according to schedule. Jira Work Management provides a number of reports that show statistics for particular people, projects, versions, or issue tracking information. Here are just a few:

  • Average age report: This type of report helps you see whether your backlog is up to date by showing the average age of unresolved issues for a project.
  • Created vs resolved issues report: This report helps you understand whether your overall backlog is growing or shrinking by mapping created issues versus resolved issues over a period of time.
  • Pie chart report: Pie charts are useful for viewing the breakdown of a set of issues at a glance. In the software, a pie chart can show issues for a project or filter grouped by a specified field. For instance, you could create a chart to show issues grouped by Assignee for a particular version in a project.
  • Recently created issues report: This type of report can help you ascertain whether or not your team is keeping up with incoming work. It shows the number of issues created over a period of time for a project or filter and how many were resolved.
  • Resolution time report: This report helps you identify trends and incidents you can investigate further by showing the length of time taken to resolve a set of issues for a project or filter in the software.
  • User workload report: Tailored to a specified user, workload reports let you see the number of unresolved issues assigned to a specified user and the remaining workload on a per-project basis.
  • Version workload report: Targeting a specific version, workload reports let you see a list of unresolved issues assigned to each user, each user’s workload, and a summary of the total remaining workload for the version.

Read more: Best Agile Software & Tools for Project Management

Using Jira for Project Management

Jira offers a comprehensive suite of project management tools with features available for every project stage, from project creation to execution and completion.

Among project management frameworks, Jira software’s greatest strength lies in its scrum support. If your Agile team uses the scrum approach, this software is probably your best bet.

Jira’s rich feature set and ability to extend those capabilities through its marketplace make it a comprehensive project management software solution, especially in software development. Jira software pricing starts at free for teams up to 10 people. From there, pricing is on a per user basis depending on the desired software features.

To learn more about JIRA check out TechRepublic Academy.


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Robert Gravelle

Rob Gravelle resides in Ottawa, Canada, and has been an IT guru for over 20 years. In that time, Rob has built systems for intelligence-related organizations such as Canada Border Services and various commercial businesses. In his spare time, Rob has become an accomplished music artist with several CDs and digital releases to his credit.