The tools we use: JIRA

JIRA is a fantastic tool for managing complex software projects, as it works like an online version of a project management whiteboard, and integrates with the software tools you already use.

One nifty software tool we use to track project management here at inoutput is JIRA.

JIRA is a fantastic tool for managing complex software projects, as it works like an online version of a project management whiteboard, and integrates with the software tools you already use.

The issue tracking software program provides bug tracking, issue tracking, enhancement requests and project management functions. (Basically, anything that needs to be created and tracked by JIRA is considered an issue).

One of the great things about JIRA is that it can be used across a range of industries. In fact, a 2015 Atlassian Summit reported that 50% of JIRA customers use the program for projects outside of software and IT.

And, did you know? JIRA is made by Australian enterprise software company Atlassian, which was founded in Sydney in 2002.

The tech company floated on the Nasdaq stock exchange, closing the day with a market value of $US5.8 billion ($8 billion), well above its private valuation of US$3.3 billion ($4.5 billion) in 2014, making it the most successful listing of an Australian company in the US.

Tracking projects

JIRA is handy because, much like a whiteboard (but with less post-its and pens), you can visually see where all team members are at in various stages of a project.

As we get closer to release date for a new software project, it can be difficult to keep track of how and where everyone in the team is at with the project.

JIRA keeps it all visually laid out, and you simply click and slide your own responsibilities to certain sections of the Kanban board as you work through your own tasks and track your team’s workflow.

Seeing where everyone is at visually, and in real-time, keeps our productivity high and the team working in an agile manner. It also eliminates the need for constant emails – the information on where each project is at, is right there for all of us to see.

Issues management and communication

One of the handiest parts of JIRA, and the reason it’s particularly useful for software developers, is that you can track bugs or issues in your project management.

As bugs and complex issues can occur in software development, having a project management tool that breaks down issues and allows you to track where they’re at means any member of the team can jump in and see where something is at, without having to have a long discussion about the project.

Similarly, when solutions are found, you can simply update the screen and the bug and its resolution have been tracked.

The tool is also useful for communicating the stage of a software project’s development cycle, whether there are any bugs that need addressing or other issues that need to be tackled.

At inoutput, we use the issues logged in JIRA as central locations to communicate between account managers, project managers and the development team.

Reporting

JIRA tracks our workflow, bugs, plans and the release of a project. When it comes time to close and finish, the reporting tools allow us to see just how much time we spent on specific tasks, how the plan stacked up against reality, and make future improvements based on this data.

The reports JIRA generates can help us to make improvements to our team and how we manage future projects. And the best part? We don’t have to create a separate file or folder – it’s all done in real time each day from just logging into the program.

Why we love JIRA

JIRA has helped us improve our planning and tracking efficiency by keeping all stages of the software development process visible to the team.

JIRA has also simplified the way we manage bugs and technical issues on projects, so it’s one of the daily tools we can’t be without.