Managing your Project, Documentation, and Budget in Jira and Confluence.

Jira Financial Portfolio Report

Confluence is a wiki collaboration tool, while Jira is an issue tracking tool. Together they transform the way you manage your project, organize all of the ideas, content, and files that you and your team create as you bring your vision to life. Let’s say you’re working with your team remotely for the first time. Keeping track of all that information is difficult when it’s spread across different platforms and mediums, like Google Docs, PDF files, spreadsheets, Slack messages, and even post-it notes. Jira and Confluence cloud bring that information into one place and one platform where everyone can easily collaborate. There are numerous ways of how to integrate Jira and Confluence today; we will focus on improving your Jira and Confluence experience in terms of issue tracking and documentation.

Managing a project can be challenging; you need to develop skills that allow you to monitor different aspects of the project at the same time, be ready with documentation and report presentations. Utilizing both Jira and Confluence maximizes your ability to multitask and share information with stakeholders.

Linking your Jira Project to Confluence

The first step is to link your Jira project to your Confluence page. Navigate to your confluence space , then on the left panel click Add shortcut option. 

Paste your Jira project URL in the Edit space shortcuts dialog box, and name your shortcut for easy reference then save.

Linking your Jira Project to Confluence

Now you can easily access your Jira project whenever you like.

Documentation in Confluence

There are many misconceptions about Atlassian products, one of which is that it is only used for software development. In reality, the Atlassian ecosystem enables different teams — Finance, Operations, Legal, Marketing, HR, and more — to improve their workflow and process.

One of the best things about Confluence is that it’s easily integrated with Jira. This allows the team to collaborate efficiently by linking Jira Issues, mentioning a team member, and attaching multiple files.

Creating Jira Reports in Confluence

Start by clicking the Create button in the top portion of the Confluence page. Search for Jira report in the list of suggested templates or type “Jira” in the filter.

Creating Jira Reports in Confluence.

You can choose between a log type report or a status report with charts. If you select Status report, this generates a template with the generated graphics needed for your report. Make sure you choose the right Jira project for your report.

Jira Report Type in Confluence

After selecting the right project, select a name for your page for easy navigation.

Jira Status Report in Confluence

Your status report template should look similar to the image below. If you selected the correct Jira project, then it should show the status of your project,  the number of issues and the generated charts.

Jira Project Report in Confluence

There’s a more detailed blog on Jira reports integrated into Confluence, you should also check out Custom Jira Charts for Confluence Reports. The ability to easily integrate your Jira and Confluence with other tools allows your teams to work more effectively and prevents them from wasting time jumping from one tool to another.

The Slash Command in Confluence Editor

In the editor, one powerful tool is the slash “/” command. This loads up a list of macros that you can use when creating or editing your page. This can also be used to link Jira issues.

Slash Command Editor in Confluence

The slash command allows you to mention someone, attach files, emojis and many more. You can scroll to the list of macros and add whatever tool you need in the editor. This command allows you to save time and work efficiently.

Linking Different Files

If your team just transitioned to working remotely for the first time, then you need to try Atlassian’s platform. It serves as a central hub where you can organize your work, consolidate information, and become more productive as a team. You can directly link a meeting recording in your page as well as attach Google drive files. This is very important to keep your pages clean and organized.

Confluence Meeting Notes, Linking Files

In software development, releasing multiple builds can sometimes cause problems. There are various cases where the wrong build was shipped and caused issues in production. This can be prevented if proper tracking and documentation is implemented. The image below shows a sample list of the different versions of an Android build. With this, you can quickly locate the latest build that was pushed in the App store, therefore preventing a mishap with a build release.

Confluence Clear Build Release Summary

Financial Reports

In Confluence, you can create a financial report. Although you can generate one from a spreadsheet software, why build one in Confluence? If your project is integrated in Jira, you link a particular milestone or issue into your report. If there were issues that caused your team some major setbacks, then you can directly connect a Jira ticket into your report. You can even mention a member of your team in that report. This increases visibility in your process while keeping everyone in the group updated. Now you can easily monitor everything in one platform without having multiple tabs or apps open.

Confluence Financial Portfolio Report

Conclusion

In the new-normal edition of working, many are finding it hard to collaborate at a pace they are usually used to. However, using the Atlassian platform makes it so much easier. The powerful software and collaboration tool that they offer enables teams to produce high-quality results while working from home. The flexibility that it provides allows managers to monitor and control almost everything in one hub. With Jira and Confluence, everyone has a voice, information flows freely, and work gets done.

How to Increase Confidence in Sprint Planning with Jira Velocity Charts

Jira-Velocity-Story-Point-Completion

How consistent is your delivery for each sprint? Is your team overcommitting or under committing? Are your estimates accurate?

And if not, why not?

Jira Sprint Reports (and specifically the Jira Velocity Chart) are ultra-handy reports that can answer these questions, letting you visualize what you deliver versus what you plan. It lets you predict the amount of work your team can get done in future sprints, and see and understand the problems that could be making your delivery less consistent than you’d like.

This article looks at why it’s one of the most popular Jira reports among Scrum teams.

What is the Jira Velocity Chart?

The Jira Velocity Chart displays grey and green bars. The grey bar is the story points you have planned for the sprint, while the green bar is how many story points you’ve actually finished. Ideally, the two bars for each sprint should be the same height.

What’s great is that this neat and simple little chart got an upgrade in the Jira Software 8.9 release a few months ago. Previously only displaying the last 7 sprints completed by the team, it now shows up to 120 sprints, letting you choose a pre-defined timeframe or custom date range.  

Another new feature with Jira 8.9 is the horizontal grey line. This is the average velocity of your team, i.e. the average of the total completed work—the grey bars—over the last however-many sprints. In the old version of the Velocity Chart, you had to calculate the average yourself. And the fact that the chart can now show dozens of sprints instead of 7 means you get a much more insightful average, particularly if there’s high variability in your sprints.

The Jira Velocity Chart is a valuable tool when sprint planning. You’re able to get a sense of the volume of work you’re likely to be able to accomplish in the upcoming sprint, so you can decide how much you could feasibly commit to. Importantly, the chart lets you analyze the consistency of your delivery and assess whether process improvements can be made or requirements should be honed.

Calculating your Story Point Completion Percentage in Jira (A Useful Tip)

While the Jira Velocity Chart gives you a figure for the average velocity of what you’re completing, it doesn’t give you a figure for the ratio of completed to planned work. A figure like that lets you compare the velocity of different teams and assess which teams ‘seem’ more reliable. In other words, if Team A says they’re going to complete a body of work in the next 3 weeks and Team B says the same, which team is more likely to succeed?

Enter the Story Point Completion Percentage. This is calculated by dividing the number of story points delivered by the number of story points planned.

See the screenshot above, for an example.

Story Points Completed / Story Points Planned x 100 = Story Point Completion Percentage

[Figure] / [Figure] x 100 = [Figure]

Calculating the percentage for each sprint in a given timeframe provides an instant view of what’s happening all the way upstream, thereby giving you a better understanding of your velocity and what’s driving it. For example, there may be an issue with your sprint planning, or your estimates could be off. This in turn triggers conversations about why this might be.  

Note that the Story Point Completion Percentage is not a feature that’s currently available in Jira. You have to copy the figures and do the sum manually to get the percentage.

The Benefits of the Jira Velocity Chart.

The Jira Velocity Chart has the following benefits for Scrum teams:

  • It increases stability, reliability and confidence in sprint planning. If your team keeps planning for 70 story points but never finishes more than 30, the Jira Velocity Chart lets you visualise this and see more easily if you’re overcommitting and should plan for 30 instead. Equally, you may be completing more story points than you’re planning and so could feasibly commit to more in future sprints.
  • It allows you to explore whether the issue is to do with the quality of your estimates rather than your commitment. It might be that there are things affecting your flow that you’re not taking into account. External factors, such as waiting for a technical partner to do something, might be slowing you down. Internal factors, such as workplace interruptions and context switching, might also be putting the brakes on. At the same time, new efficiencies might be speeding you up. Work in progress (WIP) needs to be strictly controlled to ensure realistic results.
  • It lets you identify whether you need better stories or perhaps even better requirements. If your estimates aren’t accurate, it could be because you don’t have great user stories. And if you don’t have great user stories, it could be that you don’t have great requirements to begin with. The Jira Velocity Chart enables you to find out the root cause of what’s going on. 
  • It leads to more consistent delivery. By identifying the root causes of why your planning and completion aren’t matching up—whether it’s challenges to your flow or process, a lack of control of WIP, new efficiencies or substandard requirements—the Jira Velocity Chart boosts the team’s ability to assess their progress, identify areas of improvement, and make better and more realistic decisions on expectations. This in turn leads to more solid sprint planning and more consistent delivery on sprint goals, reducing any uncertainty or risk around forthcoming releases.

The Jira Velocity Report is a terrific reality check for Scrum teams. By better understanding your velocity and what’s driving it, you’re able to create a foundation of trust and legitimacy when setting expectations for future sprints.

Export Jira Reports To Share Externally

Jira dashboards are great for viewing live data, but what about when you want to share it with others, or add it to the management PowerPoint presentation each month?

Sir Thomas McHarrington reports on the future of the technology. Follow him lest you be a Luddite!

Out of the box, to export Jira reports: take a screenshot.

But with Custom Charts for Jira you have a number of options available:

  1. Take a screenshot (as is true for any app!)
  2. Export to PNG
  3. Export to PDF
  4. Export to CSV

Deciding which type of export you want, depends on how you’re going to use the data. Here is a breakdown of each type of export and when it’s best used.

Take a screenshot of Jira

Simple, effective, and it gets the job done. It’s like the printing press, for your computer! The Luddites knew what they were doing, a retro approach to an age old problem:

  1. Find your camera
  2. Take the screenshot
  3. Crop the image
  4. Save the image
  5. Send the image
  6. Take an early lunch
Takes a screenshot of Jira Dashboards

There must be a better way, can’t we just skip straight to step 5? Behold the Future of Technology!

Export Jira Charts to a PNG Image

Directly export your Jira Reports to an image in PNG (a lossless image format) in a single click. Through the magic of modern technology your image will be instantly available in your browser downloads folder, no development time needed! Get a consistent export every time, what you see is what you get.

Export Jira to PNG image file.

Export Jira Reports to PDF

PDF stands for Portable Document Format and there’s nothing more portable than a directly downloaded PDF of your Jira reports. Impress your friends, colleagues and co-workers with this virtual paper marvel, so realistic you could reach out and touch it!

Export Jira to PDF

Export Jira data to a CSV file

But now for something more serious. Your company wasn’t built on flashy graphics and upwards trending reports, it’s cold hard facts that give you the edge! Don’t hide your numbers behind beautiful, intuitive colored charts when you can export the values directly to CSV, right from your dashboard!

The days of thinking “I wish I could build this same report, but in Excel” are finally over with Export to CSV from Custom Charts for Jira Reports.

CSV exports are also a great way to take a snapshot of a moment in time, so you can recreate any chart in the future. Put away your chisels and stone tablets, the future of lasting data storage has arrived!

Export Jira to Excel. Export Jira to CSV file.

Try the Custom Charts for Jira Reporting playground, to see how it works!

How to Prioritize Work in Jira

Jira Priority Icons for Jira 8.0

The key to the success of any project is knowing which tasks to prioritize first and which can be held back until later. When Jira issues come in that need fixing urgently, do you drop what you’re doing or do you attempt to speed up and quickly finish what you’re on? And how do you ensure everyone is on the same page, in terms of how to track and maintain progress? Well, if you know how to correctly prioritize work in Jira, you can easily maximize the efficiency of your teams, making workloads manageable and reducing wasted time. 

Prioritize Jira Issues Consistently

By default, issues in Jira can have one of five priority levels: Lowest, Low, Medium, High, and Highest. You can easily set this by opening up a particular issue and then selecting it under ‘Priority’. Just click on the current priority level to open up a dropdown menu of the available priorities.

But how do you actually define the different priority levels? And if more than one person is responsible for prioritizing work in Jira, how do we know everyone is using the same definitions? For all you know, your Medium issue might be your colleague’s High priority issue. 

If you’re working to a defined SLA, then you’ll likely have clear definitions to ensure consistency, and you’ll prioritise work in Jira according to the criteria of that document. If, however, you don’t have any formal method to determine the urgency of incoming tasks, then you can quickly find issues being categorised inconsistently, which is confusing and inefficient. It is recommended, therefore, to agree and adopt some kind of system for identifying and categorising issues, so they’re prioritised consistently and tasks are completed in a meaningful and efficient order. This should be clearly documented so your entire team can refer back to it as needed.

If it is practical to do so, assign priorities to issues as soon as they come in. This will ensure that new but urgent tasks can be attended to as quickly as possible, and it will give you more time to reschedule less pressing issues. 

Customize Jira Priorities

Jira’s built-in priorities no doubt cover a wide range of scenarios, but you may find that your team would benefit from using customised priority fields instead. Assuming you have the relevant permissions within Jira, you can create your own priorities using the following steps:

  1. Head to Administration > Issues and select ‘Priorities’. 
  2. Now choose ‘Add priority’. 
  3. Enter a name for your new priority, as well as a description. 
  4. Select an icon to represent the priority. 
  5. You can now pick a colour for the priority, either from the colour chart or by entering the appropriate HTML.
  6. Now select Add, and your priority will be ready to use. 

To associate priorities with particular projects, add them to a priority scheme and then link that scheme to your project. 

If you do set up your own priorities, be wary of adding too many and/or making them too vague. It is generally advisable to reduce unnecessary complexity, as this helps to avoid redundancies in your workflow and ensures that you prioritise work in Jira in a way that is most effective.

Use Flags To Highlight Blocked Jira Issues

Flagged Jira Issues 8.0

If something is preventing a task from being completed, it is beneficial to highlight it as soon as possible, so all team members are aware of blockers that may potentially impact their own work or which they may be able to assist with.  

A simple way to draw attention to blocked issues in Jira is to add a flag, which highlights the issue in yellow in locations such as the backlog and the Jira Kanban board. It also replaces the priority icon with a flag icon. 

To flag an issue, open it and then click the cog to open a dropdown menu. Select ‘Add flag’, (‘Remove flag’ to take it off again). Alternatively, you can right-click an issue and then choose ‘Add flag’ from the context menu. If you want to leave a comment on the issue as well, you can select ‘Add flag and comment’.  

As well as being a quick, visual way to spot blockers, flagged issues can also be searched for with a simple bit of JQL: Flagged = Impediment.

Use Reporting to Prioritize Work in Jira

The sheer amount of data that Jira can spit out can, quite frankly, be overwhelming. It’s a hugely powerful tool, and if you’re not careful, you can find yourself wading through a seemingly never-ending tide of epics, stories and a growing backlog. If you want to see the bigger picture, to get a clearer understanding of your team’s work processes and so you can better prioritize work in Jira, you’d be better served by collating data into relevant graphs and tables. That’s where reporting comes in. 

Out of the box, Jira has some basic reporting functionality, with the ability to make various graphs and charts. Unfortunately, they are severely lacking when it comes to customized Jira reporting, so users often find they can’t quite create the charts they want or access the data in them in a user-friendly manner. 

The good news is that thanks to the extensibility of Jira, there are many ways of adding extra functionality to Jira data visualization reporting features, including high-end business intelligence solutions. However, many of them are hugely expensive or so complex that they alienate and exclude all but the most technically minded people, typically leaving only one or two experts within a company to operate them. 

For many organisations, the ideal solution is one that balances features with accessibility. That’s why Old Street Solutions built Custom Charts for Jira. Its interface is designed to be easy to operate, so even novices can quickly bring up informative charts and start customising them. With just a few clicks, they can set up colours, filters and chart types exactly how they wish. At the same time, Custom Chart for Jira has enough underlying power that more experienced users can further define their charts and tables, using custom JQL or saved filters. 

With the help of Custom Charts, users and project managers can see, at a glance, everything from the number and severity of outstanding issues to how much time has been spent dealing with blockers. They can access pie charts, bar graphs and more, with the ability to quickly drill down from the macro level into the details using the Custom Charts – Simple Search gadget.

By presenting information about your workflows through these charts, you and any other stakeholders can begin to better understand the data held within them. This will enable you to make more informed decisions about how you prioritize work in Jira.

Custom Charts for Jira Reports screenshot to Jira Dashboard Gadgets

Try The Atlassian Playbook

Finally, if you’re looking for more advice about how to prioritize work in Jira, you could certainly do worse than checking out the Atlassian Team Playbook. This extensive library of self-guided workshops is a valuable resource for any teams that are struggling to find the best working methodologies for their business. You might, for example, try the Allthethings Prioritization Matrix play, an hour-long workshop designed to help you team visualise the priority of their projects compared to work requested by other teams. 

However you choose to address the challenge of prioritisation, it’s important to understand that any time you spend on it is an investment: what you put in now can potentially save your teams significantly more time and effort later. As stated at the start of this post, you should aim for consistency, above all else, but you can greatly enhance the effectiveness of your work methodology by using reporting solutions like Custom Charts for Jira. 

For more information about Custom Charts for Jira or any other Atlassian add-ons from Old Street Solutions, check them out on the Atlassian Marketplace.