Don’t Miss Delivery Dates with Jira Version Reports

Jira Version Reports

Many people don’t know about Jira Version Reports, and even if they do, they might not have realized just how valuable they are (or how to make them valuable). And yet, Jira Version Reports (sometimes called Jira Fix Version Reports) are fantastic for tracking a Scrum team’s progress on a version and understanding what the delivery timeline is likely to look like. They’re particularly useful for product owners, project or program managers, and stakeholders.

This article reveals how the Jira Version Report provides excellent visibility of your delivery timeline so that you can manage risk, identify uncertainty, and find ways of staying on track. It also includes tips for how to get the best out of the report.

What is the Jira Version Report?

The Jira Version Report shows your team’s progress towards the completion of a version. It also gives you a predicted release date based on your team’s average rate of progress (their velocity) since starting the version, and the amount of estimated work that remains. 

The grey area

The grey area shows the scope of estimated issues to be remedied, and any change in the size of the grey area indicates that the scope of the work has changed.

The blue line

The blue line shows the progress made by demonstrating how many story points are being completed over a set period of time. The slope of the line is based on the team’s average daily velocity.

Where the blue line hits the top of the grey area gives you the predicted release date, i.e. the date on which you can expect all the issues in the version to have been fixed/completed. This is based on your average daily velocity and the amount of estimated work remaining.

The shaded blue areas

The shaded areas straddling the blue line give you the predicted release date range, aka the best-to-worst case scenario for the release date. The shaded area to the left of the blue line gives you the earliest date by which you might expect completion of the version (the optimistic date). The area to the right of the blue line gives you the latest date by which you might expect completion of the version (the pessimistic date). 

The red line

The red line shows you what percentage of issues are unestimated. Since the predicted release date and date range are based in part on the estimated work remaining, ideally you want most of your issues to be estimated. That would make the red line low. If the red line is low, it means you can have a decent amount of confidence in the predicted dates. But if the red line is high, meaning lots of your issues are unestimated, then the date range might paint a less accurate or realistic picture of what’s happening. 

Keep on Top of Estimates and Keep Jira Statuses Up-to-Date

The Jira Version Report requires the use of the fix version field and, if you want to get real value from the report, most of the issues to be remedied need to be estimated. In other words, that red line of unestimated issues should be low. The more of the fix version you have estimated the better because this will allow you to have more confidence in the predicted release dates.  

You want to make sure you keep your current statuses up to date, too, as this is what’s driving the daily velocity and the slope of your blue line. So, if a piece of work is done, put it in ‘Done’. Teams that are somewhat lax about moving things through the workflow are going to find the Jira Version Report less valuable. 

What’s great about the Jira Version Report?

The Jira Version Report gives you an instant view of potential release dates as well as any changes in scope on a particular version. It gives you a better sense of the risk in your delivery timeline, which a lot of reports don’t. It also lets you know what your uncertainty is and allows you to measure it. Specifically, as you get more and more issues estimated and your team’s velocity towards the fix version stabilizes, the blue shaded range will start to narrow, indicating an increase in certainty about the release date. 

Most importantly, the Jira Version Report is great for prompting conversations about your delivery timeline early rather than late, when you’re about to miss your delivery date. It’s always better to know in June if you’re going to miss your August delivery date than in August. It means you can decide at that point whether there’s still a way to stay on track, e.g. by decreasing scope or by increasing your team capacity. Equally, your conversations might be about the fact that you’re set to deliver early and whether to add scope.

In conclusion, the Jira Version Report is a super-useful tool for predicting when a release will be ready, for checking how a team is progressing, and for triggering discussions about how to make that progress more fruitful.

Achieve Whole Team Ownership with Jira Sprint Reports

Jira Sprint Report

The Jira Sprint Report is a Scrum team’s best friend and one of several key reports in Jira that help teams gain valuable insights on a daily basis. First and foremost, it lets you know how you’re sprint is doing in terms of progress, priorities and burndown. It also encourages conversations between team members about any progress interruptions, effects of scope changes, and improvements that can be made on the next sprint. 

Importantly, it helps you achieve whole team ownership, a concept that many organizations struggle with. 

This article explores the benefits of Jira Sprint Reports and how they foster shared responsibility and accountability across development teams.

Whole Team Ownership

What is whole team ownership? Let’s look first at the opposite model. A team focused on individual ownership has people who have a specific role and don’t typically act outside of their remit. They own the tasks they’re assigned and other team members should go through them if they have something to contribute. This is all well and good when everything’s running like clockwork. But it can be a challenge when that particular process owner is unavailable or there’s a breakdown in communication. 

Whole team ownership is about pulling down the walls between team members. These teams share responsibility, holding themselves—and each other—accountable for the team’s overall success. With whole team ownership, handing over work to a team member is more than sending an email or assigning an issue or ticket to them. It involves a conversation to confirm that all the relevant information is included and the next steps are clear. Every member of the team has the ability to impact each step, and everyone speaks up with concerns and questions to help make sure there is a collective understanding of the topic at hand. 

Jira Sprint Reports help shift responsibility from the individual to the team as a whole, by facilitating conversations that bring team members together in pursuit of a common goal.

What is the Jira Sprint Report?

The Jira Sprint Report gives Scrum teams visibility of their sprint progress and sprint dynamics. It shows the burndown of work, so you can visualize how you’re doing relative to where you are in the sprint. It allows you to identify what might be stopping you from finishing everything you’ve committed to the sprint.

Burndown charts commonly use Story Points (1), but can also use hours as a metric. The grey line (3), based on the total estimate of the issues at the start of the sprint, is your guideline. The red line (2) is the actual work done. It shows the current total estimate for unresolved issues during the sprint and reflects issues that may have been added to or removed from the sprint. 

The Jira Sprint Report also gives Scrum teams a great view of their sprint dynamics by listing completed and not-completed issues. A little asterisk appears next to any issues that are added to the sprint, giving you valuable insight each day on whether the scope of the sprint is changing. These are things that are hard to see on your sprint board or in the backlog view. 

Jira Sprint Reports also list your priorities. You’re able to see if there’s a load of high-priority incomplete issues, encouraging conversations between team members about whether you’re working on the right things in the right order.

The data displayed in a Jira Sprint Report can be used for mid-sprint progress checks and discussed during the daily stand-up. Equally it is useful for retrospective conversations. You can talk about what incomplete issues have been rolled over to the next sprint and why, and evaluate the reasons for any straight horizontal or vertical lines partway through the sprint. 

In short, the Jira Sprint Report lets you visualise the progress of your sprints and measure team success, both in the short term (are we on track to complete our sprint goal?) and the long term (are we delivering what and when we say we will?).

Note that the Jira Sprint Report is board-specific and will only consume the data that matches your board’s saved filters.

What’s Great about Jira Sprint Reports?

The Jira Sprint Report supports and facilitates the micro-planning that should be happening in your daily stand-ups, enabling you to stay on track with achieving your sprint goal. It also triggers useful discussions in retrospect, improving the quality of future sprints. Teams can ask the following questions:

  • What were the scope changes? Were any good or bad?
  • Were any stories added to the sprint that were unestimated? 
  • Did we complete all the high-priority stories?
  • Did any high-priority stories get rolled over?
  • Was there a steadily descending line on the burndown chart with a sudden drop-off at the end? This normally means that you’re handing everything over to Quality Assurance (QA) at the end of the sprint, triggering a further question…
  • How are we going to start handing over work more incrementally to QA in the future?

What’s particularly useful about the Jira Sprint Report is that it breaks down functional silos and fosters whole team ownership of the progress and quality of a sprint, and the processes therein. It encourages team members to talk to each other about how they’re going to move the team forwards, and to share responsibility for the team’s successes and failures. The sorts of questions listed above can only really be answered by the whole team coming together. 

The end result? More effective sprints, and more effective teams.

Now you’ve got the hang of Jira sprint reporting, it’s time to go faster! Check out this blog on Jira Velocity Charts

How to Use Reports in Jira – the Basics

Reports-for-Jira-Basics

Reports in Jira help everyone analyze the progress of a project, track issues, and manage time and sprints. Provided you are using Jira to manage your projects, reporting is something you will do every day. However, for someone using Jira for the first time, things can get a little complicated. Finding your way around with reports can be painstakingly challenging and time-consuming. 

Jira simplifies projects by streamlining team activities, and highlighting useful snapshots around dashboards. Through Jira, teams perform tasks in sprints or scrums. Most importantly, reporting on progress helps teams to continuously evaluate performance. The ability to zoom in and drill down on important issues is the key to using Jira productively. This post will guide you on how to use reports in Jira but first, let’s explore why the basics of Jira project reporting is crucial. 

There are different types of issues and projects that Jira administrators can create, assign, and manage within Jira. They include Kanban software development, project management, task management, process management, Scrum software development, and basic software development.

Types of Reports in Jira

Jira helps manage projects but also is an issue tracking tool, so creating reports forms an integral part of everything you do with it. The more Jira projects/issues you create, the more reports you will need. 

In Jira, there are four main types of reports:

1.) Jira Agile Boards

2.) Forecast & management

3.) Issue analysis

4.) The others.

Between these four, there are all kinds of reports to be made:

  • Time tracking reports.
  • Scrum project reports.
  • Kanban project reports. 
  • Pie Chart Reports.
  • Created vs. resolved issue reports.
  • Version workload reports.
  • Version time tracking reports.

Using Reports in Jira – the Basics

These reports help project managers allocate and analyze the utilization of sources assigned to teams. For example, budget allocation and usage tracking within Jira ensure productivity and effective resource utilization.  So the first step to using reports in Jira is learning how to generate one.

Steps to Generating and Accessing Reports in Jira

To generate a report in Jira, navigate to your Kanban, or Scrum board. Next, click ‘reports’ to view the last one you created. If you want to view all or a different report, click ‘switch reports’. Note that in the first instance, you can only view reports from agile development projects.  Upon clicking ‘switch reports’ on the agile board, you will see reports such as a burndown chart, control chart, Jira velocity charts, cumulative flow diagram, and sprint report.

Provided you have an ongoing project, you can access reports easily with a few clicks. Navigate to the specific project, and locate the menu for projects between dashboards and issues at the top.

Basic Features of Jira Reports

To use Jira reports effectively, you should understand what each report is showing, as well as the features of each report generated

The following are the main reports you can access and use in Jira:

Agile Reports in Jira

Burn-down charts tracks the quantity of pending work and the efficiency of each sprint. A sprint chart is another agile report, tracking completed tasks and feature backlog. Other features include cumulative flow diagrams, velocity charts, version reports, epic reports, control charts, release burn down, and epic burndown charts.

Forecast and Management Reports in Jira

Forecast and management reports include time tracking reports, version workload reports, and user workload reports. You will note that the forecast and management reports detail time estimates for every assigned issue.

Jira Issue Analysis Reports

Issue analysis reports give an average age report that shows the duration of unresolved issues. Another feature of this report is a pie chart report that groups projects based on specialization. Analysis reports include resolution time reports, created vs. resolved issue reports, reports on recently created issues, and reports on time since an issue was assigned.

The Bottom Line

The usefulness of reports in Jira boils down to understanding when, why and how to create Jira Reports. Jira admins and project managers can, therefore, proceed to implement necessary changes based on issues identified in the reports generated from different boards and Jira Dashboards.

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!

Why are Jira Dashboards Useful?

When you open up Jira, the Jira Dashboard is the first thing you see. That’s why making sure it displays the information most relevant and useful to your day-to-day operations can help keep teams focused, motivated and efficient.  

The following is a simple guide to making useful Jira Dashboards for those new or relatively new to Jira Software. It also offers tips and tricks for how to get the most out of them.

A successfully growing organization will have an expanding volume of projects, and programs, many of which will be launched in parallel. This makes it vital to have a Interactive Jira Dashboards that put all the information you need in one place.

What are Jira Dashboards?

Your Jira Dashboard appears on your home screen when you log in to Jira. It’s your at-a-glance picture of what’s going on across all of your projects without having to click on one or open an email.

A Jira Dashboard displays blocks called gadgets. Each gadget provides dynamic and very visual summaries of Jira project and issue data. Jira comes with a set of standard, pre-installed gadgets out of the box. A few examples are:

  • Activity Stream Gadget—displays a summary of your recent activity
  • Assigned To Me Gadget—displays all open issues in projects assigned to the user viewing the dashboard
  • Filter Results Gadget—displays the results of an issue filter
  • Pie Chart Gadget—displays issues from a project or issue filter in pie chart format (issues are grouped by statistic type, e.g. status, priority, assignee)
  • Administration Gadget—displays a checklist of common admin tasks and links to admin functions and documentation

You can also download more gadgets from the Atlassian Marketplace. More on that later.

The default dashboard

The default dashboard, called the system dashboard, is the screen Jira users will see the first time they log in. It comes loaded with gadgets from Jira’s pre-installed selection and is limited to only one dashboard page. 

Jira administrators can add, remove, reorder and in some cases configure the gadgets displayed on the default dashboard. The layout, such as the number of columns, can also be changed. You can do this by clicking Administration > System and then User Interface > System Dashboard to open the Configure System Dashboard page.


There is a limit of 20 gadgets on a single dashboard page, which means that’s all you can display on the default dashboard. If you need to, you can raise the 20-gadget limit by editing the jira-config.properties file in the Advanced Settings page of Jira’s administration area.

Just set jira.dashboard.max.gadgets to your preferred value and restart Jira. That said, we recommend a maximum of 6 gadgets per dashboard for ease of use and clarity.

David Berclaz from Apwide has helped compile an overview of some of the best apps for Interactive Jira Dashboards. Let us know if we missed any, and we’d be happy to keep this list growing!

A Project Manager’s Living Nightmare

If your projects are being managed according to a template that senior management got on a training course crammed with acronyms, it’s SAFe to assume different teams will regularly be forced to shove a lot of square peg data into round holes.

Anyone that’s worked alongside a Jira power user, sees the true potential of interactive Jira Dashboards unleashed directly in Jira.

Sadly, these organisations will often then force these subject matter experts to export the reports into Excel, and then Powerpoint.

These are exactly the sort of organisations what will forward round the data in an email chain cc’ing everyone, or if they’re hip and cool with the kids, they’ll upload the spreadsheets to a shared folder, and a master weekly report called july_reports_ulitmate_merged_final_3.pptx

Some are able to resign themselves to this minor and unnecessary evil, some complain, but few are able to challenge the growing avalanche of reports.

Unsurprisingly admin that’s considered an unnecessary and burdensome chore by most, isn’t always promptly, and fully completed. This makes the reports even less valuable as their accuracy is uncertain. Sometimes management will try and fix this by tying performance reviews to the results in the reports. Thankfully, this fixes all the problems, and doesn’t make the reports even more resented.

Sigh. As no one is now sure whether the reports are accurate or not, management will send a Slack or Whatsapp message, whenever they need information for the impending meeting.

So why would busy team members update the official reports, when a new data black market has emerged? Only the most acquiescent are still complying with the semi legalized bad data wasteland.

Eventually, the digital transformation consultants will come in, they will suggest migrating to a new platform for collaboration. Some key information will get lost in the move, and the people who embraced the old process the most zealously will be most punished for their compliance.

Now the cycle can repeat!

So before we get stuck in this groundhog day, let’s go back to basics, and get the fundamentals right!

Custom Jira Dashboards 

It’s really easy to create and customise your own dashboards. 

In Jira Cloud, just go to Dashboards > Create dashboard. 

In Jira Server & Data Center, click Dashboards > Manage Dashboards. Then click Create new dashboard in the top right of the page. 

Give your dashboard a name and description so your team knows when to use it. Fill out the remaining fields, then click save

You’ll now have an empty dashboard in front of you. Click Add gadget and choose from the available gadgets to populate your dashboard. Custom dashboards are not limited to one dashboard page. You can also edit the layout; there are five options to choose from.

You can create a different dashboard for each project you’re working on, or even multiple dashboards for a single project. However, less is quite often more, and setting up more dashboards than you need can create clutter and confusion. 

Note: some of the gadgets require filters. This means that if you share your dashboard with people who aren’t able to view the results of your filter, it means they’re not going to see any data on the dashboard. So if you want them to see any of the gadgets that have filter results, make sure the filter is turned on for those people.

Tip: you can save time creating a dashboard from scratch by copying an existing dashboard and simply changing a few of the gadgets. Just click Copy dashboard from the More menu (…) on the top right of any dashboard. 

Standard Jira Dashboard Gadgets

Filter Results

This gadget gives you easy access to the results of commonly used filters. If you find that you are constantly trawling through menus, dropdowns and individual filter screens to find the filters you use all the time, Filter Results gives you immediate visibility of them.

Issue Statistics

This gives you a breakdown of issues on a particular project, so you can track workloads, flag bottlenecks in the system and identify where you should allocate resources. 

Road Map

This list versions due for release and displays progress bars for each, showing resolved versus unresolved issues. This lets you visualise how you’re doing on each release.

Created vs Resolved Chart

This lets you see whether the overall workload is being addressed or if issues are being created faster than they are being completed. It’s one of the few actual Jira Reports that gets imported over into Gadgets. (Another is the Sprint Burndown.)

Two-Dimensional Filter Statistics

This shows the data for a particular issue filter in a configurable table format. It lets you zoom in on key areas of interest. For example, you can select a filter to retrieve all closed issues on a certain project or display the workloads of individual team members. 

Sprint Health

This gives you a snapshot of your sprint dynamics. It tells you what’s in your ‘to-do’ category (which is blue), what’s in your ‘in-progress’ category (which is yellow) and what’s in your ‘done’ category (which is green). It also tells you what percentage of time has elapsed and what percentage of work is complete. It makes for a great conversation starter; you can how see you’re doing, what the scope changes are, if any issues have been flagged, etc. It acts as a great heads-up for your Scrum master when it comes to removing roadblocks.

Useful Jira Dashboard Add-ons

I’m not saying all your problems will be solved by a good project management software stack, but let’s have a look at some of the options, and see how they could at least make things better.

Jira’s utility comes from its ubiquity, it’s expanded well past its bug tracking software days.

It’s never been easier to make useful reporting dashboards in Jira that can be presented to all stakeholders, anywhere. 

Out of the box, vanilla Jira Reports are somewhat limited, which is why there are a plethora of options on the Atlassian Marketplace with all of the options your reporting dashboards might need.

To take your Jira Reporting to the next level, embrace best practice, and set up a functional, automated, integrated, and non siloed interactive Jira dashboards that will aggregate everything you need in one place.

Check out the following add-ons on the Atlassian Marketplace, they may be just what you need to enhance your Jira reporting.

Idalko’s Jira Pivot Gadget

Idalko’s Jira Pivot Gadget provides spreadsheets and business intelligence functionality, allowing you to take a multi-dimensional view of your data and aggregate or drill down into any information you like. 

Supported dimensions include basic issue fields, all custom fields that can be enumerated, and table grid data.

Panorama – Scale Project Management.

Panorama for Jira lets you make multi-level structure of your work in Jira crossing project tree hierarchies to better plant and monitor progress, and summarize epic story points of everything you need.

Digital Toucan's Panorama for Scaled Project management in Jira hierarchies.

Find out more about Panorama Hierarchy and Structure for Jira

Panorama is available for cloud only, if you’re on Server or Data Center, you’ll need to try Structure for Jira

eazyBI – Reports and Charts for Jira

If you have a lot of data in Jira as well as other sources, and need extensive reporting options, consider eazyBI. This will export data from your Jira overnight so you can splice and visualize a snapshot of the data in your Jira. At its simplest, it’s like a pivot table for Jira data. For the more complicated reports, you’ll have to hire a full-time dedicated expert to code on behalf of the teams that need them.

Check out eazyBI for yourself 

eazyBI Reports and Charts for Jira

Jira Project Tracking With Profields

Vanilla Jira as standard offers limited reports with regards to Jira Projects.

Deiser’s Profields allows your Jira reports all the project fields they’d ever need. These powerful reporting gadgets directly inside Jira dashboards, which provides crucial insights, and works nicely with your other reporting dashboards, no need for a silo, and a bunch of reports on another tab.

Find out more about Profields for Jira

Profields for Jira Dashboards

Golive – Release and Environment Hub for Jira

If you need a simple way to publish your Release Plan, or a single source of truth for all activities taking place on your Test Environments. Display a project level timeline on a on a Jira on a timeline is important to you, I’d strongly recommend you check out Golive. It’s the best way to display and manage information on releases, test environments, and deployments.

Once again, it has the benefit of being local on the Jira Dashboard, or Confluence pages, so it’s exactly where you need it.

More info about Find out more about Golive’s Environment Hub.

Apwide's golive Test environment management dashboards for Jira

Custom Charts for Jira and Confluence

Custom Charts simply makes customizable Jira reports and charts, directly on Jira Dashboards. The customization options are broad, but more importantly, they’re easy to use. Find out more about how Custom Charts for Jira helps with enhanced Jira Reports.

Custom Jira Dashboard Rerporting

With the right addons, building a live user-friendly dashboard within Jira with all of the information you need is a relatively straightforward task for most of your team.

In Conclusion: The Importance of Jira Dashboards

Jira Dashboards enable you to walk into a status meeting knowing whether things are on track before anyone says a word. They let you come back off holiday and get a quick project update without having to trawl through emails. They also let you know the moment something goes wrong, like when a growing bug fix pile overtakes current velocity, as well as identify potential bottlenecks ahead of time.

As most users aren’t Jira experts and don’t want or need to be exposed to all of its powerful but complex features, Jira Dashboards are essential for helping technical and non-technical teams find the information they’re looking for quickly. The dashboard is the first thing users see and it’s the place where they expect to be able to find all the relevant information for their role, such as a list of issues assigned to them or the progress of the team on a version. The goal of your Jira Dashboard is to incite emotion or action. Providing the right information in the right way is the key to making sure that happens.

Of course, it’s not always possible to get your dashboard right first time. It may not be clear to your audience why the data you’ve included is relevant, in which case, take their feedback and change it. It may take a few iterations to get your dashboard properly tuned to your team and stakeholders. But remember, that’s what agility’s all about.

One final piece of advice: Is to take the time to show your team your reports, and how to use them. There’s no point in having the perfect place to share and collaborate data visualization if it’s a best-kept secret.

Business Intelligence with Jira

Written by Jens Bormueller of atlasteam.de

The Need for Change Requests in Jira.

Our clients often need to evaluate change requests in Jira, organizing them by year and by state, as well as by department and specialist groups.

Our recommendation? The eazyBI add-on, available for Jira and Confluence on the Atlassian Marketplace. It integrates with a lot of professional software, and is purpose built for such ​​business intelligence.

Using it for some things can be as simple as using a spreadsheet.

Compile fields from Jira as pivot tables and draw them as diagrams. Display the individual diagrams in dashboards.

Getting Started with eazyBI for Jira

Here is the interface for employees to ask for change requests, with a customer portal using JSD, and a linked knowledge database in Confluence.

Change requests are then shown in Jira using the process navigator.

Evaluating Change Requests

As an example, here are the dashboards for evaluating the change requests.

The second diagram from the top shows Change Requests (CRs) by Approver.
It’s easy to create a report using the field “Project” and the Jira custom field “Approver” with a simple drag-and-drop interface to chart by “issue created”, to see the total number of all existing issues, split by row.

Now let’s turn it into a “Pie” diagram.

And now we’re finished, you’re ready to add the chart to the dashboard!

Set up eazyBI so once a night, it will import the data from your Jira, it’ll then be permanently stored for use within eazyBI. This does limit its application for when you want real time reporting (as a CRM, or for Support Desks, and outages), but for more long term trends and developments, they can be continuously updated and represented with new data over time. 

Other diagrams possible are Gantt charts or even the visualization of geodata on a world map. Perform calculations in new columns, such as the number of remaining time left on a project, minus the time available until the delivery deadline.

If you’re interested in Atlassian training, hosting, or licenses, please reach out to the team at atlasteam.de

And thank them for writing this excellent blog.

How Jira Reports Help Onboarding New Team Members

Getting the onboarding process correct is essential when you’re introducing a new team member. It’s the first real impression they have of the inner workings of your organization; a smooth onboarding process not only sets them up for success, but it’s good for the whole team. And yet, for many organizations, this is still considered somewhat of a separate process, one that sits outside of the usual task management, tracking, and reporting work.

By bringing onboarding into a project management tool like Jira (where you’re already tracking your day-to-day projects) you not only make the process simpler — you can gain meaningful insights from customizable reporting, to optimize the onboarding process going forward.

Create Onboarding Tasks in Jira

When it comes to onboarding new team members using Jira, there are some tasks that are likely to be the same for each new joiner. To save time, you can automate the creation of these tasks by using Jira templates or copy tasks and sub-tasks from previous new team members to save time.

One option available on the Atlassian Marketplace for Cloud, Server, and Data Center is Deviniti’s Issue Templates for Jira, check out that link for great tips and tricks on how to set up templates for onboarding new team members.

Another great looking option I found is AppLiger’s Easy Templates for Jira Issues, also available on the Atlassian Marketplace for Cloud, Server, and Data Center.

To get your new team members fully on board and embedded in the team though, you can expand ‘onboarding’ beyond the usual housekeeping requirements. Whether you’ve had a growing wishlist of tasks for a new role throughout the hiring process, or you have handover tasks from a previous employee, including these can make onboarding more meaningful for your new team member, and make it feel more than just a box-ticking exercise. 

Plus your your Jira reports will provide more useful insights — more on this below.

Checking In With Jira’s Reporting Dashboards

Communication is key when it comes to making sure a new team member is engaged and onboard. This should be the main focus of your catch-up meetings — how are they getting on? Are they settling in? As your team gets busy and deadlines near, you want to make the most of that time.

This is where Jira’s reporting dashboards come in. Since reporting dashboards for Jira are highly customizable, you should create a dashboard dedicated to your new joiners.

Use filters to see at a quick glance which tasks are in progress right now; use this to make the “what I’m working on” part of your catch-ups more efficient and give yourself more time to get to know how your new team member works, and how you’ll be working together going forward. This is more important than ever if (like many businesses today) you have more team members working remotely, and may still be adjusting to not being in an office environment.

Onboarding Jira Dashboard search

Customise Jira Reports to

See the Metrics that Matter to You

We mentioned earlier that an effective onboarding process should combine your HR and housekeeping tasks, as well as the first day-to-day tasks you need your new team member to start getting on with. This is where you can really make the most of your ability to customize Jira, and create custom charts for Jira reporting to visualize the metrics that are relevant to you.

Create charts dedicated to displaying different issue types, or filter quickly using Simple Search to see how HR, training or daily tasks are progressing. If you have a more complex onboarding process, you could even create individual dashboards for different issue types — you can make your reports as custom and in-depth as needed!

It’s not just management who will benefit from this visualization, your new team member can see their progress as well, and rest assured that they’re on the right path.

Improve Your Processes

Once your new team member is fully onboarded and settled into the team, it’s tempting to move on from the onboarding process and not consider it again until the next time you have a new joiner. 

Don’t fall into this trap! You’ve already done the hard work — you’ve created your tasks and templates, and with your Jira reporting dashboards, you have all the data you need to evaluate their effectiveness.

If you’re seeing a lot of red, it may be time to take another look at your tasks and processes

You should approach your onboarding process the same way you approach the rest of your work, as something you can continue to improve. Are you seeing consistent blocking points? Perhaps part of your process needs reevaluating, or breaking into smaller stages. 

Are there steps that are running smoothly for all new joiners? What do they have in common, and how can you replicate that success across the rest of the onboarding process?

The smoother the onboarding, the more successful, and the more settled your new team member will be — they’ll feel part of the team in no time. The information is all there within Jira; unlock valuable insights in one step, without needing to export data, with the right Jira dashboards and reporting.

Learn more about Custom Reporting for Jira — or try it out for yourself on the Jira Reporting Playground to see how simple reporting can be!

Understand Jira Visualization to Make Better Reports.

You’re putting together a Jira report to present at a meeting. The presentation needs to be full of all kinds of reporting on Jira visualizations – timelines, percentages, and totals. Now, you could just hand over the raw data for your audience to sift through, but the chances are they don’t want that, so you’re not going to do that. You’re hoping to present at one of those rare non-terrible meetings. So instead, you take some of the key data and you turn them into various Jira charts, all designed to support the point you’re making, and hoping they’ll connect the remaining dots themselves.

Why, though? What is it about charts that makes them so effective? Would your presentation lose any punch by not including them? Answer these questions, and you’re on your way to making better charts, avoiding a myriad of potential pitfalls along the way. 

Essentially, charts are pictures (which allegedly speak a thousand words). That’s exactly what charts do: they’re a kind of visual encoding that translates potentially massive amounts of information into a rapidly digestible format. For example, you can use Jira visualization to see in an instant something that could otherwise take much longer to identify. You might even spot a trend or anomaly that would go unnoticed were you to look purely at the raw data. Of course, there may be times when you have to crunch the numbers as they are, but when you’re looking to communicate information quickly and effectively, charts are the way to go.

It’s important that your charts are accurate and not overly complicated. Likewise, choosing the right kind of chart is crucial.

A poorly constructed or chosen chart, rather than making data more accessible, can have the opposite effect, causing confusion and the possible misinterpretation of data. 

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at the pie chart below. Can you identify the third largest portion of the pie? 

Not easy, is it? Of course, it helps when there are only three segments, and you can toggle on the key, but still… For at a glance Jira Visualization, let’s try the same data, in a different type of chart.

Much easier this time, right? That’s because pie charts are best suited to showing the relationship between all the parts that make up a whole, but elsewhere they tend to fall down. In the words of statistician Edward Tufte, “the only design worse than a pie chart is several of them”. A bit harsh, perhaps, but it’s certainly true that pie charts are frequently used in situations they’re just not suited to.

Here’s an example of a terribly confusing chart. If you can read this, you’re probably a Data Scientist!

It’s an easy trap to fall into: pie charts are visually appealing and comfortingly familiar. When you want to show small differences between data points, though, they’re practically useless, unless you include annotations that state the values of each portion – in which case you might as well just present the raw data. 

2 Dimensional Tables in Jira Dashboards.

If you want to make better charts with clearer Visualization of your Jira data, you have to do more than just avoid pie charts. First of all, you have to be sure that what you’re aiming to present is actually worth creating a chart for at all. Sure, you could build a bar chart for two or three units of data, but it’s probably easier and more informative to simply present that data in a table. 

Once you’ve decided that a chart would be genuinely useful, you should consider the pros and cons of different types of charts and choose whatever is truly right for your needs… For example, bar charts, as demonstrated above, are much better than pie charts when it comes to displaying small differences in values. However, they’re not without their own shortcomings: they don’t work well for small sample sizes or for representing continuous data1, such as temperature or time. Other chart types, meanwhile, such as scatter plots and histograms, are much better ways to show things like sample size and distribution of data. 

Funnel Charts for Jira
One of several chart types in Custom Charts for Jira visualization. A funnel chart like this makes it much easier to spot outliers and other anomalous data.

Why Do Some Jira Visualisations Make Better Charts Than Others? 

Humans vision didn’t evolve so we could read charts in PowerPoint presentations. Our eyes, our visual cortex and so on, they were made to help us survive in nature – to spot predators, to identify things that are safe to eat and to help us find our way in the physical world. It seems plausible that our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to interpreting data in charts stem from such adaptations. 

Human perception is built so we can interpret nature, rather than data in charts. Understanding its strengths and weaknesses is a vital part of making better charts.

In any case, research has shown that humans are much more effective at understanding certain types of visual encoding than others. The work of statisticians William Cleveland and Robert McGill2 has been particularly influential in how we understand this phenomenon. They ranked all the different forms of visual representation used in charts, finding that people are generally better at judging the length of lines or bars, while they tend to struggle more with differences in things like angle, area, color, volume, direction, and shading. This is why bars generally make better charts than pies. It’s also why adding 3D elements can, as the Financial Times3 puts it, “obfuscate the information you want to communicate.”

Ultimately, though, the type of chart you use to represent your data is often what is most important. 

How To Make Better Charts In Jira Reports

Statisticians and scientists spend a lot of time thinking and writing about the effectiveness of charts because data visualization4 plays a key role in their jobs. The right charts can help scientists better understand the work of their peers, thereby informing their own research and aiding progress. They may also be instrumental in convincing funding bodies that a project is worth paying a grant for. 

It’s the same in the business world. Get the right chart in front of the right person, and it could be exactly the thing you need to push a deal over the line. Stick reams and reams of spreadsheets under people’s noses, and they might simply walk away – into the arms of a company that knows how to present data more clearly.

The trick is to choose a chart type that can relay whatever message you’re trying to send. Some kinds of charts, like pie charts, don’t say a lot about their underlying data, while a scatter plot can tell you a whole lot more. But that doesn’t mean you should default to the most complex chart type all the time, because it may not be appropriate, and you could end up confusing your intended audience. In spite of what Edward Tufte says, sometimes a pie chart is exactly what you need. 

Despite how much thought scientists5 put into chart types, however, there is no definitive methodology for data visualization, but there are some straightforward practices you can follow to help you make better charts in general:

  1. Graphs should present data that is otherwise too numerous or complex to describe in text form, and they should take up less space. If your chart doesn’t do that, it’s not doing its job. 
  2. Choose your colors carefully. If your chart relies on the reader being able to distinguish between different colors, they need to offer enough contrast for that to be comfortable. Also, think about the connotations that may be attached to different colors, otherwise, you could be sending a message that you are entirely unaware of. People have been shown to have very real physical and emotional reactions to certain colors. Colors also give you the opportunity to match your branding.
  3. Don’t default to pie charts. It’s tempting to use pie charts for everything, but they’re really only useful in a handful of situations. If you’re not trying to show how a series of parts make up a whole, then choose a different type of chart. 
  4. Don’t use a chart at all if you don’t need to. Sometimes, it is better to simply display the raw data, perhaps in a basic table. This is especially true with simple data sets and small sample sizes. 
  5. Use better tools. The right software can be enormously helpful when it comes to creating great charts. Custom Charts for Jira, for example, offers much more than the standard Jira visualization reporting feature set, giving the user much more control over how their data is presented. By default, Jira’s data visualization features are rather more limited, which can lead to the very problems described in this article. 
  6. Make sure your charts are easy to read. That means avoiding confusing background images or colours and not laying out text in a way that makes your audience tilt their heads to read it.
  7. Make better charts because you want to. If you’re including charts in your reports and presentations just for the sake of it, you’re not likely to be doing yourself any justice.
  8. Consider using more than one chart for the same data set. If you want to present a lot of information about your data, two simple charts may be better than a single complicated one. 
  9. Never sacrifice legibility for fancy styling. When it comes down to it, charts are there to communicate information, and if they fail to do that, no one will care about how pretty they look.

Can Better Charts Really Benefit Your Business?

The more numerous and complex your data is, the more likely you would benefit from using charts. They make something accessible which would otherwise be overwhelming. Scott Berinato, writing for the Harvard Business Review6 illustrates this succinctly with an aeronautical example:

“At Boeing the managers of the Osprey program need to improve the efficiency of the aircraft’s takeoffs and landings. But each time the Osprey gets off the ground or touches back down, its sensors create a terabyte of data. Ten takeoffs and landings produce as much data as is held in the Library of Congress. Without visualization, detecting the inefficiencies hidden in the patterns and anomalies of that data would be an impossible slog.”

Similarly, if you’re in a software development company, your department might encounter hundreds or even thousands of issues a day. When it comes time to assess the performance of your team for, say, the last quarter, you’ll want to look at the response times of your staff members – the aim being to identify who’s doing what, which tasks are taking the longest and so on. It would be impractical and self-defeating to go through all the data one by one, but a good chart? Well, that’s a different story. That will enable you to see the bigger picture in a matter of moments, so you can make better decisions, faster. 

It’s this kind of thinking, of course, that underpins all business intelligence solutions, and it  naturally translates into improved business performance.

Power-Up Your Jira Visualization Reporting

With everything you’ve learned from this blog post, you can begin to make better charts in Jira, but if you need more control, then check out Custom Charts for Jira visualization, from Old Street Solutions. It enables you to quickly change between different chart types, to customise colours, to filter data, and more. But it’s also accessible, meaning more of your people will be able to use it – so your whole organisation can benefit. 

Below, you’ll find a comparison between standard Jira reporting and Custom Charts for Jira Reports.

For more information, you can try Custom Charts for Jira Reports here or on the demo playground.

Confluence Page reports of Jira data visualization.

References:

1: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/ocw/mod/oucontent/view.php?id=85587&section=1#:~:text=Discrete%20data%20is%20information%20that%20can%20only%20take%20certain%20values.&text=This%20type%20of%20data%20is,all%20examples%20of%20continuous%20data.

2: https://www.jstor.org/stable/2288400

3: https://ig.ft.com/science-of-charts/

4:https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/mind/2019/science-data-visualization

5: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4078179/

6 https://hbr.org/2016/06/visualizations-that-really-work