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.

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.

Jira Agile Boards: Why and How to Create Swimlanes.

Jira Swimlane Agile Project

In a conversation my wife overheard yesterday she heard me mention ‘swimlanes’ which led her to excitedly expect that we were going to the leisure centre this weekend.  Of course as each year passes we have a tendency as a species to reuse and reapportion the meaning of words into new and fancy things. Apparently back in the annals of time the word ‘Nice’ meant ‘Silly , foolish , simple’ and the word ‘Silly’ originally meant ‘to be worthy or blessed’.  Luckily for us and our Jira musings the concept of swimlanes is very similar in use to that most of us grew up with albeit in a slightly different context.

To put it simply, ‘Swimlanes’ are normally used to separate your project ‘to-do’ lists into ordered, actionable and easily identifiable ‘faster /more important’ sections often by individual users or project areas.  They are a clever and query driven way of producing dynamic lists with a logical workflow and, significantly, are a visual way of seeing the health of a project and any outstanding blockages that need rapidly addressing.  Hitherto in most definitions this is a ‘view’ of a Kanban board and is not dissimilar to physical board forms used throughout many Agile organisations in the world. There are advantages and disadvantages of using virtual boards using swimlanes over physical boards but that is for another time.

If you choose to have such a project or set of tasks with a Kanban and swimlane approach then Jira has most bases covered. Once you have a project in mind then there are a number of key decisions that the project needs to make before creating the swimlanes on a board. (blog for further info on Visualizing Work with Jira Kanban Boards).

Get your Jira Workflow Right

It may sound obvious, but without an appropriate workflow, swimlanes are not very powerful and possibly very unusable. When you set up a project there are a number of basic workflows out of the box which you could choose but it is often better to start with fundamentals and draw your own workflow on a piece of paper before mapping it into Jira . The number of times I’ve scribbled down and modified what I was trying to do in a meeting has saved me time in the long run  – the measure twice and cut once still applies at a rudimentary ‘tech’ level! Most workflows have similar concepts such as a starting state, an end state, and one or multiple loops in the middle, but it is key for you to choose what is right for you based on what statuses you plan on reporting on, or are wanting to see.

… that includes State Transformations

So many times I have been called to look at a Jira Kanban board that cards cannot be moved on screen as they are not ‘in the right state’.

TIP:  Before you start to create your swimlanes ensure that each item can be dragged freely from one status to another within your on screen/project modelling.

Which Workflow Statuses to Report on the Jira Dashboard?

A workflow in simplest terms might have a simple three-part model with a beginning, middle, and end but this would be rare. It is more common to have many more statuses that you could group on a singular board. Jira provides the opportunity to merge multiple workflow statuses into the same columns and relabel columns in any way that suits you so you are able to have a useful board setup quickly, e.g. when presenting ‘test’ and ‘retest’ in the same column on the board to reduce space under some mapping, which is very useful when creating a board with swimlanes on it.

What Type of Jira Swimlanes Should I Use?

Jira comes with six distinct options for swimlanes each with differing purposes and uses…

Base Jira Swimlanes on Queries, Stories, Assignees, Epics, or Jira Projects

Story (or Jira Epic) Swimlanes

As you would envisage selecting to create Story or Epic related swimlanes will simply present the stories or epics in the project and in what current status they are in. There will be other information on the cards but it is a standard view of seeing the state of a project and very much looks like a traditional Kanban board.

Jira Issue Assignee Swimlanes

Selecting this option simply shows a person by person view of what work is assigned to them which might be useful for a quick view on workload at scrum master level or to see what reliance a project has on an individual e.g. if they were ill/unable to work for a period of time.

“For smaller teams, we actually prefer to do quick filters for each assignee.
On the kanban for our waterfall teams who are executing a project plan, I see a lot of value in using swimlane by query to dedicate a swimlane to critical path and another to behind target.”

Patty Land, Project Management Consultant, PwC

Jira Project Swimlanes

If reporting on multiple projects (or sub-sections of projects) then this option will allow you to see the status of each in a way so you can see what is happening from a very global perspective …. perfect for the Big-Picture megalomaniac amongst us all!

None

This option simply applies no filtering to a board and is not something I would often use but is probably useful at getting to grips with vanilla Jira Kanban boards.

Jira Query

Here’s the thing… I use query-driven swimlanes almost all the time.  You have full control, can add new queries at any time and can adjust what is seen on the screen to help present the information you are trying to show.  With the query-based approach you can create swimlanes for each of the other types described by simply writing appropriate JQL. I tend to write query-based swimlanes for each member, or team, in the project(s) and also like to have a priority-driven view i.e. highest at the top. This can be defined in the appropriate JQL and then dragging the ‘Name’ column into a relevant order on screen.

Reorder Jira Swimlane Priority

TIP:  Swimlanes can use any valid JQL so different lanes shown on the same report don’t even need to relate to each other but simply show a grid view of how a query models against a workflow

The configuration options and uses are endless here. When you suddenly have one of those meetings with ‘The Boss’ who suddenly determines that an issue you deemed insignificant has to be fixed for a big demo coming up… but don’t want to change the priority.

By utilizing a label and adding a new swimlane at the top of your settings then this and other tagged issues will suddenly be the prime focus of the next catchup meeting and can be dealt with accordingly.

JQL Jira Swimlanes Sort by Priority
Jira Board Best Practice Swimlanes

TIP:  Jira will allow as many boards as you want so you don’t ever have to stick with one view. Why not have a swimlane board dedicated to priorities and one dedicated to individual workload? The options are endless….

Conclusion

Jira Swimlanes are a fantastic way of presenting information for individuals and teams. With minimal JQL knowledge, you can create Agile Project boards within Jira containing items that you want showing and in the order you wish them to be displayed. You can hide items you don’t want displaying and use such organized boards to drive an agenda for any meeting that updates dynamically in real-time as the meeting progresses. Jira swimlanes can also be used in conjunction with quick-filters, card layout and details, and other board features to present a perfect view of your project for your audience.

Exporting Jira Data to Excel or Google Sheets

Learn how to get all of your Jira issues into Excel and Google Sheets with just a simple click.

Numerous teams all over the world use Jira and part of what makes it an amazing platform is its ability to help teams create reports.  A lot of users have been giving feedback that they want to create a custom report, which is why Jira has created a feature to help users build more customer reports for their stakeholders. Users are now able to get their Jira data into google sheets so that you can customize it more depending on your needs. You can create pivot tables and charts and relay your analysis to the stakeholders.

Why do you need spreadsheets?

When you’re working for a company or a team, team meetings are often. In daily check-ins or weekly reviews, reports are necessary to give updates and to show everyone or the stakeholders where they are in development. When generating reports, teams most likely have data that they generate or created manually based on their methods. Excel and Google Sheets are the most widely used tools for data gathering. Jira Software recognizes that it is critical to give users the ability to build their reports which is why this feature to get Jira data imported to Excel and Google Sheets exists.

Getting Started Exporting Jira to Excel

Go to your Jira project. Go to the Issues panel and Your screen should look quite similar to this.

Jira Software Advanced Search

Click on any issues that you want, depending on what data you need. Next, click “Advanced Search”, if you have Jira Software open it will be located on the top right of the screen.

When done, you’ll notice that the main panel changed and that more icons appear in the top right corner of the screen.

Advanced search in Jira Software now allows you to export, share, or automatically link your issues to Google spreadsheet or Excel. For this example, we will be generating a report from a Jira data to google spreadsheet. 

Generating a Jira Report in Google Sheets

After following the previous steps, you can just easily click the Google spreadsheet icon then allow Jira to connect to your google account. It’s that easy!  After allowing both software to connect, your Jira data will be imported to the spreadsheet.

Jira Cloud for Google Sheets integration

If you’re wondering why there’s a button saying “Install now” in the top portion of your sheet. That’s because Google has an add-on app that allows you to do more than import your Jira data to a spreadsheet. Clicking “Install now” should take you to the GSuite Marketplace.

There, click install, and you’re done.

Jira Cloud for Sheets

What’s the benefit of this add-on? Previously reports had to be manually updated, and users had to update the Jira board to rebuild the reports. This process takes time, so to help users, this add-on allows you to schedule an update so that reports are automaticaly updated.

To schedule the update, click on “Add-ons”, select “Jira Cloud for sheets” then click “Open.”
This opens the Jira Integration directly within the spreadsheet.

Jira Cloud Data Exported to Google Sheets
Jira Cloud for Google Sheets

The Jira integration should open up in the right-side panel of the screen. Click “Get issues from Jira” then navigate to the “Schedule data refresh”. Now you can select how often you want your update.

Now, if you’re running daily standups or weekly reviews out of Microsoft Excel, or Google Sheets, you can rest assured that your data is always up-to-date. You can build or own reports, or even import your formulas to give more comprehensive and detailed presentations.

Can We Integrate Jira Data with Excel?

Excel may be more popular than Google Sheets, and thankfully Jira has you covered, with an app that integrates with Microsoft Excel. To enable this feature in Excel, simply click “Insert” in the navigation bar then select “Add-ins”. This will take you to the Microsoft Office Add-ins store. Search for “Jira Cloud for Excel” and the first result should be the integration app. Now you can start creating your reports on Jira data from within Excel as well.

Jira Cloud for Excel Atlassian Marketplace addon

Excelling with Jira Reporting. Why Give a Sheet?

Documentation and reports are essential to project management. This is why Confluence and Jira exist. So why does Jira need to integrate with Excel and Google spreadsheets? The answer is to maximize productivity. When gathering data; experts and analysts use spreadsheet software to interpret, manipulate, and organize data. These experts might not be familiar with the Jira environment.

The best report is the one everyone can access, and the best tool for the job is the one everyone can use. Failure to let people use the tools they know how impairs process, and breed bad data practices.

The ability to export to Excel helps everyone do their work without adjusting to an unfamiliar platform or tool. It also helps less technical people combine data from multiple sources.

Jira Software offers simple yet powerful tools that enable users to maximize their productivity. Although Developers and Administrators are well versed in the Jira Ecosystem, features such as this show that non-developers can also experience and benefit from the Atlassian environment.

Thoughts from the Atlassian Community:

“There are great use cases for easy export, like a shared multi-client environment where single engagements come to an end and they will no longer have access to the environment, but still need an export of their data. It would sure be nice if built-in Jira reports like requirements traceability were also exportable for this purpose. Thinking about exports as a barrier to full adoption of the tool is valid, but the functionality is a necessity nonetheless.

Patty Land, Project Management Consultant, PwC

“Sad but true. A lot of users love the metrics but revert back to the systems most familiar. I encountered in training employees to JIRA with a bit of encouragement utilizing the charts and tables available in JIRA combined with verbal presentations sold it to new users.”

Liz Bowman: Change Management Training Specialist at Johnson & Johnson

“Still a good hack to know since many, especially higher management, prefer to use sheets/excel”

Andrey Stukan, Technology Consultant, Accenture

Planning on Migrating Jira Server to the Cloud or Data Center?

No Need to Panic (Even if You Weren’t Planning It)

Last week, the news broke that Atlassian are putting an end to their vestigial Server licenses for Jira, Confluence, and everything else.

Few were surprised:

If you were to play a drinking game every time Cloud was mentioned at an Atlassian event or in a shareholder report, you’d need medical attention.

Atlassian are offering three options to those currently on Server:

1.) A one-year free cloud migration trial for up to 10,000 users.

2.) A 20-55% discount to move to Cloud (for 1001 users+) or a 15%-40% discount to move to Data Center. The sooner you move, the higher the discount, so go for a 24-month deal before June/July 1st, 2021 (for Cloud/ DC respectively) to lock-in the highest discounted price for the longest time.

3.) Stay on Server, knowing that support will end for it by February 2024. Prices will go up for 1-25 users, but for most people who hadn’t cut a special Advantaged plan price deal with Atlassian, there will be very little change. You may however notice the lights slowly turning off, as fewer and fewer add-ons are supported on a dying platform.

I presume the comments section will be cynical enough about all of the above, so here are some practical considerations to help you with the migration plan.

  1. Are all your apps / add-ons supported on Cloud and Data Center? It’s simple enough to check whether your most important apps have a hosting option for Cloud and Data Center. If you’re not sure what your most important apps are, simply turn them off, and see how many people complain.
Atlassian Marketplace hosting on Cloud, Server or Data Center.

Be aware that apps may have a different marketplace listing for each platform. This can be a sign that it’s a different app, and migration may be a pain.

2. Migrating from Server to Data Center is almost no work at all. It’s practically the same platform, but the apps will have gone through rigorous testing to prove they’re reliable and stable at scale.

You may lose some of your older, less well-supported add-ons during the migration, but moving house should always be an opportunity for a spring clean!

3. Atlassian are continuously updating this handy guide on which Vendors have made migration paths from Server to Cloud. The best apps have worked hard to make sure nothing is lost in the move.

4. If in doubt, contact the Vendors directly, or your Atlassian Partner, and ask how complicated your migration might be, and whether any data or work will be lost during the migration.

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.

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 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!

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.