What is JIRA?
JIRA is a multifunctional tool which is founded by Australian Company Atlassian. It provides bug tracking, issue tracking and project management features. The basic use of this tool is to track issue and bugs related to your software and mobile apps. It helps you manage your “Issues” efficiently. Jira Software is part of a family of products designed to help teams of all types manage work. This is web based, open source and is a licensed product. Originally, Jira was designed as a bug and issue tracker. But today, Jira has evolved into a powerful work management tool for all kinds of use cases, from requirements and test case management to agile software development.
Types of services offered by Atlassian for JIRA
Rather than installing and maintaining our products on your own servers, Atlassian hosts, sets up, secures and maintains your products in the cloud for you.
You can install, host and run our products yourself, either on your own hardware or through a cloud hosting service. You can customize your setup however you like if you use JIRA Server.
When deciding between installing Jira Cloud or Jira Server, it’s all about what your needs are. Jira Cloud will offer more integration and easier maintenance and use. Jira Server will allow more control and security but at the cost of simplicity.
Templates provided by JIRA Cloud
JIRA Cloud comes with three project templates:
- Scrum template
- Kanban template
- Bug tracking template
All these templates exist to help get started with a project right away. These project templates let you create new projects based on pre-defined templates. So, when the project is created, it will have all the necessary configurations set for you, including:
- Issue type scheme: An issue type scheme that contains only agile-related issue types, such as story and epic.
- Workflow: A specially designed workflow to work with JIRA Agile that lets you easily move tasks on your board.
- Screens: A set of screens that contain necessary fields for working with agile, such as epic link to link stories to epics, and sprint for when tasks are added to Scrum sprints.
While Scrum prioritizes iterative improvement, the Kanban framework is more focused on visualising workflows in order to maximise efficiency. And to complete projects in as little time as possible.
If you’re working on a large project that can be approached by significant iterative steps, then Scrum may well be perfect. For simpler projects, meanwhile, or processes that will require a continuous workflow over the medium to long term, then Kanban may be a better fit. Whatever you pick, Jira provides tools that make the process simple.
We are going to move forward with the Scrum template in JIRA Cloud as we follow Agile methodology with most project and Scrum is a specific Agile methodology that is used to facilitate a project.
Key features of JIRA Scrum
JIRA Scrum has some key features which be discussed in details below.
You can create multiple projects in JIRA and each project can be assigned to different templates which have been discussed above. There are two types of project which can be created currently which are Classic project and Next Gen project. Here we going to be discussing JIRA using a Classic project as it has all the features from the previous versions of JIRA. Classic project can only be set up by an administrator.
To create a project in JIRA Cloud you follow some steps. Go to “Projects” then “Create project”. Then simply select the project template in Jira “Scrum software development”. With the next screen, just press “Select”. Then give your project a name and a key. And finally select a project lead, and press submit. You can see below that a new project named Test Project has been created.
With this in place, you’ll have an empty backlog (also called the “product backlog”). And you can begin populating it with issues, categorizing them as one of the following:
Issue is basically the requirement of a project. They can be created for multiple projects at a time. There are three types of issues which are Story, Task and Bug in JIRA Cloud. A Story or user story is a software system requirement that is expressed in a few short sentences, ideally using non-technical language. A Task represents a technical activity, like design a diagram, code a functionality, test a device, or prepare dataset. A bug is a problem which impairs or prevents the functions of a product. . Custom issues can be made in the paid version. For example, you can make technical task, improvement etc.
Issue should be assigned to someone and priority must be set when one is created. It is also referred as a ticket. Issues can have Epics which consist of list of similar tickets.
You can create an issue in JIRA in the Backlog section by selecting the blue Create button at the top or clicking the Create issue in the middle. Both of the buttons are marked in the below picture.
The backlog view in JIRA Cloud lists issues that your team plans to work on (in the Backlog or Sprint lists), as well as the issues currently on your team’s board (in the Board list). This section contains all the Issues (story, bugs and tasks) for a particular project. In Backlog, you can create your requirement in the form of story or task. A bug can also be created in Backlog. You can create versions and epics from here. Sprint can be started from the Backlog. The selected items are placed on the sprint from the backlog by the team lead.
Below you see an example of how a Backlog looks like when there are a lot of items listed in it.
In JIRA Cloud, the Board consists of columns of tasks. It represents how the work is progressing across that particular life cycle. This shows a visual representation of work items on a board. It is helpful in tracking and making everyone well informed within the teams about where the work items are. The number of columns can be increased, decreased, edited or rearranged according to your needs.
There are three types of column in a board which are To Do, In Progress and Done. Extra columns added has to fall under one of these categories. You can create multiple boards according to your project’s need.
Workflows define the validation and lifecycle of an issue. In JIRA Cloud, this shows an invisible map which the board follows. It can be simple or complex depending on the number of issues set.
Board works in a particular fashion. Each column belongs to either one of the three categories: To Do, In Progress or Done. The system is built in such a way that work flow from To Do to In Progress to Done always. You can make multiple columns under different names such as Review In Progress, Needs Testing, Feature List etc. but whatever column you add must come under any of three categories I mentioned above.
A sprint is a fixed time period in a continuous development cycle where teams complete work from their product backlog. At the end of the sprint, a team will typically have built and implemented a working product increment.
You can start a sprint from the Backlog section of JIRA. The time for each sprint is usually set to 2 weeks to 4 weeks depending on your Project Manager. The more the task are completed from the sprint, the more the points are gained. Points are set to each task before hand by discussion amongst the team members. The more effort a task requires to complete, the more points are assigned to it beforehand.
To check Sprints in JIRA, open the board and go to the Backlog view to see a list of all the open Sprints and all the issues in the Sprints. To start a Sprint, select the Start sprint blue button. A pop-up form will appear where you fill out all the necessary details.
JIRA Cloud delivers real-time, relevant information in a convenient format. Reporting helps you track and analyze your team’s work throughout a project. Jira Software has a range of reports that you can use to show information about your project, versions, epics, sprints, and issues. It comes with several built-in reports like:
Each of the different reports represents various aspects of a particular project.
To access reports in JIRA, the user should go to Project and then choose a Specific project. The following screenshot shows how to navigate to a specific project. Click on the Reports icon on the left side of the page. It will display all the reports supported by JIRA.
JIRA Cloud provides you with a lot of 3rd party apps to which you can integrate your JIRA to.
For example, JIRA does not provide test management functionality. So, you have to use a test management plugin such as Xray Test Management for Jira to use that functionality. Below can see the App section of JIRA Cloud from where you can search up and integrate outside apps here. There is another way of integrating third party apps to JIRA using API Token. You can read how you can integrate TestLink (A test management tool) with JIRA here.
Some other features from JIRA
Dashboard: The Dashboard is where all the relevant information to your project are displayed. It mainly consists of:
- Projects that you are working on
- Activities assigned to you
- Activity streams throughout your project
Code: This section can integrate with other development tools for example GitHub, Bitbucket etc.
People: You can add more people to teams from this section. You can add up to 10 users for the free version.