What Is Jira? Everything You Need To Know About Jira

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There is no shortage of software development tools to help teams manage workflows, automate tasks, and work efficiently.

When looking for workflow management tools, one that may come up in search is Jira. From Atlassian — the same company that recently acquired the popular workflow manager, Trello — Jira is popular with those that employ agile methodologies.

But is Jira an effective project management tool? What are the features Jira offers? Is Jira worth it?

Here’s everything you need to know about this software development tool, including how it's used and some of its top features.

What Is Jira?

Originally designed as a tracker for bugs and other issues, Jira is a work management tool that works with a range of agile methodologies (including scrum), along with kanban and mixed methodologies.

What Is Jira Used For?

Jira is used to help software development teams:

  • Plan: Break down topics into issues, tasks, and user stories
  • Track: Use visual trackers to help monitor projects and workflows
  • Report: See visual, real-time issues, insights, cycle time, and more
  • Automate: Streamline workflows with drag and drop and other automation features

If you’re curious about how to use Jira effectively, here’s a look at how the workflow management tool can be used in various settings.

Jira for Software Development

Jira can be used across all stages of software development.

Software development teams can use Jira to:

  • View roadmaps to get context of how their work fits into the larger goal
  • Gain contextual insights and reports
  • Customize workflows
  • Add additional apps and integrations
  • View development status

Jira for Scrum

Over half of Jira users practice agile development. Jira also offers specific features for those operating in a scrum methodology.

Jira offers scrum boards so engineers can map tasks to customizable workflows. It also gives transparency over the status of work items.

These boards allow engineers to add swimlanes to break down and assign projects. It also gives an overview of any tasks that were not resolved during a sprint and automatically moves them to the next.

Teams can access many sprint tools for scrum, including:

  • Backlog grooming
  • Custom issue types
  • Custom dashboards
  • Version management
  • Release hub
  • Sprint management
  • Sprint permissions
  • Story points
  • Workflow assembly, creation, and states

It also tracks tasks and attributes, including sprint permissions and story points.

Jira also gives in-depth scrum reports, including:

  • Burndown chart
  • Control chart
  • Cumulative flow diagram
  • Epic and release burndowns
  • Sprint report
  • Velocity chart

Jira for Issue Tracking

Jira’s bug and issue tracking helps engineers record and monitor bugs.

Jira offers a bug tracking template that shows the type of bug, a key, summary, assignee, reporter, and more to stay on top of issues.

All issues appear in one place, centralizing bugs for easy management and remediation. Jira even breaks down bugs with details, like the severity of the issue, what version it’s in, screenshots, and more. This helps engineers know all essential information regarding its resolution and ensures they prioritize critical issues first.

Certain issues can automatically be assigned to specific teams to ensure they’re in capable hands from the start.

Engineers can also use tracking templates to monitor bugs and move them to different workflows to ensure organization across subteams.

Most Popular Jira Features

Jira offers many different features to help software development teams automate workflows, track progress, and fix bugs as efficiently as possible.

1. Scrum Boards

For developers working in a scrum agile methodology, Jira’s scrum boards ensure projects are organized and prioritized for maximum efficiency.

2. Roadmaps

With color-coding, dates, hierarchies, teams, dependencies, and more, Jira roadmaps help teams track progress on projects.

Managers can plan better, and team members can more clearly understand how their tasks fit into the overarching goal.

When team members have a visualization of how their individual tasks fit into a sprint or project, they can better identify steps they need to take. Engineers will also feel a sense of accomplishment knowing how their work helps their software development team achieve its goals and aligns with the overall company vision.

Jira offers both basic and advanced roadmaps so teams can get a general and thorough overview of projects.

3. Insights + Reports

Jira offers reports for:

  • Planning stages
  • During sprints
  • Through production

This helps teams ensure goals are met and identify where they fall short throughout the production process.

Teams can also access sprint reports to evaluate scope creep; view burndown charts to see progress on sprint goals; release burndown to evaluate how progress aligns with release dates; and access velocity charts to see how teams are efficient across different sprints.

Software developers can access dashboards that show visual representations of work, including story points progress, a pie chart on tasks completed, in progress, and needing to be done, and more.

Some trends available in Jira’s reporting software include:

  • Average age
  • Created vs. resolved issues
  • Recently created issues
  • Resolution time
  • Single level group
  • Time since issues
  • Time tracking
  • User workload
  • Version workload

4. Automation

Engineers know how automation can be critical to ensuring projects are as efficient as possible. Jira’s automation feature allows engineers to auto-assign tasks, sync work, and more.

Jira comes with hundreds of templates to automate tasks. They can be used with other programs like GitHub, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and more.

Engineers simply use a template and establish rules that are set off by triggers. The automated task is then executed — no code required.

5. Easy Sorting and Management of Issues

Jira helps teams easily sort, assign, and manage issues with different functions:

  • Comment to bring people into discussions
  • Search to find issues
  • Organize issues
  • Filter content
  • And more

6. Add-ons, Apps, Integrations, and Plug-Ins

For those not satisfied with what Jira offers out-of-the-box, there is a massive offering of available add-ons and plugins.

From automation suites to test management, there are over 3,000 offerings on the Atlassian Marketplace for software developers to make the software development tool work effectively for them.

Is Jira Worth It?

Among a sea of software management tools, it can be overwhelming trying to determine if investing in a tool is worth it.

Here’s how Jira’s pricing compares to its available features.

Jira Pricing

Jira offers several different plans, with varying pricing and benefits based on the selected option: Free, Standard, Premium, and Enterprise.

The pricing for the tiers is:

  • Free: $0 for up to 10 users
  • Standard: $7.50 per user on average
  • Premium: $14.50 per user on average
  • Enterprise: Billed annually, contact for pricing

The Free version is compatible with up to 10 users on a site, while the Standard, Premium, and Enterprise versions work for up to 20,000. The Free, Standard, and Premium versions all work with one site, while Enterprise is suitable for an unlimited number.

The Free version does not come with some of the features offered with the higher membership tiers, like:

  • Capacity planning
  • Project archiving
  • Project roles
  • Audit logs
  • Atlassian Analytics
  • Atlassian Data Lake
  • Data connectors

It also only offers up to 2GB of file storage, whereas the Standard tier, for example, offers up to 250GB.

Jira Startups/Small Teams

For startups and small teams of 10 or fewer, Jira’s Free version includes tools like:

  • Agile reporting
  • Apps and integration
  • Customizable workflows
  • Encryption in transit & at rest
  • Scrum and kanban boards
  • Session duration management
  • And more

For those wanting more benefits, features, and storage that come with the standard or premium version, it may be worth investing in the monthly subscription. For example, a team of 5 software engineers would cost $37.50/month or $450 a year on the Standard plan. The Premium plan, meanwhile, would be $72.50/month or $870/year.

Ultimately, it boils down to which project and team management features are necessary and worthwhile investments for your team. One benefit of Jira to consider when comparing to other options like Trello and Asana is Jira’s rich ecosystem of third-party extensions to provide a wide range of functionality.

For example, software development teams that want to track which tasks were over- or under-estimated in sprints — a key element of productivity management — may want to consider using other software that integrates with Jira, like minware.

While it’s possible with Jira or another project management system alone, it would take rigorous time-tracking, which is costly and takes away from other tasks. minware, however, will link what your team worked on in each sprint to the underlying code. This gives more in-depth visibility than a standard sprint report offered by Jira and other workflow management tools.

The Bottom Line

Jira can be a good tool for startups that want to implement automation in their workflows and visualizate issue progress on projects. Its many features and compatibility with other add-ons and tools make it a suitable workflow management tool for smaller development teams.

However, as it stands out-of-the box, it may fall short for those who want a detailed look at sprints and how story points stack up.

To get complete, detailed analytics of the entire code development lifecycle and get the most of what Jira has to offer, consider integrating tools like minware. minware evaluates code longevity, time to merge, and more, giving teams a robust report of their software development cycle to improve processes and work efficiently.

Sign up to join the free beta or learn how minware can help your software development team.

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