Can We Use Jira in Non-Software Teams?
JIRA: A software application for issue tracking and project management developed by the Australian company Atlassian.
Article content is adapted from Idalko’s original article. Click here to read it.
Jira is a very popular application among software development teams. Can we use Jira for projects and teams outside of software?
The answer is yes.
Jira can also be used effortlessly by other teams. Because it organizes all kinds of work in a simple, easy-to-follow way and tracks it along workflows so that all members of the team are on the same page. In essence, isn’t that what every team needs?
But the question is, how can we use Jira in other teams? In this post, I will help you uncover the benefits that Jira can bring to non-software teams and how you can implement it for them.
What’s in this blog post:
- Jira For Me?
- Jira Basics for Non-Software Projects
- Why Use Jira for Non-Software Projects?
- Popular Jira Integrations and Add-ons
Jira For Me?
Before we get to the how part of the question, let’s look at the who part;
Jira finds its ancestry in software development, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used to manage projects of non-software teams. You may have 10 different apps already in use for other teams in your company. So why not give Jira a chance? This can help you let go of scattered apps and have everything in one app. This way, you can effectively track all your processes, workflows and approvals in a single environment with a single click, without having to constantly switch between different applications.
But you already know that Jira comes as “Agile” and when you hear the word agile, you have a voice in your head that says “software”. But is agile really limited to IT anymore? If you are a marketing or PR agency, if you are an HR firm, can you do Agile there too? Absolutely yes.
Simply put, both Jira and Agile are great for any team that collaborates and needs to work together on problems in an iterative way.
Here are a few examples of Jira users for business teams:
Marketing and Sales: You have a new product launch and you need to launch a campaign for it. Here Jira can be used to write drafts, effectively communicate design requirements to the designer and tag the finished project for approval by the marketing manager. You can choose the workflows that best suit your team.
- Compliance: Business, law and finance firms and even small businesses need the right topics to follow in their workflows. Whether your compliance team needs documentation or you are being audited, whatever your situation, Jira can help.
- Human Resources: It can be seen as a very static, change-averse department, but you can use Jira to make HR work effortless. Recruitment, promotions, resignations, etc. using Jira. You can create workflows specific to each of these situations.
- Remote companies and teams: Covid-19 has certainly changed the way businesses operate today, so if you have a team that works completely remotely, Jira’s organizational capabilities will come in handy.
Jira Basics for Non-Software Projects
So how have you been working so far?
In business today, it is common to have different teams working together on the same goals. Maybe your marketing team needs a new chatbot app, they will need to collaborate with the software and design team.
Imagine that each such team has its own poster board with post-it notes to keep track of their daily activities. Imagine people in such different teams having to carry a post-it from TO DO > CONTINUED for the work they are working on. Now imagine this combined with different teams having to carry the same post-it on their own poster boards.
Jira is this process of post-it notes and poster boards that resembles an app.
So how does all this translate into Jira?
- A poster board, Kanban or Scrum board.
- A dashboard shows Jira requests (tasks, user stories, to-do items).
- Post-it notes become requests that move through the workflow.
Jira has 2 Agile boards, Scrum and Kanban. We will examine these in the following sections.
So we saw that Jira could evolve into an application that would meet the needs of both business and technical teams. Jira involves the progression and collaboration of teams.
Jira Work Management, Jira Software and Jira Service Management
has 3 versions.
Jira Software is the most popular of the three and is widely used to manage software projects following agile principles.
Jira Service Management enables Dev, IT Operations and business teams to collaborate at high speed so they can respond to changes and deliver faster customer and employee service.
Jira Work Management is the newest of the 3 and is specifically designed for non-software teams such as Marketing, HR, operations and so on.
Jira Software comes with both Kanban and Scrum boards, making it the most popular choice for both software and other teams. Jira Work Management comes with many features tailored to the use case. For example, it has Lists, Calendars, Timesheets, Forms and many other useful features for work teams.
Why Use Jira for Non-Software Projects?
Jira has gained popularity as an issue tracking and project management application. Thus, you spend more time completing your work than managing it.
And what makes her so attractive?
- Projects are created to keep the business organized. All work at Jira is organized into projects. They are perfect for grouping similar tasks under one roof, so-called “requests”.
- You can group requests by team, business unit, product or workflow. For example, if you group them into teams, you might have a separate marketing project, and a separate HR project.
- Each project can involve anything from a few sales-related issues to hundreds of situations, such as developing a chatbot application for marketing.
- Jira also comes with a wide range of job templates to choose from based on your project type. Ex: Marketing, Human Resources, Finance, Operations, Legal, Sales, etc. There are templates for
- To help you move forward, you can add team members to your projects via Email
- When adding team members, it is important to determine what permissions they will have when working on the project. Can anyone create a request? Should he/she have the authority to regulate workflows? You can easily set permissions by changing “Permission Schemes” under “Settings”. For example, in the HR project, you can set appropriate permissions to view sensitive information such as CVs, phone numbers, etc.
Get a little more Agile with Board
Boards in Jira are a great way to visualize your business and get a detailed picture of your current situation. It displays requests as cards and allows them to go back and forth.
Jira primarily comes in 2 types of dashboards – Scrum and Kanban.
Scrum boards are centered around sprints, a small interval (typically 1-4 weeks) to complete a specific goal, while Kanban boards are more focused on getting things done continuously over a period of time. Of course, both have their benefits. Kanban offers more flexibility and transparency, while Scrum provides more structure and definition. Most non-software teams prefer Kanban boards, but you can certainly make the call depending on your specific requirements.
You can customize your boards by rearranging or replacing columns, applying different built-in filters, and even prioritizing issues and moving them to the top/bottom of the stack.
Divide all your work into topics
Requests are a single atomic unit of work in Jira. Together they create a project. Each request is a separate task with a description, a summary, a severity rating and other relevant information in the form of fields. Each request goes through a workflow that gives more information about its current status in the lifecycle – IN PROGRESS, COMPLETED, etc.
Jira, stories, quests, bugs, etc. comes with many built-in claim types, but you can create your own. For example, HR may have “Employee” and “Contract holder” as claim types. You can then add different fields to these topics – required salary, expected salary, type of contract, etc.
Ensure smooth transition of work using workflows
Each team has its own definition of “Done” and how to get there.
In Jira, workflow is a digital dashboard that manages situations and how they are progressing. As you move forward with your work, team members can access the right information anytime, anywhere.
Jira comes with some default workflows depending on the project you choose, but you can also create your own unique, “perfect fit for your team” workflow. The flexibility of workflows makes them invaluable for project management.
A typical recruitment workflow for HR might look like this.
Keep everyone on the same page using Roadmaps
The Roadmap is an important document created by the team. It ensures that everyone working on a project understands the state of play and is aligned with the priorities set. But sometimes they are inconvenient because they are created in spreadsheets and slide decks, taking a lot of time and effort. This is why it is often abandoned, with people then preferring to update the status manually via emails and meetings.
Part of this roadmap burden increases when you need to organize your work accordingly. Jira is much easier to use, create and manage roadmaps. It even allows teams to directly add requests and tasks from Jira projects to real work on their roadmap.
It is optimized for simplicity and can be created in just a few clicks. You can even create new roadmap items (epics) inline. From within Epic you can break it down into smaller tasks. As the scope of your work changes, you can adjust your timeline and its priority with a simple drag and drop.
Uncover valuable insights with the help of Reports and Dashboards
Reports are very useful to effectively monitor ongoing projects. They help you see how resources are allocated and assess at a glance where the business stands. Jira’s reporting feature gives you real-time insights into your team’s performance, making it easier to meet deadlines, adjust workloads and increase efficiency.
Jira also has Dashboards that you can customize to display information using gadgets. Gadgets help you see different metrics in customized formats such as calendars or heatmaps.
Popular Jira Integrations and Add-ons
Jira’s native project management capabilities can be further enhanced using many useful add-ons. You can install them directly from the Atlassian Marketplace or by installing the plugin files.
You can run your business case just fine without plugins, but with them, it makes your experience much better.
Some of the popular ones are listed below.
EazyBI Reports and Charts: Create reports, graphs and dashboard gadgets
Slack App for team communication
BigGantt: Visualize, plan and manage Jira issues in neat Gantt charts
Outlook Offers email integration with Jira
JMWE: Enhances customer experiences with advanced workflow configurations
Scriptrunner Automate workflows and issues, improve user experience with Groovy scripts and JQL
Tempo Timesheets: track time for invoicing, generate utilization reports and custom price tables
Exalate Real-time bi-directional integration between Jira and other issue tracking systems
Time to SLA: Define and start tracking service-level agreements (SLAs) and operational-level agreements (OLAs) in minutes.
Tempo Automated time tracking application for Jira.
In addition to these add-ons, you can integrate Jira with Confluence, a standalone document application that can act as a central repository for all your documents.
Adapt Jira to any project
In this article, we looked at how Jira can replace the different tools your company uses to manage work teams and the benefits it can bring to them. We also saw why Jira is a great choice for non-software projects.
Jira’s Kanban boards are a great way to manage and track the progress of non-software projects. You can easily use Jira to outline your plans and see how your team members are aligned with them.
So, it’s time to let Jira adapt to your business situation and see change.