Jira is one of the best options for managing even the most complex IT projects, but what makes Jira so good is also what can cause some issues. Jira offers users an almost limitless variety of customization options and features, so it’s no surprise that almost every project manager has discovered some corner of Jira that others don’t yet know about.
Here are some of our favorite Jira tricks, tips, and less-used features, to help you manage your projects better.
The dashboard can be a lifesaver
Most project managers have to work on several different projects at once, which means that most of their day is spent on specific project boards, and the default overview of tasks assigned to them on the dashboard can quickly become overloaded.
In reality, however, the dashboard is one of the most useful views a project manager can have, for example, to have a quick once-over on all of their projects in the mornings and in the evening. That’s why it’s worth spending an hour or two and populating your dashboard with all of the widgets that may be useful for you – statistics, tasks, sprint progress, and much more.
It may seem like a chore when setting it up, but once done, you can be sure that your daily tasks will become much easier.
Labels are essential
Using labels is one of the best ways to have a clear overview of what’s actually going on with your projects. For example, they can be used to keep track of the work related to a certain feature, or they can be used to mark different projects on the same board. Adding them is an additional step, but in the long run, they will help to keep everything organized.
Note that for older versions of Jira, the labels are case-sensitive. It is also worth using different colors for your labels, which makes it much easier to quickly grasp what’s going on at quick glance.
You can find a longer and more detailed overview of labels here.
Don’t ask for unnecessary information
The problem with many projects is that tasks are not logged in Jira for smaller bits and pieces. However, if you take a look at the mandatory fields that need to be filled in to add a task, you can quickly see why that is.
As such, it is worth reviewing which fields a developer or a project manager needs to fill in to add a task and remove any that are not absolutely needed. The easier it is to add a new task, the more likely it is to be done.
You can read more about changing these settings here.
Your backlog is not a graveyard
With every project, there are tasks and ideas floating around that might be handled at some point in the future, and as such, the project’s backlog can quickly fill with maybe-one-day tasks. However, there are always the ones that have been there for ages and it’s quite clear that they will never be completed.
So it is worth your time to regularly go over your backlog and tidy it up. If tickets have been there for a while, then it is worth making a decision: start working on them or write them off. There’s no point to keep them there till the end of time.
Use bulk actions
It is not uncommon to need to change a larger number of tickets at once. For example, there may be a situation where all the stories have to be turned into tasks or all of the tickets in the project have to be moved over to another board. One option is to do all of this manually, but it’s much more efficient to use bulk actions.
Read here how to use bulk actions.
Take advantage of more Insights
Jira recently introduced new tools to help you keep track of your sprints. For example, based on the outcomes of recent sprints, Jira is able to estimate how many tasks could realistically be completed during the next sprint, whilst also providing a detailed overview of what still needs to be completed before the end of the sprint.
You can read more about the new Insights tool here.
Versions are worth your time
Each new release usually includes a large number of different tickets, and without using version tagging, finding the right ones at the right time can be a challenge. Therefore, it is worth creating a new version as soon as possible for each step of your projects and tag the tickets with the correct version number.
If it turns out that a ticket will not be part of the next release, it is easy to change the version number, but it will take much longer to find the right tickets once it’s time for a new release and there are hundreds of untagged tickets.
Read here how to use versions.
Automation helps to save time
If you want, you can spend hours on manual labor when working with Jira. But as usual, it’s worth your time to automate the more routine parts of your workflow.
For example, it is quite easy to configure Jira to close duplicate tasks, but you could also, for example, have Jira automatically close the epic once all of the stories have been resolved.
You can read more about creating automations here.
Shortcuts are your best friend
You’ve probably already encountered some of Jira’s shortcuts, but there are certainly ones you’ve not yet discovered. For example, you can assign a ticket to yourself by pressing “i” or open the search box by pressing “/”. In addition to these, Jira also offers a number of much more functional commands, such as the option to press “s + b” to send a ticket to the end of a selected column or “s + t” to move it to the top of a selected column.