CREATING THE PROJECT SPACE
In Jira you will need to create a project space. When you think of how you would like to architect the system, think of a “project” space as the very largest top-level container. This could be a product, system, department, campaign, segment or a project. I think of it like I would organize a garage, you buy the really large tote boxes first, and this is your label.
Now it’s time to create the project space in Jira:
- Log in to Jira with Administrator account (if you do not have permission, contact your Jira administrator for more information)
- Click Administration ( ) > Projects.
- Select “Create Project” button
- You will now be presented with a few options to choose from. Each option comes with some handy built in tools (boards). This really depends on how you plan on using the space. Check out our play on Agile, Waterfall or Hybrid on different ways to run a project or product. I use hybrid (“Structured Agile”) for most of my projects, so I selected the Scrum Software Development template
- Give your space a name. This will be how the project space shows up in the menu, so name it something that will tell users about what to expect in the space. This is not a time for code names unless everyone knows what it means.
- Assign a key for the space. This will be the prefix for the ticket number, again pick something that makes it easily recognizable to the end user in a report or search result. Jira will pick one for you, but you can change it to whatever you want within limits.
- Last pick a project lead. This person will get notifications on the space so pick someone who is highly engaged and supports the team and success of this space.
- Then click Submit – that’s it! You’re done with creating a project space. If you chose one of the templates, Jira will do all the rest for you.
CUSTOMIZE THE PROJECT SPACE AND CREATE A HIERARCHY
Now that we have our project space defined, it’s time to set up how other boxes will be organized within our tote. Some templates have a built in hierarchy, but to align to a strategy you will likely need a few more levels. This is how I have configured Jira for my organization:
To create this hierarchy you will need to create a few new levels, which are called Issues (in the diagram above labeled as Initiatives, Features and Stories) in Jira. To create new issue type:
- As Jira Administrator, select Issues. >
- Click Issue types > Add issue type.
- Enter a name and description for your new issue type. First one you will need is “Initiative” (usually does not ship with most templates).
- This will be how the issue shows up in the menu, so name it something that will tell users about what to expect in the space. This is not a time for code names unless everyone knows what it means.
- Choose between a standard or sub-task issue type. Sub-tasks can be used for smaller pieces of work that are associated with a standard issue.
- All of these are top-level issue types, so choose “Standard Issue” for this hierarchy.
- Click Add.
- Repeat for next levels.
- If using Agile or Scrum, the template ships with Epics (used for Features in above diagram), Stories and sub-tasks, so no further issues are needed.
Now that you have all these issue types created, you need to customize and associate to the project space. This is where it gets a bit tricky, but stick with it – and you will have a smooth operating system in no time at all. As a Jira administrator, you can associate an issue type scheme with multiple projects to better manage issue types in one go.
- Select Issues. >
- In the Issue types section, click Issue type schemes.
- Click Associate for the scheme you want to associate with a project.
- Find the projects you want to associate with the scheme and click Associate.
- If you did not select a project template with a scheme, you will need to create that first before completing the above steps
With Project Admin rights or Jira Admin, you can check your configuration by selecting the Project Settings icon within your project and viewing the set up. Here is how I have configured our space:
WORKFLOW AND STATUSES
The final piece that you will need to set up is the workflow. A Jira workflow is a set of statuses and transitions that an issue moves through during its lifecycle and typically represents processes within your organization. If you used a template configuration then you will already have a base workflow to start with that you can customize as needed for your end users. Workflows can be associated with particular projects and, optionally, specific issue types, by using a workflow scheme.
My recommendation is to KEEP IT SIMPLE at first. Everyone knows what To Do, In Progress and Done mean. Unless you have a group of power users who have used Jira before or are in a heavily regulated industry, complicated workflows just confuse new users. You want the system to be something anyone’s Grandparent could use and get value from on day one!
Here is how SIMPLE I have configured our space to start with for all issue types:
Here’s another example of a simple default workflow:
If you work in a regulated industry (like I do) then be sure as you mature your workflows that you capture any approvals, documentation or validation and try to automate it where possible. Make it easy to do the right thing and difficult to do the wrong thing. Use the power of Jira and Marketplace add-ons to provide oversight of the work being delivered. Think about the generation of evidence output as you architect the solution.
Statuses and transitions
A status represents the state of an issue at a specific point in your workflow. An issue can be in only one status at a given point in time.
A transition is a link between two statuses that enables an issue to move from one status to another. In order for an issue to move between two statuses, a transition must exist.
A transition is a one-way link, so if an issue needs to move back and forth between two statuses, two transitions need to be created. The available workflow transitions for an issue are listed on the View issue screen.
Editing a project’s workflow
Whenever you create a new Jira project, your project automatically uses the default workflow scheme. The scheme associates all available issue types in the project with the Jira system workflow. Since neither the Jira system workflow nor the default workflow scheme are editable, Jira creates an editable copy of the system workflow and workflow scheme for your project.
- Choose Administration ( ) > Projects, and select the relevant project.
- On the Administration page for the project, click Workflows.
- Click the ‘edit’ icon at the top-right of the box, and Jira automatically does the following:
- Creates a draft copy of the system workflow named ‘Y our Project Name Workflow (Draft)’.
- Creates a new workflow scheme for the workflow named ‘Your Project Name Workflow Scheme’.
- Associates any existing issues in your project with the new workflow.
- You can now edit your draft workflow. Click on a status or transition to see editing options in the panel that appears.
- When you are finished, click Publish. The dialog allows you to publish your draft and, optionally, save your original workflow as an inactive backup.
This is just the beginning. There is so much more you can do with Jira. I recommend learning as much as possible about the vast functions and features through the Atlassian University
TRY IT OUT
Give it a test drive and see what it can do. I would recommend a few test tickets first to learn with before adding your entire portfolio to the system. Get a few end users to pilot the system and provide feedback on what works and what needs adjustments. This will ensure that you have a system that delivers true value for the organization.