November 28, 2022

Why Jira Admins Fail

Eszter Kecskés D.
Eszter Kecskés D.
Events & Marketing at META-INF

Challenges & Solution Tips

We have an excellent team of Atlassian consultants and ex-Jira administrators whom I asked about what they usually experience as the greatest Jira admin challenges. They told me about automation, schemes, workflows, and more, so I made my own selection. This post lists the most cited mistakes causing Jira admins to fail and offers tips for correction. 

Mistake #1 - Overcomplicating workflows

In our experience, 90% of the time, Jira project teams don’t know exactly HOW they work. For example, our consultants experienced that clients think they need an extra complicated workflow to cover their processes. Still, it’s usually a simple “To Do - In Progress - Done” type of flow, maybe with an in-progress status of 2-3 steps. Every Jira admin is unique in their own way, but their Jira project configurations shouldn’t be that different.

Tip #1 - Use templates where possible

As a Jira admin, allocate time to go through every aspect of your projects and try to find similarities in the processes, so you can keep it simple. Use template projects with preconfigured issues, which you can clone and reuse later. Templates are way more manageable than unique settings and custom fields. When you need to create new schemes, use a naming convention to avoid mess later. On the Atlassian Community, there are great articles about how to define a project easily. (e.g. Best Practices: Strategies for Defining your JIRA Projects

As a Jira admin, it’s your responsibility to keep your Jira instance clean and easy to understand. But for that to happen, you need to understand your Jira project settings inside and out. Our productivity app, Glass Documentation for Jira, is there to help you. Deep dive into your Jira project configurations, create snapshots, and compare them in just one place!

Mistake #2 - No time for Education

Your users need a minimum amount of Jira knowledge to understand how to use the issue-tracking tool. It’s like driving a car: you need specific knowledge to be able to drive it (safely). For this reason, users often bombard the Jira project admin or Jira admin for info – never a great feeling for either side. As we all know, not being able to get the most out of a platform or product can be incredibly frustrating – you know that if you could master the tricky parts, it would be a massive help in your work, but it just isn’t immediately clear how to do so. In the long-term, these kinds of problems leave users with an unnecessarily negative impression of Jira itself and can also affect their working morale and overall productivity levels. 

Tip #2 - User self-service

As one of my colleagues pointed out: ‘smart user = happy user = better Jira’.  

If you don’t have time to onboard every user regarding Jira project configurations or basic terms, you can use our app, Glass Documentation for Jira. Among others, we created this tool to help Jira users understand what’s happening in their Jira project. And what is more, it is self-service. This way, you can free up your admin resources. It provides a comprehensive tutorial of basic Jira terms with useful links AND clear context for the project schemes (for example, permissions, notifications, etc.). 

You must also keep your users engaged; otherwise, they might lose interest. As a resolution, you can search for gamification apps on the Atlassian Marketplace; for example, our partner, Caelor’s Trophies for Jira is great! 

Mistake #3 - Saying “Yes” to everything

It’s important NOT to be a single point of failure. It’s easy to fall into the trap of saying “Yes” to everything and keeping all the tasks for yourself. (Oh, this could quickly turn into a therapy session!😆) But, as I learned, it’s much better to delegate in time; otherwise, you will be working during your vacation too. 

Tip #3 - Assign roles

Jira’s Project Roles feature is powerful: the Jira project admin can assign Roles to the users, which is super helpful when you want to delegate tasks. As a Jira admin, you just have to associate a Permission Scheme with the Roles, and then you are done. But be careful! Make sure you communicate what each Role means. Clear roles and responsibilities are vital; everyone must know about their tasks and stick to them.

We have a video about this: Permissions in Jira - Jira Coffee Break with META-INF  

Mistake # 4 - Getting stuck with the wrong apps

Jira admins tend to buy and publish a myriad of apps they don't use at all. And instead of purchasing the valued apps that could save them a lot of time and money, they stick to the useless ones and never delete them.

Tip #4 - Keep your eyes on the app market

There are more than 1,000 apps for Jira on the Atlassian Marketplace, many of them carefully designed to help add value to the Jira platform. So, keep your eyes on the new apps and add-ons; there's a booming market for them, so be familiar with as many as possible. Alternatively, you can turn to a reliable Atlassian solution partner who can help you understand your problem and recommend a working app as a solution. Handle users’ resistance against the change, and everyone will recognize the benefits at the end of the day.

Extra Tip - Create custom reports

If you sign in to your Jira - hopefully - your Jira Dashboard is waiting for you there. But it’s usually not 100% tailored to the current user. Now the experienced Jira admins heard a keyword. CURRENT USER. It’s quite a helpful thing in Jira. Use the CURRENT USER filter and show your users how they can alter it to their needs. Create custom charts dashboards for reporting on sprint progress, retrospectives, programs, customer satisfaction, workloads, age of issues, cumulative spend, and more. We highly recommend using Old Street Solutions’ Custom Charts for Jira app.

Check out META-INF’s homepage for other productivity apps and tips.

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