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How To Win At Jira

or where did my issues go?

It’s the tool we all love to hate. But it’s good to occasionally acknowledge how important Jira (or Azure DevOps or wherever you store your backlog) can be when it comes to effectively delivering better software.

Why? Because it sits at the heart of everything we do and effectively controls what happens in our day-to-day work. Everyone has usually got smart enough to know that if it’s going to be done, there needs to be a Jira.

How did it get to become so important? Well, because someone usually decides that the “way we do things here” is so unique and different that we need to create custom workflows and issue types. There’s been some investment in the platform which bakes it into our process.

However, no matter what workflow we use, issues or user stories can still get stuck in the system. These distract us or others as their priority falls (or they get forgotten about). Backlog surfers can come to us and say, “Hey, why is this five-year-old feature not implemented yet? We just had a customer ask about it, so it must still be relevant?”

Set some targets for your issues; if it’s not been implemented within three or six months, is it still relevant? Retire the issue from Jira. Archive the issue at very least or delete it if it’s distracting. Try to keep Jira relevant to what’s going on. If you need to replan something big, take it out of Jira completely and rework it outside.

Keeping Jira relevant helps the team focus.

But I’d be interested to hear from you, what’s your biggest pain when it comes to Jira? How do you manage it?