Using JIRA for More Than Just Software
If you’ve ever done anything Software related, then you should be familiar with flowcharts and workflow diagrams. Everyone knows that they are incredibly helpful when it comes to planning out the steps it takes to complete a task as well as identifying the task’s current progress state. Therefore, they are essential to use in any software company. The tool that we chose to adopt was JIRA but it has helped maintain and handle more than just software.
What is JIRA?
JIRA is a software product created by Atlassian. Originally it was developed only for issue tracking, however, it was later developed into a project management tool once non-IT organizations started to use it more.
IPS – Unified Process
Here at IPS we have multiple departments with both individual and shared responsibilities working as a single cohesive unit. JIRA was selected with the intent that it could be a uniform platform across all departments. This could allow us all to speak the same language and follow the same approved process.
Starting with the primary target, software, JIRA has been used in both standard and non-standard ways. Standard ways including organized workflows, agile boards, issue types, resolutions and more. Non-standard ways including custom time tracking specifically based on users starting and pausing their issues for accuracy and combining multiple issue type’s workflows with custom conditions and scripted functions on transitions. JIRA has allowed us to add, update, and delete these customizations over time based on the company’s needs. In addition to the customizations, the performance data and insights that JIRA provides has also led to continued improvement. The overall result has been better organization and fluidity in the process, thus improving time and efficiency.
Have you ever asked your IT department for help, and then had no idea what state the issue was in? In any company, especially ones that are high paced and not reliant on a single project or single task, it can be crucial to know the status of issues blocking you from completing your own tasks.
To make this process easier, IPS started using JIRA to handle ticket requests for the IT department. This also included an email handler that allowed people without JIRA accounts to create tickets as well. Once again this was all customizable. We are able to choose how emails are handled to create tickets in our system with the format that we want. We also added automation to inform users of progress, notify users if an issue was inactive for certain periods of time, and close issues if necessary.
In addition to handling the creation of IT support tickets, JIRA also handles the workflow of the IT tickets. A major benefit has been for users to be able to track the progress of their issue, as well as directly communicate with the person handling their request via either JIRA or email.
Proposals & Opportunities
As a services company, we’re constantly turning over proposals and opportunities. This includes assessments, estimations, reviews, refinements, and these steps can all be completed by not just one person. You can see how things can easily be lost during the process if the correct workflow is not in place.
Just like the other departments, JIRA allows this process to be much easier with their workflows and transitions. For proposals, the biggest benefit is to be able to email selected users on chosen transitions. For example, when a proposal is submitted for internal review the account manager and the tech lead now get notified automatically.
Obviously, proposals and agreements are very time sensitive and the addition of JIRA has allowed for much faster transitions throughout the process. After each step of the process is completed, the proposal is transitioned to the next state and the next person in line is notified, no printouts or phone calls needed. At a company where success is directly related to the amount of proposal’s won, you can see how crucial it is to have a swift and structured system.
With the help of JIRA, we are also able to track all of our proposals for analysis. This allows us to get a lot more insight as to what opportunities we lose and why. Therefore, we can use this data, along with the added benefits given from the workflow process, to improve our success as a whole.