Jira, Jira, Jira…

Trusted by over 194,000 customers worldwide, including companies like Spotify, eBay, and Airbnb, Jira is second to none when it comes to agile project management solutions.

Atlassian JIRA is most highly recommended agile tool
Most highly recommended agile tools

Quick Summary

  • 13 reasons why Jira is so popular
  • Jira offers 4 packages; what context are they used for, who benefits from each? Questions, questions...
  • Key terms to know in Jira so you're not all over the place :P

True; Jira started its journey as a solution for developers and IT teams, bringing forth some amazing issue tracking functionality. 🐛 Since then, however, Jira has evolved to cater to a wide range of organizations and teams such as marketing, operations, HR, finance, and so on.

For a quick and fun dive into the history of Jira and the minds behind it, check out this article.

Jira for Agile Project Management
Jira for Agile Project Management

What is Jira?

Jira is a subscription-based project management tool used for tracking as well as managing tasks, projects and teams. Jira’s strength lies in its flexibility to support any type of project by incorporating a myriad of apps and integrations.

Jira is for Agile teams
Agile is agile

There are many reasons why Jira is popular, and considered amongst the top project management tools available today. Here’s a look at the features that make most organizations, including countless Fortune 500 companies, seek Jira.

13 reasons why Jira is popular project management tool
Why is Jira popular?

1. Jira is designed for agile teams

Jira is based on Agile project management, which allows companies like Microsoft and Google to update their products very often, as opposed to taking years! You can use Jira for Scrum, Kanban or something hybrid like Scrumban. Every time you start a project, you’ll be asked to choose between Kanban and Scrum; Jira then creates a board for your project.

Jira kanban board for agile
Kanban Board in Jira

2. Jira is good at tracking projects

Jira is known as an issue tracking software that can track ongoing projects at any stage. It allows you to keep track of all activities, including issues and their updates, people assigned, team comments, and so on, which allows for greater visibility and collaboration across teams and departments.

  • JQL: Jira’s customized query language allows you to filter issues based on criteria.
  • Jira sidebar: offers immediate access to planning, releasing, tracking, and reporting.
  • Flexible planning: allows you to create tasks and stories from any screen.
  • Drag and drop: makes the creation of sprints and epics in the backlog easy.

3. You can track time in Jira with colors

Jira uses 3 colors (blue, orange and green) to track the amount of time spent on any given issue; you get access to this information in the time tracking section.

  • Blue shows the time estimated to complete the issue
  • Orange denotes the amount of time left for fixing the issue
  • Green represents the actual time spent on resolving the issue
Track time in colors with Jira
Jira timetracking
Track time in Jira with color options
Jira timetracking in color

4. Jira offers many search options

With Jira, you can find what you’re looking for quite easily; you can, for example, save specific filters to use again. Some of the searching functionalities you’ll find in Jira are: simple search, quick search, export search, configurable search results, advanced search, search status history, and refine searches.

5. Reports in Jira are great

There are many reports available in Jira, to offer you project statistics throughout the entire lifecycle; pie chart report, user workload report, cumulative flow diagram report, sprint report, burndown chart report are all examples of reports you can create in Jira.

Types of Jira reports: burndown chart, sprint report
Jira reports

6. Jira connects perfectly with Jira add-ons

You can easily extend Jira’s possibilities and customize it so it can function in line with your specific ways. The 1,000+ Jira add-ons and plugins available in the Atlassian Marketplace offer the ability to control everything about your project or product.

7. Jira integrates well with other products

Jira integrates with GitHub, Slack, Trello, Salesforce Sales Cloud, Balsamiq, Zendesk, Tempo, Atlassian Confluence, Gliffy, and Bitbucket amongst others.

8. Jira works well with mobile apps

Jira comes with native mobile apps, compatible with Android and iOS devices, which means that users can stay engaged regardless of where they are. Of course, it supports desktop as well!

9. Jira security ensures work is clear

Security levels can be assigned to various team members so only they are allowed to work on certain tasks, like bug tracking for example. Also, the permission schemes allow you to make a set of permissions for any project; components for example are usually set in such a way that only project admins can change them.

10. Roadmaps for Jira make it easy

Jira roadmaps allow you to create, handle, and visualize epics in a way that is simple and easy. You can see the stages of your issues, what’s missing and when some bugs are scheduled for fixing. Roadmaps are great for planning stories across sprints, and if you’re looking for cross project roadmaps, check this out.

Roadmaps make it easy
Jira roadmaps

11. You can save time with Jira templates

You can create issues easily by using predefined templates for processes and tasks if you’re working with team-managed projects. Plus, you can customize your own Jira issue and save it as a template to be used again and again. This saves a lot of time and enables the automatic pre-filling of fields (otherwise a tedious process).

12. The Jira dashboard is customizable

You can customize the Jira dashboard based on the view and what elements you’d like to display on it. The dashboard will typically display apps and elements that can give you access to the information you need to support your team members in tracking their project’s progress.

13. Jira is great for portfolio management

Portfolio for Jira is a product that functions on top of Jira Software. It allows you a bird’s eye view of all your projects (including tasks, sprints and so on), and the ability to arrange the work by themes and initiatives (in a hierarchy), and plan work based on team capacity. This is for high-level capacity planning and scheduling.

What are different Jira products?

What packages are offered in Jira?

Jira is used for issue tracking and project management by over 194,000 customers in 190 countries; it ships with various translations including English, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.

Jira is offered in four packages:

  1. Jira Software includes the base software, with agile project management features (previously Jira Agile) for Software projects.
  2. Jira Service Management is used by IT operations or business service desks for Service projects.
  3. Jira Work Management (previously Jira Core) is designed for generic project management, i.e. business projects for HR, legal and other business teams.
  4. Jira Align is for strategic product and portfolio management.

4 Jira packages: Jira Software, Jira Work Management, Jira Service Management, Jira Align
Jira packages

Jira Software

When it was launched in 2002, Jira was purely an issue tracking software, targeted at software developers. The app was later adopted by non-IT organizations as a project management tool; adoption sped up after the launch of the Atlassian Marketplace in 2012, which allowed third-party developers to offer project management plugins for Jira.

Jira Software - main issue dashboard
Issues in Jira Software

What does Jira Software support?

Jira Software supports any agile project management methodology for software development like:

Jira Software is based on the Jira Work Management platform (Jira Core), which means it includes all of its functionality plus other features.

Jira Software integrates with Confluence, Bitbucket, Trello, Slack, GitHub, Microsoft and Google; you can learn more about integration here.

What is Jira Software used for?

Jira Software can be used to manage Agile teams, develop software, track bugs, as well as manage projects, products, processes and requirements.

Jira Software top industry use cases
Top industries using Jira Software

Who uses Jira Software?

Software developers of course, as well as QA and testing, project managers, program managers, product designers, product owners and scrum masters.

Jira Service Management

Jira Service Management (as the name suggests) is used for Service management projects, while featuring a customizable web portal for customers, as well as SLAs (Service Level Agreements).

Jira Service Management
Jira Service Management - Source

Jira Service Management integrates with Confluence.

What is Jira Service Management used for?

It is mostly used for Service Desk, customer support and ticketing support, ITSM, enterprise service management, asset management, change management, as well as managing service requests, incidents and problems.

Who uses Jira Service Management?

DevOps managers, IT operations managers and IT Service desk agents, support managers, services owners, and enterprise architects.

Jira Work Management

Jira Work Management is used to manage business projects in general. It features great templates that can be used for HR, legal, marketing and other business teams.

Jira Work Management
Jira Work Management - Source

All Jira Software and Jira Service Management users can access Jira Work Management features, which is great. Jira Work Management integrates with Confluence.

What is Jira Work Management used for?

Jira Work Management is most suited for non-technical team projects, workflow approvals, and for managing tasks.

Who uses Jira Work Management?

Business users in general, marketing, operations, HR, legal, Finance, IT, and so on.

Jira Align

Jira Align is designed for any organization looking to scale, by providing a seamless flow of information, from teams up to C-suite, and connecting execution and work delivery to strategy and goals. Jira Align (formerly AgileCraft) was acquired by Atlassian in 2019.  

Jira Align integrates with Jira Software (Premium), Confluence, Trello, Azure DevOps and Tasktop.

Jira Align
Jira Align - Source

What is Jira Align used for?

Enterprise agile transformation, scaling agile, SAFe, Scrum@Scale, LeSS, Disciplined agile, Hybrid and so on.

Who uses Jira Align?

Portfolio and program managers, product managers and delivery teams, executives, release train engineers, as well as transformation teams and finance.

What is Jira based on?

Jira is based on three main concepts: Project, Issue and Workflow.

  • Project: a project is a container of tasks that cover a day’s work or jobs that could take months to finish. A project is basically a collection of issues held together, and based on purpose or context. You could have a marketing project for example that would track ongoing tasks related to the marketing team.
  • Issue: an issue can be many things; like a feature being developed or a task (such as writing this article as part of the marketing content project for example). It’s fundamentally a work item of any type or size that you can track from creation until completion.
  • Workflow: a workflow is the path that an issue will take from creation until completion; in other words, it represents the lifecycle of whatever it is your issue represents.

A basic workflow can go like this: To do - In progress - Review - Approval - Done

Basic Jira Workflow - example

Each one of the steps that an issue takes is called status.

What are Jira key terms you should know?

Lingo is a significant part of the Jira learning curve; we've compiled a mini list of basic terms associated with Jira; if you're looking for something more elaborate that encompasses the project management industry as a whole, then check out our glossary page!

  • Epic: a Jira epic is a larger issue that contains smaller ones, which means that it takes longer to complete. Epics can contain stories, tasks and bugs.
  • Story: a user story is a short requirement written from the perspective of the end user; and to estimate how long a story is going to take, we use story points.
  • Task: something that gets done quickly
  • Bug: software bug basically 🐛
  • Initiative: collection of epics that are moving towards a common goal.
  • Release: a Jira release is a specific point in time for your project. If your project is an app, then a release would be used to organize work for the app, or schedule how a new feature for the app is going to be rolled out for example. In Jira Software, each release is called a version.
  • Field: a field is an attribute of the issue types, like description or labels connected to your issues. It allows teams to track data individually so that it’s easy to search for later.
  • Board: a board (in Jira Software and Jira Work Management) is a visual representation of a team’s project workflow, showcasing issues in a way that allows for flexibility when you’re viewing, managing and reporting on work in progress.
  • Agile: Jira has so many features designed for agile teams, such as Scrum or Kanban. Implementing Agile basically means to deliver value for customers while working in smaller teams (in short cycles) and avoiding top-down silos; for more on Agile and what it is, here’s a good 101 article.
  • Component: a Jira component is a perfect way to break down your work. It’s basically a subsection of a Jira project that you can use to group your issue into smaller parts (like functionality, feature or department) for better reports. For a good intro to Jira components, here’s a good article!

Project management can be a complicated process, true, and the more variables there are... well... 🤯

One thing's for sure though, Jira makes it all, much easier.