Companies everywhere (large or small) juggle many projects, plans, tasks and people. A fitting Jira project management tool would have to be a software that can help them organize their own set of variables, in a way that works for their teams; and of course at a reasonable price.

The benefits of choosing the right Jira project portfolio management plugin for your organization are too many to count (including a better chance at competition and of course, innovation); so I'd say pick wisely!

What are the 7 main functions a Jira project management tool should fulfill?

  1. Project planning: so you can plan projects easily based on a previous track record.
  2. Project tracking: for tracking completion, time and costs, and handling things going off track.
  3. Scheduling and time management: to keep track of time for every work item and consider your team’s work schedules.
  4. Communication: so you can easily collaborate across teams, as well as with stakeholders, and customers.
  5. Documentation:  to be able to easily document the data you need to make decisions and keep the team aligned and on track.
  6. Ease of use: the simpler and easier to use a tool is, the more likely it is to be adopted by your team.
  7. Integration: your tool should include all three keys to successful integration; flexibility, security and documentation.
Jira project management software - 7 functions
7 functions of a Jira project management tool
If your employees consider processes, systems, and the overall experience of using a Jira project management tool complicated, chances are you’ll face even more challenges as your competitors simplify.

How does Swanly answer all 7 project management needs?

The main purpose of a Jira portfolio management plugin like Swanly is to help project, portfolio and product managers go through all their project stages in the easiest, most efficient way possible.

1. Easy project planning

If we’ve learnt anything over the years, it’s that a lot of the time spent planning projects goes to waste. But who said it had to be so?

One of the key benefits of using Swanly as a Jira roadmap addon is how easy and simple it makes planning projects. With Swanly, you can import all of your Jira work in one place: the portfolio roadmap, then scope out your milestones (epics, releases), key deliverables and roles before you even start.

Swanly roadmap - project planning in Jira
Jira project planning with Swanly

And so once you’ve integrated your Jira data in a centralized hub that allows for cross-project, cross-team reporting and the joy of missing out on dealing with fragmented and scattered information, you can enjoy the ease of keeping your plans up to date with Swanly while tracking progress.

2. Cross-project tracking

More often than not, the role of a project or product manager implies managing multiple projects and/or products. That being said, it also comes with a dire need for visibility across projects, and the ability to track progress and resources. Swanly provides everyone on the team with a Jira portfolio roadmap for all projects, whether finished, running or planned.

Swanly roadmap - project tracking in Jira
Jira project tracking with Swanly

Thanks to Swanly, you can schedule any issue from any Jira project in a super neat cross-project roadmap timeline through which you can instantly access issue progress details like aggregated scope insights (status, time tracking, story points) and the burndown chart.

Cross-project list view in Jira - Swanly
Swanly list view for Jira projects

Also, you’ll get full access to high-level data like name, status, type, progress, description and start&end dates, all in one list that you can filter through. Plus, you get to track progress across multiple issues, releases and projects, all from a single place; now that’s what we call efficiency in tracking.

3. Scheduling and time management

The main point of using a good Jira project management tool is efficiency. When it comes to scheduling and managing time, Swanly offers a few perks! For starters, it allows you to standardize your Jira project planning process with simple stage templates you can use to set up both issues and releases. Why waste time setting up a repeatable process when you can create simple templates?  

Swanly roadmap - scheduling and managing time in Jira projects
Jira scheduling and time management with Swanly

Another perk is the ability to track progress of your Jira project, release and issue directly on the timeline, which means you get to schedule (and change start and end dates) directly in the roadmap. Add to that, the fact that a stage drop down appears every time you click on any work component in the roadmap, in order to show you progress for all stages.

The burndown chart is also very useful for understanding Jira time issue and release progress; it looks at the effort needed to finish on time given what time and work you have left to finish.

Swanly report - issue and release burndown chart
Jira burndown chart in Swanly

4. Better team collaboration

Project management solutions should be able to improve team collaboration across the entire organization. Team members should collaborate on projects by discussing tasks, timelines, dependencies, and so on. Swanly allows everyone to be kept in the loop, with of course, access to the bigger picture.

A good project management software helps develop a funnel for communication when it comes to tasks and projects, both internally for the team and externally when dealing with clients and other stakeholders. Document or data sharing for example, enables transparency and communication.

Jira cross project reports in Swanly plugin
Team collaboration in Swanly across Jira projects

With Swanly, you can include anyone from the team, stakeholders or clients, by allowing them to log in and view the project data relevant to them. This way, your clients can provide direct feedback for example, make edits, or review project progress, all in the same place.

In our case at Jexo for example, most of the features and improvements we’ve come up with are based on customer feedback. We store all customer feedback as issues in a separate Jira project called ‘product feedback’ then we link them to relevant stories. The linked issues section is where you’ll find the links to customer feedback for an exact story in Swanly.

5. Solid up-to-the-minute reporting

Long-term success means the ability to monitor work progress and the various stages of your projects and products; and good software plays a huge role in that! Daily access to insights and the ability to create reports on the go cannot be stressed enough; it basically makes your decision process much more accurate.

I find that it's better to choose a platform that covers reporting on a portfolio level, while allowing you to keep track, customize and share more digestible pieces.

Swanly’s report view is the holy grail where you get real-time access to all the info you need about any Jira project, issue and release; anything from progress scope (status tracking, story points tracking, time tracking and burndown chart) to connected projects.

Jira release and issue report view with Swanly
Swanly report view

Also, you can synchronize release versions across Jira projects for example, then track release scope in a single report which shows you the release from multiple projects. In this case, you’re getting full access to any release process basically, with reports that are updated on the spot and are very easy to share.

6. Ease of use

Innovations like the iPhone, or Uber are a good example of how when you combine a customer-centric strategy with technology, you get something simple and personal. If your employees consider processes, systems, and the overall experience of using a Jira project management tool complicated, chances are you’ll face even more challenges as your competitors simplify.

Swanly is a very simple, easy to use tool for everyone involved; setup takes minutes while very little training is required. The project or product roadmap is straightforward, the data is compartmentalized in a way you can understand and make use of, reports can be created on-the-go, and so on.  

Swanly - easy to use Jira project roadmap with toolbar
Swanly roadmap and toolbar

The app is super user-friendly. Take the roadmap toolbar for example; it’s designed to offer maximum efficiency as you make changes to the roadmap. It allows you to zoom, filter, expand stages (drop down) and group by project, status and template; in the simplest way possible.

7. Seamless Jira integration

When it comes to integrating cloud-based software, the idea is to make everyone’s job easier by enabling existing tools to talk to each other and share information. Swanly is so well integrated with Jira, you’d think they’re one! :)

  • you can access Swanly directly from Jira.
  • you can schedule issues and releases from your Jira with all info (such as name, description or status) always up to date in Swanly.
  • release and issue reports are based on the story point progress and time tracking you set in Jira; and again, all in real-time.
  • anything you create or update in Swanly is instantly reflected in Jira and vice versa.
  • Swanly adheres to all Atlassian Marketplace security programs, which means a lot of security perks.
  • Swanly was originally created as a flexible solution for digesting information in Jira; it’s literally designed for Jira Cloud.

If you want to keep using project roadmaps in Jira, but be able to see epics (in real time) from select projects in one place (given you can't do that by default in Jira), you can use Swanly as a portfolio roadmap for your Jira projects; for more on that, here’s an article!

Swanly portfolio roadmap with Jira project roadmap
Jira integration with Swanly portfolio roadmap

Bottom line is; if you want your projects to happen in a seamless manner, as you enjoy the little things in life, it goes without saying that you'll need a good Jira portfolio plugin, and Swanly is exactly that; a Jira roadmap tool to save your day!

If you’re someone who’s already been swayed to our side, we’d love to hear what you think about our product.