By Robert Leitch on October 26, 2016
StiltSoft is the Atlassian Verified vendor behind Smart Attachments for JIRA, Table Filter for Confluence, Awesome Graphs for Bitbucket and other add-ons.
This guest post by Vadim Rutkevich will show you how to improve the organization of tasks and attachments in JIRA with minimum effort and maximum efficiency.
Managing IT projects is not an easy task even for experienced and resilient project managers. For people starting their career in IT, it is extremely important to work with a tool that combines flexibility and convenience for project management.
One such tool is Atlassian JIRA, which has sufficient capability to track issues and manage the whole operational process.
Its own native Agile boards, sprints, components and issue labels are used for grouping issues and quick lookup across one or multiple projects. Scrum and Kanban boards allow you to visualize the development processes and track completion of tasks through their prioritization.
But there is always room for improvement.
After working in JIRA for a while you may notice some limitations:
These issues become critical when you try to take control over hundreds of tasks at once, or try to order dozens of attachments stored in each issue.
You guessed right - there are add-ons for that.
Fortunately, there are ways to keep your JIRA issues and their attachments impeccably organized. Thanks to the well-developed ecosystem of add-ons available in the Atlassian Marketplace you can find almost any solution for your needs.
Let's take a look at how these two add-ons work in a real-life project.
Once you have installed Structure add-on into your JIRA, you can start building complex multi-level structures of issues.
Why do you need this? It lets you arrange issues the way you want to see them, and lets you easily track the project iteration development.
So let's see how this works in real life. As an example, let's imagine that you're managing the complete redesign of your corporate website. This task requires input from different teams:
All the requirements have been collected and you are satisfied that they are complete for now, so you proceed to the planning stage.
You can either create a new structure from scratch or use existing issues for its basis. You decide to create a new structure that you will further populate with new issues. Within the structure you create several folders for organizing issues, as follows:
The Design folder will contain tasks related to website concept prototyping and creation of mockups with their further update and adjustment for better user experience.
The Development folder will contain both frontend and back-end tasks necessary for completion of the website re-design.
The Testing folder will contain all the issues that QA engineers find in a new version of the website.
The Deployment folder will contain tasks related to live deployment and other infrastructure tasks.
Folders are truly awesome
Once you've set up the folders, you can get started with creating tasks. You can create them directly while building your structure or import them from existing projects.
Having added all the necessary tasks, you get the following structure of issues:
With the tools on the management pane, you can promote or demote tasks in your structure, move them up or down, copy tasks or remove them from the structure. You can also perform bulk actions, which becomes quite convenient when you need to migrate a batch of tasks within the structure. The standard JIRA issue actions are also at hand.
Automation generators allow you to automatically insert, sort, filter, group or extend issues based on specific criteria. You can also add a generator that will automatically add issues matching a JQL query. For example, you can get an automatically updated list of issues discovered during testing of the project iteration.
Structure add-on supports different customizable views optimized for specific activities, such as planning, tracking, triage, entry of information or viewing issue details, in addition, you can switch between different layouts.
Not pictured: you can also view two structures at once!
Creating structures with issues simplifies the overall project management and allows you to create the necessary hierarchies of issues for tracking.
This is a great way to tame large sets of interrelated issues from multiple projects, but we still have another problem to solve: the disorganized mess of files that will be attached to many of them.
For every mockup, sketch, wireframe, graphic etc. there will be multiple drafts and revisions, all of which will just be piled together in a big heap in each issue.
Feeling anxious? No need, there's a solution that will help you with attachments too...
Smart Attachments add-on from StiltSoft (Atlassian Experts and a Verified Marketplace Vendor) allows you to create attachment categories within the necessary JIRA projects. These categories can be used for storing attachments of different types or formats.
You can associate each category with specific issue types that it will be displayed in. Additionally, you can restrict the visibility of each category for specific users, user groups or project roles.
Flexible, per-project configuration allows you to achieve exactly the setup you need. The option to import existing project configurations allows you to propagate a similar configuration to multiple projects.
Categories can be very convenient for all project types and for any kind of work. For example, you can create categories for managing design tasks:
Categories are available for use when you open the issue in JIRA or view it in the structure. Users can quickly and easily upload files to the necessary category via drag-and-drop.
The design team also uses PSD Preview add-on for generating thumbnails of Photoshop files, which removes the need to export and upload additional preview images.
SmartAttachments allows you to store different file revisions under the same document in JIRA. Instead of having multiple files related to the same asset, you have only one document which when expanded shows the individual document revisions.
With this solution you can perform bulk operations on the stored attachments.
Your teammates can quickly share the stored attachments with colleagues or customers by sending them directly to emails to gather feedback.
For automating the routine operations on attachments, such as verification of files in categories or either deleting or moving attachments from specific categories, you can use the workflow validators and post-functions.
You can configure them for specific workflow transitions and have some operations carried out automatically without any input from your colleagues.
A picture tells a thousand words. Seriously, click to enlarge and look closely at what's going on there...
With all the available capabilities you can easily organize attachments in JIRA issues and accelerate the execution of routine operations on them.
Bringing order to issues and attachments is no longer a problem. With Structure add-on you can create complex collapsible multi-level issue structures and organize issues in them however you want. The wide set of actions and extended functionality for grouping issues allow you to 'shape' your project iterations into visually readable and easily perceptible forms.
With Smart Attachments add-on you can quickly create categories and distribute all your attachments across them so each file will be in the right place and always at hand. The fully-fledged capabilities for speeding up and automating operations on attachments will let your team efficiently use the allocated time for project delivery.