Using JIRA for Project Management

Using JIRA for project management is popular, especially among software development teams.

JIRA is primarily designed for software development, but thanks to its Kanban workflow management system, it has been utilized as a project management solution by many project teams.

There is a good reason for this. JIRA is a powerful tool, it’s optimized for agile, and JIRA project management offers many positives and benefits.

computer programmer

Pros:

1) Your developers are already using it. The dev team already uses JIRA , for better or for worse. Why use another platform for project management, when you can use the same platform the team is already using? No need to have everything in two places, right?

2) JIRA is optimized for agile, and the Kanban method makes it very easy to track tasks. We all know how effective agile and Kanban are. Who needs project management software when JIRA has Kanban for task management? Just keep on top of the workflow, and the team can hum along.

3) Value for money. We already have JIRA – why spend more money on another platform, if we can make use of the platform we already pay for?

These are good arguments. But, as you can guess, there are also cons to using JIRA for project management.

Cons:

1) Non-R&D people in the organization don’t use it. Sure, the software team uses JIRA. But the marketing and design teams don’t – and for good reason. Once you have to teach some teams a new software platform, why teach non-software people a software platform, just for project management, when you can use a dedicated and intuitive platform for everyone instead?

2. JIRA project management is missing a timeline view, and tasks don’t create a timeline. This is the single biggest problem with using any other kind of platform for project management. Without a timeline function, every task seems to be a standalone item. You cannot manage a project with deadlines across different areas when no one sees a timeline! Kanban boards are great for tasks – and they’re terrible for projects. Trying to manage a project by managing tasks is like trying to build a skyscraper on a sinkhole. You’re missing the supporting structure you need to keep everything where it needs to be.

3. JIRA project management lacks functions such as load balancing, budget estimation, etc. Project management has a suite of tools a project manager needs. You can’t see workflow load balance in JIRA. You can’t track expenditures in JIRA. JIRA is good for managing workflows, tracking bugs, and getting the next release together. It isn’t built to manage a project, as a whole. It gets quite difficult to manage projects without the tools you need, and the project suffers as a result.

The Hidden Problem With JIRA Project Management: It’s The One In Plain Sight

hiding in plain sight

There’s a hidden problem with JIRA, especially with using it for project management. JIRA forces you to think in a certain pattern. JIRA essentially measures progress by the number of tickets cleared. This frames issues out of context, as singular entities. In reality, they are part of the bigger picture of the project itself! This incentivizes the team to work on one ticket at a time, because pushing a ticket from “In Progress” to “Done” is the metric of progress.

However, when developing software, all of those tickets are actually linked, and dependent on other tickets too. Sure, JIRA lets you link tickets. But those links are simplistic, and they don’t capture the dependency network you know is actually there. This is why developers spend so much time discussing these dependency links, and the overall software project. That information and vision is not available in JIRA.

JIRA’s structure forces software development teams to plan their projects to conform to JIRA’s model. Using JIRA for project management actually bakes in an inefficiency into how you’ll manage your project. JIRA prioritizes task management. There’s no map, no overall structure for the project itself. JIRA breaks down the project into tasks, with its ticket model. You, as the project manager, are thinking about your project in terms of individual tasks. 

That in turn pushes the team to complete tasks without thinking about how those tasks fit into the project as a whole. Creating great software requires a big picture model. It demands an integrational approach that links tasks to the overall vision of the application. Using JIRA for project management leaves you lacking in the most important aspect of the project.

JIRA Project Management: A Better Way

JIRA for project management is a compromise. Budget conscious organizations, or companies that don’t perceive the value of effective project management, tell themselves “JIRA is already there, so why not make it work.” But for the forward thinking organization, JIRA is best used for software development, not out of its application as a project management solution. Project management matters, and it needs the proper toolset for success.

Proggio integrates seamlessly with JIRA, giving you the best of both worlds. Manage your software development with JIRA, while managing the project overall through Proggio. Instead of digging through tickets to figure out where things are holding, you have the projectmap, showing you intuitively and visually exactly where everything is holding – using your data from JIRA. Proggio is the big picture/integrational model that JIRA is lacking.

Proggio is the timeline and roadmap Jira is missing.

You might use Proggio over JIRA to create a roadmap. You might use it to bring real project management to the efforts contained in JIRA. With Proggio, you don’t need to root around through JIRA tickets to find the answer to “where are we holding?” 

Jira Integration

With the JIRA Listener tool, you create a communication channel between JIRA and Proggio. Plan your project. Select which epics or sprints you want connected to particular activity boxes on the projectmap. Presto – your project plan now updates with the information generated in JIRA.

What your software team marks as “done” in JIRA, your projectmap in Proggio will show – automatically. Change the dates of an epic? The projectmap will move the activity box on the projectmap. Hey, even changing who a task is assigned to – that shows up in Proggio, too.

Proggio is your eye into the software development team. Software dev doesn’t have to be a black box. Proggio is the timeline and roadmap Jira is missing.

Jira Integration Project Management

JIRA does things well and it is a powerful tool. You can address the downsides of using it as a project management solution, by integrating Proggio with JIRA: the perfect combination of software development and project management.