In the realm of managing particularly complex projects, as well as in the daily team workflow, Atlassian Jira has established itself as an excellent tool in my eyes. However, like any software solution, there are both positive and negative aspects to consider before adopting this tool, and today I would like to carefully examine the key factors to evaluate.
Integrated Project Management: As a software development company, we use Jira daily to track customer requests, assign tasks to developers, and monitor the development of planned features. Although not hyper-specialized project management software (such as Target Process), Jira allows the team and project managers to track every phase of the software development cycle in one platform, improving the overall efficiency of the process. And that’s no small feat.
Within Vanilla Innovations, Jira is also used as an IT Service Management tool to handle customer tickets. Each ticket is assigned to a team member, and its status is regularly updated. This allows the CCO (Chief Customer Officer) and the technical support team to view the ticket status in real time, identify any delays, and respond promptly to customer requests. The results of adopting Jira for ITSM management are indisputable: everything flows smoothly and customers feel properly supported and cared for.
A sore point is the front-end of the technical support portal created by Jira: calling it poor is an understatement. It has nothing to do with specific software like Zendesk or others, with limited possibilities for customization or integration of external tools; in short, it’s good but certainly not excellent.
Always positive, when it comes to software, is the possibility of integration with external and internal applications from the same producing company. The most canonical example, although not closely related to us as we use GitHub, could be the use of Jira alongside Bitbucket to manage the source code of software projects and thus allow development teams to easily associate commits and pull requests with Jira tickets, ensuring complete traceability of code changes. Not bad, but here we enter the realm of programmer psychology, and if a programmer is used to using GitHub, they will grumble and protest every time they have to touch BitBucket and vice versa. A war I’ve already fought and don’t want to repeat.
Turning to the negative factors, the extreme complexity of extensive customization of Jira in order to adapt it to specific needs is something that deserves a more simplified or better documented procedure. If the configuration is not managed correctly, it could lead to errors, conflicts, and lower system performance, causing delays in projects and dissatisfaction among employees. There are also several issues related to unofficial plugins that are often useful for improving Jira’s reporting functionalities, but which all too often can cause compatibility issues with other software features or compromise system security, requiring careful management by the system administrator or even restarting from scratch or from backup. Simply preventing the installation of those unapproved plugins for individual versions would be enough, but I imagine it requires immense effort, so one must be very careful. Do not install unofficial plugins.
In conclusion, I can definitely say that Atlassian Jira is a good software, but it is something that is not yet perfectly defined. It is project management software, but faced with complex projects, it would not be my first or second choice; similarly, it is a good tool for managing technical support, but we are light years away from FreshService, ZenDesk, and others. Would I change it? No!
Jira is a good solution, stable and valid in multiple aspects. Individual functions are not the best that the market has to offer, but often the ability to integrate with other segments of the software is much more important, for example, than managing tasks at multiple levels.
The last positive note with which I want to conclude this brief report is the cost. It is important that small teams can use all Atlassian software completely for free. As you move up the ladder (maybe for the need for SLA management or workflow customization), the cost rises quite rapidly to significantly important figures.
That’s all. Until next time.