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Project Management Jira Software and Core

Forms for Jira: Making a Great Project Management Tool Even Better

by Jenny Choban on May 31, 2018
The right tools can transform a task from frustrating headache to satisfying pleasure. With it’s powerful workflow engine, customizable issue types and end-to-end traceability, Jira is clearly the right tool for project management. 

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But there’s nothing that can’t be improved upon. Complex projects require tracking a lot of data. Adding forms to Jira issues is an easy way to include all of the fields you need and allows you to:

  • Add more information to an issue without requiring Jira custom fields
  • Structure and organize information in the way that’s most useful to you
  • Make more data points visible, without cluttering up the issue

Let’s look at a few specific ways project teams can benefit by adding forms to Jira issues.

Detailed Project Management Forms

Forms are great for collecting detailed, structured information.  Jira provides a description field for including all of the task-specific instructions or specifications project teams might need, but there’s a catch.  When multiple pieces of information are lumped together in one field, it’s easy to forget to include everything.

I recently heard a Jira administrator describe how she creates Confluence pages to serve as examples of what information she wants included in the description field. That’s not the worst workaround I’ve heard of, but it forces users to go to another application just to get instructions on how to complete a field on an issue. 

In contrast, including a form that embeds in the Jira issue allows you to:

  • Prompt for specific information by adding as many fields as necessary
  • Include unlimited instructions
  • Add hints, examples or descriptions for each field
  • Add validation rules for each field

This makes it much easier to ensure that the right information is collected for each and every Jira issue in your project.

Keeping All Eyes on the Prize

One of the challenges of complex projects of long duration is that it’s easy to loose site of the Big Picture. Project team members become focused on their specific tasks, or only the items in the current sprint. Thinking about how the parts will fit together as a whole, or the customer problem that you are trying to solve, becomes a memory or is left to the higher-ups.

Putting a form, say the Atlassian Project Poster, on an issue makes it easier for project team members to keep the end goal in mind. The answers to “Why are we doing this?” and “What are we doing?” are in front of team members all of the time. Having easy access to that big picture thinking can inform decisions, reign in scope creep and keep everyone motivated.

 

Breaking It Down

Tasks have subtasks. Jira issues can have child issues. Everything can be broken down into smaller parts. One of the most sure-fire ways to make sure that complex processes get completed thoroughly is to create a checklist with all of the required steps. Checklists ensure quality control. They make sure that we’ve done what we said we would do, that we’ve followed standard procedures and that we’ve met the success criteria that have been set for us (or set by us).

The other great thing about checklists is that they allow you to see your progress. What’s more satisfying than a list with all of those “completed” checkmarks?