Jira is powerful, flexible and complicated. Having been introduced to Jira relatively recently myself, I can attest to the fact that there’s a lot to learn. So what’s the best way for someone who is new to Jira to get started?
The obvious source of truth for all things Jira is, of course, Atlassian’s documentation. Looking over the documentation will give you an idea of Jira’s scope and complexity, as well as guidance on any of the specifics. However, it can be a bit overwhelming and lot of it will be hard to get your head around if you’re not already familiar with Jira’s many elements. You might want to start with some other resources, and return to the documentation when you’re stuck on a specific problem.
The best way to get to know Jira is to put yourself in contact with people who have a lot of Jira experience. They’ve learned some lessons the hard way and are very generous about sharing their expertise. Here are a few recommendations:
- Atlassian Community Forum
The Atlassian Community is a great place to get advice and pose questions. You can adjust your feed to see all questions, articles and discussions on any Atlassian product, including Jira Core, Jira Software and Jira Service Desk. I particularly recommend reading/following this thread, where experienced Jira experts provide advice for first time Jira administrators.
- Atlassian User Groups
Atlassian User Groups (AUGs) are a good place to network with other users. AUGs are run by volunteers who do not have anything to sell. AUG meetings can include question and answer sessions, demos of new Jira apps/plugins and general networking opportunities. Once again, it’s a great place to learn from the successes and missteps of others (because life is too short to make all of the mistakes yourself). Find a local Atlassian User Group here.
- Atlassian Solution Partners
Another option is to hire help. Atlassian Solution Partners are consultants who specialize in helping you implement solutions using the Atlassian toolset. They’re fully versed in Jira and have been through dozens of implementations. They can help you define your scope as you get started or clean up a Jira instance that’s gotten out of hand. (Many of the Community Champions sharing tips in the above-mentioned forum are Solution Partners.) Find a Solution Partner here.
There are also a multitude of online tutorials for learning Jira:
- Atlassian University provides several series of self-paced tutorials, and periodically, they offer them for free. I would recommend doing the doing the Learn Jira Basics series to get started and to consider revisiting it when you’re a few months into using Jira. The Go Agile with Jira and Gain Project Insights Through JQL series are also useful, though not as necessary for getting started.
- There is an archived series on available on youtube. It was made for Jira 6, but remains relevant.
- There is an additional “unofficial,” six-part, youtube series which I found helpful.
- Lynda and Udemy also offer Jira courses.
Great Books for Learning Jira
If you prefer a print format (good for initial learning and future reference), here are a couple we recommend:
- Read the aforementioned thread in the Atlasian Community and one of the pieces advice that many experts offer is, “Read Rachel’s book.” They’re referring to the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook, by Rachel Wright. Rachel is an Atlassian Certified Jira Administrator and your basic “super user.” Her book provides tips on what to do and what not to do in order to create/maintain a useful, high-performing Jira instance. You don’t need to be overly technical or have a background in software development to understand what Rachel has to say. To get a sampling of Rachel’s wisdom, check out our blog series, Teaming Up for Business Teams.
- Patrick Li’s books are also recommended. He updates his Jira Essentials for each version of Jira. Here’s the latest.
- There’s also an O’Reilly book, Practical Jira Administration, you can see a summary and the table of contents here.
As with everything, the best way to learn is by doing. Hopefully, with these resources, your learning curve won’t be too steep.