Accelerate instance cleanup

“Jira and Confluence CLI are power tools keeping you from doing routine tasks or ad hoc projects involving manual repetition. I wouldn’t be able to do certain tasks if those tools didn’t exist.”

Darryl Lee, Sr. Atlassian Systems Engineer

The challenge

We’ve all seen it: as projects evolve and teams grow, Jira instances accumulate more and more data, outdated configurations, and unused components. The result: an instance with reduced performance and lots of clutter. And cleanup involves sifting through years of stale data. At that point, the prospect of cleaning up an instance is daunting.

The good news is, whether you’ve procrastinated for months (years?) or are performing a cleanup weekly, you can eliminate old and unwanted data with a few simple steps — and reduce cleanup time by more than 50%. Darry Lee, an Atlassian Engineer and expert in helping global organizations get more out of their Atlassian stack, took these steps and he hasn’t looked back.

Throughout his career, Darryl has supported international organizations during the cleanup and reorganization of their Jira instance by eliminating old, unused tasks, projects, and configuration objects. In one example, a global leader in the home security and automation market had 400 Jira users and loose team permissions. Everyone could create projects anytime they wanted. The Jira instance ended up having more than 400 projects, 200+ issue schemes, broken workflows, identical screens, and unused configurations. In short, the instance was in dire need of an overhaul.

With hundreds of projects and configuration objects to reorganize (and tidy up), Darryl realized that doing this job manually would be a nightmare. The process would be time-consuming and error-prone. In his estimation, scanning through all existing projects and objects and deleting nonessential ones would have taken days of work and thousands of clicks in the user interface. Mundane and frustrating, to be sure. And a process that invites human error. For Darryl, that translated into potential risks for the IT department and his client’s organization.

The right solution

451 projects →313
Reduced projects by 30%
983 workflows →140
756 workflow schemes →65
215 issue types →25
721 issue type schemes →46
1213 screens →145
1170 screen schemes →86
372 issue type screen schemes →53
97 permission schemes →4
252 field configurations →11
250 field configuration schemes →15
Overall reduction of 85%

To tackle this challenge, Darryl looked for a solution to automate these repetitive processes, and cost-effectively replicate cleanups with future clients. He considered using Python scripts that interact with the Jira REST API. However, none of the cleanup tasks needed advanced logic or conditions, and he didn’t want to deal with coding or handling the authentication. Therefore, Darryl turned to Jira CLI – which has since become his go-to tool for sys admin tasks.

He assessed the status quo of the instance and started the Jira instance cleanup. He ran several text-based commands in the interactive ACLI Shell to delete and/or archive unneeded projects and configuration objects, eliminating hours of clicking in the graphical user interface.

“The biggest problem with eight hours of clicking, even if you had somebody who’s happy to do that, is it’s incredibly error-prone. With CLI, I am confident hundreds of actions are performed fast and error-free.”

Darryl Lee, Sr. Atlassian Systems Engineer

The results

Once completed, Darryl had cut the number of projects by 30% and reduced configuration objects (including workflows, schemes, issue types, and screens) by 85% within days. He’d reduced the time spent on the cleanup by a full work week (40+ hours).

Check out Darryl’s post on the Atlassian community for a full breakdown and the steps involved.

Darryl was thrilled! Using Jira CLI, he’d created a cleanup process that slashed time spent on instance cleanups by 50%, eliminating hundreds of hours, manual clicks, and mind-numbing repetitions.

With the saved commands, Darryl could replicate the cleanup process for clients across industries, delivering them a pristine Jira instance that would improve performance and increase system stability.

Lessons you can totally steal

  • Don’t delay cleanups: Don’t wait for data to slow down your system before acting.
  • Automate manual cleanup tasks: Think twice before manually performing tasks involving hundreds of clicks.
  • Make cleanup a regular process: Instead of treating it as a one-off activity, create a repeatable process that will save time in the short- and long-term.

Last updated: 2023-07-31

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