Graphic depicting an increase in data center numbers

Jira’s role in driving work optimization strategies

Developers and product teams love Atlassian’s Jira for its robust issue tracking and project management capabilities. Since its launch in 2002, more than 65,000 companies globally, big and small, have adopted Jira because of its flexibility to support any type of project, as well as its extensibility to work with thousands of apps and integrations.

Though customization options through extensions and apps are practically limitless, too much growth can negatively impact instance performance and user experience. Put simply, the bigger the instance and the more customization, the bigger the potential problems. 

And that’s a concern. Because, according to Atlassian, the number of Jira issues among their largest customers grows an average of 23% year-over-year. (One customer has more than 5 million issues in a single Data Center instance!)

This kind of debt accumulation in a Jira instance can add to further challenges in managing workflow and workload as your company grows. This, in turn, can throw a metaphorical wrench into your work optimization strategies, like the largely adapted work management and continuous improvement strategies designed to help you scale your organization.

These strategies are all about practices, tools, systems, and internal review processes for establishing a well-organized workflow for driving optimization. That means setting up your project management tool properly (and keeping it in order) is critical to success.

Understanding how to optimize Jira and keep it in order only gets more important as your business grows.

What are some of the biggest challenges Jira admins face as an instance grows?

As your organization moves towards a more comprehensive use of Jira, your daily tasks, responsibilities, and maintenance increase. A growing user base bring with it more data and configurations, which, in turn, can lead to a federated environment with disparate use of projects, issue types, workflows, custom fields, etc., and a lack of consistency and standards. Let’s take a closer look at some of the challenges you face daily as a Jira admin.

Hard to find and configure elements

Searching and finding a configuration element with end-to-end information about its usage takes a lot of navigation through Jira pages and clicks to complete. Couple that with the limited options to make safe and direct or instant changes to that configuration element and things get even more time-consuming. For example, suppose you see a status or any other configuration element you want to change or delete quickly. There’s no straightforward way to do it and be confident that this status and its dependent elements down the chain will remain intact.

Lack of visibility into usage of configuration elements and their dependencies

In the native Jira environment, the only way you can understand how elements are used is by exploring the project schemes, screens, workflows, and custom fields one-by-one and scanning for the element in question. Alternatively, you can build custom scripts to explore the usage of elements, but this will still result in a lack of visibility on element dependency and relationships across the instance.

Suppose you identify custom fields without any issue data and without being recently used. If you want to delete them, you can. But doing it in native Jira can cause problems: if these custom fields have been used in dashboards or filters, all these dashboards and filters can break. You need to know the usage and dependencies of all configuration elements.

Changes can trigger an unexpected and (unpleasant) impact

To make a configuration change in native Jira, you have to do a lot of clicking to inspect the use and impact of an element. Then, once you decide to make the change, you have to perform several more clicks before the configuration change is complete. This is time-consuming and risky, because some changes can result in invalid configurations.

Say you have thousands of projects in a Jira instance, which easily predisposes to tens of thousands of configuration elements. You don’t want your change to break any configuration, but it takes a lot of time and effort to check in advance.

Lack of integrity error detection and reporting

When you encounter configuration like a broken workflow or scheme, you usually have a hard time figuring out the source of that error due to lack of visibility, no option for quick/direct search, and the inability to perform direct actions. Suggestions on how to resolve the errors would make your work much easier.

Slow and error-prone implementation of system’s performance optimization and clean-up initiatives  

Two significant factors impact the speed of any Jira instance: an increasing number of issues (and issue data) and an increasing number of users, custom fields, and other configuration elements. But it’s tricky to identify duplicate or similar configuration elements (e.g., custom fields) and reuse them instead of creating new ones, or to analyze unused or rarely used configuration elements and delete them. This difficulty interferes with your efforts to streamline administration tasks and optimize Jira’s performance.

In light of the challenges inherent in handling large, complex systems, Atlassian recently announced their recommended Jira and Confluence guardrails to help data center instances avoid tipping points.

What are Jira Guardrails, and how do they help you?

Jira Guardrails help ensure performance and stability while your data center instance is growing. They’re based on Atlassian’s observations of real-world instances with some of their largest customers. At their core, Jira Guardrails are “data type recommendations designed to help identify potential risks and aid decision-making about next steps about optimization” as your instance grows. Get the details and recommendations for different configuration elements in this post by Atlassian

But you can do even more to optimize the performance of your Jira instance

The Guardrails provided by Atlassian will undoubtedly help mitigate risks. But closely following these recommendations may not be easy for some organizations. For example, there are already instances with more than 10,000 projects even though the recommended limit is 7,000.

What else is out there?

Jira’s extensibility is one of its key benefits. There are over 3,000 third-party apps on the Atlassian Marketplace, helping various teams from all verticals customize Jira to fit their use cases perfectly. We’ll show you how to solve all of the above challenges Jira admins face (and more) with one such tool: Power Admin for Jira by Appfire.

Find and configure any configuration element

Power Admin for Jira makes the Jira UI faster and simplifies it to a single search homepage, enabling you to filter any configuration element by its name or ID. Once on the search results page, you can perform quick actions like edit, configure, copy, rename, and delete in a matter of seconds without worrying that a configuration can break up. This will help you quickly introduce changes across the chain of dependencies while being fully aware of the impact.

GIF showing Power Admin use cases

Understand usage, dependencies, and impact for each configuration element before performing any changes

You can understand exactly how and where configuration elements are used in other elements in Jira, and analyze the details of the relations between them. This task usually takes hours in native Jira, but now you can do it in just minutes because all the information is readily accessible via the app’s search and filtering mechanisms.

Power Admin for Jira location feature

Get complete visibility across the entire instance

Reduce the time and potential errors in making configuration changes or performing routine maintenance by uncovering the full story of how your Jira elements are configured and depend on each other.

Power Admin for Jira dependancies

Clean up unused or rarely used elements or reuse existing ones to optimize performance

You can identify and delete unused or rarely used configuration elements, clean up similar or duplicate, or reuse existing ones. Also at your disposal is a custom field merge functionality that helps you do a notoriously difficult administration task. With it, you can merge source and destination custom fields of the same type in Jira. As a result, all values in issues and contexts will be moved to the destination custom field, and the source custom field won’t be deleted.

Power Admin merge custom fields

Use built-in tool tips to fix configuration errors

You can determine the root cause of configuration errors and use the built-in tooltips for insights on how to fix them.

Power Admin for Jira error detection

Whether your rely solely the Jira Guardrails or add extra help from a third-party app, keeping your Jira instance in check and healthy gives you a solid foundation to grow your organization sustainably, with full transparency and easy maintenance of your work processes.

For more about this topic, check out George Dinkov on The BEST Work Management Show by Appfire, where he shares his expert take on Jira Guardrails and instance optimization.

Last updated: 2022-11-22

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