Jira is a powerful tool for project management and issue tracking: The guardians of that tool are Jira administrators. They’re responsible for configuring and maintaining Jira, while finding ways to make it as effective as possible. 

They’re also busy! Because Jira administration is usually not a Jira admin’s only job: They nearly always wear multiple hats! Getting things up and running quickly is important, because they have other tasks to focus on. So, what separates the good Jira administrators from the great ones? It’s all in the best practices, tips, and tricks they employ. 

In this article, we explore some of the strategies that can make a difference between an average Jira instance and an exemplary one. 

Basic Jira best practices every new Jira administrator should know

You’d save yourself a lot of trouble if you were to master some Jira basics early on; just a few things to keep in mind when you get started.

  • It’s an essential role — To ensure that only qualified individuals are handling the Jira administrator role, it’s recommended to assign appropriate permissions and access levels to all users from the beginning.  
  • Plan ahead — Look at existing work processes and define standards for your workflows before you try to use Jira to manage any system. And plan for scalability by making sure Jira is configured correctly, so it can handle an increasing number of Jira projects and users. 
  • Keep your instance clean — Turn into “Keep your instance clean” – routinely remove (or archive) unused projects, status, workflows, custom fields, etc.
  • Focus on what’s common — Use the same schema across projects, if it applies. And keep your custom fields under control by reusing existing custom fields in a new context, if needed. 
  • Document repetitive tasks — Document things that happen on a frequent basis, like tasks related to onboarding a new hire. But you don’t want to document everything, because that will make Confluence bloated and noisy. To keep things organized, consider integrating apps for document management.
  • Make it simple — Make the board as easy to use as possible, so stakeholders can move issues with a simple drag-and-drop. The columns should be obvious.

That’s the Jira admin starter pack, so to speak. Once you’ve started the right way, let’s look at some of the best practices Jira admins can use to improve both the effectiveness of the tool and its overall efficiency. 

Jira best practices for admins

Jira administrators need to ensure that Jira’s used as effectively as possible and projects are managed efficiently. Covering the basics helps, of course, but that’s table stakes. Here are some Jira best practices for admins who want to take things to the next level.

  1. Set up user permissions the right way, so only required users have access to specific projects. Then you’ll be able to minimize the risk of errors and inconsistencies, as well as prevent unauthorized access and data leaks.
  2. Use project templates with predefined workflows, custom fields, and schemes when setting up new projects to save time, and avoid any mess. Reuse as much as you can! 
  3. Plan for scalability by making sure Jira is configured correctly and can handle the increasing number of Jira projects and users. 
  4. Use automation tools to save your team time and headaches, especially if you’re scaling. If you’re just getting started with automation, some workflow automation basics can help. You can also pick a workflow automation app specific to your needs, or master these strategies on how to scale growth in Jira.
  5. Provide training and support to stakeholders to make sure that they’re making the most of Jira’s functionality.  
  6. Set up checks and balances to stay in control. This will ensure you stay on par with the latest security standards. For recommendations on how to ensure governance and stay on par with the latest security standards, here’s our guide on how to improve IT governance with automation.

Jira tips and tricks to make Jira administration easier

Best practices are helpful as guiding principles. But dominating your day-to-day work as a Jira admin requires some more in-depth knowledge. Here are 9 Jira tips and tricks you can use to excel at work! 

  • Jira tip #1 — Customize your Jira instance to reflect your organization’s project management processes. Jira software is highly customizable, so take the time to adapt its functionality to meet your specific needs. (Just be careful not to overcomplicate things.) 
  • Jira tip #2 — Use keyboard shortcuts to help you work faster. For example, pressing “g” and “i” together takes you to the “Issues” page. 
  • Jira tip #3 — Use bulk actions to make changes to multiple issues at once. For example, you can bulk edit issues to change their status or assignee. 
  • Jira tip #4 — Use apps to help extend Jira functionality. Look for plugins that can help you automate tasks, improve performance, or enhance security. 
  • Jira tip #5 — Write clear and concise descriptions: Your success in Jira depends on it! Everyone on the team should understand why a Jira instance was created and what it entails. 
  • Jira tip #6 — Run regular instance integrity checks to identify problems, do regular clean-ups of duplicate/unused configuration elements, etc. to keep your Jira instance in good health.
  • Jira tip #7 — Use the ‘Your work page,’ where Jira admins can get an overview of the things they care about most in Jira. You can find issues, projects, boards, and queues you’ve visited, work assigned to you, and starred items.
  • Jira tip #8 — Be picky about plugins so you can avoid performance issues, and make sure that Jira remains stable. (Look for an app vendor with 24-hour support and a centralized source of information on end user license agreements, compliance, etc.)
  • Jira tip #9 Use the documentation! Atlassian’s documentation is a good place to start.
  • Jira bonus tip — Use JQL so you can set a quick filter for any field in Jira. That way you can find things easily, and add searchable keywords as you create your issues.
A word on advanced JQL (not the basic or quick Jira search): JQL’s the most powerful way to search Jira. It's especially beneficial for complex, large instances. And when you’re ready to move beyond Jira’s native JQL search capabilities, there are apps that can help. (Like Appfire’s JQL Search Extensions!)

By following Jira best practices, like setting up user permissions carefully, customizing Jira, using automation tools, and planning for scalability, Jira administrators can help organizations manage projects more effectively than ever before. 

Also, by using Jira tips and tricks like keyboard shortcuts, dashboards, and plugins, Jira administrators can work more efficiently, automating many of their tasks. With the increasing popularity of Jira in project management, the role of the Jira admin will continue to be essential in making projects successful and helping the organization to function smoothly.

If you’re interested in seeing how to automate your Jira processes to streamline day-to-day tasks and keep teams in sync, check out this practical guide we created for Jira admins. 

Get the 'Six automation strategies for Jira that'll make you (and your team) happy' guide from Appfire

Last updated: 2023-07-31

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