Jira is a software development tool that project managers can use to organize and track the lifecycle of their projects.
The software is very customizable and has features designed explicitly for those working in the software industry.
Jira can be a useful project management tool and stands out as an option for software developers.
- Integration with more than 3,000 apps makes for a seamless workflow
- Very customizable
- Excellent for agile workflows
Jira software is a useful tool, but it does have some downsides that you should be aware of.
- May not be the best option for non-developers
- Limited free version
- The user interface takes some getting used to
One of the primary benefits of freelancing is the flexibility to work when and where you’d like, but you also need to make sure that you meet deadlines and complete work in a timely fashion.
As a freelancer, you may find yourself juggling workloads from multiple clients.
Fortunately, there are tools that can help.
If you’re a software developer or web designer, one such option is Jira by the Australian company Atlassian.
In this article, we’ll answer your most pertinent questions like “What is Jira?” and “What are Jira’s special features?” We’ll review this project management tool so that you can determine whether it’s a useful option for you.
(Note: Jira is specifically a software development tool.
If you’re looking for more flexible project management software, be sure to check out our guide to Asana.)
What Is Jira?
Jira is a software that helps streamline agile project management.
There are technically a few “Jira” products in the Atlassian marketplace, including:
- Jira Software, offering project and issue tracking
- Jira Align, offering enterprise agile planning
- Jira Core, offering essential business management
- Jira Service Desk, offering collaborative IT service management
This review is going to focus primarily on Jira Software.
Jira Software allows developers to focus on bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management.
What Is Jira Used For?
Software development teams can use Jira through the entire lifecycle of a project.
Some of the project management skills that Jira offers include scrum management, bug tracking, agile project management, marketing, and professional service management.
The Atlassian website says that Jira Software “is built for every member of your software team to plan, track, and release great software.”
Managers can plan projects ahead of time, creating user stories and issues.
They can also plan development sprints.
Jira Software makes it easy for managers to delegate and assign tasks across the project team, creating a roadmap of how they’d like the project to go.
Once a project is started, the work in progress is completely visible and transparent.
Team members can discuss the team’s work in full context with one another.
After a project is released, teams can track different issue types and bugs, fixing them in real-time.
Utilizing this real-time visual data helps improve performance.
Finally, Jira is entirely customizable.
Although there are workflow templates that managers can use, they can also create one that syncs with how their team works.
Below, we’ll further explore how project managers can use Jira.
Jira for Software Development
Jira Agile is an excellent tool for managers.
The agile methodology focuses on delivering a product throughout its lifecycle.
Using interactive approaches can promote adaptability and velocity.
If you’re new to agile project management, there are Jira tutorials and templates to help you learn.
As you become more comfortable, you can deviate from the template, adding custom fields to meet your team’s workflow.
Jira for Scrum
Jira allows project managers to create scrum boards.
Doing so allows them to track sprints and backlogs so that they can execute projects more efficiently.
Often, development teams are bogged down by endless sprints.
If you’re working a massive project that requires many steps to complete, it may feel as though you’re grinding your gears.
Jira prevents this, as you can use the scrum board to break down the project into smaller projects that are easier to execute.
When a project starts, you’ll upload all tasks into a backlog.
Then, you can set up sprints, dragging tasks from the backlog into each specific short-duration sprint.
That way, team members can easily see what they need to complete without being distracted by unrelated project tasks.
Jira for Kanban
Kanban is a workflow style that’s become more and more popular in recent years.
A few years ago, Atlassian acquired Trello, which was considered the leader in Kanban-style project management tools at the time.
Jira subsequently released Kanban workflows as a new feature.
Managers have the option to set a Kanban workflow up when they first start the project, or in the middle of the project.
Kanban boards can serve as a project tracker, making sure that the project is running smoothly and avoiding bottlenecks.
Managers can assign both tasks and sub-tasks to employees.
If a user reports a bug or an error, managers can create issues on the Kanban board and assign them to members of the team to be resolved.
Jira for Content Management
Too many software developers focus on the development of the product and not enough on the marketing aspects.
The content management tools on Jira allow project managers to set up a workflow to develop content for the business, tracking it from the drafting stage to the publishing stage.
Jira integrations are also available, allowing managers to link to sites like WordPress and Squarespace.
Managers won’t have to worry about exporting content from Jira and uploading it to another site.
Instead, they can publish content in one easy-to-use website.
Jira Issue Tracking
The issue tracking features that Jira offers is perhaps the area where it excels the most.
- Identify and create new issue tasks, assigning them to members of the team
- Upload pictures or screenshots when creating the task
- Prioritize issues for completion so that team members know which tasks are most important
By being able to address issues quickly, managers ensure that their workflow is not disrupted by bugs and that customers remain satisfied with the product, especially when it’s in beta.
What Are Jira’s Special Features?
Jira stands out because it allows for different types of workflows.
Below are some of the other special features that make Jira unique.
Managers receive the project management reporting basics from Jira, such as task conclusion times and created vs. completed tasks.
But managers also receive valuable reports regarding the agile software, such as control charts and scrum board tracking.
There are also add-ons and plugins available so that managers can customize their reports.
The ability to track time is helpful for two reasons:
- It allows you to see how productive your employees are when working
- It allows you to bid for future projects more accurately, as you’ll have a better understanding of your company’s productivity levels
The Jira dashboard allows you to view your employee’s working hours per day and working hours per week.
Jira’s project roadmap feature allows you to create a clear vision for your product.
With this feature, you can put together a timetable, list of tasks to complete, short-term goals, and long-term goals.
With the project roadmap, you provide a work breakdown structure for your team at any point during the project.
Still curious about whether Jira is right for you?
Consider some of these FAQs.
1. How much does Jira cost?
There are three types of plans available — free, standard, and premium.
The free plan supports up to 10 users but comes with limited helpdesk support.
You also need to pay more to add additional products, like Jira Confluence.
The standard plan costs $7 per month per user for up to 5,000 users.
The premium plan costs $14 per month per user.
The premium plan also comes with access to a 24/7 helpdesk.
2. Does Jira have a mobile app?
Yes, Jira has a mobile app that is available for both Android and iOS devices, including tablets.
The mobile app works quite well with the desktop platform, so you can easily pick up your project workflow no matter where you are.
3. Can I use Jira if I’m working as a freelancer?
Yes, you can use Jira even if you’re only working as a single-person team.
Jira can provide you with a clear outlook of the tasks you need to accomplish and can be useful if you’re juggling multiple projects at the same time.
Is Jira Right for You?
If you’re a software developer, Jira is a useful tool that could help. Specifically designed as a tool for software project managers, the app allows for a lot of customization that you can use to fit your project. Even as a freelancer or self-employed worker, Jira Software could help you manage your workflows and make you more efficient.
If you are not familiar with working as a software developer but would like to get started, be sure to check out our guide on how to become a software developer.