Is Your Project Management Tool Effective?

Is Your Project Management Tool Effective
Is Your Project Management Tool Effective

Here at DLT Labs™, we rely on Jira® to ensure our projects are completed on time. I am thankful we do since effective project management is crucial for the type of work we do here.

Tools (both real and virtual) allow us to get more work done efficiently and increase productivity. JIRA is no different.

Today, I am going to tell you why.

Let us begin with some background information on JIRA. An Australian company known as ‘Atlassian’ developed JIRA. First released in 2002, it is one of the most popular project management tools. What makes it so useful?

Made to be used in an Agile development context, it manages the workflow lifecycle in projects. But it can also be used for the development of the traditional waterfall lifecycle.

A centralized project management tool is useful in a large team that must keep track of multiple aspects of projects — requirements, design, coding, testing, deployment.

But to be effective, it must also be accessible to everyone in the team since this would let us do various tasks like review, assign, create watchers and reporters, specify priorities among other things.

This in turn fosters visibility, promotes ownership and if used properly, can improve work efficiency and improve collaboration.

Additionally, JIRA not only lets you view the work done by each person on an individual level, but also lets you see each team member’s work and responsibilities.

What I like about Jira®

This is an important feature for us as it increases transparency and communication among our team members. It also promotes iterative development and the planning of a sprint.

This board lets our teams organize their work within the sprint timeframe. It divides the work within team in different stages and provides burndown and velocity reports.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Jira board, here are certain terms you must remember: Sprint, Backlog, User Story, Issue, Epic, Swimlane.

This feature tracks the total work remaining, work completed or backlogged, amount of work completed and project release date for a specific version.

It also helps us identify whether data from the current process can be used to determine future performance.

To new Jira users everywhere, here are a few terms you must familiarize yourself with when using this feature: Burndown chart, Sprint chart, Velocity chart, Cumulative flow diagram, Version report, Epic report, Control chart, Epic burndown, Release burndown.

Our Agile teams turn to the agile roadmap in order to keep everyone on the same page and gain context for their every day’s work and understand future direction.

This is a shared source that outlines the vision, direction, priorities and the progress of a product in overtime.

I recommend you remember these terms when using the Agile roadmap planning feature: Internal roadmap for development team, Internal roadmap for executives, Internal roadmap for sales, External roadmap.

I like this feature as it lets me create an issue quickly and easily by using built-in templates comprised of predefined processes and subtasks.

I also like that I can customize my own Jira issue and save that as a template for future use. Additionally, the main fields can be prefilled automatically, letting the team perform better.

But, nothing is perfect.

As much as I like using Jira®, I have a few criticisms:

The web version is great and is satisfying to use. But the mobile version leaves much room for improvement.

Navigation while performing a task in their mobile application is not as smooth an experience as it is in the web version.

In an age where we do so much on our phones, I would expect this aspect of the tool to offer a much better experience.

This becomes quite complex, and is very time consuming.

Right now, the reports generated are not very usable as they cannot be downloaded as an image. Trying to use any other method to save the image in my system, results in poor image quality as it alters the resolution.

Due to this reason, I have to be careful about the size of the file and the quality of the file I am uploading.

The overall UI is cluttered because some parts of the software still use an older version of their graphical interface while some parts are new. This results in an inconsistent user experience.

All of these factors combined allow us to have a disciplined software lifecycle. I hope I have given you a good overall picture of JIRA, and what makes it such an effective project management tool.

Thanks for reading!

DLT Labs is a trademark of DLT Global, Inc.. Jira® is a trademark of Atlassian LLC and their use here does not indicate endorsement or affiliation.

Author — Ayushi Gupta, DLT Labs

About the Author: Ayushi is a young professional joining our Business Analysis team. She has been primarily focusing on DL Asset Track producing requirement documentation, user stories, and mockups. She has a bachelor of technology in computer science.

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