Using Jira to supercharge your reporting
..and ease your teams’ reliance on spreadsheets.
..and ease your teams’ reliance on spreadsheets.
Rafael Franco is a VP of Product/Engineering with over 15 years of experience leading teams and developing Software that helps companies scale-up. He’s really passionate about Atlassian and all the things agile and automation related.
Today we will look at an area that our customers often ask us about: Jira and reporting. This is the first post in a series where we discuss how you can use Jira specifically and Atlassian Cloud generally to support all areas of your business.
Rafael Franco, a seasoned industry professional, writes based on his real-world experience of moving reporting from excel to Jira. This post covers the configurations that you can use to replicate and improve reports that we frequently see customers creating in excel. Instead of wasting valuable time in excel, create reports in Jira. They contain the latest data; they’re traceable, collaborative, easy to consume and take a minimal amount of time to update.
As a VP of Engineering, I build effective and efficient teams that deliver the most value. To do so, I need to protect the team from the distraction of mundane and interruptive tasks, like spending hours producing reports.
In any role, it’s vital to identify current and potential problems as quickly as possible so that one can minimize their potential impact. A crucial aspect of my job is staying informed on the progress of my products while continually scanning for any potential problems. I also need to quickly access a snapshot of the current status of releases and deliverables. And how do we achieve this? Through the holy grail of reporting, of course.
Reporting is a necessity for all organizations so that they can understand the status of their products, projects, and teams, and view and then address issues before they become problems.
You’ll have heard the complaint from any manager who has to spend hours pouring over reports every Friday. So why is reporting perceived as a necessary evil? Probably because of the nightmare overhead of creating and then having to dissect either overly complicated or less than useful spreadsheet reports. Like me, I’m sure you’ve all been in meetings, staring at an excel spreadsheet and scratching your heads, wondering exactly how accurate the report is and what we should be taking away from it.
Many organizations I have worked with relied on reports that looked similar to this:
Excel reporting is problematic for many reasons:
In sum, the two main challenges with excel reporting are:
Here at Think&Do, we believe that organizations should be free to focus on their business, not spending valuable time on repetitive manual tasks, and providing time-consuming and potentially inaccurate updates. So, what’s the solution? It’s Jira, of course.
As a development team, it’s highly likely that you are already using Jira. So let’s see how we can use tools we already have to solve our reporting problem.
First, we create a new Project in Jira for our Product Reporting:
We’ll be using a kanban template for this project since there’s no need for sprints or scrum-based project management. We need the board to indicates if the specific product is in the Backlog, In Progress or Done:
Next, we configure our Product Reporting project to contain all of the columns of our old Excel Spreadsheet. Each of such columns will match to a field in a Jira ticket. For that we’ll make extensive use of Custom Fields:
Let’s now add all of our fields. Note that we must be careful to choose the right type for each of the fields, for example, “Tech Lead” should be “User Picker” since we’re selecting a user:
After we’ve added all of our custom fields, we just need to add all of our products into the Product Reporting project.
Let’s start by adding a new product in the Product Reporting Project by creating a new Jira issue:
Since Jira already provides a comments section and a robust audit log, there will be no need to add the Engineering and Product Manager comments or Last Updated.
As we can see, each person, be it a Product Manager, an Engineer or even a member of the Executive team, can now collaborate on the product, understanding the potential risks and act on it as soon as possible.
Portfolio Managers need to have an overview of all products and their status. This overview can be made either from the kanban board or a dashboard in Jira.
Portfolio Managers get an overview of the status of their Products through the card color:
Additionally, we can also add the Completed Scope %, and the Total Budget Spent % to get an overview of how far we are from finalizing a Product.
Finally, a Dashboard is a perfect way to keep people informed and on track. Gadgets on dashboards use the data in your project to keep your teams informed of progress:
Are you held back by time-consuming, inconvenient, and repetitive reports? Are you tired of setting up complex spreadsheets that are out-of-date as soon as they are created?
The first step is to pause, take a breath, review your process, and understand how Jira can help with your reporting. Implementing a solution like the one we covered will save you a lot of time in the long run.
While this solution might not suit your requirements completely, there are so many ways that we can help you achieve your reporting, automation, and project and product management in Jira.
Reach out to us at Think&Do, and we can save you valuable time and help your teams focus on the work they need to do to make your organization the best it can be. Think&Do’s Jira consultancy will assist you in setting up and configuring Jira or use our Jira training services to onboard and skill your teams.
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