Jira is an incredibly powerful issue tracking platform that has become the cornerstone for countless software development teams. It provides extensive configurability for administrators to create custom workflows, unique issue types, and complex integrations with other tools such as Slack or Github. Jira is so incredibly feature rich, it’s easy to miss many useful features. These awesome, yet underutilized, features are often shared organically between team members, but many are usually left undiscovered.
Atlassian power users at Modus Create got together to share some of their favorite, yet underutilized features. These are some of the cooler features that we think are seldom used by teams. We hope you’ll find something new here that you can use to enhance your project!
Add a flag and comment
“Add Flag and Comment is underutilized, though not the coolest! Due to multiple projects and releases, it is difficult to keep a track of why a ticket was a blocker. Also, flags can be misused if not held accountable, diluting the importance of the epic.
This feature helps “Add a flag and comment” at the same time. The comment and flag is also updated automatically in comments. This flag and comment can be removed too.
This helps agile teams rely on latest information to make decisions and set priorities. It surely is a good practice!”
– Gauri Mohile, Business Analyst/Scrum Master
“I really like Basic Search. The ability to create a query with dropdown help to find just the set of issues you’re looking for is powerful. The More option is what usually narrows the search just the way I want it.”
– Alan Buhler, Director of Product Management
For a deeper dive into advanced search, check out Searching for what you need in Jira using JQL on the Modus Blog!
“Hands down my favorite feature to use in Jira is Card Colors on boards. Setting a conditional color for a card on a board is the easiest and most effective way to draw focus to a board that may be overwhelming to your users. It is easy to map items, link priority, RAG Status, issue type, etc. to colors. Nothing says, “Things are going good” like the color green or “At risk” like the color red.”
– Jim Dunn, Project Manager
“I am a huge fan of dashboards. They are a great way to give a high level view of your project’s progress. Most folks spend all day in the weeds of particular issues, but they lose sight of the overall impact their team is having. Dashboards allow for simple, yet information rich visualizations to take center-stage.
Atlassian supplies a lot of really useful dashboard gadgets out of the box that are very powerful. The ‘Created vs. Resolved Chart’ is an excellent way to track how bugs are being resolved over time. Being able to see a breakdown of issue types in the ‘Pie Chart’ is great, but the additional ability to jump to a filter, based on those categories, has saved me lots of time writing JQL.”
– Charles Tirrell, Sr. Product Manager
“My fav these days is creating a very simple dashboard and calling it ‘My Dashboard.’ I add only three widgets:
- The ‘Quick Links’ gadget
- The ‘My Open Issues’ gadget
- The ‘My favorite filters’ gadget
This dashboard is then usable by all members of the team and gives them a ‘home base’ which is customized for them.
More advanced users can then make a copy of the dashboard and add other gadgets that they find helpful for their role.”
– Cyndy Bunte, Sr Business Analyst
See the Modus Blog to learn How to Create Dashboards in Jira.
Field Visibility on Boards
“Tweaking what fields can be seen on the board is invaluable – whether you want to see the date the issue was created or some other custom field, it lets you choose at a glance what relevant information to display on the card.”
– Drew Falkman, Sr. Product Manager
“Workflow triggers can help your team automatically transition Jira issues. You can set up a trigger for different events that occur during a typical development cycle.
A common scenario would be to automatically transition a ticket from ‘In Progress’ status to ‘In Review’ status when a team member creates a Pull Request in Bitbucket or Github. Triggers will help keep your team from having to switch back and forth between tools and ensure tickets statuses are kept up to date.”
– Chris Nicosia, Product Manager
“The Release Hub gives a quick look into the status and progress of an upcoming Release. First, use the Jira left nav Releases option to navigate to your available Releases list to add/edit your Release Versions. Apply one of these Versions to your stories as a FixVersion, then navigate back to Releases and click on the specific Version. You’ll see all the details and a summary of progress.
If you have a Bitbucket or GitHub integration set up you’ll also see any warnings or conflicts indicating issue data is potentially out of sync with development data which could impact your planned release. There’s even a handy button to Release straight from this screen!”
– Tanya Grinsell, Sr. Product Manager
Visit the Modus Blog to read more about Release Management in Jira.
“A make or break feature for nearly every platform is the app store. Without one, you’re reliant on the platform owners to have all of the resources and desire necessary to build out every feature the user base requests. Fortunately, Atlassian has put together a stellar Marketplace that allows users to build out missing functionality and share it with the world (and even make some revenue of their own on the side). Any time I need functionality that isn’t in core Jira/Confluence, the Marketplace is my first (and often last) stop.
– Lucas Still, Senior Software Engineer
Find Your Own Feature
This list represents just the tip of the iceberg regarding Jira features. There are hundreds of features that folks use everyday that are unknown by the majority of Jira users. Atlassian University is a great place to learn about Jira and the many other software packages that Atlassian has to offer or browse the Modus Blog for more. Dig a little deeper and find those high-value features that will make you a Jira pro. These are just a few of our favorites – what are yours?