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Our Experience with Jira- The Goods, the Bads and the Can’ts

  • Post published:June 11, 2020

BACKGROUND

There’s nothing more important to me than time. And as a marketer and a writer I am constantly struggling with, and looking for ways to increase my productivity and efficiency by getting more done in a shorter period of time. This is probably true for every profession. 

Previously, I had been working with Taiga to manage my database and workload, and to be honest, switching to Jira was somewhat intimidating, but once I was shown the full power of Confluence by Jira, I knew I had to at least try it out. Now, that’s not to say Jira doesn’t have its faults, but I’ll be sure to get into that later.

My Top 10 Favorite Features of Jira/Confluence

what do I like?why do I like it?
Database storageGoogle Docs are a thing of the past!!! No more ranting and raving about which version you’re on, or who may have accidentally deleted what. With Confluence everything gets saved, and nothing gets lost. From the first draft, till the final copy, you’ll never worry about losing your work again (even after publishing)!
Customized featuresThe freedom to design! Create your own custom projects with your preferred configurations and management tasks. Easy to use and extremely flexible.
Easy to use Search BarThe best search function I’ve used on any platform. Easily navigate through your projects and tasks by typing just one word. Again, super easy to use and allows me to check the progress between different projects while still being able to pick up right where I left off.
Interactive Project ManagementMake sure your team is working together and to the best of it’s capabilities. Tag concerned individuals, along with “Child Tasks”, to pertinent projects and tasks. By utilizing this function you’ll save yourself countless hours of answering simple (dumb) questions over email and Zoom.
Space DirectoryCreate unique and customizable “spaces” to store documents and organize files. No more worrying about WIFI or internet connectivity, and just another reason you can ditch Google Docs.
Clear Task VisibilityAll tasks are visible on one dashboard including approved and rejected projects. You can track progress, stay up to date on deadlines, and easily and quickly step in when needed using your board.
Centralized InformationEasily track workflow and projects with add-ons like tasks, issues, revisions, boards, etc. User-friendly and easy to pick up!
Automated WorklogAdd, adjust, or remove files, links, and images quickly and easily on to your working document. From there you can simply copy the content and paste it into your WordPress blog to publish without losing even a single table or column. It keeps the settings intact for you, so you don’t have to work twice to fix anything. You can also add a timer to calculate the amount of hours worked.
Connect and Track-On the GoMake changes and adjustments from anywhere by anyone. You set the privacy setting to allow your editors and writers to make changes and view necessary updates.
No more Sticky Notes NeededTrack your weekly and daily activities on your personal dashboard. Remember everything, without having to waste the paper and ink.

Final Thoughts on Jira

Personalization is key, and I would rate Jira among my top of all time regarding that aspect. But, boy oh boy, do I wish they had some of the more basic features such as “wordcount”. ( Santa, are you listening?)

View multiple projects at a glance with Jira Dashboard

Track Status of each task within a specific project, as you can view:

Display board for work progress of Marketing team

Top 10 Things I dislike about Jira

We spend at least one-third of our lives at work (ridiculous right?), which inevitably makes us feel strong emotions towards the work we do. In modern times, especially right now, we are encouraged to work in dislocated teams using technology to communicate.. And because of this, a large portion of our time is spent monitoring some sort of project tracking tool. For this purpose, we use Atlassian Jira,, but to be honest, I’ve got a few issues with it.

What I Don’t LikeWhy I Don’t Like It
Poor Project ManagementThe way tasks are broken down shifts the team focuses to the micro side rather than the macro one. Rather than focusing on the overall goals and outcomes, emphasis is placed on individual tickets and tasks resulting in team members narrowing their scope of vision. Because of this, the reporting often doesn’t show the actual amount of value brought as a result of the task.
Too complex?Projects. Boards & dashboards. Issue types & screens. System & custom fields. Priority & permission schemes. User groups & project roles. Workflow statuses & transitions. What the heck is all this crap and do I really need to know it all? There are just so many things to keep in mind, it can be a real clutter to manage.
Lack of many basic featuresThere is an extreme lack of native features, requiring the addition of a significant amount of modules. Remember how I said no “wordcount”? Yeah, well whenever you’re looking for a basic function like that, you’re going to have to download another module…
UX/UI is clumsy and inconsistentThe configuration experience is not very helpful at all. Several elements that each tool consists of, and the multitude of parameters for each one, result in a literal flood of settings. It’s not an easy task to organize these settings AND if there are any changes within the workflow process, you might hit an iceberg!
The task can have sub-tasks, but a task can’t be a sub-task of a task!?This makes me so mad! An issue can be a task or a sub-task of a task but the existing task can’t be a sub-task of a task. You’d need to “convert” the existing task to a sub-task to make it work. Want to delete a subtask? Get ready to be thrown in a Bulk Operation but not be deleted! Just try it, you will change the entire workflow and screw up your entire dashboard!!! >=(
Creating an issue takes 4EVERFor whatever reason, creating a task takes a good amount of time. Because you need to focus on filling in the mandatory fields properly and accurately as there is no going back! I don’t know about you, but I typically have a lot going on at once and sometimes, I need to go back. When you forget to fill in even one of those fields, the board’s filter query will not catch the issue in the search, and nobody will ever see it, AKA it’s useless. I usually just end up avoiding Jira completely just to “save my time”, resulting in tasks being lost.
Email Notifications spamAny changes or issue updates are notified via email. The amount and frequency of these “X issue had been updated” emails are a bit too much. There is a relatively simple solution however: send all your notifications in bulk – but it’s a lot of bulk.
Speed and Performance!!!By far the biggest issue with Jira is it’s speed and performance. Almost every click results in a full page reload, which requires an ungodly amount of time to be fully loaded.
Confluence Any changes you make while editing won’t be seen in the “read mode” until you click “Save”. And upon doing that, you will receive an alert “Are you sure you want to publish changes made by XYZ?”. A good documentation tool should allow reading and editing of the document to be as seamless as possible. Confluence? Read and edit at the same time!
NavigationTime-consuming and flat out frustrating. It’s incredibly hard to switch between Confluence and JIRA, and as far as I can tell they are doing nothing to address that pain point. Switching between different boards is just another task that should have been seamless and convenient. Want to see tasks assigned to you on the board? Too bad! Here’s an incomplete list of tasks without their progress, updates, or child tasks. Comm’n Jira!!!

Things we can’t do in Jira / Confluence

What we can’t doWhy we can’t do
Checklist DevelopmentsFor our routine and day to day tasks, there is an immense need for Checklist Development. We always try to attach a checklist along with a few of the tasks to avoid micromanagement, but in Jira there is no such feature. To us it is important to have standard operating procedures, and unfortunately Jira prohibits us of from accomplishing our SOP.
Categorization of ContentAlthough Confluence has provided us amazing features to enhance our content team productivity, we still feel the organization of content is quite loose. I’ve never met an organizational team that does not utilize folders for basic organization. Unfortunately, Confluence does not give you this ability. Here’s just another example of having to download an additional module, just to have your program work the way it should have initially.
Jira ReportingA major reason for leaving Taiga was lack of reporting, and who could have seen coming the exact same issues with Jira / Confluence? Where is the basic reporting mechanism for simple board users? I usually like to have at least a printable report which can support basic filters. Is that really so much to ask???

In the interest of transparency, I want to point out these weren’t just my personal positive and negative thoughts about Jira/Confluence. Our entire marketing team used the program and shared with me everything they liked and disliked, and I compiled that altogether with my views to write this blog.