After writing on Confluence in the last post, this one is about Jira.
At the beginning, we will again have a look how Atlassian describes Jira. On the official Website you can find: "Jira Software is built for every member of your software team to plan, track, and release great software." That indicates very clearly where it is coming from. Jira was initially developed to support project management for software development. Today, beside Jira Software also Jira Core is available, which should go beyond software development and is described by Atlassian as "Software to manage your projects and keep your team organized".
In my first blog post I wrote that for Jira all of the following statements are true:
Jira is no longer a tool solely for project management, it can be used for numerous other purposes. It definitely helps to know where the tool comes from and what was the initial intention behind. However, if I would describe Jira, I would start with processes. Processes run in every company. On the one hand there are processes representing the core business, ensuring that the company works and creates sales. In production companies those are production processes, whereas in service companies we talk about service processes and in development companies development processes. On the other hand we have supporting processes like HR-, procurement-, distribution- or IT-processes. Every process starts with an input which is transformed in several, sequential steps into an output. Input and output, for instance, could be material, information or human manpower. Except production processes, all other business processes are supported by IT-tools or IT-tools are used in the process sequence respectively.
As an example: The procurement department of a company needs to order a new material. For that purpose, the responsible procurement member will be informed by email which material in which quantity at what time will be necessary. He checks at first if the material is available in the ERP-system and if a preferred supplier exists for that material. Afterwards, this supplier will be asked for a quote by mail or, if the material hasn't been ordered before, it will be checked which suppliers could deliver it. The further process steps include that the suppliers create and send their quotes, the quotes get possibly negotiated and the material gets delivered finally. All communication happens by email, an ERP-system is used, overview tables in Excel exist and the quotes are written in Word and sent as pdf files. So there are a few IT-tools supporting this procurement process.
What all that has to do with Jira is quite simple. This sample process and all other such processes could also run in Jira. I wrote above that Jira is a ticket-system. It is possible in Jira to define and configure those tickets and the workflow they run through. Such a ticket (in Jira it is called Issue) could be an IT-ticket, where people could communicate problems with their IT equipment and software to the IT department. Or it could be a procurement issue, where the procurement department gets the task to order a new material. Every issue in Jira can have own attributes which fit to the respective use case. The same applies for the workflow (process) which can be designed individually for each type of issue.
You can raise the question for sure why to use a tool for such processes which has its origin in software development and project management. My answer is that I work with Jira for more than 5 years now and I never got to know a software tool beside Jira which can be used for so many different use cases and can be configured individually to that extent. Furthermore, it provides such a potential to avoide mistakes, increases transparency and, most importantly, efficiency in processes. That is the reason why Jira, from my point of view, is most appropriate to support business processes, independently of where it has its origin or for what purposes it has been developed.
I would like to explain in further blog posts what I mean with avoiding mistakes, increasing transparency and efficiency of processes. In this post, my intention was to describe what Jira is and what it can be used for. If you have any questions or comments to this topic, feel free to write me: firstname.lastname@example.org