JIRA Review
Helps us work in Agile and Scrum formats across multiple locations and time zones


What is our primary use case?

We run pilots and product development using this for Agile and Scrum applications, in mechatronic product development.

It has performed well so far. We like it, we would like to expand it.

How has it helped my organization?

It's a tool that won't change the way that you work, but it supports the way that you work. Agile is changing your teams, changing your organization, the way that you work, and then JIRA will help you doing that across multiple locations, for instance. 

We don't do physical boards. I run a team with four locations, in three time zones. I need to work with online tools, and this is where the tool helps me. It helps me to use virtual Scrum boards across four locations, three time zones, and to plan my work.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable features are 

  • the easy handling
  • drag and drop
  • what you see is what you get.

It's, smooth, accessible. It fully supports the Scrum approach, and the Agile way of working, and it has Agile thinking behind it, so this is very much helpful.

What needs improvement?

I struggle with Epics, how they are implemented in JIRA, because they don't work like any other Story, in a good way. I see a list of Epics, but although I can order them, there are some mismatches with how the Epics are used compared to what Scrum expects, or what Story mapping expects an Epic to be. 

For instance, if I rate an Epic, the Story points, and I rate the related user Stories, the Story points, they all count together. They're all summed up together. So, the overall Story points for the Epic, including the Stories, is double of the Story points. It just doesn't make sense. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but I had to delete all my Story points on the Epics because they were counted including the Story points. This is not correct, and I would immediately improve that. 

I would like to see visualization of release planning. I can list the releases and I can give dates to releases, but to show how they are happening on a timeline, I would need to order the Portfolio part. But just for this, it may be too much to use the Portfolio for that.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution has been near perfect. I haven't faced yet any technical interruptions. 

There was one issue we had, technically, when we added 30 more users. The server hung. I don't know whether it was because of the tool, or what the reason was.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability, I can't really touch yet. We have small scale approaches. We are about to scale. I think the idea about how to scale is not yet clear. It works perfectly for a team, that is pretty clear. How you do this for more teams, I haven't investigated this too much. Maybe the tool contains this, but currently it's not fully clear to me.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We switched because the visualization is a great help. So, really to transfer from a physical Scrum board to a virtual Scrum board implemented in JIRA, as well as so teams can work with us, and collaborate with us, on a Story to produce a result. Recently we tried to work with PDC task management. As a team, we had to learn it. It's possible as well, but not as easy and flexible as JIRA.

What other advice do I have?

I'm not the selector of the vendor, but from what I can tell, from what our IT selects, the vendor should be 

  • available for global support, should be accessible in 24 hours, if there's a larger issue
  • able to collaborate with large enterprises, which sometimes have different cultures, different languages
  • able to integrate into the existing work environment - we have this tool, and that tool; the tool should fit into our tool landscape
  • able to provide training.

I would rate JIRA a nine out of 10. It's not a 10 because it's inconsistent, sometimes, in how it acts and reacts, like my example with the Epics. But it's a high rating because it's user friendly, it's easy to use, you do not need much training on it. If you know how to work with Scrum, you can easily use it for your own work in a small team. For multiple teams, I'm not sure. I can't judge this because I haven't done this yet.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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