Jira Review

A great centralized tool that has a good agile framework and is useful for day-to-day planning, task management, and work log efficacy

What is our primary use case?

We have different software projects. I primarily use Jira to define and plan projects for agile-based project management. We use different aspects. We have scrum-based management for some projects and different systems for others.

What is most valuable?

The agile framework works well, and I pretty much live by that. Everything, such as sprint management, is laid out.

It is easy to use and easy to implement. It provides me with pretty much everything that I need to be able to do day-to-day planning, task management, and work log efficacy.

It is a great centralized tool for everything. You can use it for your local team management to communicate with your developers. You can also use it for your management team and for communicating with subcontractors to keep track of work products, work logs, and perform at the minute status.

What needs improvement?

For how I identify tasks and break down use cases, I wish there was the ability to drill down Stories multiple levels deep. You have Epics, Stories, Tasks and Sub-tasks. Each of which can go one level deep. It would be nice to be able to be able to define Stories multiple levels deep in order to break down super complex use-cases. That is my only pet peeve. Other than that, they've been improving year to year, and each new version seems to have increased levels of improvement.

I use another product that synchronizes well with Jira called Worklog Assistant, by Sohail Somani, which runs separately to Jira. It is a great product that allows you easily keep track of work performed and generate all respective Jira worklogs at the press of a button. I've been using it for years, and it just makes it very easy for me to keep track of what I am doing with an accurate time tracking mechanism. I think this would be a nice tool to integrated with Atlassian Jira.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using it since 2008.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is pretty stable. They've improved things over the years. Back in 2008, when we were starting to use it, different issues used to come up from time to time. It was still relatively stable. Now, I rarely run into a problem for which I can say that it is a problem with the tool, as opposed to user error.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is pretty scalable. I was actually kind of surprised at how much data I can put in. It doesn't slow the tool down. It is quite scalable, and it worked well for the projects that we've done.

We're a small company. I can't compare myself to IBM or Raytheon. I can talk for a small company with up to 45 employees with X number of projects. Because of COVID, we've had to pare down, and currently, we have two users who are using it. I myself use it on a regular basis. Four or five years ago, we had subcontractors who used it with us. At that time, we had seven or eight users, including clients and subcontractors.

It is being extensively used at the moment. The only increase in usage would be to include other individuals on it.

How are customer service and technical support?

We used their support early on, and they were helpful. At that time, we were using the enterprise product, which was a purchased product. So, as a paying customer, you got straight-up support. They were good. There were some bugs and issues early on that were difficult to get through, but they worked them out. Now, we have fewer people, so we use the one to 10 person option, and I haven't had any reason to call support. I haven't had a need to use their support in years.

They self-use their product for defect management. You can always go to their website and find what's going on. They have forums, et cetera.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

In the previous company that I've worked for, I've used Bugzilla for defect management. Task management was in-house, but I don't remember the tool that we used to do task management. For building up sprints, etc, we used a Wiki-based system. It probably was TWiki at the time. We had set up our own Wiki-based environments for doing management, et cetera. We also had Excel spreadsheets. I didn't know about Jira back then in the previous company.

We did some research when I started with this company, and we chose to use Atlassian. It wasn't just, "Oh, the company was using it." It was one of the things that I was part of instituting. We did what we call Decision Analysis and Resolution (DAR) to determine what was the best bang for the buck and what covered our needs, and then it evolved from there. After I started using Jira in this company, a lot of things were easy to do.

How was the initial setup?

Its setup is semi intuitive. There are certain things for which you need to look at the instructions. It also depends on how complex your environment settings are.

Initially, back in 2008, it was a little bit more difficult, but they've improved the installation process. If you have a very basic setup, you can just pretty much install it right out of the box with maybe one or two changes. There're certain things for which you need to have some IT knowledge of your environment in order to be able to set it up. Other than that, they have really automated it pretty well. Jira is one of their keystone products.

Its initial deployment took hours or maybe days because there were things that I needed to understand, but they've improved it a great deal. You can pretty much be up and running within an hour, but it also depends on your environment.

What about the implementation team?

Its implementation was an in-house job.

In terms of maintenance, I take care of its maintenance. Its maintenance is minimum, and only one person is required. You can easily run backups. We use Microsoft SQL Server for backend data management, and we automate the backups. We do daily backups, etc. If anything goes wrong with the tool we have, we can just rebuild it from scratch, and we will be fine because our data is there.

They also have built-in backup utilities that you can use. There is an XML-based one, which I do like to use from time to time just as an alternate. So, you do have different options.

What was our ROI?

We've seen a return on investment when it comes to Jira.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For very small companies, if you have less than 10 individuals, it is $10 a year for each of the products. When we were a part of the enterprise and had more than 10 people using it, or before they came up with this solution for small companies, it was $2,500 a year for the license for Jira and Confluence, and I believe something like $600 a year to perpetuate the license. I can't remember if it was $600 or $2,500 annually. It was for up to 25 people at the time, and this was in the early 2000s and mid 2000s.

There are a number of add-on products that you can sync with Atlassian Jira. Confluence, FishEye, Crucible, and Bamboo are different Atlassian products, but then there are sub-products. They have what's called Atlassian marketplace, and you can buy products for certain needs. Tempo is a perfect product for doing time management and timesheets. It was also $10. So, you have a bunch of different types of add-on products that different individuals have built that work well with the tool, and they are quite stable.

What other advice do I have?

One piece of advice, which they also give in their documentation, is to use your own database management system. They give you something that you can use. It is called HSQL or something like that, but you can use what your company can afford, such as MySQL or SQL Server, and manage that yourself. It will help you to do better data management and backup management. I would use the built-in backup management system as a backup, although I haven't had any problems at all in years. Just for a warm fuzzy, it is always good to have a backup system.

I would recommend looking into primary tools depending on your needs. If you're doing software, FishEye and Crucible are great products to utilize with it. You also have Confluence and Bamboo for continuous build management. Tempo, of course, is good for certain types of management.

I would rate Jira a nine out of 10.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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