What is our primary use case?
One of the primary things we use JIRA for is the Kanban Board feature. We use it for managing our projects and issues as well as accountabilities within the company. We have a homegrown — I suppose you could call it a Six Sigma type — approach. We identify the six main projects and the six areas where you can make the biggest difference within the company. Then we identify six projects that we're going to work on within those areas.
We use the Kanban Board extensively. We use the Confluence facility on the backend. Really, we use Confluence and JIRA both together: Confluence for global planning and JIRA for issue and project management.
How has it helped my organization?
It simply helps us shape our project management workflow.
What is most valuable?
The implementation that we have is highly customized, so I can't talk to the capabilities of JIRA product independently because I'm not familiar with all of the different things that can be done with it. It's very useful in terms of the dashboard for the office, and the overview of all the different issues and props, what's on backlog, what's in progress, what's been resolved. That kind of thing, is very helpful.
What needs improvement?
One of the best additions to this product would be a single centralized point in which to store all the documents that are involved in progressing with tasks. For instance, if you're working on a JIRA task and you attach a document to it, not everybody will share a centralized storage facility where all the documents are. The idea would be to make it so everybody can see (or view) the same current document. They would get specific privileges (e.g., view or edit). But if a document is shared now, as it is in potentially an older version, it may not be accurate. Better to share the current document so that everyone has the same information.
Centralized document storage would allow all documents to be linked to any issue where it was pertinent rather than having to be attached to specific issues and limiting the viewers.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using the product for about four years now.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The product itself seems stable. We don't run into issues where we blame JIRA directly for failing.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
JIRA can really scale perfectly for our needs. We have both end users and admins using this product. Really, everybody in our company uses it. No one has a problem with getting access and we scale as needed.
How are customer service and technical support?
I haven't had any access to JIRA's technical support at all directly, I've never had any need to call them in. Generally, that would be someone else's responsibility. I'm not aware of having anyone in the company having issues with support on call or other contact.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We have looked for solutions in terms of the enterprise applications that are used by my company. We already have Confluence, we have JIRA Service desk, and we have Quest KACE Endpoint Management. We also use VMware AirWatch, virtualization productivity, and Dell hardware. A solution that works with these existing tools means that there is lest to change and train.
How was the initial setup?
I wasn't involved in the setup of JIRA, so I can't really comment that much on that aspect of the product. It was set up by one of my other team members. However, I've been told it was a relatively straightforward process. The customization, which is substantial, has been difficult. That is obviously not the fault of the product itself.
What about the implementation team?
We had specific goals in using a suite of products and we are doing our own deployments based on goals that we define. Essentially we didn't need outside help.
What other advice do I have?
When considering a solution it is best to stay as standard as possible when adopting it. The further you get off the standard path the more difficult it is to adopt or adapt to other solutions if that becomes necessary or desirable in the future.
I can't actually give it a fair appreciation at this stage of the capabilities of JIRA as a stand-alone product because of the way we have implemented it in a cluster of other products.
At this stage, I would give it a five out of ten. This is mostly because we rely on other products for certain services or features. If JIRA had more comprehensive coverage of what we require, or if it was easier to implement what it already does, the rating would be higher.