JIRA is such a great tool because it supports the implementation of a huge range of processes. It is flexible, it has a workflow manager, good support for custom fields, it has a plugin framework for custom development, a powerful search engine for issues based on JQL and more. These features (and many others) can be combined in numerous ways, making possible a very broad spectrum of JIRA based implementations. Most probably this is what explains the huge success and increase in popularity JIRA had during the last years.
Although JIRA admins are perfectly capable to combine all these powerful features, most users are not necessarily JIRA experts and they don’t need to be exposed to all of this complexity. What’s important for end users is to be able to focus on the task at hand and therefore to easily find (preferably in one place) whatever they are looking for. For instance, for a list of tasks assigned to me, I need to be able to easily retrieve it; if I manage a team I need to understand the task allocation and progress of team members; if I manage a roadmap then I need to understand the status and progress of my goals. Ideally, every user has a single page (or a reduced number of pages) where he can see at a glance whatever is relevant for his role, without necessarily being a JIRA expert.
And here is where the dashboards become really important. We have accomplished many JIRA implementations ourselves and most of the time, what it really boils down to is one good dashboard where final users can immediately find all the relevant information for their roles. It does not matter how simple or complex the implemented process is, the users see everything through their dashboards and if the dashboards are correctly designed then the users will be engaged. The user engagement is key in all process implementations.
For us, dashboards are a key part in any JIRA implementation. Because we believe in this so much, we have built three JIRA add-ons, all of them related to dashboards:
- Rich Filters for JIRA Dashboards: this add-on allows the user to build interactive dashboards in minutes. It is possible to add different types of quick filters directly on the dashboard, enormously extending the functional range of any dashboard. You can also highlight and classify the issues through colors and tags based on all sorts of criteria or to define multiple views in order to to organize your data in a logical and compact way. Another key feature of the add-on is that it allows the display of many types of advanced statistics and charts. The add-on transforms the JIRA Dashboards from static to truly dynamic and operational boards. You can see all this on our demo instance or have a look our intro video.
- Shared Ownership for Dashboards/Filters: with this add-on, the dashboards and filters in JIRA can have multiple owners (as opposed to JIRA natively allowing only one owner per dashboard/filter). The idea is to make it super easy for a team that shares the same dashboards/filters to update them and make changes. This add-on transforms the dashboards and filters in real team assets, promoting a faster working pace for the team.
- Collapsible Dashboard Sidebar: this add-on does exactly what its name says. The idea is to be able to use the whole screen for dashboard display. The dashboards can condense a lot of information and, in this context, the screen real estate is very important. Although a simple add-on, it brings a lot of value.
How do you use the JIRA dashboards? Share your experience in the comments!