Effective Project Management With JIRA: A Step-by-Step Guide

Effective project management can make all the difference between a smooth, successful delivery and a chaotic, delayed release. Whether you’re managing a small or a large team, keeping things organized can be challenging.
That’s where Jira comes in—a powerful and flexible project management system that helps teams organize and track their work.
Here are the three Jira products you can choose from, depending on your needs:

  • Jira Software is ideal for Agile/Scrum teams and for developers;
  • Jira Work Management is perfect even for non-technical teams, such as marketing, sales, HR, etc.;
  • Jira Service Management is the best choice for ITSM and teams that are in charge of service management, incident management, change management, and support and want to have a dedicated portal for clients.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to follow to set up your Jira account so you can start managing projects effectively.

A. Why Use Jira for Project Management?

Here are the main reasons why Jira is a great fit for managing software development projects:

  • Streamlined workflow management. Jira offers a centralized system to track and manage tasks, keeping teams organized and focused. Moreover, it allows you to create customizable workflows that suit specific needs.
  • Agile methodology support. With dedicated tools for Scrum and Kanban, Jira helps teams prioritize tasks, set sprint goals, and visualize project progress.
  • Customization. The flexibility of Jira ensures that everything is aligned perfectly with your project requirements, enhancing efficiency and scalability.
  • Integration. You can integrate Jira with other tools like Confluence, GitHub, Bitbucket, and Slack to streamline workflows and foster collaboration.
  • Reporting & analytics. Jira’s reporting tools and dashboards provide real-time data that helps you understand project performance. You can track metrics such as velocity, burn-down charts, and sprint reports to gain valuable insights and identify areas for improvement.
  • Scalability. Thanks to its capabilities, Jira can be used by businesses of all sizes. Whether you’re a startup or a big company, Jira handles large datasets and user bases.
  • User-friendliness. Jira has a user-friendly interface that ensures ease of use for teams, even for those who don’t have experience with project management tools.
  • Collaboration. Jira improves visibility and ensures alignment by enabling teams to communicate, track progress, and share information in one place.

B. How to Use Jira

1. Create a project

Go to the Projects dropdown from the top menu, and click on Create project.

 

2. Pick a template

Next, you’ll see that there are more than a dozen templates you can choose from so you get started easily.
For this example, we selected the Software development template. As you can see below, there are three different types of ways to work with your team: Kanban, Scrum, and Bug tracking. There’s also a premium option that’s ideal when you have to manage multiple projects and you need to involve stakeholders.

 

After you choose the Scrum or Kanban project template, you’ll need to select the project type. Here you’ll have two options: Company-managed project vs. Team-managed project.
The main difference between them is how they are administered.
Team-managed projects are perfect for teams that want to be in control of their processes. On the other hand, company-managed projects are managed at the admin level and are great for businesses that want to employ a standardized way of working across many teams.


3. Set up columns

Whether you choose Scrum or Kanban as a way of working, you’ll notice that the standard board will have three columns: To Do, In Progress, and Done. Each column represents a stage in your team’s workflow. As you create a new project in Jira, aligning your board with your team’s workflow is key to ensuring a solid start.

 

To edit the board’s columns follow these steps:

  • Go to your board and select (•••) in the top right, and click Configure board.
  • Click the + icon to add a new column.
  • Change the name of a column (or delete it) by clicking the edit button icon.
  • Move columns by dragging them.


4. Create an issue

Issue is the name that is used for tasks in Jira. For every issue, you can add a detailed description, due date, status, attach documents, and assign team members. Keep in mind that all the issues you create will be added to the backlog of the board.


Here are the four main types of issues you can choose from (available for the Software development, Scrum project template):

 

  • Epic. This represents the high-level initiative that your team is working on. For software development teams, it can be defined as a new feature, which needs to be broken down into smaller tasks.
  • Story. This is a requirement that’s expressed by the client or product team on how a feature should behave.
  • Task. This includes all the tasks that need to be completed to deliver what was outlined in the epic. For example, if you have an epic about working on a new feature, a task can refer to creating the UI.
  • Bug. This one is pretty self-explanatory, and it refers to the issues that prevent the software from working properly.
  • Sub-task. This is a smaller task that can be created under stories, tasks, or bugs and is needed to complete them.
 

Parent and child issues

These two terms describe the connection between issues:

  • A parent issue is above another issue. For example, a task that’s made up of sub-tasks.
  • A child issue is below another issue. For example, a sub-task that’s related to a task.

Linked issues

In software development, more often than not, there will be plenty of dependencies between tasks. The great thing about Jira is that it allows you to make these associations by linking issues together. Here are the ones available:

  • Blocks
  • Is blocked by
  • Clones
  • Is cloned by
  • Duplicates
  • Is duplicated by
  • Relates to

5. Create a workflow

By creating a workflow in Jira, you basically outline your project’s process on the board. This helps your team move tasks from creation to completion.
A workflow has a status and a transition. The status shows where a certain task is within the workflow. A transition is created between two different statuses. For example, to move a certain task from To Do to In Progress, the task needs to go first through the transition called Start Progress.
The video below goes through the steps you need to follow to create a workflow.

Jira offers over 3,000 app integration options, which can help you and your team save a lot of time and increase productivity.
Slack, Zoom, Microsoft, Confluence, GitHub, Figma, Miro, Trello, and Gmail are just some of the tools you can find in their marketplace.


This is incredibly valuable because it allows teams to stay connected, bring all their data under one platform, and communicate more efficiently.

 

Once you are done setting up the board, it’s time to invite your team. To do this, select the Teams dropdown from the top menu, then click on Invite people to Jira.

 

 

For each user, you can also add specific roles for individual projects. There are also permissions you can set for each role.
To notify certain people of the tasks you created, just type @ mention and leave a comment.

 

Final Thoughts

Jira can be your best friend when it comes to project management because it offers flexibility and a bunch of tools that help run things smoothly. As an Atlassian partner, we’re here to support you in setting up, configuring, and fine-tuning your workflows to make the most of the Atlassian suite. If you’re interested in learning more about what we offer, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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