Jira Work Management: Supporting Every Team

December 20, 2021

What is Jira Work Management

Jira Work Management (JWM) was announced by Atlassian to much excitement at Team ’21 in April 2021. JWM runs on Atlassian’s Cloud platform and is essentially Jira but built and designed for non-technical teams.

With well over half a year since the announcement, we’re starting to get a bit more of a grip on how JWM is likely to be used and how it fits into the wider Atlassian ecosystem so we thought we’d give you our take.

We believe that JWM and our SYNTHESIS™ Blueprint Solutions go completely hand in hand. The idea behind JWM and its templates are similar to our thinking behind SYNTHESIS™ with JWM encouraging adoption of both the SYNTHESIS™ structure/methodology and aspects of the individual blueprints themselves.

Why Jira Work Management

The idea of a disconnected enterprise is a tale as old as time and, for non-technical teams especially, this problem doesn’t seem to be getting much better. 56% of marketers and salespeople believe that their teams are siloed with 33% citing “more/better collaboration tools” as a key way this disconnection could be reduced.

Jira (officially known as Jira Software) started off as a trendy bug tracker and is now used by almost all technical teams. However, this creates a problem. Although a lot of business teams do thrive using Jira Software since it was designed for developers many find it overwhelming and confusingly designed.

If non-technical teams opt for an alternative solution (something like monday.com) this creates a major issue when technical and non-technical teams need to interact. When running on different tools there is a high chance that interactions will be inefficient, messy, and aggravating.

With the launch of JWM Atlassian has essentially overcome this problem. They are unique in offering a single collaboration platform that connects workers across every department, yet offers individual teams the flexibility to choose the right tools to support the unique ways they work. This is what Jira Work Management offers.

JWM Features

JWM is based off of Jira Software so is naturally very feature rich. Here is just some of what you get with JWM:

JWM has 23 templates for business teams (Marketing, HR, Finance, Design, Legal, Operations, Sales) and 33 in total.

These templates provide a starting point with generic processes which can easily be configured to mirror organizational-specific terminology if needed.

JWM has deep automation embedded into it:

Bulk changes – Make sweeping changes in moments with advanced bulk change capabilities

Approvals – Use automation to prompt confirmation from the right stakeholders when tasks reach a certain stage.

Sync tasks across projects – Mark tasks as a duplicate across projects to keep track of work between teams.

Simultaneously monitor the status of projects across every team with advanced roadmaps (available to customers using Jira Software Premium)

Create custom dashboards with charts, filters, and graphs to keep track of work the way you want to. These can be made private or public and can pull in data from every Jira Cloud product.

Global configuration settings, workflows, permissions, and automation rules can be customized and shared between projects and teams.

JWM boards have been redesigned to have a stronger UI/UX and to make it easier for business teams to distinguish between items of work

  • By default, items are listed in the order of oldest to newest by creation date.
  • Issues disappear from the last column after 14 days of inactivity. Select the link at the bottom of this column to see them again.
  • The board can display up to 1,000 issues. If there are more than 1,000 issues, the newest issues may not appear on the board.

This is a new feature for JWM that had previously been available with apps such as Jexcel & Issue Matrix.

These lists allow you to track and edit your work or projects via a simple click with in-line editing.

The intention is to increase ease of use and efficiency by reducing the amount of ‘churn’ between individual tickets.

JWM also looks to provide calendar functionality for tasks. This was also previously implemented using several Marketplace apps.

Available by a tab on the left-hand side, the calendar organizes and displays your project’s issue by the due date. This gives your team a quick view into the visibility into the urgency of tasks that exist in your project. Only tasks with due dates are shown in your calendar.

Colour coding is important to visually organize and distinguish the different types of tasks in the calendar. Each of the issues in your calendar is color-coded based on their status, such as blue for IN PROGRESS or green for DONE.

All users who are assigned to the “Create issue permission” can create and edit issues in the project’s calendar.

Jira Work Management timeline views show a project’s timeline in a Gantt chart view that can be used to visualize and plan the timing and sequence of individual issues. The schedule bars on the timeline represent the start date and due date of each issue in your project. Schedule bar colors represent the status of each issue.

Once again with bold colors and clean design, JWM timelines are tailor-made for business teams.

How JWM Fits in

Jira Work Management is a great solution that is ready for business users looking to use a well-designed and powerful tool that’ll ensure they’re fully enmeshed into the enterprise.

However, with more and increasingly varied teams joining the Jira ecosystem this will drive a wider net of use cases meaning, to maintain order, standardization will be required. Atlassian users, particularly those with JWM, should think hard about creating a “meta-model” in which issue type is an issue type, documenting your solutions, and managing them. This means you will be managing issue types as you would manage anything else and create solutions aligned with true complexity.

We’ve been building SYNTHESIS™ Solution Blueprints for years now and our model of issue and workflow management fits right in with JWM.

SYNTHESIS™ has its own item (we call ‘issues’ ‘items’) and workflow library

For instance, here you can see how we document our ‘Risk Management’ item…

…and our item workflow

Advanced Planning Beyond JWM

When it comes to a full-scale Enterprise PPM, Jira Work Management is not the answer. Its timelines are intended as an easy to pick-up, lightweight gantt tool to give insight into the project level.

Effectively, the more powerful planning tools will generate the necessary PPM capabilities as an overlay–this can be achieved by looking at our PPM blueprint

Project Portfolio Management (PPM) is the centralized management of the processes, methods, and technologies used by project managers and project management offices (PMOs) to analyze and collectively manage current or proposed projects based on numerous key characteristics.

Here is the top-level view of our PPM solution:

Project Intake: Provides a basis for businesses to create new projects and funding requests. Mainly uses JSD but is also useful to use Extensions for Jira Service Desk.

Project Portfolio: Creates single Jira “Project” of Projects. Mainly uses Jira Core but traffic lights are perfect for status.

Project Management & Delivery: Manages PM “Control” entities eg RAID logs and status reports (issue types) & Delivery. Mainly uses Jira Core/Software but supplemented by Powerscripts/SIL for basic scripting as well as Traffic lights.

Portfolio/Project Documentation: Confluence! Generate a space for the project – one for Dev one for PM project. Comala Document Management is a key supplementary app.

Integrated Project Plan: Planning at the development level can be done using multiple approaches including Agile Scrum, Kanban, Lean, DAD etc… with Big Picture or Structure by SoftwarePlant and ALM Works respectively.

Portfolio Views: There needs to be a clear hierarchical relationship between projects, Business Units, and relevant budgets. Can be done through Big Picture, Tempo Budgets, & eazyBI.

Virtual PMO: Oversight of PPM Processes and activity to ensure alignment and the contract is being achieved across the organization & maximize the effectiveness of PMO resources. Leverages similar tools to Portfolio, in particular, eazyBI for activity metrics.

PPM Portal: Provides user-orientated navigation using Servado, Linchpin, or Refined.

JWM is able to offer radical improvements to our already popular PPM Solution.

In the Portfolio View, traditionally Project Management and Delivery would be done in Jira Software. However, with the release of JWM on Cloud Project Management can now be done in Jira Work Management in a setting that is more friendly for this business side and without being unnecessarily bogged down in development information. Delivery can still be done in Jira Software and most importantly they can both come together in real-time in the Integrated Project Plan in Big Picture.

If you would like to learn more then you can watch our webinar on the PPM Solution here or watch our real-time PPM client case study with Rogers here.