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JIRA is a bug and issue tracking software tool that allows software developers to manage product development and build better software.

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JIRA Features

  • Track user stories, issues, and tasks
  • Organize them into sprints with Scrum and Kanban boards
  • Create unique task workflows to fit your team's needs
  • Track releases based on completed tasks
  • Detailed reports about progress
  • Customize JIRA with add-ons, and deep integration with Confluence documentation, Bitbucket code repositories, HipChat chats, and Bamboo tests

JIRA Pricing

  • $10/month Small team plan for up to 10 users
  • From $75/month Growing teams plan for up to 15 users
  • $10 one-time payment for self-hosted Small teams version for 10 users
  • From $1,800 one-time payment for self-hosted Growing teams version for up to 25 users

Last updated March 28, 2016. Please visit the official site for the most up-to-date information.

JIRA Review

Workflows are crucial to shipping completed projects, instead of just checking off tasks. Simple, routine tasks can be handled with just a simple checkbox, and slightly more advanced processes might just need a few kanban columns to stay organized. But for large development projects, you need a space to list everything that needs done, plan the work out into compatible chunks, ship the changes, and track what's been changed over time.

That's why JIRA is one of the more popular project management tools for software development. It's built around shipping finished tasks as releases, complete with the standard release notes the App Store has made so familiar. And with deep integrations with its parent company Atlisian's other apps, including Confluence documentation, Bamboo tests, BitBucket repositories, and HipChat conversations, it's a tool that can fit right at the center of your workflow if you're already using those tools.

It starts with your issues, the things that need worked on. They don't have to be problems—you can create any type of issue you need, to list new features, plain tasks, improvements, bugs, and more. Categorize the issue, with priority levels, statuses, and resolutions. Statuses are a quick way to set a task's stage in a workflow, perhaps listing the things you're working on or planning to do next, while resolutions let you mark duplicate tasks, finished items, or tasks you'll skip. There's also components, a way to group tasks into smaller sections—perhaps putting writing tasks together in one component, code tasks in another.

Then, it's time to pull the tasks into a workflow. Each issue has to be assigned to a project, where you'll arrange tasks either in Scrum sprints or Kanban lists. With scrum, you'll drag tasks into a sprint from the backlog list, then work through them on a simpler kanban list. Kanban boards, on the other hand, let you make a workflow of your own with as many columns as you need, each divided into "swimlines" to bring the highest priority tasks to the top.

As you work, tasks will eventually be moved over to the Done column—and you'll get closer to releasing a new version of your product. Just click the Release link in the top of your project, add release notes, and JIRA will clear those completed tasks off of your boards, and archive them under a release for quick reference later.

Everything in JIRA is customizable. You can add custom fields to your issues, tweak your workflows and boards, and configure automatic status changes as you move tasks through your processes. Or, if you want more features, there's hundreds of add-ons to add gantt charts, help desks, diagrams, time tracking, and much more into JIRA. And, there's the Atlassian app integrations, so you can start HipChat conversations from tasks and link BitBucket builds to your new JIRA releases.

There's a lot to tweak and configure—and multiple ways to keep your tasks organized. It all might be too much for smaller projects. But for long-term, ongoing development projects where you're never truly done but are always working towards the next release, JIRA can help keep your team on track and make sure no issue or task falls through the cracks.

Matthew

Reviewed by Matthew Guay, Zapier. Last updated March 28, 2016.

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