The Jira Mobile Plugin – A Review

As of Jira version 8.3 released this year, Jira can integrate with a mobile app developed by Atlassian. The plugin comes standard in 8.3, but you can view it here: Mobile Plugin for Jira.

In some areas, it shows promise, but we are also finding others where improvement is needed. This article is a brief overview of the free Mobile app for Jira Server and Data Center.

Logging In

To connect your Jira instance, you will need to first download from the Android or iPhone app store. For this blog, I’ll be using my iOS device and connecting it to one of our sandbox instances (running 8.4.2). To connect, add your URL and add your credentials.

Figure 1: Logging In

Accessing Jira Software Projects

Projects and boards were easily accessible when first logging in, allowing you to navigate to your SCRUM or Kanban board quickly. As shown in the figure below, the board was available with drag+drop touch capabilities.

Figure 2: SCRUM Board Example

Opening an issue was simple as well; by tapping on the issue, you were able to open the issue details. All fields, including custom and system fields, were visible in the app.

Figure 3: Opening an Issue

Issue Searching

No JQL necessary – search is based on pre-selected filters and free-text search as shown below.

Figure 4: Free Text Search

Transitioning and Editing Issues

Transitioning and Editing Issues is accomplished by opening and editing the issue’s fields on-the-fly. Note any permissions you have access to on the server will be active in the mobile app as well. To transition an issue, you can click on the transition, and the options in the workflow will be available to you.

Figure 5: Transitioning Issues

Known Limitations

There are some known limitations/workarounds for the mobile app.

  • Currently, it does not support Service Desk (see the figure below)
  • No support for connecting through a VPN (unless you have this set up on your phone)
  • It may have issues connecting to an instance utilizing an SSL certificate (if the certificate is self-signed).

These configurations/workarounds are forthcoming, and beta versions of the app showed promise around the Service Desk and Software implementations. Also – looking for Dashboards? You won’t find any here, unfortunately.

Figure 6: Jira Service Desk Project View

Our Recommendation? Try it!

Check it out and see if it’s the right fit for your team. If you have a more advanced implementation, we recommend reviewing some of the other mobile apps on the Atlassian Marketplace. Have questions? Feel free to drop us a line! Get In Touch

Automating Jira – 3 Examples Using Automation for Jira

Automating Jira – 3 Examples Using Automation for Jira

As Atlassian Experts and Solution Partner, Ascend Integrated uses many add-ons (apps) for implementing complex business requirements and scenarios. These add-ons / apps provide the ability to extend Jira further, either by adding scripts or configurations to meet evolving business needs. One add-on / app we’ve used with multiple clients to solve issues effectively and efficiently is Automation for Jira. Automation for Jira frees your team to focus on what’s important: development and releasing shippable products and serving your customers.

With limited scripting, you can get a full automation suite up and running. The app relies on Rules set up in a “When”, “If”, and “Then” structure. For instance, “When: Value changes for Field X, if field x = “Updated”, Then: Edit issue fields”. In this blog, we wanted to share with you 3 unique ways to automate your Jira instance using the Automation for Jira app.

Updating Read-Only Fields

Setting a read-only field in Jira is easy. You can view the Community answer here: https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Jira-questions/Set-particular-custom-field-read-only/qaq-p/296959. If you’d like a read-only field value to update based on the values of other fields, Automation for Jira can accomplish this efficiently. Check out the configurations below:

  • When: “Value changes for” rule (Be sure to select the “Execute this rule immediately…” option)
  • If: set the JQL pointing to a specific field (i.e. Priority)
  • Then: “Edit Issue Fields” to choose which fields to edit. (This would be a read-only field for the users. Users will not be able to manually set this field, it will automatically set based on JQL parameters.)

An example of how this rule will be set up is shown below:

Combine with Dynamic Forms

Dynamic Forms another fan favorite, provides the ability for fields to display dependent upon selected values. While Dynamic Forms fields do not work directly with Automation for Jira, you can have other fields update based on a Dynamic Forms Field’s value through JQL. To do this, set up the following:

  • When: “Value changes for” rule
  • If: set the JQL pointing to the Dynamic Form field
  • Then: “Edit Issue Fields” to choose which field(s) to edit.

Managing Service Desk Tickets

If a user finds a verified bug, and they log it into Service Desk, Automation Jira can automatically create a cloned issue in your Jira development project, without agent intervention. To accomplish this, simply add a rule like the set up below:

  • When: “Issue Created” rule
  • If: set the JQL pointing to the field (i.e. customfield1000 = “X”)
  • Then: “Create Issue” and select what values should be in the fields.

This ensures both the development and agent queue for specific bugs / issues are always in alignment. Interested in checking out the app? Download it from the Marketplace here. It is available for Cloud, Server, and Data Center.

Have questions about building out automation in Jira? Reach us here.

How have you used automation in Jira?

Training in the Atlassian Suite

Training in the Atlassian Suite

The importance of training can never be underestimated, especially for the Atlassian Tool Suite. For all its ease of use (i.e. you can get a Jira project created and ready to go in under 2 minutes in many cases), there may be some functionality you and your firm are missing out on. Or, there may be a better way to build out the configurations your manager has asked. The Atlassian Training consists of a certified / authorized instructor providing training in the form of instruction and lab work / exercises for you or your organization. The full list of training can be found here: Atlassian Training Catalog.

Why should you check out Atlassian Training? Well, there are several reasons!

Consistent Practices and Configurations

Taught by certified instructors and authorized partners from Atlassian, these courses provide you with a consistent, step-by-step process to accomplish many configuration and functionality goals for your Atlassian Tool Suite. These configurations taught in the course instruction work across multiple versions of Jira, Confluence, Portfolio, and other tools, and ensure efficiency from both configuration and maintenance perspectives.

Industry Best Practices 

Standards practiced, configured, and implemented are discussed in courses, with each course being tailored to meet the business goals and objectives of your organization. Multiple case studies, practices, and exercises based on real-life examples are taught and discussed throughout the course.

Discover New Functionality About Your Tools

The Atlassian Tool Suite is powerful with multiple configurations, functionality, and capabilities available to administrators and users. These courses are designed to walk you through both basic and advanced features of the tool suite. Advanced capabilities for Workflows, Dashboards and reporting, Portfolio, and Confluence – Jira integrations are taught across multiple courses. These new functionalities will help you determine new configurations / updates to be made to your instance. You may even be able to remove some of those extra add-ons / apps you have installed!

As Authorized Instructors and Certified Atlassian Training Partners, we provide training across multiple tools and functionalities provided through the Atlassian Tool Suite. Check out our site today and reach out to us if you have questions about training with the Atlassian Tool Suite: Questions? Feel free to reach out!

5 Free Ways to Boost Your Productivity in Jira

5 Free Ways to Boost Your Productivity in Jira

If its free it can’t be that great, right?

There are a number of great, free add-ons / apps / plugins available for Jira server that will instantly boost your Jira or your team’s efficiency. We wanted to compile a list of apps you need to install and review now for your Jira instance. When compiling this list, we omitted apps / add-ons that required you to have a paid service (i.e. ZenDesk) or those that did not provide sufficient functionality / capabilities for your instance.

Keep in mind, all of those listed below are free and kept up-to-date with the latest versions of Jira Core / Software. Links to each of the apps have also been provided.

Jira Misc. Custom Fields

Jira Misc. Custom Fields is a tried and true, free app provided by Innovalog enabling custom calculated fields using standard or advanced calculations, new custom field types not offered out of the box with Jira, and new JQL features and functionality.

Automation Lite for Jira

Remove manual processes from your Jira instance by automating certain actions in your Jira instance, such as auto issue updates / creation based on certain actions taken on an issue. Automation Lite, while not providing all the functionality from Automation for Jira (both developed by Code Barrel), does provide the capability to automate basic Jira functions.

Timesheet Tracking for Jira

One of the biggest weaknesses of the Jira platform is the lack of out of the box reporting capabilities on time. Timesheet Tracking for Jira, developed by Touchdown is a free add-on / app allowing you to report on / track time logged. Pie charts and calculations are automatically conducted through the app. While lacking the advanced features of Tempo Timesheets, this is a great app for growing teams.

Color Cards for Jira

Now for our own shameless plug. =)

Looking to expand your agile practice, and want to make cards more easily identifiable or viewable to your agile team? Check out Color Cards developed by Ascend Integrated. This tool provides your team the capability to easily view and update cards in your agile boards using different color coding techniques.

JavaMelody Monitoring Plugin

Out of the box, Jira has limited monitoring capabilities for performance, relying heavily on third party tools to provide this information. JavaMelody, a free to download app / plugin provides this capability. By providing you with a direct link to reports and charts, its easy to identify performance bottlenecks, and understand times of high use.

Do you have a favorite free app / add-on you use for Jira Core / Jira Software? Let us know in the comments below!

Published by Michael Brown, CEO of Ascend Integrated. Image Source: Atlassian.com

The End of Stride and Hipchat

The End of Stride and Hipchat

If you can’t beat them, join them.

On Thursday, Atlassian announced the following in a public statement:

Atlassian today announced that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Slack. Atlassian currently has two offerings in the real-time communications market: Stride and Hipchat. With this partnership, Atlassian will exit the communications space. Slack has acquired the intellectual property for Stride and Hipchat Cloud, both of which will be discontinued. Atlassian will also discontinue Hipchat Server and Data Center and will be working with Slack to provide a migration path for customers of all four products.

Back in September 2017, at its release Stride was announced to be replacing Hipchat Cloud (and possibly Hipchat Server / Data Center). In fact, it was even touted as the “Slack killer” according to Reuters: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-atlassian-stride/atlassian-launches-stride-the-latest-would-be-slack-killer-idUSKCN1BI1R6.

How did we get here? What made Atlassian change course?

Atlassian has decided to focus on what they do best: organizing teams through their JIRA, Confluence, and Bitbucket (and other) tools, while discontinuing their real-time chat tools. The adaption of Stride among not only our clients, but across multiple teams has been lackluster.

There are several possible reasons why, being full-time Stride users internally in our firm:

  • Adoption: many clients and users have been hesitant to adopt Stride, citing lack of general add-ons/apps/extensions, and Atlassian storing data in the cloud. While definitely not a downside to small times, large organizations and government agencies prefer to control their data. This is why most have stayed with the Hipchat tools. Stride was only intended to be a cloud-based chat tool and was not planned to move a server / self-hosted environment anytime soon.
  • Usability: Stride’s user interface was simplified from Hipchat, however, because it was a relatively new tool and still under development until recently, users found its lack of integration with JIRA Server / Confluence server to be
  • Ever Present Defects: We love Atlassian, and all the great functionality they have provided through their tools. However, after Stride came off its Beta and was released into production, it has had bugs. Common for any new application hitting the marketplace. However, this puts a damper on customers adopting Stride.

With all this said, Stride and Hipchat helped make Atlassian the collaboration powerhouse it has become. Atlassian will now be focusing on improving its tool suite, and moving even further into the collaboration space. The relationship they established with Slack will only strengthen their position as they go to take on the tech giants Microsoft and IBM.

Now is the time to begin planning your migration to Slack. Atlassian will be reaching out to customers identifying this migration process.

Are you looking to migrate to Slack or another tool off Hipchat or Stride? As solutions partners, we can definitely help you, as there are plenty of add-ons available in the marketplace. Feel free to reach out to us!

Authored by Michael Brown – Atlassian Solutions Expert & Founder: Ascend Integrated. www.ascendintegrated.com

GitHub Acquisition by Microsoft

GitHub Acquisition by Microsoft

The unthinkable happened last week: GitHub, a version control application used by developers to host and provide open source code / applications, has been acquired by one of the least open source companies, Microsoft for $7.5 billions in stock. With the acquisition, developers can only speculate the underlying changes to user policies, terms of use, pricing models, usability, etc. This also raises questions around Microsoft’s move into the Open Source technical stack and their moves into the space, first Linux Kernel and now its acquisition of GitHub.

If you use Github currently, what are your thoughts? Are you planning to stay with Github, or thinking of moving to another system altogether? Let us know!