What Is Jira Software? Product Management Software

Have you ever wondered how software development teams keep all their projects and issues organized? Chances are, if you’ve worked with any developers, they’ve likely used a tool called Jira. Jira has become one of the most popular ways for teams to manage their work from planning to delivery.

Jira is an issue-tracking and project management platform that helps groups collaborate effectively on both development tasks and larger products. Whether you’re a programmer logging bugs, a product manager mapping out new features, or a tester recording test results – Jira provides a central place to capture all work items and keep everyone on the same page.

In this article, we’ll take a look under the hood at what exactly Jira is and how it works. We’ll explore its key capabilities for organizing agile workflows, prioritizing backlogs, and streamlining developer processes. I’ll also share some real-world examples of how different roles like product management, engineering, and QA leverage Jira in their day-to-day. By the end, you’ll have a good idea of why Jira has become such a staple for software teams worldwide as both a tool for rigor and a platform for collaboration. Sound good? Then let’s dive in!

What is Jira?

Jira is extremely flexible and can be customized to fit the unique needs of any software team. However, there are some common ways in which it is generally used. One of the main activities teams perform in Jira is project planning and tracking. Product managers and team leaders will define the roadmap of features and epics the team wants to accomplish. These are broken down into individual stories or tasks that are prioritized and estimated. Teams typically work in sprints, so the selected stories are pulled into a sprint board where developers and testers can visualize and manage their work.

Team members will update their statuses in Jira as stories progress from being defined to developed to tested. This provides an updated viewpoint into what has been completed and what remains. Any issues or blockers that arise are also logged as tickets in Jira. This ensures transparency on potential risks or problems. The reporting tools in Jira allow for data-driven discussions around velocity, throughput, bottleneck identification, and more. Overall, Jira serves as the single source of truth around a project, giving stakeholders confidence that work is progressing as planned.

Jira also streamlines collaboration among team members. Rather than continuous back-and-forth over email to discuss tasks, conversations happen right on each issue page. Team members can @mention one another to draw attention or ask questions. Files and documents are also attached directly to issues. This keeps all information in one centralized hub, avoiding lost context that can occur when communicating across separate tools and channels.

What is Jira Used For?

Jira is primarily used by software teams and product managers to track issues and manage projects. Some of the key uses of Jira include:

Tracking bugs and software issues

One of the most important parts of any software development project is having an effective system for tracking bugs, tasks and new feature requests. This helps the whole team stay organized and ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

Jira is a very helpful tool for managing this process. In Jira, anyone on the team can log an issue like a bug or feature request with a clear description. These issues can then be assigned to the appropriate developers or team members to work on resolving.

As work progresses on each issue, detailed status updates can be added right in Jira. Developers can update the issue with their progress, like “Issue reproduced, fixing code” or “Testing patches – resolved in dev environment”. This provides full visibility for everyone else on what stage the work is at.

Managers and project leads benefit, too, because they can quickly see what issues exist, the priorities, and which team members have been assigned what tasks. Everything is in one easy-to-access place.

Overall, Jira makes the process of tracking software bugs, tasks and enhancements straightforward and transparent for the whole team. No more issues falling through the cracks – just clear communication and continuous progress updates to keep projects moving forward.

Easily Manage Your Product Backlog with Jira

When developing products using agile methodologies, it’s important for product managers and stakeholders to maintain a backlog of features, epics and user stories. This product backlog helps teams effectively plan upcoming roadmaps and sprint goals.

Jira provides powerful tools for organizing and prioritizing backlogs. In Jira, product managers can create themes and epics to break down broader initiatives into more actionable pieces of work. Individual user stories are linked to these higher-level entries.

Priorities and estimates can be assigned to help the development team determine what to focus on next. As work is pulled into sprints, items are simply moved from the backlog to active sprints within Jira.

This allows teams to work in short, iterative cycles as is common with agile frameworks. New ideas or requested changes can also be added to the backlog throughout the development process for consideration in future sprints.

Managing the product backlog centrally in Jira provides full visibility for stakeholders and enables smooth collaboration between product and development roles. Teams stay focused on delivering the most valuable features to users according to the prioritized backlog. This is key for building products iteratively through an agile approach.

Visualizing workflows

When managing many concurrent issues and tasks, it’s important for teams to understand how work is progressing from start to finish. Jira helps provide this visibility through customizable workflow visualization.

Within Jira, administrators can design workflow diagrams that clearly illustrate the various stages an issue will pass through over its lifecycle. Common stages may include new, in progress, testing, complete, and closed.

Each workflow is tailored to how your specific team handles different types of work. For example, a bug fix follows a different path than a feature request. These workflows are then attached to issue types as needed.

Team members see the workflow diagram right on the issue screen. This immediately provides context on where an issue is at within the larger process. Admins also benefit from monitoring workflows holistically to spot areas for process improvements.

By mapping out these flows, the full picture of how work travels through the system is made transparent. There are no black boxes – just clear workflow visualization that helps ensure standards are followed from start to finish. This ultimately improves team efficiency, accountability and stakeholder confidence in delivery.

Prioritizing work

As product and development teams work simultaneously on many different issues, features, bugs, and other tasks, it’s critical to have a system for prioritizing work. Left unorganized, priorities could become misaligned from business needs over time.

Jira provides intuitive prioritization tools to keep work aligned with the organization’s objectives. One approach is to use ranking systems like story points to estimate complexity and business value for each issue. These are assigned during backlog grooming sessions.

Factors considered may include things like user impact, revenue potential, technical debt owed, and risk levels. Story points make it straightforward to compare “apples to apples” across different types of issues.

Jira then orders issues by these built-in ranking metrics like points or priority levels. As business goals or team capacity changes, it’s simply a matter of dragging-and-dropping to instantly reorganize priorities accordingly.

This sophisticated yet lightweight approach keeps backlogs and sprint planning tightly managed without excessive overhead. Teams focus their efforts where they will drive the most impact according to data-backed priorities. Everything remains transparent for stakeholders as well.

Overall, Jira’s built-in prioritization streamlines work organization and ensures important issues are never overlooked due to lost visibility in massive backlogs or multiple tracking systems. This is key for optimizing team productivity.

Fostering collaboration

Effective collaboration is critical when teams are distributed or working simultaneously on interconnected tasks. Siloed tools and fragmented communications can stall progress.

Fortunately, Jira provides a rich set of features right within the interface to bring discussions, decisions, and coordination into one unified space.

For any issue, extensive comments and discussions can be had directly on the record. @mentions notify teammates when their input is needed. Documents and screenshots are easily attached for reference.

These lightweight discussions streamline planning and decision-making without extra meetings or excessive email threads. The full thought process remains transparently captured.

Since Jira links all work together, dependencies and hand-offs are clear from one issue to the next. Integration with other apps like Slack or Confluence extends collaboration further.

The end result is frictionless coordination, regardless of location. Thanks to Jira’s built-in workflows and lightweight collaboration tools, distributed teams function as a cohesive unit. More focus goes to productive work versus hunting down information across systems.

Plan Sprints

Sprint planning is crucial for applying popular agile frameworks like Scrum and Kanban. Jira’s customizable board views help teams seamlessly manage this important process.

The boards resemble physical boards, making planning intuitive. Teams simply drag user stories or tasks from the product backlog onto the sprint board to populate sprints.

Stories are estimated during backlog grooming, then effort is tracked on the board using indicators like hours remaining. Stories flow through columns like “To Do”, “In Progress” and “Done” as work progresses.

For Scrum teams, stories are pulled into locked iterations and tracked to completion before starting a new sprint. Kanban allows for continuous flow without iteration locking.

On the boards, teams monitor velocity, identify impediments and replan sprints as needed. Managers gain insights through built-in analytics dashboards.

Integrations with DevOps and project tools provide synced visibility across systems too. The end result is smooth agile execution directly within Jira.

Jira’s boards make sprint planning a breeze by replicating the intuitive nature of physical boards in an digital format. This keeps teams focused on optimal delivery.

Key Features of Jira Software

As a full-featured project and issue management platform, Jira offers a rich set of capabilities tailored for agile software teams:

Agile Planning

For teams adopting agile frameworks, effective planning is key to successful execution. Jira offers robust yet easy-to-use tools to facilitate the planning process.

Velocity tracking allows teams to establish a historical pace of work so future estimates are more accurate. By viewing past sprint completions, reasonable capacity goals can be set.

Teams enter availability like hours per sprint for each member. Jira then calculates hourly capacity at the team and individual level. This aids workload balancing.

Release forecasts look at the backlog, estimates, velocity and capacity to predict when specific features may be completed. Planners can adjust accordingly if needed.

Scenario modeling helps evaluate what-if situations, like adding more team members or reducing scope. Better planning decisions result.

These insights are accessible via convenient reporting and analytics views. Information powers productive backlog refinement and planning sessions.

Managers gain oversight of team health through metrics. Problems are proactively addressed through data instead of gut feelings.

Overall, Jira’s built-in analytics and visualization tools streamline resource capacity planning, forecasting deliverables, and continuous process improvement for agile teams.

Issue and bug tracking

When developing complex software projects, it’s critical to have a centralized system for logging, organizing and resolving all issues that arise. This keeps work transparent and ensures nothing falls through the cracks.

With Jira, any team member can easily create detailed issue records for bugs, tasks, enhancements and more. Descriptions, screenshots and attachments provide full context.

Issues can then be linked together when related, like a bug linked to the enhancement that caused it. Jira’s flexibility supports tracking virtually any work item.

Statuses keep all parties informed as issues progress from new to in progress, to resolved. Time tracking builds visibility into efforts spent.

Filters and search aid rapid issue triage. Developers claim assignments, and project leads monitor workloads via easy-to-read dashboards.

Integrations pass data to code repositories and test management for direct links between logical information.

The result is simple yet complete issue oversight. Projects avoid redundant work through transparent task coordination in one central hub. Teams deliver higher quality software, faster.

Stay on Top of Updates with Jira Notifications

When discussions and tasks evolve rapidly across a project, it’s important for all parties to stay up-to-date. Jira’s notification features ensure no important updates slip through the cracks.

Team members can choose to receive notifications via email or directly within Jira. They select which types of updates warrant alerts, such as new comments or status changes.

@mentions grant notifications if a user is specifically tagged to review something. This prompts quick responses without interrupting others.

Alternatively, the activity stream rolls up all recent changes in one continuous feed within Jira. No need to repeatedly check individual issues.

Managers configure dashboards highlighting at-risk projects per predefined conditions. They intervene efficiently when needed.

Notifications also integrate with chat tools to tap teammates wherever they’re working.

Overall, Jira’s robust yet customizable alerts empower everyone to work at peak productivity. No chasing down information – just seamless visibility into all discussion threads and work items as projects evolve. This fosters highly responsive collaboration.

Keep Work On Track with Powerful Agile Boards

When applying agile frameworks, easily viewing work progress and dependencies is critical. Jira’s customizable board views provide a clear lens into project health and flow.

Product and sprint backlogs appear as digital task boards, mimicking their physical counterparts. Teams simply drag and drop cards to populate boards.

Cards flow across columns defined for the workflow stage, like To Do, In Progress, Review. Counts beside each column visualize workload distribution at a glance.

Teams follow Scrum or Kanban best practices seamlessly. Scrum sprints have start/end dates protecting planned capacity. Kanban supports continuous flow.

Powerful filters help zero in on specific card details or statuses without losing full board context.

Work dependencies auto-link cards to avoid blockers or bottlenecks. Managers evaluate flow health through built-in metrics and analytics.

Integrations extend visibility into linked development tools as well.

Overall, Jira’s intuitive board views keep the whirlwind of project variables such as priorities, capacity, and blockers under control for effective agile execution. Transparency drives everyone’s productivity.

Customize Workflows for Optimal Visibility and Efficiency

Each project has unique needs, so Jira enables deep customization of workflows and statuses. This provides visibility and control over how work moves from start to completion.

Admins configure statuses like Draft, Review, Testing and Closed to mirror the real-life stages an issue progresses through. Additional metadata tracks pertinent details at each step.

Workflow diagrams visually map the customized flow from one status to another. Conditional logic routes work appropriately based on predefined rules and events.

Statuses and transitions can be applied globally or tailored per project or issue type. Bugs follow a streamlined path, while enhancements branch differently for example.

Status updates are smoothly automated according to schedule-based or field value changes. Manual transitions are also supported as needed.

The result is work tracking purposely built for each team’s unique processes. Everyone maintains clear context of where each task sits within the larger delivery flow.

Customization prevents work backlogs from becoming disorganized chaos pits. Transparency and control foster more efficient collaboration across distributed teams.

Reporting and analytics

To continually improve processes and deliver more value, it’s important to analyze project performance over time. Jira offers powerful reporting and analytics tools for this.

Out-of-the-box dashboards provide at-a-glance visibility into key health metrics. Things like velocity, lead times, work in progress limits, and issue aging are easily tracked.

Custom reporting capabilities allow drilling into any facet of work for deeper analysis. Build automated reports based on custom views, filters, and fields.

Common usage includes trending cycle times, identifying choke points, or benchmarking team performance over sprints. Identify what’s working and find opportunities for optimization.

Export data to external BI tools for advanced querying, visualization, and forecasting. Leaders gain strategic insights to inform resource allocation and target improvements where it matters most.

notifications ensure the right people are made aware should metrics breach pre-set thresholds.

Jira’s robust yet flexible reporting suite surfaces a treasure trove of process intelligence from project data. Continuous analysis drives continuous evolution toward delivering more value.

Permission management

As projects evolve and teams change, flexibility in managing user access is crucial. Jira’s detailed permission controls satisfy both security and collaboration needs.

Admins leverage project-level permissions to govern overall access with a given scope, like viewing roadmaps. More granular issue-level settings further refine what a user can do.

Common configurations include designating certain members as issue creators, commenters or assignees. Roles provide shortcuts to bundle related permission sets.

Visibility restrictions filter specific fields or issues from certain users. This supports policies like hiding cost data from external contractors.

Permission schemes organize configurations for simple mass assignment according to team structures.

As new features require validation, temporary access can be swiftly granted and revoked. Comprehensive audit logs document all changes.

The results are enhanced security without compromising the fluid, context-based collaboration upon which agile thrives. Control is exerted precisely where needed through Jira’s depth of access controls.

Custom fields and attributes

Off-the-shelf tracking systems inherently lack configurability for specialized processes. Jira empowers teams to deeply personalize the solution.

Custom fields accommodate any unique tracking metadata beyond standard fields. Date picker, text, link and other field types cover various needs.

Select lists offer controlled values for fields like environments or priorities. Complex value dependencies can relate one list to another.

Scripts trigger automated actions based on custom conditions, like notifying managers when certain issues reopen repeatedly.

Permissions, workflows and screens can all reference custom fields/lists to surface that tailored context meaningfully for users.

Templates expedite setting up similar field configurations across projects.

Third party apps extend Jira into new domains through their integration platforms and development APIs.

The result for teams is a system purposely tailored to their actual workflows, domains, priorities and terminology – not molded to a generic solution. Customizations foster higher accuracy, efficiency and adoption.

Jira transforms into exactly the right solution through endless personalization capabilities. Processes meet platforms, not vice versa.


To support the full software lifecycle, tight integration between tools is paramount. Jira provides extensive options for connecting related systems.

Over 1000 plugins cover common scenarios through the Atlassian Marketplace. Integrate source control, help desk ticketing, CI/CD pipelines, and more.

REST APIs allow custom toolchain automation via code. Bi-directionalsyncing keeps links live as work progresses.

Common deployments connect Jira toGit, Bitbucket, Jenkins, Confluence and Slack. Comments and commits surface in Jira for transparency.

Webhooks broadcast events to trigger downstream actions like deployments.

Jira functions as the central nervous system, passing relevant updates seamlessly between systems users interact with daily.

The end result cuts context switching overhead. Teams manage all facets of work through a familiar single interface regardless where tasks originated.

Jira’s deep integration ecosystem instills a continuous flow of information across a best-of-breed technical environment. Distributed experts remain aligned through seamless visibility and processes.


As product and development plans evolve, effective roadmapping is essential for aligning stakeholders and tracking progress. Jira provides robust yet intuitive roadmapping capabilities.

Teams link issues, epics and other work items to higher level initiatives represented as versions/releases in Jira. This establishes traceability from strategic plans down to tasks.

Releases and epics are arranged on interactive, customizable kanban-style boards to visualize schedules, dependencies and capacity over time. Teams prioritize and replan interactively as needed.

Automated forecasting calculations based on estimates and velocity help predict delivery targets. Plans stay calibrated to reality.

Drill-down filters provide transparency into the detailed work underlying each epic or release. Stakeholders gain confidence through multi-level traceability.

Integrations pull roadmap data into other tools for additional reporting and presentations. Teams align both internally and externally.

Overall, Jira delivers increased clarity, collaboration and agility to strategic and tactical delivery planning through its feature-rich yet intuitive roadmapping toolkit.

How Do Teams Use Jira?

Here are some common ways that product and development teams leverage Jira in their workflows:

Product management

Product managers are responsible for figuring out what new features and improvements customers want most. In Jira, they define these as “user stories” – simple descriptions of what the user needs to be able to do.

Stories are grouped into higher-level initiatives called “epics” that deliver business value when completed. Both stories and epics are added to the “product backlog”, which is essentially a prioritized to-do list of all proposed work.

The product backlog allows managers to organize the work based on importance and customer need. It also helps the team visualize their roadmap – which features they’ll focus on delivering in future months or quarters based on available resources.

When it’s time to plan specific sprints, usually 2-4 weeks, the top items from the backlog are pulled in. Product managers use Jira to collaborate with engineering on identifying and refining these stories to a “ready” state before development begins.

By centralizing ideas, priorities and planning in Jira, product and development teams stay synced on progress towards the most valuable outcomes for both the business and users. The product backlog drives effective roadmapping and sprint execution.


When engineers are given user stories from the product backlog to work on, their first step is to break them down into specific technical tasks in Jira.

Tasks might include “build login form,” “integrate payment processing,” or “add validation checking.” This allows the work to be estimated and scheduled.

Engineers will then “claim” assigned tasks by marking them as “In Progress”. As work begins, files and screenshots can be attached as evidence in Jira.

The task status is continually updated – whether it’s “In Review”, “Testing”, or even “Blocked” if dependencies are missing. This provides transparency to managers and teammates.

Any bugs or issues encountered along the way are likewise logged in Jira. Clear descriptions help devs diagnose and solve problems, with the bugs then linked back to the affected tickets.

With all engineering work and defects captured centrally in Jira, developers stay on the same page about their progress, and managers maintain the visibility needed for tracking and reporting.

QA and testing

Testers log any defects found during testing directly into Jira for developers to fix. Test cases can also be planned and tracked.


Deployment pipelines and environments are integrated directly into Jira workflows via plugins for automated issue tracking and notifications.


A helpdesk integrates Jira into its ticketing system for efficient issue resolution, knowledge base search and historical trend analysis.


Team leads generate custom reports on velocity, throughput, lead times and more from Jira data for operational and strategic decision making.

By centralizing all work items, changes and communications within Jira, these teams achieve end-to-end visibility and traceability from ideas to code to release.


Jira has cemented its position as one of the most popular project and issue tracking tools, thanks to its flexibility, reporting capabilities and deep integrations. Whether managing agile software development, helpdesk support or product delivery, Jira brings structure, rigor and visibility to workflows. Its customization features also allow adapting it to the unique needs of any organization. With over 50% of Fortune 100 companies using Jira in some form, it has proven effective at improving team collaboration and driving more value from development investments.

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