Does your company use JIRA for your software development process? If you do, you may know these terms and need a refresher. If not, let’s jump in and review what JIRA is before we dive into the terms.
Skip this section if you use JIRA and are comfortable with your understanding of the tool.
JIRA is a product to track software development made by Atlassian. This tool allows you to plan, track, release, and report the status of development. Additionally, this tool provides a space for creating tickets to monitor the completion of ongoing issues for website or software development.
We, and many other companies involved in the software development process, use JIRA for all of our development projects as a way for communicating between our team and client teams.
Additional Resources on “JIRA” that will give you context for how the tool can be used:
Now that you have a solid understanding of what JIRA is, let’s talk about the aspects of creating software in this format.
When you use JIRA for software development, you will create tickets for getting work done on a website or another type of software product. Within these tickets, you will need to build out a “user story.”
The user story tells why a particular user— this can be a front or backend user— needs this ticket or problem to be solved. For example, if you are looking to add a new field to the backend of your website where you can add metadata you may write something like this: As a content editor worried about SEO, I need to access and edit the metadata on our web pages.
This sort of description allows the developer who will be adding the fields to the backend.
The JIRA board is where a software project lives within Atlassian’s JIRA application. This board provides a space for a software project where tickets can be made and tracked by the team working on the project. Often a basic JIRA board will have the columns: to do, in progress, ready for review, approved for release, and done. When someone starts a task, it should be moved from to do to in progress. Once a draft of the task is complete, the person who did the work moves into ready for review. From there, the person responsible for the ticket (or who created the ticket) determines if more work needs to be done or if it is complete. If more work must be done the ticket can be moved back to in progress or if it is set to go it can be approved for release.
This is a look at Blue Coda’s marketing department’s JIRA board.
A backlog is a list of outstanding tickets— or tasks to be completed. When using JIRA, a backlog is built out for a software project so future tasks can be accessed. When a sprint— or allocated period to complete tickets— has concluded the team can easily grab tasks from the backlog and get started on the next sprint. Likewise, if a development team runs out of tasks for the current sprint they are in, they can choose tasks from the backlog to complete.
Backlogs are always ordered by priority so that the development team working on a sprint can easily identify what task is most important and they can begin that tasks first.
Acceptance criteria refers to the conditions that a software product must satisfy to be accepted by a user, customer, or in the case of system level functionality, the consuming system. Acceptance Criteria is beneficial when performing Quality Assurance (QA) as it tells the tester exactly what the expected outcome of a ticket should be. A primary purpose of acceptance criteria is to make sure everyone working on the project is in alignment with expectations, and anyone can pick up the ticket without explanation.
An example of "Acceptance Criteria" in Jira.
Once a ticket has been completed by the development team, it can go into the quality assurance process.
Quality Assurance or “QA” is the process of reviewing and approving work before it goes live. The QA process helps to prevent mistakes in products and avoiding problems when delivering solutions or services.
Websites projects with Blue Coda typically have three levels of QA; one for the developers, one for the internal agency team, and one that is completed by the client.
Using quality assurance allows developers and Product Owners to ensure that the tickets created in JIRA regarding a website feature or adjustment are complete and that they meet the acceptance criteria.
If you were here for the basics, now that you have them down you can get started using JIRA! Don’t let the tool intimidate you. It is easy to use and a great tool for productivity. If you still aren’t sure that JIRA is right for you, check out this post about how our marketing team used JIRA to make completing and managing tasks more seamless.