Using JIRA for Agile Project Management (without Green Hopper)

Jira from Atlassian is a very popular issue tracking software and can be quite effectively used for Agile Project Management. Jira has a plugin (Green Hopper) that allows for creation of a backlog, iterations and tasks. However, with help from the free Mylyn plugin for Eclipse I was able to setup a Product Backlog and Iteration Backlogs.

For the User Stories in the product backlog I created two issue types (Epic & User Story). Story hierarchies can be represented using Jira Links.

For Iteration Backlog I created a version for each iteration and assigned the stories to that version/iteration. Each leaf story can then have Jira Sub-tasks to represent the tasks in a particular iteration. The Resolved state of the story is used to mark it complete and Colsed state is used to mark it as “accepted”. You can use Mylyn to see story hierarchies, also I found Mylyn to be a much more intuitive interface when working on Product and Iteration backlogs.

By Mashooq Badar.

2 Responses to “Using JIRA for Agile Project Management (without Green Hopper)”

  1. Mashooq Badar

    Hi Dafydd, I’m taking your comment to mean that you are advocating the use of story boards for both Iteration and Product Backlogs.
    Physical Story boards are an effective way of representing your Iteration Backlog and work well with co-located teams. Arguably, they become unwieldy when dealing with a large Product Backlog and/or teams where all members are not co-located as we often find with our larger clients. And sometime (more often then you’d think) there is no physical space for a story board. In addition larger organisations may already have project reporting built around an existing tool and may dictate use of that tool.

    The spirit of this post is to not provide a replacement for the story board but simply another alternative among many for representing your Product and Iteration backlogs. Also combining it with mylyn (integrated into your IDE) helps to alleviate the “electronic energy drain” you rightfully point out.


  2. Dafydd Rees

    I really have to disagree. The physical storyboard with real, physical cards wins any day over greenhopper. The problem with technical people is that we’re too enthusiastic to adopt technical solutions.

    The problem with electronic storyboards and tracking is that they become a huge, overcomplicated distraction. People end up spending more time on the tools than on the work the customer paid for. Those tools also tend to dictate the process – something that agile teams should be able to change freely and easily without having to fiddle with inflexible tools.

    I really wouldn’t start worrying about electronic tools until you’ve got a mature, working team with real, live, successful software… otherwise there’s a serious risk of being swept into the electronic tool energy drain.


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