Atlassian heralds ‘new era’ of Jira

Jira is entering a new era.

As we know from TechTarget, Atlassian Jira is an Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tool that provides tools for bug tracking, issue tracking and project management. Jira is one of the company’s main offerings along with Confluence, the company’s team collaboration platform. 

Atlassian used its Team ‘24 conference this year in Las Vegas to showcase its entire platform of tools and architecture. Drilling into work carried out to enhance, expand and elevate Jira into a new era, Dave Meyer, head of product, Jira, has highlighted how the organisation is combining Jira Software with Jira Work Management to create a tool for all teams called… well, Jira.

“The latest evolution of Jira offers a shared place for every team to align on goals and priorities, track and collaborate on work – we’ve taken the best of Jira Work Management and Jira Software to make a single project management tool – and (throwback alert!) we’re calling it, simply, Jira,” said Meyer.

Asynchronously synchronicity

The company reminds us that the modern globally distributed workforce is looking for ways to share and align on work. This means a greater reliance on tools to help teams work asynchronously across different geographies and time zones. Atlassian of course recognises this reality and says that new collaboration and communication features built in, Jira puts cross-functional connectivity in front and centre across everything teams do, from linked work to shared reporting. 

These new features include:

  • Goal tracking to help teams stay focused and aligned
  • AI-powered shortcuts that alleviate some classic pain points
  • New ways to visualise work and coordinate between teams
  • Rich integrations with Confluence and Loom to foster knowledge-sharing

Meyer and team point out that an organisation’s engineers, marketers, designers, salespeople (and so on) typically all work differently, but we need to remember that they should still be aligned to shared objectives. 

Shoot, score – goal

Bringing every team into the same Jira is argued to make it easier for leaders to set goals, align teams to priorities and track success across every project in flight.

“In the next few months, we’ll be rolling out Goals in Jira. Users will be able to create goals in Jira’s list and issue views to visualise how each task maps to a higher objective. We’re also introducing new ways to easily view and track progress towards goals – a goals directory where every goal can be viewed and tracked and goal progress charts in summary view where goals can be viewed in the context of your projects,” writes Meyer, in a technical product blog.

Atlassian is urging developers to grasp a chance to break work into bite-sized pieces with the help of Atlassian Intelligence (AI). A forthcoming feature directed at AI work breakdown (currently rolling out to Jira Premium and Enterprise users in beta) will make suggestions for breaking ‘epics into issues’, or issues into sub-tasks so users can spend less time breaking work down and more time moving it forward. 

The AI tools in question have been designed to enable users to explain any requirement or action you want to automate in everyday, natural language and Atlassian Intelligence will create an automation rule.

Jira Query Language (JQL)

Once users customise and approve a suggestion, new work items will be created and nested in the proper hierarchy. Power users know Jira Query Language (JQL) is the most effective way to run complex searches in Jira. Users ask the question using everyday language and Atlassian Intelligence will convert it to JQL.

“A successful launch requires tight coordination between developers, IT, marketing, sales and support. That’s no small feat, but Jira makes it a little easier. Business projects can be viewed as a calendar with issues arranged by due date. Release dates from software projects can now be surfaced in corresponding business projects to help keep everyone aligned,” said Meyer.

Atlassian Plans (available in Jira Premium and Enterprise) allows users to combine issues from different boards, projects and filters to create an all-encompassing view that spans multiple teams. Meyer suggests that everyone – from leaders to program managers to team members – can estimate release dates for cross-team projects, answer staffing and resource questions, or map out yearly goals, all in a single view.

Async collaboration: Confluence & Loom

With the explosion of distributed work over the last few years, fewer teams gather in the same room to brainstorm, plan, or make a decision. 

“Jira’s integrations with Confluence and Loom make asynchronous collaboration just as effective as real-time teamwork,” said Meyer. “Picture a brainstorming session: you’ve already captured your ideas on a Confluence whiteboard and voted on your favourites. With a single click, you will soon be able to turn priorities into action by converting your top-voted ideas into Jira issues. You will also be able to convert the whiteboard into a Confluence page and link to the issues you just generated.”

Distributed work has also prompted companies to use video to communicate in a more human way. Meyer says that Smart Links make it easy to embed rich Loom videos directly in Jira so teams can share critical updates, ideas and decisions in the context of the work itself. Important information that once required a meeting or a written update can now be shared instantly across teams and time zones – without leaving Jira.

Speaking to the Computer Weekly Developer Network at Atlassian Team ’24 itself, we heard from Matt Schvimmer in his role as senior vice president and head of product for agile and DevOps at Atlassian on how this technology has developed.

“I pushed hard for convergence on this product and I’m really happy about how it’s turned out,” said  Schvimmer, speaking in Las Vegas this May. “Our core is software development, so connecting developers to the other teams in an organisation is basically a no-brainer i.e. bringing everyone together allows people to collaborate both inside and across team teams… and that’s fundamentally crucial in terms of its ability to enable productivity. Say it’s a marketing initiative – a retail environment has to get field service operatives involved to get the whole thing off the ground… but software development has to be there at the core to make it happen and, equally, the business function has to validate the commercial proposition behind the project (and that includes everything from training to costing and so on)… so basically, A does not happen without B. It’s a question of team ‘interdependencies’ above and below the software code line. This union of collaboration mirrors the reality of how a team operates in the real world – and now, as the definition of a knowledge worker is expanding through the implementation of AI, we’ve lowered the bar for people to be productive at a technical level… all of which underlines our work to bring teams together in one central unified location for collaboration.”

Atlassian has clearly put a lot of product development into motion for this year’s Team ‘24 conference with most of these enhancements already available on its platform and throughout its toolset. We anticipate more detailed breakdowns of these functions as the year progresses. 

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