JIRA 7 Essentials

JIRA seems like a great issue management system. However, I found myself terribly inept when it came to using its features, especially because I was not familiar with agile software development practices. Wanting to get a quick introduction to JIRA I read JIRA 7 Essentials by Patrick Li. This short read is in its 4th edition and this latest edition covers the latest JIRA 7.x, which is also what I wanted to learn about.

The book is written for JIRA administrators, project managers and normal users. Administrators are the folks who install JIRA and configure it. Managers create projects and control the permissions for normal users. About half the chapters in the book covers topics for these two categories of users and I could conveniently skip those cause I am neither. The chapters for normal users covered everything I was hoping it would.

Chapter 2 covered the main project interface and it features. I found Chapter 3 on Agile Projects very useful since it showed how to use JIRA for both SCRUM and Kanban style of working. Chapter 4 was the most important one for me because it covered issues which are what you primarily work with in JIRA. Finally, Chapter 10 explained how to use both the simple and advanced JQL methods to search for issues and save and use them across JIRA.

I learnt a lot of useful things from this book that I would not have in daily usage of JIRA. For example, JIRA has keyboard shortcuts in the issue UI for the most common actions. I was also not aware of the share, export, vote and time log features in issues. I also learnt how to create SCRUM and Kanban boards for my epics and sprints. Also useful was the addition of gadgets to my dashboard. I found myself comfortable creating boards, saved search filters and with JIRA jargon in general. All in all, I got a satisfying bang-for-buck for the half day I spent leisurely reading through this book. If you are new to JIRA, I highly recommend getting a book like this one to learn how to use it effectively. In case you have access to O’Reilly Safari, this book can be accessed there.

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