Well, I wasn’t planning on doing another App Roundup for another few months. However, I was watching some back episodes of Tier Zoo on Youtube, and I had an idea that was too tempting to let go. What if I make a list of some JIRA Apps I’ve used before, and list them into tiers based on my experience?
So that is what we are doing today. I have a list of 15 Apps I’ve used on JIRA in the past and have ranked them based on their functionality, ease of use, stability, and general “it” factor.
I should note that the below is my opinion. I have chosen every app on this list at one point or another, so I feel each app is worth the money. You are entirely free to disagree! I’ll be including a link at the end of the post to the tier list template, and I would love to see how you rank them!
Edit: It was brought to my attention I should probably note: These were originally tested using JIRA Server & Data Center. While I have used a few of these in JIRA Cloud, not all of the functionality is present or the same, so your results may vary.
The Tier List
So here is my Tier List. The rankings go from “S” for Superior, then “A”-“D.” The Higher up on the list you go, the better the App. My thought for the “S” Tier is that it should be genuinely mind-blowing and game-changing. That is why there are only two there now—the rest kind of fell where they did on a snap decision. However, I do intend to go through each App and explain my logic in placing it where I did.
Automation for JIRA
So, some history – automation was never an easy thing to achieve in JIRA. Before this App arrived, your choices were:
- Learn the API’s and have something operate elsewhere
- Learn Groovy and use Scriptrunner
- Leverage Post Functions in workflows – which would only run when someone changed status.
- Write a plugin to do whatever you needed it to do.
Not fun options. Automation for JIRA changed the game by allowing you to define robust automation actions that can be triggered by a variety of activities within JIRA. All without any coding required. That is why I put it in “S” Tier. Atlassian agrees – they bought Code Barrel!
Here is another plugin that changed how I administer a system. As I’ve already reviewed the App in full, I won’t go too deep into detail here. But the amount of time it now saves me in searching for and analyzing the current configuration in innumerable. That is why this has also earned its place in the “S” Tier.
Here is Botron’s second entry into the list. This tool lets you migrate settings from one JIRA instance to another. With some careful testing, you can also use it to migrate JIRA data as well. However, migrations are not a task for the faint-of-heart, which stops this from being “S” tier.
Jira Misc Workflow Extensions (JMWE)
JMWE is one of two utilities that give you a ton of options to play with within a workflow. Honestly, for most of my Atlassian career, this was my go-to tool for Automation within a workflow. While handy to have, it always seems that I’ll run into that one use case where it can’t help me at the worse time. However, it is an excellent tool to have in the tool-belt of any JIRA Admin.
JSU Automation Suite for Jira Workflows
JSU is the other workflow toolbox that you can work with to achieve some Automation. Much of its functionality overlap in one way or another with JWME, but there are a few things each does that the other doesn’t, so it’s often worth having both. However, just like JWME, this only really helps within a workflow, meaning that anything else, you will need another way to Automate.
SAML Single Sign On (SSO) Jira SAML SSO
Sometimes, an app doesn’t need to do everything. Sometimes, it just needs to do one thing well. That is the case with Single Sign-on from re:solution. This App does what it says on the box – allow JIRA to connect and authenticate through a SAML. However, it does it so well that I honestly prefer it to even Data Center’s built-in functionality. However, while it’s good at it, it just lacks the “wow” factor to put it clearly into the “S” tier. It was a close call, but just not enough to get there.
ScriptRunner for Jira
In complete contrast to the previous App, I have heard of this plugin referred to as the “Everything” plugin. That is because it is flexible enough to do anything you can think of – if you know the Groovy to get it done. I have used this to setup fields that aggregate data from several other fields, clone projects from a template, migrate data from one field to another for consolidation, and set up a multi-tier cascade field. To be honest, it was another JIRA admin on my team that did most of those considering I don’t know Groovy, which is why ScriptRunner earns an “A” Rank. It can do a lot, but there is a barrier to entry.
Insight – Asset Management
Sometimes you find yourself trying to track issues against an inventory of items. You can manually link them to an outside resource – but that can be clunky and inefficient. That’s where Insight comes in. It allows you to track assets within JIRA, and then link tickets and issues to those assets. While I consider this useful at times (Fun fact: I wrote such an asset tracker for a college project once), this isn’t universally applicable. Which is why I felt this should be in B Tier. If you need it, it’s invaluable. If you don’t, it’s just there.
eazyBI Reports and Charts for Jira
Look, I know that JIRA Dashboards can sometimes fall short of the deep, meaning full Analysis management may want. JIRA is a Project Management tool, not a Business Intelligence tool. So what to do then? EazyBI allows you to take the data already within JIRA, and do a more in-depth analysis to help you more clearly relate how the business is doing to management. So if it’s so useful, why is it in the “B” tier? Well, installation isn’t as straight forward as a standard plugin. The App has excellent documentation; don’t get me wrong. But you will have to do a good bit more work to get this working correctly.
Jira Command Line Interface (CLI)
JIRA Command Line Interface or CLI does what it says. It gives you another option to authenticate and command JIRA from, well, a command-line interface. There are times when this is the easiest way to do tasks such as copy one field’s value to another for consolidation, perform specific automated tasks, and integrate some custom tools. However, it does require some set up and some time to learn – hence the “B” tier rank.
ProForma: Forms & Checklist for Jira
So, I need to put a disclaimer here. ThinkTilt, the company that makes Proforma, will occasionally post links to the blog on their twitter page. While I am hugely appreciative of the support, it has in no way influenced their inclusion or ranking.
Proforma is a tool that lets you have something I’ve wanted in JIRA for a while – Dynamic forms. That is screens that vary what fields are shown based on what fields you already have selected. This feature that, to me, just makes sense. It’s not an easy request, which is why Atlassian hasn’t done it, but with Proforma, you can. So, if I do want this feature, why is it not ranked higher? It’s because you have to set up the forms in advance – which if you have a lot of permutations, means you can be there a while.
VisualScript Reports and Charts for Jira
Clone Plus for Jira
This App is a quality of life plugin. I ran into an issue the other day that I needed to split to show the work accurately – and had I had this App, I would have saved me SO much time. However, it doesn’t add too much functionality to JIRA. Honestly, if the budget were tight, this would be one of the plugins I’d consider letting go first. Is it fair? Maybe not, but compared to the functionality games of some of the others on this list, it was hard to justify a higher ranking.
Project Configurator for Jira
There was a time this was my go-to tool for doing JIRA Instance Migrations and Consolidations. Like Configuration Manager, it makes the process of moving JIRA settings and issues from one instance to another a lot easier. However, I’ve started to use Configuration Manager recently for one simple reason: It’s faster. To be fair, this isn’t Project Configurator’s fault. Their data import mechanism relies on JIRA’s built-in mechanism – which is also slow. But when you have 60K issues to move over one weekend, time matters.
Timetracker – Time Tracking & Reporting
So, JIRA’s great at a lot – but time tracking isn’t one of them. If you want to run a report based on the time estimate fields – notably logged work – well, good luck with that. However, this App does just that – let you run reports on the user’s logged work time to make sure it’s in line with estimates and expectations. This earn’s it’s “C” tier ranking because this is another case where if you need it, it’s invaluable. But if you don’t, it can be something that will look tempting to cut during budget planning. The value-added for the cost can be hard to justify sometimes.
So, now it’s your turn.
The great thing about Tiermaker is you can share the template and let others create their ranks. Disagree with me? Good! Make your own ranked list and post it for me to see using the hashtag #JiraAppTierList. If you have any Apps you’d like added, let me know, and I’ll work to get them added to the template. I can’t wait to see what you do!
In other news
The leader of the Atlanta A.C.E. group reached out to me this past week and asked if I’d like to co-present based on last week’s blog. Of course, I accepted! So I’ll be speaking with Ed Gaile on Monitoring Atlassian Applications on Thursday, June 25th, at 6 PM Eastern. If you are in the Atlanta, GA area, please consider joining the event!
And that’s it for this week!
Remember, if you enjoyed this post, you could sign up below to have new theJIRAguy posts delivered to your inbox! You can also follow me on twitter at @theJIRAguy. I also love to hear from readers, so be sure to comment, like, and share posts to Twitter and LinkedIn. But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your JIRA issues today?”