App Review: Profields by Deiser

In case it wasn’t clear – I tend to be a bit old-school Jira. This fact means to me a Jira project is a continuous, living creature. Teams develop software in cycles, with each cycle meant to be another version of the project. For non-software groups, versions still work well to define and manage “initiatives.” This mindset has been the guidance I’ve given teams in the past, and it mostly works well. 

However, I’ve been considering another interpretation lately. That a project is just that, a project, with a defined beginning and end. Sometimes an “initiative” is so complex that it needs a step up to use versions to identify different phases of that same initiative. This view does open up other problems, though. Where do you store details about when the project begins, what it’s about, etc.? You can save it in Confluence, but that has two problems.

  • People have to go to Confluence and look that up
  • That information isn’t all that usable.

That is where the fifth and final App in “App Month” comes into play. Profields lets you define and use Project fields (get it?). This simple idea opens up a world of possibilities in project management. So let us take a look and see what Deiser has in store for us!

Also, a special thank you to Deiser. I got a chance to speak with their product team directly before this article, and they even gave me an exclusive playground with populated data for capturing screenshots! This step in an App Review is often the most time consuming, so it is much appreciated!

Features

Project Fields

To get started, I guess we should talk about the foundational element, Project Fields. That is a custom field that is not associated with an issue, but instead a whole project. You can get started by going to Profields in the top bar and heading to “Fields.”

Once here, Jira presents us with a list of fields already in our instance. If you are starting with Profields, this will be all the default ones already used by Jira. To this, we can add our custom Project Fields. As of the current release, the types of fields you can use are:

  • List
  • Text
  • Number
  • Date
  • Duration
  • Status
  • Priority
  • User
  • Group
  • Project
  • Cumulative
  • Script

I saw some exciting uses of these fields in the demo instance: Bitbucket Key, Bamboo Project, Budget, Clients, Current Phase, Total Remaining Estimate, and Work Ratio. However, the uses are as varied as your ingenuity and needs. It’s up to you to figure out the best use of the tools!

Project Fields follow a similar setup to Custom fields in that they require a mechanism to show them within a project. With Custom Fields, it’s a screen, and with Project Fields, they call it a layout. I want to commend the team here, as it would have been effortless – yet very confusing – to call their set up a screen and be done with it.

The Layout screen also seems very intuitive. It gives you the ability to set up different “Containers” and place your fields, giving you the ability to group related fields.

After this, Associate your layout with a project, and you’ll start getting some impressive data!

“PQL”

So, we’ve got all this data on the projects themselves now, so what?

Honestly, if you’re asking that question, I have to know: Do you even Jira? One of Jira’s superpowers is using JQL to search issues while filtering on any custom fields. Now that we have Project fields, we can also use those for searching and filtering Projects!

Granted, I’m also just learning about the usage of this App myself, PQL seems to follow the same rules and syntax as JQL. This fact means if you are a JQL Wizard, you shouldn’t have any problems picking up PQL as well.

And just like JQL, once you have your query set up *just* right, you can save it as a filter to either reference later, or use in Dashboard Gadgets!

Dashboard Gadgets

Did I say dashboard gadgets? Yes, sir, I sure did! Long time readers will know by now that I love having more options for users to use on their dashboards, and Profields gives us five to help us display Project data.

  • Project Pie Chart
  • Profields: One Field Statistic Chart
  • Profields: Project Timesheet Report
  • Profields: Project fields Summary
  • Profields: Two-dimensional project statistics report

Because these are reporting on the project themselves, it does open up some exciting reporting on how projects are doing.

Again, at first glance, this looks like a regular dashboard of issues – but these are reporting on whole dashboards, not just issues!

Another use case this brings up is standardizing schemes in projects. We all know that controlling the number of schemes in Jira can help improve its performance, but finding the outliers using a unique scheme is a chore. But now, it’s a dashboard!

Treat Projects like you would Issues

If I had to assign a theme to this App, that would be it. Do issues get a navigator where you can run queries? Then so do Projects! Can you watch an issue and be updated when a field changes? Then so can Projects! Can you change fields in bulk on issues? Then so can you on Projects! This simple concept gives you more capabilities to sort, process, and manage your projects! 

My Analysis

What this App does Well

If I had to assign a theme to this App, It would be to treat projects as you would issues. It seems Deiser has thought of almost everything in this regard. Do issues get a navigator where you can run queries? Then so do Projects! Can you watch an issue and be updated when a field changes? Then so can Projects! Can you change fields in bulk on issues? Then so can you on Projects! This simple concept gives you more capabilities to sort, process, and manage your projects!   

What this App could work on

I only had one step that confused me for a moment when using this App. I could not find the place where you create new Project Fields. This problem stems from two facts. The first one, I am terrible at seeing small details right in front of me. No, ask my wife! I am!

The second is because that setting is in the top bar. This time is one case where I’d like to see it in the Admin Section. I mean, they already have a Project section with only a few entries. It seems to be a natural place to look for it.

But honestly, that is a nit-pick. Otherwise, this is a well-executed App!

Would I recommend this App

So, for most projects, I still see them as long-living entities with work done in cycles. But even then, I can see a place for having this kind of information within your projects.

However, this App shines on situations where Projects do have defined lifetimes. One example I can think of is Consulting. You only work on discreet projects for a given client. Here it makes sense to use something like this to store details within the project itself using Profields.

I do think everyone can benefit from this App. Whether the amount of use justifies its price to your organization, that’s not up to me. But if you have a situation where you can use this, I think you are already arranging a test!

Profields’ Tier Rank

This App was a bit hard to place on the tier list. It did make me change some of my assumptions on how best to use Jira, so it’s going to get a high rank. But I don’t see it as a universal change. I feel I can recommend Power Admin and Automation for Jira to you without fully knowing your situation because both are so universally useful. This App, however, I’d have to hear more about your case. Therefore, I feel it still earns a solid “A” Rank.

And that’s it for App Month!

What did you think? Did you find a new favorite App? Any I didn’t cover you’d like me to look over?

I’m not going to lie, though – it’s going to be a bit before I do another App Review. Not that I don’t enjoy learning about them, it’s just that I’m ready to cover other topics! To that effect, I’m going over Jira Incident Management next week! This idea came from a viewer of last week’s Webinar, and I’m excited to cover it in greater detail!

In speaking of last week’s Webinar on “So, you’re a Jira Admin, Now what?”, I think it went really, REALLY well! If you missed it and would like to view it, you can watch it on WebGentle’s Youtube Channel!

In other news, the poll is closed! It seems more people sell Jira with just the first letter Capitalized.

I have also gotten a few comments on this over the past few weeks, so I’ll be changing how I refer to it within the Blog to match. However it’s going to take me a bit to update the branding, and I might not be able to update all the back articles.

But thank you reading! If you enjoyed reading this post, sign up below to receive them by email! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn! Be sure to share, like, and comment on the post so your friends can find us! But until next time, this is Rodney saying, “Have you updated your Jira issues today?”

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