Brief Evaluation of the Atlassian Project Management Tool

 

INTRODUCTION

There are a large number of tools on the market that are aimed at task management and project management, however, due to standardization and the increasing commitment of work teams to quality management and improvement of the processes, it can be said; that not all of these tools are created with scalability in mind.

Project management involves: integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communication, risk and acquisition management. These should be emphasized in any tool that is considered for Project management.

For its part, Atlassian proposes Jira, which is its base system for task control, integrated with a variety of commercial and community plugins and the in-house development of auxiliary applications, which have made Jira one of the most used systems in development environments, Among the clients that can be listed are: Nasa, Skype, Facebook, Cisco among others.

Therefore, among the plugins evaluated in this document are: GreenHopper, Tempo, Gantt Chart, Confluence, Bamboo, FishEye, Crucible, Clover and Bonfire, which represent the most important range of project management tools in the Atlassian system. It should be noted that the evaluation carried out in this work does not cover all the strict research measures proposed by the scientific community and is subject to the experience of the evaluators.

WHAT IS IT USEFUL FOR?

Atlassian is an Australian company founded in 2002 by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, which emphasizes its products in agile development, with some flexibility by using open source licenses that allow modifying and viewing the code as long as its distribution is under the contractual and non-profit terms.
Jira is a task management and bug tracking system whose main objective is to support requirements management. For this it has the following functions:

  • Bugs and Tasks Management: It is an integrated task control interface (see Illustration 1: Task creation interface) that allows defining types of tasks (errors, tasks, improvements), checking histories, streams of comments, among others.
  • Project version management: Allows the scheduling of reads and assignment of tasks for each one.
  • Component Management: It allows the creation and assignment of components by projects.
  • Management of users, roles and permissions: It allows restricting access to users both to projects and to the system in general. Each plugin has integration of permissions that determine that it can be restricted according to the added functionalities.
  • Task Flow Control Management: It is a very versatile function that allows defining specific flows by types of tasks and projects, thus adjusting to the vast majority of development environments within agile methodologies.

In its version 5.0, it has an appreciable number of plugins and additional applications that extend its functionality. Among which we find:

  • GreenHopper: Extends the agile functionality of Jira by providing quick dashboards, task cards, and can be integrated into Scrum environments. It uses the Kanban methodology, planning backlogs for the recording of stories and planning by sprints.
  • View burndown charts and other reports.
  • Tempo: Extends the utilities for managing the use of working time, with planning tools against calendar, salary management, approval of hour logs, validation of periods and reports in various formats.
  • Gantt Chart: It allows to visualize in Gantt charts the assignment of tasks and human resources to each of the projects.
  • Confluence: Provides a Wiki-like space for each of the existing projects, which guarantees that files and documents are shared successfully.
  • Bamboo: It is a Continuous Integration tool that allows the planning of the builds of each project, integrated with the code control and quality management tools, it can perform automated tests, provide indicators for quality metrics, automate the distribution of reads. among others.
  • FishEye: It is a web code browser that allows version review and analysis, integrates with SVN, Git, Mercurial, CVS and Perforce and provides reports of commits per day, lines of code, etc.
  • Crucible: Integrated with Fisheye is a powerful peer-to-peer code review tool, which guarantees early error detection and coding quality, allows the definition of review flows, code discussion moderators and others.
  • Clover: It is a specific tool for Java and Groovy code projects, it allows to monitor the coverage performed in automated unit tests, inefficient code detection, depreciated code detection and another group of coding quality metrics.
  • Bonfire: Collaborates with software testing tasks, allows the definition of test plans, error report templates, image editing and group review attachments and reports of bugs found, among others.

The aforementioned are some of the tools that Jira has for project management, which must be defined by:

  • Integration management: In which it must be taken into account that all stages must have a development plan, the preparation of the project plan, the direction and execution of the project, supervision and control, the integrated control of changes and closing it. Jira has through confluence with the basic tools for the documentation and distribution of the information, the tasks can be easily reviewed through the History panel and the control flows.
  • Scope management: Corresponds to the collection of requirements, the definition of the scope and detailed work structure, its control and review that can be reflected in the event streams of each of the tasks, the review and evaluation of each of the tasks. records created before they are released to the developer.
  • Time management: Through the planning of activities both in plugins such as Gantt Chart or in the definition of the tasks, you can specify the planned hours, the human resources to use delivery schedules and others, it should be noted that Jira presents Well-defined fields to record this data, but it depends a lot on the work team, discipline and control flows.
  • Cost management: Tempo provides tools for monitoring and managing salaries for the work team, beyond that Jira does not have robust plugins for controlling non-human resources costs such as depreciation and allocation of computers, expenses of energy among others.
  • Quality Management: Jira has tools for peer code review, testing automation and coding standards, continuous integration, bug reporting, and staged metric evaluation, showing a wide range of options for quality management in software projects.
  • Human Resources Management: Jira provides tools for managing roles and permissions, controlling project teams and monitoring the workload per person, however it lacks specific tools for managing the acquisition and training of personnel.
  • Communication management: because it is a web tool, the distribution of information is relatively simple, Jira has tools to manage notifications, definition of participants, publication of results and stream of conversations that greatly facilitate communication in the team.
  • Risk Management: There are immature plugins for risk planning, which allow to define the planning and identification of these to a certain extent.
  • Acquisition Management: Due to the deficiency in Jira to control non-human resources related to the system, the acquisition management does not have a plugin or tool to meet these needs.

From the previous data, a matrix is shown that relates the plugins vs the management areas required for software projects.

CONCLUSION

Since Jira was initially thought of as an auxiliary tool for agile development, it still does not have functions merely for project management such as resources, acquisitions, costs, among others. However, it is one of the most used tools on the market due to its adaptability to environments and its large and growing marketplace of plugins that are maintained by both the community and Atlassian developers.

Therefore, it is worth mentioning that to meet these needs, bridges have been created that integrate other tools such as Microsoft Projects or OnePoint Projects to Jira, thus completing the comprehensive management of projects in general.

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