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Four ways to boost productivity with smart checklists in Jira issues


Posted by
Julie d'ANTIN

September 25, 2018

Checklists are a handy way to break down large tasks into smaller actionable items. Who doesn’t enjoy the feeling of marking a checkbox as done?

If your company uses Jira to plan and track work, you might frequently come across issues which include tasks to complete, possibly buried in comments or in an endless description. Yet breaking down the issue into Jira subtasks to track simple actionable items seems too complex.

With the help of Elements for Jira, a checklist app, you can extend the features of Jira to build smart checklists that will enable your teams to get things done faster and capture all the actionable items that are required to complete an issue.

Here are a few tips on how to implement smart checklists in Jira issues which empower teams to save time and enforce their processes.

Productivity hack #1: Build custom checklists in Jira issues which fit your use cases

Sometimes, you may only need a checkbox and text to track the smaller elements (pun intended!) of your work in issues. However in most cases, you’ll want to provide extra details such as a due date, a file, numbers, a Jira user who’s responsible for this item, etc. These are things you can’t do with a simple checklist app. Adding this layer of structure is necessary if you wish to track expenses within an issue, or build up a list of material to order for your team that will then be passed along to your IT department.

 

Tracking expense reports in Jira using an Elements Checklist.

 

Elements goes beyond a simple checklists and provides you with a smart table you can completely customize: you can add as many attributes as you need, choose how you want to display headers and even have calculated attributes. The above screenshot shows you how to manage expenses within Jira, using multiple currencies. We attach receipts to the issue so the accounting team can easily access them for reference. Elements computes the listed fees’ total instantly – thus saving time.

Productivity hack #2: Create templates for reusable Jira checklists

If you’re looking to implement a Definition of Done or an Acceptance Criteria checklist, or to track HR tasks that need to be performed every time a new employee joins your company, you’ll soon identify the need for reusable templates of your checklists.

The DoD checklist is automatically populated upon issue creation

 

In Elements, they’re called datasets, as they basically correspond to a set of items you can instantiate when a JQL condition is matched. For instance, if you wish to manage a Definition of Done in Jira, you’ll want to have one checklist associated with user stories, and one associated with bugs. Here’s how to do this using Elements datasets:

Productivity hack #3: Define editing permissions for your Jira checklists

Another recurring need when it comes to checklists is the ability to restrict editing rights to certain team-members at a certain time. If we go back to our expenses use case, we certainly don’t want the employee to be able to add new items to the list once the initially submitted list has been approved by the manager.

 

 

An example where the checklist can’t be edited, as the current user is not the assignee.

 

Elements for Jira allows you to define edit permissions based on the status of the issue, the user role or user custom fields. This way, you can enforce your process by restricting the ability to edit the checklists.

It’s also worth mentioning that this app provides JQL functions you can use to set transition validators using a third party app like ScriptRunner or AM Utils.  You could for instance set a transition validator for your user stories that checks that all the Definition of Done items are checked before the issue can be moved into the “Done” status.

Productivity hack #4: Empower project admins to manage their own Jira checklists

Jira admins have a lot to do and updating the checklists structure for each and every project when there’s a change in the processes shouldn’t be distracting them from their core tasks. By delegating the administration of the checklists to project admins, the global admin can save time knowing that the configuration of the Jira checklists are in the hands of the right people: business users that have enough Jira knowledge to set-up  checklists and fully understand their use cases.

This is where choosing Elements can really be a bonus: the app is easy to configure and works at the project level.  Here’s an overview of the admin interface, where project admins can configure their checklists:

Elements checklists are configured at the project level

 

The set-up is fully documented here.

Boost productivity with advanced checklists in Jira

Checklist will help you track what is important to your team without resorting to Jira’s subtasks. Not all checklists apps for Jira are equal, depending on your needs you might want to go for a basic checklist app or take advantage of a more advanced app such as Elements for Jira. To learn more about Elements, visit the Atlassian Marketplace.