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How to build real-time Confluence reports from Jira project data

DEISER
Apr 25, 2019 3:58:00 PM

Having Confluence reports from Jira projects information that’s updated in real-time might look like a task not that easy to achieve; it will always depend on each situation, and the way each company flows; here we will explain a recommendable practice to build Confluence project dashboard out of the typical Jira data visualization.

In order to increase the collaborative culture within your company, it’s the right moment to start allowing all the people and teams to access the overall information through collaborative software, using Jira and Confluence takes you on the right track, and what a better way than building a project dashboard in Confluence which will be updated with Jira project information.

The most common method to share Jira information in Confluence is through Confluence macros, which normally update the information by the means of issues, and on the downside, it might not carry enough value when it comes to offering an overall view about your project portfolio in Confluence.

In order to allow executive teams and business areas to make data-driven decisions in an easy way, building a Confluence project management dashboard is a solution that will enable them to centralize the information within a tool which is more simple to work with.

Doing Confluence project tracking it's definitively a solution for people and teams that don't work with Jira. When our consultants work with customers with the need of having an overall view of their information, in the first instance, our team implements a practical remedy that we're going to show you. Here you'll see how to implement Confluence dashboard examples with project information extracted from Jira and is updated in real-time.

Why sharing real-time project information from Jira reports to Confluence?

Sharing real-time information from Jira reports, in Confluence represents one of the most common ways to raise the visibility of what teams are doing within Jira, in Confluence, that way other teams and business areas will have a wider visualization about the information.

The native way to build a Confluence project management dashboard fed from Jira project data

This is done by the Confluence macros means, and there're two types of them that shows native information (issue-level type) from Jira, and offer important advantages:

  •    Showing the most current information, only about the issues.

  •    Present the information in a flexible way and it can be generated by queries in JQL (which most Jira Admins, and advanced users of Jira usually master).

  •    It allows developers to navigate from Confluence to Jira Software to dig deeper into the issue and its context, and at the same time provide to common users a read-only report.

  •    It's possible to create cross-project reports based on Jira issues: these macros show issues pertaining to one project or any number of projects. This generates common spaces and better visibility among teams that usually don’t interact.

As you can see, the mayor advantage this approach offers, is low friction, since Confluence was created precisely to make it easier to share knowledge and documentation in large organizations and thus connect separate areas, like technical and non-technical teams. On the other side, it shows the information from Jira, only by the issue means.

Which are the two macros to share project information as Confluence reports from Jira?

Natively, the sum of the following "pieces" are the ones that will allow you to build an overall view of the information stored in Jira issues, in Confluence reports form. On the following, some sort of Confluence dashboard examples at its minimum expression: the Confluence macros:

  •     The Jira Issues macro, which posts a subset of issues (as you can see below, in the example), a single issue or a summarized count of issues:The Jira Issues macro allows to visualize issues from Jira

  •    The Jira Chart macro, which posts a gadget from a Jira dashboard:The Jira Chart Macro shows statistics in Confluence from Jira dashboards

We’ve seen many organizations, as a priority, resorting to macros when alignment across business areas, or when segments of the organizations need to be kept informed about the issues reports and don’t have licenses of Jira Software.

How to share real-time Jira project information to Confluence?

Very often, non-technical branches and managerial folks won’t be that interested in the nitty-gritty of IT and the Development work, they’re more likely to look for a broader look.

After all, understanding how many teams are working on what, and how much they have accomplished should be easy, since that information is already in Jira. Unfortunately, the information based on just issues won’t let you see that broad look we are looking for.

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to upgrade Confluence macros: skip issues and go directly to work with project information, and get the general trend of the work you need.

The gadgets of Profields for Jira projects we’re about to show, share the same advantages of the native Jira macros we listed above: they’re always updated, they connect Jira with Confluence, and they allow us to compare projects based on reliable data, at a glance.profields-gadgets-for-jira-projects-in-confluence

Important note: This approach will require using Profields for Jira, which is available in the Atlassian Marketplace in all hosting modes: Cloud, Server, and Data Center.

How to build Confluence project dashboard macros with project lists from Jira ?

Once in Profields, you can follow the same method to create your dashboard gadget that would work in Jira. In summary, there are the two basic steps you should take in order to have your Jira project information displayed in Confluence. Walk trhough with us to see Confluence dashboard examples:

1. Create a query with PQL (Profields Query Language)

The PQLs are written the same way JQLs (as we described before), and if you want to be more accurate and get the exact results you are looking for to extract from your project portfolio, it’s important to have a clear question you’d like to answer, before writing a PQL.

Here are three possibilities, going from basic questions escalating to complex insights:

What projects are assigned to which Project Lead?

The following PQL will show the projects assigned to a Project Lead.

“lead IN ("Melinda Manager", "Product Paul") ORDER BY name ASC”

Your Product Managers are a very valuable asset. Would you like to know whether they’re buried in endless responsibilities? This query will show you what is on their plate, helping you kill or reassign secondary work that is holding you back.

Build project level reports in Jira with Profields and eazyBI

Note: Depending on how the questions are framed, and how much project data is implemented, this view can offer you sections or facets of your catalogue of Jira projects, offering the view you need of your project portfolio. Also, you count on different project views with Profields.

How many important projects are critical?

It shows which projects has the priority labelled as “critical”.

“Priority = "critical" OR Budget > 1000000 ORDER BY name ASC”

How many large projects are you managing? And how many of them are considered critical? It's important to have a constant oversight over this project list at all times to ensure that strategy and execution are connected.

Profields' Project Navigator, the place where you can find, filter among all of your projects in JIra

 

What ongoing projects in the US have a budget of over $100,000?

It shows which projects with the status marked as “ongoing” has a budget superior to $100,000

“Status = "ongoing" AND Country = "US" AND Budget > 100000 ORDER BY name ASC”

There’s a similar motivation behind this question. What smaller projects are we doing? How many there are? If there’s not a proper project initiation procedure, this list may grow uncontrolled, that’s why it can be a good idea (particularly for the CFO and his collaborators) to keep it under control.

Filtering ongoing projects in Jira with Profields' Project Navigator

 

2. Create the Profields gadget and add it to Confluence

Profields has a variety of gadgets useful for different purposes, that’s why we have created two different blog post where we explained:

Once studied which project report better suits your interests, create it, and then proceed to add the selected Profields gadget to the Confluence page of your preference, by looking in the menu bar of Confluence as you can see in the following:

Add Profields gadgets that shows project information in Confluence

With Profields you can land with such the previous steps and expand, that’s why here we are going to show you how to get the most from your project reports in Jira, Confluence.

See which benefits you get by using from Profields 7 onwards.

Three types of project reports: When to implement them and which advantages do we get?

On the followingwe are going to explain, basically, three steps in the implementation laddereach of them corresponds to each one of the levels of complexity of the PQL examples shown above. Let’s start:  

Low effort

What are we looking for?

To use Profields to generate reports with data that's already stored in your Jira projects.

When to use it?

Use a low effort implementation if you only want to have a basic understanding of how many projects you have, and you don’t need to categorize them; or when you don’t want to invest time in creating any new data at project level.

Adavantages

Jira already gives you a ton of data! Use the Profields Project Timesheet Report gadget for an oversight of the time worked in each of your projects without any additional configuration, and progress towards a higher effort approach whenever you need it.

Build live project reports in Jira and Confluence


Medium effort

What are we looking for?

To leverage automated fields in Profields to obtain new insights.

When to use it?

When you want to generate quick wins exploiting data from your issues as project-level metrics.

Adavantages

There’s no need to discuss the advantages of automation (we do it here, anyways). Basically, any work you put into it will save you time down the road. Additionally, you can create simple automation with the cumulative fields; but you can also script anything and it will only be time-intensive at the outset.

Project data in Jira and Confluence

High effort

What are we looking for?

To create and enforce a robust taxonomy of project information (learn how to organize your project information).

When to use it?

When you’re a large corporation and have a categorized Jira project portfolio.

Adavantages

Have a categorized Jira project portfolio, it's already a key advantage, this approach allows to have system-wide project data with project end dates, team, and role information, or any other type of categories ­– but it requires a high amount of data input, strong policy enforcement, and a careful standardization. If done properly, the resulting reports will offer you authentic snapshots of your project portfolio indicating, for example, how many projects have been approved and budgeted for any given business goal and corporate division.

Summit-2019-Profields-How-to-Build-Live-Project-Reports-High effort 2

Finding the right balance between project intelligence and implementation complexity by embeding Jira project reports in Confluence

In the end, to find balance and functionality is the end goal (see why an Atlassian app is more than just a functionality), and acquiring an app just to place a macro in Confluence might seem like overkill at first. However, is a matter of exploring all the benefits the app might bring, and test different possibilities and uses.

It’s important to note, Profields provides value even in the simplest implementations and also become as an indispensable part of your Atlassian stackl, if you decide to put a bit of work into it, as you could appreciate before. If you are interested, we encourage you to learn more about it or contact us if you have questions.

On the following, we also offer a free pdf with five different types of project reports you can get by using Profields, and if you are looking for more reasons to try Profields, take a look at the different views you can get over your project, the possibilities of project automation, and a better explanation of the Profields gadgets and how to build Jira dashboards with information about your projects.

This blog post is product of a collaboration from the Product team of DEISER, Huwen Arnone from the DEISER Marketing team, and Jaime Capitel.

Project reports every manager needs in Jira


The top 5 project reports every manager needs in Jira


Download this quick guide to change how you understand the visualization of you Jira information!

Trends at project and cross-project level provide valuable insights at a bird's eye view on everything that's going on in your instance. 

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