Project Communication in Jira made simple

Aug 8, 2019 5:15:00 PM

Project communications in Jira can be a challenge. Imagine if it's already a struggle to be on the same page with the most recent developments. Here's when project notifications come into the game, an important ingredient of your communication processes. Keep reading to learn how to leverage project subscriptions and project watchers in Jira.

What's project communication?

Project communication processes ensure that each stakeholder of interest is informed about meeting decisions, daily scrums, project changes, and more. They also transmit, document, and archive all information about the project. In order to achieve any common goal, project communication is key at two levels: internal exchange and information management. 

Project communication is tough

Project communication is tough even for the best leaders! Across tools, contexts, industries, and cultures, it’s often recognized as one of the toughest barriers to effective collaboration.

Balancing how much information to share is hard: when there’s too much, it becomes cumbersome and difficult to digest, but when there’s too little, it’s extremely easy to miss important connections that eventually break down the process and generate delays, frustration, and poor business results. It’s not the only dilemma: When communication is formalized, it becomes bureaucratic and fails to capture exceptions. But when it’s informal, it’s even more unreliable.

How project communication worksFrequency and Formalization are painful dilemmas in project communication.

Finding the right balance between the extremes is paramount.

Jira has skipped this problem by focusing on tactical collaboration and ignoring project management…, but this is virtually an information war for many of you.

As it stands, Jira is both brilliant and catastrophic at project communication.

  •    It is brilliant because project teams can easily find any information they need regarding their and their colleagues’ work. Proactive team collaboration in Jira is unbeatable!

  •    Catastrophic because all information contained in Jira is often a silo for non-technical users, including supervisors and managers, who should be basing their decisions on an objective assessment of the situation. Communication with project stakeholders is non-existent. Without Projectrak (previously Profields), storing a project's budget, status, or team makeup is impossible!

With a couple of simple tricks, it’s easy to transform project communication from catastrophic to stellar and make your mom, boss, and colleagues proud of the achievement.

Let’s see how to cure project communication in Jira with Projectrak notifications, which are absolutely game-changing for project stakeholders!


Announcing project subscriptions

We’re now very happy to announce the release of project subscriptions for Projectrak Data Center!

Project subscriptions are scheduled reports you can receive directly into your inbox. In the reports, you’ll get a table with one project for each row and all the information you have previously selected in the columns.

Learn what a project suscription is in ProjectrakThe projects and information shown are drawn from the query you are basing the subscription on.

This is fine for a current picture –but it’s static. If you want to have a more dynamic idea of what’s changed, you can choose to highlight the values that have changed since the last report.

template mailSubscription changes visualize relevant information that stands out in the middle of hundreds of data points

Throughout the article I’ll explain why subscriptions are filling an important communication gap.

Best practices for project communication with Projectrak 

Projectrak has long solved Jira's lack of project information and expanded tracking capabilities from issues to projects. It’s very normal for this app to extend features in Jira, although sometimes we make them a bit prettier 😊

It’s only natural that Projectrak notifications are inspired by Jira notifications. However, moving away from the issue of project data has important implications.

The main differences are:

  •    Project attributes change less often (resources, due date, or budget), but the impact is much higher when they do. Communication procedures have to be sufficiently refined so that every team member and stakeholder is notified of a change and can easily retrieve the most current information.

  •    KPIs and metrics, on the contrary, can change all the time and “as we speak” (spent budget, total issues, last activity date, to name just a few). Particularly, cumulative metrics that show the summative value for all issues in a project can potentially change every time a team member logs time, completes a task, or analyzes a problem. Since they drink from a set of potentially hundreds of thousands of issues and different sources, the speed is such that notifying single changes doesn’t make much sense.

Learn how to track project budgets in Jira >>

In this case, supervision and decision-making processes can be supported with a comprehensive summary report with the most metrics as they stand at a particular point in time.

With this in mind, let’s see how subscriptions and watchers solve different communication scenarios. We’ll have a look at two different options for project notifications:

Watching projects is for team members

watch project function from Projectrak

Of course, this is only a rough rule of thumb, but usually, those watching a project take a direct part in it and need to be notified as soon as a change happens so they can align their work with the new situation.

Some recommendations to watch Jira projects:

  •    When should you watch it? In general, if you need to know that someone in your team has modified a project attribute as soon as possible.

  •    You can consider creating email filters for the projects you watch. Having one folder for each project can be a synonym for archiving notifications.

  •    Do watcher maintenance: stop watching when your involvement is less than substantial, and remember to watch new projects.

  •    If any team members must watch specific projects, make sure that they do!

  •    Don’t watch projects if you want to know the current value of moving metrics and KPIs; use subscriptions instead.

Subscriptions are for managers

scheduling a subscription to a project query with ProfieldsSubscriptions are notifications based on a query in the Project Navigator.

If you supervise multiple projects in Jira, subscriptions to queries in the Project Navigator will give you a complete and easy-to-read digest.

Here is a basic example that a Business Controller may want to create: Budgeted projects with the total spent until now and the number of open stories. Remember, subscribing to a query in the project navigator has different levels.

The two levels at the moment to subscribe to a query on the Profield's Project Navigator

  •    Selecting relevant projects. This can be anything from projects under leads that are in your team, all projects of the same type, or projects that correspond to the same type of service.

  •    Selecting the information that matters. In Projectrak, projects can have a lot of information attached to them. Subscriptions that include too many fields can be difficult to read, so select the 3-6 fields that matter in your specific use case.

Learn how to keep track of projects at enterprise scale with Projectrak for JiraThe head of Atlassian services at Deiser uses a Projectrak (formerly Profields) subscription to monitor the status of all our on-demand support projects.

Another advantage of subscriptions is the ability to schedule them at any intervals. This is great when it comes to creating mandated reporting policies that are semi-automated, like Atlassian’s project central: for example, every project owner should update project information and make a quick status write-up on Fridays before 5 pm so the subscription captures it.

Or if you have weekly follow-up project meetings, you can schedule a weekly subscription to be sent out every Thursday evening. Thus, you will have a table with the most current information in your inbox, ready to be discussed with your team without even going into Jira.

Try Projectrak now from the Atlassian Marketplace

Simplify project communications in Jira

If you’re ready to revolutionize how you discuss projects at your organization, give Projectrak for Jira a try and implement efficient project communications and controlled project transparency!


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