• Best Practices in Jira Administration – API Tokens

    12 November 2021
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    Best practices in Jira Administration with API Tokens

    One of Jira’s strengths is that it allows 3rd party integration via REST API calls. By providing the username, password and Base URL, it is possible to 3rd party apps to query or update Jira automatically.

    In this article, we will share why using API Tokens is a better and safer option than using Password Authentication.

    The Power of Passwords

    Besides entering passwords on the Jira login screen, it is also possible to provide the passwords on 3rd party applications or scripts to execute REST API calls.

    Some of the use cases are like

    • Create issues from Slack
    • Send alerts to Microsoft Teams
    • Update Jira issues with Commits information from GitHub
    • Integrate with your in-house systems

    If the password fails in the wrong hands, it is possible that

    • Wikileaks of your confidential data
    • Your Jira system can slow down drastically due to excessive API calls which affects the usage of other users

    Benefits of using API Tokens over Passwords

    By using API Token, it improves the security of your Jira instance

    • Safer – The API Token has a certain level of password complexity which defends against dictionary attacks
    • Isolation – It distributes the risk by having a different API token for each 3rd party integration. It is possible to revoke/reset the token for that application without any impact to other applications.
    • Differentiation – With a different mechanism, it is possible to apply more stringent checks on the usage of API Tokens (e.g. restriction by IP address range)
    • Control – It restricts ordinary users from using their credentials to do REST API calls 
    • Availability – For sites running on Single Sign On. Users will not know their passwords other than their Windows passwords
    • Validity – It is possible to set the expiry date of the token

    API Token Authentication for Jira

    We like the API Token Authentication Jira because it offers the following features:

    Disable basic authentication with user passwords

    It allows basic authentication with API Tokens. Currently, it is not possible to use the Jira Data Center’s Personal Access Token together with the username on 3rd party websites. 

    Personal Access Tokens cannot be used for Basic authentication that is commonly used by 3rd party websites

    Warning: If you disable Basic Authentication with passwords in the System Wide settings, you also can’t authenticate on non REST endpoints with API Tokens directly. You can still do that by reusing a session you got from authenticating with an API Token.

    Able to limit usage to particular IP ranges

    It is possible to limit the usage of the API token to the IP address of the internal system. You can ensure the REST API calls are coming from your trusted network.

    You can limit by ip range for API token usage

    Block requests with malicious characters in path

    This is a bonus feature which helps to defend against some attack vectors.

    Block malicious characters in path

    Limit usage of API Tokens

    It is a security best practice to grant rights only to users who needs it and has proper training. There are incidents arising from users who entered their Jira passwords on 3rd party sites or executed a buggy script.

    which users can create API tokens

    Tip: We recommend to create a group “jira-api-users” to manage those service account users who can use API Tokens.

    Set a validity of the API Token

    If the token is for testing or for temporary usage, the Jira admin can just set a shorter validity that will expire automatically. Otherwise it relies on the Jira Admins to remember to revoke the access manually.

    Service Accounts typically do not have a password validity. If the service account is from an Active Directory, there could be disruption if there is a 90 day reset password policy.

    By using the Active Directory passwords, it is possible that account is locked out of all applications after multiple wrong password attempts.

    Control over audit logging

    It offers admins a fine level of control over the information to be logged.

    What should be audit logged
    Logging of failed attempts
    audit logging of permission errors
    (more…)

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  • Canned Search for Confluence

    22 July 2021
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    After months of hard work, we are proud to announce the availability of Canned Search for Confluence (Data Center edition).

    As the plugin has many ways to search content within Confluence, we thought it is easier to digest the information with a Powerpoint deck.

    If you find it difficult to get the information you need, you can try this out. You may discover new

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  • 7 Things You need to Know about Automation for Jira

    13 July 2021
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    Automation for Jira is one of the most popular apps on Jira. The app allows users to automate and extend Jira with no coding required. Being very user-friendly, there are a lot of admins who can dive straight into using the tool without reading the user guide. As part of our Best Practices series, we have summarised the key things you need to know in this blog post.

    For those who are new to Automation for Jira, you can check out this YouTube video below for an introduction.

    Things you need to know

    1) Asynchronous processing

    To speed up on the response time, the Automation for Jira plugin will add all updated issues into a queue. Although there are 8 background threads to process the requests, it still does not ensure the issue are processed immediately. Therefore, users will need to refresh the issue to view the changes applied by the automation rule.

    It is possible to select synchronous execution of the rule but that will have some impact in the performance.

    2) Rule Matching/Execution

    Whenever an issue is updated, the issue is matched against all the configured automation rules (global + project) . As a result, when there are a lot of automation rules, it takes time to 

    • to check against each individual automation rule
    • to execute against each matching automation rule

    Hence it is important to reduce the number of global automation rules by setting them as single project rules whenever possible. You should try to optimise the rules with more specific requirements.

    If you are seeing a lot of No Actions Performed in the rule’s audit log, then there might be chance for optimising the rule

    No actions performed could mean a waste of processing time

    3) Traceability

    The powerful app allows multiple rules to update an issue due to a single triggered event. As a result, it may not be direct to identify the problematic rule. Moreover, if multiple rules are chained together without proper planning, it could lead to “spaghetti code” scenarios which is not easy to troubleshoot.

    If the update is via workflow post functions, it would be easier to identify the bug.

    4) Performance & Runtime

    To cater to the flexibility and power of the Automation for Jira plugin, there are some tradeoffs. One of them is the processing time for automation rules is slower than post functions. For example, a simple assignment rule can take up to 3s to complete.

    Audit logs show you the duration taken for each automation

    We have encountered some rules that can take up over 10 seconds to be processed. So you should check the audit logs on the performance of the rules.

    5) Service Limits

    Not a lot of users are aware of the Service Limits which can affect the execution of the automation rules. Some of the common service limits are listed in the table below:

    There are service limits imposed to ensure the performance of the Jira

    When any of the limits is breached, the rules will be throttled until the limits are not exceeded. This could result in some unexpected behaviours as the issues are not processed during this period.

    When service limits are exceeded, throttling will happen

    The likelihood of throttling is increased when a huge number of issues are created via REST API or Test Automation plugins.

    6) Housekeeping

    The app maintains an audit log of the rule executions. Over time, the audit logs can build up which impacts your Jira database performance and clogging up your disk space. 

    You can set audit log expiry to improve the performance of your Jira system

    We have encountered some sites which the retention period is set to the default value of forever.

    It will be good to revise the retention period and set the schedule expiry during off-peak periods. For more info, check out this KB article.

    7) Integration with other apps

    Not a lot of people are aware that there are other apps which are compatible with Automation for Jira app. If you have these apps, you can use them with automation rules too.

    Best Practices

    1. Try to scope the rules within the project if possible. Use global rules only when necessary.
    2. Make sure your Jira project administrators know what they are doing. You can consider restricting the rights to trained project administrators (e.g. jira-power-admins group)
    3. Read up on Knowledge base and blog posts
    4. Conduct periodic audits. You can view performance Insights to see if there is any issues
    Performance insight gives you visibility on how the automation rules are running

    Conclusion

    Automation for Jira is a very useful feature. However, there is a likelihood to see everything as a nail when you have a hammer in your hand. This can result in performance issues in time to come.

    We will need to understand what is the requirements and the underlying approach used by various apps. For certain scenarios, we feel it is better to use post functions with apps like

    Hopefully, with these knowledge, Jira admins can apply Automation for Jira effectively.

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  • Akeles releases 5 Forge Apps on Atlassian Marketplace

    31 May 2021
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    We are proud to be featured in Atlassian’s annual Developer Day to be one of the pioneer Forge apps listed on Atlassian Marketplace.

    First Forge apps on Atlassian Marketplace

    What is Atlassian Forge

    Forge is Atlassian’s next generation Cloud app development platform. Unlike traditional cloud apps, Forge apps run within Atlassian’s infrastructure, providing better performance and stronger integration. The data can be stored in Atlassian Cloud, which can address compliance issues like GDPR or data residency.  

    Introducing our 5 new Forge apps

    This time round, we are launching not 1, but 5 Cloud apps that are all built on Atlassian Forge. 3 of them are brand new apps which are only available for Atlassian Cloud.

    1) Banners for Confluence Cloud (Cloud First)

    You can now add Confluence macros to display heading banners to improve the readability of your content in Confluence.

    2) Canned Search for Confluence Cloud

    Users can search faster with better results by using contextual information from the current page. You can

    • restrict your search to the children pages
    • click the auto-generated link to go the previous meeting minutes/release notes
    • order the search results based on the modified date
    • output the search results in tabular format
    CQL Navigation macro to navigate related pages

    3) Countdown Timer for Confluence Cloud

    This is a Cloud edition for our popular app for Confluence Server/Data Center. It displays the time remaining based on the date provided in the Confluence macro.

    Countdown Timer for Confluence Cloud

    This is useful to remind the project teams how much time they have to their next major delivery.

    4) Issue Progress for Jira Cloud (Cloud First)

    This Jira Forge app allows users to generate a report across linked/sub-task issues based on the selected metric (e.g. count, story points, number fields, etc) within the issue view. This enables user to have a quick overview of current issue’s progress and the distribution of workload across the related issues.

    Our Forge app allows you to check the current progress of your epics

    We built this app specially for ourselves since we use Jira Service Management Cloud to support our customers on Atlassian Marketplace. By dog-fooding, we can understand the pain points and come up with better strategy or solutions.

    displays related tickets in agent view

    Now, we can see the tickets raised by the same Reporter in the issue. This helps in providing us with a better picture, so that we can address our customers in a personalized manner.

    How is our experience with Forge?

    As an Cloud app vendor, we like Forge because the backend infrastructure is taken care totally by Atlassian. There is no need for us to spend time and money to set up and monitor external platforms. We only need to focus on developing the apps.

    We are looking forward to more features in Forge so that we can add more capabilities to our Cloud apps. Our #1 wish is to display the number of active instances on the Marketplace listing. Currently, the number of Forge installations are not included in the count.

    How can you help?

    We look forward to your feedback on how to improve our Cloud apps. You can reach out to us via our Service Desk running on Jira Service Management Cloud.

    Also, YouTube requires us to have 100 or more subscribers before we can apply for a custom URL for our Akeles YouTube channel. If you think the videos are useful and would like to support us, kindly click on the Subscribe button on the video. Thank you in advance for your support.

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  • How to make Jira Dashboards faster

    25 March 2021
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    We have identified Jira Dashboards can be a potential bottleneck while helping our customer to tune the performance of their Jira. This article explains why Jira takes longer time and give some tips on how to speed things up. 

    Why my Jira Dashboard takes a long time to load?

    These are some factors that contributes to the slowness of Jira:

    1. Huge number of gadgets within a single dashboard
    2. Gadgets with complex reporting
    3. Filters with a huge number of issues

    Huge number of gadgets

    Whenever a Jira Dashboard page is loaded, the browser will send a number of requests to the server for all the CSS and Javascript required. (For more details, check out JRASERVER-62126). When there are more gadgets, it will fire more requests.

    It will be faster if you focused doing 1 task at a time versus doing 100 tasks concurrently. By the same principle, your dashboard will load faster if Jira has less requests to work on at the same time.

    Jira helps with a default maximum limit of 20 gadgets within a dashboard. However, it is possible to modify the limits on the number of gadgets on a dashboard.

    When there are way too many requests

    We have a couple of support tickets which the end users added a lot of Gauge Gadgets in their dashboard. As a result, some gadgets on the dashboards cannot load.

    This is because the browser will silently throw the error message Failed to load resource: net::ERR_INSUFFICIENT_RESOURCES if it detects that are way too many requests within a short interval.

    To support the users, we introduced Multiple Filters Counter Gadget that can display multiple counter within a single gadget.

    Multiple Filters Counter Gadget loads faster by rendering multiple gadgets within a single gadget

    Complex Reporting Gadgets

    Not all Jira gadgets are the same. There are some gadgets which involves complex processing. For example, our Tissue for Jira app performs the handy task of traversing all the linked issues and extracting the various field values to present a tabular overview.

    Smart Grouping of linked issues

    If you are using such complex reporting gadget, it will be advisable to have lesser gadgets within that dashboard.

    Filters with many matching issues

    It is likely that some dashboards load very fast when they were created initially. However, as the number of issues in the project increases over time, the performance of the dashboard become slower without the original author noticing.

    This is because there are more issues to be processed. A useful tip will be to time-box your Jira filters within a time period using JQL date functions like startOfYear(), startOfMonth()

    Alternatively, you can use our Rolling Window Monthly/Weekly Gadgets which only retrieve the matching issues in the last X weeks/months specified.

    Rolling Window Weekly Gadget loads your report faster by time-boxing the scope of your report automatically

    Other ways to load your Jira Dashboards faster

    Add more computing power

    The simplest way is to pump more computing resources like more CPU and memory. Jira Data Center also scales the performance by distributing the workload across more nodes.

    Split into multiple dashboards

    As mentioned previously in Best Practices in Jira Dashboard Reporting, it is recommended to keep a dashboard to its objectives to allow people to identify the action required.

    But it is troublesome to have many dashboards

    Beside adding the links to various dashboards as project shortcuts in your Jira project, you can also add links to related dashboards using our free Link Menu Gadget to facilitate navigation. You can also add links to the your Confluence spaces and other related project resources too.

    Links Menu Gadget allows users to link to related project artifacts easily from the dashboard

    If that is still not enough and you want to access your dashboards easily from everywhere in Jira. You can organise your Dashboards in cascading Dashboard Folders which can be accessible in the Jira top menu.

    Cascading Dashboard Folders make it faster to load your dashboards from anywhere in Jira

    What is the performance of your Jira Dashboard?

    You may want to do the 23 seconds test on your frequently used dashboards. If it is taking longer than that, you might want to tidy up your dashboards.

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  • Akeles Top 10 Marketplace Apps in 2020

    18 January 2021
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    Time flies and we are in 2021 already. We crunched our sales numbers for Atlassian Marketplace Apps licenses to identify the developing trends.

    This year, we are sharing this list as we feel it may be useful to fellow Atlassian users looking to extract more value from Jira/Confluence/Bitbucket.

    From our perspective, Marketplace apps play a significant role for established instances by

    • enabling automation to improve productivity, speed or security
    • adding features to provide additional capabilities like Business Analytics, Test Automation, etc
    • organising information to provide insight and facilitate collaboration

    How is the ranking done?

    The ranking is based on the number of licenses (Server/DC/Cloud) we sold for each app in 2020.
    We felt this will be a better measure of the popularity of the app.

    In event of a tie, we go by the licensed users count, followed by the total sales for the app.

    Akeles Top 10 List

    We are pleased to share our list for 2020 voted by the end users in Singapore. While our list may not reflect their actual popularity in Atlassian Marketplace, it is an affirmation in the usefulness of the apps. 

    Congratulations to the winners.

    Top 10 Jira Apps for 2020

    S/NApp NamePublisher
    01ScriptRunner for JiraAdaptavist
    02JSU Automation Suite for Jira WorkflowsBeecom
    03Advanced Roadmaps (formerly Portfolio)Atlassian
    04eazyBI Reports and Charts for JiraeazyBI
    05Extension for Jira Service ManagementDeviniti
    06Jira Workflow ToolboxDecadis AG
    07Zephyr for Jira – Test ManagementSmartBear
    08Jira Misc Workflow Extensions (JMWE)Innovalog
    09Dynamic Forms for JiraDeviniti
    10BigPicture – Project Management & PPMSoftwarePlant

    Top 10 Confluence Apps for 2020

    S/NApp NamePublisher
    01Team Calendars for Confluence Atlassian
    02Gliffy Diagrams for ConfluenceGliffy
    03draw.io Diagrams for Confluence//SEIBERT/MEDIA – Draw.io
    04Comala Document ManagementComalatech
    05Table Filter and Charts for ConfluenceStiltsoft
    06Refined for Confluence | Sites & ThemesRefined
    07Excel for ConfluenceBob Swift Atlassian Apps
    08SAML Single Sign On SAML SSO Confluenceresolution Reichert Network Solutions GmbH
    09ScriptRunner for ConfluenceAdaptavist
    10Balsamiq Wireframes for ConfluenceBalsamiq

    Top 10 Bitbucket Apps for 2020

    S/NApp NamePublisher
    1ScriptRunner for BitbucketAdaptavist
    2Webhook to Jenkins for BitbucketMohami
    3Awesome Graphs for BitbucketStiltsoft
    4SAML Single Sign On (SAML SSO) Bitbucketresolution Reichert Network Solutions GmbH
    5Workzone: PullRequest WorkflowIzymes Pty Ltd
    6External Hooks by ReconquestReconquest
    7Jira Hooks for BitbucketDevOpsSystems Mueller
    8Sonar for BitbucketMibex Software GmbH
    9Snippets for Bitbucket ServerMohami
    10Microsoft Teams Connector for BitbucketGlobo Solutions

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  • Paying It Forward

    24 December 2020
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    Paying It Forward Banner

    2020 is a year of many firsts. The first time we cannot work in office and have to work from home.  The first time lockdowns are enforced in many cities worldwide at the same time. The first time Atlassian announced the end of support for their server products.

    It has been a long journey for Akeles. We launched our 1st paid app – Attachment Checker for Jira plugin on Atlassian Marketplace in 2013. Fast forward 7 years later, we now have 26 apps listed on Atlassian Marketplace with thousands of users. 

    This could not have been possible without the support from the Atlassian community and our customers all these years. 

    While we are fortunate that we do not have to downsize, we understand that this year has been difficult for many others. We read news that charities worldwide are also facing challenges with reduced donations this year.  

    So this Christmas, we are doing something extra to express our gratitude to those who had helped us. In addition to our annual donations, we are going to #PayItForward and spread the spirt of kindness.

    For each server app, we are giving away 50 licenses for FREE…

    S/NName of AppFor
    1Attachment Checker for ConfluenceConfluence
    2Attachment Checker for JiraJira
    3Canned Search GadgetJira
    4Canned Search for ConfluenceConfluence
    5Dashboard Folders for JiraJira
    6Days Elapsed PluginJira
    7Issue Archiver for JiraJira
    8Lookup ManagerJira
    9Multiple Filters Chart GadgetJira
    10Out Of Office AssistantJira
    11SQL Reporter for JiraJira
    12Smart Issue SearcherJira
    13Support TrackerJira
    14Table Custom Fields for JiraJira
    15Three Dimensional Date GadgetsJira

    The only condition is that only those who has donated to a charity in 2020 are eligible. 

    There is no restriction on whichever charity and the amount donated. As long the donation is made before 31 Dec 2020. No proof of donation is required since this is based on trust. It will be administratively tedious to enforce it 😛

    So if you or your organization have made any donation this year, you can get a free perpetual plugin license of your choice. We believe one good turn deserves another 😇

    If you have yet to make a donation. We hope we can encourage you to lend a helping hand to someone in need. And then you will similarly be eligible too 😄

    This offer is only valid for 7 days. The link for the free license will be deactivated on 31st Dec 2020 23:59 UTC. 

    We hope this small campaign will make a difference to the world we live in.

    COVID-19 is a good reminder that we are OK only when everyone around us are OK.

    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a better 2021

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  • Best Practices in Jira – Dashboard Reporting (Part 2)

    23 September 2020
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    Best practices in Dashboard Reporting for Jira

    Introduction

    This is part 2 of the Best Practices in Jira – Dashboard Reporting which focuses more on the practical aspect. By using examples with Jira reporting gadgets, we hope to illustrate some of the points covered in the previous blog post.

    The scenario is we have a Jira Software project for each Jira/Confluence app we developed to track the features/bugs/tasks. In addition, we also have a Jira Service Desk project for supporting end users.

    For each Jira Sofware project, we defined 2 dashboards:

    1. Overall Dashboard – for high level view
    2. Working Dashboard – for operational view

    Overall Dashboards

    The Overall Dashboard is for the product owner to have an overall picture and facilitate roadmap planning. It has more charting gadgets to present high level view.

    Overall dashboard for high level reporting

    We also use the free Links Menu Gadget to consolidate all the related links on the dashboard. Team members can access the Confluence space and Bitbucket source code repository for the project from the dashboard. This facilitates new team members to get up to speed faster. You can also use it to link to the various Jira Service Desk reports.

    Link Menu Gadget for Jira organises the filters in a neat view

    Working Dashboards

    The working dashboard is for the developers with to know the tasks they have to work to deliver the upcoming release. It contains more lists and table gadgets to show the detailed view. We also included a countdown gadget to show the time remaining to the next release.

    Working dashboards which contains detailed view

    In addition, we used Filters Menu gadget to replace the Favourite Filters Gadgets to group the JQL filters.

    Filters Menu gadget organises the filters for easy access

    Support Dashboard

    For the Support Dashboard, we are using a shared dashboard instead of creating 1 dashboard for each project.

    By using Canned Search Gadget, users need not to write complicated JQL queries or composing their search from the Issue Navigator. They can just select the available options or enter the keywords to perform contextual searches.

    Using Canned Search allows contextual search quickly

    A support agent can quickly find the tickets reported by a user on the phone by entering the name and optional keywords using the Canned Search Gadget.

    Support Wallboard

    We used traffic light colours to denote the criticality of the gadget as well to segment the dashboard. For example: Counter Board gadget (to track breached SLA) is red so that it brings attention to the viewers. The secondary information uses a subtle colour like grey.

    Counter Gadget to display issue count or sum from custom fields

    The more important information are usually positioned at the top whereas supplementary information are arranged below.

    Project View

    We used Dashboard Folders app to group the dashboards in a hierarchical manner. This enable users

    • to discover the dashboards available without having to find and add the dashboards one by one
    • to navigate to their dashboards from anywhere in Jira
    Access Dashboards from anywhere in Jira

    With the use of aliases, the menu entries are less cluttered without having to display their full name. It is configurable to display relevant projects only to authorised users.

    Project Sidebar

    We also added the dashboard links to the project shortcuts so that users can navigate to the dashboard.

    It is also possible to search issues within the project using the canned search gadget.

    search issues within the project easily with Canned Search Gadget

    If you like this article, you might be interested to check out our best practices series

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  • Best Practices in Jira – Dashboard Reporting

    9 September 2020
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    Best practices in Dashboard Reporting for Jira

    Introduction

    Jira Dashboards is a very powerful feature if used correctly. In this article, we will share with you the common pitfalls as well as some best practices based on our experiences as an Atlassian Solution Partner. 

    Why people use Jira Dashboards 

    Dashboards can be from a macro perspective like % of project completion to micro level on the list of tasks with their statuses. 

    Some common use cases for Dashboards are:

    • monitor the progress of the tasks
    • track the KPIs and the health of the project
    • highlighting important stuffs (e.g. SLA breach, bottlenecks, shortages) for action taking
    • show progress to motivate the team

    More organisations are preferring dashboards over reports because of the following reasons:

    • live information – able to see the current status which is more accurate
    • time saving – there is no need for someone to spend time to compile the weekly/monthly progress reports manually
    • interactive – as compared to a chart image in a PPT/PDF
    • allows drilling in – you can zoom into the details of the issue for more information
    • self reinforcing – it encourages people to update their Jira issues regularly

    Common pitfalls and recommendations

    Security / Information Disclosure

    From our Jira consulting experiences, there are a number of instances where the dashboards and filters are accessible by users without logging in.

    Although Jira’s permission scheme will prevent public users from viewing the issues, it is still possible to disclose sensitive information which may not be meant for public eye.

    Information can be disclosed due to Jira filters shared with anyone on the web

    You should check whether there is information disclosure by logging out of Jira and visiting the URLs

    • Dashboards – https://<jira-base url>/secure/ManageFilters.jspa
    • Filters – https://<jira-base url>/secure/ConfigurePortalPages.jspa

    Unless the dashboards/filters are for public access, users should not select Public for the Add Shares option.

    Edit Jira filter screen

    Tip: There is a “Sharing with anyone on the web” in Jira configuration which you can disable to remove the Public option if your Jira instance is not for public access.

    Disable allow sharing filters/dashboards with anyone on the web

    Performance and utility

    Another common pitfall is people tends to create 1 dashboard for each project and cramp everything inside. We have seen a dashboard with over 20 gadgets added. As a result, it clutters the dashboard and is slow because it has to load a lot of information. This can also slows down the Jira instance for other users.

    From a design point of view, this is bad because it introduces a lot of noise in the dashboard. As a result, people cannot zoom into the important things that they need to take action from the dashboard.

    A well designed dashboard should fulfil the following:

    • Targeted for the role/purpose – A management report should not include the micro information like the list of tasks. Likewise a developer will be more concerned about the list of tasks he needs to work on. You can create different dashboards for different roles.
    • Incite emotion or action – it should bring attention to the readers to take any necessary action. With correct use of colours and placement, users can determine the severity easily.
    • Easy to understand – It should use the correct type of gadgets to present the information in the most direct manner. You can check out the list of Jira gadgets available on Atlassian Marketplace.
    • Responsive – it should be fast to display the information without the reader having to scroll through many screens to read the entire page.

    Discoverability

    A dashboard is useful only when there are people using it. Another common pitfall we observed is that every user tends to build their own dashboards. While this is flexible, there are some disadvantages like:

    • duplicated effort to create and maintain the dashboards
    • decreased utility since only 1 person is using it
    • some users are unaware on the types of gadgets available that they can use for reporting
    • some users lack the proper training on how to write complex JQL queries and design good useful dashboards
    • no standards on the performance metrics to monitor within the organisation

    To tackle this, we advocate to design a set of dashboards as a template for every Jira project. When a new project is created,

    1. the set of dashboards and filters are also created based on the template
    2. The filters and dashboards are shared with the project so that people who have access to the project can access them
    3. Then the dashboards/filters are added to the Jira’s project shortcuts where all project members can access easily
    4. They can also be added to the Dashboard Folders and Menu Gadgets so that users can easily navigate to the reports
    Dashboard folders allow dashboards to be accessed directly from Jira

    Maintainability

    Another common problem that Jira admins face is obsolete dashboards/filters. By default, only the original creators can edit their dashboards/filters.

    From Jira 7.12 onwards, it is possible to grant permissions for other team members to edit filters/dashboards. Hence a useful tip after creating a filter/dashboard will be granting permissions to the associated project roles

    • to grant view permission to all project members
    • to grant edit permission to the project administrators
    Set view and edit permissions to project roles

    Naming Convention

    We also recommend to define a naming convention for filters and dashboards. E.g <Jira project key> – <purpose>.

    This is especially helpful for users when they are searching for a filter when configuring the gadgets. For very large instances, you can find multiple filters with the same name while selecting a filter for a gadget.

    It is possible to define aliases for dashboards and filters with Dashboard Folders and Menu Gadgets.

    System Dashboard

    When a user adds a new dashboard themselves, the system dashboard will disappear.

    Actually the System Dashboard is very important because it is tedious to go through the list of project dashboards.

    The System Dashboard can complements by

    • providing a consolidated view and highlight the important things that matters to the user
    • as well as a landing point where the user can navigate to other places

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, here is a checklist that you can use:

    1. review the list of public dashboards/filters and decide whether to disable public sharing
    2. set editing permissions for the shared dashboards
    3. define a set of dashboard templates for your Jira project
    4. define a naming convention for dashboards and filters
    5. install apps from the Marketplace that you identified that are useful

    Check out Best Practices in Jira – Dashboard Reporting (Part 2) for the continuation of the writeup.

    If you like this article, you might be interested to check out our best practices series

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  • Best Practices in Jira Administration – Be a Jira Hero ebook

    27 May 2020
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    Be a Jira Hero ebook

    This is an ebook on a collection of Jira best practices that Atlassian has gathered from Jira experts around the world.

    The title “Be a Jira Hero – A guide for Admins, by Admins” is well deserving. Therefore we recommend all Jira administrators and wannabes to read the 25 pages ebook.

    Jira Best Practices ebook

    The ebook is well-organised into different sections with short but clear snippets of wisdoms:

    1. How to keep Jira clean and simple for your users
    2. How to use issues effectively
    3. Best practices on managing Custom Fields and Screens
    4. Things to consider when building workflows
    5. Tips on managing backlog in Jira
    6. How to get people to work on the issues
    7. Best practices on designing the Jira dashboards for even more effective reporting
    8. Shortcuts & Hacks to work faster with Jira
    9. How to make use of automation to make life easier

    One Common Mistake

    For example, the book has highlighted in Tip #20 to incorporate Resolution into the workflows. We observed that a number of Jira admins who did not have formal training tends do not understand the concept of resolution. Consequently, they overlook this important step while creating new workflows. While the Jira appears to be working, the implications are some built-in reports may be inaccurate and an important piece of information is missing.

    Our Additional Jira Tip

    Dashboards are very useful if they are used correctly. Team members can have visibility on the progress and be reminded on the outstanding tasks. Furthermore, Management can have clear visibility without spending a lot of time preparing routine reports. As a result, users will understand the value of updating their tasks in Jira.

    Horizontal Bar Chart for Jira
    Multiple Filters Statistics Bar Chart Gadget
    Horse Shoe Gauge Gadget for Jira
    Horseshoe Gadget Jira

    Conclusion

    To sum up, if you are a Jira administrator, you should download the ebook and review whether you have been applying the Jira best practices.

    There is no need to provide any email address to download the book. To add on, you may also want to check out the following resources:

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