Why being a Jira Admin is a Tough Job

28 July 2022
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Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Thank you Jira Admins

Do you know that July is the Jira Admin Appreciation Month, and 15th of July is the official Jira Admin Appreciation Day?

As an Atlassian Solution Partner as well as a Marketplace Partner, we work closely with many Jira Admins and witnessed their passion, ingenuity and dedication on countless occasions.

We would like to take the opportunity to share some wonderful Jira Admins we encountered

  • Kamar who worked with us to troubleshoot a mystery case on the sudden slowdown in Jira’s performance
  • Jun Xiang who set up a new service desk project all by himself, saving the money to buy an additional system
  • Hany who suggested improvements for a Marketplace app so that his team can work more effectively
  • Graeme who organised lunch and learn sessions for colleagues to share his Jira knowledge
  • Coral who stayed up until 5am so that Jira can be operational when her colleagues return to work on Monday
  • and many others who took time after work to attend Atlassian Community Events to beef up their knowledge

What people think a Jira Admin do?

How IT people see each other

Going by the literal meaning, the Jira administrator is the person who administers the Jira web application.

What a Jira Admin really do?

However in the real life, the Jira Admins are responsible for everything that is related to Jira.
This is a norm because many organisations do not have a team to manage Jira. Usually the Jira admin will have to wear multiple hats. More importantly, these roles also require knowledge of Jira.

Here are some additional roles the Jira Admins are taking up:

Jira System Engineer

This role focuses on tasks related with systems. It requires competency in both inner workings of Jira as well as the backend systems. Some examples of the tasks are:

  • Handle Level 2 support by analysing Jira application or access logs
  • Work with Atlassian Support or App Vendors for complex cases
  • Using SQL on the database to generate reports or patch data
  • Perform Application/Server Performance Tuning
  • Perform upgrades and Disaster Recovery (DR) planning
  • Work with Security to conduct Vulnerability Assessment & Penetration Testing (VAPT)

Jira Solution Engineer

This role focuses on the business aspect. By providing solutions using Jira to deliver new capabilities, it increases the ROI. Some examples of the tasks are:

  • Create Jira project templates for new use cases
  • Build Jira workflows that help to improve the flow
  • Design Jira dashboards or BI reports to give visibility to the stakeholders
  • Select Marketplace apps to fulfill business requirements or improve productivity
  • Write scripts to automate some tasks
  • Or even coding Jira plugins for customised features

Jira Coach

This role focuses on the people aspect by helping fellow Jira users to use Jira more effectively. Some examples of the tasks are:

  • Conduct training
  • Answer questions related on the usage
  • Write KB articles on Confluence
  • Promote the use of Jira within the organisation
  • Analyse statistics to identify trends and area for improvement
Additional roles taken up by the Jira Admins. In dedication to all the Jira Admins

How to help your Jira Admins?

In some scenarios, the Jira admin might even be a part-time responsibility in additional to their official job description.

The workload will pile up until the company will engage a Solution Partner or an Atlassian Technical Account Manager for additional support.

We have listed 9 ways to reduce the workload for your beloved Jira Admins

  1. Give up on your Jira admin rights (if you are not trained in Jira)
    • That can reduce unnecessary fire-fighting due to mistakes
    • Otherwise get proper training to be a Jira admins
  2. Look for the Jira project admins instead of the Jira admins for project permission requests
    • It can be death by a thousand paper cuts with 1 request from every user
  3. Standardize your project workflows
    • It can be messy when every project have a different workflow and different set of custom fields
  4. Raise your requests in Jira
    • That will facilitate tracking and fulfilment by the Jira Admins
  5. Use apps
    • They can automate some of the manual tasks taking up the Jira Admin’s time
  6. Use a LTS version to reduce the upgrade cadence
    • Every upgrade consumes time and effort
    • It is easier to patch an LTS version
    • It helps to minimise the turnaround time in event of a security advisory
  7. Upgrade at least once a year 
    • The risk, complexity and technical debt increases over time
  8. Host Jira behind the firewall
    • Use VPN or Zero Trust Network to access if your team are working remotely
    • That will reduce a lot of work on security
  9. Use Jira Cloud if it is suitable for your organisation
    • Atlassian will take over some of the workload

Hopefully with more time, the Jira admins can make Jira better for everyone.