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WWW… Wednesday! Jira

by Taylor Slattery | June 21, 2022

Project management is difficult. Coordinating timelines and budgets while accounting for potential roadblocks and fires that need to be put out along the way used to necessitate a very specific skill set. Only those with the coolest of heads capable of juggling all of these variables at once could be trusted with the task. That’s no longer the case. While the challenges facing teams over the course of a project haven’t changed, the way we go about solving them has. With the rise of project management tools, now the whole team can take a more active role in the process.

Jira, a project management suite created by Atlassian, is one such tool. Atlassian is the same company responsible for Trello, another project management tool popular among designers. The two tools share the same basic kanban board structure where projects are divided into tasks, starting at the far left in the “to do” column, and moving to the right as they progress through each of the project’s stages before reaching completion at the other end.

Which tool is best for your team will depend on the nature of the work you do. Trello’s simple format is flexible enough to be adapted to any number of projects and workflows, while Jira sports some additional features that make it a better option for agile teams building and debugging software. That doesn’t mean that Jira can’t be used by design teams, though. In particular, product design teams who work in close coordination with developers may find Jira more to their liking than a more general tool like Trello.

Because Jira was designed with developers in mind, some of the terminology used might pose an obstacle for those approaching the tool from a design background. Jira frames tasks as “issues” using labels like stories, bugs, and epics to further classify them by type and hierarchy. While the standard set of issues might not mean much to a designer, there are design-specific issue types that will feel much more familiar. UI/UX staples like analytics and research each have a dedicated issue type for housing important metrics related to data gained through user testing. Spec issues provide a means of sharing pixel-perfect specs for the developers while stories offer a space for housing user flows and planning features.

Like other project management tools, Jira’s main purpose is to measure progress and keep everyone on the same page. By delegating tasks, responsibility is shared, allowing for more room for ownership. Members and sub-groups can function with greater autonomy while everyone is held accountable for the progression of the project as a whole. Whether Jira or Trello, both tools provide teams with the tools they need to monitor projects from a bird’s eye view, making the process of project planning and management a much more approachable task.

You can learn more about Jira and try it for free here.


Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.


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