Practical Ecommerce

The PEC Review: Use Jira for Bug Tracking, Project Management

As ecommerce businesses grow from entrepreneurial startups to mid-sized retailers, they can become much more complex to manage.

As a startup, the operation was likely managed by one or two people. Fixing website glitches was pretty straightforward. You saw something wrong. You fixed it.

New projects happened pretty much the same way. If you needed to integrate QuickBooks into your ecommerce CMS, for example, the entire project team might be you and a single freelance developer. But in a business with, say, five or more employees, project management is not as simple. If a marketer has a new promotional campaign in the works, perhaps a graphic designer, web developer, social media professional, and even a buyer will all have tasks associated with the campaign. What’s more, the team members might be working from home offices across the country, or the world.

Jira is a highly-customizable project and issue management platform that can be used to follow up projects, store and track issues and new features, or help to organize just about everything your company does. For being such an excellent management tool, I am awarding Jira four and a half out of a possible five stars in this, “The PEC Review.”

“The PEC Review” is my weekly column devoted to introducing you to the products or services that I believe will help you improve your ecommerce business. This week, allow me to show you a few of Jira’s many features and uses.

Jira Is Customizable

With a little customization, Jira can include custom job sheets, use custom terminology, and employ complex workflows. In fact, almost every aspect of this powerful system can be adopted to meet the specific needs of your organization.

This is actually one of my favorite Jira features because—working often as a freelancer or consultant—I have used many project management tools that required you to fit your projects into specified categories that you cannot change, reorganize, or—in some cases—even rename. Many times, these predetermined categories or sections worked fine. But there were also plenty of times that they did not work. With Jira I don’t have to try to fit my project’s action items, documents, or workflow into a predetermined model. Rather, I can optimize by customizing.

Jira may also be extended. For example, I consider the Agile development extension, GreenHopper, a must.

The GreenHopper planning board makes it easy to see how your project is doing.

The GreenHopper planning board makes it easy to see how your project is doing.

Jira Is Functional Right Out of the Box

I should also note that even the plain vanilla, out-of-the-box Jira is still a very effective tool, particularly for bug or issue tracking.

Basic Jira interface.

Basic Jira interface.

Users can submit issues, set deadlines, attach files, comment on issues, and see product status.

Jira dashboard.

Jira dashboard.

Each Jira user has a dashboard that shows project or issue information at a glance. And users can create custom filters or add widgets to their dashboards, so that they get just the information they need. There’s no technical knowledge required.

Jira Is Intuitive

Jira is also intuitive. To me, the menus, filtering system, keyboard shortcuts, and other features just make sense.

In the work environment, this intuitiveness may mean that your staff won’t have to be trained—or at least not for long—to use Jira.

Jira Is Cross-platform Capable

Jira works in all of the major web browsers. But it can also be accessed from an integrated development environment (for developers) or from a smartphone.

Price

For a business with ten users or fewer, Jira costs $10. Not $10 per month. Not $10 per user. It’s just $10 one time. And the $10 license fee is donated to charity. To get Jira with the aforementioned GreenHopper Agile development extension, you’ll pay $20 for up to ten users. Again, that is just $20 one time.

four and one-half stars

For a license that covers up to 25 users, you’ll pay $1,200, which is still a bargain for this tool. Up to 50 users will cost $2,200. Spending $4,000 on Jira, allows you to give access to up to 100 users, and an unlimited user license is available for $8,000.

If you don’t want to own Jira and host it on your own network, software-as-a-service versions are available for between $150 to $1,000 per month, depending on features and users.

Summing Up

Jira is used by more than 11,000 businesses worldwide. It is customizable, and yet ready to use out of the box. It can manage just about any project, regardless of size, but it won’t seem bulky when you’re managing simple tasks or issue tracking.

The bottom line is that Jira is an excellent choice for managing your business’s many projects, campaigns, and activities, which is why it is worth every one of the four and a half out of a possible five stars I have awarded it in this, “The PEC Review.”

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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