7 Hacks for Highly Successful Jira Automation

by | Oct 15, 2019

Do you find yourself triaging tickets the same way or redundantly entering information? Within your Atlassian Jira instance, are you constantly leaving comments for users to update issues that have been idle? To ensure work is complete, do you find yourself creating new filters regularly and checking them on a daily basis?

In today’s post, we’ll talk about some of the out-of-the-box Jira automation hacks that you can use to enhance and extend Jira Service Desk. It’s important to note that there are a number of marketplace applications that can assist you in automating your instance, but today we will focus on features that are available instantly when you purchase Jira.

Discovering Potential Areas for Automation

To start, this one isn’t necessarily a hack and it’s certainly not technical, but it will help you accelerate your discovery process and find areas for automation faster.

The best way to find places you could automate is by watching your users. At Atlas Authority, we offer this discovery as part of our services. We like to spend a day with your users observing and asking them questions about how and why they do things. What are their pain points? What do they like and dislike about the tools? With this information, we can find potential automation opportunities. You don’t need to be an Atlassian expert to do this, just take the time to watch your users work.

Utilize Jira Service Desk Blueprints

When you purchase Jira Service Desk it comes with its own automation feature. You can find it by navigating to your Project Settings then scroll down to Automation in the left panel.

As a simple way to automate your service desk, you can create your own rules or use one of the blueprints that are provided by Atlassian.

These blueprints include:

All of these blueprints can be useful and incorporate their own causes (when this happens), effects (do this), and constraints (if this is true). You can even customize some of these rules to better fit your organization’s needs. We will talk about the last blueprint in depth later in this post.

Assignee Alerts

Sometimes people have too much to do and they forget about which issues are assigned to them. When this occurs, it’s required for a manager to manually go into a service desk project, find all the inactive issues for the last N days, and then send messages, emails, or write comments to alert the assignees.

Straight out-of-the-box, this process is automatable with Jira Service Desk. To do so, navigate to the automation rules in your project settings and create something like below:

As you can see in the screenshot, a cause is set so that when an issue has been in a status for too long (in this case it is 5 days), a notification alert is sent. If preferred, Jira allows you to get as specific as down to the minute. For example, we could set a reminder for issues that are “waiting for support” for more than 15 minutes.

Automatically Update Linked Issues

A fairly common practice we see at Atlas Authority is a Jira Service Desk project tied to a Jira Core project. It helps to internally escalate issues to a development team if the agent is unable to resolve the issue.

It can become tedious to regularly update these issues since they’re truly two separate issues. With Jira automation, we can set a cause to “when a linked issue is transitioned” then add an action to transition the issue starting the automation as well. It could look something like this:

Note: It is very important here that you use the correct “link type” when creating your issue links. If your automation rule uses the “relates to” issue link but you’re actually using the “blocked” link, the automation rule will not run. Make sure the link types match so that you can enjoy all of the automation benefits.

Auto-assign Issues

There are a number of ways to auto-assign your issues. Within a Jira project, you can set the default assignee to be one person. Often times this is not granular enough. Using native functionality offered in Jira Workflows is a more advanced way to ensure the assignee is correct.

Jira has a few different workflow operations. For this case, we’ll focus on a post function. Post functions take effect after transitions. A transition occurs when an issue moves from one status to another. In the below screenshot we’ve highlighted the create transition in a standard Jira workflow.  

Admins use post functions for a number of tasks. For this section, we’ll talk about the “assign” post functions. There are four options available:

    1. Assign to whoever transitions the issue. In this case, it would be the issue creator.
    2. Assign the issue to the reporter of the issue. Since we are focusing on create transition, it would be the same in this case.
    3. Assign to the lead developer. This can be a number of different people. Every project has a lead developer and every component within a project can have a lead developer as well. This means that depending on the component the user has selected, there can be a different assignee. This allows the Jira admin to assign different types of issues to different users.
    4. The last option is to choose the “update issue field” post function. With this, you can have a different user as the assignee for every transition in your workflow. For example, if you transition from in progress to in test, you could assign the issue to your lead QA. Also, when you transition from to do to in progress, you could assign the issue to your lead developer.

Note:  This post function should go to the top of your post function list for this transition, otherwise it might not work.

Use JQL to Set Automation Rules

All your Jira automation rules don’t have to apply for all the issues in a project.  You can set a constraint within your rules that allows you to only apply your Jira automation rule to one subset of issues within a project.

This means that you can narrow down your rules to any field or custom field in your project.  You could, realistically, apply an automation rule to only one user or to only issues created by one user that has a certain priority and component.

JQL allows you the option to make it as simple or as complex as you want. If you need a refresher, visit our previous blog, learn how to search Jira with JQL.

Check Your Work and Review the Logs

Be sure to schedule some time to check your logs.  Your rule executions won’t always be successful and that’s ok!  What you’ll want to look for is consistent errors and consistent reasons why you’re getting those errors.  In the below screenshot I discovered that a user didn’t have permission to execute the rule, therefore the rule executions didn’t happen even though the user could complete the action that was meant to start the automation rule.

To find the logs for a Jira automation rule click the three dots next to the rule on the automation main page within your project. You can then dig into the details. 

Streamline Business Processes

These are just a few of the many ways that you can use Jira automation to extend and enhance your instance, ultimately streamlining your business processes. If you’d like to learn more tips and tricks, check out how to Automate Jira Service Desk without Third Party Apps. As always, feel free to contact Atlas Authority to help you discover ways to empower your business through technology.

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