Every design and development shop knows that client communication plays a significant role in a project’s success. Seamless client inclusion and transparency is essential for an efficient workflow. Project management teams work hard to bridge the gap between clients and developers, but getting bogged down with communication can create a bottleneck.
In an effort to optimize our workflow, Zivtech moved from LiquidPlanner to JIRA last summer. Our team found that LiquidPlanner didn’t suit our workflow. Clients found it difficult to search for the development tickets that they were looking for and our project managers had a hard time generating the types of reports we needed. LiquidPlanner wasn’t an ideal system for transparency and client communication, so we decided to switch platforms.
Here’s how JIRA has changed and improved our internal workflow.
We use the server version of JIRA, meaning we host our own instance of JIRA. By running JIRA this way, we pay for a large number of seats instead of each individual seat, so it’s easy to invite our clients to collaborate with us.
In JIRA, we can assign tickets to clients so they can review and provide feedback more quickly. We’ve created a client user role with our most commonly needed permissions, which makes adding new clients very easy.
We also create occasional custom visitor permissions when a client’s circumstances require more or less access than our standard role. Clients who want a hands-on role can re-assign tickets and move them through the workflow. Clients who just want to see what’s going on and give feedback can do that too.
Communication in One Place
JIRA unites pull requests and client feedback by putting it all in one place. Comments are right on the issues, making it easier for developers to work with client feedback.
We integrated GitHub and Bitbucket with JIRA so that the distance between a client’s request and the actual pull request is short and everything is in the same place. This helps reduce unnecessary communication. A client no longer has to email a project manager, who then responds with more questions and gets a developer involved, and then returns to the client with another question, and so on.
Clients can directly comment on tickets and developers can answer, with the project manager helping prioritize tickets and clarify requirements.
JIRA has also made it easier for us to create reports for our clients. We use components and the worklogs to create granular reports for clients.
If a client wants to know how much time a certain person spent working during a sprint, we can tell them that. Or maybe they want to know how much total time has been spent on meetings over the course of all of our engagements. We can tell them that too.
A Better Workflow
Not only has JIRA helped our organization internally, it has also allowed for better client communication and inclusion in all of our projects. All of our clients have benefitted, whether a tech-savvy client talking code with a developer, or a budget-focused client looking granularly at worklogs.
If you’re evaluating JIRA or are in between project management systems, leave us a comment and tell us about it!