Initial JIRA Set Up Decisions

You’ve decided to adopt JIRA.  Congratulations!  Use this 35 question planning checklist to help you make initial decisions and consider actions you should take to ensure a successful setup.  Complete these items before, during, and after your install.  Download the entire checklist for FREE from the JIRA Strategy Store.


1. Create an Internal JIRA Advisory Board
Whether you’ve just started with JIRA or you’ve been using it for years, such a powerful and useful Application should not be directed by a single person.  The people who set the strategy for JIRA use may be different from those who actually perform maintenance and administrative functions. You’ll want a governance or steering committee, who can establish standards and support both the application and the users.

icon-content-link See the “Establish an Advisory Board”, the “Ideal Board Makeup”, and the “Role of the Board” sections in the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.

2. Determine Usage
Decide how JIRA will mainly be used.  Will it be for software development only or will other, non-technical groups also utilize it to track tasks?

trans-tip TIP:  JIRA is for business teams too!  Read more:

3. Determine Ownership
Decide who is responsible for the application.  Who will make initial and ongoing configuration changes?  Who will maintain the application?  Who will perform upgrades?  (Server Version Only)  Who will ensure application, server, database, and network stability?  (Server Version Only)

Application Type

4. Choose an Application Type
Decide which hosting environment is appropriate for your business and industry.  Will you utilize a Cloud (hosted by Atlassian or a third party) or a Server (on premises) implementation?

Read Atlassian’s Pros and Cons of Cloud vs. Server at:

5. Choose an Application Flavor
Based on your usage, decide which JIRA product, or combination of JIRA products to use.  Will you utilize JIRA Software (built for software developers and includes agile features), JIRA Core (built for business-type users), JIRA Service Desk (built for help desk and support-type functions), or a combination?  Do you require the high availability, performance at scale, and disaster recovery features of JIRA Data Center?

See Atlassian’s Evaluator Resources at:
Read about Data Center at:

6. Choose a License Tier
Determine current and future licensing needs.  How many users need to login to JIRA?  Are license costs factored into the initial and ongoing budget?

7. Choose a Version (Server Version Only)
Use the Atlassian release notes to determine which version to use.  Will you install the latest version or the last major version?

Read more:

Technical Specs

Items 8-15:  Download the entire checklist for FREE from the JIRA Strategy Store.


16. Determine Data Import Needs
Decide how to handle pre-JIRA data.  Does existing data from another system need to be imported?  What is the structure of the data and how will it be mapped to JIRA’s issue structure?

icon-content-link See the “Bulk Import” section of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.  Download a sample import file at:

17. Determine Data Insertion Methods
Decide which of the many ways new issues will be created.  How will new information be added to JIRA?  (Examples: Via the UI, via UI import, via email, via the API, via an Issue Collector (web form), etc.)

icon-content-link See the “Get Data into JIRA” section of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.  Download the “Worksheet: JIRA Issue Creation via Email Instructions” at:


18. Create a User Management Strategy
User management is more than just “adding new users” as they join the company.  Your user list needs regular attention to remain accurate.  You have to establish procedures on how to support new users as well as departing users.  How will you handle and receive access requests and removals?  How will you handle permissions related requests?

icon-content-link See the “User Access Strategies” and “User Management” sections of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.

19. Determine Access and Credentials
Decide how users will access the application.  What credentials are needed for login?  How does a new user securely receive credentials?  Will access be local to the application or managed by Active Directory, Google Apps, Crowd (an Atlassian application), or another service?  Is 2 Factor Authentication needed?

icon-content-link See the “User Management” and “Single Sign-On” sections of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.


When the application grows to over 50 users, it’s time to consider a central user directory.

20. Select an Application Administration Team
Create a strong, 2-5 person, admin team.  Who will be responsible for new project configuration, customization, user access, and daily application management?

icon-content-link See the “Define Admin Users” section of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.  Download the “Worksheet: Application Administrator Responsibilities” at:

trans-tip TIP:  Need to train your team?  Give your administrators their own copy of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.  Get the digital version at: or the print version at:

trans-tip TIP:  Have your admins prepare for and take the JIRA Certification exam.  See the “Get Certified” and “How to Study” sections of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.


Give your application admin team read-only access to the JIRA database. Understanding how the data is structured will solve a lot of mysteries and make them better admins. They’ll have the ability to access additional data that’s not available in the admin UI.

NOTE: Granting read only database access gives users access to protected data and may violate your company security policy.

21. Appoint Ambassadors
In addition to your advisory board, you’ll want to enlist the help of other users to disseminate information, answer common questions, and serve as a liaison to your users.  A small team of JIRA Ambassadors is a vital asset when you need to execute changes to your current application or communicate the change request process.

icon-content-link See the “Appoint Ambassadors” section of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.

22. Determine an End User Training Strategy
Determine your training needs and timeline.  How will you train end users and encourage adoption?

icon-content-link See the “End User Training” and “Top 15 Things End Users Want to Know” sections of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.

Standards & Policies

Items 23-27:  Download the entire checklist for FREE from the JIRA Strategy Store.

Maintenance & Support

Items 28-30:  Download the entire checklist for FREE from the JIRA Strategy Store.


31. Set Up a Test Environment (Server Version Only)
Always test major changes, large imports, upgrades, plugin installations, proof of concepts, and clean-up activities in a test environment first.  Make sure the resources powering your test environment match your production environment as much as possible.  Make sure the software version and configuration are an exact copy of production.

trans-tip TIP:  Disable email in the test environment to avoid notifying end users with duplicate or test data.

32. Establish a Plugin and Add-On Vetting Procedure
There are a plethora of plugins and add-on features available in the Atlassian Marketplace.  But haphazard installs and free trials can leave behind remnants that negatively impact the system after the trial ends.  You should develop specific procedures for handling add-ons and customization requests.  The procedure should include pre-installation vetting, installation and trial testing, and uninstall procedures to ensure system functionality and stability.

icon-content-link See the “Plugins and Add-ons” section in the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.

33. Determine Integrations and Connections
Determine what connection points are initially needed and under what conditions new connections will be added.  What other Atlassian or non-Atlassian applications will JIRA connect to?  Will other internal applications be permitted to use the REST API or connect to the database?

icon-content-link See the “REST API and Database Users” section of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.

34. Set Up Monitoring (Server Version Only)
Set up additional software to routinely check the health of your application and database.  Monitors and alerts help the admin team proactively maintain your application.  Don’t let end users be the first or only source of trouble reports.

icon-content-link See the “Monitoring” section in the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.

35.  Engage with the JIRA Community
There’s an amazing community of experts, administrators, consultants, end users, and Atlassians publishing new information and providing assistance.  Connect with others through your local Atlassian User Group, participate in the online community (, and attend the annual user conference.

icon-content-link See the “Atlassian User Groups” and “Summit Annual User Conference” sections of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.

This worksheet is a companion to the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.  Get the book and additional materials at

JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook


JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook FAQ

Is this workbook useful for JIRA Admin Certification preparation?
The JIRA Strategy Admin workbook is about what admins should and shouldn’t do in their application.   As part of the strategy recommendations, it covers admin concepts, which is what the JIRA Certification exam is about.  When I started writing the book, there wasn’t a certification, so I definitely didn’t write it for that purpose.  But I do think the book makes a great companion to the existing Atlassian documentation and certification study materials.  There’s more info about the book and its contents here.

Why did you write this book?
I wrote this because I knew I wasn’t the only person to inherit a messy configuration.  I want to keep others out of what I call the “JIRA swamp” or, if you’re already in it, help dig you out.

What was the hardest part about writing the book?
Certainly not writing about JIRA – I love talking about anything JIRA related!   The hardest part was fighting with the Table of Contents and Index features of Microsoft Word.  The initial drafts of the book were written in Confluence and progress was tracked in JIRA!  The entire project (the book, materials, website, and store) took 2 years to complete.

Where can I get the book?
The digital version (a color PDF) is available for immediate download from the store.  A print version (a black and white physical book) will be available on Amazon soon.

Where can I learn more about the book?
You can view the Table of Contents, listen to the Introduction, or download Sample Chapters.

Where can I learn more about the author?
Read About Rachel Wright.  Connect with the author on Twitter, LinkedIn, or in the Strategy for JIRA LinkedIn Group.

How do I schedule a speaking engagement, interview, or appearance?
Please see the Press Kit page.

Store FAQ

What payment types are accepted?
We accept all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover) and PayPal.  Payments are securely processed through PayPal, but you do not need a PayPal account.  To pay without a PayPal account, click the “Pay with Debit or Credit Card” button on PayPal’s website.  (See screenshot.)

When will my book and files ship?
All purchases from the website are in digital format and are available for download immediately.  No items will be shipped to your physical billing address.

How do I access downloadable files?
After purchase, access to downloadable files is available in three places:

  1. On the purchase confirmation page, click the grey order “Details” button.
  2. In an email from with the subject line “The virtual product that you bought is available for download.”
  3. On the “Order History” page, click the grey order “Details” button.

Image: Order History Details Button

Order History Details

Image: Product Download Link

Product Download Link

Already purchased the book?  Also see: How to Download Book Materials

How do I get additional help?
Contact Us

How I Fell in Love with JIRA

My introduction to Atlassian products was by chance.  The company I was working for was using an ancient bug tracking application.  By ancient, I mean software that would only load in a browser version which was no longer available. In fact, the manufacturer had stopped supporting it many years prior.  The software was becoming increasingly unstable and a decision was made to switch to JIRA.  We were so excited to ditch the old software that we set up an official funeral for it at the office.  This was around the Halloween holiday, so we hung pictures of tombstones on the wall along with screenshots of our most “ghastly” bugs.  A team member wrote an obituary for the old application. We covered the scene with spider webs and skeletons.  It was a fun way to celebrate that we were changing to JIRA and also say “good riddance” to our old system.

I was immediately amazed by what JIRA offered us.  We were able to track all our work, not just our bugs.  The flexibility to work differently between projects and between issue types was something I hadn’t seen before.  The ease of customization had me dreaming of all the ways we could improve our processes.  I found myself immersed in the user documentation, reviewing the internal materials produced for the transition, and even helping others use this new application.  I moved from being a typical end user, to an application administrator, strategist, and trainer.  JIRA administration became an obsession and was easily the best part of my workday.

Today, I use JIRA and other Atlassian tools at my primary job, as a volunteer with the Atlassian User Group program, to run my side business, and even at home.  At home, JIRA tracks “bucket list” items, personal goals, and my asset list, for insurance purposes.  I use Confluence to collaborate with family members, plan trips, track “to do” items, and capture research details for major purchases.  The JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook was written in Confluence and the book writing progress was tracked in JIRA. These tools have become a vital part of my personal and professional life. It’s safe to say I’m a huge Atlassian fan.

Image: I’m Currently in a Relationship with JIRA

I'm Currently in a Relationship with JIRA

Learn more about the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook

Press Kit

Learn more about the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook below.  If you need additional information, please contact

Contact Info & Event Booking

Rachel Wright or 443-317-3279
LinkedIn | Twitter

Rachel Wright is available for speaking engagements, interviews, and appearances. She is also happy to speak to groups via telephone or web conference.

Book Information

JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook

Title: JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook
Sub title: Templates for the application administrator to set up, clean up, and maintain JIRA
Author: Rachel Wright
Publisher: Industry Templates, LLC
Date of Publication: November 30, 2016
Retail Price: $59.99 USD (Print Version)
ISBN-13: 978-1539090229
ISBN-10: 1539090221
Pages: 295

Download the worksheets, templates & companion materials for this book from the JIRA Strategy Store at:


More Information

Promotion Information

  • Whenever promoting the book, please link to
  • When you post a review or promotion, please let us know so that we can link back to you.

Sample Chapters

DownloadJIRA Strategy Admin Workbook Sample Chapter a free copy of the “Projects” chapter from “Part 2: Project Configuration” in the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook.

This 19 page sample chapter includes:

  • A brief explanation of projects and a link to official documentation
  • Two worksheets
    • Worksheet: New Project Request
    • Worksheet: New Project Configuration Checklist
  • Sample wording to communicate with end users
    • Wording: Sample New Project Request Procedure
    • Wording: Sample New Project is Ready Message
    • Wording: Configure Your New Project
    • Wording: Request Customization for Your New Project
  • How to set a strategy for creating new projects
  • The 10 questions to ask as part of any new project request
  • What to consider before creating a new project
  • How to name and categorize projects
  • How to establish scheme defaults
  • 20 Recommendations
  • 4 Examples from the Swamp

Download the “Projects” chapter

Also see: Listen to the Introduction


Listen to the 3 minute introduction read by the author.

There were once three companies.  The first had a brand new JIRA instance that was smartly set up and implemented.  Everything was carefully planned and executed.  The projects, issue types, workflows, and other settings were standardized and built for needs of the users.  All the configurations and processes were documented and the users were well-trained.  The transition from an old issue tracking tool was simple and all the users were happy.  The application was pruned and maintained like a beautiful garden.  Its administrators were carefully selected process leaders who routinely cared for and meticulously shaped the garden’s growth.

The second company had the complete opposite set up.  Their JIRA instance was old and it had not matured and changed in tandem with the organization.  There were no standards, no recognizable patterns, and no documentation.  There was a free-for-all mentality that resulted in an overgrown swamp of data.  Anyone that desired a project customization was instantly made an application administrator and made any change they wanted.  Changes were made without a strategy and without regard for their impact on other projects or the application as a whole.  The swamp became more and more unmanageable each day.

The third company wanted JIRA to look and act like all their other internal applications.  They spent many months making visual and functional customizations.  Eventually, so much had changed that they couldn’t upgrade without wiping out all the custom elements.  Their users weren’t able to take advantage of all the new features and functions available in newer versions.  One by one their add-ons became unsupported and their application reached the dreaded “end of life” support status.

The recommendations in this book are a result of working in these environments and digging them of the swamp.  Included are best practices, dos and don’ts, and recommendations you can adapt to fit your company.

Would you rather have an organized, tidy, and trimmed garden or a foggy, contaminated, overgrown swamp?

Also see: Sample Chapters


JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook
JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook

The JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook book contains:

  • 152 recommendations to help you set up, clean up, and maintain JIRA,
  • 50 worksheets, plus additional templates, code snippets, and wording samples to help you establish and streamline vital processes,
  • 33 real examples of problems to avoid,
  • best practices and dos and don’ts for each administrative area,
  • the top 10 mistakes I made as an administrator, and
  • content not available anywhere else.


The book is organized into six main chapters.  “Part 1: Setting the Foundation” and “Part 2: Project Configuration” address set up for a new application and concepts to enhance an existing application. “Part 3: Fix and Clean JIRA Up” is for auditing and improving an existing application.  “Part 4: Maintenance” is about upgrading and maintaining the application once it’s set up well.  “Part 5: Customization” tackles add-ons, plugins, and ways to extend the application.  Finally, “Part 6: Bonuses” contains additional content that didn’t fit anywhere else.

Table of Contents

How I Fell in Love with JIRA

Introduction: A Tale of Three Companies
Who This Book Is For
What You’ll Need
Book Structure
– Terminology
– Conventions
Worksheets, Templates & Companion Materials
Comments, Feedback, and Questions

Part 1: Setting the Foundation
Establish an Advisory Board
– Ideal Board Makeup
– Role of the Board
– Establish Standards
– Handle Sensitive Information
– Support Metrics
Sample JIRA Support Project Set Up
– Customer Satisfaction Survey
– Sample Workflow: JIRA Support
Appoint Ambassadors
User Access Strategies
– User Types
– Test Users
– Define Admin Users
– Project Leads
– External Users
– Character Users
– Roles and Groups
– User Management
– Other Users
– Single Sign On
– Shared Access

Part 2: Project Configuration
Name Your Schemes
– JIRA Terminology
– Strategy for Creating New Projects
– Name Your Project
– Project Categories
– Share Project Schemes and Assets
– Establish Scheme Defaults
– Project Configuration Strategy
– Configure Your Project
Issue Types
– Best Practices
– Issue Type Schemes
– Name Your Issue Types and Schemes
– Best Practices
– Status Categories
– What is a Resolution?
– Bulk Update Resolutions
– Best Practices
– Name Your Workflow
– Create a Workflow
– Custom Workflows
– Phased Approach
– Custom Workflow Process
– Workflow Templates
– Workflow Concepts
– Workflow Behaviors
– Workflow Schemes
– Workflow Schemes to Workflows Relationship
– Best Practices
– Can’t see a field?
– Screen Schemes
– Issue Type Screen Schemes
– Best Practices
– Standard Web Form Conventions
Custom Fields
– Best Practices
– Required Fields
– Field Configurations
– Standard and Important Fields
– Field Configuration Schemes
– Field Configurations to Field Configuration Schemes Relationship
– Proper Field Types
– Special Features
– Best Practices
– Alternate Uses for Versions
– Version Permissions
– Examples
– Best Practices
– Best Practices
– Permission Scheme Worksheets
Issue Security
– Best Practices
– Issue Security Worksheets
– Best Practices
– Standard and Custom Notifications
– Bulk Change Notifications
Standard Capabilities

Part 3: Fix and Clean JIRA Up
– Areas to Tackle
– Unused Elements
– Duplicate Elements
– Practical Audit Example
– Inactive Projects
– Clean-Up Check-up
– Old Email Handlers
– Option 1: Prevent New Issues
– Option 2: Make the Project Read Only
– Option 3: Hide the Project
– Option 4: “Archive” the Project
– Option 5: Export the Project
– Archive Clean-Up & Notification
Merge Applications or Start Over
– Application Comparison
– Plugin Tracking
– Comparison Recommendations
– Start Over
– Expert Assistance

Part 4: Maintenance
User Communication
– Announcement Banners
Application Tracking and Statistics
– Re-index Triggers
– Types of Re-indexes
Scheduled Maintenance
– Support and Emergency Escalation
– High Level Upgrade Plan
– Detailed Upgrade Plan
– Standard Regression Testing
– Upgrade Wording
– Emergency Rollback
– REST API and Database Users
– New Feature List
Automated Testing
Incident Log
Year-End Clean-Up
Year End Analysis

Part 5: Customization
Plugins and Add-ons
– Best Practices
– Vet Plugins and Add-ons
– Plugin Installations
– Noteworthy Add-ons
Extend JIRA
– Get Data into JIRA
– Create Custom Displays
– Sync Data with JIRA
Other Uses for JIRA
– JIRA as a CRM
– Asset Tracking
– Moving Labels
– Bucket Lists
– Personal Goals
– Other Ideas

Part 6: Bonuses
Training Users
– End User Training
– Admin Training Resources
– Get Certified
Bulk Import
Database Queries
– Configuration Elements
– Projects and Issues
– Users and Groups
– Filters and Dashboards
– Workflows
– Add-ons
– Database Specific
– Query Resources

Atlassian User Groups
Summit Annual User Conference
– Summit Justification
– Summit Tips
Other Books
Atlassian Experts


Recommendations Index
Materials Index