“I have over 3,000 custom fields and everyone says I need to talk to you.”
That was one of the comments we heard at Atlassian Summit. It’s true. ProForma is a great way to have all of the custom data, without the custom fields. ProForma forms embed in Jira issues, allowing you to include all of the fields you need, without cluttering your Jira instance or degrading Jira’s performance.
We think simplified Jira administration, particularly with regard to custom fields, is one of the key benefits of using ProForma, and something we’ve discussed in previous articles:
- More Metrics without the Custom Field Chaos
- To Customize or Not to Customize
- Jira Custom Fields and Their Alternatives
However, talking to Jira Administrators at Summit made us realize that we’ve neglected a big part of the problem. You don’t just need a way to limit the addition of new custom fields, you need a way to deal with the ones you already have. So we’ll be focusing our upcoming content on how to deal with custom field bloat. Once again, we’ll be teaming up with author and Jira super-user, Rachel Wright. Rachel worked with us on a previous series of articles, which is now available as the Effective Jira Administration book. We’re looking forward to tapping into her expertise on managing Jira custom fields.
Cleaning up Jira Custom Field Bloat
Regardless of whether you’re using Cloud, Server or Data Center, our series will offer step by step guidance for:
Find out exactly what custom fields you have, what project(s) they’re in and if/how they are used.
The next step will be to categorize your custom fields. You’ll sort out how the custom fields were created (by an admin, an add-on, etc.), whether or not they’re duplicates, if they contain errors, and how they are used. We’ll outline the process for sorting your custom fields into ones that stay, ones that go, and ones that get converted.
Next, we’ll outline a process for converting needed fields to ProForma, for merging duplicate fields, fixing errors and for retiring fields that are no longer needed.
Finally, we’ll make sure that you’re left with an easily accessible map that will show which custom fields remain and which were converted to fields on ProForma forms. Having this information at your finger tips will make it easier to respond to requests for new custom fields.
The goal is that by the end of the process, your teams will still be able to collect all the data they need, but you’ll have your custom fields down to a manageable number. (You get to decide what that number is.)
For those of you using Jira Cloud, we’ll also discuss strategies for how to manage custom fields (and Jira administration in general) now that any user can create independent projects. (If this makes you nervous, you’re not alone.) We’ll focus on communication strategies and ways to educate users about best practices in Jira, with the aim of being “open”, without opening up a huge can of worms for Jira administrators.