Jira, a project management tool made by Atlassian, is how we manage our projects and understand the work we are doing and have done.
Jira tickets may seem at first to be simple to-do lists that we use to know what things to do for a project. But they are much more important than that.
For Relics: Use the docs.newrelic.com/jira template when you create a ticket! It'll automatically pre-fill your ticket with a template that helps create a good ticket.
Why do we use Jira?
We create tickets to record work-to-be done for a project, scope new work, share information for any writer to complete a story, forecast our output and to estimate project timelines, and have a record of work done.
In other words, Jira has a role at every point in a project:
Before a project
Scoping, syncing on expectations, giving tech writer instructions
During a project
Keeps team and management posted about project; allows for hand-offs and swarming
After a project
Understand what work we did, and helps researching on future projects
What work needs a ticket?
There aren't hard-and-fast rules about what work needs a Jira ticket and what doesn't. A good shorthand is that any project that takes more than a couple hours is a good candidate for a ticket.
However, the goal of creating tickets is not to track writer time in detail. So many kinds of work (meetings, ongoing minor liaison tasks, hero work) generally do not need to go into Jira.
Keeping tickets up-to-date
In general, you should write your tickets as though you might win the lottery tomorrow (a principle known as lottery factor or bus factor). In practice, someone should be able to read your ticket and figure out within about ten minutes what the status is and what the next step is. This makes it easy for us to take vacations, pass work off to another docs writer if needed, and escalate blockers.
These things help with lottery factor:
- Update the Action Item list as you complete tasks and add or remove scope.
- When you move a ticket to Blocked, include a note explaining the change in status.
- When you close a ticket, give a summary of the work done and any relevant thoughts you have on the work and potential related issues.
- Update the Timeline, People, and Resources sections as the project evolves.
- Add important conversations (emails or Slack convos from SMEs) that give important context for the work done. (Note: It's a good idea to ask permission before doing this, because some people might not like their informal words placed in a public place.)
Add Jira context to PRs and commits
When you edit the site, include the Jira issue key (DOC-1234, for example) in your pull request title and/or commit summary. That makes it easier for other writers to connect the dots later if we're trying to figure out why something changed or who knows about a particular subject.
Checklist for writing a good ticket
Resources and people
Labels and fields
We welcome thoughts or questions on our handbook! The easiest way to get in touch is to file a GitHub issue.