The Jira team uses a number of wallboards and information radiators to keep the entire team up to date about the current status of the project. We’ve been using them for quite some time however this blog is all about how we used them to get Jira 4.2 out the door.

Early on during the 4.2 release cycle we realised that we had introduced quite a few bugs with all the new UI work we’d been doing. Everyone on the Jira team uses a shared dashboard showing the current state of 4.2. One of the charts on this dashboard is a created vs resolved chart which showed a particularly unhealthy state of afairs. Brad dubbed this the Jira 4.2 bug dragon:


Our goal quickly shifted from new feature work to reducing this bug mountain down to zero. There was 2 clear goals we had to achieve:

  • Resolve all ‘Blocker’ & ‘Critical’ issues for the beta releases
  • Resolve all ‘Major’ issues for the first release candidate

We used the following workflow to get our bugs under control:

  • Bugs would be raised by devs, customers and QA
  • A few devs would meet each day to triage these issues. This involved resolving duplicates, prioritising issues and finally labelling them as ‘triaged’
  • Developers would then pick up issues from a saved filters gadget on the shared 4.2 dashboard in order (by priority). Any bugs that were fixed were moved into ‘QA Review’
  • Eventually QA would then pick up these bugs and verify that they were fixed or reject them back to the original developer

This meant that we had a specific set of information that would determine when we could release 4.2 and provided a goal for the entire team to aim for:

  • Bugs remaining for Beta
  • Bugs in QA remaining for Beta
  • Bugs remaining for RC
  • Bugs in QA remaining for RC

With this in mind we modified the wallboards which are displayed on 40″ TVs on the wall in the new Jira offices to show these stats. Bugs are displayed in red and issues to QA in yellow:


Over time we finally managed to get the number of blockers and critical down to zero which meant we could ship our first beta release:


Finally after more slaying of the dragon we were down to the last issue in QA:


Luis ended up QAing this issue and once he announced that it had been moved into the resolved state, the entire team gathered around the monitor to watch the number jump to 0 (there’s usually a 3-5 min delay for updates). Once this happened the entire team cheered and quickly retired to the local old man’s pub around the corner from the office for some well earned beers!

Displaying this information on our wallboards really helped to bring the entire team together and aim for a common goal.

(Case Study) – Taming the Jira 4.2 bug dragon!