We’re big proponents of an agile approach to software development at Atlassian. Internally, our development teams follow an agile approach. What we realized, however, was that we were not so great at getting our features out quickly. With JIRA 3.13, and JIRA 4.0, we found that our development cycles were too long. Our customers deserve better – we wanted to move faster and get features and improvements out at a faster rate and more consistently. And that’s what we are doing. Since JIRA 3.13, we have been shrinking our release cycle from about a year to 6 months in 4.1. The aim is that we ship a version of our products out each quarter to our customers. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we’re asking all our customers upgrade every quarter, that choice is entirely up to the individual. But we would love to give our customers the choice to get the benefits of the latest features and improvements. A more frequent release cycle also gives our customers greater opportunity to guide where the product is headed.
Evolving JIRA’s UX
If you had been following JIRA’s improvements since 4.0, you will notice that we have recently placed a lot of emphasis on the user experience of the product. Why? What we’ve found was that whilst JIRA was a flexible and powerful tool, it’s user experience could be improved significantly. Information and links were sometimes difficult to find. Operations could be completed more quickly. What if we could evolve JIRA’s user interface to be simpler, faster and easier to use? I personally spend a large part of my day in JIRA. If I could save a few seconds every time I was in JIRA, I would save hours a week!
In the spirit of a more agile, consistent release cycle, we are approaching our user experience improvement incrementally. The journey really began in JIRA 4.0, where we introduced the new Dashboard, and enhanced the browse project sections.
In JIRA 4.1, we progressed to the view issue page. This was certainly the most radical change we introduced to date. We know that the change in 4.1 shocked some of our users, and we recognize that this change could be hard. In a way, 4.1 was the most radical as it broke away from the traditional issue view and introduced a new visual language. In 4.2 and beyond, we will introduce more usability improvements on top of the foundation laid from 4.0 and 4.1.
We understand that some of these changes can be difficult for our customers to work with initially. However, this iterative approach to releases provides us the opportunity to incorporate feedback more frequently along the way, instead of making huge changes in a vacuum that potentially miss the mark completely. We don’t expect things to change drastically in each release; we plan to build upon this new visual language to bring further improvements to your everyday use of JIRA. Already, we have heard some great feedback from our customers some of which we intend to take on board. We also have other significant plans to further improve the usability of that page.
Help us get there
Interested in getting more involved in where JIRA is heading? Have comments or feedback about JIRA to date? We’d love to talk to you. Simply fill in this form here and we’ll get in touch with you.