For the last couple of months, the Jira team has been hard at work on our 4.2 release. A large part of Jira 4.2 is building on the user experience journey that we began in Jira 4.0 last year.
True to our agile approach to incrementally enhance the Jira user experience, we have approached Jira 4.2 user experience improvements with a large focus on the feedback that we receive from our customers. The Jira 4.2 cycle has been a great learning process for us, and we’ve been improved our processes in many ways to get an even more agile, iterative approach to incrementally improving user experience in Jira.
Here is a summary of the things we have done:
Prototype demonstrations and testing
We have tried to solicit feedback earlier and earlier in our development cycle, with more transparency of our designs in the form of screen mockups. Demonstrating and testing early prototypes with our customers also gave us a great feel for some of the concepts we have had for the user experience, even before our implementation began.
Early milestone releases
The early access milestone releases gave our customers an opportunity to see the latest developments regularly in working form. We started this in June announcing the first EAP at Summit 2010 and followed with subsequent releases in July for EAP2 and EAP3. This was especially useful for us in testing isolated new features and improvements as they were implemented.
Early access playground for customers
We learnt that the early access milestones were not for every customer, as it required the downloading and setting up of the test instance. So we used a Jira Hosted instance to set up the early access playground for them. This gave an opportunity for us and our customers to have a live, play system, with more complex test data and edge cases that we haven’t considered.
Extended beta period
We’ve recently entered the beta stage of Jira 4.2, and continue to deploy beta releases on a fairly regular schedule. This helps us immensely in understanding how the new release work (or didn’t work) in close to real live customer environments. We are also happy to announce that the Jira 4.2 Beta 2 is available today!
Open ongoing discussions with customers
Using our own public issue tracker instance (jira.atlassian.com), we have had many vibrant, lively and sometimes diverse discussions with many customers. This gave us even more context ideas to improve the user interface.
At every stage along the way, we have received great feedback from our customers, much of which we have incorporated. Thanks to all this involvement and feedback we have gotten, we are delighted and confident that this is shaping up to be a great release.
Learn more about Jira 4.2
Interested to see what’s coming in 4.2? Check out Ken’s Jira 4.2 Sneak Peek post for more details on the great features. As always, we welcome you to come try out the latest beta release available, and let us know what you think.