Every house has trash cans, for garbage, recycling, composting and green waste.

And just like any household, we must think carefully about what and how to take things out of our homes – like we consider how and when to bring things in. There’s a natural growth and clearing out that happens over time. Grocery shopping and fridge cleaning, seasonal shopping and closet clean-outs, holiday decorating and putting everything back in storage.

In Jira Software, especially in a growing organization, it’s important to consider what will happen when the tickets and projects you’ve created have passed their prime. If you don’t, you’ll run the risk of Jira becoming more difficult to use over time.

This is why we recommend thinking about an archiving strategy for Jira Software early and revisiting it frequently. Read on to learn more about what could happen if you don’t have an archiving plan, and best practices for implementing a solid archiving plan.

For even more detail on this topic, join us for a webinar with our product and solution engineering teams called: “Archiving for performance in Jira Software

Register for the webinar


The problem with not having an archiving (or spring cleaning) plan

We observe three main problems when customers don’t implement an archiving strategy for Jira. They are:

1.  Jira slows down – It’s not uncommon to see Jira instances that have the entire history of a company’s product development in a single production Jira instance. Does your team need all of those tickets on a day-to-day basis?

2.  Relevant information becomes harder to find – The chances of stumbling upon an old ticket or project increases the longer you’ve been using Jira. This can make finding the most relevant information more difficult for end users.

3.  Administration becomes more challenging – The longer the list of projects becomes, the more difficult it is for Jira administrators to track what information in their instance is relevant and what’s out of date.

Especially with larger Jira customers, where the number of Jira projects grows 17% year-over-year, the need to archive becomes more urgent. How would you approach cleaning up your Jira instance and starting to archive, if it were like a house that needed a “spring cleaning”?

Step 1: Get the whole household involved

What not to do

Don’t clean out the clutter on your own, without involving others in your household. If you’re too eager to remove the clutter, you may throw out that favorite sweater or someone else’s tennis shoes that still get used.

What to do instead

Be sure to get your stakeholders involved early. This is more than just the Atlassian team or Jira admin; you need your Jira project owners, and possibly stakeholders from Legal, Compliance, or Security teams, who might have existing policies around how to treat company data when removing it from an internal system.

According to Micky Caritte, Atlassian Community Champion, “Sometimes Legal or any related department might be involved [in an archiving strategy] for intellectual property management and critical information backup strategy.”

Before you take action in Jira, collect any relevant stakeholders and get their requirements for an archiving plan. Host a kickoff meeting or interview stakeholders one-on-one to collect their input before developing your archiving strategy.

Step 2: Make a list of each room, closet, and drawer you want to clean

What not to do

You may be thinking, “Automating my Jira archiving sounds like a good approach. I’ll just search my projects, find the most recent ticket in them, and set a rule that all projects with no new tickets created in the past 6 months should be archived.”

But to archive successfully, you should understand the purpose of your Jira projects, as well as the project owner’s perspective.

What to do instead

If you’re considering archiving on a per-project basis, it’s essential to understand the context behind each of them. At a large enterprise with hundreds of projects this can be daunting, but it’s a crucial step for understanding which projects can safely be removed from your end users’ view without causing confusion.

Document the projects in your Jira instance, collecting details like:

  • Project attributes – Project owners and stakeholders, date new data was last created in a project.
  • Project type – Is the project ongoing? Or did the project have a natural conclusion?
  • Project size – The number of issues and attachments in a project.
  • Schemas used – If a project has unique workflows, permission schemes, or other development objects, you may also be able to archive those when you archive certain projects.

Step 3: Make sure you’re ready to let it go

What not to do

Now that you have your list of projects documented, you may be tempted to go ahead and archive those outdated projects, no questions asked. Not so fast!

What to do instead

Make a checklist of questions to ask yourself before you archive a project that can cover any “what ifs” or future decisions you’ll need to make regarding archived Jira data. These might include:

  • When was data last created in this project?
  • Has the project owner agreed that this project can be archived?
  • Will this data need to be recovered at any point?
  • Are there any scenarios where the information in this project will need to be discoverable for end users?
  • Has it been confirmed that even closed, old issues are not being pulled into other projects’ boards or JQL searches?

For more questions you could be asking prior to archiving, check out these contributions to our Community discussion from Justin Volden, an Atlassian Community member.

Step 4: Archive your outdated projects

What to do

If you’ve followed Steps 1-3, you’re ready to archive your projects. There are several different ways to accomplish this, depending on your archiving requirements and whether you are using Jira Software Server or Data Center.

For details on how to archive a project or issues in Jira Software Server, check out this article. For instructions on how to archive projects with Jira Software Data Center project archiving, read more here.

Step 5: Plan the next spring cleaning

What not to do

Considering your Jira archiving a one-and-done effort? Don’t let a new best practice go to waste.

What to do instead

Find ways to build your new habit and make archiving easier over time. Plan for your next round of archiving on a cadence that makes sense for your team. Make sure to continue documenting new projects as they’re created, with an archiving plan in mind.

Essentially, if you’re creating a new project, make sure to consider: “How and when will this project data be removed from Jira once it’s no longer needed?”

Join our “Archiving for performance in Jira Software” webinar to learn more

Curious how you can get more out of Jira with an archiving strategy?

In this webinar, you’ll learn from the Atlassian team what you should know about developing an archiving plan. We’ll also cover how Jira Software Data Center’s newest feature, project archiving, was created.

Join us to learn:

  • Why you should plan to archive information from Jira Software
  • Additional tips for developing your archiving strategy
  • The story behind project archiving and how to use it to maximize the benefits
  • A sneak peek at what’s coming next from the Jira Software team

Register for the Webinar

How to build a Jira Software archiving strategy in 5 steps