We see a lot of complex configurations within Jira where teams have to jump through hoops to manage and track their work. 15-minute standups can turn into a ScrumMaster chasing down updates for hours a day from various team members.
However, there are just as many examples where Jira is used effectively and enables teams to work more cohesively and efficiently. The balance of autonomy and accountability is hard to achieve, but there are certainly some Jira best practices that can help any team along their agile journey.
Repeatable systems are the key to long-term success within any endeavor, and Jira and Agile are no exception. Simplifying your process makes it easier for your team to follow it consistently. It is easy to get carried away with putting in controls and data points, but they can quickly begin to hinder your team's ability to do work.
At some point, trust has to become a key factor within your process. Putting more and more guardrails in place can be more harmful to a team. Consider the Scrum guide: "Self-organizing teams choose how best to accomplish their work, rather than being directed by others outside the team." This can include process overload.
Jira is a rich tool with a lot of features, and agility is a hallmark. Teams can very easily craft their own projects to match their configurations. However, in most cases, it's better to limit your configuration schemes to 2 or 3 "templates", for many reasons
- Teams understand the system and consistency between projects helps make transitions easier
- Administration overhead is reduced and you don't need people entirely focused on the management of the tool, versus actually getting work done
- Data is standardized. Garbage in, garbage out is very much true for measuring progress and productivity for your teams, and there can be a lot more garbage out when every team works a different way.
Focus on creating systems, not achieving goals.