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What Is Jira? A Quick Baby Basics Guide for 2023

Last updated on March 4th, 2023 at 02:14 am

When Jira was launched 20 years ago, no one knew how much of a vital role it would play in the role of project management. Now, Jira is a premier project management software that is used by project managers and business analysts all over the world.

According to Atlasstian statistics, 83 percent of Fortune 500 companies use Jira, with 180,000 customers in 190 countries.

But what is Jira and how will using Jira software benefit your business? Or even benefit your career as a business analyst?

Jira fanatics:

No. I’ll take the wheel from here, thank you.

What is Jira and What Does It Do?

Jira, a product of the company Atlassian, is an issue tracking and project management tool used for task management. Jira can be used to track bugs, features, and tasks for any software project.

It’s also used to plan, manage, and release software projects. Jira is basically a tool for developers to keep track of what they’re doing and what needs to be done.

It’s also used to communicate with other developers and stakeholders about what’s going on with the project. In short, Jira is a tool that helps developers, project managers, analysts, and stakeholders work better together.

How Jira Works / How To Use Jira

How to Create a Project in Jira

Let’s create a project in Jira. The first step is to log into your account and click on the ‘Create Project’ button.

First off, when you get to the main page, you will see the word PROJECTS at the upper left of the page. Click the plus icon to the right of PROJECTS and choose a template from the popup.

This will bring up a form where you’ll need to fill out some basic information about your projects, such as the project name and description. Once you’ve completed the form, click on the ‘Create’ button and your project will be created!

If you’re new to Jira, don’t worry – it’s actually pretty simple once you get the hang of it. And if you ever have any questions, there’s always someone available to help out in the Jira community forums.

How to Create a Task in Jira

No project is complete without a to-do list, and no to-do list is complete without task management. Fortunately, adding tasks to your project is easy.

First off, in the TO DO section of the board (far left) click on CREATE.

When the field popluates, type in the task you want to create.

Hit ENTER and viola! A TO DO task has been created.

Subtasks in Jira

If you wish to get super-specific on your tasks you can do so as seen in the screenshot below.

As you can see, there are buttons for attachments, links to other projects, assigning the said task to someone in your group, prioritization of the task, etc.

But suppose you need to add a child task, or a sub-task if you will. Easy peasy.

Simply click on the ADD A CHILD ISSUE button as circled, type in your sub-task and click CREATE. Boom!

With these steps, you’ll be able to easily add tasks to your project and keep them organized.

How to Assign a Task in Jira

Assigning a task to a team member in Jira is easy peasy. All it takes is a few clicks.

All you need to do is click on the task to open it up and to the right of the popup, you will see ASSIGNEE. If you have assigning capabilities, click on UNASSIGNED, type in the name of the person you want to see it assigned to, click on the said name, and voila!

In addition, you can also change task priority, add a due date and start date, and keep track of the time that was logged working on this particular task.

How to track the progress of your Jira project

Jira gives you boards to help you keep track of your project. For my example below I did a simple board with three columns: TO DO, IN PROGRESS, and DONE.

So let’s say you assigned the “do keyword research on Jira” task and it’s in progress.

How do you move the task to the IN PROGRESS COLUMN? Two ways. The easiest is to just grab the task and drag it to the IN PROGRESS column.

One other way is to open the task, click on the TO DO drop-down menu, and choose the status that it is in now.

NOTE: This does not automatically do the same for any subtasks, you will need to choose their statuses separately.

Jira Terminology

Just like most software, Jira has its own terminology for you to get to know (and maybe shake your head over.)


In JIRA, an Issue refers to something that your organization needs to track. In other words, it’s a way for businesses to stay on top of their responsibilities.

You’re able to make as many different types of Issues as you want- ones specific to what your company does- and record extensive details about each one. Not only that, but you can track an issue’s progress over time and have others help work on it with you.

There can be multiple issues within a single project too in case yours is especially complex or large-scale. And if an issue gets too big, you can break it down into sub-tasks so that it is manageable again.

Lastly, every issue has access to its own screen where all the information regarding the said issue is displayed; users are also allowed view this data chronologically through a workflow feature.


A JIRA project is a container that stores all of the associated Issues. It functions similarly to how you would normally think of the word “project.”

Every project requires both a name and someone who will act as the lead for that project. When you generate a new project in JIRA, it will automatically create a unique key (most likely an acronym of the project name) that is included in every issue and sub-task under the said project.

You can also set different workflows for each issue type within that given project.


JIRA workflow details the stages an issue goes through from start to finish. You can make workflows as complicated or simple as you want, depending on your project and organizational needs.

Plus, different workflows can be applied to each issue type within a project. Navigating an issue screen is one of the main features of JIRA.


In Agile, a story is a concise statement of something that needs to be accomplished. For example: As a writer, I want people to be able to read the text I post.

Stories can be divided into sub-tasks, and similar stories can be combined into what is called an epic. In JIRA, a story is an issue type and always has ties to a project.

However, cross-project workflows are possible with an epic by grouping together multiple projects’ worth of stories. Additionally, a version allows stories for future release (so you view which stories are slated for version 1 of the product, etc).


The Scrum methodology is one way to enact Agile project management principles in a team environment. It usually involves small groups working together closely for limited time periods, called sprints.

Each day of a sprint, the scrum team has a short stand up meeting where they discuss what was accomplished during the previous work period, what will be tackled next, and any roadblocks that might impede progress.

The main focuses of the Scrum approach are making accurate predictions about how long each task will take and then measuring whether or not those estimates were correct by monitoring the speed of completion for each sprint.

Scrum teams have flat structures–meaning hierarchy within roles isn’t as important–and there are only three consistent roles that can change with each new Sprint: Product Owner, Scrum Master and whoever else is on the team that cycles around.


Those wonderful, unasked-for problems that pop up and impair or prevent a function of your project.

Jira Tips and Tricks

Jira is a great tool for tracking tasks, but it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Jira:

1. Don’t add every little task to Jira. Only add things that are actually worth tracking. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with a cluttered mess.

2. Use Jira’s search function to find what you’re looking for. It’s amazingly powerful and can save you a lot of time.

3. Learn the keyboard shortcuts. They’ll help you navigate Jira faster and make you look like a pro.

4. Take advantage of Jira’s custom fields and workflows to tailor it to your specific needs.

5. Use the reporting features to get insights into your team’s progress and spot any potential problems early on.

6. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help! There’s a lot to learn about Jira, but there are plenty of resources out there to help you get started.


Jira is an excellent work management tool that can help you with tasks big and small.

Its user-friendly interface makes it easy to get started, but there’s also a lot of power under the hood for those who need it.

By understanding some of the basics of how Jira software works, as well as some tips and tricks, you can make this tool work even better for you and your team members.

Do you think Jira might be a good fit for your needs? Can you see yourself using it to manage projects big and small? Let us know in the comments.

Author Bio

Dani Lehmer is the Founder and Head Honcho of Dani Digs In.

She is a Quality Assurance Analyst and blogger whose natural curiosity allows her
to dig in (pun intended) to help people build their businesses and satiate curiosity
in regard to data science, analysis, and crypto.

Connect with Dani on LinkedIn.

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