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Jun 24

7 Best Jira Apps for Project Management

Jira is the preferred work management tool for thousands of teams worldwide. However, users can tailor the software to other use cases, with project portfolio management being one of them. To expand Jira’s capabilities swiftly and safely, you can install third-party apps from the Atlassian Marketplace. With over 5,000 apps to choose from, it’s hard to pick the right one. Here is a list of the 7 best Jira apps you need to use to get more data, better clarity, and enhance the overall effectiveness of managing your projects.

The list contains seven categories. Each one features a must-have app that is either the most popular, has the highest rating, or offers the best functionalities for the end-users.

Data Integration

Project management without appropriate data is unlikely to yield good results. The thing is, most people keep various types of data in different tools, which makes it challenging to work efficiently. You might need an integration tool to keep all sorts of information in one place. Fortunately, there is an app for that in the Atlassian Marketplace.

Elements Connect

Screenshot of Elements Connect

One of the top Jira apps allowing users to merge data from various sources is called Elements Connect. The tool lets you import external data to Jira custom fields from databases, REST APIs, or CRM software, to name a few. Furthermore, you can create dependencies based on the data you receive.

On top of data integration, Elements Connect allows users to display data the way they want to. For instance, when creating a Jira task, managers are free to decide which information is visible to the team members.

For project management, adding data from other sources to a task in Jira helps the entire team. It can provide further context to the scope; the more the team members know, the better.

Time Tracking

No matter what methodology you operate in, measuring time spent on projects is invaluable. While you can track time in Jira, there are tools that take this action a step further. Considering the number of installs and the rating, one app comes out on top of the list.

Tempo Timesheets for Jira

Screenshot of Tempo Timesheets for Jira

The time tracking app expands Jira’s usefulness by adding fields where users are able to log the time they spent on a given task or issue without the need to leave Jira. Simply put, Tempo Timesheets makes logging easier and faster.

Based on the data the team members logged in, managers can generate automated reports. It will help see how much time has been spent on a given project or task in a clear manner. Reporting lets managers track each team member individually across all tasks undertaken in a given time.

Other noteworthy features include the creation of detailed timesheets as well as integrations with Google and Microsoft calendars and Project Portfolio Management tools like BigPicture Enterprise.

Team Collaboration

The point of a team is to work together to reach a common goal. It’s easier to do so when everyone knows what to do and gets to see the workload in a digestible manner. That’s what collaboration visualization tools are for. What are the best Jira apps in this category? Actually, there is only one answer.

Whiteboards for Jira

Screenshot of Whiteboards for Jira

The app allows you to create virtual collaborative boards where multiple users can work simultaneously. It’s made with Agile teams in mind, and it contains blueprints for sessions like user story mapping, retrospective, risk analysis, and more.

In Whiteboards for Jira, you can add Jira tasks straight from the backlog to the whiteboard using drag and drop, which will be useful in situations like Sprint planning or backlog refinement.

The whiteboards are fully customizable, meaning that the team members have options to add post-it notes, images, animations, or even videos to visualize the upcoming work better.

Design

Project managers use diagrams for many reasons, and making them in Jira would add another level of functionality to the already-advanced tool. There is plenty to choose from as far as design apps go, but if you’re looking for the best Jira apps, this category has a clear frontrunner.

draw.io Diagrams for Jira

Screenshot of draw.io

In its Confluence version, it’s the most popular app on the Atlassian Marketplace, with over 50,000 installs. However, draw.io is also available for Jira. When it comes to creating visuals in Jira, it’s a must-have tool.

The creative process takes place on a visual board that contains a drag-and-drop editor with a vast library of shapes and other assets to choose from and edit to your liking. The app supports multiple types of diagrams, infographics, wireframes, mockups, and a lot more.

The designs stay in Jira, giving you quick access without the need to leave the software. On top of that, draw.io makes it easy to import designs from a wide range of tools and export the finished illustration in the most popular formats.

Automation

Jira offers functionalities that help automate repetitive actions and processes. Nevertheless, there are apps that build on Jira’s cornerstone and offer extra features. In project management, automation saves time both for managers and team members alike. In terms of popularity, no app ranks higher than ScriptRunner. It simply had to be included in the list of the best Jira apps.

ScriptRunner for Jira

Screenshot of ScriptRunner for Jira

ScriptRunner has a wide range of helpful functions that support Jira users in automating an unlimited number of workflows and creating scripted fields. Speaking of scripts, the app contains a scripting engine that lets you create your own scripts if you know what you’re doing. Alternatively, you can make use of a script library to make the process easier.

As for workflows, aside from automation, you can create custom ones and define conditions, validators, and post functions. ScriptRunner also enhances JQL searches. The app allows you to customize the way your Jira instance looks so that you get the most out of the Atlassian software.

If you’re looking for an automation tool that doesn’t focus so heavily on coding, you should give JSU Automation Suite for Jira Workflows a go. It offers advanced workflow customization options without the need for coding skills.

Agile Planning

There are many techniques that Agile teams use to estimate user stories, with Planning Poker being one of the most popular. It’s a game that uses cards with the Fibonacci sequence numbers to assign values to each story by all members. That way, estimating a story is more straightforward, and the entire team gets a say in it.

Planning Poker®

Screenshot of Planning Poker app for Jira

When estimating user stories in Jira, there is no better app than Planning Poker®. The app seamlessly integrates with Jira, so you can use tasks or story points directly from your Sprint Backlog to quickly create a planning poker game with all your team members for as many items as you like. The votes happen in real-time and are anonymous, so members won’t rely on each other’s answers. Teams can vote on desktop or mobile devices.

The app is interactive, and assigning values is easy. Scrum Masters have the option to use the Fibonacci sequence, t-shirt sizes, and hours. They can even create custom deck types to choose other sets of values that fit their teams best.

It’s the most popular Agile Planning app for a reason. It will help your Agile team estimate user stories faster and in a neat-looking way.

Project Portfolio Management

All of the categories listed above have their roles to play in project management. But without an all-encompassing PPM software, they won’t make as much of an impact. Every project is an intricate entity, so simply tracking tasks is not enough to manage large initiatives effectively. When you consider entire portfolios, it’s even more important to use a tool that lets you get a clear picture of what happens where across the board.

Information is king, and visualization is a close ally. That’s why Jira users pick PPM software that combines easy access to a variety of data on multiple levels of the portfolio with visualization tools that make the available information more digestible right away. If you’re looking for the very best, look no further.

BigPicture

When it comes to Jira PPM tools, nothing beats BigPicture. It’s a powerhouse of an app that turns your Jira instance into a fully-fledged and feature-packed project portfolio management tool.

The software contains a wide range of features that help you plan the team’s work in detail, manage teams, accurately monitor progress, assess risks, and distribute available resources effectively – no matter what your preferred methodology is; Classic, Agile, or Hybrid. It means the app is suitable for businesses at any stage of the Agile transformation.

With BigPicture, you have a full view of the entire portfolio in one place, and finding a given project, epic, sprint, or task is easy as pie. Furthermore, teams don’t need to change their software. They can still use Atlassian tools like Jira, Trello, or Confluence, and the data will be sent to your BigPicture instance automatically.

Using BigPicture to manage portfolios, programs, and projects will help you save time, get better control over the entire landscape of initiatives, and make decisions that align with your strategic goals.

And there it is, the list of the seven best Jira apps to help you in your project management efforts. Of course, there are plenty of other tools that make Jira better. Still, these are simply must-haves if you want to keep better control over your project portfolio, get more reliable data, design easier, track time more effectively, and automate a wider selection of processes.

About The Author

Content Specialist at BigPicture. Passionate about new technologies, both in hardware and software form, as well as creating educational content that makes complex ideas more understandable.