Set Jira Tasks Properly – IT Project Manager Chronicles

I differentiate 4 types of setting tasks by IT Project Managers:

1. Mixed;
2. ASAP;
3. Confusing;
4. Proper;

All these types I have collected from my own experience, so it’s my personal point of view, based on working with different teams at several companies during the last 3 years. You can guess from the namings, what they mean, but let’s dive a little deeper.

Setting informative and proper tasks on the JIRA board saves a lot of time for the IT Project Manager and the team.

Let’s start with the first type.

Mixed type.
This is one of the time-consuming types of handling tasks. For example, you want your team to solve web design (updating some styles on the website) and page speed optimization (loading the page less than in 2 seconds) issues for the same page. Some project managers will include these tasks in one Jira ticket, assuming that they refer to the same page and the developer will update the status of completed work in one place.
I believe, your team won’t get confused from such style of handling the tasks, but it will be mixed and not accurate from the point of tracking the dev’s work, your work and stakeholder audit. Also it can happen, that the web design task will be completed very fast, but the page speed optimization issue will cause another issues, and you results will be mixed. Or, the web design task has to be reviewed by the web dev team, and the page speed task by the SEO team. So two different teams will be confused to see 2 unrelated issues in one place.
For that reason, the best choice is to have two separate tasks, because you never know, what other issues, or pauses can be caused during the implementation stage.

Sometimes, working in a hurry causes a lot more issues, and in fact, you lose more time, than if you would have done things slower.

ASAP type.
There can be situations when you receive ASAP requirements from your CEO, stakeholders, colleagues, etc. For example, “please we need this done after 1 hour, or needed yesterday”. The first thing that comes to my mind is, why did you let the situation come out of control, and now we have to hurry in panic. I don’t speak about justified ASAP issues, such as “the site is down” or similar ones. I mean the situations when someone forgot something or hasn’t prioritized properly.
So what happens next, is that the PM is setting High or Urgent priority tasks and hurrying the team up. In it’s turn, this situation is causing panic, stress and a lack of confidence among your team members.
To avoid such situations, make sure the reason of hurrying up is justified and has excuses. Or warn your colleagues to avoid such working style next time. Because it can blow your work process some day and lay your team down with the project deadlines.

Your team members are as human as you, so don’t think they are AI machines that will understand the mix of words you type in your tasks.

Confusing type.
It happens a lot, when project managers copy-paste the task headers from other teams’ requirements and literally put them in the ticket header. Or you can meet such tasks, where the PM hasn’t even mentioned the exact location (for example – a webpage) where the job needs to be done. And, the developer or SEO specialist, is wasting time investigating or guessing what the PM meant while setting the task. As a result, we have wasted time, nerves, and miscommunication. Sometimes also issues with the deadlines.

A good PM is the one, who lessens the time of chat conversation and call meetings, by letting the team know exactly what, when, and where needs to be done.

Proper type.
I divide this type into 4 chunks:
a) informative;
b) prioritized;
c) straight to the point;
d) screenshots or screencasts;
e) proper executer;

INFORMATIVE. Here I mean that your task’s header and description have to be descriptive in simple words, to help the executor understand what exactly do you need.

PRIORITIZED. Always try to set tasks with a reserved time for you and the team. Also as a project manager, you have to understand the period the task can be completed and set the urgency of its implementation (urgent, high, medium, low, lowest). how much time will last. Also, you should follow up with the deadlines and let your team know the deadlines, besides setting due dates on the ticket.

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT. In the task header and description try to explain the main goal of setting the task in one sentence. Informative and long descriptions can be a good option when the executor understands at first glance what needs to be done.

SCREENSHOTS, SCREENCASTS. These are the best helpers for the executors and stakeholders to visualize the issue or the solution. It depends. Screenshots or screencasts are great solutions in everyday working style, although some team members try to avoid them. As a PM you should provide such data as much as you can, and require the same from your team.

PROPER EXECUTOR. If you work in a large or medium company, there can be situations, when some developers are busy or overloaded, despite they are in charge of the implementation of your project. So, before setting a task to a particular executor, try to find out their free time and the urgency of other tasks they are handling. This will minimize the stress and miscommunication among your team. And also will help you understand when and to whom you can assign the task.

So, let’s summarize.
If you keep in mind the chunks above and implement them in your work process, you will be able to have smooth communication and task handling in your team.

And remember, each day can be a stress or joy in work. You make the “climate” among your team.

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Posted by Edgar Hovhannisyan


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