jira-automation-plugin

Sometimes cool products appear out of the blue. Organizations search for a tool for performing their daily repetitive tasks and provided they find none, they create it from scratch. If they get a good result, they share it with others. This is how JIRA Automation Plugin came into existence.

JIRA Automation plugin was developed and made available by Atlassian on January 2014. The first idea was to develop a new add-on to replace the ‘Jelly’ and the ‘auto-transition listener’ plugin. The goal was to provide the same configuration but in a user friendly way.

Thanks to the add-on, a JIRA admin doesn’t need to spend time looking for these issues and writing something to each user. A user only needs to find the correct JQL (JIRA query language) filter, write a comment and apply the automation. Automation is a time-saving process and enables a user to focus on key tasks which requires human interventions.

The main features are the following:

  • Executing a JQL script in a given time frame
  • Adding comments on existing issues
  • Configuring automation easily
  • Reacting to various JIRA events
  • Accessing source code to add actions/triggers

A JIRA admin could define two different use cases for this plugin: one for JIRA and the other for JIRA associated with Service Desk.

Automation with JIRA

Here are a few ideas the user may wish to implement to take user’s team to the next level of efficiency if the user is a project manager :

  • To comment on an issue if it has not been updated for 15 days
  • To comment on an issue every hour if it has a “blocker” priority and if it has not evolved
  • To trigger a transition if someone logs work on an issue
  • To assign a reopened issue to the last person who commented it

 

Automation with JIRA & Service Desk

With the new Service Desk add-on provided by Atlassian, we have now a tool to get tickets raised by our clients or other parts of the company but a few automatic tasks are missing, such as automatic answers when a ticket is raised for instance. In this case, Automation can help us providing a better service.

Here is a list of possible rules the user can create for Service Desk :

  • To change the priority of an issue if it was commented by any type of user (a client for example)
  • To call a client again if he did not answer user’s last comment a week before
  • To send an automatic response when a ticket is raised
  • To comment an issue if user’s SLA ends in less than 10 Min (and to restrict this comment to the user’s developer)

 

How does it work

To create an automated task, the user need to create and enable at least one rule.

The rule is created in 4 steps :

Step 1: Setting a rule name and user account to work under

A user can enable the rule as soon as it is created
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Step 2: Setting a trigger type

There are three types of trigger types – a JQL expressions, an issue event & an issue property set event.

When working with JQL filters, the user need to specify a JQL expression and time for executing these expressions in a CRON format. The user can also limit the number of results retrieved by the JQL expression.

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In case a user needs to perform some actions triggered by an issue event, the user should select these events. If required, a user can select multiple events. If required, a user can limit issues affected by the trigger using the issue statuses. Also, a user can set a limit for users whose actions can activate the trigger.

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Step 3: Adding triggered actions

There are limited actions that can be performed automatically. Few of them are changing a responsible person, editing or deleting an issue. However, a user can add several of these which gives the user a big range of possible solutions.

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Step 4: Confirmation

This is a validation step where an user validates all the steps taken.

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In order to configure the plugin easily, there’re options like rule disabling, editing and copying available for the users. Of course, the users have an option to delete rules as well. The add-on performs audit on rules and actions. It also enable an user to limit the frequency of performing actions to avoid server overloading. However, this limiting algorithm is obscure and not customizable, and an user can only enable or disable it.

Conclusion

Atlassian made a pretty handy solution for automatically performing easy actions in JIRA. Although the tool is quite new, it boasts relatively flexible and, more importantly, intuitive settings. Though bit unstable, it gives a good stab at a relatively newer version. However, there’s still room for improvement.

It makes sense to use it on large JIRA instances with hundreds and thousands of users but it can be useful on smaller instances too.

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