Clean up your workflow and your house with JIRA
By: Kyle Weber
March 14, 2018 | Reading Time: 4 mins
“What do you mean your parents are coming in two weeks?”
Kelly looks at me as though we’ve talked about this.
“They’re coming up for Easter, remember?”
It sounds familiar, but pointing at who was listening and who wasn’t solves nothing. What matters is Kelly’s parents gave us Febreze and a Roomba for Christmas. During their last visit they polished the legs of our kitchen chairs. They’re not subtle.
“But look at this place!” I say, “It’s a disaster!”
It may seem like two weeks is plenty time to clean, but Kelly and I have jobs, obligations, Netflix – this is a tight deadline. We’re gonna need some heavy artillery.
We’re gonna need JIRA.
WHAT IS JIRA?
JIRA is a project management tool that fuels efficiency and supports an agile approach. If you’re tackling a project with a million moving parts, JIRA allows you to work smart and stay organized while sticking to a timeline. It’s exactly what we need to get our house all spick-and-span.
With Easter fast approaching, Kelly and I are working in a 2 week sprint. Within this time frame, we’ll need to hit the kitchen, living room, bedroom and both bathrooms. We’ll setup these non-descript jobs as Epics.
Next, we’ll break down each Epic into a series of manageable tasks, like dusting, and sweeping. From there, each task is given a Reporter (the one overseeing the task) and an Assignee (the one carrying out the task). I’ll assign mopping to our Roomba, Elliot, while I clean my beard out of the sink and Kelly hits the windows. From there, tasks are moved across our Agile board from To Do, In Progress and Blocked to Complete.
This is great and all, but wouldn’t the time spent in JIRA be better spent scrubbing? Fair question. You’ve likely cleaned your house without the help of Kanban before, but how long did it take? How much time did you spend wondering what to do next? How often did you find yourself on hands and knees pulling hair out of the drain even though you’re bald and none of the hair is yours while Kelly’s in the kitchen on her phone instead of cleaning the stove??
THE BENEFITS OF USING JIRA
CAPACITY PLANNING AND ACCOUNTABILITY
With JIRA you can clearly see who’s responsible for what. With a visual layout of your active sprint, you can evenly delegate tasks so no one is under utilized or over extended. No more cleaning the entire basement by yourself while your partner folds laundry. Cleaning the basement is an Epic full of tasks, tasks that’ll be divided across the team for a balanced workload.
Not only can you track who’s assigned what, but you’ll be able to see who’s been productive and who’s slacking. This sort of public shaming could help keep people to task, or at least limit the time they spend reminiscing about every single thing in their closet.
STRATEGIC PLANNING AND EXECUTION
On top of breaking jobs into epics and epics into tasks, JIRA allows you to go deeper and designate priorities. This ensures you take down tasks in an order that makes sense. Never again will your house smell like old meat because you sorted the fridge after garbage day. Get granular with your planning to get the most out of your Kanban.
Planning your sprint with JIRA ensures you account for everything. How many times have you felt on top of things, just to have something fall through the cracks and leave you scrambling at the finish line? Say you realize you have more dirty clothes than you thought. Don’t just make a mental note, add a second laundry task to the sprint and work it into your schedule.
OTHER BELLS AND WHISTLES
JIRA has a load of additional features that’ll enhance your project management. When I’m out getting garbage bags, I can check the mobile app to see if Kelly’s updated my “Cleaning Supplies” task with more items. We can figure out what jobs take longest through JIRA’s time tracking function. Maybe one of us wanted to use Trello instead of JIRA? No problem, you can synchronize tasks between the two without missing a beat.
START YOUR SPRINT
JIRA isn’t meant to help you plan your deep clean and it isn’t marketed to couples and their Roomba. It’s meant for Agile teams looking to optimize and iterate on campaigns, websites, and other major projects. Despite its intended use, the benefits of JIRA shine through on even the smallest stages by allowing you to stay organized and in control. I’m swamped with work, obligations and Netflix, but my house is coming around. I even had time to publish this blog.