For corporations looking to bolster their Agile Planning Tool strategy, the field often narrows down to two heavyweights: Atlassian and Microsoft. Both are stellar in their offerings, but do we really have to choose just one? Imagine the possibilities if we harness the strengths of both these tools. Here's how:
Jira and Azure DevOps: A Match Made in Agile Heaven
Jira is widely recognized and favored by frontend developers, business units, including Product Owners and Project Managers, due to its strong integration with Confluence—an excellent tool for creating and maintaining knowledge bases or intranets. This setup allows for a unified location for all plans, strategies, and information. In addition, Jira ServiceDesk also makes it an attractive choice for Support teams.
Azure DevOps, on the other hand, is much adored by backend developers as it simplifies task and code repository management.
Instead of mandating one tool over the other, why not employ Agile principles and let development teams self-organize, allowing them to choose the tech stack that maximizes their efficiency?
Atlassian's Jira and Microsoft's DevOps: Gartner's Perspective
In April 2021, Gartner's Magic Quadrant for "Enterprise Agile Planning Tools" featured an analysis of 16 vendors, including Atlassian and Microsoft.
Gartner's report praised Atlassian as a leader due to its large installed base globally, made possible by the team-level Jira Software tool and the Jira Align that provides end-to-end visibility, traceability, and insight into all product delivery processes. However, Atlassian's decision to shift from Jira Server to Jira Cloud or Jira Data Center, coupled with rising prices, has led to some discontent among users.
Microsoft, in contrast, emerged as a challenger. Its Azure Boards product, which integrates with GitHub Enterprise, provides developers an Enterprise Agile Planning (EAP) alternative to the developer-focused Issues and Projects capabilities native to GitHub. Azure Boards further strengthens the Azure DevOps suite by linking planning aspects with the entire "ideation to deployment" value stream.
So, what does this imply? Jira excels in project management, particularly in enterprise environments, while Azure DevOps, with Azure Boards, empowers tech teams. Thus, integrating the two might be the best approach for harnessing the full potential of both.
Azure DevOps and Jira Integration: Unleashing the Benefits
A well-implemented bi-directional integration between Azure DevOps and Jira can help you keep teams in sync. This strategy works for both internal integration (different teams within your organization) and external integration (contractors, service providers, or newly-acquired companies). This way, communication gaps or miscommunication between project management and development teams are minimized.
Moreover, manual task transfers or limited native tools may lead to data loss. With a strong integration strategy, custom fields, attachments, and users can be seamlessly integrated, eliminating this risk. Further, real-time integration ensures you won't lose time transitioning issues—an essential feature when quick response is crucial to your business.
Here's an example of how an effective Azure Boards – Jira integration may look:
- The Project Owner logs a new "feature" in Jira (with attachments), which is instantly integrated to Azure Boards via getint.io.
- The Development Team can add comments, which are synced back to Jira.
- Once all details are clarified, the Development Team breaks down this feature into "user stories," which are integrated back into Jira, allowing them to add story points to estimate their work.
- After completing the work in Azure Boards, the Development Team marks "user stories" as complete. This status is synchronized back to Jira.
The Project Owner can use the getint.io platform to connect Jira with the Zendesk or ServiceNow instance of the Support Team. This allows the Project Owner to see new support tickets in their Jira board or configure the tool so that when the support team adds a label "dev-team," the ticket is synced directly to the Development Team's Azure DevOps instance.
So, we agree that integrating Azure DevOps with Jira can lead to substantial outcomes, but how do you choose the best tool for this integration?
Choosing the Best Integration Platform for Jira and Azure DevOps
While considering an integration platform, keep in mind the following:
Monitoring: Choose a tool with built-in reporting for easy checks and compatibility with monitoring tools like Prometheus, PagerDuty, and NewRelic.
Technical Maturity: Look for technically mature tools capable of handling complex integrations. Consider features like the ability to integrate attachments, comments, statuses, assignees, labels/tags, custom fields, support for hierarchical relationships, post creation updates, and custom scripting.
Reliability: A good tool works in the background without requiring constant management.
Ease of Use: Even advanced tools should be simple to start with. You want to test its functionality and understand the logic behind it before committing fully.
Flexibility: Can the tool handle changes from basic to complicated cases? Will it support your growth as your needs evolve?
Security: For sensitive data, ensure the tool can work behind the firewall or be installed on your infrastructure. On the other hand, for convenience, it should also offer an out-of-the-box solution.
Performance: Ensure the tool won't affect the performance of Jira and Azure DevOps, and can handle massive volumes of tasks/issues without delay.
Installation: Choose tools that offer a variety of installation options and don't affect your primary applications.
Reviews and Experience: Check reviews, not just the quantity but the sentiment and descriptiveness. Direct access to an experienced team is a plus.
Service Option: It helps if the provider offers a full-service option instead of just selling a license. Having the integration done for you can save a lot of trouble.
Price: Consider the value you get for the price. Make sure you understand the complete cost structure.
How to Set up Azure DevOps Jira Integration (Step by Step)
Before starting the integration, there are some steps that you should follow:
Preparing the integration
First, open an Excel file and clearly outline what you want to integrate. This includes identifying the types and fields that need to be integrated and ensuring they are created in both Jira and Azure DevOps. Also, map out the statuses, especially if workflows differ between the two platforms.
Consider whether you need SaaS or an OnPremise version. If it's the latter, ensure that you can prepare the required machines promptly. Identify the key decision-makers who will authorize the purchase of the app and keep them involved from the start.
Confirm if you need to install the application in both Jira and ADO and whether you have the required permissions to do so. Evaluate the requirements for OnPremise installation and ensure you can meet them. For the getint.io platform, you have the option to install the application in both Jira and Azure DevOps, but it's not a requirement, and the infrastructure needed for an on-premise installation is easily achievable.
Installing free trial of Getint.io Azure DevOps Jira integration
The free trial version of Getint.io Azure DevOps Jira integration is available on the Atlassian Marketplace. Simply click on “Try it free” and use it for 30 days. You can learn how to use the platform by reading the documentation and watching video tutorials.
Support and further possibilities
If you require full-service support, a premium SLA, or custom development services, you can reach out via email.
Choosing the License type
Decide whether you want to pay via the Atlassian Marketplace. Determine whether you need an annual or monthly subscription. Check if you can buy the app directly from Getint.io or if it's necessary to buy it via an Atlassian Partner.
Installing free trial of Getint.io Azure DevOps Jira integration
- Via Atlassian Marketplace: Go to the Atlassian Marketplace, search for “Azure DevOps for Jira integration, sync, migration.[New app]” or go to the “apps” menu in your Jira view, then “explore more apps” -> “find new apps” and type “Azure DevOps for Jira”. Click “Try it free”.
- If installation from the Atlassian Marketplace isn't possible, reach out to Getint.io directly.
- After getting access to the trial version, go to “integrations” and start building your scheme.
Jira Azure DevOps integration – configuration
To configure the integration, follow these steps:
- Connect your Jira: Select Jira as the first application. Create a new connection using a login and API Token for Jira Cloud, or a password for Jira Server, and Jira Data Center.
- Connect Azure DevOps: Select Azure DevOps from the dropdown menu, establish a new connection (a token will be needed), select the project, and provide additional queries if needed.
- Map the types: This includes types like Bug, Issue, Task, Work Item, Feature, Risk, User Story, Sub-task.
- Map the fields: Map out the fields within the types. These fields can range from basic ones like 'title', 'description', 'labels/tags', 'assignees' to custom fields.
- Configure the statuses: This matters for companies that want to track the progress of work.
- Enable comments and attachments integration: If you want to synchronise comments and attachments, simply enable it.
Doing it your way: The Scripting
For advanced cases, you may want to add custom scripts. This is possible with Getint.io.
Final touch: Name your integration, configure the integration settings
In the settings tab, you can specify the time when the integration should work, how it should behave, and how often the runs should happen.
Maintaining the tool: Reporting, and help
It's a good practice to check the status of the integration from time to time. For this, Getint.io provides a dashboard with graphs. Additionally, there are plenty of options for support, if needed.