In first Timesavers post we have covered Out of The Box function – keyboard shortcuts. This time we focus on function which is a part of Confluence by default, but is a major gap in JIRA and You need add-ons to build it there. Templates in JIRA and Confluence – they save a lot of time on recurring tasks, docs, projects, etc.
The most default templating function is Confluence Blueprints – available Out of The Box or from Marketplace (although I am not convinced all are valuable). They allow to differentiate content pages, or even sections within Space – e.g. building File, or Meeting minutes repo. If build-in blueprints are not enough – You will find some at Marketplace. With add-ons like: Page Tree Creator or Brikit Blueprint Maker You can even make Your own – on the side, or instead of Global Templates.
Global templates in Confluence
Apart from blueprints You can use Global Templates in Confluence. What’s the difference? Blueprints may contain page structures, or even whole spaces structured with page templates. You can switch them on or off within a space. E.g. In a Team space You can display only page templates related to team work and meetings and switch off product requirements, knowledge bases etc. Global templates will be indeed global. They will be visible regardless of Your will in “Create” dialogs in every space. And they can template pages only. But You can make just as many as You want without any cost – It is just about to go to Global Templates section in Administration and creating one. Or two. Or dozens.
Templating issues in JIRA
Templating issues within JIRA is not a native function. However, there is a variety of add-ons allowing it, from simple ones, to complex, and sophisticated. Our favorite is Issue Templates from InTenso (let’s only say – our co-author – Ninja No. 1, from a customer side was the one to initiate development of this add-on) – It showed up at our Top 10, and within next few weeks You will see the test case for it. Tested recently Automation for JIRA has also some templating options. Depending on add-on You will be able to:
- use predefined issue types and field values;
- use predefined sets of field values – templates
- build complex templates including subtasks, context use (availability of templates due to conditions)
- manage sequence of subtasks or related tasks within template
- autoassign issues
- run specific operations based on templates
- manage recurrency of tasks
Some of functions above will require two or more add-ons to cooperate. These will give You the ability to run many business cases – from recurrent simple tasks, through managing various cases under one issue type & workflow up to meeting compliance regulations (e.g. standard changes under ITIL/COBIT).
Templates of projects
Some of add-ons You will find using Marketplace links above (e.g. Gaia) will offer You ability to template the projects, basing on existing ones. It means You will keep the same Workflows, Project configuration, Permission or notification schemes. That’s one of the most valuable options in templates in JIRA and Confluence. It is quite useful option if You run many similar projects, e.g. You have numerous SCRUM teams working on variety of products. However from my experience – the most valuable is reusable Workflows and screens, plus their schemes option. JIRA keeps multiplying WFs and screens/schemes, even if You choose Out of the Box function to create project with shared configuration. In structured organizations You will most probably have sets of schemes predefined to specific project types – e.g. Project Management, ITSM, SW Dev, DevOps etc. Without shared WFs, screens, schemes it is a bit time consuming to switch to “official” schemes, and to delete project specific ones.
Templates in JIRA and Confluence – benefits
Of course the main benefit is time-saving. Depending on the case You will save few minutes to half an hour per Confluence page and several minutes per JIRA issue. But this is not the only one.
Templates in JIRA and Confluence will allow You also to:
- keep consistency within Confluence content –
- standardize way to record tickets in JIRA, including proper categorization and parameters, including Service Desk issues
- inform users (within templates, using instructions etc. in predefined content – how to progress with content or issue
- In JIRA, with some plugins – You are able to manage complex tasks, split them into sequences of sub-actions, and manage conditions and validators between them, and related e.g. to inserted into issue data
All of above means savings in time (and time is worth more than money), plus precision in content and issue management. Bottom line: NO WASTE – which is one of major points for Kanban and related models: Kaizen, LEAN etc.