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Untitled-257One of the best things about leveraging Jira as your project management tool is its ease of customization. Teams can easily leverage custom fields to help personalize their projects and make sure they’re gathering the right information.

However, there is such a thing as having too many custom fields. Making custom fields that are too similar to one another, hyper-specific/non-reusable, or even duplicates of one another has a great potential impact on your Jira instance. Not only is it a confusing user experience for those creating custom queries or admins doing maintenance, but on Data Center it can even impact your instance’s resourcing needs.

Luckily, it’s easier now than ever to find creative solutions to reduce, reuse, and recycle the fields that already exist. Below, you’ll find three tips on how to keep your Custom Field count lean.


1. Custom Field Contexts

The first tip is a standard practice in Jira administration, using Field Contexts. This feature is available in all versions of Jira, and, as its name suggests, it allows you to change how the field appears based on its context. 

For example, let’s pretend we’re using a custom field called “Colors,” and Project A needs you to be able to select from “Orange,” “Blue,” and “Green” as the options. Later on, Project B also wants a field for “Colors,” but they want “Red,” “Yellow,” and “Pink.” Contexts would allow you to easily change the options on a per-project basis instead of setting up two different custom fields called “Colors.” You can also leverage them to change default values. 

Atlassian has thorough documentation on how to leverage Custom Field contexts, and it’s also a good idea to check up on your existing contexts as part of an Organization and Cleanup effort!


2. Forms

In Jira Cloud, there is a built-in function called “Forms” that allows you to make logic-based, conditional forms with rich-text formatting that don’t require you to make new custom fields. You can even link the fields in a form to existing fields in your Jira instance, so you can quantify some data, and just capture other data for additional information.

Forms is a relatively new feature to Jira Cloud and has a quite robust span of features and capabilities. A Managed Services partner would be able to help you sort through the possibilities and craft solutions that work for you & your teams.


3. Default Descriptions

In Jira Data Center 8.16 and beyond, Jira has the ability to set a default value in the system field “Description.” Leveraging this feature allows you to pre-populate a template or informal form to prompt your users to include the necessary details. As with the previous solutions, this allows you to capture additional information that is nice to have, but not necessarily worth making a whole new custom field for.

Here is an example of what this could look like:


Check out Configuring contexts and default values for the Description field for a thorough explanation from Atlassian.


When to make new custom fields

Obviously, these tips & tricks won’t work for every situation. There are two key factors to consider that these solutions won’t help you with. In these situations, you should make a new custom field so that you can get the most out of Jira’s tools. 

The main two situations are when the information captured in a field either: 

1) Need to be quantified in a report

2) Need to be searchable/filterable by. 

When faced with the need for a new field, it's important to be strategic. Take the time to think through your naming convention and make sure to avoid redundancy with existing fields. Additionally, it's always a good idea to make the field as broad as possible to accommodate future use cases. If you're not sure if a new field is necessary, consider using Contexts, Forms, or Default Descriptions instead. With these tips in mind, you'll be able to create a new field that will meet your needs and set you up for success. 

Contact us to discover how Isos can elevate your business with customized Jira solutions. Let’s transform your workflows and boost efficiency together! 



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