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Common Jira Administration Errors - Workflows and Resolutions

Atlassian, Jira

Workflows are fundamental to every Jira project, so it's important to set them up correctly. Jira provides tremendous flexibility in how you can configure a workflow. However, this also means there are a lot of details that can mismanaged.

One of the most common mistakes administrators make is forgetting to properly set and clear the resolution field. This leads to confusion around what issues are actually resolved and directly affects your ability to create reliable reports.

To make sure your workflow manages the resolution field correctly you need to do two basic things:

  • Set a resolution value when transitioning an issue to a status in the "Done" category
  • Clear the resolution value when transitioning an issue out of a status in the "Done category

To give you an example, let's say you have a basic workflow of "To Do", "In Progress" and "Done", where an issue can transition freely between these statuses without restriction.

First, for the transition to "Done" you need to either create a "Update Issue Field" post function that sets a value for the resolution field automatically or you need to add a screen that includes the resolution field so the user transitioning the issue is forced to select a value.

Second, for the transitions to all other statuses, "To Do" and "In Progress", you also need to add a "Update Issue Field" post function that clears the resolution field of any existing values. This ensures that any issues moving from "Done" to "To Do" or "In Progress" aren't shown as resolved.

In cases where the workflow is more restricted and you have lots of individual transitions from status to status, you will need to carefully review the incoming and outgoing transitions for all statuses in the "Done" category to make sure the resolution field is being set correctly.

If you want to check whether you have workflows creating problems with the resolution field, here are a couple of JQL queries you can run:

  • statusCategory = Done AND resolution = Unresolved
  • statusCategory != Done AND resolution != Unresolved

These will identify issues in broken workflows that need to be repaired. To prevent this from happening, make sure that all Jira administrators are educated on how to manage the resolution field. If you have the extended project administration option enabled for any of your Jira projects you should also train project administrators since they will potentially have access to make changes to workflows.

Managing JIRA at Scale White Paper

TAGS: Atlassian, Jira

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