Guest Contributor: Damian Rosochacki
One of the more common issues with Jira configuration is having too many fields on screens. This is especially true for teams that have been using Jira for a while, as they continue to add new custom fields over time to keep track of additional data points and build out their reporting and tracking capabilities.
Busy screens can lead to reduced data quality, as well as negatively impact user experience and usage of your project. Users will quickly tune out when faced with 50 fields to fill out on a Create Screen, just like they will find it difficult to quickly locate a field on a disorganized Edit screen.
Here are three steps you can follow to declutter your screens and make sure the fields you use provide value to your team and stakeholders.
Audit Fields in Your Project(s)
The first step is to review how and why you use each field in your project.
For each field used, ask the following questions:
- Does this field contain information that’s valuable for the person working on the issue?
- Does this field provide team leads with real-time data needed to track the progress of the issue?
- Does this field provide reporting insights to stakeholders?
If the answer to each of these questions is “no,” the field under review is a great candidate for removal from your screens. Make sure you track the decisions made around each field and WHY you’re choosing to remove it from screens. This will help you understand the changes that were made if you're ever considering whether or not to add that field back in at a later time.
Remember to review the options for fields like Dropdown Lists and Checkboxes, as well. You can disable unused options and reorder existing ones to clean up screens even further.
Organize Your Fields
Now that you've trimmed down the number of fields you use, you can start organizing them. Jira allows you to use a different screen for each of the Issue Operations:
This means that you can change fields, and the order they appear in, depending on what you’re doing with the issue. You can use this to your advantage to surface different fields to the user at different points of the issue lifecycle.
You can also add tabs to screens to more closely group related fields together. This is an effective approach for organizing a lot of fields and helping guide the user through updating them, although users will sometimes miss the extra tabs.
Follow Up with End Users
Before you publish your changes, make sure your end users are ready for them. This includes:
- Documenting what’s being changed and why
- Updating field descriptions where reasonable to help users generate better data (this can be done using the Field Configuration)
- Updating any reports to clean up unused data points
As a final note, please remember that removing a field from a screen does not remove its value from the issue. Consider whether you want to keep the data on the issue (either through leaving it intact or exporting old values) or clean it up completely.