How Jira and Azure AD can boost your team’s collaboration

Apps, Atlassian

14 June 2019 • 9 min read

    You and your team work hard every day to create products that will meet your users’ needs. Jira Software assists you all the way from planning through tracking your work to the application release. Not only does it facilitate your workflow, but also improves communication and collaboration. It offers you Kanban boards, issue structurestask statuses, comments section and information about reporters and assignees. The latter is especially important in case of distributed teams whose members often don’t know each other. The user data Jira provides you with is just basic. Active Directory Attributes Sync comes in handy in this situation since it enables you to obtain extended contact and location information of your teammates. Until now, it was available only on Server and Data Center instances, but we wanted to improve the work of users having Jira Cloud. That’s why we’ve recently launched Azure AD Attributes for Jira

    Information about users in Jira Software

    Setting assignees for tasks and stories is what you probably do on a regular basis. Therefore you may know that the team members’ details you can see in the task are usually full names and email addresses. It’s enough when you know all your coworkers, but what if you’re in a remote team with a several dozen members located in different countries? It’s hard to assess if you set the right assignees for the tasks if you can’t see their positions, departments or locations. Another problem appears when you want to contact them quickly – there’s no field with the telephone number. Fortunately, you can obtain additional information from users accounts in your Azure Active Directory.

    Azure AD Attributes for Jira

    In case of Server instances, Jira provides built-in connectors for the LDAP servers such as Microsoft Active Directory, Fedora Directory Server or Apache Directory. In Jira Cloud, connecting to any user directory isn’t possible natively (only with Atlassian Access). However, you can still manage to do it using Azure AD Attributes for Jira.

    Connecting Jira to Azure Active Directory

    Once you install the app, you need to: 

    1. Go to Jira settings, select Apps and then click on Configuration in the AD Attributes Sync section.
    2. Provide three parameters:
    • Directory ID,
    • Application ID,
    • Client secret.

    Here you can find a detailed instruction on connecting your application with Azure AD. Note that only Jira Admin can do the authentication. If you don’t have the right permissions to do it, don’t worry – this is the last thing you’ll have to ask the admin for. You won’t need the administrator’s support in your further work with the app.

    Configuration of Jira Azure AD connection

    Connection between Jira and Azure AD users is done by matching Azure profile alternate email and Jira user email. At this point, Jira admin needs to determine which email in Jira will be connected with Azure – the one that belongs to the tasks’ assignee or reporter.   

    You may wonder: what if the user changes email address or leaves the company? The connection is maintained until Jira admin selects Purge users associations in Azure AD configuration. Then matching is processed once again. 

    Selecting information to display 

    When authentication is finished, you – as a project admin – can go to Azure AD Sync, which is a dedicated page in the Project settings, and choose the attributes from Azure Active Directory which you’d like to see in Jira. 

    Selecting attributes from user accounts in Microsoft Azure to display in Jira Software project

    Your settings will be applied to the whole projectHowever, if some of the selected fields are empty in a particular user profile in Azure AD, they won’t be displayed in Jira. Opening your tasks later, you‘ll find AD attributes on the right panel.

    AD attributes are displayed on the right panel on requests in Jira Software

    A key to effective teamwork 

    Additional information from Microsoft Azure, like job title, department and location, will improve and speed up communication with your team members. You’ll know where the assignees of your task work so that you’ll check their time zone and call them to discuss the unexpected problems. The latter will be possible due to the telephone number which will be also visible for you on the issue view. Jira Admins will appreciate Azure AD Attributes as well. Data from LDAP will be automatically added to Jira internal directory so they won’t have to do it manually.

    If you’d like to learn more about Azure AD Attributes, take a free 30-day trial from the Atlassian Marketplace. You can also book a live demo via CalendlyIf you’re interested in Active Directory Attributes Sync, watch this video tutorial to know 10 best ways to make it work for your company or read more on the subject:

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