Your Jira for external customers


22 May 2019 • 8 min read

    In the article 4 ways to improve communication using Jira, we mainly considered situations where people work in one team that has no contact with other business users or external customers.

    But during the development of a service or product, it’s quite common for an external customer to want to be in touch with your team or supervise the work they have commissioned.

    Such a situation may bring about a significant communication problem, because the selected person – most of the time that will be the project manager – needs to act as the link between the team and the client to ensure that they’re informed about the project’s progress regularly. There may also happen a situation where the customer wants to have direct access to our project. For example, they may want to control the progress of tasks and add their own comments. This is a more convenient solution, but it also carries risks.

    Working with a client

    On Jira blogs, you will find a recurring question: how to combine work in one application with the need to communicate with an external client? We find three cooperation situations with the recipient of a product or service where Jira can offer a solution.

    The first one is a situation in which the client doesn’t have a project management system available on their side. But they want to have an insight into ours and control the project’s progress that way. The solution is creating a new user in your Jira instance, but that will incur an additional cost. It’s not a huge amount because the price per user ranges from $7 to $1, depending on how many users are already signed-i . However, this carries some additional risks. One of them is a situation where such a client gets access to an account that has been misconfigured. Such a person may have access to confidential data or other projects. In addition, when an external user has access to our project, we must take into account that the tasks being carried out will be controlled by the person whose main interest is the result, not the work culture.

    Jira Service Desk

    Another solution is adding the customer to Jira Service Desk. This is a system of communication with an external user recommended by Atlassian. Thanks to the combination of Jira Service Desk and Jira Software, developers and teams of IT specialists can collaborate in one platform. It offers them the possibility of quick response to events and prompt sending of notifications to the client. This is certainly a convenient solution because it has many additional benefits, such as the ability to sort customer requests. This solution requires the purchase of an additional account or, if you don’t have Jira Service Desk at all, you’ll need to invest in this software.

    Synchronization two Jira

    Another situation is when the client has their own project management system and it’s Jira. In such a situation, the project is usually created twice in both Jira instances. Most of the time, that’s because one person has to take care of the information flow and updates in both instances. It takes a lot of time and doesn’t facilitate communication. The solution to this problem is to use a special Jira app that helps to synchronize the two systems automatically. This solution keeps your data safe because you can configure what needs to be synchronized and what should not.

    Many instances of Jira

    The last circumstance is the situation in which we have several instances of Jira or plan to split our Jira instance. At this point, we can consider that one instance will be dedicated to a specific project. This solution is profitable when the project is planned for a longer period of time or for data security/separation reasons. This solution can turn out to be too expensive if the project is short, but to save up you can use another solution: Jira Cloud. It is an ideal solution for teams that want to start their work in the shortest possible time, additionally avoiding technical problems related to hosting.

    Each situation described above has its pros and cons. We could probably come up with a few other solutions, but these are the ones that are most affordable and fastest in implementation.

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