Six Reasons Why I Use Jira In My Role as a Technical Writer

"Jira? A bug-tracking tool? Why should I care?" That was my first reaction when I started working as a tech writer at K15t Software back in 2011. Now, over two years later, it is hard to imagine doing my job without it.

Like me, increasing numbers of technical writers are happily using Atlassian Confluence to manage their technical documentation. That’s a very good thing – and it encourages us to keep improving our Scroll add-ons.

In addition to Confluence, Atlassian has another product that’s highly popular among software developers: the issue-tracking tool Jira that was its very first product.

In this blog post, I'll show you how Jira helps me in my day-to-day work as a technical writer.

Use Jira to Plan, Track, and Work faster

Jira is an issue-tracking tool that's mainly used by software developers to track, organize, and prioritize bugs, new features, and improvements for certain software releases. Here at K15t Software, we carefully organize the development process for every Scroll add-on. We have multiple projects for each of our add-ons, and every project is sub-divided into 'issues'. These issues can be of multiple types, for example:

  • New Feature
  • Improvement
  • Bug
  • or Documentation tasks.

When the release date for a new piece of software draws near, our developers become increasingly stressed as all remaining issues must be fixed before the specified date.

It's the same when it comes to documentation. As I work with a team of software developers, my life also becomes extremely hectic as we approach the release date. Even when the big day is just around the corner, the status of the documentation is often unclear, as it's hard to keep track of everything. Which features have already been documented, and what still needs to be done?

This is where Jira is my tool of choice – because it does more than simply enable software developers to track issues and improvements. It's also a great tool for managing your projects, and can be used to maintain an overview of your technical documentation.

Let's see why.

#1 Jira is my main source of information

Jira is a great source of information about the next release. When planning a new software version, the whole product management team gets together to agree on the new features to be implemented and the bugs to be fixed in the next release.

Later, when I’m writing the documentation, I can check the status of each feature in Jira, and plan what I need to document for which version. This is really useful – because while your developers might forget to inform you about a new feature, they certainly won’t forget to track the feature in Jira. The result: no more missing features in the documentation! Perfect.

#2 – Jira helps me organize my documentation tasks

Jira supports agile software development. And by using Jira, I – the technical writer – can benefit from this agile environment, too.

Multiple tasks can be grouped together by assigning a version and due date. This even enables me to deliver documentation for milestone releases, simply by linking my tasks to the corresponding version. I guarantee your developer buddies will be delighted if you work with the same tool, and get used to their work flows when releasing new versions.

What’s more, I can group my documentation tasks using the component functionality, and I can create my own documentation epics. This brings me another step closer to a more structured method of working.

#3 – Jira helps me track the progress of our documentation

Jira is also my source of information when I’m checking the progress of the documentation. Open tasks can be tracked within a single view, using one of the numerous reporting features – such as the pie chart macro:

Open documentation tasks are clearly visualized – and I can see at a glance exactly how much work still needs to be done for each new version. And managers like that, too.  (wink)

#4 – Jira helps me meet my documentation release deadlines

I can define a specific due date, or deadline, for each documentation task. And of course, I can configure Jira to give me notifications, to make sure I finish my work in good time.

This helps me meet deadlines for new product releases. No more waiting for documentation to be finished – and no more releases without full documentation.

#5 – Jira helps me measure the time spent on documentation

There is an additional feature that’s not part of Jira’s default functionality, but is still worth mentioning here: Tempo Timesheets for Jira.

With this useful add-on, I can measure exactly how much time I needed for each new release. Moreover, it lets me track how long I spent on every single documentation task. This is great when checking and reporting my work internally, and extremely practical when working for a customer who requires an exact breakdown of the time spent on each task.

#6 – Jira helps me get feedback fast

As we still write our documentation in Confluence, I can connect issues to the relevant Confluence pages in just a few clicks. And – even better – if I find some information that needs updating, I can simply create new issues directly from within Confluence.

This not only helps me in my own line of work, it’s also a highly effective way to obtain feedback from my colleagues. They can highlight the relevant section of text and create a new Jira documentation task with a single click. Feedback made simple.

Outlook – Integration with Scroll Add-ons

When using Confluence and Jira, I distinguish between managing my work and actually completing documentation work. Everything is kept in its place, which is another important way to ensure clarity.

However, I keep asking our development team to find a better way to integrate the Scroll Add-Ons with Jira. In particular, I'd love it if Jira could trigger the publishing process in Scroll Versions when the development lead releases a version in Jira. That would be great! I'll just go and ask our developers to see what they can do for me. (smile)

Want to take a closer look at Jira? We support you by integrating Jira into your IT landscape.

If you’d like Jira to help you in your technical documentation process, please contact us at info@k15t.com.


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