Project Management Tools & Techniques to Enhance Your Search Campaign – Three ways to Succeed Using JIRA

There are many project management tools out there that can help you manage your search campaigns.  JIRA is a good example of a project tracker that I’ve been using for many years now, which has really helped me in managing projects, specifically in the search space.

In case you aren’t familiar with the program, JIRA is a project management tracker which was created to facilitate teams that are planning, building and launching new products. Within JIRA you have the ability to create tasks, assign them to team members, add comments to issues, and attach files, track progress, watch issues, and close tasks – among the many actions that you are likely to take while using the program.

Initially designed as a bug tracking software, JIRA has evolved into a system for tracking all kinds of tasks, milestones and any other actionable items.

In the first article of my series on project management tools and techniques, I talked about the ways that using Microsoft Project could help enhance your search campaigns.  We’ll now take a deeper look into JIRA to see how you can benefit from using this tool as well.

Here are three ways in which you can succeed using JIRA…

1) Maximize the Use of Your Project Management Software

Whether you are using JIRA or another project management tool to manage your campaigns, you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of it.  With JIRA, there are a lot of options to work with in terms of the interface and customizing the dashboard to fit your needs.  A customized dashboard will be helpful to you (and your team members) in being able to manage the issues within your queue more easily.

Another helpful tip is to create filters to better organize your issues.  So let’s say you want to view a snapshot of all the open tasks, JIRA can assist you in setting up queries structured to pull out the view you are looking to see.  For example, I’d like to see all open tasks for Project123 and all open tasks for Project456.

My formula would look something like this:
Project= Project123 AND status=Open OR Project= Project456 AND status=Open

This is just one example of a structured query that you can use with JIRA’s Advanced Searching feature.  Just always remember to save your advanced searching if you think you’re going to need to reference it again.  This will save you the time of having to enter in your query time and time again. If enabled, you should also use the auto complete feature to help with suggestions as you enter your query.

You should also find add-ons or plug-ins, like timesheet tracking tools, charts, reports or other applications that are compatible with your version of JIRA and use them as needed. Do some investigation within your project management tools. They might be capable of helping you a lot more than you realize!

2) Plan Ahead!

One of the keys to succeeding with a project management tracking tool is to use it for planning ahead.  Let’s say you know that an update or upgrade is coming, and you want to create JIRA issues, or tasks, around updates or revisions that will need to take place on your end.  You can create placeholder issues and start outlining the tasks before they are even assigned.  This will help you and your team members know what’s coming down the pipeline.

You can also create tasks to QA your recommendations.  Maybe you provided your technical development team with SEO recommendations for an upcoming launch, and you know that the release is scheduled for next Monday.  You’ll want to create a task in JIRA that reminds you to ensure your SEO recommendations were included with that release. Otherwise, you run the risk of it falling through the cracks and forgetting if the pages were even optimized correctly for search engines.

3) Upgrade Your Organizational Skills

Project management tools like JIRA can be used as a central point for all of your search efforts.  By getting both your organic and paid resources using the same project management tools, they will have the ability to see what’s happening in both worlds.  Organic and paid search go hand in hand, so allowing both teams to have visibility into what is happening on the other side can make your search campaigns more efficient.

Another way to stay organized with your JIRA tasks is to create subtasks (tasks within a parent task), set up different projects as needed, and to export your issues to Microsoft Excel, Word, or other formats.  The process of exporting tasks is very easy to do, and can help with pulling together hotlists or easy to format status sheets.

Also, don’t forget to take JIRA on the go! If you are caught in meetings and you need to quickly assign an issue to a team member, you can do it from your mobile device. You might be on a call and you need to pull up an issue.  Or perhaps, you are at home and you realize that a change needs to be made to one of your issues and you want to alert the assignee right away. JIRA’s new mobile interface and mobile app can help you stay on top of things.

JIRA describes itself as a project tracker that helps teams get the job done.  It’s hard to imagine how project teams would operate without the assistance of a tracking program.  The integration of project management as part of your search efforts, and the usage of project tracking tools, are extremely valuable to the success of your campaigns.

How are you managing your day to day milestones, and staying in front of upcoming work? 

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