Why Jira Alone Can’t Manage Your Team's Design Process


Jira is a powerful project management tool that’s relied on by Software teams all around the world (including our team at CoLab), and for good reason: it works. For agile software teams that need to streamline their development, Jira is the best program out there.

As of 2015, ⅓ of Jira users were non-software teams. Jira’s customizable workflows and processes make it an effective management tool for many kinds of projects. For many organizations, Jira’s success with the software team can mean that the hardware folks want to get in on the action too. Jira is a powerful tool for software development, but it rarely has the same benefits for mechanical teams. 

 

Jira For Mechanical Teams


Jira has seen such success with software teams that many of these customers are attempting to bring Jira across their organizations, like to their mechanical design team, seeking similar results. But there’s a problem with Jira being used by everyone: Jira wasn’t made for everyone. It wasn’t made for mechanical design teams. When it comes to mechanical design, Jira is missing something crucial - context.

When completing the work and tracking the work happen in separate siloes, things break down.  

When completing a design review in a tool like Jira, a designer would comment a piece of feedback, and then attempt to describe where on drawing or model their feedback is referencing, so that the reader could pull up the model in their native CAD program and begin their task. For managers, or other team members that aren’t CAD users, they may not get to see the model at all, and instead have to visualize the design all on their own. 

 

But mechanical design is a complex process, and the 3D models that these designs are based around often contain intricacies that cannot be explained in a quick comment or issue note. Mechanical teams need context, and they get that context from CAD files and supporting documentation. Jira is a powerful project management tool, but for design teams, context is a missing requirement.

 

 

So how do we get over this problem? How do software/hardware teams leverage the industry leading issue tracking capabilities of Jira across the entire organization? Well, we have to introduce context.

 

CoLab (formerly Gradient) is a design review and issue tracking tool that’s built to work alongside tools like Jira. CoLab is built like Jira, but for mechanical teams. So it leverages the same powerful principles as Agile Software development, with the tools a mechanical team needs. 

 

CoLab is integrated directly with CAD/PDM, and allows you to track design from conception to release, with all the feedback captured and tracked along the way - in context. Feedback is pinned directly to models and drawings with complete issue tracking functionality. 

 

For Hardware/Software teams, CoLab can also integrate directly with Jira, so you don’t have to decide between the power of Jira for software teams and the context you need to understand your designs.

 

Jira is a powerful tool that empowers software teams to collaborate on their work, and it’s about time those benefits reached the mechanical world. So instead of using Jira in an application it wasn’t intended for, look for tools that work alongside it to support the specific requirements of each team. Jira was built for software, and CoLab was built for mechanical design - leverage the tools together for a powerful pair.


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