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Checklist for JIRA - Add-on review

I came across this new add on called "Checklist for JIRA" and it seems quite interesting add-on. The Overview of this add-on on the marketplace says "Stop using Subtasks for simple tracking. Use Checklist instead. Ideal for Definition of Done, Acceptance Criteria and ToDo lists".

So what I understand is that this add-on aims to repace sub-tasks in JIRA with its checklist feature. I guess it makes sense. Sometimes you don't need to worry too much about the details of the sub-tasks and a scenario when certain tasks just needs to be done without worrying too much about their details. Like recurring activities, to-do or checklist of things for a particular activity.

Let us take a look at this add-on.

1. Install the add-on as you would normally do from the "Find new add-ons".
2. Create a new custom field of type "Checklist". It is like a normal Select list field when creating. I named the field "Simple Checklist".
3. Add this field on the screen.
4. Checklist options can have their own status - "Not Applicable", "In Progress" and "Blocked". The person working on the issue can also add more items in the checklist. I need to check the permissions for this.
5. There is a flag for the options to set them as Mandatory.
6. Once all the options are checked the overall status of the custom field will be displayed as "COMPLETED".
7. Once all the options are checked the overall status of the custom field will be displayed as "ALL MANDATORY"
8. There are some useful JQL functions that can help the user to search for the issues based on the items in the checklist.
a. "Simple Checklist" = allItemsChecked(): Returns all the issues where this custom field has all the options checked.
b. "Simple Checklist" = allMandatoryItemsChecked(): Returns all the issues where this custom field has all the mandatory options checked.
c. "Simple Checklist" = checkedItem("Option 7") : Returns all the issues where this custom field has "Option 7" checked. This function will take only one argument.
d. "Simple Checklist" = uncheckedItem("Option 1"): Returns all the issues where this custom field has "Option 1" unchecked.

Checklist for JIRA

Another observations about this add-on

1. The options set up by the JIRA Administration for the custom field are displayed to the users but the user working on the ticket can add more options only for that specific issue. I could not find permission to control this i.e. stopping users from adding more options on the fly for that specific issue.
2. This custom field can be displayed in the "Issue Navigator" "List View".
3. The link to the documentation of this add-on was broken on the marketplace listing.
4. The new items that are added by the user can be reordered. Only the new items though.
5. Use @username and dd/mm/yyyy in the option and the syntax will be changed for these options. Though the @username will not be a link to the user name. It will just display a user icon in front of the name but the username can be invalid. It think it more for the syntax rather than functionality.
6. I don't think more statuses can be added

Further Configurations

When you configure the custom field there will be some further configurations that can be done on the custom field.

1. On the main Configure Custom Field there will an option to set "Discretionary Options". Basically all the Options that are added in the custom field will be mandatory but here you can check which Option (Value) you want to be Optional. (little weird english here :))
2. Click on Edit Parameters to change more configurations. These will allow you to change the number of Options to be displayed on the issue, emphasize mandatory items and few more helpful configurations. You can also specify which Project Roles can edit this field.

Conclusion: Overall I like this add-on. Although the use cases are not convincing in some scenario where this can checklist thing can be achieved by just using a Custom Field. The JQL functions are quite useful and bring value to this add-on. The add-on works both on JIRA Cloud and Server. There is also a Data Center and JIRA Service Desk compatibility.

Checklist for JIRA version: 3.1.13
JIRA: 7.4.0

Holi 2017 - Lancaster University, JIRA Admin Certification (London) and Birmingham (ITSM, ITIL)

I like when things are busy, at least it is better than staying idle. Weekends are really not very fun unless you have a car here in UK and I miss my dear Swift which is probably missing me as well. I am looking to purchase a good car here but could not find a good one yet. I am kind of worried today as there is lot of work and travel coming up in the next few days, it is my nature to get worried when something needs to be done. I do make it a point to enjoy afterwords but I think it is not good way to live your life. After completing one task other tasks will come and it is same story again. Some people can really enjoy their life no matter what. People who know my really well know that I am really a lazy person. I don't like to work a lot as well. I don't like to work late. I prefer finishing my work on or before time and then enjoy rest of the time. Of course I like doing work with utmost quality but I could never spend long hours working. Not everything we do as part of your work is fun. You can not always love your work. Sometimes you just need to do work without thinking about enjoying it. I admit that out of 10 things I do. I probably enjoy doing 2 or 3. Rest is either mundane activities which are not fun but still when talking about work we have to measure it based on the value they bring not fun. There are certain tasks which are very boring and you hardly enjoy them but those tasks could be very important for your clients.

Next week I am travelling to Lancaster University in north for work, it will be good to travel to different place. It is good to get out of London sometimes. Looking forward to visit a campus after a long time. It is different feeling when you enter a university. Feeling of freshness. As part of my life plan, at one time I thought I will do PhD and become professor in university doing research and changing the world in real way.

The week following next week I will appear for JIRA Admin certification test. I hate such tests. They are useless and never judge person's intelligence and honestly I am scared that I might fail. If I pass it will be good to add in the profile :) but I am quite honest about it. You don't really need a piece of paper to prove that you are an expert. Lot of people ask me if I am Scrum certified, I am not and don't plan to do it as well.

In the last week of March I will be going to Birmingham to participate in SDI Conference: http://servicedeskinstitute.com/events/sdi17/ It will be good for me to attend such event and hopefully it will bring in more business. We would mainly talking about our company's competencies on JIRA Service Desk and how it can be used to implement ITSM and ITIL processes in JIRA. There will be JIRA Training sessions as well and it is great place to get more leads.

Holi will be played tomorrow in India. As a kid I always wanted to play it with friends. People used to play lot of Holi where we used to live but unfortunately during this time of the year in March it was always our final term exams and as a kid in school I hardly played Holi. I used to promise myself that after my school get over I will start playing it, but when you grow up, you tend to forget about your dreams and get busy in other stuff and start chasing things like others. After school I did not play Holi till I get married. After marriage as per Indian customs I went to my in laws first year to play it and after that I have been going there almost every year. It is fun. I am missing it really today because I am not in Delhi. I actually wanted to visit during this time but due to projects I could not but I am going next month.

Holi 2015

This is me in 2015 playing Holi.

I really like the month of March and April. Not because of the spring. Weather wise it is worst time of the year when it starts getting hotter and it is sad to let go your winter wear and you know there is another 9 months of cruel heat in front of you. As a kid post final term exams March is the only time of the year when you have nothing to do in those 10-15 days. At the start of every new session in April we used to get new books, new clothes and I used to promise myself that that year I will study properly, that never happened of course but I realised much later in life that making solid plans is enough to make you feel good. The month of April used to bring lot of hope and it was more than enough. That feeling of hope, optimism is something embedded in my mind and I always relate the month of March and April with similar feeling. In fact I picture the whole year as a calendar in my mind with a grid like the one below.

Jan, Feb, March: Tough days, study, exams, pressure

April, May June: Good days, new session, fun days

July, Aug, Sep: Okish days, exam starts but no pressure

Oct, Nov, Dec: Good days, festivals, better weather

I don't know why I picture the whole year as a group of three months. This is since my childhood and hard coded in my mind. Now I am not in school, it has been almost 20 years now but the feeling associated with each month is still the same in my brain.

I wish all my friends to have fun this Holi. Drink a lot and enjoy. See you soon.

Just finished writing my second book - Mastering JIRA 7 - Second edition and other updates

I just finished writing my second book - Mastering JIRA 7. It will be published in few weeks from now and I can't explain the extreme pleasure I am experiencing right now that I decided to write a blog about it. Well I have not been writing much on my blog for the past few years. I tried to write often but I didn't feel like writing or sharing my feelings. Anyways below is the link to the book. You can pre-order it if you want right now.

My second book is going to be published
I started writing my first book in Sep 2014 and it was published in May 2015. Writing the first book was really tough as it required all the thoughts and ideas to be written from scratch. That book was mainly based on my experience working on JIRA and other Atlassian tools. I was quite involved in the first book that I devoted lot of my energy. Writing a book doesn't really pay you much but having a published book gives a very good image in front of potential clients. I tried writing books earlier. In fact I also have one Drupal kindle version book that I wrote in 2011 and it was again a good experience but when you work with professional publishers you have a team of people proof reading your book both language wise and technically. Also, they help you with formatting the book so it is readable by variety of readers. I really learned a lot about book writing with my first book.

Earlier this year Packt contacted me to write a second book that would be an update of the first one. I knew that first book gave me so much respect in the market and I did not hesitate even for a moment to say yes for the second one as well. Writing the second edition of my first book was relatively easy as I was aware of lot of things but since there are lot of changes in JIRA 7 primarily breaking up JIRA into JIRA Core, JIRA Software and JIRA Service Desk, I had to write new chapters and change the images in almost all the chapters. It was little tough but I was able to do it.

Briefly back to job culture
This year I did a project for one of the bank. They use JIRA heavily and had lot of migration and upgradation work. It was difficult job and they needed someone to work from their office. Since they are a bank, they don't allow remote work. All the work had to be done from their office in Gurgaon. Initially I was not sure if I should take that project or not. Mainly because I was not used to going to office and that too. I have been on my own for several years now but I thought lets give it a try. So I went to their office for 6 months. I used to take their office cab, work with their employees, eat lunch with them and it was nice experiencing office lifestyle after a while plus I got to do some amazing work there.

Last year was tough
Overall last one year was really tough. Life is not simple and it could be really difficult sometimes. I had tough times but I managed to survive and will continue to do so. I think if you have lot of friends and have good social life then troubles in life will not seem big.

Got very active social life
In the past one year I probably drank the most alcohol, mostly with friends. I have fortunate to have very good friends. No matter how hard life hits you, your friends will always support you. I made sure to meet them regularly every week. When you are with friends it helps to forget about big troubles, atleast for a while.

Made some serious career decisions
I would like to say that I made some really big decisions recently related to my career. I will reveal more about it in my upcoming blogs.

I think that is it for now. There are many things to share but you cannot write about everything. In the past one year I think I have grown as a person. I restarted lot of long lost activities like painting and learning guitar. I plan to do something really amazing in the next few months and I hope you will love it too.

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