Migrating to JIRA – Technical

When migrating from ClearQuest to JIRA, there are some several technical pitfalls which one may encounter. In this post I will detail the main issues which I tackled during the migration process.

The general strategy is to use as much of the built-in JIRA fields as possible, since many abilities and plug-ins uses them by default (such as JIRA Agile). It required effort, but it certainly paid off.

Let’s discuss the details, then:

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Assigning bugs to testers

In our JIRA environment, only testers may create or re-open bugs.
In order to improve our workflow, we’d like that the bug will be assigned to the relevant tester as soon as it is resolved.
The easy solution is to use the ‘assign to reporter’ post-function, but it does not work well for bugs which were re-opened and re-fixed, because we want to assign it to the tester who re-opened the bug.

So, I added a ‘Reopened By’ user-picker custom field which is set automatically to the current user when re-opening a bug. Then I came up with three approaches to implement this automatic assignment mechanism:

1. Add a ‘re-fix’ transition
2. Add a hidden ‘last tester’ field
3. Implement a Groovy script

Here are the details of each solution:

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Unable to find JQL function ‘inSprint’

In our JIRA deployment we use several JQL functions from the excellent Script Runner plugin.┬áBut suddenly the ‘inSprint’ function stopped working, and when trying to use it you get the aforementioned error.

Turns out that the plugin has a certain bug which causes some of their functions to become unregistered in JIRA.

The solution: Disable and re-enable the plugin. Works like a charm!

Migrating to JIRA: Retrospective

It’s been over a month since we deployed JIRA as our issue tracking tool, replacing IBM Rational ClearQuest.

It took me a few months to prepare for this move. At first I thought it would be a good opportunity to make some very needed changes in our issue tracking processes, but later on I realized it would be too much for the users, to handle both a new tool as well as major process changes.

Hence, the guiding concept for this migration was: let’s make it as close to our ClearQuest schema as possible (fields, workflows, screens, etc.). Then, as time goes by and we get to know JIRA better, we can make any changes we want to improve the process.

One exception to this was later added – try to adhere to JIRA’s ‘vanilla’ objects (fields, states, etc.) as much as possible. This is because many charts, reports, add-ons (e.g. GreenHopper) and other items expect certain fields or statuses to be present in order to utilize them properly.

Here’s how I prepared the migration:

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Control numbering for new JIRA issues

We import our ClearQuest issues to JIRA while keeping the original issue key (by adding an ‘Issue Key’ column to the import CSV in the format: -)

Now we would like to make sure that new issues created in JIRA will be numbered starting from the highest ClearQuest ID. But there is no ‘official’ way to do it.

I finally found this article for jira 4.x which describes a way to do it via SQL, and it works well also for 5.2.9 (probably any 5.x version). Here is a summary of the required actions:

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Silly JIRA!

Adding Custom Fields to JIRA’s “View Issue” screen. Seems like a straightforward task, right?

  1. Create a copy the default screen
  2. Add the fields you wish
  3. Associate the new screen with the ‘View issue’ action (in the appropriate Screen Scheme).

Then why I don’t see the custom field there?

The answer is: if the field does not have a value, it will not be displayed.

Probably the worst behavior they could choose for this case!

JIRA as ClearQuest Replacement: Customization

Somewhat later than expected, here is a summary of JIRA’s advantages and disadvantages over CQ, customization-wise only. These are only issues I encountered myself, I’m sure there are more…

Before I list them, I’d like to mention a couple of must-have (free) JIRA plug-ins: Behaviours and JIRA Suite Utilities. Another popular one which I have not yet used, but seems promising, is Script Runner.

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