Have you been wondering what Jira next-gen is?

…have you taken the time to take a closer look yet?

While I have heard “don’t even…”, and “You’re grounded if you even touch that…” I couldn’t resist looking and trying. I took a deep breath and clicked ‘create’ before someone took the mouse away from me. I’ve chosen to work with the next-gen project when the stakes are low, like building out a plan on a home project.

So what is Jira next-gen? It is a simplified version of Jira for software projects only. Next-gen projects don’t require any admin knowledge or special permission to change or set-up. In exchange for lowering expertise in project administrator knowledge, there are limits to the level to which a project can be customized.

Here are a few of the highlights of next-gen – as with all Atlassian cloud products, they are ever-changing. Some elements are starting to carry over into the classic project displays, so you may be starting to get familiar with them already if you work in cloud products already.

Creating a next-gen Jira project starts like any other creation. Choose to create a new project, and select next-gen when the opportunity appears. The option to choose next-gen has moved a couple of times since first coming out. Today, it is a footnote on the initial page of the set-up wizard.

When choosing your template, consider how you like to work. If you work in sprints, select the Scrum template. If you work in a continuous stream, pulling in work as the team is ready for something new, choose Kanban.

The first feature in the next-gen that caught my eye was the Roadmap. The Roadmap page is where epics are defined. Each epic has a bar representing a timeline to the right in a Gantt style bar chart. The bar can be repositioned or resized to lengthen or shorten the time allowed for the epic. Changing the bar translates to adjusted start and end dates. Dependency links have been added to the Roadmap recently. The dependance line turns red, providing a warning when dates overlap, which can help identify scheduling issues.

Another feature that pops out is the Pages menu item. Once set-up, there won’t be any more searching around for the related confluence space. Next-gen links directly to the Confluence space and displays documents list on the ‘Pages’ section within the Jira next-gen project. At the top of the ‘Pages’ section, there is immediate access to several templates to create documents in Confluence.

A difference between the Scrum and Kanban next-gen templates is the issue types offered out of the box for each. A next-gen Kanban project provides Epic, Task, and sub-task. A Scrum next-gen project provides Epic, Story, Task, Sub-task, and Bug. Both templates can be edited to have additional issue types if needed.

Both next-gen templates types offer simple workflows with the status of to-do, doing done. Issues can be moved from any status to any status and back again. This simple workflow keeps things clean but doesn’t allow for validation, conditions, or other advanced functions found in a classic project.

Some additional features not available initially include reports, estimation, and a Kanban backlog. Each of these features can turned on under settings –> features. Once turned on, they offer the essential functions needed to get the job done. If there isn’t a need for ‘Pages,’ this can be turned off in the space location.

If you are looking for a quick and dirty project plan with a short set-up, give next-gen a look. Remember that this is a work in progress for Atlassian. Features and functions are constantly changing, so be cautious about what you place in this project type. Large mission-critical projects should not be used to explore this tool. However, if you have a project that needs to get done, this might fill the need.