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The definite guide on how to build proper escalation workflows in JIRA

From managing the purchase order process to project approvals - Learn more about how to build escalation workflows in JIRA.

Have you ever found yours­elf in a situa­tion where you have a per­fect JIRA work­flow for a spe­ci­fic busi­ness use case but were won­de­ring how to best build some sort of escala­tion stage into it? Read on to see the ulti­mate way to do so!

So why do we need this at all?

Say you are having a purchase order pro­cess in place where the employee can order new office hard­ware – ever­y­thing from a key­board to note­books and dis­plays. You would likely make sure that orders are pro­perly appro­ved. Tools like the Automation for JIRA (like auto­ma­tic appr­oval based on the value of the item) will help here for sure but at some point, the mana­ger of that employee should give a final “go”.

Another situa­tion could be vaca­tion plan­ning in JIRA. A work­flow gui­des the user (pre­fer­a­bly in JIRA ser­vice desk) through a pro­cess where all the dates etc. are ente­red. But again, the mana­ger or some HR per­son will have to approve this.

Support issues also offer ple­nty of need for some sort of escala­tion mechanism.

Central and valid infor­ma­tion is key!

The pro­blem is that depen­ding on the use case and the employee there will be a dif­fe­rent mana­ger for appr­oval every sin­gle time. So, working with pro­ject roles (“Approver”), groups or even indi­vi­dual users would not be suf­fi­ci­ent. Also, ente­ring the cor­re­spon­ding mana­ger manu­ally in the issue create screen would be far from fail-safe.

In an ideal world, JIRA could sim­ply use the infor­ma­tion of your com­pa­nies LDAP/AD as this is most likely the place where infor­ma­tion gets updated auto­ma­ti­cally and timely. Fortunately, there is an add-on in the Atlassian Marketplace that can use this infor­ma­tion and it’s cal­led User Profiles for JIRA.

User Profiles for JIRA

So, with User Profiles for JIRA addi­tio­nal fields can be added to a JIRA users pro­file page. The values of those fields can eit­her be ente­red manu­ally by the user or syn­chro­ni­zed with the user direc­tory. Additionally, those fields can be used to be dis­played in JIRA issues and the­r­e­fore used in JIRA Workflows. Read on to see how it’s done.

A step-by-step guide

Let’s assume User Profiles for JIRA is alre­ady instal­led and set up to syn­chro­nize fields like phone num­ber and mana­ger (if you need some gui­dance on this, please refer to the docs).

So, the first step would be to add the cor­re­spon­ding field (let’s call it “Manager” from now on) list of available cus­tom fields. So, add a new field, find the type User Profile Field (it’s in the ‘Advanced’ tab), give it a name and (optio­nally) a descrip­tion as well as put­ting it on a screen.

Select User Profile Field Type

Now as this is some sort of gene­ric field we need to make this the cor­rect infor­ma­tion from the user pro­file. This can be done in the admi­nis­tra­tive set­tings (go to Add-ons -> User Profile fields) of User Profiles for JIRA.

Locate the “Manager” field in the list of User Profile Fields and con­fi­gure it accordingly.

Configure User Profile Field "Manager"

The third step would be to use that field in a JIRA work­flow. And this is as easy (or as com­plex) as your work­flows could be 😉. In order to have some escala­tion pro­cess, we need to copy the value of our newly added “Manager” field into the repor­ter field. There are a cou­ple of add-ons available in the Atlassian Marketplace that will pro­vide some sort of “copy field” post func­tion. Personally, I most often use the Suite Utilities for JIRA for this kind of tasks but others will be suf­fi­ci­ent as well. As usual, don’t for­get to publish the work­flow after you have com­ple­ted all neces­sary chan­ges other­wise it would not be in effect – JIRA admi­nis­tra­tion tends to be a little tri­cky from time to time 😉

User Profile Information in JIRA Workflows

That’s it. By fol­lo­wing those few steps you have con­fi­gu­red a pretty basic, yet kind of one-fits-all pro­cess for auto­ma­ti­cally assig­ning JIRA issues to the Manager of (in the case) the Reporter of the issue.

What spe­ci­fic use case were you addres­sing with this mecha­nism in your JIRA? We'd love to hear more about that in the comments (Lächeln)

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