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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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