In a previous article, we covered what organizations should consider when researching and implementing a Jira-GitLab integration. But the next question is, once you have an integration in play, how do you know it’s meeting all your needs?
Whether you’re relying on GitLab’s native Jira-GitLab integration that is available through the Integrations menu in GitLab, one of the third-party integrations available in Atlassian’s Marketplace, or a custom solution provided by a GitLab or Atlassian partner, you’ll want to be able to confirm the solution has truly solved your unique problems.
Basic Jira-GitLab integration functionality
Once you’re set up, here’s what you can expect to get from the basic plug-and-play integrations available:
- When an ID of a Jira issue has a mention in GitLab, in a commit, branch, and/or merge request, that activity will be visible in the Development panel in the Jira issue.
- If the Jira integration is enabled for a project on GitLab.com, engineers can use specific commands in commit messages to:
- Close Jira issues from GitLab.com
- Add comments to the Jira issue from GitLab.com
- Transition Jira workflow states (e.g. from “In progress” to “Done”)
- View a list of read-only Jira issues in GitLab.com
These features can save time and effort by avoiding context switching between apps while improving transparency across the development, testing, and deployment workflow. So, to determine success, ask yourself:
- Are my engineers actually switching between apps less often?
- Does the cross-pollinated information across the apps speed up the gathering of necessary data or improve reporting?
- Are team members trained to take full advantage of the integration’s features, and are they following through on what they’ve learned?
If you can answer “yes” to all these questions, your integrations are proving successful and are likely worth the time and money required to set up and maintain. For smaller organizations with relatively straightforward DevOps workflows in place, this basic functionality may be all they require from a Jira-GitLab integration.
But, for many organizations, several beneficial advanced features are lacking, squandering opportunities for greater success.
Advanced Jira-GitLab integration functionality
Especially for enterprise-level organizations with complex workflows and mature DevOps processes at a large scale, several advanced features can prove vital to successfully streamlining the work.
As noted in the previous article, some examples of functionality that off-the-shelf integrations generally don’t include are:
- More extensive two-way sync: Much of the rich data that can be found in both Jira issues and GitLab namespaces does not currently sync from one system to the other. Therefore, any inquiry more in-depth than current status and related comments requires clicking the provided link and switching to the other app to dig deeper.
- Data manipulation: Add functionality and context by transforming the data with different formats, consolidation, or collation before pushing it to another system. This can help avoid common data formatting issues out-of-the-box integrations may be prone to, and allows for more robust results for interpretation.
- Custom fields support: There is currently no support for using custom fields or advanced automation in cooperation with the GitLab-Jira integration, so much of the value of more advanced workflows can be lost in translation.
- Custom views: Many users would benefit from custom views of synchronized data in both systems, but no options exist to view or filter synched data through the integration.
- Search results and filtering: Currently, search options in both applications cannot surface results based on linked data, which would be very helpful for planning and auditing purposes.
- Audit logs: Audit logs for integrated activity are also not currently available but would help debug more complex systems.
Incorporating these more advanced features into your integration will require either a significant investment of time and money in-house or working with an integration partner to develop a custom integration. Benefits of going this route include:
- A fully streamlined workflow to support true CI/CD
- Improved velocity and throughput
- End-to-end traceability
- A reduced number of tools in the toolchain
- More robust security
- No monthly fees for ongoing use
Every organization has its own unique set of requirements and priorities. Therefore, every organization has its own definition of success when it comes to implementing a custom Jira-GitLab integration. With greater investment comes a greater responsibility to prove success and ROI. So, once you have implemented a custom integration, ask yourself:
- Are my engineers able to completely avoid context switching in all but the most unique circumstances?
- Have you automated all (or nearly all) repetitive manual tasks or data entry to avoid wasting time and human error?
- Are all automated functions compliant with necessary security protocols?
- Is the system able to be quickly and easily audited for debugging and reporting purposes?
- Has the integration made a quantifiable impact on the delivery of value across the workstream?
Again, if you can answer yes to all these questions, your custom Jira-GitLab integration is a success.
Cprime can help ensure a successful Jira-GitLab integration
Cprime is a certified GitLab Partner and Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner. As such, we offer several services that can help you develop, deploy, and best use a Jira-GitLab integration that will meet all your unique standards of success.
Contact Cprime today to discuss getting the most out of your Jira-GitLab integration.