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September 29, 2017

The 4 Hidden Dangers of Jira Add-ons That Can Stop Your Project in Its Tracks

Application Lifecycle Management

Software development teams use Atlassian’s Jira because it works well for bug tracking.

It’s also easy to use, and popular enough that new team members are likely to be familiar with it.

But Jira only does one thing: issue management.

What if you need requirements management? Or test case management? You could purchase third-party add-ons in order to get this coverage, but that approach involves a few hidden dangers.

We touched on this in our earlier blog post, What to Do When Jira Can't Handle Your Workflow Anymore.

In theory, add-ons from the Jira marketplace seem like a good way to add functionality as you need it. In practice, however, this approach can quickly become painful.

If you’re tempted to go this route, here are four factors to consider.

1. Exponential License Fees

The first thing to know is that each add-on typically has an additional license fee per user. These fees can quickly double your initial investment into Jira.

Even with only two add-ons (one for requirements management and one for managing test cases, for example), you’re now paying for three licenses for each user.

For a team of 20 people, that’s 60 licenses. Now imagine what an enterprise-level development team would need.

And that’s just for two add-ons; most teams need four or five to get the features and functionality they need to manage their development lifecycle.

2. Additional Complexity

On top of fees, each add-on complicates your Jira instance a little more — until it becomes challenging to make it all work.

Many companies resort to hiring an outside consultant when the complexity becomes too time-consuming or frustrating to do on their own.

It’s such a common problem, several consultancies have built their businesses around the complexity of configuring Jira and the selection and management of add-ons.

And they aren’t cheap.

Now, you’re not only paying for additional licenses per user, you’re also paying a consultant to make it all work — and you’ll be paying them again when you have to buy another add-on.

3. Lack of Support

What happens when something breaks or goes wrong?

Do you call Atlassian’s support team? The consultant you hired? The company that made the app (assuming you know which app is causing the problem)?

This is another hidden danger of add-ons: No single vendor takes responsibility for the overall quality and support of your solution.

To make matters worse, many of the add-ons are from small vendors, who may not keep them up to date or even support them in the future.

4. Failed Upgrades

Out-of-date add-ons can, in turn, cause failed upgrades and scenarios that stop your team’s work.

That makes every add-on a potential point of failure. The more add-ons, the more problems you encounter after a Jira upgrade.

Not only that, but you’re beholden to the lowest common denominator; if just one app doesn’t work with the latest Jira upgrade, you’re stuck.

Want to Avoid These Jira Pains?

Download our white paper, “Beyond Bug Tracking with Jira.”

You’ll learn how to stretch your coverage without the pain of add-ons using Helix ALM. Helix ALM integrates with Jira for end-to-end coverage of even the most complex product development workflow.