Image showing computer with JIra and Helix ALM logos
January 19, 2018

Best Practices for Integrating Jira With Helix ALM

Integration
Application Lifecycle Management

As teams grow or demands change, many Jira users look to Helix ALM for a single, intuitive toolset that covers the rest of the product lifecycle.

But how do you get the best out of both solutions?

In this article, I’ll focus on application lifecycle management (ALM) best practices when using Helix ALM with Atlassian Jira.

We’ll cover common questions, including:
1.    What does the integration provide?
2.    What is a typical user scenario?
3.    How does the integration work?
4.    What does the integration not do?

 

What Does Integration Provide?

The integration between Helix ALM and Jira lets users link Helix ALM items — such as issues, tests, requirements, and user stories — to Jira issues.

The integration creates a link between the two records, allowing users to see the status of a Jira issue inside of Helix ALM and also see the status of a Helix ALM item inside of Jira (requires the free Jira add-on).

The integration does NOT synchronize records between the two systems. Instead, it creates a relationship between the two to help teams collaborate while getting the best out of both solutions.

 

What’s a Typical User Scenario?

Here are three common scenarios for teams integrating Helix ALM and Jira.

Scenario 1

A team manages requirements in Helix ALM for its advanced features. The engineering team using Jira, however, just wants to get the tasks or user stories in Jira to see and work on those items as part of their normal process.

In this scenario, a business analyst can work on the requirements documents in Helix ALM and, once the work has been completed, can create a Jira story, task, or feature directly from the requirement in Helix ALM. This then creates a new Jira item inside of Jira while also linking it to the requirement, so that the business analyst can see the progress (Jira status) inside of Helix ALM easily.

Scenario 2

A testing team uses Helix ALM to manage the test cases or test runs (executions), but needs to create bugs and issues for the development team in Jira.

In this scenario, the testing team using Helix ALM has an easy one-click option to create a Jira issue that is automatically linked to a failed test run. The development team then fixes the issue and, once the fix has been completed, the test can be executed again.

Using the Helix ALM add-on for Jira, the developer can also see the linked test that failed, and click on it to view the steps to reproduce the issue easily. You can also push the steps into a custom field in Jira, if required, making it even easier to see the steps to produce the issue inside of Jira.

Scenario 3

A team uses Helix ALM to manage feature request, issues, and defects, and also for traceability among issues, tests, and requirements — down to the source code level. Either the development team uses Jira or you need to push data to a 3rd party vendor using Jira.

In this scenario, the native integration allows users to keep working in Helix ALM and, with the click of a single button, they can create a Jira issue that links automatically to the Helix ALM item.

For all of the above scenarios to work, you need only an instance of Helix ALM, an instance of Jira that has been configured to use the Jira integration, and the Helix ALM Jira add-on from the Atlassian marketplace.

An example of Jira issues showing in Helix ALM
An example of Jira issues showing in Helix ALM.

 

How Does the Integration Between Helix ALM and Jira Work?

The integration is a built-in feature of Helix ALM 2017.1 and newer. The Jira add-on is a free one provided in the Atlassian Marketplace. No extra licensing costs are needed. It works straight out of the box, needing only a configuration to receive the benefits.

The integration is between a single Helix ALM server and a single Jira server. It’s a one-to-one relationship; you can only pick one Helix ALM server and one Jira server.

The first place to start is in a Helix ALM Client (since this is an admin feature). Log in to your Helix ALM Project and make sure you have security rights to setup the Jira integration. If you have security rights, you will find the Jira integration menu item from the Tools >> Administration menu in the Client.

The integration configuration screen will ask you to:
•    Enable the integration.
•    Pick a Jira instance or URL.
•    Provide login credentials.

You can prompt for credentials by selecting the checkbox. 

Image showing how to enter credentials for Jira integration
The Jira integration configuration screen in Helix ALM.

Once the test is successful, you can click on the Fields tab to setup the fields you want to show when creating a Jira issue from Helix ALM. You can select one or many Jira projects to use. Remember, you are in a single Helix ALM Project, which can link to many projects in Jira. So make sure you understand the mapping between a Jira project and a Helix ALM Project.

Image showing settings to enable Jira integration
The Fields tab in Helix ALM helps set up your projects and make sure they're connected to Jira properly.

The integration also provides efficient options to push data into Jira without requiring users to type anything. (This is really the best way to set the integration up.) Each field in Jira can be mapped to a field in Helix ALM so, when you create the Jira item from a Helix ALM item, the data in that field is populated in Jira.

For example, let’s say you want to copy over the Summary and Description fields in Helix ALM to the Summary and Description fields in Jira. You can accomplish this easily using the field codes. It’s a simple way to save time and user effort while streamlining the entire process.

Image showing options for better Jira integration with Helix ALM
Streamline your process with the proper configuration between Helix ALM and Jira.

Since many users prefer to work in Jira, we also have a free add-on for Jira, called “Helix ALM for Jira,” found in the Atlassian Marketplace, just search for “Helix ALM”.

Image of Helix ALM for Jira in the Atlassian Marketplace
Search "Helix ALM" in the Atlassian Marketplace to find the free add-on.

Helix ALM for Jira can be installed on your Jira server and is easily configured to link to projects in Helix ALM. First, you need to get a Jira integration key by pressing the “Get Key” button. From there, you can select from the drop-down list the Helix ALM project to allow, as well as which Jira projects you want the add-on to show. If you have projects that do not need the add-on, you can remove them (unselect them) and the add-on will not show.

Image of configuration of Helix ALM for Jira
After downloading Helix ALM for Jira from the Atlassian Marketplace, configuration (shown above) is simple.

Once the integration is configured, you can open any issue in Jira and view related Helix ALM items, which you can then open with a click and continue working on in Helix ALM. (This does require logging in as a Helix ALM user.)

Below is an example of how the add-on looks in Jira, showing a linked Issue from Helix ALM.

Image showing a user story in Helix ALM for Jira
This is how the add-on looks in Jira, showing a linked Issue from Helix ALM.

 

What Does the Integration Not Do?

The native integration creates a link between the Jira item (record) and the Helix ALM item (record). The integration does not automatically update the linked items status or field values. Since the items are linked, we have a relationship between them, and can show the items status and field values. However, if you change a field in Jira — like the description or status or comments — those values stay in Jira and are not sent to Helix ALM. The same applies if you make a change in Helix ALM; the data stays in Helix ALM — it does not update the Jira items status or comment or description.

If you are looking to sync data between Helix ALM and Jira, please contact our team. We can discuss available options to sync records between the two systems.

 

Bringing It All Together

For collaborative teams that need more than the Jira issue tracker, Helix ALM provides proper coverage. Whether testers or engineers or business analysts, teams integrating Helix ALM with Jira have a simple seamless solution.

Want to learn more about integrating Helix ALM with Jira?

 

Not using Helix ALM yet?

Learn more about Jira alternatives, like Helix ALM.

Visit the Jira alternatives hub