June 6, 2023

Can You Manage Requirements in Jira?

Requirements Management
Application Lifecycle Management

If your developers are already using Jira to manage tasks and issues, you might be wondering… Why not use it for requirements management too?

Well, Jira can be used for requirements management — at least to a point. In this blog post, we'll explore how you can manage requirements in Jira, the challenges you may encounter if you do, plus a better option that allows you to continue to use Jira for issue management with an integrated requirements management tool.

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How to Manage Requirements in Jira

It will take a few manual steps to manage requirements in Jira. But, it can be done. Here’s how.

1. Create a Jira Issue Type For Requirements

This will be your requirements document. It’s where you’ll store your requirements and manage them on a daily basis.

2. Use Sub-Tasks to Add and Manage Requirements

This is how you’ll add and modify requirements throughout development.

3. Link Jira Issues

Jira allows you to link issues. So, you can use this linking to connect related requirements to each other. And you can use it to link other Jira issues (e.g., bugs) to requirements.

4. Mark Requirements as Done

When a requirement is met (and related issues have been resolved), you can mark it as “done” in Jira.


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Problems With Jira Requirements Management

You can make Jira requirements management work. But it will take a lot of time and effort to create and maintain requirements in Jira. And that can create some problems…

Tracking Requirements Will Be Your Full-Time Job

You can add requirements in Jira relatively easily. But it’s difficult to keep track of them, along with the current status of each one. How many requirements are in progress? How many are completed? How many remain to be fulfilled?

It’s especially difficult to track requirements in Jira after they’ve been completed. After all, it's a task management tool, not a requirements management tool. Once a requirement is completed, it’s taken off the backlog — and out of sight. So what happens if a requirement needs to change? 

Trying to find those completed requirements can easily become a full-time job. And tracking down requirements isn’t the only thing you need to do in a day.

You’ll Struggle to Share Requirements

Jira might not be the only place you keep your requirements. You might route your requirements for review and approval in a document or spreadsheet.

This can lead to extra work transferring requirements between a document and Jira. It’s very difficult to keep everyone on the same page when there isn’t a single source of truth. And if your team isn't aligned, your chances of building a high quality product on time are very slim.

Reusing Requirements Is Nearly Impossible

Reusing requirements is often a best practice to keep your development process efficient. But Jira makes it challenging to reuse requirements from one project to the next.

It will take almost as much manual effort to track down a requirement to reuse as it will to simply add the requirement from scratch.

Requirements Change (and You Won’t Know the Impact)

Requirements are rarely set in stone. Sometimes they need to be adjusted. Or sometimes they may need to change entirely.

And when a requirement changes, that’s not the only item impacted. If you’ve already written a test case for that requirement, that test case will need to change, too. And so will any issues that have been detected that are related to that requirement.

But if there aren’t links established between the requirement and its related test cases and issues, it will be hard to know the full impact of changing that requirement.

See how traceability happens automatically in Helix ALM — and makes it easier to manage change.

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You Can’t Be Agile and Maintain Documentation in Jira

Agile development is an iterative process. Requirements aren’t defined up front in a giant spec document, like they are in traditional development. But many teams — especially those in regulated industries — still need their requirements documented.

Therein lies the problem with using Jira for requirements management. You can’t be Agile and maintain documentation with Jira alone.

When the requirements of existing features aren’t readily available, it can be challenging to add new functionality or fix bugs without breaking those features. And it can be difficult for QA teams to perform regression tests after features have been implemented.

✅ Out-of-the-box Jira integration: Try Helix ALM for requirements management free for 30 days >>


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A Better Way: Use A Requirements Management Tool With Jira

So, how do you solve these challenges? By adding a requirements management tool.

This will help you efficiently manage and track requirements — and tie them directly to Jira issues. It can be done with an add-on or via an integration.

Either way, you’ll solve the problems that come with managing requirements in Jira alone.

Track Requirements More Efficiently

By tracking your requirements in a dedicated tool, you’ll be able to manage them more efficiently.

So, no matter where a requirement is in the lifecycle, you’ll be able to easily find it, know its current status, and see everything else it impacts. That includes Jira issues, too.

Share Requirements

Using a requirements management tool makes it easy to share requirements with stakeholders. And it helps you maintain a single source of truth for your project requirements.

So, your team will be aligned on your requirements, even when they change. And you’ll be able to trust that your requirements are up-to-date.

Reuse Requirements

Adding a requirements management tool will make it easy to reuse requirements across your projects.

That helps you save time when setting the requirements for a new project. And it helps you standardize your requirements across projects.

Manage Requirements Change

With a dedicated requirements management tool, you’ll be able to analyze the impact of requirements change immediately.

Your requirements will be connected to related items — such as other requirements, Jira issues, or test results. So, you’ll know everything that will be impacted if a requirement changes.

Follow Agile Best Practices (and Retain Documentation)

A requirements management tool lets you be Agile — and retains the documentation for you.

So, you can focus on following the best practices of Agile development, knowing that your requirements will be documented for future reference.

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Add Helix ALM to Jira

Helix ALM includes a dedicated requirements management module that integrates with Jira out of the box. It makes managing requirements more efficient and lets you keep using Jira for issue and task management.

You'll be able to see the status of all of your Jira issues in Helix ALM. And link your requirements to Jira issues  — or create Jira tasks based on requirements. And, if you're using Helix ALM to manage testing, you can attach test case results to your Jira issues. 

That means you'll have full visibility across all of your development artifacts, along with a single source of truth to keep your team aligned and working towards a common goal.

Learn more about how Helix ALM and Jira work together seamlessly - and see the integration in action.

Try Helix ALM free for 30 days. You’ll see for yourself how easy it is to integrate Helix ALM with Jira.

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Note: This blog was first published in June 2018 and was updated for quality and accuracy in June 2023.

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