There’s life in paper yet: The InstaPrinta prints customized JIRA tickets for analog boards

Agile teams work with paper

The paper-less office was meant to banish all paper from the office. In agile teams, however, this does not apply and this is where InstaPrinta comes in.

Admittedly, a tool like Atlassian’s JIRA is a great way to manage tasks. However, in day-to-day work, a digital Agile Board in JIRA does not have the same presence as a large magnet board right in the center a team office that is full of task notes.

At a glance, every team member knows what needs to be done and who is working on what. Furthermore, the magnet board contains numerous additional sections like an improvement board, a skill matrix, an absence calendar and more. This makes the analog board the central “cockpit” for all information relevant to the teams.

Printed-out tickets are used throughout the entire Scrum process at //SEIBERT/MEDIA. In backlog grooming or an estimation meeting, the printed-out tasks can be prioritized by moving them around on the table, sorted according to complexity and then given an estimate. During the sprint, paper tickets always display the status (“To Do”, “Doing”, “Done”) and who is working on them. Additionally, you need to know what the task is about (summary and description) and know where to find more information (link or QR code to the JIRA ticket).

The native JIRA printing function is insufficient.

When you look at a JIRA ticket, you will notice the amount of information that could be entered with standard tools. Furthermore, there are a great number of custom fields (the total number of fields can easily exceed 50). This information is almost all relevant, just not for day-to-day work. That’s why we need a way to clearly present the most important information.

What’s relevant varies from team to team so there must be a choice. The native JIRA print preview does not meet these requirements and is suitable for archiving at best.

Hackathon project: custom-made print preview for the board

Two years ago, a small team at //SEIBERT/MEDIA faced this challenge as part of an internal hackathon. The goal was to create a custom-made print preview for one of our magnetic boards, preferably directly printable from JIRA. Within 24 hours, this led to the creation of the first InstaPrinta prototype.

Back then, InstaPrinta was an external web service that accepted a ticket key, generated a print preview and forwarded the preview directly to the printer. In the step afterward, this function was implemented as a JIRA plugin so we could print directly from the ticket preview.

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Quickly print JIRA tickets anytime

Adaptation in our teams and further development

The plugin was well accepted at //SEIBERT/MEDIA and quickly integrated into our day-to-day work. A print button in the ticket search function followed so that several tickets could be printed at the same time (e.g. all open tickets or all tickets of a sprint). Since every team has different requirements for printing templates and the fields displayed, additional templates were soon developed and we realized a selection mechanism was also needed.

Some projects are only processed by one team and project tickets should be printed with specific settings on a specific template. In addition to direct printing, exporting as a PDF is also possible. This makes it so you can e-mail tickets.

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Analog wall board with printed-out JIRA tickets

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Sprint planning with paper cards in one of our teams 

New requirements

It turns out users want to configure elements globally but also at the project level. Additional requirements arose in customer projects where both internal and external users have access to the JIRA instance.

It should be possible to permit specific user groups to print or to completely deactivate InstaPrinta for a project.

Hackathons are worth it

InstaPrinta keeps improving. With a bunch of printed tickets on the board, of course. This project is a great example of how neat and useful hackathons can be. For our teams, this function really helps and has long established itself in our day-to-day routine. And the InstaPrinta plugin for JIRA is now available at the Atlassian Marketplace. Try it out!

Plugin development for Atlassian tools: We are your partner!

Are you missing a Confluence function? Do you want to expand and customize your system? We’ve developed sophisticated plugins for Atlassian tools and would be happy to help you adapt Confluence to meet your needs. Feel free to contact us with no obligation!

Overview of //SEIBERT/MEDIA plugins at the Atlassian Marketplace

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