Saturday, April 19, 2014

JIRA Shenanigans - @mention Multiple People

So previously, we talked about how the @mention feature in JIRA is pretty nifty.  However, the current feature only allows you to @mention a specific profile, one at a time.  Therefore, if you want to keep the conversation going in JIRA, all the participants are going to either need to be @mentioned every single time or they can be added to the Watch List.

Ripped off of
Atlassian Blog
If you have the appropriate permissions, you can add specific people to the Watch List yourself.  They may not appreciate it, but if they don't want notifications, they can always take themselves off.  I think this would be particularly interesting in how they improve upon their HipChat JIRA integration, but I digress.

Enter an open request in JIRA to @mention a group.  This makes sense in that JIRA allows one to configure groups of profiles to be identified in various permissions, mapped to project profiles, and notifications.  However, there isn't a view-only permission for groups or a way for a user to resolve the group to list of profiles, so the burden is up to the JIRA Admin to set things up, maintain them, and let others know who the group members are.  There's an open request for this guy as well.

To take things further to allow more flexibility, I submitted a request for @mention to a Project Role, allowing each project to determine which profiles or which groups should get a notification.

Fortunately, there's a pretty dead simple way around this, which is to create a dummy profile whose email address is an email distribution list.

There are definitely quite a few issues/limitations with this approach.  Some of the immediate things that come to mind are:
  • It will be dependent upon your email setup as to who can view the members of the list and who can edit it.  This is all dependent upon your organization.
  • This takes up a slot in you JIRA user license.
  • Unless you actively have a user for this distro in an externally managed system like LDAP or Active Directory, this requires you to create the user in the JIRA User Directory.  This may require some admins to fenangle with their current setup.
So as always, one of the easiest ways to keep up with the features that you want in any of Atlassian's tools is to add yourself to the watch list in Atlassian's own JIRA issues vote on them.  @ mentions can definitely be improved upon but the tool can only be as good as the feedback the developers get from those actively using it.