When you’re working on a team, team meetings can be an important part of your day. In daily standups or weekly reviews, reports are necessary for providing updates and showing the team and/or the stakeholders where you are in the development of a product. Ideally, you want these reports to display the data you want to display, in the way you want to display it.
While there are reporting options in native Jira (board reporting and standard dashboard reporting), they are limited and not very customizable. Atlassian knows that many of its users are going to want more.
While the best option is to purchase a reporting app from the Atlassian Marketplace to make customizable charts in Jira itself, many teams are more comfortable with traditional spreadsheet builders like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. To that end, Atlassian has built integrations with Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, so that users can generate charts and tables out of their Jira data in the platforms they’re most familiar with.
This article explains how.
Generating a Jira report in Excel and Google Sheets
You can export your Jira issues using the Advanced Search, which you can access a few different ways. The easiest way is to select “Filters” from the top navigation bar, then “Advanced Issue Search”. Alternatively, if you start in your Jira project, you can navigate to the Issues panel, which should look something like the screenshot below. Once you’ve got the issues filtered to the ones you want to export to Excel, click “Go to advanced search”.
You’ll notice that the Issue panel has changed and now there are more icons in the top right corner of the screen.
Click the Excel spreadsheet icon if you want to export your issues to Excel, then allow Jira to connect to your Microsoft account. If you want to export to Google Sheets, click the Google Sheets icon and allow Jira to connect to your Google account.
Your Jira data will then be exported into an Excel or Google spreadsheet so that you can build reports and charts there.
Automatically updating your Jira data in Excel and Google Sheets
Previously users had to look at their issues in Jira and manually update their spreadsheets in Excel and Google to rebuild their reports. This process took a lot of time, which is why there’s now an add-on that allows you to schedule automatic updates.
Let’s start with Google Sheets. When you’re in a blank spreadsheet, you’ll see a button saying “Install now” in reference to an add-on app called “Jira Cloud for Google Sheets”. Clicking on “Install now” takes you to the GSuite Marketplace where you can download the app.
Once you’ve done that, return to your Google spreadsheet, click “Add-ons”, select “Jira Cloud for Sheets”, then click “Open.” This opens the Jira integration directly within the spreadsheet.
The Jira integration should open up in the right side panel of the screen. Click “Get issues from Jira”, then navigate to “Schedule data refresh”. Now you can select how often you want your data to be updated.
Now let’s look at Excel.
When selecting to export to Excel from your Jira Advanced Search, you’ll be asked to select whether you’re using Excel online or on your desktop. Desktop users will then see a box describing the “Jira Cloud for Excel” add-in. Select “Trust this add-in” to authorize Excel in your browser.
You can also enable this feature from a blank sheet by clicking “Insert” in the navigation bar and selecting “Add-ins”. This will take you to the Microsoft Office Add-ins store. Search for “Jira Cloud for Excel” and click “Add”.
Configuration for this app works similar to Google Sheets. You’ll have a panel along the right side of your spreadsheet that allows you to narrow down your query, fields, and update options.
The Excel integration doesn’t let you schedule updates at chosen dates and times like the Google one. Rather, you can set your sheet to automatically update whenever you open the file. Alternatively you can opt for a manual push to sync the data.
Now, if you’re running daily standups or weekly reviews out of Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, you can rest assured that your data is always up to date. You can also import your formulas to give more comprehensive and detailed presentations.
The reason Atlassian decided to integrate Jira with Excel and Google Sheets is that these platforms remain popular and widely used. Atlassian knows that failing to let people use the tools they know how to use can impair processes and foster bad practice. The fact is that many people are still much more familiar and comfortable with spreadsheet software than they are with Jira. So, the ability to export to Excel and Google Sheets helps people do their work without being forced to adjust to an unfamiliar platform or method.
At the same time, the desire for keeping everything within Jira is growing. Exporting your Jira data to an external platform creates an information and communication silo and slows the flow of data around the organization. Suddenly the data is no longer being managed inside Jira, but is isolated in a disparate spreadsheet. We’re living in an age where fast digital collaboration has become as necessary as electricity, air, and coffee. But really, fast digital collaboration requires everyone to be on the same page, working with the same tools.
This is why an Atlassian add-on that allows you to create customized, live reports without leaving Jira is going to be a much better option going forwards. That way you avoid the duplication, redundancies, and bottlenecks that come from having your data in different places. Although continuing to use the tried-and-true Excel and Google Sheets might look like the path of least resistance, in the long run it’s going to cause more problems than it’s worth.
“If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough.”