Using Jira Components The Right Way

Why is a kitchen drawer a good place to look for a butter knife? Because that’s where you keep your kitchen utensils. Components in Jira serve a similar function. When we have a large number of issues within one project, components come in handy to classify and group them under one category. 

What are components in Jira?

A component is a custom field in Jira software. It is used to categorize and group issues together under one project. 

For example, a website design project could have multiple issues related to either Web development or UX Design. By using components, you could group all web development issues in one component naming it Web Development and the same can be done for UX Design issues. 

It’s majorly helpful to break work into smaller sections which eventually helps teams to organize various issues/tasks by reducing cross dependencies.

Here are a few ways to use Jira Components effectively:

  • Use Jira components for tracking bugs by adding a component to all bug related issues. 
  • Use Jira components for adding tasks related to a new app feature.
  • Use Jira components in marketing projects for grouping social media campaign related tasks to one component and advertising tasks to another.
  • Use Jira components to increase transparency among teams to have visibility over the progress of issues/tasks. 
  • Jira Components are used to create groups of issues that share a common theme or purpose. If you have a lot of issues that need to be grouped together into a single category, then components may be the solution for you.

You can also use components as a way to track different phases of a project—for example, you could have one component for “the design phase,” another for “the development phase,” etc., and then assign each issue to the appropriate phase (component). To see the progress of one component, you could also use a JQL Query like the one shown here:

Using JQL with Jira components

Default assignee in the components field

The Components custom field has something that sets it apart from other fields you can typically find in a Jira issue – it has a default assignee. What this means is that any issue added to a component will be automatically assigned to the default assignee of that component making them responsible for it. 

This feature is quite handy when you have someone responsible for a certain aspect of the project like a team lead or a PM and they need to manage workload and prioritization.

Components as sub-projects in Jira

As Jira doesn’t have the concept of sub-projects, many teams tend to use components for this purpose. 

This is especially handy in large projects as you can apply a filter by components to analyze certain aspects of the bigger picture individually. This helps with understanding performance and predicting the future state as well as with preemptive identification of blockers (design is taking longer than expected, etc.). 

How to create a Jira Component?

If you’re an admin and are on a Company-managed Jira project, you can create a Jira Component. To add components to your Jira project, follow these steps:

  • Go to Project Settings.
Jira project settings
  • On the left sidebar, find Components and click on it.
Components in Jira project settings
  • Click on Create Component.
Adding a component in Jira
  • Give it a Name (it can be anything but must be unique), write a Description (optional), select a Component lead, and then select the Default assignee. Finally, click on Save.
    • Description – It’s used to describe the components for others to understand what it’s used for.
    • Component Lead – A person designated as being responsible for issues that have the component.
    • Default Assignee – A person who is automatically assigned to the issue if the component is added.
Creating a component in Jira

Now that we have created the component, we can start adding this component to issues.

How do I enable a component in Jira?

To enable Components in Jira, follow these steps:

  • Go to any Issue and click on Configure on the left sidebar under More Fields.
Enabling components in Jira issues
  • Search for Components from the search bar in the right-side Fields menu.
Configuring Jira issues
  • Then, drag the Components option to the right side under whichever field you want it (Description fields or Context fields). Finally, click on Save Changes.
Adding components to Jira issues

Now, all you have to do is select the Component under which you want to list this issue.

  • Go to any Issue.
  • On the left side menu, select Component (e.g. Tracking).
Selecting components inside Jira issues

Jira components vs. Labels

With labels, users (not just admins) can create and customize them across projects. Any user can add or edit labels to issues and name the labels as they deem fit. This gives users the possibility to tweak labels whenever and however required.

In comparison, here are a few differences listed between components and labels:

Projects – Components are project-centric as they can’t be used for more than one project. However, labels are global and can be created to group issues from multiple projects.

Users – Any user can create labels but only admin users can create components. The possibility of labels being created by any user can create chaos in projects since there’s room for typos and duplicity. Let’s suppose two different users end up creating two labels for the same purpose, e.g. Tracking Phase 1 and Tracking Phase One. Now, we have two different labels for one purpose.

Filters – Both Labels and Components can be easily filtered out. Here’s how to filter out a Component:

  • Go to Board.
Jira labels filter
  • Click on Filters and go to More Filters.
Adding a filter view in Jira
  • Select the Component that you want to filter from the dropdown menu (we’ve selected Tracking here) and click on Apply. Projects under the select Component will be shown now.
Selecting components to filter by

Management – Jira Components can be managed (viewed and edited) from the Components Page view. There’s no labels page view but filters can come in handy as a workaround for this.

Limit – There can be an unlimited number of components and labels in Jira.

Considering components and labels serve almost the same purpose, it’s up to you to decide when to use which one as both will turn out to be of use at certain point in project management.

Pros and Cons of Jira Components

Before we learn about the pros and cons of Jira components, go ahead and learn about Jira best practices which provide insights on permissions, customization, roadmaps and epics and a lot more. 

Jira is known for its flexibility, which comes from its many templates and powerful fields. But like any other tool, there are some drawbacks too. Below we’ll take a look at both the pros and cons of Jira Components. 

Here are some pros of using Jira components:

  • The biggest advantage is organizing issues for smooth and coherent operations of a project by using components as a unified source of work for all teams.
  • Components give you visibility over the progress of issues through the Components Page View or by using JQL queries to filtering out the required information.
  • The possibility to define component leads and default assignee makes it easier to manage workflows in an issue as only one member is ultimately responsible for the said component.

And some drawbacks:

  • First off, only admins can create them. This means if you’re a developer or tester, you’ll need to get your admin to create the components for you.
  • Jira components can’t be shared across projects; they must be created and maintained separately for each project.

Jira components are especially helpful if you have a long list of milestones or complex details that you want to keep track of on any given project.

In conclusion, Jira components help you streamline and optimize your workflow. Hopefully, this article gave you an idea of what you need to know about components, and some use cases of how they could be used in your company’s workflow.

PS: Another workaround to break down complex projects is Jira Checklist – a customizable checklist for Jira to break down your complex projects into structured to-do lists to manage processes such as software development, business operations and many more.

Try Smart Checklist for free!

Additionally, we have a detailed guide on how to use Jira Subtasks, checklist, and multiple subtasks which takes your project management up a notch and help you deliver the best.

Everything is simpler when the process is well-documented and the progress is visible at a glance. 

Help your team create and manage task lists with Smart Checklist!