JIRA Bug Tracking Tool Tutorial: How to Use JIRA as a Ticketing Tool

The test teams are always apprehensive about picking up JIRA for defect Management.

The doubt is warranted. It stems from the fact that, though JIRA bug tracking tool is applicable to IT businesses it is a generic ticketing system.

Even for IT projects, JIRA’s popularity with the Development teams makes testers and QA teams uncomfortable. Despite the comfort or discomfort, the test teams have no choice but to use JIRA bug tracking tool in most companies. 

Why? Simple logic- Companies do not want to invest in multiple tools. It just makes good business sense to maximize your tool utilization and not go crazy with purchasing too many licenses.

So, if a Development team is using Atlassian JIRA bug tracking tool to track its requirements, enhancements, tasks or user stories, then the test team, most probably, has to use it for bug tracking.

But, relax. JIRA’s Defect Management is just as good as any other tool. In fact, in some situations, it could even be better.

This is the tutorial that will demonstrate to you, via screenshots and everything, JIRA’s applicability to bug tracking.

=> Want to learn Atlassian JIRA test and project management tool? We have a detailed series of tutorials you can check here.

What You Will Learn:

The Best Features of JIRA Bug Tracking Tool

Here we go.

#1) JIRA treats all work inside it as an Issue

So, in JIRA to create a defect would be to create an issue of the type “Bug”.

(Note: Click on any image for enlarged view)

#2) Defect reporting needs the following information recorded for every issue:

All the options are available to be able to create a defect effectively.

Please note the fields highlighted in Red below:

The two fields you are not seeing here are:

These two fields are auto-created by JIRA. All issues will have a unique ID assigned to them by JIRA. Status of all issues is “To-Do” or “New” in JIRA by default on creating a bug.

Therefore, all the common facilities for defect reporting are available in JIRA too. In fact, more options such as labels, linking defects, estimating efforts can be used.

#3) Defect Life Cycle:

All bug life cycle statuses as in Bugzilla (or any other popular bug tracker) can be accomplished here too:

This will need a little bit of customizing by your JIRA admin, but it is easy to do. For those, do not want to bother with the customization, you can’t go wrong with the default set up as well.

#4) Comments and collaboration with the Dev Team

Every issue, its updates, people assignment, comments received from the Dev team – everything is tracked in JIRA under the activity log.

This allows for better visibility and collaboration with the development teams:

#5) Linking the defect to a requirement to enable traceability

Link option in the JIRA issue fields lets you link a particular issue to another one. Let’s say if Defect 2 is a duplicate of Defect 1 you can establish that relationship.



Similarly, if a defect is blocking a requirement or is related to a requirement – you can make this aspect visible in JIRA.

The resulting links will appear in the issue details page as below:

The relationship types are self-explanatory and the usage of simple-common-everyday-language words (such as relates to, caused by, etc.) makes it super easy and intuitive for any JIRA user to use this right.

#6) Defects can be imported from a CSV file

This aids the bulk creation of issues in JIRA at once. Also, if your team is new and you don’t want them creating issues directly into the tool, you can have them report the defects in an excel sheet. Once they are reviewed and confirmed as valid, they can be imported all at once into the tool using this functionality.

Whichever way you use it, this is a big plus.

#7) Defects can be exported into Word, XML, and printable formats

This supports better portability of your defect data, especially useful if you want to share your defect data with people who are non-JIRA users.

#8) Comprehensive Issue Reports:

In addition, if you need reports  go to “Project –  reports” and generate all sorts of reports as below:

If we have to review JIRA’s analytics in one word, it’s fantastic.

Advanced/Power users of JIRA can also create advanced search filters to generate deeper insights.

For example, if want to look at all the defects assigned to you across multiple projects (BM and AB), you could use a JQL query like below:

So all in all, bug tracking/defect management in JIRA is very similar if not superior to dedicated bug trackers. Next time you have to work on it, don’t worry. You are in good hands.

Applicability of JIRA to Testing – Alternative dilemma

While this is one side of the coin, there is definitely another dimension to how people view the applicability of JIRA to QA or testing.

When you ask a group of QAs, “What is JIRA?”- Many will answer that JIRA is a defect tracking tool. Mind you, I have heard this from many senior QA professionals. This might be from the fact that, defect management/tracking is all they might have used JIRA for.

But, there is a lot more to it. When used right, core JIRA with its agile capabilities can be your one-stop-shop for high-level project management.

It can really support requirement tracking and progress, bug tracking, estimating, sprint tracking through SCRUM & KANBAN boards, reporting and collaborating.

You might be using a tool for one thing, but next time try and learn a few things around and about the tool that will help you understand and use it better.

So, as a next step, you could explore few other cool features of JIRA (that might not directly be related to bug tracking) that might make it your go-to choice.

Over to you

Now, it is time to hear from you. Have you faced any challenges using JIRA for bug tracking?

Do you think there is any weight to the resistance that test teams have in adapting JIRA for defect Management?

About the author: This hands-on tutorial is written by STH team member Swati.

Please share your comments.