JIRA Best Practices: Project Roles

Best PracticesRead in 3 minutes Bjarki

This is part of a blog series with our own tips on configuring your JIRA, maximizing your use of JIRA’s many features, and tailoring the platform to best suit your organization’s needs.

In recent years, JIRA has become the leading bug tracking, issue tracking, and project management tool, and is used by 70 percent of Fortune 100 companies. The software offers a variety of innovative and flexible features, which allow users to get the best out of the platform.

When our consulting team at TM Software works with customers on how best to set up their JIRA instance, one of the primary features we discuss are setting up project roles in JIRA. Project roles can be used in a flexible way to associate users and/or groups with a particular project. But they also gives admins greater control over who can access what information within JIRA, which is extremely important for most organizations. Unfortunately, from our experience, many organizations do not take advantage of this flexibility.

Within JIRA, all users are assigned to one or more project roles, depending on how much access to data a particular user is granted. The default roles in JIRA are:

  • Administrators (people who administer a given project).

  • Developers (people who work on issues in a given project).

  • Users (people who log issues on a given project).

Although JIRA was originally designed for developers, the platform has evolved through the years, and organizations are using it for a variety of additional uses, such as human resources, Agile marketing and sales, customer support, legal, finance, accounting, and more. This typically means that organizations require additional roles to be established in JIRA to distinguish the various purposes for which the platform is to be used.

As a JIRA admin, you’ll likely need to create new project roles in addition to the three above, or edit these default roles. For instance, organizations using JIRA for customer service purposes (such as a Help Desk) might, for example, find it confusing to simply use the default Project Roles (Administrator, Developer, Users). In this scenario, a beneficial way to maximize JIRA’s flexibility is to rename the Project Roles with descriptive names. For example, a finance company might want to rename the Project Role “Developers” to Managers instead, and “Administrators” to Executives. Some companies might even want to add a new Project Role for their clients to enable them to view JIRA issues being worked on, and even to allow them to create new issues, if needed.


In JIRA, you can create, edit, and delete project roles according to your organisation’s requirements. Atlassian’s documentation pages walk you through the steps of setting up and managing your project roles.

When creating a new project role it’s good to keep the following things in mind:

  • What tasks does a user with a specific role need to be able to perform?

  • Does the user need any additional access rights, and if so, does he or she require a new project role?

  • Are the roles that have already been established adequate enough for all projects in JIRA?

Groups or individuals are associated into each role depending on the project. It’s best to use groups to allow for easier control of user access. Therefore, you can remove a user from a group in order to shut down access to certain projects.

All users with access to JIRA must be assigned to a default JIRA user group, and therefore, we advise not to use that default group in any of the permissions schemes.  This is done to prevent all users from having browsing privileges to access all data within JIRA.

JIRA’s roles also carry over to Tempo’s add-ons. Tempo’s flexible permissions schemes allow Tempo admins to assign various permissions to JIRA users and groups, so the more tailored the JIRA role, the more guidance offered to the Tempo admin in determining permissions to access data and utilize specific features in Tempo.

There you have it!  Make sure you keep these things in mind when managing project roles to get the best out of JIRA and Tempo.  Stay tuned for more JIRA tips from us!

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Bjarki is the product marketing manager for Tempo Planner and Iceland's number one pineapple enthusiast. He loves playing soccer, training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and listening to old school 70's funk.

5 Responses

  1. raki says:

    Can I use roles for automatic planning? For example I have 2 .Net and 1 Java developer in my team and I have several tasks. Some of them are java related, some of them are .Net programming tasks.

    When planning or allocating resources can I do the task allocations according to the roles/skills? If not what is the point of having roles in Tempo Planner?

    • Bjarki Bjarki says:

      Hi Raki,

      Unfortunately planning on a role in Tempo Planner is not yet available but we are working on it. Then it will be possible to plan on roles and every user in the selected role will be planned on.

      Best regards,

  2. […] year we blogged about Project Roles, which was very popular with our users. In this blog, we’ll go into more detail about Project […]

  3. Nate says:

    I’m in the process of revamping an instance of JIRA that was set up years ago. The groups/roles/permissions is basically hanging up any further development on the project. Several Groups were set up with Crowd. All users have at least view access to all projects. We’d like to close this off with out having to completely reinvent the wheel as this JIRA instance is currently being used in prod in some areas of devOps. I’m not sure which way to go. I was looking at trying to close off access on a user by user basis, but am unable to do so. I cannot uncheck the project roles and revoke certain access to certain projects – the group is in () ie (jira-developers) and cannot be unchecked.
    Should I create all new roles? Remove groups from the projects and then add roles with my the permissions needed?

    • Bjarki Bjarki says:

      Hi Nate,

      I think it would be best that you’d contact the Atlassian support team for more assistance in that matter.
      On their support you can contact their support staff. They’ll be able to assist you with the problem you’re having with JIRA instance.

      Hope this helps!

      Best regards,

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