How to synchronize Jira User Groups with Jira Service Management Organizations

Published on October 18, 2018, updated on May 31, 2022

Deviniti started 17 years ago as a custom software development company. Now, being an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner, we never forget about our roots and are always happy to build and implement custom features in a client’s Jira instance upon their request. We release many of these features as parts of our Marketplace apps – a prominent example is MetLife Poland, which came up with ideas of Extension for Jira Service Management, Dynamic Forms for Jira, and Active Directory Attributes Sync. Our most recent custom feature released inside an app is Organizations and Groups Sync, which was requested by one of our clients as well. Here’s the story of how we came up with this functionality.

What’s the problem with Jira Service Management?

Most Jira Service Management customers are happy with the solution, as it allows them to manage SLAs, provides reporting, and features a self-service Customer Portal. But in conjunction with the rest of the Atlassian Stack, a problem of grouping users and configuring request visibility can arise quickly. In January 2017, Jira Service Management introduced Organizations for customers on Server, but they could not be updated in sync with Jira user groups. So even though Jira instances at enterprises were tied to Active Directory to keep the groups complete, it still was a lot of labor to keep the Organization memberships up-to-date.

Here’s an example rant on this functionality from one of our customers:

Managing user groups is a crucial thing for me. I need a way to have users added to groups quickly, which is especially important if we need to inform teams of incidents and the ticket should be public. There was a question asked by many folks from the beginning: How do I let other people know about my issues? It is a big challenge for us to give access manually for every user, so I need the functionality to give it to the whole teams instead. The first versions of Jira Service Management didn’t even have the Organizations feature, and when Atlassian finally added it, it was all manually manipulated, which is completely worthless the way it is out of the box! I mean, there already were user groups in Jira Software, so why just not expose them to Service Management?

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We’ve developed Organizations and Groups Sync within Extension for Jira Service Management

A quick investigation of the Marketplace showed that there was no app providing such a functionality among over 800 available in the ITSM segment, so in March 2018 we saw a request from our client in our own Customer Portal to make it possible. The requirements were:

  • an internal customer with access to the ticket could have the ability to share it with an existing Jira user group (or multiple groups) right from the Customer Portal, and by doing so the groups’ members could access the request and receive notifications;
  • an admin could be in control of which groups are synchronized with an Organization and when the sync happens (including a manual run possibility).

The first solution that popped up in our heads was to modify Active Directory Attributes Sync so that the Department attribute would synchronize with a corresponding Organization in Jira Service Management. But it wouldn’t help so much in case of a need to share an issue with multiple teams at a time, so eventually we gave up on that idea. Instead, we decided on synchronizing Organizations with Jira user groups within Extension 6.0 for Jira Service Management and provided two configuration possibilities for this feature. By adding Jira user groups to Organizations, you create an Organization first and then choose the user groups you’d like to add to it. This option allows to add multiple groups to one Organization, which would look like this:

Adding Jira user groups to Jira Service Management Organizations illustration
Adding Jira user groups to Jira Service Management Organizations

The second method of creating Organizations from Jira groups allows to simply transfer user groups to Organizations in the projects you select, with all the users assigned to them automatically. The Organization’s name then is the same as the user group’s name.

Creating Service Management Organizations from Jira user groups illustration
Creating Service Management Organizations from Jira user groups

What’s more, in the latest release we’ve added the possibility to add Jira Service Management customers to Jira user groups. Technically, this way you create Jira users for the customers of a given project, so be aware of your license count! All the configuration types are provided with a single CRON expression to run the sync at equal time intervals, and there’s a possibility to do it manually at any given moment.

What’s in the future for Extension for Jira Service Management?

Our goal is to make Jira Service Management even more customizable with the Extension app. We’ve already added the possibility to import and export Dynamic Forms to use them on multiple instances and created the Bundled Fields feature, allowing for creating bundles consisting of sub-fields.

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Dzmitry Hryb

Dzmitry is a Marketing Manager at Deviniti. For the last couple of years, he's been on the mission to help people make the best use of Jira Software and Jira Service Management at work by creating guides and tutorials for Atlassian users all around the globe. He received the Atlassian Community Content Awards three times in 2018. He spends the rest of his time winning pool tournaments, producing music, biking around, and playing with his two cats.

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