July 13, 2022

Untangle your tasks. Quick guide to Jira labels

BigPicture Team

Jira labels are usually used with a task or a story. The goal of labels is simple: they help you, the user, find these tasks and initiatives easier with a filtering feature. This way, you can save your time using Jira. With this short guide, you will learn basics about labels’ use, as well as their usefulness and good practices, that will help you unleash the potential of your Jira labels.

Again, what are labels anyway? As Atlassian documentation states, labels are keywords or tags that you can add to rules and use to categorize, identify or bookmark content in Automation for Jira. 

You could assign the label ‘Notifications’ to all notification-based rules, states the article. That way, you and other interested parties can then browse all rules with that label in a single click.

How to manage labels in Jira?

As Atlassian documentation states, labels are a way to categorize and search for an issue. When viewing an issue in Jira, you can select More, and click Labels to add or remove them.

Labels can be created and assigned to a task or a story so that the respective tasks can be found more easily using the filter. For example, you can create a label “Marketing” and assign this label to all issues that are related to it. Afterward, you can filter all the marketing-relevant tasks and get an overview of which issues are currently in the marketing team – describes Andreas Springer from Actonic.

Why labels are useful?

The advantages of Jira labels are mainly connected to the simplified filtering and searching process. Tracking issues is also much easier. Another important aspect of labels is customization. You don’t have to group your tasks and initiatives by the app’s naming. Instead, you can create your own classification, based on preferences and language you and your team use every day. This is, of course, also a potential threat – using too hermetic language can alienate others from the proper use of the created labels.

Overall, labels can easily clarify your workflow, suitably for your needs and the terminology your company uses on a daily basis.

Adding labels in Jira issues

Adding labels is simple. You just need to open the specific issue you want to label and click the pencil icon next to the Labels field you can find in the Details. Then, you just select one label from already existing ones or you can create a new one.

Removing a Jira label

According to Atlassian documentation, in order to delete a label from an instance, it must be first removed from all the issues in that instance. After the removal, the label will no longer be seen when browsing labels. However, the deleted label might still show up on the browser immediately after deleting the label from all issues. This happens due to the index/cache replication. In some cases, the browser cache would need to be flushed and reloaded to take effect.

Good practices with labels

Final thoughts

Jira labels are a useful tool to ease your navigation in Jira. Filtering issues and tickets can definitely speed up the whole work, but it’s important to remember that it’s not a miracle tool. We create our own labels – it must be done in a unified not too obscure way. If we forget that, we can cause more problems and confusion than actually help you and interested parties.

This may be the main reason why labels are still not as popular as you might think. In BigPicture’s survey from 2021, 45.5% of users do not use labels at all, while 41.3% of those who do use labels, do it by storing all kinds of labels in one Labels field. Only 13.2% of users create separate label type fields for different label categories.

Seems like many Jira users are still hesitant to use labels. It can actually be difficult to begin with but with time and proper practice, it can actually bring many benefits to your organization.