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Simplify Jira Select Lists With Insight Custom Fields

Most Jira users use have worked with select lists when creating issues. The purpose of a select list is to provide the user with a pre-defined set of values, usually coming in the form of a drop-down menu, instead of a text field where you have less control over what data is entered. Select lists can be used for a variety of purposes, depending on your needs.

Select fields are also just one of many possible Jira custom fields. This means they need to be created and maintained by a Jira administrator, which is where many organizations run into trouble. This need to route continual maintenance through the Jira admin can be very time-consuming, especially if there are many select list fields that frequently need to be updated.

You can avoid this scenario when you use Insight’s custom fields. One of the many benefits is that, instead of creating a select list custom field, the Jira administrator can initiate an Insight custom field and then hand over the responsibility of maintaining the lists to other personnel.

Therefore, maintaining your select lists in Insight doesn’t require Jira admin rights.


So, how is this done in Insight?

Let’s imagine that we need to make a few select list fields, that will be used in different Jira Projects by different teams.


Step 1 - Create Your Object Schema

Let’s assume that we already have several object schemas to manage different kinds of assets that are used by various departments across your organization.

To avoid logistical complications, it’s best to build a new schema for each team, with its purpose being select list field maintenance.

In our example, we created this HR Select Lists Schema. In that schema, we produce object types for the different select lists to be used in Insight custom fields that will be owned and maintained by the HR team.

For example, you can see the types Team, Type of Employee and Company Values below:



Step 2 - Build Your Custom Fields

Once your Object Schemas and Object Types are ready, the next step in this process is to create your Insight custom fields and add them to the appropriate screens.

Let’s continue with our HR example above and make an Insight custom field for Company Values. Once the custom field exists, the Jira administrator must connect it to the Company Values object type in the HR Select Lists Schema and add it to the appropriate screens. Once that is done, the maintenance can be done by the HR team. 

To connect the field to the Company Values, the Jira administrator needs to edit the Insight Configuration for the field, like is shown on the following two images.





Once this is in place, users will see the field on the issue screens. In the example below, you can see an issue for planning a party that aligns with the Company Value Fun.



Be aware that, just like regular select list custom fields, deleting a value (your objects in Insight) from the list will delete it from already created issues as well. Instead of deleting a value, you can hide it from users.


Hiding Values From Select Lists Display Instead of Deleting Them

First, we need to add an attribute to the Company Values object type. We recommend adding this option from the beginning to all Insight (select list) custom fields.

For our example, I added an attribute called “Hidden from select list.”




When you want to hide a value from the list, you edit the object and check the “Hidden from list” checkbox.



Second, you need to update your configuration for the Company Values custom field to only display values that are not hidden. This is done with an additional IQL in the configuration for the custom field.



And that’s it!

We have now hidden the Teamwork value from the list. But even though we have hidden the value from the select list, users can still search by it. This is an excellent benefit, as you won't lose the hidden value from previously created issues. The image below shows that the Teamwork option is not showing when creating a new issue.



The image below shows how you can still search for the Teamwork value, even though it has been hidden when creating new issues.




When using Insight’s custom fields for select lists instead of Jira’s built-in select list fields, Jira administrators are able to share the responsibility of maintaining those parameters with their respective owners.


What does this mean?

  1. Delegating the responsibility of maintaining a field to its owner makes the Jira administrator’s life much easier, especially if there are numerous select list fields needed throughout the instance;
  2. The owners can add and hide values from the select list field themselves, without having to contact the Jira administrator; and
  3. It’s simple for the owners to hide a value from the select list field, but at the same time allow users to search after the value, as shown in the example above.


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Originally published Nov 8, 2019 4:00:00 AM