Beyond Native Limits: Unlocking Fast Jira Bulk Edits, Updates, Changes

Speed, agility, and seamlessness are among the pillars of modern-day project and workflow management.

To consistently deliver value to stakeholders and drive productivity across teams, you need capabilities that can help you work quickly, easily, and flexibly.

This is why it’s important that teams can eliminate redundant processes and perform daily work management tasks efficiently without consuming too much of their time.

In Jira, a capability that can help you do work efficiently is the bulk change feature, where you can make bulk changes or edit multiple issues at once.

But what is the extent of Jira’s bulk change capabilities? What are the use cases for this feature? More importantly, how can you perform the bulk change operation and boost your speed, agility, and seamlessness effectively on Jira?

Read on to learn more.

Bulk Change 101

Before going any further, it’s important to acknowledge the use cases for bulk edits in project management.

Having the ability to change and edit issues in bulk is highly instrumental for several operations, especially for processes that need to happen regularly.

Use Case

Backlog grooming
A scrum process that happens regularly each sprint. Issues must be regularly updated with the right priority level, assignee, due dates, and so on to help define the scope of a sprint.
Migrating from server to cloud (edit and align data)As Atlassian retires Jira Server, a lot of businesses are starting to make the shift to the cloud. This requires admins to make extensive changes to issues to make sure that all issue data is up to date.
Migrating from other project management software to Jira (edit and align data)When moving from other project management software to Jira, a lot of data alignment work needs to be done. Bulk editing is critical here. Most project managers will end up using Excel or Google Sheets, adding more screens to the migration process.
Migrating from Excel way of working to JiraIf you’re used to Excel or Google Sheets, you’d know how useful the spreadsheets can be when working with data. However, when you migrate to Jira, the interface is very different to what you’re used to, so it might be time consuming to learn the new bulk edit processes in Jira. Some team members might resort to still editing data outside of Jira to save time, and this will eliminate the element of single source of truth.

Jira Bulk Change Capabilities

With the above use cases in mind, can Jira’s bulk change feature truly meet the editing requirements of agile teams?

Bulk Change Operations

Through the Jira bulk change feature, you can do the following:

  • Edit Issues
    Edit field values of issues like priority, labels, assignee, reporter, security levels, and so on.
  • Move Issues
    Bulk move issues to new projects and issue types.
  • Transition Issues
    Transition issues through workflow (to do, in progress, done, and other custom workflows)
  • Delete Issues
    Permanently delete issues from Jira.
  • Watch Issues
    Watch all the selected issues. You will receive notifications when any of these issues are updated.
  • Stop Watching Issues
    Stop watching all the selected issues. You will no longer receive notifications when any of these issues are updated.

How to Perform Jira Bulk Change

Now, comes the most important part: How to make bulk changes in Jira?

The best way to go about this is through the Advanced Issue Navigator Screen. You can edit up to 1000 issues from all the issues you see on the screen, or you can filter your issues by project, JQL, or saved filters.

Advanced Issue Navigator Screen.
The limit for Jira bulk change is set at 1000 issues.

Once you’ve chosen the issues you want to bulk edit and update, you have to go through four steps to actually perform the bulk change operation.

Jira bulk change screen.
The four steps of Jira’s bulk change operation are: Choose an issue, select operation, operation details, and confirmation.

Jira Bulk Change Limitations

Now that we’ve covered the extent of Jira’s bulk change capabilities, it’s time to review its limitations.

  1. You can only bulk edit up to 1000 issues at a time. While this limit can still be modified in the configuration setting, it is highly inadvisable as it can cause server overload. This is not ideal for enterprises dealing with thousands of issues at once.
  2. Some system fields are unavailable for bulk change operations. For instance, you can’t change issue type, parent, components, fix versions, affected versions, and link issues in bulk.
  3. You need to go through four screens (or more) just to perform the bulk change. This isn’t only time-consuming; it also reduces flexibility and undermines the fast-paced dynamics of agile teams.

While it’s helpful that Jira offers this feature, these native limitations reduce the usability of Jira and prevent users from performing certain operations efficiently.

So, what can you do to overcome these limitations?

Alternative Bulk Edit Solutions

There are two alternative bulk update solutions that everyone can look into: Jira Work Management and a Jira bulk issue editor app.

Jira Work Management

An upgraded version of Jira Core, Jira Work Management was designed to support the transition from the Excel way of working to Jira. A couple of its interfaces mimic that of Excel to help business users adapt to a more digital way of working while still retaining some elements of spreadsheets – like the list view.

Jira Work Management List View.
Source: The Jira Guy

While this can be a good alternative, committing to another Jira program that has the same functions (and then some) as your Jira Software or Jira Service Management just to get more bulk editing capabilities is a stretch.

This is where Atlassian apps come into play.

Excel-like Bulk Issue Editor for Jira

One of the most comprehensive spreadsheet add-ons in the Marketplace, Excel-like Bulk Issue Editor for Jira is an app that enables users to bulk edit efficiently and extensively.

Users will be able to do the following advanced bulk edits:

  • Edit 10,000+ issues at once.
  • Bulk issue creation.
  • Experience enterprise-grade performance as there are little to no lags.
  • Maintain a single source of truth since Excel-like spreadsheets and tables are embedded in Jira itself.
  • Eliminate the need to leave Jira just to align and edit data.
  • Access familiar Excel interfaces and features like copy and paste, freeze columns, as well as sort and filter.
  • Import and export data from Excel to consolidate with Jira effectively.

Hierarchy View mode on Excel-like Issue Editor
You can even view your issues’ hierarchy (Epic – Story – Subtask) as you edit.

All It Takes Is an App

Why go through the lengths of leaving Jira or committing to another large-scale platform just to meet your work management needs when there’s an effective app like Excel-like Bulk Issue Editor for Jira?

Experience the power of the app for yourself. Try it today.

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