The art of Jira asset management

Written by
Rachel Wright
Atlassian Consultant
June 20, 2023
min read

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The Atlassian community talks a lot about change management in conjunction with software development and IT service management. As a Jira admin, I talk a lot about the importance of maintaining the integrity of Jira’s configuration. But I don’t see a lot of conversation about asset management tracking or governance. Why? As with everything in Jira, you need a strategy to do it well. Here are my thoughts on applying strategy and governance principles to assets and inventory.

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What is Asset Management?

Asset management is simply monitoring the lifecycle of things of value. That includes tangible items like security badges, virtual items like software, or even people who contribute to the organization’s mission. Anything valuable to the business should be tracked in some way. If it's not, you don’t know what you have, and cannot calculate its impact.

Reasons to Track

I know, I know - no one wants yet another item on your organization’s “to maintain” list. But how do you know what you need if you don’t track what you already have?

For example, I often return from the grocery store to find I bought more of something I already had in the back of the pantry. Having some extra cans of beans isn’t a problem, but purchasing duplicate equipment or miscalculating future business needs could be. Keeping track of assets provided by multiple vendors is especially challenging unless all that information is all in one place. How many Adobe Photoshop licenses is your organization paying for but not using? Are there enough desks for the new interns starting next week? By tracking this information, you can answer those questions. If you track it in Jira, the answers are a simple JQL query away!


In my experience, processes and systems don’t magically work without planning, effort,  and focus on the end result. First, determine what the organization’s asset management goals are. Here are some examples:

  • Replace employee mobile phones every two years
  • Rotate wifi passwords in conference rooms each month
  • Extend the life of capital equipment purchases by finding secondary uses
  • Predict next year’s subscription costs
  • Stay within 10% of the equipment maintenance budget
  • Reduce the Legal team’s reliance on printed documents
  • Pass the upcoming audit
  • Etc.

Next, a good classification system is vital to analyzing information. What questions should the asset management system answer? Here are some sample questions to help determine yours:

  • Which assets depend on others? 
  • What is the cost of downtime if we don’t have reserve equipment? 
  • How many users have server admin access?
  • Which users have keys to the mailroom? 
  • Which assets depend on others? 
  • How many mobile devices were lost or damaged this year?
  • Which purchases are fully depreciated?
  • What items do we need to collect when an employee leaves the company?
  • How long does one copier toner cartridge last?
  • Etc.

With the above information, we can determine what data and data structure is needed to achieve the desired result. 

To measure the goal “Replace employee mobile phones every two years”, we need to have a list of employees, a list of mobile phones and their deployment dates, and an association between employees and phones. With this information, we can easily compare today’s date with the phone’s deployment date to see who’s eligible for an upgrade and when.

To answer “Which assets depend on others?”, we need to understand the entire asset list, define which assets impact others, and create a one-to-many association. 

Your system must be able to answer these types of questions quickly and accurately. It must also have enough of the right data to make meaningful decisions.

Simple Example

To create company-managed Jira projects, a user needs Jira application access and admin permissions. To get Jira access, a user needs a network account and an employee ID. Since Confluence uses Jira for account management, access to Jira also grants access to Confluence. It’s a simple example but it requires multiple systems and multiple actions to accomplish - all in a specific order. It could easily turn into a mess of confusion, inaction, and user frustration.

Example Jira access request with dependencies

In the screenshot, I’ve requested Jira application admin access for a new team member. This request however has dependencies and can’t be fulfilled until others are completed. I’ve used Jira’s standard linking feature to show the dependency. As shown, issue ITSM-14 cannot be started until issues ITSM-10, ITSM-11, and ITSM-12 are completed. As a requestor, I can easily see the relationship and understand what actions need to occur first.

ITSM-12 implements ITSM-13

Further, when ITSM-12 is completed, ITSM-13 is essentially completed as well. These issues are linked with an “implements/is implemented by” relationship.

By understanding and capturing dependencies you can remove friction from the process and improve the experience for all. You may even uncover opportunities for automation. Example: Automatically transition ITSM-13 to its final workflow status when ITSM-12 is completed.

The best time to implement or improve the asset management process is after you have a clear understanding of goals, dependencies, and reporting needs.


In addition to a strategy for managing assets, you also need a plan for asset decision making. You wouldn’t change something in production or grant a co-worker super admin permissions without telling anyone, right? (Right!) Assets also benefit from a similar “change management” process to manage risk, encourage communication, and create transparency. As always, governance should be about making smart business decisions, not creating useless bottlenecks that slow the business down. I suggest creating a simple approval process and guidelines for common procedures, like small purchases, large purchases, upgrades, decommissions, etc.

Think about the different types of assets at your organization. Which needs approval? Which involve specific stakeholders? Which requires action from outside vendors? Work with stakeholders to develop guidelines (and even asset-specific service level agreements) for each use case.

I like to make a little table like the one below to organize this information.

Make sure to capture all responsibilities, determine accountability for each action, and define ways to know whether the process is successful.
Creating repeatable and standard procedures increases efficiency and may save money over time. Be prepared to enforce the existing policies but also be flexible enough to modify them as the organization grows.
Finally, consider that asset management is a continual activity. You can’t simply create a database, fill it with items, and then walk away. Assets need constant attention for assignment, deployment, fixes, upgrades, and whatever else normally occurs during its lifecycle. Asset managers must periodically scan the organization to detect changes, make updates, analyze trends, uncover preventative maintenance opportunities, and plan for (or avoid) potential future deficiencies.

Asset Management in Jira

There are many ways to catalog assets, but of course, my favorite method is using Jira. You can leverage standard Jira project functionality and issue linking, third-party apps, or use the built-in asset and configuration management features in Jira Cloud Premium and Enterprise.

And yes, if you are wondering, I use Jira for a simple inventory system for my own insurance purposes and to catalog items in my personal storage unit. Whether the assets are business or personal, it’s the only way I can keep track of things. You can never be too organized, right?

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Time to Act

Now it’s your turn to act! Find out what’s working well and what can be improved in your organization's asset management strategy. See if the strategy is meeting goals and providing the desired results. Talk to multiple types of stakeholders in multiple areas. Make small changes over time so your system provides real-time value, allows the organization to run smoothly, and helps leadership make good business decisions.


Written by
Rachel Wright

Rachel Wright started using Jira and Confluence in 2011, became an administrator in 2013, and was certified in 2016. Rachel also uses Atlassian tools in her personal life for accomplishing goals and tracking tasks. Her first book, the “Jira Strategy Admin Workbook“, was written in Confluence and progress was tracked in Jira!

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