Ceptah Bridge components

The illustration below shows the blocks the Ceptah Bridge plugin consists of and the features it provides.

Concept illustration

General Settings are basically the connection settings the Bridge uses to connect to a JIRA server. These are a server URL (internet/intranet address), JIRA user name and password. The Ceptah Bridge plugin uses the settings by default if there are no specific connection settings specified for a project. The settings are unique for each Windows user (profile).

Project settings consist of synchronization mappings and project connection settings.

  • Synchronization mappings define the way data is synchronized between JIRA and MS Office Project. You can specify the fields of MS Project tasks and JIRA issues to copy data to or from during synchronization and the direction of the transformation (from MS Project to JIRA or from JIRA to MS Project). Also, you can set the default values to be used for JIRA fields when there is no relevant data in the project document.
  • Project connection settings can be specified to override the general connection settings for a particular project.

Unlike general settings, project settings are stored in a document itself and are specific for each project. Please be advised that your JIRA password is stored in a Project document as part of connection settings. Although it’s protected and cannot be used to log in to JIRA, any person who has access to the project can perform JIRA-related operations provided by the Bridge under your name. The current version of the add-in does not support entering a password only for a current session. The issue will be addressed in future releases.

The Synchronize feature ensures data integrity between tasks in MS Project documents and issues in JIRA according to the mappings provided.

Among other conditions, the mapping settings define which project tasks should be synchronized with JIRA. Each such task has a JIRA issue associated with it. There is a custom text field (Text1…Text30) defined for each synchronized project that is used to store the keys of the issues the tasks of the project are linked with.

Synchronization of a project starts with identifying differences between the data in MS Project and JIRA to be resolved. The Bridge prepares a list of proposed changes to be made in JIRA. A change in the list can be either creation or update of an issue.

For the tasks that have to be synchronized, but haven’t been linked with issues, the list is filled with “creates”. The mapping settings define the rules to be used to evaluate values for the fields of the new issues. The values can be derived from tasks as well as set to default values provided by the mappings. After an issue is created, its key is stored in the mentioned above field of the respective task.

If a task already has its respective issue linked, but the data doesn’t match completely on the terms provided by the mappings, an “update” change will proposed. This change specifies which fields of the issue and which fields of the task should be set to which values.

Before applying the changes, the user has a chance to review them and deselect the ones he or she does not want to be progressed. Besides, it’s possible to reverse the direction of synchronization for some fields. For instance, you have a task assigned to the user Bob, and your mappings specify that the issue field “Component/s” should be taken from the task field “Text14” during synchronization. Bob found out that you had mistakenly set the field to ‘Kitchen’ when it was supposed to be ‘Bathroom’ and updated it. While reviewing proposed changes, you see that the correct value “Bathroom” is about to be replaced back by “Kitchen”. You can reverse the direction of synchronization and make the value ‘Kitchen’ be replaced in your project instead.

After having the changes reviewed, a user can launch the synchronization itself. This updates both MS Project tasks and JIRA issues concerned.

You may find helpful the following list of things to consider before starting using the Ceptah Bridge plugin.

  • The workflow you are going to use to manage the resources of your project.
  • The synchronization policy (i.e. the set of rules) you are going to use to power the workflow with the Bridge.

After having your Bridge deployment roadmap ready, you can proceed to the following steps.

  • Perform the JIRA customization needed to meet the requirements of the workflow, including creating new or modifying existing custom fields, granting permissions, etc.
  • Specify the mapping settings for your project reflecting the synchronization policy you have defined.
  • Make a copy of your project to test the workflow with and remove the issues generated in JIRA before starting real work.