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There’ll be times when you want to share a bunch of Jira issues externally without buying extra licenses. Maybe you’re working on a project with an external partner or contractor that has multiple issues requiring the external user’s attention.

External Share for Jira allows you to give external users secure, temporary access to those issues in three ways:

  1. Create External Share links to each issue individually

  2. Create an External Share link to a list of issues using Jira Query Language (JQL)

  3. Create an External Share link to an entire Scrum or Kanban board

If you have a lot of issues to share, you probably don’t want to go down route 1. If you understand what JQL is and how to use it, route 2 is great, but not the most visual way of sharing what’s happening on a project.

If JQL gives you night sweats, or you’d like your external users to see your board rather than a list, then route 3 is gonna be your jam.

Why share a board and not a list?

For the same reason you make a board and not a list. Both Scrum and Kanban teams visualize their work on boards. You can’t get an instant sense of the work that’s being done or needs doing by rifling through lists. For Kanban teams in particular, the agile board is fundamental, and that’s because the most important principle in Kanban is to visualize your workflow.

So, if Scrum and Kanban teams function best having their tasks displayed as cards moving steadily across a board, it’s fair to say that external users will function best with the same.

Sharing an agile board gives your external teams an at-a-glance view of what’s happening on a project and makes individual issue statuses easier to grasp and digest. Ultimately, board sharing offers parity between your internal and external teams and makes collaboration smoother and just plain nicer for all involved.

How to share your Scrum or Kanban board externally

It’s fantastically simple.

Go into a Jira Software project and click the External Share button in the project side panel.

Then click Create External Share Board.

In the Board Share window, select the board you want to share from the dropdown and give your link a name.

Select your data options. Do you want your external user to be able to view/add comments and attachments, and see linked issues and sub-tasks? Tick the boxes if so. Data options will apply to all issues on the chosen board.

Select whether you want the link to expire, or whether you want to protect it further with a password. (Note that External Share links are already secure by virtue of having 16-character code URLs.)

Click Send via email to email the link to the user, or Save and copy/paste the link to the user on Slack or whatever communication platform you use.

Now your external user will be able to see this:

Transitioning Jira issues on shared boards

External users will have access to a read-only version of your agile board and all the issues displayed on it, but with a couple of very powerful exceptions:

  • You can allow external users to add comments and/or attachments to issues, and

  • You can allow external users to change the status of an issue, e.g. from “In Progress” to “Done”.

The ability to transition issues through the workflow will save time internally and make collaboration with external teams even smoother. The fact that, in all other respects, the externally shared issues are read-only and cannot be changed ensures a healthy balance between your collaborative capabilities and the need to maintain internal control of your issue data.

Users can either change the issue status from inside the issue, as above, or enjoy the full functionality of the agile board and drag and drop an issue forwards or backwards through the columns, as shown below.

Contact our support team with any questions, suggestions, and recommendations you have about sharing Jira boards externally, and we’ll be glad to help.