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How to integrate Workfront and Jira and align project teams

Written on 23.

Learn how does Jira integrate with Workfront, fundamental integration steps, bottlenecks on the way, and how to increase project teams' alignment and streamline efficiency.

6 minute read


Project management can be like trying to keep a lid on a boiling pot.

If you're managing the IT development group in a company or another enterprise team, you've probably faced a hard time running projects due to manual processes, disconnected tools, multiple methodologies, and scattered stakeholders. This can make it challenging to deliver successful business solutions. Across all organizations, the average investment loss is 11.4 percent because of poor project performance. Surveys indicate that unsuccessful project management best practices integration can result in a 67 percent increase in outright project failure rate.

Automated processes and synced tools are rated as key to project management optimization. According to a survey, more than half of the workers (54%) feel that they could free up at least five hours of their time by automating their most repetitive tasks.

process automation

In this guide, we’ll break down how you can set up a Workfront-Jira integration of your own, as well as share common Workfront-Jira integration challenges. Workfront already offers a limited functionality native integration with Jira, but you might also be looking for a more flexible, robust solution that meets your team’s exact needs. If you are, then jump ahead to our section on using intelligent automation to build custom automated processes that level up your project management. Otherwise, let’s get started.

Before you set up your Jira Workfront integration

Before setting up a Jira Workfront integration, here are some tips to consider:

Understand your workflow

Before setting up an integration, you should understand your workflow and how integration can improve it. Identify the areas where Jira and Workfront can complement each other to streamline your workflow. For instance, you might want to have full visibility of a few Jira instances in Workfront to analyze resources better. 

Identify your integration needs

Determine what data you want to integrate between Jira and Workfront to reach your business goals. For example, you may want to use a Workfront integration to integrate specific fields when a project has been created in Workfront such as tasks, events, comments, or attachments.

Plan the integration

Plan the integration carefully, including mapping the data fields and identifying any potential issues that may arise during the integration.

Test the integration

Test the integration thoroughly to ensure it works as expected before rolling it out to your team.

Challenges when connecting Workfront to Jira

As mentioned earlier, the native Workfront-to-Jira integration comes with some limitations. Once you’ve set up your sync, you might encounter data flowing in only one direction, failed syncs, delays, and overwritten data, especially when working with a large database. Often, these issues can require frustrating workarounds. 

Here are a few issues you may encounter when using the native Workfront-to-Jira integration.

Unidirectional integration

Unidirectional Jira-Workfront integration allows data to flow in only one direction. In other words, data is being transferred from Workfront to Jira, but not the other way around. 

In practical terms, this means that any updates or changes made in Workfront will automatically be reflected in Jira, but any updates or changes made in Jira will not be reflected in Workfront. 

This could result in a lack of communication between teams, leading to potential errors or incomplete reporting, slowing down workflow efficiency and creating process disruptions. 

Failed record syncs

Certain records can fail to be correctly synced due to various issues such as incomplete information, required values, validation issues, and incorrect integration setup. It is possible to resolve these issues manually, however, the amount of maintenance needed can quickly become overwhelming, limiting the amount of time available to dedicate to more important tasks.

Disabled triggers

When Workfront disables triggers due to an error with native Workfront and Jira integration, data may not be synced between Jira and Workfront, resulting in incomplete or inaccurate information in both systems. You would need manually correct these records to update data in both systems, which can increase the workload. Same time if users manually update data in both systems, errors, and inconsistencies may occur. 

Slow synchronization

For Workfront and Jira users, delays in syncing data may occur, especially when the organization holds a large amount of information. This synchronization process usually takes a few minutes, yet in situations with large updates, it can be too much for the system to handle, stopping the user from gaining access to current data and triggering other events. For example, if a team handles multiple projects in Workfront at the same time, the updates may pile up and consequently slow the sync. This delay can inhibit Jira from starting further tasks based on the issue condition.

Overwritten data

In some instances, including when adding issues manually in Jira, the native Workfront-Jira integration can overwrite data. Imagine you have a project that is already actively syncing data with Jira. If the integration is unidirectional, records can be overwritten with data flowing from Workfront. Missing data means that your team is missing updates on resources, the scope of work, statuses, and deadlines, reducing productivity and directly affecting your project management cycle.


While Workfront offers functionality to prevent users' duplicates, it doesn’t check for duplicates when integrating data with Jira — it assumes that all incoming data is valid. Common issues with incoming duplicate data can require you to manually reconcile records or invest in the help of a third party.

Alternative: How intelligent automation allows you seamlessly sync data

The native Workfront for Jira integration offers a convenient and easy way to flow data from Workfront to Jira. But what if you need to handle more-sophisticated processes that go beyond unidirectional integration? What if you need to perform more mature operations, such as:

  • Automating project creation process steps
  • Linking stories with epics and projects and then to tasks
  • Roll-up reporting to see all info together
  • Tracking percent completions and cost
  • Unifying project views across systems
  • Scheduling integration intervals from real-time to defined times
  • Including data within custom fields
  • Syncing multiple instances of Jira or Workfront, and more?

Let’s say that you need to automatically sync only specific fields any time you update an associated Workfront record. Or, you need to add or remove Workfront records in bulk whenever you update issues in Jira. Or maybe you need to bi-directionally sync data across not only Jira and Workfront but also any number of other applications. In any of these examples, the native Workfront for Jira integration won’t suffice because of its limited functionality.

To handle more-advanced integration use cases, teams are looking to the Intelligent Automation Platform (IAP). An IAP is a low-code platform that empowers business users of any technical level to stand up powerful integrations rapidly. Anyone can use an IAP’s visual, drag-and-drop interface to rapidly build API-level integrations between any number of applications in minutes. Additionally, you can use an IAP to easily orchestrate powerful, multi-step automation that kicks off a variety of operations, responding to any custom trigger. With an IAP, you can save hours of manual work, drive productivity, and scale mission-critical processes.

workfront jira integration

Here’s an example of an IAP in action that aligns your project management teams by keeping activities, tasks, comments, and documents in sync bi-directionally and in real-time.

How to do what’s in the video:
1. Define the integration requirements: We have the best practices, templates, and support to help.
2. Configure PIF to connect to Workfront and Jira.
3. Map the fields: The next step is to map the fields between Jira and Workfront.
4. Test the integration: After mapping the fields, you need to test the integration.
5. Roll out the integration: Once the integration has been tested successfully.
6. Monitor and maintain the integration with integrated reporting and alerts.

More Workfront-Jira integration resources

Workfront Jira integration infosheet

Solution Info

Information on the Workfront Jira integration offering.  

Popular Workfront integrations

Solution Info

Information on the Workfront integration offering.  

Popular Jira integrations

Solution Info

Information on the Jira integration offering.

Elsa Petterson

Elsa Petterson
Partner success manager @ Put It Forward

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