How to Quickly Sync Issues Between GitHub and Jira with Automated 2-Way Updates

How to Quickly Sync Issues Between GitHub and Jira with Automated 2-Way Updates

This walkthrough will guide you through the process of connecting GitHub and Jira with Unito, so you can quickly sync issues between GitHub and Jira with automated 2-way updates. The end result will be a simple workflow that enables you to automatically create and sync new issues in one repo or project, based on manual changes in the other. This is most useful for: software developers, quality assurance teams, product managers, teams practicing DevOps, customer support, or cybersecurity.

Here’s an example of our demo’s synced issues between GitHub and Jira:

A GitHub issue synced to a Jira issue with Unito's 2-way sync

The goal of this integration is two-fold:

  • Create new GitHub issues automatically whenever we manually generate specific issues in Jira, or vice versa.
  • Maintain a real-time 2-way sync between issues with automated updates whenever changes are made in either tool.

This integration can be built with Jira Sync directly from your Jira interface or through Unito’s standalone sync platform.

Why connect GitHub with Jira?

Connecting these two powerful tools saves time, helps teams and squads collaborate more efficiently, and turns both GitHub and Jira into shared sources of truth.

Streamlined collaboration between dev teams

Unito’s 2-way integration eliminates the need to search for specific issues or tasks. Instead, teams can simply stay in their preferred GitHub or Jira interface and watch those work items appear in their projects and repositories.

Facilitate software project management

Unito’s GitHub Jira integration becomes an invaluable asset for project managers juggling multiple teams at once. You can eliminate tool-switching and human error so you can focus on overseeing projects and reporting on progress.

Optimize version control with a united source of truth

One recurring challenge faced by teams in multiple tools is the inevitable data silo that crops up. This can be especially problematic where version control is concerned. Unito simplifies version control between Jira and GitHub by keeping issues synced between each tool in real-time.

Before we connect GitHub and Jira through Unito:

Install Unito in GitHub:

  • Add Unito to GitHub through the GitHub Marketplace.
  • The first time you connect a GitHub account, you’ll need to complete a brief authorization process. Simply follow the on-screen instructions to proceed.
GitHub Unito Authorization Screen

Configure Jira for Unito access:

These steps are only necessary the first time you sync Jira with Unito.

  • The Jira account connected to Unito must have administrator access with global permissions.
  • You’ll need to set your Jira contact email visibility to anyone from your Jira profile page.
Jira profile page to change email contact visibility
Changing your Jira contact email visibility enables Unito to discover your account and sync Jira issues to Trello.

Step 1. Connect GitHub and Jira to Unito

Unito Standalone App:

Navigate to the Unito App and select +Create Flow.

Jira Sync:

On the next screen, select Start Here to connect GitHub and Jira. Choose the accounts, project and repository you wish to connect and sync.

Connecting Jira and GitHub accounts to Unito

When you’re ready, select Confirm.

Step 2. Set a flow direction between GitHub and Jira

This step tells Unito which tool should create new issues in the other. If you select a two-way flow, then issues created in either GitHub or Jira will appear in the other and sync with real-time updates.

You can set rules in the next step to filter specific issues from syncing.

Setting a flow direction for issue creation and syncing between Jira and GitHub

Select Confirm when you’ve chosen a flow direction.

Learn more about flow direction.

Step 3. Set rules to choose specific issues to sync between Jira and GitHub

Rules let you decide whether or not to filter out specific issues from syncing between Jira and GitHub. Select Add a new trigger to begin. A simple way to do this is to set a trigger based on specific labels or statuses so that only issues with that status/label sync through Unito.

You can also remove a trigger by selecting the bin icon on the right-hand side.

Screenshot of Unito's interface displaying the process of syncing Jira issues to GitHub issues, highlighting steps and rules for successful integration
In the above example, GitHub issues created after Sept 18, 2023 with the label enhancement will become matching issues in our Jira Bug Triage 2023 project.
Screenshot of Unito's interface displaying a second set of rules syncing Jira issues to GitHub issues, highlighting the triggers necessary for issue field data to sync
Meanwhile, any Jira issues we’ve identified as bugs will create matching issues in GitHub.

Find out more about setting rules.

Step 4. Pick fields to sync between issues

Here you can pick the individual issue fields to keep in sync between GitHub and Jira, as well as how changes should appear in each. Most fields can be assigned their own directional flow so you can enjoy some customization here as needed.

But first, we have to pick between manual mapping and auto-mapping. Auto-mapping creates a template that can be modified, or you can start from scratch.

To add a new pair of fields, select + Add mapping, then Select a field in both GitHub and Jira. Here is an example of our demo’s auto-mapped fields:

Setting fields to sync GitHub and Jira for Unito 2-way integration

The directional arrows indicate how manual changes automatically affect the synced issue. Using the above table as an example, if we change our demo’s issue type in GitHub, that change will sync to Jira, but not vice versa. Meanwhile, if we edit the GitHub title or Jira summary, those changes will sync to the other.

Click Confirm when you’re satisfied with your field mappings to proceed.

Learn more about Field Mappings

Step 5. Save, close and launch your GitHub Jira integration

And that’s it! You’ve just completed a flow between GitHub and Jira. Congratulations!

If you’ve followed the steps above, your flow will now:

  • Create Jira issues based on GitHub issues and vice versa.
  • Enable collaboration between Jira and GitHub with a clear view on project progress across tools

You can sync historical issues by removing the creation date condition in your rules. Just make sure your flow is functioning as intended

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know.

What’s next after connecting GitHub and Jira with Unito?

Now that you’ve set up your integration between Jira and GitHub, you can unify project management and improve cross-team visibility across tools with real time two way updates.  You can also read more about Unito’s integrations for Jira and GitHub to better understand their capabilities and limitations.