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How to Import Data and Save Your Time (CSV vs. TFS4JIRA)?

Agnieszka Józwiak
Agnieszka Józwiak
Feb 14th, 2020

Even though it’s been nine years (yes!) since we shipped TFS4JIRA to the software development ocean, we are still sharing the same level of excitement when our customers reach out to us to say, “Hey, Spartans, thanks guys for this tool.”

Lately, however, we got a message that drove us to write this article. Although a customer expressed an appreciation for using our plugin, they still wondered about importing TFS work items from a CSV file.

So, the question was like itching in the back of throat since we read it. And it brings us here to clarify how to integrate TFS Azure DevOps with Jira Software the best way.

Importing Data from CSV vs Real-time Sync with TFS4JIRA

To cut to the chase, is there any point in importing TFS work items to Jira from a CSV file? You might have previously exported some of your data to CSV, and now, where is a chance to migrate your work to Jira, you want to make use of it.

But you’ve heard about TFS4JIRA plugin and now wonder, do you have to install it, or perhaps your CSV will do the trick.

If you are strongly determined to follow the CSV path, and you believe that nothing will stop you, that’s totally fine. But you will be missing a lot.

Arming yourself with the TFS4JIRA app will empower you to migrate more information than through a CSV import. Otherwise, you will leave some essential data behind.

No comment, no history

For instance, a typical CSV file will not contain yours or your teammates’ comments left in a work item. It will not store any attachments and linkages, such as issue parent/child relationships, or related links between user stories that are at the same level of importance.

You certainly can identify the significance of this data, but it deserves highlighting. Not taking comments and attachments with you to another environment, means slaughtering your team’s previous work.

As far as you can be adding attachments all over again (even though repeating it is an utter waste of your time), the recovery of comments (that would be meaningful for the project to keep it going) will be impossible.


The same way, leaving relationships between user stories on a dumpster, can jeopardise your projects. Why?

If you operate in a larger company that delivers projects by engaging different teams, it can turn out that some of the user stories that were linked to each other are torn apart after a manual (importing from a CSV) “migration”.

How much time do you have to connect the dots again?

Time to switch from CSV to a real-time data sync with TFS4JIRA

Instead of setting a large amount of your work on fire, you can choose a faster, secure, and more efficient solution to connect Azure DevOps and Jira environments.

With the TFS4JIRA plugin, you can migrate all your work times and convert them to issues in Jira, with taking all your legacy with you. It means saving all the comments, attachments, and linkages during the migration process.

Moreover, you can map default value when some users are not available in Jira, but they exist in Azure DevOps. Those unmapped users can be synced as “anything else” to a user value option.

Save up to months of migration processes

Yes, if you find yourself in a situation when your company has to switch from one software project management software to another, the transition process will steal your time and money.

But it’s up to you how much. Here are your options:

  • You can either pursue the heroic manual work, copying and pasting, downloading, and uploading, but it will consume weeks if not months of your team’s time. Not to mention, you will expose your projects to threats like losing some essential data along the way. Also bear in mind, that in the meantime you will need to proceed with your current projects;
  • Or you can hire an outsider to carry it on your behalf. Getting an offshore IT company to take care of it will secure the quality of the migration. However, it will not be cheap. What’s more, it will consume your time like termites on steroids.

In both scenarios, your projects need to move on. Some of your team players will already be using Jira, and the others will do anything to stay with Azure DevOps as long as possible. There will be a lot of confusion and misunderstanding caught in between.

If you imagine your company as a rock band, and the migration process as a concert, doing it manually with CSV or with the help of outsiders, will be like playing two different tunes at the same time. That would be frustrating for both, internal and external audience.

A solution?

Live synchronization

Instead of taking a bumpy road, there’s a way to move from TFS to Jira with no hassle. What our customers love the most about the TFS4JIRA app is the live synchronization feature.

What does it mean? Well, taking into account that your projects need continuity, the migration needs to run in the background without interfering with your sprints. Thanks to Spartez Software’s best-selling plugin, your developers can still work in the original environment (Azure DevOps) and slowly merge to the new one (Jira Software, Jira Core or JSD).

It means that every change made in Azure Dev Ops work item will translate automatically to a change in a Jira issue.

The live sync feature will help you in securing the transition process by migrating smaller chunks of data, one by one, rather than trying to do the whole lot within one sitting.

This way, piece by piece, you will finish the relocation without losing any precious belonging down the road. When you’re ready, you can safely leave the old platform behind (or to keep it running, just in case).

How does it work in practice? Watch our video tutorial to find out:

Time to choose – import your data from CSV or go for a real-time sync with TFS4JIRA

In this article, we showed you why you should quit importing data from CSV and switch to the TFS4JIRA app. Doing it manually is pointless because you will be risking roadblocks in your projects if essential data (like the history of comments, hierarchical linking, and attachments) gets lost in space.

With the TFS4JIRA plugin, you will choose to be on the safe side. Need social proof? Here's one quote taken from the Atlassian Marketplace:

"TFS/VSTS is set up differently than Jira, and TFS4JIRA does a great job at synchronizing the two. Once we had everything configured properly, we did not encounter any problems with the tool. It's been syncing reliably. Their support to help us get things set up has also been great."

Are you ready to put TFS4JIRA into play? Start your 30-day free trial today!