Notion 2.17 Updates Breakdown

Two weeks ago, Notion just announced five new features relevant to teams and startups.

Here’s the rundown:

  1. Automatic syncing with Jira and GitHub
  2. New Status Property for Project Management
  3. Cleaner database relation property
  4. Restricted page access workflow
  5. Improved person property

In this article, we’ll unpack each update, so that you can apply them to your own workspace and team.

Automatic syncing with Jira and GitHub

For software dev/eng teams, Notion can't substitute the good ol' Jira and GitHub.

However, for teams to collaborate and ship effectively (especially for remote ones), it's super-duper critical to collect pull requests, issues, and tickets in one accessible dashboard and workflow.

Now. This is possible — hallelujah!

To sync your Jira boards, all you need to do is:

  1. Authenticate Jira with Notion (as a workspace admin)
  2. Go to a Jira board and copy the link
  3. Open a Notion page and paste
  4. Sit, Stand up, and sit back down in awe (optional)

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Because voila! You get a familiar Notion view with the data and any changes automagically synced.

To sync your GitHub, all you need to do is:

  1. Authenticate GitHub with Notion (as a workspace admin)
  2. Go to a GitHub Pull Request or Issue and copy the link
  3. Open a Notion page and paste
  4. Giggle in joy because you don't have to copy+paste anymore (optional)

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What's the point?

The key to this feature is that you get the best of both worlds. You get to use Jira for complex PM needs or GitHub for hosting.

Once you sync them with Notion, you can link the data to your workspace and analyze it using the filter, sort, and group features.

For example, say that you run a weekly "bug bash" meeting and you use Notion to create the agenda and take notes. Currently, you'd have to go through GitHub and Jir individually and copy+paste links into a meeting note in Notion.

But to hell with that! Now, you can do that all on the same Notion page in just a few clicks. Imagine, how much time you'll save every week.

What's next

As Notion teased at Block x Block, this feature will not be limited to software development tools.

Next up: Google damn Calendar (Notion users have been dreaming about this since the beginning of time)

What other apps should seamlessly sync with Notion?

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And, therefore I permitted myself to procrastinate until Friday evening once again. As you can see, Notion enables me to make smart business decisions 🤣

Anyway, let's dig into the remaining four updates that I mentioned in the last email:

  1. New status property for PM
  2. Cleaner database relation property
  3. Restricted page access workflow
  4. Improved person property

New Status Property for Project Management

In 2017, Notion introduced databases to the product with two tagging properties (or fields or columns).

  1. "Multi-select" for tagging a database page with one item or more
  2. "Select" for tagging a database page with exactly one item

Now, there's a new kid on the block — meet the "Status" property. Here are all the options side-by-side.

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The Status property differs from the others in its standardization. It's split into three unchangeable sub-sections: To-do, In Progress, and Complete. You can add options inside each sub-section to customize. Better yet, database views can now be filtered by individual options or groups all at once.

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We're still figuring out the best practices but here's how we tailored it to our Tasks and Projects databases.

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Also, the Status property comes with a "default" option, which will get selected for any new database page. If you switch the default option it will automatically apply to all the database pages where you haven't selected a new option.

Also also, the Status property can be viewed as a checkbox because why not.

What's the point

Simply put, this new property streamlines project management in Notion. The constraints yield less confusion. Too much freedom in the previously available tagging options causes people to create overlapping categories that are open to interpretation.

The standard set of options up front makes the true status of projects clearer.

Cleaner database relation property

If you don't know how to use the relation property in Notion, you might as well skip this section. Long story short, the relation property got a much-needed makeover in appearance and speed.

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What's the point?

Improving how relations work is super duper important because it's a key feature that enables linked databases. Those, in turn, are used to create beautifully functional dashboards.

Additionally, the new UI t really easy to get the relevant context of a related item. For example, in this task, I can quickly see the status of the project and associated subtasks, as well as the owner of those.

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Restricted page access workflow

If you don't have global databases set up in your Notion workspace (another topic for another day), you probably stumble upon a lot of pages that you unintentionally don't have access to. Up until now, there was no easy way to request access like in Google Docs.

If you know the creator of the page, then you'd have to message them on Slack or worse, send an email. If you don't know the creator of the page, then off you go into #general with your Sherlock Holmes hat on to deduct who to ping for access. Sucks either way.

Alas — no longer! Now, you can simply request access directly on the page.

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Once you do so, users with full access to the page will get a notification to approve or deny the request. In the request, you can specify the level of permission.

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Another welcome improvement for large and medium-sized enterprise workspaces.

Improved person property

This update is small but nice. It enables to limit the Person property in a database to a single person.

This helps to avoid tagging multiple people in Tasks or Projects, which, in our opinion, is a bad practice in project management.

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A no-brainer for task management. Quickly assign individuals task without tagging multiple people. Perfect for teams who run project and task management inside of Notion.