Agility at scale: 5 ways how Portfolio for Jira can help you scale Agile

    Looking for ways to achieve agility at scale or need to improve your planning experience? Check 5 ways how Portfolio for Jira might be exactly what you need to better plan and manage projects across multiple teams.

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    Existing agile methodologies like Scrum or Kanban have been proven successful when applied to individual teams and delivery activities. However, these approaches fall short when project managers need to achieve agility at scale across multiple teams or more complex projects. That’s where advanced portfolio project management tools like Portfolio for Jira come in – to align work and activities across the organization while improving your planning experience.


    How can project portfolio management tools provide an answer?

    These tools can provide project managers, executives and team members with a view of the big picture. They show you a group of projects being worked on by your organization, allowing you to manage them in a more efficient and effective way. Portfolio for Jira is a project management tool that integrates with Jira Software and helps you with enterprise planning (quarterly to 5 years). It pulls all the available information from Jira over multiple projects and teams to provide a single view on your long-term planning, combined with the strategic goals of the organization. Some of the key features of this project portfolio management tool:

    • Your plan is based on real-time data, directly from your Jira projects.
    • A visual timeline to easily track progress and forecast when your release will ship, based on your actual sprint schedule and capacity.
    • Capacity and availability configurations to better manage your team
    • The ability to create different planning scenarios by moving around different variables like release dates, feature adjustments or team members’ availability, without impact to your actual project roadmap.


    Let's go deeper into the benefits of scaling agility and the Jira Portfolio scaled agile framework.


    1.      More efficient cross-team collaboration

    It speaks for itself that collaboration becomes an even bigger point of attention when scaling agile. Besides, you want to maximally benefit from multiple skillsets across teams and experts in the organization to deliver high quality services – whether you’re managing an IT helpdesk team, a website development project or a planning a product roadmap.

    Portfolio for Jira enables this collaboration on different levels. Teams can see what’s been scheduled and work can be easily shared across teams if capacity and velocity allow. Portfolio also facilitates communication between different key roles in the organization by bringing visibility on the status and progress of the development. With increased visibility, large organizations can communicate, iterate, adjust and continuously improve their development practices.



    2.      Aligning teams towards the same goal

    In a scaled agile environment, it becomes important to track the progress of several teams working on items for the same release. This way you align teams towards a single (time) goal.

    Portfolio for Jira helps you achieve this is by allowing you to create a cross-project release. When committing a cross-project release to Jira, it will be transformed into a regular release in each Jira project. This means multiple individual projects will align to joint release dates and milestones.


    A cross-project release determines a release milestone for multiple projects


    Portfolio for Jira also provides the possibility to create clear and aggregated release reports for cross-project releases.


    3.   Connecting your teams’ work to your business strategy

    In scaled agile you want to plan and align business values to the team’s delivery work for objective decision-making. In other words: you want to connect the team’s work to strategy, so executives know we are working on the right initiatives.

    In Portfolio for Jira you can connect your epics and stories to your strategic goals to compare your targets with your completed work. You can define your key business objectives as “Themes” and assign them to issues. You can also define how much time you want to spend on certain objectives (“target”) and evaluate how much has been invested in each area (“actuals”). The reports will show you how closely your projects are staying on track with the key business requirements.


    The themes report shows the progress of your initiatives according to your business objectives



    4.      Visual evidence over your teams’ or projects’ performance

    Reporting is crucial to build trust with business stakeholders and create an environment where everyone is working together to achieve the desired business objectives.

    You can share live reports from Portfolio in order to provide visibility and to keep the relevant stakeholders in the organization in the loop. You can mix and match several types of reports and KPIs, including schedules, capacity, dependencies, sprints, and so on. These reports are always real-time, so no manual updates are needed, and can be embedded in a Jira dashboard or in Confluence, for example with additional comments or context around the data.

    Besides improving communication with the project teams and ensuring everyone stays on the same page, reporting dashboards with visual evidence of your teams’ progress can be of great help for performance management.


    This capacity report provides a view on the planned capacity per team and in each sprint



    5.      Visualizing and managing cross-team dependencies

     Working with multiple teams creates the need to manage dependencies that exist between the teams in order to reduce the project’s risk. Having a clear overview of these dependencies will not only help you minimize this risk but will also give you more confidence that you will make the release date.

    Portfolio for Jira helps with that by providing visual representation of dependencies between Jira issues. You can filter them in order to see what items are creating blockages and proactively communicate and take actions to solve them.


    The dependency report shows the dependencies existing between different Jira issues in order to take action upon them




    Published on    Last updated on 21/08/2019

    #Collaboration, #Digital Strategy

    About the author

    Dimitri Honlet is Project Manager at Amplexor Belgium. For the past 6 years, he’s been delivering successful projects for customers from A to Z, managing teams of skilled consultants and developers, controlling planning, scope, quality and budget. He has gained experience working on numerous projects in different technologies (SDL, AEM, Drupal, SharePoint) for customers active in the banking, manufacturing, retail or public sector. He’s passionate about exploring all new trends and methodologies in Project Management in order to continually improve delivering web development projects according to plan.


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