Software development teams are notoriously committed to their chosen team tools; when they find one they like, they stick with it. On the “bells and whistles” front, they may add new components or upgrade old ones, but ultimately, they stay faithful to the strengths of their preferred solutions.
Unfortunately for these staunch devotees, the following scenario is all too common: a new Enterprise Agile Planning (EAP) platform is chosen by a manager, with little to no input from the dev team. Said team is then forced to forsake beloved, carefully configured legacy tools, while data is painstakingly imported by impatient employees and spreadsheet-happy consultants. When the new tool doesn’t work out, everyone gives up and creates their own disjointed systems with incomplete data until yet another tool is implemented.
Make no mistake: a well-liked development team tool that can deliver workflows that meet the team’s needs and those of the rest of the organization is worth its weight in gold. This is why integration is such an important consideration when selecting an EAP solution – so teams can connect at the right level to programs and portfolios, while maintaining access to the tools they know and love.
With all of this top of mind, we’ve made integrating with Jira Align (formerly AgileCraft), Atlassian’s own EAP platform, a top priority. With thousands of users, we have plenty of hands-on experience in this realm, and we recognize that many (80 percent, in fact) of Jira Align users combine an existing team tool with their platform installation. Here are the six most important things to consider when integrating your dev team’s tools with an Enterprise Agile Planning platform.
- Setup and UI: Make sure your integration provider is reputable, with hundreds of customer installations of all shapes and sizes. Ideally, they’ll have a custom installer or wizard to help with setup and make every integration a snap.
- Data handling: Look for specialized features that prepare your data prior to import into your EAP solution – modern solutions include light AI to make sure the data is more accurate and complete than when you started, and even filling in the gaps where data is missing.
- Native development and support: A natively developed team tool connector delivers functionality that deeply integrates with the EAP solution, and is more vigorously supported by an internal support team.
- Flexibility: A strong integration should offer options beyond simple field mapping, and allow you to customize connectors to support your processes.
- Cost effectiveness: An integration connector shouldn’t cost more than your license package – in some cases, it will be included in the cost.
- Performance: Integrations should be proven to work at scale, and perform robustly in the long term. You should be able to get references from enterprise customers that have used the integration at scale for at least a year or more.
Keeping lean teams operating at maximum efficiency and happiness is an art, not a science. Tools are only a piece of this equation, but when teams take ownership over their tooling systems, they gain a strong sense of alignment, transparency, and visibility. Teams are more inclined to use the tools they like, which can contribute to your data’s consistency, accuracy, and integrity at every level – program, product, and portfolio.
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