Happy New Year! It’s time to dust off those running shoes and tackle your new year’s resolutions!
Often, teams take the New Year as a time to assess, re-prioritize, and plan. Even when using an agile approach, there is still a need to project and forecast over a longer time period. The challenge is to combine both a long-term vision and frequent, continuous delivery along the way.
Agile portfolio management helps to get everyone in the organization on the same page by visualizing the roadmap, and making it easy to share high-level progress and plans across the work of multiple teams.
Here are some ways JIRA Portfolio can help you connect your business strategy with development reality, and answer those common questions that arise when planning – so you can kick-start the New Year!
Forecast realistic release dates
Where do we start?
To start planning, teams need to understand where they’re at today, and which items are on their work list. Before doing any planning or forecasts, all relevant data needs to be on the table and consolidated in one place. Start by creating a new portfolio plan, and import existing versions as well as issues into a global portfolio backlog. The issue import is based on JIRA filters, so you can easily do an issue search across multiple projects to identify all relevant backlog items and get them into one portfolio plan.
ProTip: If you have data outside of JIRA (e.g. in spreadsheets), use the bulk create capabilities.
When can we deliver?
Now that JIRA Portfolio is up to date with the latest data from JIRA, teams want to know when they can deliver and when they can ship which features. Does this backlog keep us busy for the next three years already? With our current capacities, is the targeted schedule possible? Which scope can we cut out for the next quarter?
Once you’ve defined your teams’ capacities (in terms of either weekly hours or team velocity based on story points), you can easily generate real-time delivery forecasts, honing in on critical paths and over-allocated teams when necessary.
Update your schedule in real time
How do we know if a release is at risk?
Project managers and product owners need to constantly make fast prioritization and tradeoff decisions to scope releases and plan large-scale. Because JIRA Portfolio tracks and manages many streams of work (supporting both time-based estimates as well as story points), it automatically adjusts in real-time using a resource scheduling and optimization algorithm.
How do we use scenario planning to see the impact of planning?
When demand exceeds capacity, you can use JIRA Portfolio to plan, manage, and optimize people and teams with data-driven ‘what if’ scenarios for cross-project initiatives. Using virtual users (placeholder people that allow you to simulate future hiring plans), you can instantly see how future hiring plans will affect your schedule and roadmap.
Manage team availabilities and skill sets to ensure you ship on time and on budget
Do we have the best team to effectively achieve our goals?
Effective planning requires a deep understanding of the project scope, team availability, and skills. Team leads need to lead accurately and realistically through data. This means they need to define teams and allocate work based on team members’ skills and availabilities. The team leads can easily see which skill sets are needed for different projects over different phases in JIRA Portfolio, because it aligns the skills required for the project and the skills brought by the team. Teams can also see which skill sets are important for them to grow within their self organizing team.
View, plan and track cross-team and cross-project initiatives
How do we track cross-team and cross-project initiatives?
Agile is centered around self-organizing teams, so when multiple agile teams work together, it becomes harder to track progress across the company. JIRA Portfolio allows you to aggregate the work from multiple agile teams and roll them up into larger initiatives. By bringing all of you data together in one place, you get an accurate view of the current status of your organization, as well as a realistic, data-driven forecast that allows you to judge current and future portfolio health.
How do we ensure everyone is aligned to the same priorities?
JIRA Portfolio also rolls up initiatives into organization-wide themes, which parallel the strategic objectives of the organization. Themes give every stakeholder an extra layer of visibility and insight into where the organization is actually spending time compared to what was planned. Development teams can see how their work contributes to the business goals and roadmap. Product owners can understand the critical path for the release and see if they’re on track to hit release dates. Business owners can see if initiatives are tracking to the business goals and if they’re prioritizing the right set of investments across the portfolio.
JIRA Portfolio (Cloud) coming soon in 2015.