Advanced Roadmaps for Jira Software allows you to plan and track work across multiple teams and projects. Designed to empower teams at scale, you can plan based on capacity, track dependencies, manage competing priorities, and explore alternative scenarios.
Advanced Roadmaps accesses boards, projects, and filters in Jira Software to visualize data in a customizable interface. Functioning as a sandbox environment, you can plan and experiment before updating your original data in Jira Software. In one click you can establish your plan’s critical path, explore different variations, and update your Jira Software interface.
This guide explains the key concepts of Advanced Roadmaps including how to create your first plan and the best practices for a seamless planning experience.
Advanced Roadmaps is available as part of Jira Software Premium. Learn more
A plan is a shared source of truth that outlines organizational goals and communicates a path for teams to achieve milestones and key results. In Advanced Roadmaps, a plan combines the roadmaps of multiple teams working across multiple projects and ladders them to company-wide initiatives.
The benefit of using a plan is that it establishes the bigger picture and shows how a team’s work relates to the work of other teams. It visualizes how each team contributes to broad organizational goals.
Issue sources determine what data will be used in Jira Software to create a plan. They outline the work to be done and the problems you’re trying to solve. Issue sources are first selected during plan creation and can be adjusted at any time.
Advanced Roadmaps has three types of issue sources:
- Boards (scrum or kanban) — Issues related to teams that track the volume and progress of their work. Boards can be classified as either scrum or kanban. Scrum boards are for teams that plan their work in sprints or iterations while kanban boards are better suited for teams with a continuous flow of work.
- Projects — Issues defined by a specific objective or deliverable, such as a product or feature.
- Filters — Issues defined by a query in Jira Software, otherwise known as JQL (Jira Query Language).
Tip: If you’d like to plan sprints in Advanced Roadmaps, use scrum boards as an issue source to unlock sprint planning features.
Since kanban teams don’t work in sprints, work is planned based on available weekly hours.
Exclusion rules allow you to refine your plan’s issue sources so the most relevant issues are displayed. Depending on your focus, you can set rules to exclude specific issue types, statuses, or releases. You can also adjust how long you’d like completed issues to stay in your plan.
To set exclusion rules:
- Go to > Configure.
- Select Exclusion rules.
Tip: Set exclusion rules to bring focus to a dense and complicated plan.
A hierarchy connects small, process-based tasks to cross-functional deliverables and escalates them to broad organizational objectives. Depending on how your work is structured, hierarchy levels represent different levels of detail in a plan’s scope and show how they’re related.
The hierarchy in Advanced Roadmaps is inherited from the default issue types in Jira Software:
- Epic — A large body of work that can be broken down into stories, tasks, and bugs. In a plan, epics represent a significant milestone or deliverable. The work contained in an epic can be assigned across multiple teams.
- Story, task, or bug — Stories and tasks are issues that represent work that needs to be completed. Bugs are problems that impede the progress or functionality of work. These issue types can be assigned to specific teams.
- Subtask — A granular piece of work required to complete a story, task, or bug. In Advanced Roadmaps, subtasks can’t have teams assigned specifically to them, they inherit the team assigned to the parent issue.
If you plan and track work across an organization, you’ll need to create hierarchy levels above epics. For example, you can create an initiative hierarchy level to represent company-wide goals. When positioned above the epic level, the initiative can be used as a container for epics.
Since teams can be associated with your plan’s issue sources, work can be managed directly in the plan. Teams allow you to group and filter work based on teams and manage the allocation of work based on capacity.
The coordination of teams is usually led by project or program managers, depending on how the work is structured. By prioritizing goals and determining critical paths, they are the drivers and decision-makers of the cross-functional plan. Team and domain leads contribute to the plan by managing capacity and allocating work to their respective teams.
Tip: The teams field in Advanced Roadmaps is not visible by default in Jira Software. For a seamless planning experience, enable the teams field to display in the Jira Software project you’ve used as an issue source.
Capacity reveals the units of work that a team undertakes in a given period of time. It can be used to estimate a team’s ability to complete work by a particular milestone and is invaluable for evaluating risk when making key decisions.
Capacity is added to the plan by team and domain leads who regularly assess their team’s availability, resource allocation, and the prioritization of other projects.
Measuring capacity differs between scrum and kanban teams. While both types of teams can measure capacity with time (days or hours), a scrum team can also use story points (a relative estimation of required effort). This is because scrum teams work in time-boxed iterations (sprints), while kanban teams progress through a continual flow of work.
Capacity planning in Advanced Roadmaps is available to both scrum and kanban teams. However, sprint planning is exclusive to teams that use scrum boards as an issue source. The sprint planning feature allows you to allocate work to each sprint, project release dates, or milestones based on teams' capacities. It can also show you when sprints are overbooked (when allocated work exceeds the team’s capacity).
Dependencies show the relationship between issues in your plan, such as contingencies and blockers. Visualizing and understanding dependencies is vital when project or program managers determine a critical path in the roadmap. When dependencies are thoroughly mapped, a team can adapt and plan for alternative paths.
Dependencies are shown on the timeline by badges or columns.
You can also view dependencies in the Dependencies report tab, which visually maps relationships between issues in your plan.
A dependency can be incoming or outgoing. It reveals when an issue blocks other issues, or is blocked, and what issues to prioritize to ensure that work progresses.
Since Advanced Roadmaps functions as a sandbox environment for Jira Software data, you can use scenarios to explore alternative paths to milestones or project completion. Planning with different scenarios allows you to adapt with minimal disruption. You can aim for your best case, plan for your worst case, and be prepared for anything in between.
While plans are complex by nature, saved views allow you to tailor your plan for different audiences. This is particularly useful for large, cross-functional projects, where different stakeholders view your plan with specific concerns or needs in mind. Customize your plan to emphasize different aspects and save it as a view that can be easily accessed at any time.
Releases are the milestones in a plan that marks a point in time when work needs to be completed. Depending on how your work is structured, a release can represent a shippable chunk of work, a release to customers, or a program increment.
Releases are selected during plan creation and can be adjusted at any time through exclusion rules. They can also be managed in the Releases tab.
Create a plan with Advanced Roadmaps
To create a new plan:
- From the global navigation in Jira Software, go to Plans > Create plan.
- Enter these details:
- Plan name — This will help your team identify the plan.
- Access — Select Private or Open. By default, access is set to Open.
- Issue sources: Connect to company-managed projects, boards, and filters in Jira Software. These will form the plan’s scope. Learn more about issue sources.
- Select Create to use these issue sources, or select Set exclusion rules to refine the displayed issues. You can set rules for:
- Completed issues — Enter the number of days completed issues will be displayed in the plan. Learn how Advanced Roadmaps defines completed issues.
- Issue types
- Issue statuses
- Select Back to create plan > Create.