Questions

Is there a tool that ties to Jira and lets us track, prioritize, and schedule tasks?

We currently use Jira for task management (internally) and Basecamp for project management (client facing). I am trying to find a tool that would allow us to do the following: 1) Plan out each project, based on estimates, and see where we're at with it. The keyword is "see". We can add all the tasks for each project in Jira, together with estimates, but I would like to find a way to "visually"/see how much work there is for each project -- how much work does it involve, how much work has been done, and how much (and what type of) work is left to be done for it. Jira shows blocks of the same size for everything and you'd need to click through to see the estimate within each block. I would like a task that is 8hrs to look bigger than a task that is 30mins -- a task that is for design to look different than a task for development. 2) "See" the latest status of a project. When did we last touch base with them? Any milestones? Did we follow up less than 2 days ago? We like to at least touch base every 2 days so it would be good to keep track of last contact. 3) "See" and prioritize (visually) a promised deadline. Moreover - a tool that would show us when something is become more urgent (due to a deadline approaching). For example, an 8hr task (ie. a day's worth of work) that was promised tomorrow is top priority because if we don't start now then we'd be late. Something that would take ALL the data we can give it, all the data/tasks from Jira, and any additional info we update real time, and that would dynamically update a birdseye view of everything... with a capability to drill down a bit further if we wanted. Something like that. A few of those things would be addressed through planning out Sprints, potentially just through a plugin on Jira, but that would only solve part of the issue. We have new tasks that come up at any given point -- or plans that change -- so it has to be something that would allow us to see that and adjust accordingly. We currently do some of that in a Google Spreadsheet but we need to step it up. Am I dreaming or is there a solution?! We may just have to build it!

2answers

Hi, I'm a project manager who uses JIRA extensively (and PMP, PMI-ACP, Professional Scrum Master). There is an add-on for JIRA called Portfolio to help with many of your requirements.
For question #1, your product manager and project teams would plan out their projects in JIRA by identifying epics and stories as they normally would. The teams should use 'story points' to assess relative complexity for each story, we normally use fibonacci numbers. Then the teams should determine sprint lengths and their sprint capacity (story points per sprint) for the initial sprints. Unfortunately issues appear the same size regardless of the number of story points assigned (but you can see the numbers assigned to each issue) - you can see a visual depiction of the volume of work in each sprint using Portfolio. Ensure the first sprint is 'started' in JIRA before trying out the portfolio view below. Create placeholder sprints in JIRA for all the backlog story items in all projects, dividing them up by sprint in logical order.
Subscribe to the Portfolio add-on. Create a portfolio view, add all your projects, then select the capacity filter from the drop-down on the right-hand side of your screen. It should show your projects as horizontal swimlanes, with a bar graph representing the volume of work in each sprint. The green represents work that falls within the team's estimated capacity and red represents work that exceeds the team's capacity. Initially all of your issues and epics will appear grey, you can fix that by adding themes and assigning colours to the themes but I'll save that for another question.

For question #2, you can see that status of a project by looking at the JIRA board, the portfolio roadmap, and the reports that can be generated by JIRA and Portfolio. It won't remind you if you haven't checked in less than two days ago, however, you could just schedule in your calendar to listen in to the daily scrum call every second day.

For question #3, there is a different filter in the Portfolio software called "Target Schedule". If you select that filter, it will show any deadlines entered into the epics and stories. Using JIRA and scrum planning should help avoid last minute urgent issues (i.e. your due tomorrow example), your product manager should know at the end of each sprint planning session what to expect by the end of each sprint.

I'd be happy to walk through a demo of this during a call.
Wayne


Answered 6 months ago

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