This article is part of a blog series!

Part Title
1 Evaluating JIRA Agile – Product owners
2 Evaluating JIRA Agile – Scrum masters
3 Evaluating JIRA Agile – Team Members
4 Evaluating JIRA Agile – Everyone

 
Transitioning to agile is a journey for all teams. Fortunately, JIRA Agile has powerful tools for scrum and kanban teams that will help them optimize their journey to agile. JIRA Agile is deeply integrated in JIRA’s powerful issue tracking platform, so when everyone in the organization uses JIRA, it’s easier to collaborate and get work done. Requirements can be broken down into manageable chunks of work and distributed across the organization., and company leadership can make informed decisions around the entire company with JIRA’s powerful reports.

Non-agile teams can be a part of evaluating JIRA Agile as well. To do this, they should structure work based on requirements and use a phase-based approach to get work done, ideally with a kanban board with swimlanes to organize work. Each team will have unique values and needs for visualizing work, and for many, JIRA Agile helps with this. Use the example here as a starting point to help you build your first board.

Optimize delivery with workflow

Workflow is a critical part of every team. Workflow defines how people work together in a repeatable fashion to deliver innovation out to the customer base. For example, many software teams have a predictable workflow to track development.  New to workflows? Check out my articles on building and using workflows.

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Teams can implement their own workflow in JIRA Agile using its flexible column configuration. Each column can map to one or more states so that it’s easy to see what phase work is in and who is responsible for delivery

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JIRA Agile makes workflow come alive. When a team member is ready to hand off an issue, JIRA Agile highlights the next step for that issue.

Categorize work with swimlanes

Almost all projects have key functional areas of value they deliver to their customers organized into themes. Swimlanes aggregate issues on a kanban board so that it’s easy to see the flow of work within each area. JIRA’s powerful issue tracking platform has deep support for custom fields. Let’s add a custom field to track the theme of each issue. We can use a select list for the custom field theme.

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Now you’ve added a custom field named theme with a few options, go ahead and update a few issues with the new theme value.

Swimlanes use JQL, JIRA’s flexible query language. Let’s set up a swimlane to correspond with each theme.

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You should now be able to see your agile board swimlanes aggregating issues into each theme.

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Pro tip: Many teams use the top swimlane for critical and blocking issues so everyone is aware of high priority program issues. Use the JQL statement “priority in (Blocker, Critical)” for the first swimlane.

Drill down with quick filters

JIRA Agile’s quick filters provide an easy way to drill down to the next level of detail in your program. Some teams want to filter by version. Not a problem! Other teams use quick filters to see which issues were reported outside of the team. Quick filters also use JQL in the same way that swimlanes do.

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Highlight risk quickly

Effective teams manage risk proactively rather than reactively.  JIRA Agile supports flagging.  Team members occasionally find impediments that need to be resolved by the team quickly. Flagging keeps an issue’s priority in tack, but lets the team know that progress is blocked. To flag an issue, just right click the issue, and choose add flag. The issue’s background turns yellow to alert the team.

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Once it’s resolved or a workaround is found, the flag can easily be removed as the issue is no longer critical.  Some teams also use card colors to highlight schedule sensitivity.  Check out how we use card colors to manage blogs.atlassian.com.

Transition to agile

As you can see, JIRA Agile helps make every team more productive. If the team decides to adopt agile practices, JIRA Agile makes the migration easier as it can leverage all of the team’s assets right inside of JIRA.

Many non-agile teams also engage in capacity planning. Check out our article in how to get more out of capacity planning in JIRA.  Interested in learning more about agile? Check out Atlassian’s agile micro-site to learn more.