PPM Integrations Part Two: Organizing Jira Issues Across Projects

When it comes to Project Portfolio Management (PPM), there are many options available with a few listed on the Atlassian Marketplace. The three project portfolio management tools our clients frequently evaluate are Portfolio for JiraStructure for Jira (Structure for short), and Easy Agile Programs. Portfolio for Jira is made by Atlassian, Structure is made by ALM Works and Easy Agile Programs is made by Easy Agile – all of these PPM tools can be found on the Atlassian Marketplace. (We realize this is not an extensive comparison of each or all Project Portfolio Management tools available. However, these are the tools we commonly encounter.) Please keep in mind that these blogs are written with Server installations in mind. Therefore, if you’re deploying on Cloud, make sure to check out the Structure, Portfolio for Jira, and Easy Agile Programs documentation, respectively.

Each of these tools offers unique capabilities and will help you manage many projects across your Jira instance. In this 3 series blog, we’ll compare similarities, differences, and discuss why our customers love these tools.

In the second part of this blog series, we will explore how to organize Jira issues across projects by managing views and people using these PPM tools. Along the way, we’ll add our recommendations on which product will provide the best help for your team. 

Plan in Portfolio for Jira

Portfolio for Jira starts with a plan and allows that plan to adapt. In our previous blog, <LINK TO BLOG> we walked through getting started and adding issues to a Portfolio. A Portfolio is a plan and with a few clicks, that plan can be adjusted and actioned. Within your plan, you can make adjustments from three different views: Roadmap, Teams, and Releases.

Roadmap View

Assuming you haven’t added any issue types in Portfolio for Jira, in the Roadmap section, there are three hierarchy views that are available out-of-the-box. These views are Epics, Stories, and Sub-tasks.

organizing Jira PPM roadmap
To add a new hierarchy level to Portfolio for Jira, take a look at this documentation. Depending on permissions your Portfolio Administrator has configured, you can view the necessary hierarchy on the top left of your Portfolio.

Use the Roadmap view to manage issues and tasks in your plan.

The Roadmap view provides a dashboard view of all issues in your plan. You can filter it by project, team, release, sprint, assignees, or issue details. In addition, you can query issues by text.

Depending on the choice of hierarchy view will determine which issues are displayed in the issue list. For example, if you’ve chosen the Epic view, only Epics will show. Similarly, if you’ve chosen the Story view, only the Stories will show. Keep in mind it is still possible to drill into the issues contained within each Issue Type. Therefore, if you want to see stories and tasks within an Epic, you can simply expand the Epic in your Plan.

Use the Roadmap view to make changes to issues within your plan. Based on these changes, Portfolio will recalculate your roadmap. Portfolio will also let you know how many changes you made and where those changes were made (as shown below):

organizing Jira PPM roadmap changes
If you are happy with your changes, you can commit them to your plan. This will make changes within the Jira project as well. If you are not happy with the changes, you can revert back to your previous plan.
organizing Jira PPM review changes

Teams View

Within the Teams view, users can make adjustments to their relevant teams and capacity so that Portfolio can calculate when the issues will be completed within a given time frame. Teams can be assigned to an issue’s source and Portfolio will then assign the team members to issues within that source first. If there is another team in the Plan and the first team doesn’t have the capacity for all the issues in the plan, Portfolio will assign the issues to the second team who has the capacity.

 

organizing Jira PPM teams view
It is possible to make changes and adjustments to your team’s capacity within Portfolio. In Teams, you can also add or remove members. The Teams view really drives the whole planning element of Portfolio, so be sure to use it carefully. Upon completion of your changes, you have the option to commit those changes or revert them (similar to the Roadmap section).

Releases View

Another important aspect of planning your development is the use of Releases. The Release view allows you to manage your Releases within the Portfolio Plan. Just like Scope and Teams, after making changes, you can commit them or revert the changes.

One of the best aspects of the Release view is the ability to dynamically manage releases by selecting the “as early as possible” or “relative to previous release date” options.

organizing Jira PPM release view
If you choose to use one of the dynamic options, Portfolio will automatically calculate the release date based on capacity and workload. This helps with automating adjustments to your plan as your scope changes.

Organize in Structure for Jira

Compared to other tools, Structure for Jira’s views are much different because they are completely customizable. There are a variety of ways to customize views and we’ll cover a few of them in this section.

Columns View

When configuring your first view, you have the option to begin by adding columns. In the top right corner of Structure, you will see a small “+” sign. Once you click this, you can select which columns you would like to choose.

organizing Jira PPM Structure
Columns fall into six categories: Featured, Progress, Structure, Fields, Icons, Totals, Calculated, and Advanced. Any custom field within Jira, with a few exceptions, can be added as a column in Structure.  

If you want to learn more about customizing columns take a look at this link.

Views

In Structure, a view is essentially a set of configured columns that you saved. There are a few view options that come available out-of-the-box with the Server version and they include Basic, Triage, Entry, Tracking, and Planning views.

Depending on what you are trying to get out of your Structure view, you can customize it accordingly. The Views in Structure help users to attain high-level perspectives of their Jira issues that they can’t get from Jira out-of-the-box.

For more help with views, check out this useful video. If you want to use more advanced views using Transformations, watch this video.

Increments in Easy Agile Programs

In order to see issues in your Easy Agile Program, you need to set up Increments. Increments are collections of sprints within Jira. Depending on which boards you’ve chosen to include in your program will provide options for choosing which sprints you will include in your Increment.

organizing Jira PPM Easy Agile
You can create a new Increment once you have boards in your Program.
organizing Jira PPM increments
Each Increment will contain a set amount of sprints. In the screenshot above, the sprint count is set to five. These sprints are automatically added to your backlog and you can organize your issues into them.

Once you have your sprints set up within each Increment, you should see something like the image below in your Increment Overview:

 organizing Jira PPM increment overview
You can set the Increment Roadmap in the Roadmap section of your Program Overview.
organizing Jira PPM program overview
There are a couple of options to add issues to Sprints: You can add them through the project backlog (the traditional way) or you can add them within the Board Team Planning of that specific Increment. You can do this by clicking the Backlog button as shown in the image below.

 

organizing Jira PPM board team planning

Organizing Jira by Managing Views and People

Depending on your organization’s requirements, one tool may be a better fit than the other. Choosing between Portfolio for Jira, Structure for Jira, and Easy Agile Programs depends entirely on what you would like to get out of the tool. If organizing your issues and looking at them in different ways across projects is enough for you, then Structure is a very dependable tool. However, if you would like the tool to help manage your teams and their capacity then Portfolio for Jira is the better choice. Finally, if you want to gain visibility into the work multiple teams are doing within one program, Easy Agile Programs might be the right tool for you. Overall, regardless of which PPM tool you choose, Atlas Authority has the expertise of empowering business through technology and is available to help ensure your technology investment is successful in your organization.