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Portfolio ignores priorities defined in the "scope" and generates an incomprehensible and completely irrelevant schedule. Is there a way to force it to schedule the work in the order I need it to be scheduled?
The description of your situation wouldn't allow me to give you a direct solution but I can try to cover some basics of scheduling with Portfolio:
Sprint assignment, Dependencies, Release assignment and Issue rank are the most important factor in this situation.
If your issues are estimates and are not impacted by release or sprint assignment then playing with the issue rank should allow you to schedule thing in the wanted order.
If your issues are unestimated then using sprint and release assignment should allow you put things on your schedule as desired.
Using dependencies is another way to ensure a specific scheduling order when some issues MUST happen before some others.
Finally, if are not able to figure out why your schedule looks the way it does I'd recommend contacting the support. This will help the team have a better understanding of usability pain points but also ensures your issue gets resolved quickly enough!
I am using Kanban, so sprint assignments are out of question. I don't have many dependencies, so this is also out of question.
There are some release assignments but it doesn't seem to affect it much. In fact, it prioritizes things I need for releases very low, making them unachievable.
So far my experience with JIRA Portfolio is 99.5% frustration and 0.5% hope that it might work out somehow.
Rank and release assignments are definitely what should drive your schedule for estimated issues.
It's not impossible for Portfolio to be impacted by custom JIRA configuration so I strongly encourage you to reach out to support here!
I'd be happy to help further if you have some screenshot to ensure we have a concrete example to solve but those usually fit better support cases for privacy reasons.