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Over the past 11 months, the Easy Agile team have been investigating the way successful agile methodologies are adopted beyond the team level.
We spent the first half of 2018 conducting customer interviews with large organisations across a variety of industries and attended international events such as the Regional SAFe Summit in Frankfurt and Agile2018 in San Diego in a bid to learn more about this problem space.
What we learnt from interviews with our larger Story Mapping and Roadmapping customers was that our current solutions were great at the team level; however, they lacked visibility into the work multiple teams were doing across an organisation.
We sought to develop an app for Jira that would address the needs of these organisations struggling to scale agile within Jira.
We came across a few common themes during our investigations:
We also knew from the 12th Annual State of Agile survey that the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has been the most popular approach to scaling agile methodologies in organisations for the last 2 years.
Our endeavour to learn more about SAFe included a trip to Germany to attend the Regional SAFe Summit, training Seamus, our Customer Support Specialist, as a certified SPC(SAFe Program Consultant) and numerous interviews with Atlassian Solution Partners and our customers to understand how they are implementing SAFe within their own organisations.
PI Planning (Program Increment Planning) is an integral part in the adoption of SAFe. The 2 day planning session can see anywhere between 100 to 200+ people come together from all over the world to plan out their next Increment of work. During this time, team members identify cross-team dependencies and create a physical Program Board, using pieces of string to visualise these dependencies between teams.
At the end of each day, someone needs to enter this information into Jira and, even after they had done that, there is no native way to visually depict dependency relationships like this in Jira.
Organisations we spoke to told us how invaluable this level of insight into their upcoming Program Increments were. In saying that, some of the pain points they faced in conducting physical PI Planning sessions were:
Despite the prominence of SAFe, it was extremely important for us to build an app that was going to address the needs of organisations organically scaling agile and those adopting frameworks such as SAFe.
Framework or not, at the Program level, there still remains a very constant pain point across the two different types of organisations:
How do we achieve alignment at scale, and visualise cross-team dependencies to track progress towards Epic/Feature completion?
Since October 2018, Easy Agile Programs for Jira has been in public beta on the Atlassian Marketplace. In that time, we were able to deliver releases on an almost weekly basis, responding to the feedback we were receiving from our participating beta customers and Atlassian Solution Partners.
We're proud to say that after much user-testing and validation, we have launched a 2.0 of Easy Agile Programs for Jira.
Easy Agile Programs is the complete Program Planning solution for Jira: the perfect tool for distributed teams striving to achieve alignment at scale, visualise cross-team dependencies and track progress towards Epic/Feature completion.
The Increment Roadmap ensures all teams are aligned on the committed Features/Epics for an Increment, providing visibility into the direction of the Program for all stakeholders.
Program Managers / Release Train Engineers have full visibility of the dependencies within an Increment for a Program. This insight facilitates conversations early on in the Program to rectify conflicting work schedules, and how to best schedule work to fulfil the Feature outcomes for the Increment.
Teams plan their work with full visibility into the work of other teams within their Program. This level of insight ensures teams prioritise work to best achieve committed Features/Epics.
The ability for teams to facilitate cross-team planning and dependency management allows distributed teams to participate in digital PI Planning sessions.
The Increment Overview is a digital representation of the physical Program Board created during the 2 day PI Planning session, meaning this information lives on for the life of the Program Increment and progress towards Feature completion can be tracked in real time.
We would not have been able to officially release Easy Agile Programs without the participation, feedback, patience and enthusiasm of our participating beta customers and Atlassian Solution Partners. We are incredibly grateful, thank you!
Want to check out our official release of Easy Agile Programs for Jira? Try it for free now from the Atlassian Marketplace.