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Managing Multiple Projects in a Single Board or…One Scrum to Rule Them All

Three Scrums for the Java-kings under the web,
Seven for the Python-lords pulling out their hair,
Nine for Cobol Code ever on the ebb,
One for the Scrum Master on his desk chair
In the Land of Jira where Projects lie.
One Scrum to rule them all, One Scrum to find them,
One Scrum to bring them all and in Agile bind them
In the Land of Jira where Projects lie.

One of my constant struggles as a project manager is with managing resource constraints across multiple projects that use people from the same pool of resources. In most cases, the project team will be made up of developers, testers, product owners, and engineers that are assigned to multiple projects with competing priorities. In my experience, many Scrum teams are made up of a core group of people dedicated to that project with other subject matter experts (SMEs) entering and exiting the Scrum team as needed to perform specific tasks during the Sprint.  Likewise, at the program level the program manager wants to set the priority on issues in Jira across the program, not necessarily from project to project. Managing these expectations and constraints is easy enough, if you set up a Scrum of Scrums to guide the individual Sprints across the projects.

Select all the issues for the Scrum

First, the Scrum-of-Scrums will need to include all the issues from all of the projects it will manage using a filter.

  1. Go to the left navigation’s main menu
  2. Click “Issues and Filters”
  3. Click “Search Issues”
  4. Drop down the “Find Projects” box and select all the projects that will be tracked in the Scrum of Scrums Board
  5. Save the filter

Create the Scrum-of-Scrum board.

The important thing to remember here is that boards reside within projects, so pick one project that will last across the duration of all the projects in the program. This helps make sure that people can find the board when the smaller projects get completed and are closed out.

  1. Select the project that will hold the new board.
  2. In the left navigation, click the drop-down arrow next to the name of the current board. (Unless its been customized, this will be the first item in the list)
  3. Click the “+ Create Board” button.
    1. Click “Create a Scrum Board.”
    2. Select “Board from existing Saved Filter” and click Next
    3. Name the Scrum-of Scrum board
    4. Select the “Scrum of Scrum” filter saved in the first step.
    5. Click the “Create Board” button.

Set the priority of issues in the backlog.

Sprints can now be created using issues from all the projects in the program and the Program Manager and Scrum Master can prioritize the issues in the new “program backlog” that was created with the new Scrum of Scrum board.  Product Owner and Scrum Master can also work together to adjust priorities within the project backlogs using Scrum boards created for each individual project.

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