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less is more - Lean Projectmanagement with Jira

I am working with Jira as a project manager for almost 12 years now. The projects I am working with are no pyramids and also no huge ones. My projects are from a few hours of a service task (like setting up an eTraining portal and customize the CI) up to some moths of work (like a plugin release). Sometimes it is just one person who does the operational task and sometimes it´s about 15. But we have always some basic tasks like creating invoices, accounting QA or resource planning that are almost every time assigned to the specialist people that take care of it. So any project (even the small ones) contain the work and task for at least 3 people.

So I was always on the hunt for a good and easy solution that helps me setting up projects and their basic tasks very fast and effective (with  minimal overhead). 

Jira itself seems to be a good choice as it has already the basic functions (issues and workflows). What I was missing is something the can be used as a project folder to keeps things together and standard workflows. 

Epic seem to be the answer: Issues as projects. 

After several years of using issues as projects and adding some add-ons to make life easier, I am still working with this setup as it allows me to create a project in less than 2 minutes.

This is an essential part of managing a lot of projects at once and stay in control by lean and visual project management. 

Now I am looking for other people that are working in the same way and have found ways to handle their projects fast and easy without much setup work. 

I would like to discuss several ways of dealing with that job. 
Feel free for comments and suggestions.

 

1 comment

Hi @Andreas Haaken _APTIS_ , 

That's a good starting point. Would you mind sharing what those apps (add-ons) are that you use to aid in your Lean Project Management?

Does your solution in general help with only tracking or also help in Earned Value Analysis and Capacity Planning? Does it cover scheduling using Gantt Charts or something similar? Did you try to create a Jira dashboard that shows all your projects (issues) in a place with relevant gadgets to better manage them? 

Well, I ask the above because I am at an inception stage of trying all the above and building a comprehensive solution, though I may not call it lean. Good luck to me doing that, hopefully, I will get back with some good news :) 

Hi @Rama K Goberu _Appfire_ , 

well I will try to go one by one.  ;)
First of all, I let the teams work independently as much as possible. I do this by assigning work packages to the team and give them milestone dates based on what we have estimated first. 

Lets stick to this example. When a project is set up, I need to decide, which teams and people are going to do the jobs. in this example 1 development team and 1 accounter. 

Proposal

The dev team does the estimation (in your preferred way) and this will be the base of my proposal(after adding risk budgets). The accounting tasks are well know so I add budgets for these, too.  (there might be know risk budgets in your domain that you know quite good). 

This part, the estimation and proposal phase is visualized by Epic Sum Up (of course we build it for that). at this stage there is no relation  to timelines, as we need the customer to order first. (if the customer wants a time planning already, we do this with Tempo (Team) Planner to make all resources visible for everyone. 

The tools that we use here are:

  • Email This Issue for all external conversation which makes Jira a project related inbox
  • Tempo Timesheet for actual time data and Tempo Planner for resource overview
  • Epic Sum Up for aggregating all estimation and structural data
  • Relation (Stagil) to connect Customer issues to the projects 

Planning

After the customer has ordered the project, we plan the resources (or let the team plan themselves). Main data is the due dates for milestones or parts of the project and the start date(if you need to wait for some reason). 

This is in communication with the teams and done with Planner if needed. Some teams are working with SCRUM or on weekly task rounds, some use Kanban Style.

This is done with Jira Agile Boards, Tempo and Epic Sum Up for faster editing.

Operation

This part is where the PM wants to see, if the progress matches his expectations. So we put all projects (issues) on a Dashboard (highlevel report) and on a Kanban-Board (project state overview) each of them showing a progress bar from Epic Sum Up again, that shows us: are we on track?

Why is that lean?

There is a lot of things that we simply do not need in these kind of projects:

  • dependencies: are not that much, but when, the teams handle them by blocker links
    • so no need for gantts
  • most of all things are solved subsidiary by enabled teams that deliver their work, so no need for too much detail planning for the PM. There is blocks of work against blocks of resources and let the team do the details.
  • The Overview to see if anything is on track is enough in most cases
    • risky changes or situations like due dates breaching can be found be filters

 

oops.. that was a long text though. But that is a small overview of how we can do that with the least minimal setup. A project is running through the flow as a ticket (a large one indeed). 

btw: there are more plugins that can do the same job. 

Yes. That makes sense, @Andreas Haaken _APTIS_

It takes out the complexities of running projects with the necessities intact. Thanks for sharing in detail! 

Like Andreas Haaken _APTIS_ likes this

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