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Governance + Autonomy? Yes, you CAN do that!

Scaling an organization is not easy! Getting everyone in alignment on the same terminology to mean the same things is one of the first steps to take when setting up a system of Governance. There is a misconception that you lose autonomy (the ability to work how you want to work as a team) when an organization sets standards for governance and practices. This article will show how to get the best of both worlds!

Workflow Governance

When we talk about governance, you can think of something similar to the SAFe model where we are putting all of the different practices, procedures, roles and responsibilities in place. For the sake of this discussion, we will focus specifically on governance of the work being tracked, specifically features (this can be applied to all work items though). In Jira Align there are states for work that are standard across the entire system. These are the states recommended for your organization to provide common definition of ready and definition of done. Below is an example of the states for a feature in Jira Align. *Note - the Jira Align States cannot be changed which makes them an easy target for cross organizational standardization.

b2d24f6e-0387-43ea-880f-b6c0aee832d8.pngIf part of your organization has teams operating in a kanban like way to focus on flow and optimize the system, there is a need to make the flow visibile in the way that these teams actually work. The first level of autonomy is at the program level with the use of Value Streams. A Value Stream consists of steps that are used to provide a continuous flow of value thorough the agile process and represent your own process steps based on your value measures.

eaf0d9ca-dddb-490f-8e14-766f1d8da1fa.pngThe features in the program that uses the value stream can be viewed on the kanban so the team has the ability to focus on flow and really identify the necessary bottlenecks so they can be addressed. Likewise, these value stream steps map to the Jira Align States and can also be viewed on the kanban board.

2621eee2-1b24-404d-9e9f-aa07cf70b1e2.pngLean Metrics are available for both the Jira Align State and the Value Stream for the program. Some teams will work in Jira Align at the feature level with a business and strategic focus and will move to Jira to break the work town from a technical lens. Jira Statuses can be mapped to Jira Align States or Value Streams depending on how your team aligns to the organization and the program. Here is how! *Note: You may need to work with your Jira Align Solutions Architect to enable the Process Step functionality on the platform.


Key Take Aways

  1. Allowing your organization to scale and align to governance can happen and doesn’t have to be a challenge if there is a plan.

  2. Ensure the right amount of autonomy necessary is provided, but still stay in the guardrails the govern your organization as a whole.

  3. This should be a guided process and not a free-for-all. It is super important that the processes still map to the big picture and have the same meaning so there is clarity from strategy into the system of delivery.


Shawn Kessler
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Feb 06, 2020

Nice article @Jessica Wolfe ! Bonus points for covering lean metrics! 

Like Jessica Wolfe likes this
Kimberly Deal _Columbus ACE_
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
Feb 06, 2020

Great Job @Jessica Wolfe   I learned a lot by reading your article.  Thank you!

Like Jessica Wolfe likes this


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