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Jira and Jira Align Integration: Syncing Kanban Teams from Jira to Jira Align

Overview:

For teams that don’t use sprint timeboxes as part of their development practices, we offer a new type of team in Jira Align: Kanban teams.

image.png

Kanban differs from scrum practices in that sprints are not used. Instead, work is developed and released continuously. The team meets regularly to set priorities, and the next top-ranked item is pulled into development as soon as the current work is done. Larger program increment containers are still used to coordinate development with Agile teams that use scrum or other sprint-based methodologies. Jira Align supports a mix of Scrum and Kanban teams working together in the same Program Increment.

Jira Software has two types of Boards Scrum and Kanban.  You can read about the differences between Scrum and Kanban here:

https://www.atlassian.com/agile/kanban/kanban-vs-scrum

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Board Integration:

After creating a Scrum or Kanban Board in Jira you can integrate the Board to Jira Align following these steps:

  1. Before mapping a Jira board, make sure that its parent project is associated with a Jira Align program. (Use the Jira Integration Settings page, accessed by selecting  Administration > Connectors > Jira Settings from the Nav menu.) 
  2. Next, access the Jira Management Settings page by selecting Administration > Connectors > Jira Management from the Nav menu.
  3. Click the Jira Boards tab.
  4. At the top-right of the page, Click Add Board to create a new row of cells in the grid.
  5. Input a board ID number in the ID cell, which represents the rapid view ID from Jira.
  6. The board name from Jira will automatically populate in the Board name field once Jira Align verifies connectivity to the board.
  7. In the Jira Align Program cell, select the board’s associated program. This should match the program that the board’s project is mapped to on the Jira Integration Settings page.
  8. In the Jira Align Team field, type an existing Agile team name to map the board to an existing team in Jira Align; or, type a new team name to have the connector create the team for you as an Agile team.
  9. The project name should automatically populate from the board’s parent Jira project in the Jira Project field.
  10. In the Jira Sprints to Sync drop-down menu, select if you wish to only sprints created on the board or sprints created and shared to the board with the integration.** 
  11. Click Save at the top-right of the page to save your changes.

*We recommend only syncing sprints created on the board to ensure sprints are aligned correctly from Jira Software to Jira Align. Jira Align uses placeholder sync sprints to assign start and end dates to Jira future sprints. Errant sprints shared across multiple boards will prevent the connector from making this prediction properly.   

If any mapping issues occur, a yellow warning icon will appear next to the ID. Point to the icon to see the issues and actions needed to resolve them.

 

image.png

 

Integrating a Scrum type board with Jira Align will create an Agile team in Jira Align and integrating a Kanban type board with Jira Align will create a Kanban team in Jira Align.  The Kanban functionality in Jira Align is described in greater detail here:

https://agilecrafthelp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360024712994-10X-Kanban-Teams-Overview-Jira-Align-Labs-

Best Practices:

There are a couple of important things to be aware of when integrating Kanban teams from Jira to Jira Align:

1. For Jira Align stories to show in a Kanban type Team Room they will need to be associated to a Jira Align Program Increment.  Stories can be directly assigned to a Program Increment in Jira Align, inherit their Program Increment association through the Program Increment of their Parent Feature (Jira Epic)*, or be assigned a Program Increment via the Jira Integration when Allow Feature, Story, and Defect PIs to be automatically updated by Jira Fix Version Dates under Jira Align Admin > Jira Settings > Jira Setup is set to Yes**

**This mapping sets the Program Increment on Jira Align stories based on a Jira Align Program being directly associated to a Jira Align Program Increment, a Jira Project being directly associated to that same Jira Align Program, and the Release Date of a Jira Fix Version associated to the Jira Issues falling within the start and end date of that associated Program Increment

image.png

* I would recommend utilizing the option of a Jira Align Story inheriting its Program Increment association through the Program Increment of their Parent Feature (Jira Epic) as the Release Date of a Jira Fix Version often falls within the start and end date of a subsequent Program Increment and not the Program Increment where a Story is actually being worked on.

2. For Jira Align stories assigned to Kanban type teams the utilization of Story Points (LOE) will enable progress to render as data is vertically nested from the Team to Enterprise layer.  Traditional Kanban implementations call for similar sized pieces of work so it is highly recommended to define story points in Jira or Jira Align.  Currently the best method to sync Story Points from Jira to Jira Align will be setting the Story Points in Jira.     

There is existing functionality in Jira Align to automatically set the Story Points field for stories assigned to Kanban type teams but it only applies to Stories created after you enable the Auto-populate estimate toggle for the team.

Enable the Auto-populate Estimate toggle in a team’s details slide-out panel to automatically apply the specified value to stories created by or assigned to the team.

image.png

An enhancement to update this functionality to Auto-Populate the Estimate for integrated stories can be found here:

https://jira.atlassian.com/browse/JIRAALIGN-955

 

3. The final important thing to consider for integrating Kanban teams from Jira to Jira Align is how stories are groomed and prioritized in Jira Align.  The grooming of stories assigned to Kanban type teams in Jira Align will reflect on their estimated delivery data in the Jira Align team room as discussed here:

https://agilecrafthelp.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360024712994-10X-Kanban-Teams-Overview-Jira-Align-Labs-

Stories will be placed in buckets based off of their priority including AcceptedIn-Process, and Week of weekly buckets. Future work is put into each weekly bucket based on the team’s throughput, in priority order. New teams will see a general section named Backlog until their throughput is set or calculated.  The Priority can be synced from Jira to Jira Align using the functionality mentioned here:

https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Jira-Align-articles/Jira-and-Jira-Align-Integration-Issue-Story-and-Epic-Management/ba-p/1259396

Q: How do I prioritize Jira epics and stories?

A: To enable rank synchronization between Jira Align and Jira, a custom field ID for rank must be set in the Rank text field on the Jira Settings page within Jira Align Administration. In the field, enter the default Jira rank field’s ID. The setting Enable Rank Sync on the same page must also be set to Yes.

Rank synchronization is not performed automatically; ranking must be either pushed to or pulled from Jira Align on demand. To do this, navigate to the feature or story backlog, ensure a program is selected in the Configuration bar, and set the program increment to None. Rank synchronization to or from Jira requires setting the PI to None as PIs don't exist in Jira. Then, select Pull Rank and choose to either push or pull the rank from the external system.

Once a push or pull request has been made, a job order to the external system is created and the rank synchronizes after the job finishes. After the job order is sent, the options for push and pull rank are not selectable until the job completes.

If Push rank to the External System has been selected, the rank of all items in the selected Jira backlog updates according to the ranks of their corresponding Jira Align issues. If Pull rank from the External System has been selected, the Jira Align backlog rank updates according to the ranks of their corresponding Jira issues. 

Note that only items that are visible on the Jira Align backlog when push or pull rank is performed will be updated.

 

8 comments

Hi Tim, great post and thanks for sharing your best practices, as well as the link explaining Kanban and scrum, I get asked about agile terminology and it is helpful to have a link to share that explains it so well. There are two images that are not displaying in your article, are you able to please re-add those visuals?

Thanks!

Jodi

Like Tim Keyes likes this
Tim Keyes Atlassian Team Jan 06, 2020

Hi Jodi,


Thank you for the note.  I have added them to a public image hosting.  Please let me know if you can see them now if you have an opportunity to check!


Cheers!


Tim

Like # people like this

Awesome thanks @Tim Keyes - I can now see all the images :)

Like Tim Keyes likes this

Hi @Tim Keyes , very helpful article, thanks.

We have managed to pull data with stories and now we are wanting to pull sprints + board.

I have one question that might complete this article as well : As a super admin, I cannot see the "Add board" button. I tried to set my zoom on the browser, to ask a colleague to check if this was not only me, and toggled on most of the entries for the Super admin role.

I cannot figure out why I cannot see a "Add board" button.

Your help would be greatly appreciated

Best regards,

Hina

Tim Keyes Atlassian Team May 27, 2021

Hi @Hina Tufail

Thank you for reaching out!  I hope all is going well.

I would guess that your Settings for Manage Boards/ Sprints are currently set to read only which would result in there being no "Add Board" button.

Please navigate to Jira Align Admin > Roles > Select Super Admin > Administration > and see if the Read Only Toggle is toggled for the three Jira Management permissions.  If it is, toggle it off, click save, log out and back in and let us know if that reveals the button.


Thank you!
Tim

Hi @Tim Keyes 

Thanks for your very quick and complete reply ! We actually did that, and happened that after log off/log in, the button appeared. We also created a jira align agile team (for the Story level) in parallel, to make the mapping possible.

Many thanks and have a great day ahead !

Hina

This is a great article @Tim Keyes  , thank you!

I'm starting to set up Kanban teams and it's been a very positive experience so far, but perhaps you can help with a clarification. On my brief experience I already came across the bug (JIRAALIGN-2033 - Backlog: Push/Pull rank to external system doesn't work for kanban teams) and the effect of that is that the stories placement on the buckets are incorrect. The workaround documented on the bug isn't a realistic one, so the stories are not in the right order as they should be. So my kanban teams are having some issues seeing the full potential the tool can provide. Any updates on the bug or guidance you can provide is much appreciated.

Stories will be placed in buckets based off of their priority including AcceptedIn-Process, and Week of weekly buckets. Future work is put into each weekly bucket based on the team’s throughput, in priority order. New teams will see a general section named Backlog until their throughput is set or calculated.  The Priority can be synced from Jira to Jira Align using the functionality mentioned here:

Tim Keyes Atlassian Team Mar 10, 2022

Hi @Aline Chapman

I hope all is well. Thank you for the comment and question.  I can see you also commented on JIRAALIGN-2033.  

Unfortunenly I do not have a better workaround than manually stack ranking the stories in the Jira Align backlog.  I'll check in with our Product team on the bug and work on getting an update on the ticket.

Thank you!
Tim

Like Aline Chapman likes this

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