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How to flag Portfolio Epics vs Program Epics without turning on Capabilities

Our company is working with a consulting group to help with the Agile Transformation and they have asked for a place to identify Portfolio Epics vs Program Epics in Align.  They don't want to turn on Capabilities at this time.

The first option they requested was to use the Type field however the options in the drop down can't be changed.

The second option they requested was adding it to the Category field but this is only available at the Feature level.

Any other suggestions for something like this?  Would turning on the Solution menu without turning on Capabilities be an option?

NOTE: The application was set up before I joined this team, and the Solution level has not been used.  For reference, we are using the SAFe framework, the name for Theme was updated to "Initiative" in Platform Terminology so our current flow is Portfolio Initiatives and Epics; Program Features; stories are created in Jira Cloud.

2 answers

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1 vote
Answer accepted
Samit Mehta _321 Gang_
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Mar 24, 2023 • edited

I haven't used the mechanism that Alan described, but it seems like a really good option.

However, if you need a work item that goes across multiple Planning Increments and across multiple ARTs and also be able to decompose the work item into Features, then you will need to consider either Epics or Capabilities.

Typically, the reason for differentiating between Portfolio-level Epics and Program-level Epics is so that the Portfolio leadership and Program leadership each have a distinct Kanban / Backlog of Epics that they review and approve.  Also you need a way to move these from one Backlog to another - e.g. if a Program Epic exceeds a threshold established by the Portfolio-level team (LPM) then the Program Epic is changed to a Portfolio Epic.

Some options that you can use to filter the data in the Portfolio Kanban (Epic Backlog - Kanban Process Flow view) - the Apply Filters supports only a limited set of fields to filter:

  1. use tags - a tag to indicate that this is a Program Epic or a Portfolio Epic
  2. put something in the title of the Epic to indicate it is a Program or a Portfolio Epic
  3. create separate "Intake" ARTs for Portfolio and Program Epics and set the Primary ART of the EPIC to the appropriate "Intake" ARTs.  The "Intake" ARTs are separate from the ARTs you would create that contain the Scrum/Kanban Teams and will only be used to maintain a backlog of Epics for Program or Portfolio leadership.  This mechanism would also allow you to stack rank the Program Epic and Portfolio Epics separately if needed.
0 votes
Answer accepted
Allan Maxwell
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Mar 24, 2023 • edited

You should consider using Standalone Features because in many ways they function like an Epic.  The Portfolio Backlog has the option of showing Standalone Features intermingled with Portfolio Epics.  Standalone Features have some of the additional Tabs/Fields that you find on Portfolio Epics, but not on Features that are not standalone. . I think the additional fields is no longer a possibiilty.

Allan Maxwell
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
Mar 24, 2023

Screenshot of Standalone Features in Portfolio Epic backlog.


Screenshot 2023-03-24 at 10.37.04 AM.png

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