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“Work Item Links” functionality

Hello,

Is it advisable to enable “Work Item Links” functionality in Jira Align considering the below pros and cons? Also, please share alternate solutions if there are any?

Pros:

  • Allows teams to identify story dependencies and sequence stories
  • Easy to turn on/off with no negative consequences

Cons:

  • Users may lose their collaborative nature by focusing on predecessor/successor
  • Users may over-use links since they are highly visible since they has their own tab and TDP users are used to creating links.
  • Randy recommends a strong communication plan to provide guidance on the purpose and usage of Links so they don’t encourage unwanted behaviors.
  • people try to recreate Gantt charts and continue the waterfall mentality and not follow Agile

Possible Alternatives to Links:

  • Story Map
  • Impediments

1 answer

1 accepted

3 votes
Answer accepted
Rich Sparks Atlassian Team May 02, 2020

I counsel teams to avoid using work item links for exactly the reasons you list in the Cons section. Having them in place doesn't necessarily lead to any clearer decisions or actions to be taken.

A team thinking about it's own work should use Story Maps as you suggest. And they can also use the Story Backlog Kanban sprint view to make sure their work is laid out in the best way to deliver what they need.  My colleague @Rob Phillips wrote about this here:  
https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Jira-Align-articles/Using-Jira-Align-s-Backlog-Kanban-Sprint-View-to-Visualize-SAFe/ba-p/1294415

If you need to track work between teams (for example, my team needs something from your team in order to complete our work) then that's when Dependencies help. A dependency represents a contract between two teams (whether they be teams in the same Program/Release Train, or across different Programs/Release Trains) to provide something by a needed date or sprint.)

Dependencies show up on the program board and help stakeholders see where there are links between work, and the program board highlights when dependencies are at risk or late. I wrote about building out the Program Board during planning cycles here:

https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Jira-Align-articles/Building-a-Program-Board-during-PI-Planning/ba-p/1329910

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