Can't get Portfolio to work with my Kanban board

I am working with JIRA Server and the latest version of Portfolio (2.x) and a Kanban board. I have already read the blog post from August 2016 about using Portfolio with a Kanban board, and it was not detailed enough to help me.

  • I have 1 epic for this particular project; about 35 stories and over 100 issues, most of which are tied to the stories by dependencies (tasks block the story item).
  • We're using tasks rather than issues.
  • I am using story points, and each task has an assigned value.
  • I don't know whether I should be assigning story points to the stories themselves; I intend to have the task story values roll up to indicate progress on the story as a whole.
  • I have 6 swimlanes in my Kanban board: 2 correspond to the To Do status, 2 for In Progress, and 2 for Done.
  • I have a team with different skills, but adding skills did not help. I've tried that twice.
  • I have added "releases" to try to get this to work; the Portfolio plan insisted on a sprint length, and the blog post said to use 1 week.

I cannot figure out how to get the Portfolio backlog to reflect the progress on the Story based on the status of the corresponding tasks. I am convinced that I am missing inputs, but I'm at a loss as to what I have missed. The boss wants percent complete, and I'm about to ask her to spend $1800 on JIRA server software, so I have got to get this to work.

Help!

Toolie

2 answers

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Hey Toolie,

Firstly I'll just let you know that can just use the sub-tasks for story points and roll it up to the story level.

If I understand correctly the main problem here is you're not seeing Progress on your story rolled up from the sub-tasks?
This is likely a filtering issue on your plan. Click the More button next to the plan search box. Select Completion date and set that date to a time before you completed the issues.
By default this is set to 'Current sprint' (which doesn't exist for Kanban) so they just drop off the plan when completed - thereby not contributing to progress.

 Screen Shot 2017-03-09 at 3.06.30 PM.png

Please let me know if you're still having difficulty with this.

Cheers,
Rhys

 

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I'm not an Atlassian, but I would like to suggest that you might want to re-think your tactic of using story point estimation with kanban.  Story points only relate to real time estimation through velocity, and you're not continuously improving a velocity estimate if you're using kanban rather than scrum.

You might want to consider looking at your average cycle time on your issues (tasks, stories, sub-tasks, etc are all "issues" in JIRA) using tools like the built-in "Control Chart" in JIRA, or third-party tools like the analytics tools from Actionable Agile.  The JIRA Control Chart can give you an average cycle time plus a standard deviation, whereas the Actionable Agile analytics tools can give you percentiles that you can use to provide a confidence level in your release date forecasts.  One of the two most critical factors in your cycle times, of course, is the amount of work in progress.  And you need to strictly limit that in order for all of this to work, and for kanban to work.

For a LOT more details on this, I strongly recommend this book from Actionable Agile: https://www.actionableagile.com/publications/

Note: I do not represent Actionable Agile and I have no equity in their company or anything like that.  I'm simply a happy client.

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