How does Jira Portfolio compare to the Structure addon?

I've seen the new Portfolio anouncement. It looks somewhat simular to the Structure addon (https://marketplace.atlassian.com/plugins/com.almworks.jira.structure), how does it compare? Would Portfolio replace the other addon?

5 answers

6 votes

Adding to Jobin's answer: Structure is a universal "Swiss-army-knife" tool to organise issues and aggregate information in a hierarchy. It can be used in many scenarios from development to test management to lots of application scenarios outside of software development,.. use it whenever you want to organize any type of issues in a hierarchy. 

JIRA Portfolio is a tailor-made solution for PPM, which is not intended to replace Structure, but provides comprehensive capabilities for dynamic capacity and resource planning, forecasting, and roll-up reporting. It relies on organising the portfolio backlog in a hierarchy in order to group epics into higher-level initiatives, but this is only a small part of the overall solution. 

I thinks it's a bit tough to say they are "not similar in anyways".  I ended up here as I am asking myself the exact same question as KJ.  We are currently licensing the Structure plugin and have installed an evaluation of the Portfolio plugin.  For our use case (Portfolio/Initiative Management with Agile) they have a lot of overlap!  Either could be used in our situation, but there are pro's and cons for each, which I am trying to resolve.

One impression I am developing.  The linkage between artifacts and JIRA Portfolio and team-level Agile projects is not as easily managed as with the Structure plugin.  We have to import all the team level epics and stories, created duplicates in portfolio that are linked to the originals.  Going forward, synchronization appears to only apply to the title and description.  New stories added an epic at the project level are not automatically visisble in portfolio, nor are estimation updates sync'd back.

Try to confirm this here - https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/JIRAPortfolio/Issue+Links+and+Synchronization

Drew, thanks for your comment. For the PPM use case there is certainly some overlap, since Portfolio was purpose-build for that, whereas Structure is a more generic tool that can be used well for it also, next to lots of other application scenarios. In your particular context it probably depends on whether you need the full set of capabilities Portfolio gives on top of organizing the backlog and aggregating status information, such as managing your teams and resources, and getting a data-driven forecast and resource schedule across teams, planning/scoping releases, tracking themes and resource allocation etc. In terms of the linkage, your observations on Portfolio are correct, this is exactly what the current import/link/sync offers. The only thing to add: Estimates can be syned back from Portfolio to the JIRA issues with the "Plan">"Update linked issues" capability. It's not yet very comprehensive but think of it as "I've planned my scenario, now I want to publish it / put it to action". The very light-weight integration has been chosen initially in order to support flexible scenario planning and have kind of a safe playground for planning (link an issue into multiple plans, do scenarios with different resource investments or timelines, present and agree to a plan, put it to action). That said, we're looking into several improvements of this integration in the near future to support both customers requiring a very tight integration and others looking for more loosely coupled linking and syncing on-demand to match the process their teams apply.

@Martin Suntinger, Portfolio appears to do best when building from the bottom up as evidenced by the demo videos that always start with a backlog. What if you dont have a backlog and you're in the strategic planning phase with no epics (projects) and only strategies. How does Portfolio treat top down planning?

Hi @Ricky A - you can go both ways: If you don't have an existing backlog, just create your higher level initiatives within JIRA Portfolio, with very broad placeholder epics for work required to implement your strategy. with that, you can do high-level plan and then refine. You can later turn these newly created work items into actual JIRA issues if needed.

@Martin Suntinger, thank you for the response.

@Martin Suntinger Back in 2014 you mentioned there would be tighter integration coming soon - did this ever materialize?

@David Doria yes! With Portfolio 2.0 we've revamped the entire integration model between underlying Jira issues and Portfolio - rather than a manual import and sync process, it is now dynamic based filters, and supports more fields too. Hope this works better for you now! Cheers, Martin

2 votes

It is not similar in anyways. I think you might be confused by the new level (Initiative) added by the Portfolio add-on.

But the portfolio add-on stops with that and is developed for a PPM solution within JIRA. It introduces the concept of teams within JIRA and is all about planning and forecasting.

Portfolio is for strategy and Structure is for Tactics )

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