Rosetta Stone teams use Atlassian to speak the same language


Rosetta Stone is a global language learning and literacy company. With 15 teams in 8 locations around the world, they struggled to combine their long-term planning and agile development. Specifically:

  • Engineering teams and product managers needed a better way to communicate progress and forecasts throughout the development cycle
  • Program managers needed a better way to coordinate releases
  • Stakeholders and senior leadership needed an at-a-glance solution for monitoring products in development.

In this Community Showcase, you will learn the steps Rosetta Stone took to attack their problem, harnessing the power of Jira Software, Portfolio for Jira and the scaled agile framework (SAFe) to better promote visibility across all teams and projects.

To start, Rosetta Stone's entire development organization started meeting on a quarterly basis to map out what the next 10 to 12 weeks of work would look like and to discuss overall company strategy. The meetings were broken down into four key components:

1: Context setting for roadmap: Crucial to any type of agile planning, this step helps teams to understand what goal their work would help progress

  • Teams start with vision presentations with the entire group (80 people across 15 teams from 8 locations)
  • Presentations include state of the business, overall vision, strategic themes + goals, and top 10 milestones to be achieved in the coming quarter

2: Teams make plans: Key stakeholders review these WIP plans, using their holistic perspectives to flag resource or dependency challenges before they happen

  • Teams elaborate, prioritize, sequence and estimate 5 sprints and then identify, discuss and document dependencies and risks
  • Ex: When discussing velocity, teams discuss planned leaves/vacations, new hires, etc.
  • Using a large program board, teams create draft plans, sprint by sprint and sequence backlog items in sprints until at capacity using post-it notes with features and epics, mapping out dependencies with a red string

3: Present plans and gauge confidence: Opportunity for groups outside of the team to provide feedback

  • Teams break out one last time to make any final changes.
  • Product Owner presents highlights from their team's plan, including final program increment objectives, stretch goals, sequence of stories in each sprint and potential risks/dependencies
  • Once all teams have presented, a 'confidence vote' takes place

4: Jira Software and Portfolio for Jira: Teams get a portfolio view without any extra effort. 

  • Release train engineers lead a brief retro to capture what went well in the sprint, what didn't and what can be improved next time
  • Teams have entered their sprint plans from the program board into Jira Software, so Portfolio for Jira can be used to create the Rosetta Stone portfolio plan
  • Portfolio for Jira makes use of the team's scrum boards in Jira Software as a data source that rolls-up into a multi-team plan

The outcome of Rosetta Stone's concerted effort to get everyone speaking the same language? An accurate view of work across projects and teams, enabling Rosetta Stone's team to remain on the same page across the portfolio: developers, product owners, managers, and executive stakeholders.

Have more questions about scaling agile? Want to share a personal experience of using Atlassian products to unite an interdependent, remote team? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!



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