Hybrid KanBan board + project planning

John Burton
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June 12, 2019

Basically I work in 2 worlds - traditional PM with waterfall / Systems engineering  (think MS project & GANTT charts). I also work in software where we need to have the flexibility of Kanban / Agile for revising development schedules / sprints to meet changing customer wants. Essentially I'm trying to manage chaos.

I am "playing" with jira and trying to create a project. The project is part software and part hardware. I need the ability to estimate how long the tasks will take by doing a bottom up estimation of a series of subtasks, each of which are less than 8 hours effort. Part of this is for budget and schedule purposes. I see that I can do this with the Project Management scheme / template. I also want to be able to manage the work using a Kanban board. I can create a Scrum or Kanban type project which gives me the Kanban board and scheduling flexibility, but I can't figure out how to do rollup / estimation like with a project. I can use story points with Scrum, but I also haven't been able to figure how to roll those up for a story to estimate how much I can do in a sprint. I don't have the option of just doing Scrum/Agile because I'm part of larger projects. I need to provide schedule and budget estimates to work with the hardware schedule and keep the Program Managers and Customers  happy. Does anyone have any suggestions on this?

2 answers

0 votes
Marcin Geb _SoftwarePlant_
Marketplace Partner
Marketplace Partners provide apps and integrations available on the Atlassian Marketplace that extend the power of Atlassian products.
April 24, 2020

Hello John

It sounds to me as if you are looking for a tool that can aggregate low-level, granular tasks. I would explore work breakdown structure tools, and these are two screen captures from BigPicture, that I represent.

Note that both screens show a mixed Waterfall-Agile environment.

Looking at the first image, you could easily sum up story points even at the portfolio level.

You can keep using Jira's Kanban boards, while BigPicture will "see" all the changes you made there, and BP updates the progress of the portfolio accordingly.

This is not to say that you can't micro-manage in BigPicture. You can.

Fig. 1 Scope module


Fig. 2 Gantt chart modulegantt-portfolio-overview.png 

0 votes
Dave Rosenlund
Community Leader
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June 13, 2019

Hello, @John Burton. Welcome to the Atlassian Community. 

First, let me say up front that I work for an Atlassian Marketplace app vendor. My opinions on this topic are heavily influenced by the fact that my view of Jira project managers trying to do what you describe is through this particular lens.

The people I talk to are typically portfolio managers who are tracking and reporting against multiple in-flight Jira projects that depend on one another in order to deliver a united solution of some kind (the software and firmware in a car, the software and firmware in a medical device, a multi-part piece of complex software, and so on).

That out of the way here is my perspective:

Jira out-of-the-box is a very flexible, adaptable, and powerful tool. You can customize it any way you like and choose to use it any way you'd like.

It takes into account that even within the same company, project teams do things differently. You can (and many would argue should) tune Jira to the particular needs of each of those project teams. 

This is a very powerful approach because you don't have to ask each team to compromise their current practices and adapt to the tool. You can adapt the tool to their needs.  

This leads to increased adoption and usage and that leads to more effective project management.

So, IMHO, you ought to seriously consider creating at least two Jira projects -- one for the systems engineering/waterfall folks, and another Scrum/Kanban folks delivering the software.

In fact, it is not at all uncommon for companies to take this idea even further and create different projects for each software team and each systems engineering team (if there is more than one of each).

To tie them all together at the portfolio/program management level you should consider one of the Jira apps. designed to help people like you keep track of multiple Jira projects.

Atlassian has one. It's called Portfolio. From my perspective, its strength lies in the many planning features.

SoftwarePlant makes BigPicture. Its strength IMO lies in the breadth and depth of its features.

The company I work for, ALM Works, makes Structure for Jira.  Its strength lies in its flexibility and adaptability and our reputation for outstanding customer support.

Honestly, all three are good products from good/stable companies who've been around for a long time. If you decide to adopt the multi-project approach I'd suggest you take a closer look at all three of them.

Hope this helps,

-dave [ALM Works]

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