Multiple Backlogs For Multiple Teams In One Project & Separation Of Major Initiatives


Currently I work on an 80+ person project. The project is made up of roughly 10 teams. 70% of the teams have some overlap with another team (i.e. a tools team supporting a feature team, etc.). I wanted to know the following:

  1. Due to the overlap and dependencies between some teams, visibility is super important but I also want to avoid presenting too much or overly complex info, a team should be able to go into JIRA and not have a lack of clarity regarding which items are theirs. Can you create separate backlogs within one project?
  2. Although all teams share the same milestone dates, their sprint start dates may differ. Can you have separate sprint schedules within one project?
  3. If I do have to create a separate project, can I create a dashboard that sources from multiple projects and presents roadmap info and other relevant cross-project information? I do not think we will be getting portfolio.
  4. There is another larger project within the company, how can we clearly separate these two initiatives in Jira? Is this just permission thing? Currently it feels like we are going to end up with a long list of projects that may or may not be related to the same initiative.

Thank you for your time.

Update: I don't have enough points to respond to two comments.

Thanks for the quick reply. I will try to provide as much info as possible:

1. Currently we have Jira Agile and Confluence. I was hoping that these two products would be able to handle our current project management needs. Also although we already have both products, only a portion of the company is a actually using them. The rest of our team uses various tools and methods for project management and since each team has a dedicated PM, we are able to source high level data reliably - but not necessarily easily.
2. Since many teams track and manage their projects in a way that works best for them, I was hoping that when they interact with Jira there wouldn't be an immediate feeling of another team's style existing within their own project management tool or a feeling of strict usage expectations.
3. Another concern is that in order to adopt portfolio, it seems like our account with have to adopt portfolio, which requires approval from our admin. Right now I am just doing the preliminary work of identifying potential structures and use cases for our upcoming project.
4. The main needs that we have are: a unified source for documentation, the ability for vertical teams to just focus on their own items but also see the status of potential dependencies down the line, the ability to easily see an overall project roadmap and whether we are on track, and the ability to present a restricted view of a subset of all of this info for relevant external parties with either a dashboard a file export.

Based on Steve's answer below, it seems like some of this may be accomplished by:
1.Backlog : Having a master backlog for the project but using filters based on boards to hide irrelevant info.
2. Sprints: Since they are tied to boards, having boards represent teams would hide other teams sprints. Is this right, I may be confusing myself here?
3. Internal Dashboard: The seems pretty straightforward.
4. External Dashboard: Would this be a separate project?

Please let me know if this helps. I really appreciate your time.

- Chris


2 answers

Sure, you can do all of this in JIRA. The big deal is just setting it up so it's flexible for your teams AND keeps your data 'clean.'

  1. In order to have multiple backlogs within a single JIRA project, you need to ensure that issues for a team are mutually exclusive from issues for another team. This will ensure that each team see it's own Sprints. Each team gets their own Scrum Board with a filter that only includes issues assigned to them.

    You should set up a workflow where you have a distinction between Untriaged issues and Triaged issues where you assign the Team field, perhaps like so – 
    image2015-12-2 15:25:41.png 

    Each board can then be pointed to OPEN issues assigned to their TEAM.
  2. Each board controls it's own Sprints, so this is no problem.
  3. You can run Boards and Filters on multiple projects, so most if not all reports/gadgets will work with multiple projects
  4. If people shouldn't see a project, restricting BROWSE permissions to the right group will prevent tons of projects from populating a Project Directory screen.

Hi Steve, Thanks for the quick and thorough reply. This is super helpful. I am going to try out your suggestion and I will let you know how it works out. - Chris

0 votes

Hey Christopher, would you mind sharing a bit more on why you don't think you'll get Portfolio? It seems like a prime usecase for it - do you see functional blockers, or rather a financial decision to buy an extra add-on? Particularly with the new integration with JIRA Software we are currently building out (see my talk from Summit for some more details on what we're working on this should be easy to set up across different teams' boards. Any input that helps us learn and improve would be greatly appreciated!

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