Starting over with JIRA and Confluence
I am an IT project manager with a background in development and working in a Supply Chain environment. I actually started with managing projects using Excel spreadsheets, until the company moved into MS Project as the tool of choice.
In 2018, I joined a company that uses Jira and Confluence, both tools with which I was unfamiliar. The company uses an Agile development approach for software, but also has many business projects every year working with partners and clients. I had someone give me a 30-minute demo on Jira and Confluence and then learned via documentation (kudos to Atlassian for the sheer volume of documentation available), as well as YouTube videos and tutorials. Since then, I’ve also been made a project administrator to design and develop projects and workflows.
Jira excels with Agile projects, as well as for issue reporting and resolution. We use nFeed to integrate with other software to fill Jira fields, which adds further value. My company provides software that ensures financial institutions are in compliance with all Federal and State government regulations for their documents. Changes to regulations can impact the development sprints and backlog priorities, so flexibility in people and the software is a must.
Business as Well as IT Projects
Because we don’t just have Agile projects, I would love to see some improvement in business project management. When I’m managing a large cross-functional project with some team members working in story points and others working in time (days/hours/durations), planning, scheduling and monitoring can become difficult. Resource management, risk management, tracking of milestones and executive summary reports can be a challenge using the basic Jira Software.
Fortunately, my company purchased a variety of add-ons that can be helpful, including Portfolio for Jira. I am just starting to learn that tool and have great hopes that it will resolve some of the gaps in the basic software. I attended an introduction to Portfolio for Jira webinar last week. While all training materials are geared for software development rather than business projects, I can extrapolate how to apply the options and configuration to our needs.
JIRA, Confluence and Roadmaps
As I’m learning these tools and approaches, the company is also working on its rolling three-year roadmap. As with most companies, our priorities can shift as new opportunities, government mandates or unexpected challenges present themselves. Because of that, neither the corporate or IT roadmap is a static document, but an ever-evolving plan that must be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. It can become out-of-date almost as soon as it is published, so we need to set everyone’s expectations that it is a living and evolving document that helps keep us pointed toward corporate goals.
Confluence helps with publishing the roadmap, keeping an accurate record of the version history and allowing us to include graphics (swim lanes, charts, pictures).
Coming from a company that primarily used Microsoft tools and moving to a company that uses Atlassian products does require flexibility and a willingness to learn. I am also learning that the tools in the company toolkit may be different, but they will help me and the company be successful.
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