Jira for Manufacturing Waterfall Projects

Ariel Ramos July 31, 2023

Hi Guys! A newbie here.

I've been using Jira for a few months now and I've been wondering how can it better be implemented on Waterfall projects.

I work for a manufacturing company and we plan to utilize Jira for project monitoring but were struggling since our projects have rigid structures, being that tasks depended on one after another. Usually working with Gantt Charts, there's also a focus on resource management and estimates.

Does anyone have any related experience or relavant process? Is it possible even without using Jira Automations and Marketplace Apps?

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Frederik Vantroys
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July 31, 2023

Hi @Ariel Ramos 

Welcome to the community !

I think most of the things you need can be achieved with JIRA out of the box:

Define the issue types you'll need, such as tasks, subtasks, milestones, and epics. Configure the workflow to match your project's phases (e.g., requirements gathering, design, development, testing, etc.).

Task Dependencies: To handle task dependencies, Jira allows you to use link types between issues, such as "blocks," "relates to," "depends on," etc. Use these link types to establish relationships between tasks that are dependent on one another.

Gantt Charts: That is maybe one thing you'll have to consider using a marketplace plugin or use a general drawing tool that you can embed in Confluence (like draw.io)

Resource Management: To manage resources, you can use Jira's built-in features like custom fields to track resource allocations, worklogs to log time spent on tasks, and dashboards to visualize resource utilization. You can also use filters and reports to generate resource-related insights.

Estimates and Tracking: Jira allows you to set time estimates on tasks and track the actual time spent through worklogs. By comparing estimates with actuals, you can analyze project progress and identify potential issues early on.

Epics and Stories: For larger projects, you can use the "Epics" feature to group related tasks together. Each task can then be represented as a "Story" within the Epic. This hierarchical approach can help manage complex projects more effectively.

Version Management: Use Jira's version management to track project milestones and releases. This allows you to plan and track progress based on these milestones.

Reporting and Dashboards: Create custom reports and dashboards in Jira to monitor project health, progress, and other relevant metrics. This will give you and your team a centralized view of the project's status.

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Ariel Ramos August 1, 2023

Hi there @Frederik Vantroys

Thank you very much for your detailed answer!

As of now, the following has been my workaround on Jira to slowly migrate the company into using the platform. I hope to know your insights if there's a better alternative.

 

Epics, Tasks, Sub-task: Aside from the project details, I've been looking for a way to visualize my project's start and end date. But with planning features only available on Jira Premium (Advance Roadmaps), I used Epics to essentially group all the project tasks as a whole, with Child-level Scheduling. I use Task to indicate the main deliverables/phases of the project, with Subtask for specific tasks.
Screenshot 2023-08-01 151446.png

I initially planned on using the Release feature for milestones but stopped since it needs to be manually added every time like Sprints. It is unlike configurations that can be easily used in templates or issues that can be imported with CSV.

 

Estimates and Tracking: With the management very particular about monitoring estimates, the only thing I can find to compare estimates is the Time Tracking Report on the Forecast and Management Section of Reports. I also fail to find a gadget for it on the Dashboard.Screenshot 2023-08-01 152637.png

Adam Rigby August 1, 2023

Hi Ariel,

Have you looked at Advanced Roadmaps (Plan), see https://support.atlassian.com/jira-software-cloud/docs/what-is-advanced-roadmaps/. It adds a portfolio management capability to Jira with planning, Gantt chart style view, dependency management, capacity management, etc. A very powerful addition that is available with premium support. If you need more there is always Jira Align, a separate product that integrates into Jira.

Jira is always at the centre though and tracks the work being done, advanced roadmaps (plan) gives you a single pane of glass to plan, execute, and monitor strategic initiatives through projects with visibility right down to the task level.

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Ariel Ramos August 1, 2023

Hi @Adam Rigby ,

Thanks for your suggestion!

Yup, I already looked on Advance Roadmaps. It was great but was out of the question due to financing haha Maybe in the future I guess.

Tomislav Tobijas
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August 1, 2023

Hi @Ariel Ramos

Few insights from my side (please note that I'm just talking from my experience):

  • Depending on your requirements, Jira functionalities might not be enough - specifically talking about Gantt charts and resource management.
    Therefore, you might consider using something like BigPicture (marketplace app) to cover that; or maybe even Jira Align but that might be an overkill.
  • Core Jira functionality for time tracking is quite good, but if you want to level it up, you might consider something like Tempo (marketplace app) so you can track accounts, billable vs. non-billable hours, and have additional worklog parameters.
    It has proven to be quite a good foundation if you're going to scale processes at some point.

As Frederik said, most of it (if not all) can somehow be done within Jira and without having to use third-party apps, but again, it depends on which functionalities you require for the process you wish to utilize through Jira.
Also, a note that I, personally, am always in favor of using core Atlassian software and products over head-jumping to use the addons, but for this specific case (we've had one project where resource management was a 'must'), some of the mentioned apps came to be quite useful.

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Ariel Ramos August 1, 2023

Hi there @Tomislav Tobijas

Thank you so much for sharing your experience!

I do agree with you. After a few months, I am starting to think about how those marketplace apps solve the missing link of Jira's core functionality to other industries such as this old manufacturing business.

Looks like I'll just make do for the meantime until the managers gets convinced that we get an add-on! Hhahah

Many Thanks.

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