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Best Practices for creating and managing Higher level Backlog Items in Jira Advanced Roadmaps

Vijay Reddy July 25, 2022


"Advanced Roadmaps for Jira (ARJ)" is primarily offered as a tool to plan and track work across multiple teams / projects. It can 'pull' and 'show' data from different sources: Projects, Boards, and Filters. In most cases, ARJ deals with existing Backlog Items residing in different Projects. [source:  Advanced Roadmaps Guide | Jira Software | Atlassian ]


Creating and Managing Themes and Features (higher level Backlog items) - Which is a better Practice ?

Option A: Identifying and Adding New Higher Level Backlog Items - [like Themes and Features] in the ARJ first - before they are created in individual Team's Jira projects. Each Team picks up one or more Features from ARJ and add more details in their Project level / Team level plans [like adding Jira Epics and Stories]

Option B: All Backlog items at all levels are first created in individual Projects and 'pull' them 'together' to create a Plan in ARJ.

Please share your thoughts.

1 answer

1 vote
Michael Andolfatto
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July 26, 2022

Hi @Vijay Reddy ,

When working at scale like this, it's usually better to have a single Jira project as a workspace for all of the related teams, where each team gets their own individual backlog. Through this configuration, it's much easier for all teams to check the Product/Master backlog to see these Themes/Features and to add and assign their high-level work items underneath them.

If this is not an option and you plan to stay with each team using their own Jira project, it would probably make the most sense to create these "collaborative" issues (Themes/Features) in Advanced Roadmaps so that it can be seen as a source of truth. The challenge with this is that once it is time to commit an issue back to Jira, it will need to live inside a specific team project.

If Themes/Features are not collaborated across teams, then I would go with Option B. Create issues for your teams in their own workspaces and use an AR plan to see the holistic view.

Vijay Reddy July 26, 2022

@Michael Andolfatto ,

Thank you so much for very helpful response!

Just to confirm my understanding.....:

Option A: Maintain ONE Jira Project [Master Project] for all teams; Create a Plan in  Advanced Roadmaps for Jira (ARJ) based on just one Master Project with the desired Hierarchy levels. Always create new Issues [at any level] on Jira Master Project only; use ARJ for high level planning and Roadmapping, what-if scenarios, etc. This Option is VERY CLEAR.


Option B: Maintain Collaborative Issues in ARJ while keeping Team-specific Issues in individual Team's Jira Projects. 

  • Do you recommend creating a separate small Project - just to keep / manage "Collaborative Issues" and "link" it to ARJ or directly creating these Collaborative Issues in ARJ?
  • If we create Collaborative Issues in ARJ only, how do we assign / share / own the work items among different Teams? Do we need to ask each Team create their part of the Backlog Items (Epics and Stories) in their own Team specific Projects while "linking" to higher level Items created in ARJ?

This brings up another question about representing work items in Jira / ARJ that need collaborating with other teams in general:

Scenario 1: Each Team plans and delivers their own items using Jira Projects. They don't have any dependencies; they can plan and deliver independently. The ARJ provides 'visibility' into the work all the Teams in a single place for Managers and others. If the work of these teams contribute to achievement of higher level items (like Features, Themes, Initiatives, etc.)

  • what is the BEST place to create the 'Higher Level' items so that individual Teams  can "link" their work to appropriate Higher Level items?
  • If an organization has "Jira Align", we start adding these "Higher Level" items there and ask different Teams to "link" their work to the appropriate Higher Level items.
  • If they don't have "Jira Align" and only have "Advanced Roadmaps for Jira (ARJ)", what is the recommended practice?
    • Create a dedicated Jira Project with only Higher Level Items for each Portfolio / Division / Group and ask Teams to link to those Higher Level Items? Or
    • Create those 'Higher Level' Items within ARJ only; and ask Teams to link their work items to these Higher Level Items.
    • In other words, what is the Enterprise Hierarchy Model Jira with ARJ offers for large Enterprises where the work of all Divisions, LOBs, Portfolios, and Groups can be traced back to "Enterprise Level" items?

Scenario 2: Each Team has their own Backlog and the associated Project. Additionally, Each Team has a need to collaborate with 5 other Teams.

For example, Team A (a Platform Development Team) builds their Product [which is the Platform itself] that is used by other Teams to build their products. [Teams 1 - 5]. 

  • Team A has their own Jira Project. Teams 1-5 also have their own Jira Projects.
  • During Team A's Metascrum event, when POs from other Teams are present, they identify a few types of New Backlog Items:
    • New Requests from other Team (Teams 1-5) to Team A's Backlog. Ultimately these Backlog Items should be part of Team A's project. But where to document these first? within the ARJ? or directly within Team A's project
    • New Requests from Team A to other Teams (Teams 1-5). Ultimately these Backlog Items should be part of one or more Teams' projects (Teams 1 - 5). But where to document these first? within the ARJ? or directly within the respective Teams' projects
    • Any Dependencies and Risks  These generally translate to Jira Issues for 1 or more teams to resolve / manage). what is the BEST place to add and track them?)
    • Any Impediments : (that generally translate to Jira Issues for 1 or more teams to resolve / manage). what is the BEST place to add and track them?)

Sorry for the long message :)
Any help / guidance is greatly appreciated!!!

Tanjian Norman November 9, 2022

@Michael Andolfatto  I'm interested in this topic as well are evaluating how best to manage multiple teams with connected work in Advanced Roadmaps.   For the scenarios presented by Vijay, can you share thoughts/best practices?

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