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Portfolio Best Practice - one project, or many?

Sarah Kegley December 9, 2018

Patience, please - I'm fairly new to Agile framework, pretty comfortable in Jira Cloud and definitely new to Portfolio. I'm setting up our enterprise-wide portfolio. Only requirements I was given is to create a view of all the work in the company and be able to plan capacity to the individual level. We hired a coach to help us refine our Scrum practices and he helped me set up Portfolio with Initiatives - tactics - epics and imported epics/tasks from one project. I'm now trying to set a structure that will work for years in the future. Our Steering Committee wants a Strategic Initiative view separate from an Operational view. My question is: is it better to have one plan for the entire enterprise (a global view) and all projects and resources in in that plan, or separate our strategic vs operational (business projects, infrastructure, Kanban board work for tasks not large enough to be a stand-alone "project")? I'm assuming I can separately report on the strategic initiatives by filtering reports, but it seems to me that one plan only would be overwhelming in size.

I realize I may not be using the correct terminology, but I'm looking for some guidance here on the overall set-up. TIA.

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Sarah Kegley December 23, 2018

I found the answer I was looking for in Atlassian Backlog Management: 

I have multiple teams, each one leading one "category" in Jira, with multiple projects. Can each team can have their own plan, and then, have another one at the management level?

Currently this is not possible, there is no consolidated view on top of multiple plans, so all data would have to be within a single plan. As a workaround, the concept of release streams could be used to differentiate the different categories/products which have an independent release cycle. That said, we are considering this feature for future releases of Portfolio for Jira.

I'm going with one overarching plan for all work. 

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Roi Fine
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
December 9, 2018

Hi Sarah,


There are many ways to setup your projects structure, so in the end, the best way is what fits your organization.

First, I would recommend you to create an initiatives project in Jira to contain your big & important projects ( issues above epic ). See doc here:

For the Steering Committee plan, you can try creating a Portfolio plan with the following sources from Jira:

1. Initiatives project

2. Filter for epics from all other projects in Jira team work with

All other teams or group of teams can create different Portfolio plans to coordinate and plan their work.

I hope this helps,


Sarah Kegley December 10, 2018


@RoiThank you for your quick response. The coach we had employed did help me set up the initiatives in a new Jira project, so that's not an issue. I also have the hierarchy set and the strategic project epics associated. My question really is, if I create a separate Portfolio plan for the operational projects, another separate plan for infrastructure projects and so on, am I constraining my ability to understand and report on individual resource capacity across ALL work in the company? Conversely, if I add all those "other" type projects and work items (from Kanban boards) to my strategic  plan, does it become unwieldy and difficult to view? The roadmap would be quite deep (relatively, anyway - we are a small company so I'm really talking about dozens, not hundreds of projects).

Ultimately, I'm asking if, in the experience of seasoned Portfolio users of smaller companies (<500 staff), does it make sense to have one overarching plan that includes ALL the work of ALL teams or do multiple plans work nicely with each other for capacity planning, roadmap viewing and reporting.

As an aside, I'm reading Making Work Visible by Dominica Degrandis and that is ultimately what I want to accomplish with Portfolio - the ability to see all the work going on in the company, irrespective whether it's development, marketing, security, etc. 

I hope this makes sense. Thank you.

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