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During my 17 years as a coach, mentor, and trainer of Agile teams, I’ve participated in hundreds of Agile planning meetings. The end result was a wall of backlog items annotated by an explosion of colorful, handwritten sticky notes detailing risks, tasks, feedback, and dependencies, often spanning from floor to ceiling.
At the end of these meetings, teams left more confident because of the planning we had completed, but the work of the meeting wasn’t truly over. That’s when a superhero or two began the monumental task of transitioning every detail from the walls into Jira – almost as big an endeavor as the days-long planning sessions.
The first weeks after planning were truly magical – we finally had alignment with all of our teams and stakeholders. But of course, the magic didn’t last long and the planning didn’t end once everything was uploaded into Jira. Our plans became more uncertain as the weeks passed.
Our understanding of what we had to build and how to build it evolved as we translated plans into actions. What once represented our collective best guesses in the moment, quickly became dated as the work moved forward. But spending the energy and effort to repeat our detailed multi-team planning meetings with every change just wasn’t practical.
The truth is that bringing everyone together in the same room to collaborate, align, and buy-in is crucial to success; however, it's not always possible. In the past when we couldn't collaborate in person, the quality of interactions declined steeply. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that change is inevitable and we can’t always meet together in the same room. The context organizations face today requires a simple and secure way for people to collaborate virtually.
The solution is to make digital collaboration an integral part of your planning sessions. The Lucidspark Cards for Jira integration makes it easier to scale your planning meetings, save time automatically updating decisions to your Jira instance, and give you more flexible planning so your teams can adapt and replan as changes arise.
Imagine being able to automatically update your Jira issues as you make updates to your virtual whiteboard. The two-way sync with Jira Cloud will ensure the results of the work are not lost, or misrecorded. Best of all, there is no need for post-planning heroism to digitize the physical planning wall into Jira.
Organizations and teams are becoming more globally distributed. We all want planning efforts to be engaging, interactive sessions that facilitate collaboration; however, flying everyone out to meet in a conference room together as often as we’d like just isn’t scalable or often repeatable. Instead, recreate the collaborative experience working on a physical whiteboard online.
Use Lucidspark Cards for Jira to visualize work items, spacing them across the whole of the virtual whiteboard and utilize video conferencing to see everyone. Participants can group items together to represent the item's relevance to each other. Best of all, with a Lucidspark planning board you don’t have the crowding and jostling that are common in multi-team planning events where everyone needs access to one physical wall.
Start by organizing your board with a template that you can easily rearrange to fit the needs of your team. Then scale your plans with an infinite canvas giving your teams the space to not only change plans, but move outdated plans to another area of the board to keep a visual record of each iteration.
Next, import target items from Jira Cloud. Teams can simply move the Cards around in Lucidspark to match their sprint cadence. Magic happens when anyone can tag teammates on specific Cards to highlight critical issues and keep everyone on track. Be sure to introduce Lucidspark’s voting features to give everyone a voice and avoid long debates when prioritizing backlog items.
Your planning meeting goals will require periods for the whole group and times for team break outs. Rather than booking separate meeting rooms, Lucidspark can provide breakout rooms where collaborators have their own boards to facilitate small group and individual work.
Anyone that has witnessed the impact of bringing cross-functional teams together knows how invaluable it is to the organization and those involved in the planning.
The problem is that all of the physical planning elements: post-its, hand-written notes, sticky note dependencies, pictures, and more need to be entered into Jira. There is very little room for error. Your Jira backlog is the system-of-record to keep teams on track and ensure all work is done and new ideas are acted upon. I’ve seen too many businesses waste time and make errors while trying to digitize paper plans.
Using a digital whiteboard from the beginning ensures we are up and running faster with the confidence that everything is saved in one central location. The Lucidspark Cards for Jira integration is a game changer for companies’ planning processes. As we organize backlog items into actionable plans, updates happen in both apps, and the two-way sync gives us confidence.
When brainstorming and ideation happens, not all of the ideas need to be acted on. Once you’re done getting all the ideas out there, select the ones you want to move forward with and convert those items from sticky notes right into Jira issues. Nothing gets lost in translation.
Planning with Lucidspark’s virtual whiteboard enables a paradigm shift in how you deliver value. In the past, planning efforts were impeded by distance, costs and scheduling, among numerous other hurdles, and left decision makers questioning, “When can we come together to jointly construct our plans and gain alignment around what is possible?”
Today we have tremendous flexibility, and can instead ask, “When should we meet up for planning?” Those impediments no longer apply. Want to re-align multiple teams delivering a large program after each sprint? Embracing a digital approach to your planning process makes it possible.
Now teams can adapt and go back, make changes, and iterate on the plans they have made, ultimately leading to better outcomes. This level of flexibility can’t be done with a physical whiteboard.
Recognizing both the details and the whole solution makes it easier for teams to see and build the future. From release planning, backlog refinement, roadmaps, and more, the Lucidspark Cards for Jira integration redefines how your organization works together to plan, execute and succeed.
Bryan Stallings - Lucid