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Take a step towards process agility with Jira

Katarzyna Dorosz-Zurkowska - 20 August 2018 - 0 comments

Agile is all the rage right now, and the methodology isn’t going anywhere. There’s no denying that agile project management is now one of the standard approaches organizations use to deliver value to their customers faster.

Agile project management relies on the approach where teams deliver smaller product chunks or updates on a regular basis. Instead of betting everything on a massive launch of a complete (and supposedly perfect) product, agile teams deliver work in incremental pieces to continually evaluate its requirements and results, responding to change as soon as it occurs.

But how can organizations take advantage of agile project management if they have no idea where to start? They need the right tools for the job.

In this article, I wanted to show you why Jira Software is such a productive tool for transforming your team workflow into a genuinely agile one.

Develop a workflow for your team

First, a productive team that wants to become agile needs to a formally-defined workflow. A workflow describes the process a task goes through on its way to completion. A workflow is made up of statuses that mark different stages of a team’s work, such as: to do, in progress, in review, and done.

By organizing team workflows in such a formal way, you can be sure that team members never forget about tasks and boost their productivity by knowing exactly where other parts of the work are located. A formal workflow does wonders to any team, and it’s the first step towards more agile project management.

Create a Kanban board

Next, there is the Kanban method. Kanban is a popular framework used by teams to implement agile product development. The idea behind Kanban is representing work items visually on a board that allows team members to check the status of every task quickly and at any time. Kanban works excellently for ensuring real-time communication of team capacity and provides full transparency among team members.

The work of Kanban teams is organized around a calendar board, a tool available in Jira Software that helps to visualize work and optimize the workflow.

Some teams use physical boards to organize their tasks, but virtual boards create much less hassle. They also allow for greater traceability, collaboration, and offer accessibility to different locations. And that is essential if we’re talking about agility in dispersed or remote teams.

The primary function of the board is visualizing the work to be done, standardizing workflow, and immediately identifying all blockers and dependencies. A board will offer teams a visualization of their workflow, where each stage is represented by a column to which members can drag and drop tasks.

Your team can quickly create a Kanban board that matches their workflow and meets the needs of their unique processes. The Kanban methodology is excellent for providing full transparency of work completed in a team. Your team will never end up buried under tasks again because you’ll gain full control over the amount of work performed in a given period.

Moreover, a Kanban board will also serve as the single source of truth for the teams, as well as stakeholders who will only need a quick look to gain an understanding of the project’s progress.

Adopt the Scrum principles

Another agile methodology organizations can consider is Scrum. Scrum is one of the most popular frameworks for implementing agile. In fact, many people confuse agile and Scrum.

Scrum is a perfect method for ensuring that a team delivers work in short iterations. With Scrum, product development becomes a series of fixed-length iterations that are called sprints. They give teams a framework to work with for shipping particular product on a regular basis.

At the end of each sprint come milestones. And since they occur frequently, they also bring teams a lot of satisfaction from delivering a product and being part of the tangible process where each cycle is exceptionally productive. Short iterations work great for teams because they also allow fast feedback from stages that are problematic in traditional project management or the local waterfall approach.

These 4 elements are an essential part of every Scrum sprint:

  • Sprint planning –  that’s when the team determines which tasks will be completed in the next sprint.
  • Daily stand-up – this is a daily meeting that lasts 10-15 minutes and is meant for rapid team synchronization.
  • Sprint demo – that’s when teams show the work they delivered during the Sprint.
  • Retrospective – this is a review of the completed work that aims to see what worked and what didn’t work well, with actionable tips to make this next Sprints more productive.

Here are short descriptions of the critical role and responsibilities in a Scrum team:

Product owner

Product owners focus on getting across the business and market requirements and prioritizing the work to be developed in a team. They manage the product backlog and closely collaborate with business and other teams to make sure that everyone understands the backlog. Product owners also offer the team guidance in feature prioritization and decide when to ship the product.

But they’re not project managers – they don’t manage the status of the project but ensure that development teams or other teams deliver top value to the business.

It’s essential that teams have only one product owner. Teams that receive guidance for multiple people always suffer from productivity problems.

Scrum master

The Scrum master is responsible for coaching the team and the product owner about the Scrum process, and focus on fine-tuning their practice. The Scrum master understands the work delivered by the team and does everything to optimize the delivery flow.

The Scrum master schedules required resources for sprint planning, organizes standup meetings, and sprints reviews. He or she is also responsible for getting insights from sprint retrospectives. Their job is also dealing with distractions and resolving impediments to the development process. The Scrum master is not a project manager. In fact, project managers aren’t part of the Scrum methodology at all.

Scrum team

Finally, there is the Scrum team. A Scrum team contains 5 to 7 team members and is tight-knit to allow excellent collaboration. Scrum teams ideally include team members who have different skill sets which helps cross-training one another. That way, no individual team member will become a bottleneck in the delivery of work. All in all, the Scrum team works collaboratively to ensure successful sprint completion.

Would you like to learn more about balancing the agile methodology with the help of tools like Jira Software?

Reach out to me at; I help organizations take advantage of innovative technologies for supporting their processes and delivering optimal performance.

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