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How Jira Solutions Can Help Teams Facilitate Scrum or Kanban Frameworks

By Elizabeth Clor

When it comes to implementing agile methodologies, software or product development teams most commonly choose one of two frameworks: Scrum or Kanban. Scrum is far and away the most-used approach for implementing agile according to the 2020 State of Agile Report: about three-quarters of respondents surveyed said they use Scrum or a hybrid of Scrum and another method (like Kanban). 

With Scrum, teams work to ship viable software or products in set intervals (also known as sprints). The goal of these sprints is to create learning loops to quickly gather and integrate customer feedback. Kanban is also designed to support agile workflows, but is more about helping a team visualize their work in order to limit their tasks in progress and maximize their efficiency—with a focus on reducing the time it takes to carry a project from start to finish.

To begin using and benefitting from agile workflows and approaches, some teams will need a set of software solutions to support and maintain them. Because of the popularity of Scrum and Kanban, Atlassian has optimized some of its Jira solutions (like Trello, Jira Align and Jira Software) to help developers and product managers implement either. With Trello, for example, teams can create the workflows necessary to maintain Scrum or Kanban approaches. With Jira Align, they can build on those processes to make them more efficient or well-aligned with overarching business goals. 

Using Trello to Create Digital Kanban Boards 

Through Kanban, teams can reduce the time it takes to complete a project. Typically, they do this using a Kanban board which tracks five project elements: visual signals, columns, work-in-progress limits, a commitment point and a delivery point. While some teams still create physical Kanban boards—drawn out on a white board or using paper and pen—other industries (like software or engineering teams) find that manually creating a Kanban is far less efficient or even impossible in today’s remote world. Teams need another, more digital option: They need a solution like Atlassian’s Trello. 

With Trello, teams can create a digital board that can be used remotely and asynchronously. Setting up a Kanban board with Trello only requires a few clicks to create digital lists. These lists represent the stages of a team’s Kanban process, and place them on a shared board view so that the whole team can access and manage different parts of the process. For example, a team can create lists for “Backlog,” “Up Next,” “In Progress,” and “Done” and organize each task as a card that can be moved to different lists as they are worked on or completed. 

Trello’s real value-add is derived from the fact that it allows Kanban users to visualize their workflows. By making it easier for teams to view their ongoing projects and the status of the individual tasks within them, Trello can improve transparency across a team. And with it’s Work in Progress (WIP) feature, the solution can also help prevent costly delays or overloaded teams: WIP establishes limits in a team’s Kanban board so that projects can’t pile up and team members can’t start working on new tasks until older ones are completed. 

Maintain Project Efficiency Within Kanban Using Jira Align

By integrating Jira Align with a Trello-based Kanban board, project managers and software development teams can better prevent demand overload. Teams can simply integrate Atlassian’s Jira Align into their digital Kanban boards, and the solution will help those teams manage how much work is being taken on.   

Jira Align can also help teams be more efficient in their delivery processes. For example, at the start of any project, teams generally evaluate and prove the hypothesis associated with a certain project before bringing in additional resources or team members. Jira Align adds this self-reflection and planning step into a project cycle, making sure that a team unanimously decides on whether or not they should commit to a certain project. 

Jira Align can be used to set up other guardrails as well, like budgetary constraints and tracking tools that make sure that a project stays fiscally responsible. This feature allows business owners and other stakeholders to monitor their investments and also ensures that a project’s immediate and long-term priorities receive appropriate funding allocation. Through visualizations and dashboards, Jira Align helps users take advantage of all of the benefits that Kanban has to offer, like better transparency into project statuses and faster turnaround times.  

Create Digital Scrum Boards With Jira Software

Within a Scrum framework, team members commit to a specific accomplishment during a designated time period, are open about whether it’s working or not, and discuss and solve issues that might impede their progress. And similar to Kanban, teams can begin following Scrum frameworks with a digital tool like Atlassian’s Jira Software. 

Jira Software offers pre-built Scrum templates from which teams can design their own Scrum workflows, including everything from sprints to burndown charts. From the Jira Software template, users can create and name a project sprint, decide its duration and start or end dates. These should align with the project’s overall schedule, and can be viewed in the Active sprints tab of a project’s page. 

Jira Software also allows teams to create and view a burndown chart for different projects. These charts show the actual and estimated amount of work to be done in a sprint by comparing the timeline of a project with the different tasks within it. Teams can use a burndown chart to track the total work remaining for a spring and the likelihood of achieving their sprint’s goal. This allows teams to manage a project’s progress and make changes accordingly if its timeline or tasks changes. 

Using Jira Align to Scale Scrum Workflows

Once companies have successfully implemented Scrum frameworks at a team level, they may want to begin integrating these processes into their entire organization. The goal of this process, called Scrum@Scale, is to align growing companies around a common and shared set of goals. 

Jira Align has the tools and capabilities necessary to create an organization-wide Scrum process. For instance, Jira Align can help set up dependency management systems that reduce delays across projects by enforcing the flow of work, making sure that certain tasks are completed before others. In effect, this helps foster more coordination across teams. Companies can use Jira Align to create roadmaps that help teams communicate and share a vision for team-specific or company-wide different projects that will be built and released over time. Jira Align’s forecasting tool works in similar ways, allowing teams to search for and allocate different sprints, features or capabilities from across teams to help them complete a specific release. 

Whether a company chooses Kanban or Scrum methodologies, Atlassian’s Jira solutions are designed to help them easily integrate and then achieve organizational agility through these solutions. And with an Atlassian Premium Partner like Contegix, companies can get the support they need to successfully integrate these tools into their organizations. Contegix provides the additional resources and expertise necessary to help companies make the most of these highly customizable and multi-faceted tools. 

Learn more about how Contegix can help your organization integrate Scrum or Kanban methodologies via Atlassian’s tools.