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How to Maintain a Successful Agile Development Process with Atlassian Solutions

By Elizabeth Clor

Agile software development has become the preferred development technique among tech leaders today. Unlike traditional methods like waterfall software development, which focuses on creating tight and exact stages, agile takes a more modern, iterative approach—allowing teams to continually revisit, examine and adjust their development techniques to deliver applications that meet business requirements effectively and quickly. 

Agile also proved effective in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As companies were forced to shift their operations and priorities to account for remote work and new customer needs, agile processes provided flexibility and accountability. 

However, despite all of its benefits, agile methodologies can’t be managed extemporaneously—they require regular support. This is especially true for teams without agile experience. If they haven’t used these techniques before, they are more likely to experience project failure. But with Atlassian solutions like Jira Align and Roadmaps in Jira, teams can receive the support and expertise necessary to adapt to these new workflows and manage accompanying challenges, like changes to a project’s scope, deadline, team bandwidth or budget. 

Challenge: Changing Deadlines and Deliverables 

At the start of a new agile software project, development teams need to clearly define a project’s scope and purpose, how it’s going to be built, and its estimated deadline. This final step can be difficult to predict, especially if the scope or project variables change or if teams are working on several projects simultaneously. Companies have to consider their short- and long-term plans—as well as the possibility that a target date could change—and bring them together into a single project. 

Solution: Jira Align 

With Atlassian’s Jira Align solution and its Program Room feature, project managers can input all of the data associated with a project and create a customized dashboard filled with key information, such as objectives, dependencies, and risks. It provides teams with a holistic view of their project and guidance on how to optimally distribute project tasks and deadlines. And if a deadline or deliverable changes, the Program Room will automatically generate an updated dashboard and deliver new process guidance. 

In addition to Align’s Program Room, project managers and teams benefit from its Program Reporting feature—a tool that automatically creates reports to show a project’s progress and health. Using these insights, teams can identify and troubleshoot any workflow impediments that might delay a project. 

Challenge: Fluctuating Resources  

Unexpected changes in team resources is another common barrier to project success. For instance, if employees’ workloads increase but a project manager does not consider their reduced bandwidth in project planning, deadlines or deliverables could suffer. It’s important to consider a team’s availability before launching a new project—but without employee data, this can be hard to do. 

Solution: Advanced Roadmaps

Atlassian’s Advanced Roadmaps solution and its REST API can integrate into any existing infrastructure that stores relevant employee data—like team members’ vacation schedules, current projects, and their skill sets. Managers can use this information to dictate decisions around project roles, or even when transitioning employees to different teams or projects. For instance, if a new project involves building software for an Android smartphone, Advanced Roadmaps will examine employee data for individuals with Android expertise and move them over to that new account. 

Challenge: Managing Budgets Amid Volatility 

When a development team starts building the code and features of a new product or application, they may encounter scope creep. Scope creep occurs when a project grows beyond its original ambition while in progress, and can happen for a number of reasons: market conditions could change and require a different feature set, or user feedback could reveal a preferred use case for a feature. Whatever the cause, scope creep can result in wasted money, time and employee or customer dissatisfaction. 

Solution: Advanced Roadmaps

Atlassian’s Roadmaps solution collects data on a project’s high-level business priorities and goals and all of the metrics, risks and work items associated with it. From there, project managers can go in and use the information to generate data visualizations for different “what-if scenarios.” For instance, they can estimate how a project will be impacted if market changes do occur, or how much additional time and money is required if an additional feature needs to be added. With these data-based findings, business leaders can more effectively communicate with project stakeholders about the potential for scope creep and negotiate contracts that account for these possibilities. 

With Atlassian, Even Inexperienced Companies Can Become Agile 

Agile is clearly popular, with 95% of organizations currently having some form of agile process in place, according to Digital.ai’s 2020 State of Agile Report. However, that same report found that many still struggle with maturing these practices and adopting additional ones. 84% of organizations acknowledged that they lack the competencies necessary to fully implement agile practices. For these companies, Atlassian solutions like Roadmaps and Portfolio for Jira can supplement their efforts and help them successfully launch agile methodologies, whether they’re well-versed in agile or this is their first agile project. 

To learn more about using Atlassian solutions to create agile software development practices, view this blog post.