Jira is a phenomenally powerful work tracking platform. Jira Align builds on this by connecting local technical execution to the broader business strategy, empowering teams across the organization from top to bottom, and scaling to the enterprise level.
This means you can connect the workflows of teams across your organization and go from micro to macro in an instant.
This guide provides an overview of what Jira Align is for, how to use it, and how it can benefit your business. Let us begin!
What will be covered in this blog post:
- Introduction to Jira Align
- What is Jira Align for?
- How does Jira Align work?
- Who can benefit from Jira Align?
- use cases
Introduction to Jira Align
Jira Align is a cloud-based, browser-based solution that aims to connect team workflows in real time with the business strategy overview. The product was previously known as AgileCraft and was acquired by Atlassian in 2019.
Administrators can integrate one or more Jira instances (cloud, server, and data center) with Jira Align to start synchronizing work. Agile provides top-down visualization and planning tools to keep track of activities. This means that each team can be aligned with the broader strategy and investments can be tied directly to the customer value they create by measuring spend against performance. All of this promotes clarity and accelerates business results.
Therefore, the platform enables business leaders to foster agility at scale, breaking down silos and connecting teams, with real-time visibility into the status of projects across the organization.
What is Jira Align for?
Jira Align serves as a common platform that brings together management tools at the portfolio and team level, providing greater visibility, alignment, and traceability for the organization as a whole. This can drive collaboration and business transformation across the organization, ensuring that work and planning are aligned and linked to the overall strategy. And of course, what can be tracked and measured can be improved.
By putting projects and tasks in context and connecting them to larger strategies, managers can ensure that teams are coordinated and resources are allocated appropriately.
How does Jira Align work?
Jira Align features are divided into several layers that deal with organizing different levels of scale. Therefore, the platform offers tailor-made toolsets for teams, managers, and executives at every step.
From any view, these different layers, each with their own configurable panels, can be accessed from the left sidebar:
- Look for
Furthermore, the building blocks of any project—people, tasks, and time—are built as their own hierarchies, spanning the entire organization, and accessible from all levels.
You can also tailor all of Jira Align's terminology to fit your organization's needs, aligning the platform with your company's standards and not the other way around.
Users can also access search from the settings bar at the top of the page, so they can jump right to what they need. You can use context filtering to answer questions like: For example, determine the status of an initiative or confirm what's planned for the next quarter.
You can also filter your search options by selecting a portfolio or one or more programs; or one or more teams. You can also search within specific time periods to find exactly what you're looking for.
At the enterprise level, Jira Align allows you to create and record your organization's top-level strategy. There are fields where you can define the organization's mission, vision, and value and where executives can track execution against results and snapshot progress.
With Jira's in-system task tracking, you can track work progress against your goals and strategic plans as they're executed, with executive reports updated in near real-time.
A particularly powerful tool, the OKR Heatmap provides an easy-to-read visual overview of progress against goals and objectives. Below is the OKR Tree, which illustrates how goals and results break down at various levels, from strategic to portfolio to program to team.
The executive toolkit also includes a strategic backlog that can be used to create, modify, and prioritize strategic items. This center allows you to align objectives with investment themes. This maintains the connection between the tasks and the overall strategic objectives to which they contribute.
With defined goals and themes, product and portfolio managers can evaluate and define work items that contribute to the overall strategy. Atlassian refers to these larger work items on the platform as Portfolio Epics, which last for the medium to long term and can hold tens or hundreds of tasks.
At the team level, individuals can set up and prioritize Jira tasks for their current and future projects from within Jira Align: schedule work, prioritize resources, and manage backlog. The platform's two-way integration with Jira means the two platforms are always up to date and in sync without users having to resort to files or saved views.
In this way, planning can be centralized and carried out without changing tools.
Additionally, changes are automatically updated to the project roadmap as managers develop and refine the backlog, which can be adjusted to meet required requirements.
Roadmaps define how work items align and interconnect within a specific project increment and provide an overview of the program increment. This plan can be modified and adapted to the requirements of the project.
This includes tasks from the planning phase to performance tracking, while reporting is provided from start to finish. Roadmaps can be viewed by month or quarter, or with a sprint by quarter or sprint by program increment view. Alternatively, it can be viewed at hierarchy levels, including topics, epics, and resources, as well as a nested view of those steps.
By undocking the instance, the roadmap can also be used for scenario planning. You can then make changes to the roadmap with full control and without editing the live version.
The Quarterly Highlights feature complements the roadmap with an overview of the work being completed in a specific program step. This report outlines the goals and work to be delivered for the increment.
The launch event, in turn, provides users of the launch vehicle with details of the stories and tasks associated with it.
Another invaluable tool is the Digital Program Board: a dynamic board of work in progress at the execution stage. This allows the team to come together to plan sprints and address objectives and targets, as well as gain an overview of the integrity of the program increment. This makes it easy to allocate resources and identify problems and blockages before they become problems.
It also simplifies coordination between teams when working at scale. Changes in project goals, priorities, and scope are visible across all groups, so it's quickly clear when projects are getting out of hand. It also provides insight into dependencies in the middle of the broader scale of strategic execution, and the graph can help illustrate if there are, for example, uncommitted dependencies that are becoming deadlocks.
Jira Align also includes a value engineering form. This allows you to build a value hypothesis by answering a series of questions that tell you the answer. This includes:
A hypothesis that identifies the intended value and customer experience.
A bet, testing the hypothesis with experiments and recording results and conclusions.
The decision to go or go is based on what adds value and whether to invest more, with information on estimated and actual costs.
The Value Engineering report helps to evaluate programs and tasks. This allows managers to break down work with charts like Estimate vs. Actual and Effort vs. Value. All of this can help to validate proposals and initiatives quickly and determine success or failure early on.
Jira Align also provides dependency maps, which document clear, agreed commitments and ensure work is delivered on time. These are extremely useful for highlighting bottlenecks and potential obstacles in the way of progress.
Jira Align allows you to create dependencies between teams, programs, and external entities. The layout of the dependency maps, which teams have requested a specific dependency and which teams depend on it and their current status.
The wheel map illustrates the dependencies in real time. Dependencies start out as red connectors, and when there is an agreement, they turn blue. When you click an item on the wheel, you can see all the input and output dependencies in each case, so you can quickly understand the big picture.
Meanwhile, the grid view of the dependency matrix can highlight issues that may affect further work, such as: B. Numerous dependencies targeting a specific team, which can lead to issues moving downstream.
Who can benefit from Jira Align?
Jira Align was built from the ground up to drive alignment across the company. The platform helps provide organizational transparency and connects on-site technical execution to overall business strategy. With this in mind, it can be extremely useful at almost every level of the organization.
Linking strategy and execution directly, with powerful tools like the OKR Heatmap and Strategic Backlog, ensures leaders have firm control over where value is being driven within the organization. Furthermore, it means that there is full transparency on how the overall vision of the organization is actually being implemented.
With the Jira Align toolset, executives can quickly identify projects that are over budget, deviating from strategic objectives, or failing to deliver customer value. This provides the opportunity to reallocate and reorganize investments to ensure the business is positioned for success.
For portfolio managers
Jira Align's ability to demonstrate the value of programs, using tools like the platform's value engineering system, is a great asset to portfolio managers when it comes to justifying budgets and communicating performance to investors and analysts and their teams.
The digital schedule board makes it easy to track large tasks and budgets as projects are implemented and work is delivered. Similarly, Jira Align's rich dependency graphs make it easy to spot problems and roadblocks before they become roadblocks. All this makes Jira Align a key factor in the management of strategic initiatives.
For trained engineers and program managers
By connecting sprints to the organization's overall strategy, Jira Align plays an important role for engineering teams working toward that vision. With the platform's tools, such as the project roadmap and various dependency maps, managers can ensure that resources are allocated correctly and programs are executed as planned, on time and within budget.
At the same time, engineers are clearly shown the contribution of their work and the logic of the overall strategy.
The availability of real-time information ensures that managers can track progress, prioritize backlog, and configure new issues. And as part of the big picture, all of this can empower teams to drive digital transformation at scale across the enterprise.
Jira Align does exactly what the name suggests: align teams across the organization and connect work to business OKRs and the broader corporate strategy.
The platform's powerful tools, from the Strategy Pyramid to the Digital Program Board to the Dependency Wheel Map, make it quick and easy to understand what's happening across the organization, quantify performance, and flag problems before they happen. that they become problems.
The benefits that Jira Align offers span from the top of the company to the top, giving teams insight into how their work fits into the bigger picture and giving executives visibility into how projects are progressing and how strategies are actually progressing. They are delivering results. For organizations using Jira at scale, it's an invaluable addition.
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