Jira Align Review

Useful for earned value calculations, tracking tasks, and posting a schedule so that engineers can update their tasks

What is our primary use case?

We have a semi-detailed project plan, and our software groups break down design feature X into sub-tasks in Jira and assign estimates, resources, and due dates. Then they manage a sort of agile sprint. They'll look at task items within the next two weeks, and they track that at the beginning of that two-week sprint. At the end of the two-week sprint, they again see where they ended up. We have had people using it to do essentially earned value calculations. They look at what percentage of work has been completed by estimating the total work for a task or set of tasks, and then they track hours spent against those tasks and percentage complete. 

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is that engineers can access the Jira database and just search for the tasks that are assigned to them. They can then update the status on their own in those records that are assigned to them. 

What needs improvement?

There is no linkage between the Jira records and the overarching schedule. We maintain the overarching schedule in Microsoft Project, and there is no linkage back and forth with the Jira tasks. They are independent of each other.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I have not heard anybody complaining about it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I suspect it is scalable. We have had semi-large software projects managed through it.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We can also use Microsoft Project. However, we generally can't post a Microsoft Project schedule and have each individual engineer go in and update their own tasks or even look at it. In fact, most of the engineers don't even have Microsoft Project as a tool on their PCs. So, they rely on the project manager to post a PDF version of the schedule, and essentially, we end up having to have a meeting every week to say, "Okay, you guys were working on these things, and they were due this week. Did you get them done or not?"

What other advice do I have?

It is not a project management solution in itself. I would call it an adjunct tool to something like Microsoft Project. In Jira, I don't see a way to show project or task dependencies or even a high-level schedule layout. It is more for the individual tasks that are going to be done in the next two-week period, but the big picture of why you have to do those things in that two-week period is kind of missing.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten. It is not perfect, but I also don't see any big problems with how we're using it.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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