JIRA Portfolio Review

Good documentation, good visualization of tickets, and relatively stable


What is most valuable?

With JIRA Portfolio, you can do your portfolio after projects and right away you are able to see all the tickets of your portfolio. You can change the project which belongs in the portfolio at any moment and you can do any simulation you want. You can have many scenarios, and, when we agree with the scenario, we can push the scenario inside to JIRA.

The documentation is very well done.

What needs improvement?

Today, when we want to prepare PI planning, we have a dedicated plugin, which allows us to print a ticket. We have beautiful tickets which is an advantage. We can print tickets and put them right on the wall. It's better for PI planning due to the fact that you can read information, and it's always written in the same way.

On each ticket, you can see priority, version, et cetera, always written in the same way. If you write it directly, however, it's not always readable. JIRA Portfolio can help you during PI planning because you can write your dependencies directly. 

However, it would be better if you didn't have this manual part of the process. If we don't have to print a ticket and to put a ticket on the wall, it would be easier. It's very difficult, for example, for sizeable companies to find large rooms to do PI planning.

With coronavirus, we have to work from home. PI planning needs to be re-imagined. It needs to be virtual, not physical. It would be better if it was more like Klaxon, where your ticket is pushed to a blackboard.

JIRA is very poor at reporting.

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution since the beginning of this year. It's been just over six months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We introduced JIRA in 2018 and since then we haven't had any issues with stability. In my opinion, two years isn't a sufficient amount of time to really gauge stability, however, that said, it's never given us trouble.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have about 2,000 people in the company using the solution.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have reached out to technical support in the past, however, we prefer to use Google or search the forum. In fact, if you send a request to Atlassian, it's like throwing a bottle into the sea and waiting on a response. If I send a ticket directly to the expanded portal, I have a response 24 hours later, and if I send a ticket to Atlassian on JIRA Core, I'll get a response maybe one month later. It's easier, therefore, to search for a solution yourself than to expect a response from Atlassian.

How was the initial setup?

In order to set up the solution properly, you need proper training first.

We have created a system inside our company. I do a sort-of training for JIRA Portfolio. I have coached about 1,000 people. I would estimate that you need two hours of training for a JIRA team member and two additional hours for a JIRA administrator, or a project administrator, and about two additional hours on top of that for JIRA Portfolio. If we set up, it takes one day. And of course, after setup, users will have to practice on the system to get used to it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We compared five different products last year, including JIRA Portfolio, BigPicture (which is another plugin available on the Atlassian marketplace), JIRA Align, and a Micro Focus Solution. We also looked at Planview, which we already use to forecast for budgeting purposes.

We chose JIRA Portfolio for two reasons: firstly, due to the fact that it was connected directly with to JIRA, so we have a direct synchronization between BigPicture and Jira Portfolio, and secondly because you don't have to really plan anything to make it happen.

The difference between JIRA Align and JIRA Portfolio is that JIRA Align is for a large company, for example, a multinational and when you want to aggregate several JIRA instances. As we have only one Jira instance, it's more accurate for us to take on something like JIRA Portfolio.

What other advice do I have?

In general, we are on a server configuration and not a cloud solution. That means, each year we have that specific version until we update it. I suppose since we have installed the JIRA Portfolio in January, it's the last version. However, I'm not sure.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten overall.

If the solution would work for others depends on the size of their company. 

If we had to do the implementation again, we should have bought JIRA Portfolio at the same time as JIRA Core. I think we did a mistake by introducing JIRA Portfolio without it. When you buy JIRA Core, you have only three levels of subtask stories and epic in JIRA, and it's difficult for us to have only three different levels. With JIRA Portfolio, you can have as many additional levels as you want. We adopted a scaled agile model with squads and tribes. We need to implement a safe model instead.

We've since introduced, as a pilot, two additional levels as we believe it's better to have all level you need at the beginning of your project.

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