Jira Review

Great story maps, an excellent overview of team performance, and very scalable

What is our primary use case?

I have been the product manager for several years. I use it day in and day out to manage my team. I manage two teams at the moment and they are pretty large teams. Each has a minimum of about 12 people. We use not just agile, we use a scale model framework. All the work is managed through two pieces of software we use. One is called Jira Align. For the portfolio level software, what Jira bought recently, the previous name for the software was AgileCraft. All of the portfolios and features come loaded in Jira Align. From there, they will be composed into stories in Jira. That process is done using programming preventative planning. We do it every three months.

All of the stories are tracked. We have a workflow defined and we have statuses defined. As the team works on the story, the story moves from one status to another and we close them when everything gets carried over to the production release.

What is most valuable?

The workflow is the most valuable aspect of the solution for us.

The user story map is excellent. The features can be composed into stories and they can be allocated to each of the sprints in a program increment. It allows you to see all that in the user story map, and you have various dashboards to see the stories in various views. You can see them as a backlog view, for example, or you can see as an actual sprint view. 

There are excellent reports that come out of the data for every sprint so that you can do metrics on each. You can measure how the team is performing with respect to burn down charts, or with respect to how many story points were produced, or how many stories were moved out. For this, you can gauge the performance of the teams very effectively.

What needs improvement?

The solution needs performance improvements. We see that a lot of times it's clocking whenever there's any abuse. 

When we switch from one view to the other, it takes some time before that view is presented. The performance for different dashboards, whenever they are loaded, it takes more time than you're comfortable with. Whenever you move from one dashboard view to another dashboard view, then it should come up quickly. Right now it takes a long time and sometimes it clocks. The overall product performance, whenever you switch a view is what they need to work on.

Whenever you edit a story, whatever you have changed takes a bit of time to save.

The integration between Jira and Jira Align needs to be better. There's a lot of differences between the two systems. I believe what happened was Jira bought this software from a different company called AgileCraft. And that integration is still in process, and, because of that, there's a lot of differences between the statuses. That sometimes creates a lot of confusion for senior management whenever they're reviewing performance across teams. Better integration between Jira and Jira Align is on the top of my "most desired upgrades" list.

The solution should improve performance when there are multiple users. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I've been using the solution for about seven years now.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Whenever you load different views, it takes time. That's the only major issue. I didn't see any major glitches due to the fact that Atlassian is really good at catching them. The stability of this product is really great. I've been using it for, as I said for six, seven years now. I'm never unhappy with it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Our entire company, whenever there's a new division that goes into the agile mode of developing software, brings on Jira. 

It's really scalable, however, at the same time, you need to really throw hardware at it to offer better response times when you add users. That goes without saying for most of the software.

We currently have 2,000 users on the solution. We plan to continue to increase usage in the future.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have an internal tech support team for Jira. We contact them whenever we run into issues. We have a platform for IT tickets. We use that to call them. I haven't directly called Jira Atlassian at any point, so I can't speak about their direct technical support.

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

I have used other packages for agile project management.

How was the initial setup?

I wasn't involved in the initial setup, however, we have a Jira administrator and they have a group, and that handles it. I implemented Jira for my teams. I added users to roles on the system. Roles such as developer, administrator, approval, managers, etc. That is all done by myself. In terms of that task, and setting up a project, it's fairly easy.

Implementation is a multi-year process. Right now, the whole company is on Jira. Whenever there's a new group, it gets added, and a new team is created. It's always a work in progress and it's not very time-consuming. 

I would say the training of people on how to use Jira effectively takes some time. It's very intuitive, however, at the same time, a little training goes a long way in utilizing the software in a much better manner.

What other advice do I have?

We are using the latest version of the solution.

It's a great piece of software. If you really want to do agile software project management Jira is definitely should be a top choice for you.

I'd rate the solution eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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