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How to answer "What's the status?" in Jira

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“What’s the status?”, it’s the mother-of-all questions that may seem innocuous.

But if you’re responsible for answering for a software project you know it’s complicated and answering can often be a tedious chore that always takes longer than you want it to. Even with all the tools that software teams use, and, sometimes because of them, pulling all the data together and contextualizing it is a big challenge.

A thorough answer requires breaking overall status down into more detailed questions that provide the top-to-bottom insights you need to help manage delivery and keep yourself and stakeholders informed. There are many ways to do this, but we’ll break these questions down into 2 primary themes:

  • Project Delivery: This focuses on the elements of the delivery of the business objective. It’s the scope and any time-based goals.
  • Delivery Process & Execution: This focuses on the process and execution of the process under which the project is delivered.

Project Delivery
  • Will the project be done by our target date?
    • If not, when?
  • What features will be included?
    • What features are at risk of not being included?
    • Are the top priority items going to be done?
  • What are the risks?
  • Are teams working on what we expect them to?
    • If not, what else are they working on instead?
  • What awesome things have gotten accomplished recently?

🔥Hot Tip: Sometimes reports focus a bit too much on risks and what's gone wrong. Status reports should also be sure to celebrate wins and call out achievements by team members.🔥

Delivery Process & Execution
  • Are we planning sprints in advance?
  • What % of the backlog is not estimated?
  • How many sprints can we run with our currently groomed backlog?
  • Are we starting and stopping our sprints according to plan?
  • What % of our sprints run long?
  • Are teams that are working together aligning their sprints?
  • Are our process improvement initiatives working?
  • What % of our commitments are we completing?
  • What % of the project’s backlog are bugs vs. stories?
  • What % of a team’s sprint backlog are bugs vs. stories?

Answering all these questions used to involve jumping between all the boards for teams involved in the project. Moving between the backlogs, Sprint Reports, Epic Burndown Reports, and compiling information into Excel for aggregation. Once you’ve done all that, you’ve likely got to massage it into Charts or PowerPoint to get it into a format that brings it together and works for Executive stakeholders (and sometimes the data can go stale 5 minutes after you’ve collected it!).

With our Delivery Tracking & Reporting for Jira, we automate way all the toil of the above method and give you information that's always up-to-update. Let’s see how…

Project Planning

Planning a Project is now just as easy and intuitive as planning a sprint. But rather than planning issues into a Sprint, you are planning Epics into a Deliverable.

In simple terms, a Deliverable in Hakkiri is a container for Epics. The system comes with a single Deliverable Type named “Release” defaulted. We also let you create your own Deliverable Types and name them however you want. To use them, simply click the “Add Release” button to create a new Deliverable. Just give it a name and optionally set target start and completion dates to manage a schedule or roadmap.

Adding Epics is easy as our Epic search panel lets you find Epics by key, name, label, or fixVersion so you can simply drag Epics into a Deliverable. Drop them in the top-to-bottom order you want to set the priority or drag them inside the list to reprioritize.

Plan a Deliverable

🔥Hot Tip: When it comes to tracking projects, Epics are generally the best “fundamental unit of visibility”. Executive stakeholders generally shouldn’t be concerned at the issue-level (except for maybe a specifically important issue).🔥

From that point forward the app will be automatically tracking all activity on issues associated with the Epics linked to the Delivery to roll up the progress, track velocity, track alignment, forecast predictions, and create alerts if your target date is at risk (no more last-minute surprises). Now let's look at how Tracking Delivery puts answers at your fingertips.

Tracking Delivery

Our Track workspace is your real-time (i.e., always up to date) window into progress and metrics. All those Project Delivery questions (and more!) can be answered here.

  1. Our status summary answers questions on overall progress, scope change, and the estimated completion date.
  2. The "Tree" view of delivery shows progress against the priority order you set. Also view the velocity against each Epic itself and its estimated completion date. Because we know that most teams work on several things at once we forecast our completion dates based on the velocity of the work against each Epic and Deliverable. We use this versus pure Team velocity because it more accurately reflects how teams work.
  3. Click on each Epic to view its cumulative flow and the team's alignment to the Epic (how much they are currently working on it).
  4. View the Unaligned Active Epics to see where else outside the Deliverable the team is working (again, since most teams are usually working on more than 1 thing)

Track Project Delivery

Additionally, you can also view the Deliverable as a Timeline (aka Gantt chart) or as a Cumulative Flow. And when it's time to create your status report you can simply click the "Download" button to get a PowerPoint export (with native PowerPoint objects) so that you can quickly get your status report completed. We can't write the whole thing for you, because we know you'll want to add color commentary, but we'll get you 80% of the way there.

If your teams do any type of group or cross-team meetings you'll find this view will be a huge time saver that quickly gets everyone aligned and up-to-date (and then back to work on building cool things). 

And each of those teams will be busy build away using their team-level processes. Finally, let's look at how our Analyze workspace helps you answer questions about how teams are doing.

Tracking Execution & Process

The more teams you've got the harder it can be to stay on top of all of them. Few teams have the luxury of being as staffed as desired and in today's world of everyone being remote we need tools to help provide visibility and scale. Our Analyze workspace is built to bring analytics on historical and current delivery metrics and to combine it with a view into current activity. Giving you a single view into the past, present, and future.

  • Past: Historical Sprint Backlog breakdowns of bugs vs. stories and Historical Delivery % (completed/committed).
  • Current: Team Backlog breakdowns of bugs vs. stories plus a timeline view of sprints to see progress and alignment at a glance.
  • Future: Execution Runway is the number of sprints that can be planned with the current groomed backlog using average velocity and V0 bugs are the number of sprints it would take to close all bugs if only bugs were worked on.

Use the Analyze workspace to view past, present, and future delivery insights.

  • Delivery Scores: Our delivery scores distill the elements of Process, Planning, Execution, and Quality into a simplified 5-star system so that leaders and agile coaches can quickly spot areas in need of improvement for coaching. Helping your organization to scale and focus on the areas in most need of support.
 
Status in no time, at any time...

Building software is a complex and challenging task. Getting the insights you need to oversee the process and answer questions about status shouldn't be the challenge it currently is. We'd all rather be focusing on solving technical challenges, fixing bugs, clearing out impediments, and building new features than chasing status data around Jira. 

With Delivery Tracking & Reporting for Jira, you'll save time and effort and be able to deliver software with confidence and predictability. Start a free trial today and take your Friday afternoons back!

 

"Delivery Tracking & Reporting for Jira provides the visibility that my teams need in order to execute with confidence. The level of data visualizations available in this tool blow Jira's built-in functionality out of the water, and the ability to combine Epics together as Deliverables is incredibly powerful."

- Caleb Fall, Agile Consultant & Customer

 

 

James Smith

Written by James Smith

James Smith is a co-founder of Hakkiri. With over 20 years in technology he has been instrumental in numerous transformative initiatives as an engineer and executive. As the Senior Managing Director of Engineering at Eze Software Group, James brought 3 legacy organizations, spanning 350+ people at 7 sites around the world, together as a unified team. He guided process modernization and technology adoption to enable the business to move into the cloud. These experiences have given him deep insights into organizational change and how the culture of technology teams can impact results.