Scaling Agile with JIRA Plugins: the 1968 Alfa Romeo Solution to Scale

Posted by Steve Elliott on Jan 31, 2018 4:55:46 PM

It’s like that time you saw that gorgeous 1968 Alfa Romeo Giulietta for sale on Craigslist – truly a thing of beauty, with all the bells and whistles one could want. It even has a brand-new paint job, new aftermarket headlights, and a cool new stereo. The owner is selling it for dirt cheap, and insists it’s ready to go, . It’s like the mythical Craig of Craigslist crawled right in your head, figured out your dream car and plopped it right into your search results. Excitedly, you mention it to your favorite uncle, who happens to be a very smart, old school auto mechanic.

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With a raised eyebrow, he says he’d like to join you to check out the car. Being your favorite uncle, you bring him along and when you arrive to check out the car, SO excited for your find - he completely destroys your world.  Rubbing his chin, he circles the car, pointing things out as you become increasingly disappointed. The aftermarket headlights don’t quite attach correctly and there’s some questionable wiring involved. The brand-new stereo appears to be manufactured in a remote corner of Russia with an indecipherable manual. And everything under the hood, he points out, is unique – there aren’t a lot of parts available that are made specifically for it anymore.

It’s a great car at its foundation, and will get you from point A to point B, your uncle continues, but all the junk the seller bolted onto it will make trips in this car require a lot of work. You’ll have to stop periodically to fiddle with the wiring between the headlights and stereo to get them to work at the same time. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time with Google translate to figure out how to even work the stereo. Set aside a ton of time finding mechanics who can find parts for it and work on it. Sure, it’s a good price and it seems like a bargain, but the maintenance effort and cost is going to skyrocket over time. Eventually, you’ll just stop using it.

At the end of the day, after much disappointment your smart uncle lets you know that in 2011, Alfa Romeo re-issued the Giulietta with new, sleek modern design. No weird headlights, a factory issued stereo, and lovely rims that always look new. The best part? A regular, pre-paid maintenance plan is available, and a dealership nearby that will do all the work. Now that’s the Alfa you want – thank goodness for smart uncles!

I’m here today to act as your AgileCraft-issued smart uncle and instead of advising you on a car purchase, I’m going to intervene before you do something crazy with your JIRA team instance. Like the ’68 Alfa, JIRA is a wildly popular product and a solid solution for teams. It’s well designed, and gets you where you need to go happily. However, it’s when owners start getting crazy with customizing it that things start to get messy, complicated and go downhill fast.

When it’s time to scale your Agile JIRA teams, the Atlassian plugin marketplace has a broad variety of plugins that satisfy a variety of capabilities your team will need in this transformation. Taking this route, you’d likely look for things such as portfolio management, time tracking, planning, backlog grooming, reporting, and financial analysis. Most of them are pretty cheap, too, so it seems like a simple idea to decide what functionality you need, then find a set of plugins to match, easily purchase them on the marketplace, hook them all in and poof, you’ve just created a perfect scaled ALM solution for your JIRA team. Or so you think… (insert smart uncle raised eyebrow here).

But, much like the ’68 Alfa Romeo in our story, bolting on a bunch of unrelated bits and pieces to your JIRA team instance creates a number of risky, time consuming and costly problems. The plugin route seems like an easy and fast option, but you’ll quickly discover significant risks in four areas:

  • Dealing with multiple vendors/licenses/support teams
  • Complicated configuration, management, and integration testing
  • Discovering hidden costs of ownership for resources, testing, and training
  • Performance issues as you scale up your data

And exactly like the brand new Giulietta in the story, AgileCraft eliminates all of that complexity with a single solution specifically designed for scaling JIRA teams to enterprise agile. AgileCraft and JIRA just work great together.

Simple Visibility into Complex Data

Stay aligned with complete, accurate, up-to-date visibility into your JIRA teams’ data for everyone from Scrum Master to Product Manager to Program/Portfolio Manager to CIO.

Real-time Reporting

Benefit from automated reporting and metrics at Release, Program, Portfolio, and Solution levels and bring real-time visibility to Jira team data. Increase your teams’ predictability and measurability with confidence and ease.

One Dedicated Vendor

Spend your time on projects instead of configuring plugins, tracking licenses and chasing support issues with different vendors.

Seamlessly Connect Projects

Features such as dependency management and the hierarchical work tree are designed specifically to support enterprise scale above Jira teams with multiple interconnecting projects. Terminology mapping increases transparency and clarity across the organization.

Interested in a test drive? We’d love for you to check out AgileCraft as a way to provide top to bottom visibility for your Jira teams. Visit our website and sign up for a demo today! Tell them that your smart uncle sent you.

Topics: Scaled Agile, Agile Metrics & Measurement, capacity planning, Enterprise Scaled Agile, Digital transformation, Agile, atlassian, ROI, JIRA