Gaining the Big Picture View of Agile & Traditional Work in Meisterplan for Jira

Agile Project Portfolio

The Challenges

Over the past five years, the teams Brittany Jonaitis, a Senior Business Technology leader, has worked with have primarily used Jira for Agile project portfolios and task management. Brittany said that one of her biggest challenges was that the company still has the mindset of waterfall planning for the year, and yet everyone wants to be Agile and responsive to the customer. She found that those two mindsets didn’t line up. Their company would start the year with a plan of which major projects were the most important that they wanted to accomplish that year. However, within a few weeks of the start of the calendar year, a customer would have a new feature request or a unique application of the product. Because the company is a customer-centric organization, they, of course want to accommodate the customer. That would lead to committing to multiple new projects that hadn’t been a part of the original agile project portfolio. The problem with that was that no one stopped to ask how that changes the original plan, and whether it was truly feasible to accomplish the original plan while also committing to these new customer-influenced projects.

“Everyone wants to be Agile, but they also want to know what they‘re going to get done in the year. And there‘s definitely a conflict between being able to accomplish both.”

It was also challenging to bring the two worlds of Agile and traditional together. Brittany said, “Especially with Agile and Jira having their own terminology, it was difficult for the executive team to understand what was going on with the teams who work Agile. They are used to traditional Gantt charts with waterfall planning structures, but with the Agile teams plan using backlogs instead.”

Meisterplan for Jira: Bringing Agile Into Our Portfolio

With the Meisterplan for Jira integration, Brittany said it was much easier to integrate scrum-based projects that had Timeboxed sprints into the overall portfolio. They had many technology projects that they managed in Jira, but not all projects across the enterprise were being managed in Jira. Different teams used a number of different project management tools and methods. By bringing all of this data into Meisterplan, they gained visibility into all of the work happening in the organization. She said, “We would have many non-technical line items around marketing or HR such as rolling out employee performance programs; things that didn‘t necessarily need to run through a Jira project per se. With Meisterplan for Jira, you could combine that more traditional work with the scrum projects in Jira.” This gave them a better understanding about the true capacity of their employees. “For instance, if the company was having the managers roll out performance evaluations over the over the next six months, that meant our managers were going to have less time to do work on other kinds of projects. Having that visibility allowed us to do a better job accounting for that time and realizing how that would affect project work.”

Agile Project Portfolio

With Meisterplan for Jira, the executives of the company got an overview of all work being done, both traditional and Agile. In particular, the “estimated completion” feature in Meisterplan for Jira gave the organization insight into when Agile work would be completed without forcing them to interpret or learn each other’s languages and terminology. This enabled them to plan a realistic roadmap and agile project portfolio for the year, and when a new customer request comes in, they know whether or not they can commit to that work without affecting the other projects they are already committed to. Brittany said, “It helps us commit to the right work and deliver more projects across the entire organization.”

Brittany Jonaitis, Senior Business Technology Leader

Meisterplan customer Brittany Leigh Jonaitis
Brittany Jonaitis is a Senior Business Technology leader with demonstrated experience in formulating and delivering complex transformation initiatives for the travel and real estate data sectors. She specializes in managing technical programs and technical product management.

In her own words: “My specialty lies in the ability to observe, ask questions and unpack solutions. I understand what the business needs and I understand how to break that down into small and actionable tasks for a developer to take and execute. Technical problems can become very complex, and I love creating the efficiencies and reducing the rework and organizing things into buckets that allow logic to drive the velocity of something.”