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.
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.”
“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.”
Brittany Jonaitis, Senior Business Technology Leader