Everybody loves a roadmap, or at least they do once they have seen one, and with agile practices becoming more popular than ever, most teams will make use of a roadmap – in some form or other. They are a simple, yet effective tool that can show a team and their stakeholders the progress made, the plans, and the priorities. Product teams, development teams, and just about any team that incorporates an agile approach should be using a roadmap – and if you using Jira Software, you are in luck.
In the past, Jira users have found that they have had to use third-party apps to have a roadmap feature in their Jira deployment. However last year Atlassian made changes to Jira Software by launching NextGen project templates, and among the new features available in a Scrum or Kanban project, was a roadmap.
Quick to use and easy to understand
The roadmap feature in Jira Software projects is everything a good roadmap should be. It displays all the Epics in your project, shows their start and due dates, and users can filter their roadmap by the user, status, and the date. The roadmap is high level by default, but users can expand their Epics to give a view of what Issues are done, in progress, and yet to be completed.
Much like on the project Boards, users can access their Issues and Epics straight from the roadmap. You can also quickly create new Issues and Epics, and of course, what kind of roadmap would it be if you couldn’t change the colors on those Epics!
Keep your team on track and the stakeholders in the loop
So we know a bit about what a roadmap is and we know that Jira Software Cloud projects come with one, but why are they important, and why should we use them? We have touched on some of the reasons already, the high level, strategic overview they provide is greatly beneficial for teams to show stakeholders their project, or product, from a top-level perspective. But its ease of understanding for stakeholders is one of the primary reasons teams employ a roadmap.
For those reasons, it is also important for teams to use, so they are aware of the priorities, due dates, and timelines. With the ability to be able to drill down into the Epics straight from the roadmap and the ability to create and edit Issues, and Epics, from the very same place – it doesn’t leave too many reasons you would not want to use it. You must use the roadmap correctly, however. But what do we mean by that?
Let it compliment, not complicate
If you had a swiss army knife, you would not use the bottle opener to open a tin of beans or uncork a bottle of wine. In the same way, you would not use a roadmap to work through all the tasks that have yet to be completed – that’s what the backlog is for. Likewise, you would not use it to plan a two-week iteration of work – that is a Sprint. It also not supposed to detail all the finer points from your project.
The roadmap feature in Jira Software is designed to tie in with the already existing features, to help your team manage your project with an even better agile approach than before. You already have your Backlog, Boards, Sprints and now you have the roadmap to give your team, and stakeholders, an overhead look at the work being undertaken in your Next-Gen project.
Of course, all of this depends on the kind of work you are undertaking. If you are using Jira Software, then chances are you already employ an Agile approach to your projects. Think of the roadmap as that top-level view that complements your existing boards – providing your team and stakeholders with a snapshot view of the strategy and priorities for your project.
But what if you are not using Jira Cloud, or you if you are using a Classic project template? Unfortunately at the moment, built-in Roadmap is only available in the Next-Gen projects in Jira Software. So for now at least, users will need to look to Atlassian Marketplace for alternatives. But keep an eye on this space, as we will look at the alternatives in future posts.