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Digital Workplace Summit 2016 Close-Up – Get to know our gold partner Comalatech

A Nightmare on Backlog Street

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We all know plan­ning is a fun­da­men­tal requi­re­ment for JIRA teams, and whe­ther the metho­do­logy is Scrum, Kan­ban or Water­fall, the back­log is the core asset for this activity.  We also know that pro­perly orde­ring and groo­m­ing the (usually huge) back­log of issues is a vital, but extre­mely time con­su­ming task.

For Scrum teams, JIRA natively offers back­log manage­ment in the form of a ran­ked list of issues, with a mecha­nism for hand­ling the sprint along with some basic fil­te­ring to refine the back­log issues.

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The night­mare: 3451 issues!

As for those teams using Kan­ban, the back­log fea­ture (still in beta for JIRA Soft­ware Labs) is also dis­played in the form of a ran­ked list of issues.  In this for­mat howe­ver, there is an addi­tio­nal “In Pro­gress” column (or a column of your choice) on top to help users limit the size of their Kan­ban board.  This method also pro­vi­des basic quick fil­ters to fur­ther refine the back­log.

Both opti­ons are great and let you directly manage the issues in the back­log to plan your sprints (or the first column in your Kan­ban board)… as long as your dea­ling with a rela­tively small num­ber of issues.

The rea­lity howe­ver is that teams are often dea­ling with hund­reds, even thou­sands of issues at once. So, the back­log turns in to a hor­ror movie, with pro­duct owners and pro­ject mana­gers too sca­red to watch. Can­vas for JIRA offers an alter­na­tive, fle­xi­ble approach which may not be a love story, but your teams are sure to love it: the Plan Mode.

Plan Mode

The Plan Mode struc­tures boards in two parts: The Back­log (left area) and the Plan­ner (right area). Issue cards can be moved easily in a natu­ral way from left to right as they’re added to the Plan­ner.

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Backlog

The Back­log area offers a mecha­nism to easily order and groom your over­all back­log. Thus, the issues in this area have not yet been added to any sprint, com­po­nent or release (this option depends on the dimen­sion selec­ted in the plan­ner). You can choose just a sin­gle custom field to define the columns, or add a second custom field to dis­play rows (i.e., swim lanes). Not only that, you can apply JQL or use our Quick Fil­ters to reduce the back­log to just the import­ant issues.

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So what can you do with it?:

  • Dis­play just your cur­rent work and fil­ter out dis­trac­tions
  • Work with a dedi­ca­ted board based on the fields import­ant to you, not just a pre-defi­ned, restric­tive lay­out
  • Orga­nize your issues directly in to sprints, epics or relea­ses from a sin­gle screen

Planner

The plan­ning func­tion is the fea­ture you’ve been waiting for to help you escape the usual night­mare of back­log groo­m­ing in JIRA. This third dimen­sion enables you to quickly (and pain­lessly) plan your sprints, relea­ses or com­po­n­ents.

If you work with sprints, open the “Sprints” as the third dimen­sion and create boards that really fit your team mind­set. What about having a board with Story Points and Com­po­n­ents to plan the next sprint? In addi­tion, you don’t need to navi­gate to other screens: create, edit, start, com­plete or delete your sprints directly in the plan­ner.

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But what if your team doesn’t work with the tra­di­tio­nal Sprint model? No pro­blem, you can plan based on com­po­n­ents or relea­ses, and still take advan­tage of a cust­o­miz­able back­log.

 

Check out our Plan Mode docu­men­ta­tion for fur­ther info, and let us know if you have any ques­ti­ons or sug­ges­ti­ons!

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