JIRA is an incredibly versatile tool. Agile is a proven philosophy with frameworks such as Scrum and Kanban helping teams manage their deliverables in an agile manner.
And yet, often when an organisation that is trying to be agile installs JIRA, it continues to have organisational challenges even months later. We hear statements such as “JIRA is useless” or “We used JIRA at our last place and it didn’t work.”
It’s not JIRA that’s at fault, however.
JIRA is just a tool. Try to put up a set of shelves with a kettle and you’re going to have problems.
Imagine you wanted to build a house. Some would say all you need are the tools. But without people, and people knowing the process of building the house, the house won’t get built.People, Process, Tools
JIRA is just a tool; it’s how you use it that counts. Agile teams around the world are very successfully implementing Scrum or Kanban using physical cards on glass walls, or Post-It notes on whiteboards.
So what goes wrong when JIRA comes on the scene?
JIRA has two very effective use cases:JIRA is a tool with a great UI and UX and can be a very effective digital Post-It note-type system JIRA is an incredibly powerful and customisable workflow engine that can be extended with lots of plugins.
And it goes wrong when these two use cases are mixed.
Just as Scrum teams that use physical boards don’t have a person standing at the side, slapping people on the wrists when they move a sticky note from one column to the next, you also shouldn’t programme JIRA to do the same.
I’ve personally lead many agile programmes across a global organisation with out-of-the-box JIRA. Simply by teaching agile mindsets and Scrum, and leaning JIRA down, JIRA becomes an incredibly effective agile tool.In Summary
Agile teaches us that it's about the people more than the tools. Agile Principle No. 5: “... trust [the people] to get the job done.” Agile Principle No. 10: “Simplicity - the art of maximizing work not done - is essential.”
JIRA is an incredibly powerful tool that can be used very effectively within agile teams; just because you can do it in JIRA, doesn't mean you should.
Keep the tool simple, keep the agile and lean values, principles and practices in mind, and JIRA can help you succeed with agile.
And that is how to get JIRA and agile to play nicely together.