I was estactic with the recent announcement that Atlassian had acquired AgileCraft (now Jira Align) for $166 million. As a SAFe Program Consultant and aficionado, I have written about how to use Portfolio for Jira to map the Portfolio and Large Solution levels when going beyond Essential SAFe. I’m always on the lookout for ways to extend Atlassian tools for scaling Agile. As you will see, Jira Align brings with it a wide assortment of tools for those using a methodology to scale Agile beyond the team level.

Connecting the Dots

A Release Train Engineer has a pivotal role for an Agile Release Train.  He or she acts as a “Scrum of Scrums Master” and, working with each team’s Scrum Master, removes impediments that affect each team on the Agile Release Train But, how can the RTE get an idea of how all the teams are doing when each team may be on a different tool For example, new teams that join the ART because of acquisition may not be on the same Jira instance or may even be using a different tool.

Jira Align comes with T-REX, a “team reconciliation engine”, that connects not only to Jira, but to other project tracking tools such as IBM Rational Team Concert and CA Agile Central (a.k.a Rally). T-REX can also tie data from other tools teams use for source control, CI builds, test management, and service desk.  The synchronization occurs in real-time and T-REX can make equivalencies happen, making sure that the data between different tools is at an “apples to apples” comparison.

Presenting the Data

Now that T-REX has brought in the data from disparate sources, Jira Agile can bring its magic.  As a single-source of truth, Jira Align can take the data and present it to the RTE and PM for the ART, or to business owners at the Portfolio level.

For the Release Train Engineer and Program Management of the ART, Jira Align can present a Program Room of the ART, showing progress of the Program Increment.

Business owners have a Portfolio Room showing performance of ARTs including financial performance and resource planning.

Acting on the Data

Now that the data can be rolled up to the enterprise, individuals can analyze how teams are doing and make adjustments if necessary.

For Release Train Engineers, a multi-tier burndown chart provides teams’ performances at a single glance.

RTE’s can also keep an eye on dependencies during the PI using Dependency Maps.

Not Only SAFe

Throughout this article, I have shown the features of Jira Align and shown how they can keep a SAFe Agile Release Train on track, so to speak.  But Jira Align is a valuable tool for other scaling frameworks including LeSS, Disciplined Agile, the Spotify method, and Scrum@Scale.

I hope this quick tour of Jira Align’s capabilities has whetted your appetite as it has mine.  I’m excited about the inclusion of Jira Align as part of the tools Atlassian has to help with scaling your Agile development.