After helping organizations implement Jira Align for almost seven years now, I've seen firsthand the challenges they’ve faced in unlocking the product’s full potential. At the same time, I’ve also had a front row seat to the transformative power of Jira Align within those organizations whose leadership teams were truly committed to the agile transformation journey and were willing to shift their mindsets.
In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what makes Jira Align such a powerful tool and how organizations can maximize this enterprise platform to deliver value faster.
More Than Just a Reporting Tool
Jira Align is truly a unicorn product that brings teams and information closer together for improved visibility, faster decision-making, and greater agility. When configured correctly and in a way that meets the specific needs of the client, Jira Align helps organizations reach that sweet spot where they connect strategy to work execution and eventually achieve true enterprise transformation.
Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of buying Jira Align primarily as a reporting system. Jira Align is so much more; it’s a living system and enterprise agile platform designed for daily collaboration at all levels. The powerful reporting component is only a small part and in fact, the least important for real success.
Understanding the Layers of Jira Align’s Value Proposition
To unlock your organization’s agility with Jira Align means understanding the layers of the platform’s value proposition and how these different components work collectively together to drive better business outcomes. Let’s take a look at each layer and how they build upon each other to make Jira Align they dynamic enterprise tool that it is:
Basic Technical – Jira Align is a platform that allows organizations to visualize teams’ work in the form of stories, features and epics (and related concepts of dependencies, risks, etc.). This is the first layer where work is organized in a way that it is tied to strategic vision and investments.
Performance Improvement – The second layer looks at the data generated by Jira Align and the story it tells to business leaders about performance and how to improve it. Many organizations fall into the trap of focusing only on performance metrics provided and get stuck in the second layer. This happens because most leaders mistake utilization as a proxy for value delivery
Value Visualization – Jira Align is designed to measure value flow through the enterprise modeled in well-defined epics, features and stories. Organizations that reach level 3 never again question “Is a Jira Align license worth the cost?” because they shifted their mindset from doing stuff (utilization) to delivering value (delivered features) on cadence.
Outcome-based Thinking – Jira Align’s objectives are one of its most powerful and flexible features, allowing outcome-based thinking at all levels. They are a prism through which to view progress against a specific desired outcome. To fully employ Align's outcome-based thinking requires also understanding how to model portfolio epics, features, strategy, themes, and more in a way that they are tied to short and long-term goals. Organizations that reach level 4 are much farther along than most of their competitors in their journey to enterprise agility.
Leadership Feedback Loop – The pinnacle of a Jira Align implementation is achieved by evolving through the previous levels while being led by an executive champion(s) and their team(s) that are committed to a true enterprise agile transformation. With this approach, Jira Align becomes the focal point of a feedback loop where leadership can see true transformation and their teams’ mindset shifts are reflected in Jira Align’s value-delivery metrics.
What It Takes to Implement Jira Align
For companies to realize Jira Align’s full value, it requires clarity and commitment to agile transformation, as well as in-depth experience from an Atlassian Solution Partner. Praecipio has helped hundreds of organizations build agile practices and scale their operations through our proficiency across a range of frameworks including SAFe®. As an Atlassian Specialized Partner in Agile at Scale, our experienced agile practitioners have proven success in enterprise methodology and change management providing Fortune 2000 customers with an accelerated path to enterprise agility with Jira Align.
Looking for more Jira Align resources? Check out this related article on Jira Align, which walks you through how to successfully implement Jira Align, tune into this on-demand webinar on how to use Jira Align to connect work execution to strategic vision, and explore our Jira Align whitepaper, co-authored with our friends at Atlassian for a deep dive into the tool that can help you share the benefits of Jira Align with your team.
You can also book a technical call to discuss your organization’s specific needs around Jira Align and how to accelerate your agile transformation journey.