5 min read

Should We Use Next-Gen Projects in Jira Cloud?

By Amanda Babb on Aug 28, 2020 9:30:00 AM

Benefits of Next-Gen projects

Atlassian has always held the concept of the team in high regard. As you may know, even their stock ticker is TEAM. And with many organizations pushing to Atlassian Cloud from their Server or Data Center solutions, it's no wonder Atlassian is removing barriers to entry for first-time users and admins. Whether you choose Standard or Premium, Jira Software adds the ability to create next-gen projects.

What is a next-gen project? 

Jira Software next-gen projects are a simple and flexible way to get your teams working. With some limited delegated administration, next-gen projects are created using a pre-defined template (Kanban or Scrum). These projects also come with three pre-defined roles: Administrator, Member, and Viewer.

  • Administrator: Updates project settings and can add other Administrators
  • Member: Can perform most functions such as create, edit, assign, and transition issues
  • Viewer: Can view and comment only

By default, if a user is added to the Jira Cloud site and provided access to Jira Software, they automatically become a member of every next-gen project (also known as Open). However, a next-gen admin can change the settings to be either Limited or Private. Limited puts all users of Jira software into the Viewer role and Private requires the admin to add a user to perform actions in the project. In addition, setting the project to Private hides the project from any search results. 

Each next-gen project operates similarly to a Classic Software project. You get either a Kanban or Scrum Board based on your project template as well as the reports you've come to know and love from the Server and Data Center products. One key difference is the addition of a Roadmap. Each next-gen project and board comes with a Roadmap. This allows teams to track start and end dates of the epics and better communicate with their product owners and stakeholders. 

The benefits of a next-gen project

Next-gen projects are flexible and delegate administration to the Administrators. This means the Administrator can create new Issue Types and Workflows, add unique fields, assign access to individuals or groups, and can enable or disable specific agile features such as enabling backlogs. This provides the ultimate flexibility for newly formed agile teams to work out their processes and data needs while performing their daily work. Let's take a closer look at each of these elements. 

Issue Types can be created on the fly at any time. As an Administrator, you can add up to 30 unique issue types to your next-gen project. By default, next-gen projects come with Epics, Stories, Bugs, Tasks, and Subtasks. If you remember, these are arranged in a loose hierarchy with Epics at the top; Stories, Bugs, and Tasks in the middle; and Subtasks on the bottom. Currently, any additional issue types will be added at the same level as Stories, Bugs and Tasks. If you'd like to add your own Subtasks or parent issues, feel free to submit feedback to Atlassian. 

Workflows are configured directly on your Board. Simply add a column to add a status to your workflow. That's it. You may also add rules such as assigning an issue or updating a field. Other Marketplace Apps can add automation triggers and the like to next-gen projects as well. 

Administrators can also add Custom Fields for your project. While Jira already comes with a robust set of Jira-created fields, you may choose to add checkboxes, people fields, numbers, dates, dropdowns and more. You can even change the order of the fields on the issue view to put the most important information at the top. 

Notifications on certain events can also be tuned to suit the team's need. For those already familiar with notifications, these events include: Issue Created, Issue Updated, Issue Assigned, Issue Deleted, etc. In a next-gen project, you can notify All Watchers, Current Assignee, Current User, Reporter, or a Project Role. Simply select the event and the people you'd like to notify, and Jira will take care of the rest. 

Last, but not least, there are nine separate Board features you may choose to enable for your next-gen project. This includes things like the Roadmap, Reports, Backlogs for Kanban, and more. 

There's no doubt that next-gen projects provide your team the ultimate flexibility in managing their work. With easily navigable menus and a simplified Administration interface, next-gen projects can be great for you and your team. 

The disadvantages of a next-gen project

One of the things we love about the Atlassian products is that they are super flexible and you can do pretty much anything you'd like with them. One of the things we hate about the Atlassian products is that they are super flexible and you can do pretty much anything you'd like with them. The same is true of next-gen projects. With ultimate flexibility and delegated administration, it becomes difficult to aggregate data across multiple projects. As a product manager, project manager, Release Train Engineer, or other person over several teams, you may find next-gen projects frustrating. 

Because the configuration of a next-gen project is unique to the individual project, gathering a status update is difficult. Not impossible, but you need a solid working knowledge of Jira Query Language (JQL) and good discipline from your teams to ensure they're transitioning tickets through the workflow. Creating custom Filters and Dashboards is your only way to aggregate data across projects. In addition, since each team can create their own custom fields, you risk data bloat. For example, one team may create a field called Bug Type using a dropdown and another may create Bug Type using checkboxes. While both are correct, to understand where Bugs are located, you have to add both fields to your filter. And the values may be unique per project as well. 

Work can only be estimated in Story Points, regardless if your project is Kanban or Scrum. This is also regardless of Issue Type. If you enable estimation on either a Scrum or Kanban next-gen project, every piece of work should be estimated and estimated in Story Points. Tasks, Bugs, and Stories all need points to establish a consistent velocity for predictability. 

Since there is a single workflow for all Issue Types, the team cannot split processes between types of work. If a Task follows a simplified process (To Do, In Progress, and Done), but a Story needs more detail (Backlog, Selected for Development, In Progress, and Done), the team cannot split these items into two distinct workflows. Every type of work must follow the same path through the board. 

There are additional technical considerations as well for things like Cloud merges (bringing two instances together) and Cloud to Server or Data Center migrations (moving off Atlassian Cloud to an On Premise solution). While these efforts are few and far between, all next-gen projects must be converted to Classic projects before these efforts start. 

Are next-gen projects right for you? 

At Praecipio Consulting, we believe you must use the right tool for the right job. The same goes for next-gen projects. While there are many benefits, there are disadvantages as well. How do you manage cross-team dependencies? Are you willing to span multiple projects for status updates? Do you trust your teams to make the most out of the functionality? Are there long-term scaling opportunities you need to consider, such as integrations, or other products, such as Advanced Roadmaps, for Jira or Jira Align? If you'd like to know more about next-gen versus classic Jira Software projects, Praecipio Consulting has extensive experience managing and assisting clients with these questions and more. 


Topics: best-practices business-teams cloud atlassian-products jira-align next-gen-project
4 min read

Where Do Business Analysts Fit Into The Agile Organization?

By Morgan Folsom on Jul 8, 2020 12:15:00 PM

2020 Blogposts_Where do Business Analysts fit into an Agile organization-

One of the hardest parts of an agile transformation (outside of, you know, changing up the entire way that your organization produces value), is aligning existing organizational structures to new Scrum team roles. This process is absolutely essential, and you must take into consideration both the current role as well as the personality and interests of your team members. 

This blog post will focus on how you can specifically map Business Analysts (BA) into your new Agile organization. Changing someone's job title requires sensitivity, and not every BA will exactly fit the description as outlined below. So, be sure to work with the individuals in your organization to find exactly where they should be. Don't forget that one of the key tenets of Agile is fast feedback and iterations! You may not find the right mapping the first time around, but some people will likely shift around as teams figure out how they work best.

What is a Business Analyst (BA)?

Let's start with the basics - what do BAs actually do? Before you can figure out where they'll go in the organization, let's start with establishing what role they serve. 

According to CIO.com, "Business analysts (BAs) are responsible for bridging the gap between IT and the business."

What this looks like can vary across companies and industries, but the BA role generally involves analyzing data to determine requirements, deliver recommendations and reports, and evaluate existing processes. Successful BAs are often very detail-oriented and effective communicators, which can make them an asset to any team. 

What are the roles in a Scrum Team?

Looking at Scrum teams, in particular, there are three primary roles:

  1. Scrum Master (SM): The Scrum Master supports the team members, unblocking them when necessary, and holding them to their commitments. Scrum Masters are the protector of the team – they ensure that the Product Owner and the organization respect the dedicated scope that the team has agreed to. 
  2. Product Owner (PO): The Product Owner owns the product (wild, I know!). They incorporate customer and organizational feedback to manage and prioritize the backlog of the team. 
  3. Development Team: A self-organizing team of developers that are responsible for determining the best way to implement the requirements of the Product Owner

So, where do they fit?

Let's compare. Which of the above Scrum Roles sounds most like a BA? Someone who has experience analyzing data and translating it to requirements will likely be well-prepared for...doing the same thing for a Scrum Team! Generally, where we see BAs succeed the most is when they take on a Product Owner role. 

Much of the work is the same in these two roles, with a focus on data-based decision making and effectively communicating requirements. A Product Owner must be able to clearly communicate their goals to both the team and to internal and external stakeholders. Additionally, these communication skills are also necessary for the process of gathering feedback from customers. 

On the other hand, we generally see less success in mapping BAs to Scrum Master roles, or (even worse) trying to have a BA function as both a Scrum Master and PO. The shift from product and data focus to people-focused work can be hard for experienced BAs, but it's definitely not impossible. 

Again, when trying to align your existing team members to scrum roles, being open to feedback and change is important! You are dealing with people, so even if on paper your BA is a good match for a PO role, if they are expressing interest in something more like a Scrum Master, your teams will benefit from leadership being open to this kind of shifting. 

Looking for more help in your agile transformation? Check out The ABCs of Agile or What’s the Difference? Agile Coach vs Agile Consultant! And if you are an enterprise looking to scale your business in a way where you still have financial control, learn How Jira Align Helps Enterprises Embrace Lean Budgets

Topics: scaled-agile business-teams

Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian Platinum Partner

This means that we have the most experience working with Atlassian tools and have insight into new products, features, and beta testing. Through our profound knowledge of Atlassian environments and their intricacies, we can guide your organization as you navigate these important changes.


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