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Using Jira & GreenHopper for Backlog Management

Posted by Jai on July 20, 2010

In this post we will cover what Jira & GreenHopper offers in terms of backlog management. How you can use it to manage the different requirements of your Agile team? How to use the combination to integrate the work of different teams? What are the different functionality provided by the tool?

Product backlog

From previous post Choosing the Right Backlog Management Tool , the different parties involved in the development process of the product involved can be,

  • Design Team,
  • Development Team
  • QA Team
  • Management Team
  • End Users feedback

You can have different teams involved in getting the job done and you need a tool which can integrate the work done by these different teams. Tool which can provide you better integration between all these teams, which can streamline the process of communication between teams and along with that which can also provide the single overview of backlog of all these teams.

The Atlassian Product Family

Atlassian provides a complete suite of different tools to fit different requirements of all these teams. Among which are Jira, Confluence, FishEye/Crucible, Clover, Bamboo etc. Think of the day-to-day job each of the above team member and you will find how these fits for them.

  • Jira: Issue tracking tool, can fit any of the above team like design team can use the tool to deliver the design used in the product. Development team can have their own flow system which fits them. QA team can use the tool to track different type of sprint/regression/staging/production issues in the product. It fits to all these teams and is highly flexible and customizable in that sense. You can also generate different reports for the project management purpose.
  • Confluence: Each team can have separate tasks to document the process or findings etc. The integration with Jira makes it much simpler to track the task within the backlog.
  • FishEye/Crucible: Code review tasks can be easily integrated with the tool and you can have the backlog item to track the progress of code reviews.
  • Clover: Keep a track of code quality with the tool and have separate task in Jira to track the progress for the same.
  • Bamboo: Keep track of the continuous integration build for the product. Integrate with Jira and have separate task inside the backlog to fix the same.
  • GreenHopper: Agile project management tool which is used for maintaining backlog, sprint/release/milestone planning .

Jira & GreenHopper

We will see what the combination of Jira plus GreenHopper offers for the agile project management. The underlying implementation is still Jira which works for GreenHopper. You can choose to work between the two. If you like to use the dashboard, you can still stick to the dashboard with out going to the Jira view. You can also get the different status/reports from the portlet/gadget in Jira view for quick reference.

Functionality

In general there are different boards to achieve different things,

  • Planning Board: Backlog overview, maintaining backlog, sprint/release planning, milestone planning, prioritizing the backlog
  • Task Board: Customized task board, track status, update day-to-day information for the tickets
  • Chart Board: Generate different charts like Burndown/burnup, Hours Chart, Velocity chart, issue/ticket/task charts.
  • Releases: Released version information, Charts for released versions, generate release notes etc.

To list some of the functionality provided by GreenHopper which can be useful depending on your requirements,

  • Inline Editing: Do the inline editing of information in card view.
  • Handling multiple teams: Use different ways like version hierarchy, component hierarchy, drop down list to configure the tool for multiple tools. Being highly flexible and customizable it helps to achieve the same easily.
  • Components hierarchy: Create component hierarchy in GreenHopper to represent the functional requirements accordingly.
  • Version hierarchy: Create version hierarchy to plan the releases dependency and also to handle releases by different teams in parallel.
  • Ranking the stories: rank the backlog items as per the prioritizing requirement.
  • Flagging of issues for visual effects: Put visual feature on the tickets which need urgent attention. You can flag a ticket and get the impediment resolved soon. If you flag the sub-task, the parent task automatically gets flagged.
  • Configurable issue/story workflows: Create your team suited workflows to represent right status on the task board.
  • Configurable task board status: Based on issue/ticket status, you can configure to represent tickets in the right column of the task board.
  • Configurable statistics of tickets: Stats based on custom fields can be generated like story points used for estimations etc. You can generate different charts based on the same.
  • Ajax calls: Don’t need to refresh the whole page, update information using ajax calls.
  • Different charts: Based on requirement, burndown, custom fields, hours, complexity points, velocity etc.You can generate different types of charts which are relevant for the team.
  • Release management: Based on versions you can plan sprint releases etc. and can also generate release notes for the same.
  • Time Tracking: Use Jira inbuilt time tracking for the same.
  • etc. etc.

There are many more such functionality which can be used to suit the team requirements accordingly.

Plugins

There are many plugins also which you can integrate with the tool and can help you to integrate the different team more efficiently. Once of such plugin is Jira Link Hierarchy Reports which can be used to link different issue together. If you want to link bugs in the sprint to particular story in the sprint, you can use the plugin on the dash-board to achieve the same.

There are plenty of plugins available to help your team to do the job much easy way. You can also develop your own plugin as per your requirements and can integrate the same with the tool.

In the future posts, we will pick few of these above listed functionality in details like how to use the tool to handle multiple teams. Feel free to share your experience with the tool or with any other similar tools.

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