Does the expectation to “transform” sometimes feel like you need to shift your organisation from the prehistoric to the space age? In this post, we share a configuration of the awesome Atlassian Suite that can help retain control in a constantly changing environment.

Delivery faces competing demands

Image: Wikicommons

Imagine you’re the leader of the development area facing competing needs to support the organisation’s consumer products and internal pressures to modify platforms. Your team is delivering, but keeping up to date with configuration and capacity demands while maintaining balance between BAU and innovation is a headache. At the same time you’re moving to product-aligned development where some requirements are evolved but your infrastructure mostly retains up-front design focus.

Don’t Panic – Atlassian Suite can assist

Although organisation contexts vary enormously, we see common challenges that can be addressed by sensible configuration of your tooling. The scenario above is typical: a pool of technical talent providing services to competing interests. It’s a ‘Shared Services’ style structure.

Let’s Define ‘Done’

The first thing you do is sketch up your list of outcomes. These might look like:

      1. Requirements for change are managed consistently
      2. A change can be successfully managed across multiple products
      3. Working on a product or a project does not affect how the requirement for change is managed
      4. Changes can be traced in both directions: from requirement to code, and from code back to requirements so that both technical folk and management folk can manage this work effectively

      Let’s assume everyone has agreed to this definition of done and will be using the suggested approach.

      #1 Manage Requirements for Change Consistently

      Establish a Confluence Space for each Project. This is where staff collaborate on upcoming changes and capture relevant information. It’s a one to one mapping between the Confluence Space and a Jira Project.

      The team keeps a set of pages for all pertinent requirements. The content is indexed, searchable, and available to all. Issues are created in the corresponding Jira Project, and we might call this Tier 1.

      #2 Manage Change across Multiple Products

      Our Product Teams use Jira too: each Product is managed in a single Jira project, which provides a clear view of progress for that product.

      Jira is awesome at linking across Jira projects, so we use that ability to manage the relationships. We have the Confluence Spaces holding business requirements and a dedicated Product Requirement Template capturing change and linking to a Jira Project. We can use this mechanism to track to our products.

        • Confluence Spaces hold the requirements (top). Issues can be created directly from the space
        • Jira Projects track implementation of the requirement
        • Products link to the requirements through relationships with Jira Projects

      #3 Working on a product or a project does not affect how the change requirement is managed

      We’ve used a standard configuration of the Atlassian Suite with two modifications to meet this need. These modifications are supported by Atlassian and are carried forward on upgrades without negative impact.

      Modification Details Benefits
      Custom Product Requirement Template Template for guiding the Requirement information capture step Ensures consistency of captured requirements, and holds links to Jira Issues in one place
      New Relationship Pair When a Tier 1 Project links to a Product project, create a non-standard JIRA link “Implemented By”; in the reverse direction, use “Implements” Enables traceability of business changes to implementation

      #4 Changes can be Traced

      The modifications above allow us to track changes from product requirement through to implementation. The following diagram shows how the Product Requirement template brings together all the necessary information.

      We can extend the solution further by integrating Bitbucket — for managing source code — with product requirements as below:

      Change is constant

      Many organisations face the challenge of supporting complex and growing needs of the business during complex transformations. It is essential to maintain visibility, ensure consistency, and have traceability of product and project changes no matter which role you may be playing and regardless of how far your transformation has come.