Atlassian expands Jira roadmaps for better project status visibility

Atlassian expands Jira roadmaps for better project status visibility

Function has proved popular with users since last year’s big overhaul of Jira

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Atlassian has expanded the roadmapping functions in Jira Software in a bid to offer users greater insight into the progress of their software development projects.

The update comes a year after Atlassian introduced its “next-gen” Jira Software, with roadmaps as one of the key new features.

Roadmaps can provide a high-level view of tasks under way, show how that work relates to specific items in each project, and can be shared with a range of stakeholders, including  executives and and cross-functional partners, according to Atlassian.

The company said the feature was an immediate hit: 45 per cent of Jira Software customers were accessing roadmaps within a month and active use is now above 50 per cent.

Among the new features unveiled today is a progress bar that offers a snapshot of a roadmap item’s progress and hierarchy levels that let users drill down into greater detail on a specific project, unfolding items to reveal individual stories and tasks.

Filter options make it easier to find relevant roadmaps, and drag-and-drop dependency mapping can showcase potential blockers when planning projects.

Usability improvements allow users to create new roadmap items inline with a click, and integration with Atlassian’s Confluence allows roadmaps to be embedded, offering an organization-level view of multiple teams projects on a single Confluence page.

The Confluence feature will appeal to non-technical users that don’t routinely access Jira Software, said Jake Brereton, head of marketing for Jira Software.

“You can take the URL from a roadmap and copy and paste it into a page, and the entire roadmap will populate in real time in seconds,” he said. “The coolest thing is it stays up to date. You know that if something changes on the roadmap in Jira, it’s going to change in real time in Confluence.”

Roadmaps will aid organisations as they shift from a project-based approach to product-focused management of software assets, said Thomas Murphy, a research director at Gartner.

“It also helps with scale in a simpler way to be able to track dependencies and drive alignment when multiple teams are engaged on a product,” he said.

“The ability to then tie that together with Confluence so that information is shared and documentation, etc. stays aligned is also a good move, as we find a lot of organisations are still struggling as they move to more agile practices with things like requirements management and how to drive the right level of traceability.”

By incorporating roadmaps directly into Jira Software, Atlassian hopes to head off competition from roadmapping tools such as Aha, Roadmunk and ProductPlan, said Murphy.

It is not the only product that lets users track team work at a high level. In fact, Atlassian has two others: Portfolio for Jira, which the company says can be used to track progress at a “program level,” and Jira Align, a tool for helping execs manage organization-wide roadmaps.

Atlassian said it’s looking to tie the three tools together more closely, though specific details an’t expected until later this year.

The combination of planning tools could help customers gain a clear view of work under way across their organisation, said Murphy.

“As teams use roadmaps, it should help with [the] structure of information that is rolled up from the team level to that portfolio level and provide a cleaner drill-down support,” he said.

Jira Software, one of a variety of workplace collaboration tools sold by the company, recently added a free tier.

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