How to plan projects successfully using Jira with ONEPOINT

In the following 10 steps, you will learn how to

  • Handle multiple Jira projects and portfolios at once
  • Juggle all the details and complexities of a big project
  • Add proven planning, controlling and resource features
  • Leverage Jira + ONEPOINT in tandem with proven best practices

*This guide is based on ONEPOINT's Jira Integration. If you are already familiar with the integration, this guide will help you get the most out of your Jira projects. If not, you might want to learn more about Jira project management with ONEPOINT first.

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STEP 1: From Idea to Project

Project ideas are typically "born" in a PM system rather than a mainly execution-oriented environment such as Jira.

That's why ONEPOINT treats project ideas or business cases as regular projects in an early "IDEA" stage. Now you can outline a potential project team and start cross-project resource planning in Jira from the beginning.

You can also use the unique project pipeline (figure 1) to display your project ideas in the first column of "IDEA" and get an overview of where all projects stand.

The "IDEA" stage allows you to

  • Assign so-called "pools" (teams, Sprint teams)
  • Create and assign key resources
  • Set project probabilities

Project-Planning-with-Jira-Pipeline-Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 1: The project pipeline visualizes the status and progress of all (Jira) projects

Advantage: Resource forecasting is only calculated based on weighted resource assignments according to probability. As a result, it gives a more accurate forecast of how resources will probably be utilized in the future.

Project-Management-Controlling-Activity-List-Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 2: Synchronized issues as activities in ONEPOINT (marked orange)

Jira-Software-Issues-List-Combined-with-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 3: Issues in Jira (marked orange)

STEP 2: Detailed Pre-Planning for Jira

Once a project becomes more likely, you can begin preliminary planning. This often includes creating a rough cost estimation or matching an early cost plan with a designated budget.

You can now link your ONEPOINT project to an existing Jira project or version. This allows you to:

  • Bring in all existing Jira issues (within the given scope) as ad hoc activities & issues
  • Decide what you want to reuse in your early project plan and what not
  • Reuse initial estimations from Jira
  • Pre-calculate cost information based on hourly rates automatically (= defined within ONEPOINT)

Advantage: You can delegate and reuse existing issues, improvements, features, and tasks from Jira.

Add 3 helpful planning dimensions

(1) Risk and response planning is a critical component of overall project planning, particularly in the early stages. With ONEPOINT, you can now assess risks, set respective measures, and display them in comprehensive charts (see figure 4).

(2) Another added value of ONEPOINT + Jira is the possibility of milestone planning, including milestone trend analysis. These features are particularly useful for general release planning or program management.

(3) Additionally, you can include deliverables and link them to planned activities for client-side, external projects.

Project-Management-Controlling-Risk-Assessment-Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 4: Quickly assess risks using comprehensive charts

Advantage: You can add additional planning dimensions that are not available in Jira.

Portfolio-Management-Pipeline-Eisenhower-Matrix-Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 5: Portfolio analysis for visual project prioritization

STEP 3: Strategic Portfolio Analysis

You can now prioritize Jira projects strategically and analyze portfolios to make more informed decisions. This is possible by combining the results from pre-planning and manually assessed project criteria, as well as synchronized progress information from Jira.

  • Get portfolio-level scoring models
  • Visualize the unique 12 project dimensions simultaneously
  • Decide which projects to start, continue, or cancel via bubble charts (see figure 5)

Advantage: Non-technical projects, Jira projects, and even programs consisting of Jira and non-Jira projects are part of the same project pipeline. They can be evaluated based on a single set of business criteria to ensure the strategic alignment of all projects to defined company goals.

Unique Project Cockpit for (Jira) projects

ONEPOINT's "project cockpit" provides a unique visualization of up to 12 project dimensions using so-called "dynamic project symbols." You can feed up to 8 of these dimensions into the project cockpit directly through the Jira synchronization.

  • Better assess where your project stands
  • Visualize progress with traffic lights for dates, resources & costs
  • Feed project cockpit with Jira data such as activity, dates, effort, cost, and overall progress

Portfolio-Management-12-Dimensions-Project-Cockpit-Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 6: ONEPOINT's unique project cockpit for Jira

Advantage: Having the right tools makes it much easier to prioritize projects. By analyzing portfolios regularly, you can even take dynamic progress information from Jira into account.

ONEPOINTs project charter Figure 7: Standards-based project charter

STEP 4: Decision & Proper Project Documentation

Once a project is decided, you can quickly document the project decision in ONEPOINT.

This is usually done via a project order/charter containing meta information such as the current project plan, effort and cost breakdown, milestone list, and risk plan.

  • Get standards-based reports (based on PMI, IPMA)
  • Ensure proper project documentation for Jira projects
  • Create a project order/charter document with the click of a button

Advantage: If the project team is not yet completely staffed, this is the time to fill the remaining seats on the bus. ONEPOINT supports project staffing with skills management that is closely integrated with resource utilization planning.

For instance, you could search for resources available to an extent of 50% between July and August who are fluent in French and have deep database optimization know-how.

STEP 5: Planning Resources and Capacities

The next step is to create a more detailed project plan and optionally assign resources on a per-activity level. With ONEPOINT's Jira Integration, you can:

  • Plan resources only on the pool level

Note that resource assignments can only be synced directly to Jira for single resource assignments. Suppose multiple resources are assigned, or a pool is used — in that case, ONEPOINT Projects syncs the activity without resource assignment and leaves the assignment up to Jira based on its default assignment rules for given projects or versions.

  • Enable high-level (Sprint) team planning

Note that even while you cannot directly map pool-based resource planning to Jira, it still provides invaluable advantages to be able to do high-level (Sprint) team planning.

Resource & capacity planning is about the future, not the past. You can also compare your resource planning to the actual time-tracking information that is synced back from Jira or Tempo work-logs.

Resource-Management--Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 8: Resource planning and conflict resolution

Jira-Software-Timetracking-issues-Syncrhonized-with-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 9: Synchronized time tracking in Jira

Advantage: Resource management and planning directly benefit from synchronized progress information from Jira. For instance, actual resource allocation based on tracked hours can be easily viewed in ONEPOINT, and is also used for automatically calculating actual start/finish dates for activities as well as variances.

This is not just valuable information for assessing current resource plans and improving future ones, but also provides important guidance for HR and business development in general.

project-planning-with-jira-chart-jira-integration-in-onepoint-projects Figure 10: Full control vs. dynamic ad hoc synchronization

Version Control for Project Plans

For consistently executing a Jira project, you now have full control over when to "push" the project and resource plan to Jira for the initial "check-in." ONEPOINT's built-in version control allows you to:

  • Work on a private working copy of the project plan without the risk of confusing other PMs or project contributors.
  • Securely store this working copy on the server and get real-time previews for all project monitoring and resource utilization views.
  • "Play around" with the plan until satisfied and then control when you want to "unleash" the new plan version onto project contributors.

Advantage: By checking in a new project plan version, the project plan is "hard-pushed" to Jira, ensuring that you remain in control. Still, all issues and activities that are not part of the plan have a much more dynamic nature: they are synced two-way in both directions.

This way, you can decide which parts of a Jira project to keep under strict control and which you want to keep dynamic for maximum agility.

STEP 6: Project Execution in Jira

While you are planning the project in detail, developers and support engineers can work on ad hoc and planned Jira issues as usual.

Vice versa, it also means that you get always up-to-date information on actual and progress data from developers working in Jira. This includes:

  • All time and progress updates
  • Status changes
  • Jira capacity planning
  • Revised estimates

Project-Management-Controlling-Work-Breakdown-Structure-Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 11: The synchronized WBS in ONEPOINT

Jira-Software-Kanban-Board-Issues-Synchronized-with-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 12: The synchronized Kanban Board in Jira

Advantage: Everyone can work using their preferred tools and environments, and not a single bit of information has to be entered twice.

Project-Management-Controlling-Comments-Activities-Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 13: Synchronized comments in ONEPOINT (marked in orange)

Jira-Software-Issues-Attachments-Comments-Synchronized-with-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 14: Synchronized comments in Jira (marked in orange)

Sync comments and attachments

ONEPOINT's Jira Integration automatically adds all comments and attachments based on their creation date and time.

If a single attachment is updated concurrently on both sides, the newest information gets preference - regardless whether it comes from Jira or ONEPOINT.

  • Get real-time project information and a consistent flow of data

Include external parties

It is even possible to distribute information to external parties involved in specific tasks which do not have access to ONEPOINT or Jira. You can easily create a work instruction report based on a planned activity.

After that, you can distribute the resulting autogenerated PDF document via email and manually incorporate the progress on such a task.

There are no perfect plans

There is nothing like a perfect project plan. This is why ONEPOINT allows all project contributors to

  • Create ad hoc tasks and issues from Jira scheduling in parallel with planned activities.
  • Add overlooked or new requirements quickly to the project's scope without waiting for the project manager to find the time to update the plan.

The project manager can still

  • Reuse ad hoc tasks and issues in a new project plan version.
  • Complete the plan version with already tracked actual effort, progress information, attachments, and comments.

Project-Management-gantt-chart-Schedule-Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 15: Scheduling for Jira projects in ONEPOINT

Advantage: Since a project team often consists of non-technical knowledge workers and IT personnel, ad hoc tasks and issues are always synced in both directions. Therefore, both sides can dynamically add to the scope of a project without having to enter any information twice.

Project-Controlling-Costs-Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 16: Quick access to effort & cost plan/actuals

STEP 7: Include Cost Allocation

A detail sometimes overlooked when going agile is that it is no longer easy to get accurate planned or actual cost information from agile projects.

Project costs might not be necessary for all kinds of projects, but costs can be relevant for business planning and development, government grants, or client/external projects.

  • Ensure a consistent cost baseline. ONEPOINT calculates planned costs based on the assigned effort on the resource and pool levels.

  • Get actual and open costs (cost-to-completion.) ONEPOINT automatically calculates cost-to-completion based on actual hours internally and when synced from Jira or Tempo.

Advantage: This gives you both up-to-date access to complete cost information and related features such as plan/actual comparisons, earned value KPIs and charts, and automated cost-based traffic lights for Jira projects.

STEP 8: Project & Portfolio Controlling

ONEPOINT aggregates all project-relevant information from Jira and combines it with other essential data that cannot be stored in the Jira database schema. The integration allows you to use all of ONEPOINT's controlling tools for Jira.

  • Get Earned Value charts and bubble chart visualizations
  • Include dates, effort, and costs plan/actual comparisons
  • Monitor milestones in your project plan and enable milestone trend analysis

Portfolio-Dashboard-Software-by-ONEPOINT-Projects Figure 17: Portfolio Dashboard in ONEPOINT Projects

Advantage: All automated traffic lights (general, resources, costs, dates) trigger based on Jira-synced actual and progress information. And, of course, even ONEPOINT's portfolio controlling views (status, progress, plan/actuals, dates, pipeline) and dynamic project criteria are recalculated using progress information from Jira and Tempo.

Project Status Report Software by ONEPOINT Projects Figure 18: Status report in ONEPOINT

STEP 9: Status Reporting

Project controlling alone is typically not enough for a well-managed project. You also need to do explicit, periodic status reporting to ensure that your project stays on track.

The status report provides guidance through info about the project's progress, issues, and necessary decisions, as well as the short-term forecast. The customizable reports allow you to:

  • Comment on automatic traffic lights and milestones
  • Adjust manual traffic lights and control billable hours
  • Print or send it as a PDF to use it for meetings

Once you submit a status report, the progress information is automatically historicized. It works similar to a project plan version that documents plan changes.

Advantage: The fact that each Sprint should (ideally) deliver a potentially shippable product increment makes the end of a Sprint a perfect time for submitting a status report since it marks a consistent point in time regarding project progress and the status of deliverables.

ONEPOINT allows you to simply synchronize your controlling cycle duration with your default Sprint duration.

STEP 10: Project Closure as an Opportunity

Finally, projects end sooner or later: they are completed, or they get canceled. You can close projects in two ways:

  • Enter a closure date and comment
  • Submit a standards-based closure status report

The project closure status report allows you to easily document best practices and lessons learned using closure comments without additional administrative overhead.

Project Closure Report Software by ONEPOINT Projects Figure 19: Project closure report

Advantage: You can create a project closure report based on actual data synced from Jira with the press of a button - complete with optional closure comments you may have provided.

This way, you can document lessons learned that will be incorporated into future (Jira) projects.

SUMMARY: Project Planning with Jira & ONEPOINT

Agile and traditional project management is no contradiction; they need each other and benefit from each other.

There is no need to choose between an agile approach that benefits IT teams or a more traditional framework that provides accurate data for informed decisions.

  • Developers and engineers do not have any additional work or new tools to learn.
  • Project and team members still get all the information they need in real-time.
  • Even management dashboards are kept automatically up-to-date and provide valuable insights.

ONEPOINT Projects and Jira form a perfect symbiosis, closing gaps in the project portfolio process and leveraging their strengths.

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