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Atlassian Releases Portfolio for JIRA 2.0

| by Ben Linders Follow 29 Followers on Jun 09, 2016. Estimated reading time: 4 minutes |

Atlassian’s new release of Portfolio for JIRA features real-time portfolio planning. Team work is automatically synchronized with the release plan by pulling team and project data from JIRA into the product portfolio plan.

Version 2.0 of Atlassian’s agile portfolio-management tool is seamlessly integrated with JIRA Software. Portfolio planning is done using up-to-date information from teams, and team work can be prioritized using release information from the portfolio plan, making it easier for teams and decision makers to work together when planning and managing projects.

Portfolio for JIRA 2.0 uses a new integration model with dynamic data loading. You use a set-up wizard to connect a portfolio plan to the work of teams in JIRA. You no longer need to manually import and export data between the tools.

InfoQ spoke with Martin Suntinger, principal product manager for Portfolio at Atlassian.

InfoQ: What’s new in Portfolio for JIRA 2.0?

Martin Suntinger: Portfolio for JIRA extends the capabilities of Atlassian’s flagship product JIRA. The key change in Portfolio for JIRA 2.0 is a new integration model. When we launched Portfolio for JIRA 1.x, teams and decision makers alike loved its planning capabilities and appreciated having a unified view across projects – all directly from within JIRA. But while the previous integration model offered teams a lot of flexibility in planning, importing data was a manual process, which meant plans and reality sometimes fell out of sync.

Portfolio for JIRA 2.0 unifies and streamlines development planning from beginning to end with integration tailor-made for the specifics of JIRA. Portfolio plans are now dynamically connected to JIRA, which means they’re always up to date and automatically integrated with teams’ current work. This means real-time visibility across teams and projects for all members.

At the same time, Portfolio for JIRA 2.0 continues to offer the benefits of "what if" planning. Teams can quickly make planning changes and model different "what if" scenarios, but only commit those changes to JIRA when they’re ready. Combined with the power of Portfolio for JIRA’s existing scheduling algorithm, teams can make faster prioritization and trade-off decisions where everyone understands the impact, with a one-click commit to put those decisions to action.

InfoQ: Why did you decide to do a main release of Portfolio for JIRA instead of a 1.xx release?

Suntinger: Based on the feedback from 1.x and thousands of customers, we redesigned Portfolio from the ground up to make the integration with JIRA as seamless and as fast as possible. We know from the beta that this significantly changes the way teams plan, with a seamless handover from planning in Portfolio to execution in JIRA, alongside up-to-date reporting.

InfoQ: Can you give an example that shows how to deliver software in releases with Portfolio for JIRA when multiple teams and product owners have to work together?

Suntinger: Some of the biggest challenges we’ve seen when it comes to multiple teams and product owners working together include agreeing on priorities amongst backlogs and shared priorities, coordinating dependencies, and keeping everyone informed in case things don’t go to plan.

Take, for example, an organization that builds mobile apps on top of a shared platform. If a new initiative comes up to allow processing promotional offers inside the apps, significant work will be required by many teams, from back-end teams to billing teams to teams that own the apps on different mobile platforms. Each team will likely have its own projects in JIRA.

Portfolio allows organizations to define cross-project releases, and plan and forecast a joint delivery date across all the projects. This is key not only for planning, but also to see directly if the joint date is at risk (I can imagine other stakeholders will be very interested in this!). Then, as each team breaks down the work into separate work items on their backlogs, they can model dependencies between those work items. The automatic scheduling will factor them into the forecast so each team gets a clear picture of when they’ll have other teams’ work ready for integration, and if that aligns with each product owner’s current backlog.

InfoQ: How can you use Portfolio for JIRA when doing continuous delivery?

Suntinger: Even with continuous delivery, the challenges of visibility and coordination across teams don’t disappear. Whilst smaller product increments are shipped frequently, there is still a need for planning around bigger initiatives and coordinating deliverables across teams that require integration.

Based on our customers using Portfolio and practicing continuous delivery with multiple releases per day, really the only shift we see is that the concept of "releases" in Portfolio is rather used for bigger milestones or for important markers on the timeline (such as months or quarters), so teams can align their higher-level plans whilst shipping away day to day.

Portfolio for JIRA 2.0 is available for existing and new customers. Suntinger will give Webinars about Portfolio for JIRA 2.0 on June 30 and July 1. The Portfolio for JIRA product page provides information on the tool and describes how to use it with JIRA.

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