So here is the thing: a lot of companies use Jira, but only some of them do it right, why is that?
I have a story to tell. We have just introduced Jira as a core system, and it took us 6 months, not counting conceptual phase. The story is long, and it is not possible to make it short. If you ask me if I am satisfied with result, I would say: “Yes – but it could be better!”. Here is the list of most important lessons learned
If you want a change, it means that existing tools don’t support your business needs enough. You start to look for alternatives in the market, you discover Jira and you wonder if it is the best solution.
The first thing that you should do is to answer this question:
“Why and what to change?” – Identify reason, goal and constraints, and then list all tools that are used in your company with their purposes. Then analyze if Jira is able to replace them. Does it really solve the problem? Will you achieve your goal?
Ancient Greece or Roman Empire?
Here is next question: “How to change?”, and this is the biggest challenge. The change needs to be supported by each level of your organization. It is not enough to force change from management level when employees do not recognize a need for change. You will destroy people morale and fail. On the other hand you have a VISION and VALUES that drive the way you manage business. I am sure that in this case democracy will not work and I am afraid that hegemony too. Guide towards the goal.
Try to run survey and identify people willing to accept it freely, and those that will not support change at all. Then invite all representatives of functional areas to discuss about future, which processes need to change and what would be their DESIGNED shape. Those discussions I call CONCEPTUAL phase, and depending on situation it can take several months.
During this phase you have to understand what Jira is, and what are it’s limitations. It is hard believe me!
It doesn’t matter what you do, at the end it all comes to people. Brilliant ideas, visions and initiatives needs a LEADER! Someone who WANTS to take responsibility for that change, and will be capable of fighting for the IDEA till the end. I think that in the beginning the team should consist of:
- Project Manager (keeping all efforts in sync)
- Business Analyst (a person having knowledge about company processes and procedures)
- Technical Architect (once there is a need to interface several systems, TA is a must)
- IT Jira Administrator (someone involved since beginning, need to understand how business decisions correlates with technical possibilities of the tool)
- Change Control Board – at some moment in time its role is crucial for progressing
- Project Management Support – without support PM will be lost in searching data and processing them
- Someone from communication team – to make sure that information about progress and status goes widely to the whole organization
- External consultant knowing Jira stuff
Simple is king
The most valuable lesson I found is: “Keep things simple”.
Although I see advantage in data collection and sophisticate reporting (really don’t want to harm some of my friends here…), I think that it would be much easier to maintain system, educate employees and control data sanity if we keep simple things simple.
By the way, don’t you think that when you replace word “Jira” with other name, lessons learned still apply?
If you would like to know more details please let me know. Ideally I would continue this subject in areas that are beneficial to you upon your request.