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The Trouble with Jira – TAG 2019

Agile conferences, blogs, twitter – wherever lean and agile people come together it is easy to stir up a tumult with emotions running high just by mentioning Jira. But why is there always such a strong reaction? Is it the quality of the tool? Not in my experience. The problem lies in the actual adoption in many organizations and – to be fair –similar points could be made about other tools as well. This talk will look into the systemic, sociological and organizational issues that make (some) of us wince each time we hear that our clients use Jira. And it will show how to deal with these issues! This is not meant to be a Jira bashing session, but a talk that aims to provide actual guidance for all agile initiatives challenged with centrally administered systems. After this talk participants will know (more) about - A better –and more objective– understanding on why so many people in the lean and agile communities object the usage of Jira - Some Approaches to succeeding with lean and agile initiatives despite centrally administered ticketing systems like the one mentioned in the title

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Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg
The trouble with Jira
1
Michael Mahlberg – Oktober 2019
Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 2
Source:Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trouble_with_Harry#/media/File:The_Trouble_with_Harry.jpg
JIRA
Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 3
This talk might not agree with Jira-haters
and challenge some precious misconceptions
ADVISORY
G E N E R A L
N o J i r a B a s h i n g
Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 4
Quelle:ThomasEpping,persönlicheKommunikation,2019
Team
Process
Company
Community
Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg
The Specialist
Specialist know-how and rights
Centralised administration
5
Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 6
True Story…
Physical board March 2017
(5Teams ~ 40 People)
Centrally administered tool
3 Month until this version
was available electronically
Flow-Efficiency:
1,3% …

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The Trouble with Jira – TAG 2019

  • 1. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg The trouble with Jira 1 Michael Mahlberg – Oktober 2019
  • 2. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 2 Source:Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Trouble_with_Harry#/media/File:The_Trouble_with_Harry.jpg JIRA
  • 3. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 3 This talk might not agree with Jira-haters and challenge some precious misconceptions ADVISORY G E N E R A L N o J i r a B a s h i n g
  • 4. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 4 Quelle:ThomasEpping,persönlicheKommunikation,2019 Team Process Company Community
  • 5. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg The Specialist Specialist know-how and rights Centralised administration 5
  • 6. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 6 True Story… Physical board March 2017 (5Teams ~ 40 People) Centrally administered tool 3 Month until this version was available electronically Flow-Efficiency: 1,3% …
  • 7. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 7 The means of production belong in the hands of the people who actually do the work. (paraphrased of course)
  • 8. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 8
  • 9. Slide #2013 Michael Mahlberg PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE AGILE MANIFESTO - Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
 through early and continuous delivery
 of valuable software. - Welcome changing requirements, even late in 
 development.Agile processes harness change for 
 the customer's competitive advantage. - Deliver working software frequently, from a 
 couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a 
 preference to the shorter timescale. - Business people and developers must work 
 together daily throughout the project. - Build projects around motivated individuals. 
 Give them the environment and support they need, 
 and trust them to get the job done. - The most efficient and effective method of 
 conveying information to and within a development 
 team is face-to-face conversation. - Working software is the primary measure of progress. - Agile processes promote sustainable development. 
 The sponsors, developers, and users should be able 
 to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. - Continuous attention to technical excellence 
 and good design enhances agility. - Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount 
 of work not done--is essential. - The best architectures, requirements, and designs 
 emerge from self-organizing teams. - At regular intervals, the team reflects on how 
 to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts 
 its behavior accordingly. 9
  • 10. Slide #2013 Michael Mahlberg PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE AGILE MANIFESTO - Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
 through early and continuous delivery
 of valuable software. - Welcome changing requirements, even late in 
 development.Agile processes harness change for 
 the customer's competitive advantage. - Deliver working software frequently, from a 
 couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a 
 preference to the shorter timescale. - Business people and developers must work 
 together daily throughout the project. - Build projects around motivated individuals. 
 Give them the environment and support they need, 
 and trust them to get the job done. - The most efficient and effective method of 
 conveying information to and within a development 
 team is face-to-face conversation. - Working software is the primary measure of progress. - Agile processes promote sustainable development. 
 The sponsors, developers, and users should be able 
 to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. - Continuous attention to technical excellence 
 and good design enhances agility. - Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount 
 of work not done--is essential. - The best architectures, requirements, and designs 
 emerge from self-organizing teams. - At regular intervals, the team reflects on how 
 to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts 
 its behavior accordingly. 10
  • 11. Slide #2013 Michael Mahlberg PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE AGILE MANIFESTO 11 -At regular intervals, the team reflects on how 
 to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts 
 its behavior accordingly.
  • 12. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 12
  • 13. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 13
  • 14. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 14
  • 15. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 15
  • 16. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 16
  • 17. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 17
  • 18. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 18
  • 19. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Two weeks later 19
  • 20. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 20
  • 21. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 21 True Story… Physical board March 2017 (5Teams ~ 40 People) Centrally administered tool 3 Month until this version was available electronically Flow-Efficiency: 1,3% …
  • 22. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 22 T r o u b l e R e m e d y Use a physical board for the details Use a higher level of abstraction in the tool Have an administrator on every team Loss of adaptability
  • 23. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 23 Quelle:ThomasEpping,persönlicheKommunikation,2019 Process Company Community
  • 24. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Sharing is caring? Processes & Work ItemTypes 24
  • 25. Slide #2013 Michael Mahlberg PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE AGILE MANIFESTO - Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer
 through early and continuous delivery
 of valuable software. - Welcome changing requirements, even late in 
 development.Agile processes harness change for 
 the customer's competitive advantage. - Deliver working software frequently, from a 
 couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a 
 preference to the shorter timescale. - Business people and developers must work 
 together daily throughout the project. - Build projects around motivated individuals. 
 Give them the environment and support they need, 
 and trust them to get the job done. - The most efficient and effective method of 
 conveying information to and within a development 
 team is face-to-face conversation. - Working software is the primary measure of progress. - Agile processes promote sustainable development. 
 The sponsors, developers, and users should be able 
 to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. - Continuous attention to technical excellence 
 and good design enhances agility. - Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount 
 of work not done--is essential. - The best architectures, requirements, and designs 
 emerge from self-organizing teams. - At regular intervals, the team reflects on how 
 to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts 
 its behavior accordingly. 25
  • 26. Slide #2013 Michael Mahlberg PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE AGILE MANIFESTO -Build projects around motivated individuals. 
 Give them the environment and support they need, 
 and trust them to get the job done. -[…] -The best architectures, requirements, and designs 
 emerge from self-organizing teams. - 26
  • 27. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 27 40 teams 2 week iterations 2 changes related to process or work item definition per iteration (fostered by the process improvement meeting at the end of each iteration) 15 Minutes to describe the change 15 Minutes to understand it 15 Minutes to implement it. 40(teams) / 2(weeks) * 2 (changes) => 40 Changes per week 30 hours implementing changes not feasible 3 People in admin team Just some assumptions – real life data might be worse
  • 28. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 28 Why is it not feasible? - Overhead for information sharing between admins - Overhead for “re-learning” the specifics of the model
  • 29. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 29Source: Google Image Search 2019-10-15
  • 30. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 30
  • 31. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 31
  • 32. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 32
  • 33. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 33
  • 34. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 34
  • 35. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 35 Why is it not feasible? - Overhead for information sharing between admins - Overhead for “re-learning” the specifics of the model - Changes would queue up and admins would become the bottleneck for the teams Team 1 2 3 4 (not to scale) (retrospective) (change)
  • 36. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Enter: Economy of scale 36 This is an Anti-Pattern
  • 37. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Let’s have fewer models And specialized teams to find the best process-models 37 This is an Anti-Pattern
  • 38. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 38 This is an Anti-Pattern The actual team (doing the work) The way they work Process-team (observing and optimizing) Admin-team (executing what the process team deems right) The implemented process The gap produced by “chinese whispers” and time passing
  • 39. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 39 T r o u b l e R e m e d y Loss of autonomy Loss of adaptability Have an administrator on every team Use only very few shared objects In case of Jira: allow “Simplified Workflow” Use a physical board for the details Use a higher level of abstraction in the tool Have an administrator on every team
  • 40. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg In the beginning… Once upon a time, Jira was a bug-tracker… 40
  • 41. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg What is Jira, actually? 41
  • 42. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 42 Bugzilla
  • 43. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Jira was an Issue-Tracker, too 43
  • 44. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Jey-ra vs. Jee-ra [/ˈdʒaɪˈrə/] [/ˈdʒiːrə/] 44
  • 45. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 45 Source:Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godzilla#/media/File:Godzilla_1954-2014_incarnations.jpg
  • 46. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Then came GreenHopper About 2007 46
  • 47. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 47 Source: https://wiki.base22.com/btg/agile-or-no-agile-greenhopper-s-good-for-jira-34963523.html
  • 48. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Later GreenHopper became JiraAgile 48
  • 49. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Workflow-Engine with biomechanical actuators 49
  • 50. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg This applies to almost all electronic ticket systems 50
  • 51. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg People are actuators? or at least that’s how the systems treat them as opposed to People define their own process … constantly 51
  • 52. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 52 Quelle:ThomasEpping,persönlicheKommunikation,2019 Company Community
  • 53. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Individuals & interactions Assigning someone a JiraTicket over… 53
  • 54. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 54
  • 55. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 55
  • 56. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 56
  • 57. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 57 T r o u b l e R e m e d y Loss of autonomy Loss of adaptability Have an administrator on every team Use only very few shared objects In case of Jira: allow “Simplified Workflow” Use a physical board for the details Use a higher level of abstraction in the tool Have an administrator on every team
  • 58. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 58 T r o u b l e R e m e d y Loss of autonomy Loss of adaptability Have an administrator on every team Use only very few shared objects In case of Jira: allow “Simplified Workflow” Use a physical board for the details Use a higher level of abstraction in the tool Have an administrator on every team Loss of motivation Avoid using the tool a primary means of communication. Use it to capture
 agreements between people.
  • 59. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Visual Management Boards are used to drive self-organization by displaying relevant information (Layout et. al. & functionality) 59
  • 60. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 60 Electronic boards: - … are endless (it makes no difference whether there are two or twohundred items below the edge of the screen) - … usually don’t support free-hand placement of items and/or lanes - … allow for multiple viewpoints (People see the world differently) (Worst offender: Quickfilter “my tickets only”) - … tend to contain too much information
  • 61. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 61
  • 62. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 62 T r o u b l e R e m e d y Loss of autonomy Loss of adaptability Have an administrator on every team Use only very few shared objects In case of Jira: allow “Simplified Workflow” Use a physical board for the details Use a higher level of abstraction in the tool Have an administrator on every team Loss of motivation Avoid using the tool a primary means of communication. Use it to capture
 agreements between people.
  • 63. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 63 T r o u b l e R e m e d y Loss of autonomy Loss of adaptability Have an administrator on every team Use only very few shared objects In case of Jira: allow “Simplified Workflow” Use a physical board for the details Use a higher level of abstraction in the tool Have an administrator on every team Loss of motivation Avoid using the tool a primary means of communication. Use it to capture
 agreements between people. Loss of flexibility and visibility Use physical boards and/or be creative (e.g. use multiple displays for swimlanes visualize critical data only, etc.)
  • 64. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 64 Quelle:ThomasEpping,persönlicheKommunikation,2019 Company Community
  • 65. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Subverting the Community The tool subverts the efforts of the community => Kanban Board => Epic 65
  • 66. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Let’s look at Kanban as an Example 66
  • 67. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Let’s look at Kanban as an Example 67
  • 68. Slide #2018 Michael Mahlberg Fundamental assumption about Vizualizition 68 The intelligence is in front of the Board —— Simon Kühn Limited WIP Society Köln 2012
  • 69. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 69 T r o u b l e R e m e d y Loss of autonomy Loss of adaptability Have an administrator on every team Use only very few shared objects In case of Jira: allow “Simplified Workflow” Use a physical board for the details Use a higher level of abstraction in the tool Have an administrator on every team Loss of motivation Avoid using the tool a primary means of communication. Use it to capture
 agreements between people. Loss of flexibility and visibility Use physical boards and/or be creative (e.g. use multiple displays for swimlanes visualize critical data only, etc.) Loss of initiative Don’t follow the tool, have communities of practice and external exchanges – a lot!
  • 70. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg It’s all in the cards Jira used as a requirement & documentation tool 70
  • 71. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 71
  • 72. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 72 As returning visitor of the site, I want the system to recognize me unmaskingly, so that I actually can order the articles in my basket even weeks after my last visit. As returning visitor of the site, I want the system to recognize me unmaskingly, so that I actually can order the articles in my basket even weeks after my last visit. As returning visitor of the site, I want the system to recognize me unmaskingly, so that I actually can order the articles in my basket even weeks after my last visit. As returning visitor of the site, Iwant the system to recognize meunmaskingly, so that I actually canorder the articles in my basket evenweeks after my last visit. As returning visitor of the site, I want the system to recognize me unmaskingly, so that I actually can order the articles in my basket even weeks after my last visit. As returning visitor of the site, I want the system to recognize me unmaskingly, so that I actually can order the articles in my basket even weeks after my last visit. As returning visitor of the site, I want the system to recognize me unmaskingly, so that I actually can order the articles in my basket even weeks after my last visit. As returning visitor of the site, I want the system to recognize me unmaskingly, so that I actually can order the articles in my basket even weeks after my last visit. As returning visitor of the site, I want the system to recognize me unmaskingly, so that I actually can order the articles in my basket even weeks after my last visit. As returning visitor of the site, I want the system to recognize me unmaskingly, so that I actually can order the articles in my basket even weeks after my last visit.
  • 73. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 73 T r o u b l e R e m e d y Loss of autonomy Loss of adaptability Have an administrator on every team Use only very few shared objects In case of Jira: allow “Simplified Workflow” Use a physical board for the details Use a higher level of abstraction in the tool Have an administrator on every team Loss of motivation Avoid using the tool a primary means of communication. Use it to capture
 agreements between people. Loss of flexibility and visibility Use physical boards and/or be creative (e.g. use multiple displays for swimlanes visualize critical data only, etc.) Loss of initiative Don’t follow the tool, have communities of practice and external exchanges – a lot!
  • 74. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 74 T r o u b l e R e m e d y Loss of autonomy Loss of adaptability Have an administrator on every team Use only very few shared objects In case of Jira: allow “Simplified Workflow” Use a physical board for the details Use a higher level of abstraction in the tool Have an administrator on every team Loss of motivation Avoid using the tool a primary means of communication. Use it to capture agreements between people. Loss of flexibility and visibility Use physical boards and/or be creative (e.g. use multiple displays for swimlanes visualize critical data only, etc.) Loss of initiative Don’t follow the tool, have communities of practice and external exchanges – a lot! Loss of knowedge Use other tools for documentation and link to them! includes education, training, permissions, autonomy, etc
  • 75. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Recap Troubles and Remedies 75
  • 76. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Working in a post agile world is… Local decisions (governed by negotiated policies) Adaptive development processes Teams change process all the time 76
  • 77. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg At regular intervals, the team reflects on how 
 to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts 
 its behavior accordingly. Quote from the Manifesto for Agile Software Development 77
  • 78. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Centrally administered workflows don’t agree with self organized teams 78
  • 79. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg During each Sprint Retrospective, the […] Team plans ways to increase product quality by improving work processes […] Quote from the Scrum-Guide 79
  • 80. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Depending on external “mechanics” subverts the idea of local process improvements 80
  • 81. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Agree to pursue improvement through evolutionary change. Quoting the second principle of change management of the Kanban method 81
  • 82. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Evolutionary change needs experiments – hard to do with centralized artifacts 82
  • 83. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 83 The means of production belong in the hands of the people who actually do the work. (paraphrased of course)
  • 84. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Let The Tool do what The Tool does best Use The Tool (e.g. Jira) to capture data, but Use physical boards for communication 84
  • 85. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg 85 T r o u b l e R e m e d y Loss of autonomy Loss of adaptability Have an administrator on every team Use only very few shared objects In case of Jira: allow “Simplified Workflow” Use a physical board for the details Use a higher level of abstraction in the tool Have an administrator on every team Loss of motivation Avoid using the tool a primary means of communication. Use it to capture agreements between people. Loss of flexibility and visibility Use physical boards and/or be creative (e.g. use multiple displays for swimlanes visualize critical data only, etc.) Loss of initiative Don’t follow the tool, have communities of practice and external exchanges – a lot! Loss of knowedge Use other tools for documentation and link to them! includes education, training, permissions, autonomy, etc
  • 86. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Questions? 86
  • 87. Slide #2019 Michael Mahlberg Contact Information 87 If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me via mail at: mm@michaelmahlberg.com You can also find me on Twitter as MMahlberg I blog on http://agile-aspects.michaelmahlberg.com My homepage is http://www.michaelmahlberg.de