When organizations opt for scaling their agile practices, they acknowledge the possibility of some disruption. Introducing a new enterprise platform to back scaling and synchronize strategy with execution can present additional challenges. However, at Eficode, we thrive on transforming these challenges into opportunities for our clients. We recently partnered with a company, referred to here as Demant, to do just that.

A non-traditional approach

Instead of adopting Atlassian’s Jira Align after launching one or two Agile Release Trains (ARTs), Eficode guided Demant in the simultaneous implementation of Agile scaling and Jira Align. This non-traditional approach, while challenging, has already yielded tangible benefits and continues to do so as we drive their transformation.

To successfully undertake this project, we had to answer a critical question: How do you integrate new ways of working into Jira Align when the ART is just beginning to form, and the teams within it have never functioned as a team of teams? At Eficode, we harnessed our expertise and resources to make this possible for Demant.

Jira Align implementation collaborating with SAFe coaches

The objective was explicit: leverage Jira Align to aid in preparing and launching their first ARTs and Program Increment (PI). To achieve this, we adjusted the implementation of Jira Align to harmonize with the evolving practices of the team. Our collaboration with the SAFe coaches was instrumental in gathering essential information for configuring Jira Align to support their practices during the preparation period and the PI itself.

During this process, we made several strategic decisions that benefited Demant in the short term and ensured the successful kick-off of their first PI with Jira Align. These decisions included:

  1. Establishing New Team Identities in Jira: We created new Jira projects and boards for each team and made clear decisions regarding their functioning as scrum or Kanban teams. This enabled seamless integration with Jira Align and a swift shift to new working methods.
  2. Refining the Backlog in Jira Align: We positioned all the backlog preparation work for the upcoming PI in Jira Align, saving PMs from duplicated efforts and promoting transparency. This also allowed team members to gain hands-on experience with Jira Align, building their confidence in using the platform.
  3. Distributing Jira Align Administrators Within and Outside the ART: We selected a team of individuals, both from within and external to the ART, with robust Jira admin skills. Having more administrators from the start meant that the day-to-day needs of the ART could be met more efficiently, setting the stage for successful future onboardings.
  4. Including External Teams in the Initial Jira Align Implementation: We decided to include certain external teams in the initial Jira Align implementation plan to manage dependencies across the ART better. This allowed us to map dependencies across the business unit, providing valuable insights and helping improve the workflow.

Real-time visualization in Jira Align

By the end of the project, Demant's first PI was launched on time, and they could visualize the outcomes of their efforts in real-time through Jira Align. As a result of the success of their first PI, Demant decided to incorporate aspects of the above decisions into their onboarding process for each new ART with Jira Align.

Adopting a new agile framework and Jira Align simultaneously can be daunting. However, with the right partner and strategic decisions, it can also be an opportunity to significantly scale your agile practices and successfully adopt Jira Align throughout your organization. At Eficode, we're proud to have enabled Demant to realize this potential.