Curious to learn how to use advanced roadmaps in Jira software? Keep reading!
An advanced roadmap is a feature in Jira Software Cloud that allows you to combine projects, boards, and filters in a comprehensive, visual plan.
Product managers use advanced roadmaps in Jira to gauge project progress across multiple teams, manage project priorities, and come up with release dates based on the team’s performance throughout the roadmap. Advanced roadmaps also enable project heads to explore, compare, and contrast multiple variations and possibilities that exist in a project, thus allowing for rapid-yet-concise experimentation.
This article dives into the various ways in which product managers use advanced roadmaps in Jira to practice effective product management.
5 Ways to Use Advanced Roadmaps in Jira Software
In this article, we discuss five ways that product managers leverage Jira software to assist them during the product management process.
Let’s examine each one in closer detail.
Manage Team Workflow
Advanced roadmaps are a favorite tool among product manager Jira Software users because they allow them to keep track of the product team’s efforts throughout every stage of the product lifecycle. As planning tools, an advanced roadmap represents a high-level visualization feature that merges the activity of the product team with a project’s respective milestones, key results, and wider initiatives.
With just one click, advanced roadmaps in Jira allow product managers to see the big picture for their project, understand how teams contribute to it, and, in turn, identify those teams that are excelling versus those that are underperforming.
Hierarchies are a key feature within the advanced roadmaps that facilitate effective team and workflow management. These are levels that dictate the amount of detail seen in a particular facet of a project and how it relates to the other elements within the same project:
- Epic: An epic is a type of hierarchy made up of several elements such as tasks, bugs, and stories. Within the context of an advanced roadmap, epics constitute a large chunk of a milestone.
- Bug, story, or task: Bugs, stories, and tasks are cues that a team has a pending item that they must attend to. These items are important to nip in the bud because they prevent the team from making progress.
- Subtask: A subtask is an item of work that a team has to do to complete a larger task.
Epics, bugs, stories, tasks, and subtasks, along with all other features within Jira Software advanced roadmaps, make it easier for product managers to manage workflow, set expectations, and hit their deliverables.
Identify Project Issue Sources
Jia Software’s advanced roadmaps also allow you to pinpoint, categorize, and refine issue sources that crop up in a project.
Issues represent tasks, bugs, and other types of work that a team must handle during the course of the project. In turn, issue sources serve to figure out the data that Jira Software uses to map out the problems the team must solve and build a plan to solve those problems.
From a product manager’s perspective, identifying issue sources is critical to working on issues as it provides more context on the problem that the team must solve and, as a result, work to resolve them.
Product managers access issue sources when they start to create a plan with Jira Software. In doing so, advanced roadmaps provide PMs with three different options for issue sources. These are as follows:
- Boards (Kanban or Scrum): Boards are those that record issues linked to a team’s progress throughout the project. The data collected in these boards inform product managers of a team’s performance or lack thereof. Boards are either Kanban or Scrum. Kanban boards appeal to teams who have a continuous workflow. Scrum boards are for teams who work on one iteration or sprint at a time.
- Projects: Projects consist of issues that correspond to a given deliverable or objective. Examples of these include features or complete products.
- Filters: Filters are issues that deal with queries in Jira Software.
Product managers then have the option to refine those issue sources by way of exclusion rules. These allow PMs to visualize only the most relevant issue sources. In cases where you have several issue sources, this function makes it easier to cut through the noise and organize efforts to target only what you perceive to be necessary at a given point in time.
Facilitate Better Collaboration
Apart from helping to manage team workflow, Jira Software’s advanced roadmaps also help product managers foster better collaborative efforts among product team members. One of the many features that permits this is the ‘Teams’ functionality made available through this tool.
Since product managers have the option to weave issues into the roadmap, the ‘Teams’ feature enables you to organize workflow by teams and then assign tasks based on each one’s bandwidth.
Product and project managers alike are the ones who spearhead all collaboration efforts among teams and their individual members. Prioritizing tasks and ensuring each one’s assignment to teams based on their bandwidth is a strategic pillar of the team management process that project heads must take into account when planning the roadmap. It is through effective collaboration among team members that product managers drive key decision-making processes within a cross-functional plan.
That said, it’s important to note that the ‘Teams’ function is not visible on Jira Software’s default user interface. Instead, you must enable the feature from the issue source linked to the project you’re working on.
Experimentation and Hypothesis Validation
Jira Software advanced roadmaps’ unique build and software design are such that roadmap data operates in a sandbox environment.
This is one of the most important features of this tool because, with it, the sky is the limit when it comes to testing, experimentation, validation, and conducting comparative analysis for roadmap success.
‘Scenarios’ is the feature that makes this possible. With it, product managers have the chance to venture down paths for milestone and roadmap completion that are contrary to the agreed-upon plan.
This is critical for several reasons:
- It allows product managers to explore alternative solutions to a single problem and make a judgment as to what the best course of action is.
- It enables PMs to cross-check and validate or discard hypotheses they have about a particular initiative.
- It facilitates better planning through experimentation while minimizing the risk associated with product management.
Simplifies Release Management
One of Jira Software advanced roadmap’s most recognizable features that attract product managers is its ability to manage releases.
Releases are milestones ascribed to a product roadmap that signal a period where the product team must terminate a batch of tasks. Releases take various forms. In some cases, a release is a software update for end-users. In other instances, releases are incremental upgrades in a given program.
Managing a release is one of the most challenging parts of the product management process. One wrong move spells disaster, yet there is so much uncertainty about the release itself that the task in and of itself is prone to failure. After all, no two releases are equal.
Jira Software allows you to create and manage two types of releases. These are:
- Single-project release: A single-project release refers to a single release in a given project.
- Cross-project release: A cross-project release is a compilation of several single-project releases.
Advanced roadmaps seek to simplify that process. Product managers have the option to choose releases and their corresponding dates when creating their roadmap. In doing so, you use exclusion rules to adjust and manage those releases as you see fit.
Using advanced roadmaps in Jira Software is not complicated.
While the software does offer several functionalities and features, a product manager’s doesn’t have to experience difficulty making the most of this tool.
Use this guide to inform your understanding of the plethora of possibilities this tool affords you to better manage your work process and lay the foundation for product success.