As organizations continue to adopt agile ways of working, the need for robust project management tools that support iterative development has grown tremendously. Jira Align stands out as one of the most fully-featured agile project management platforms available today.
Jira Align provides teams with the capabilities they need to plan, track, and deliver successful projects using agile methodologies. It is designed to scale from small teams up to large enterprises with thousands of users. The tool integrates seamlessly with Atlassian’s popular Jira Software issue tracking system, allowing development teams to maintain visibility and coordinate work across projects.
Key features and benefits of Jira Align
Agile Project Planning and Tracking
Jira Align enables agile teams to break down projects into manageable iterations and plan sprints or releases in advance. Teams can define user stories, create visual boards to organize work, and estimate effort using story points or hours. As work progresses, the tool tracks burn-down charts so teams can monitor progress and identify potential roadblocks.
For larger projects, Jira Align supports grouping user stories into epics and initiatives. Portfolio-level views aggregate information from multiple teams and projects to provide executives with visibility into strategic programs. Teams can model dependencies between initiatives to coordinate delivery timelines.
Jira Align allows teams to configure workflows to match their specific development process. Workflows model the progression of work from new ideas to completed user stories. Teams can customize states, transitions, assignments, and approvals to fit their way of working.
For example, a software team might define states like “To Do”, “In Progress”, “Code Review”, “Testing”, and “Done”. Workflow rules can require peer review and QA testing before transitioning a story to the “Done” state. These guardrails help ensure compliance with the team’s process policies.
Integrations with Jira Software and Other Tools
Out of the box, Jira Align integrates with Jira Software to synchronize projects, initiatives, stories, issues, and other data. This connects planning with development tickets and helps maintain traceability from strategic plans down to day-to-day tasks. Bidirectional sync ensures updates in either system are reflected in the other.
Jira Align also integrates with Confluence for collaborative documentation and provides connectors for other popular dev tools like GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, and more. APIs and webhooks allow building custom integrations and syncing data with external systems.
Shared Understanding of Priorities
Visual boards and roadmaps in Jira Align provide transparency into planned work and timelines. Teams can see which initiatives have been prioritized for upcoming sprints or releases. Progress bars and burn-down charts communicate real-time status, so there are no surprises about what is on track versus delayed.
Executives gain visibility into all planned projects across departments. Leadership can quickly identify conflicts and alignment issues so resources are optimized according to strategic priorities.
What-If Scenario Planning
Jira Align supports flexible, iterative planning methods like agile. Teams can model multiple delivery scenarios to explore different timing options and tradeoffs. Initiative timelines and team assignments can be adjusted to reflect changing priorities or feedback from stakeholders.
Teams can copy plans to create versions for comparison to understand the downstream impacts of changes. This makes it easy to experiment with different scenarios and determine the optimal delivery roadmap.
Real-Time Team Collaboration
Comments, @mentions, and seamless Confluence integration enable real-time collaboration within Jira Align. Stakeholders can provide feedback on plans and have discussions right in the tool.
Program managers can pull in subject matter experts when clarifying requirements or evaluating resource tradeoffs. Team members can easily communicate blockers when unexpected issues threaten to delay deliverables.
Executive Roll-ups and Dashboards
For executives and portfolio managers, Jira Align aggregates data from departmental programs into high-level views. Initiative health dashboards roll up cross-project statistics like budget vs actual costs, completion status, and milestones achieved.
Customizable dashboards can be configured to display key metrics relevant to different leaders or departments. Interactive filters allow drilling down into details as needed.
Product and technology roadmaps help plan and communicate upcoming releases or capabilities to stakeholders. Jira Align provides purpose-built roadmapping capabilities for long-range planning.
Product managers can map strategic themes to roadmap initiatives, define goals and outcomes, and model dependencies between feature sets. Roadmaps extend beyond single projects to provide a coordinated view across all products and departments.
Scales from Teams up to the Enterprise
Jira Align scales agile on two dimensions:
- Project size – Supports small collocated teams to large multi-team programs and portfolios
- Organization size – From several team instances up to thousands of users across global enterprises
Cloud deployment streamlines setup without the need to provision infrastructure. A hub-based model allows uniting multiple team instances under a central portfolio view. Large organizations can segment departments or business units into separate hubs while still providing executives with aggregated visibility.
Jira Align’s robust role-based access control allows modeling enterprise hierarchies and permissions. Portfolio viewers, for example, may have read-only access to plans, while scrum masters can edit their team backlogs. Sophisticated security rules enable managing access across global companies.
ROI and Business Impact
Multiple research studies have found that companies achieve significant ROI and business impact by leveraging Jira Align’s capabilities:
- A commissioned Total Economic Impact study found that common benefits included increased productivity for project managers and developers, accelerated time-to-market, and reduced waste through data-driven decision making.
- On average, organizations experienced 340% ROI and recovered costs in less than 6 months after deploying Jira Align.
- Forrester Research identified Jira Align as a Strong Performer in their evaluation of top Value Stream Management platforms. The analysis highlighted Jira Align’s end-toend visibility connecting strategic planning to execution.
- Gartner has recognized Atlassian as a Leader in their Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Agile Planning Tools for 5 consecutive years thanks to the powerful pairing of Jira Align for business agility and Jira Software for technical agility.
Optimized for Agile Frameworks like SAFe
Leading scaled agile frameworks like the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) provide proven practices for coordinating large, multi-team development efforts. Jira Align provides purpose-built capabilities to support many aspects of SAFe out of the box:
- Multi-level hierarchies – Maps programs from portfolios down to teams
- Dependency modeling – Manage inter-team deliverables
- Initiative health – Customizable rollup metrics and reporting
- Milestone tracking – Define and monitor milestones for PI planning
- Flexible configuration – Model workflows and terminology to match frameworks
- End-to-end traceability – Integrates across portfolio tools like Jira Align and team tools like Jira Software
These capabilities allow organizations to adopt scaled frameworks like SAFe without requiring extensive custom development and modifications. Jira Align meshes seamlessly with agile processes to help drive better business outcomes.
Accelerating Value Flow
A core philosophy emphasized in SAFe 6.0 is enabling continuous value flow from ideation to customer delivery. Jira Align provides several ways for organizations to put this critical principle into practice:
- Visualize bottlenecks – Dashboards surface delays and quantify economic impacts
- Limit work in progress (WIP) – Capacity planning prevents overloading teams
- Reduce handoffs – Model dependencies between systems and teams
- Get feedback quickly – Tight integration and transparency speeds feedback loops
- Work in small batches – Break initiatives into manageable segments for faster delivery
- Continually remediate waste – Use data insights to address inefficiencies
Taken together, these capabilities allow organizations to systematically identify and address impediments to delivering maximum business value. Jira Align empowers teams to make value flow faster.
Powerful Outcomes Management
SAFe highlights managing outcomes rather than outputs as a best practice. Jira Align provides sophisticated support for outcome-based measurement and management:
- OKRs – Set objectives and key results at the team and portfolio levels
- Custom metrics – Configure initiative health metrics to track outcomes
- Delivery confidence – Assess likelihood of achieving desired results
- Investment funding – Link outcomes to budgets and ROI targets
- Interlocking plans – Ensure alignment between strategy, portfolios, programs, and teams
With Jira Align, product, technology, and business leaders have visibility into whether initiatives are trending toward success in achieving targeted outcomes. Teams can course correct quickly if results start to diverge from what is expected.
Harnessing AI, Big Data, and the Cloud
As SAFe 6.0 notes, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and cloud computing present major opportunities to build and deliver products faster. Jira Align integrates with these critical tools to maximize their impact:
- Native cloud delivery – Available via Atlassian Cloud with enterprise scale
- Platform integrations – Connectors for leading cloud providers
- Data collection – Aggregates project data across tools and teams
- Custom workflows – Model processes powered by AI/ML predictions
- Automation – WorkFLOW Builder no-code automation engine
- Insights engine – Analyzes data to identify bottlenecks and waste
- Open APIs – Build custom analytics and visualizations
Jira Align collects vital planning and execution data in real time, which can feed advanced analytics platforms. Teams can leverage resulting insights to improve decision making. The tool also provides no-code automation capabilities to incorporate AI/ML models directly into business workflows.
The Next Step with Jira Align
Jira Align brings together enterprise-scale project planning, tracking, and delivery for organizations adopting modern agile practices. The platform delivers value to all levels of the business by connecting strategic priorities to team execution.
To learn more about applying Jira Align’s capabilities within your organization, contact our sales team for a personalized demo tailored to your planning and delivery challenges. Atlas Bench provides enterprise support options to ensure your success at any scale.