Which Solution Do You Need – Jira Align or Jira Foundation?

When you’re in the midst of a home improvement project and realize you need a unique tool, you’ll probably jump in your car and visit the local hardware or home improvement store. While you’re there, you might see a dozen versions of the tool you’re looking for, along with a hundred other cool, useful tools.

But, there’s only one tool you need right now to accomplish your immediate goal.

Searching for the right software/work management solution can be similar: there are plenty of choices, and they all offer something of value. But, just one is the perfect fit for your needs. If your organization is looking to scale an agile practice, you may be feeling overwhelmed with the options out there. The purpose of this brief guide is to help you narrow down your selections to find the best tool for the job.

Are you currently using Jira?

The first, most essential point to consider is what you’re using right now. Atlassian Jira is one of the most popular project tracking tools in the world among agile organizations. If you’ve already been using Jira for some time, it only makes sense to take advantage of the flexibility and expansive ecosystem to fuel your scaling journey. That’s what we’ll be discussing next.

If you’re not currently using Jira, we will encourage you to at least explore whether it may be a better option for your organization as you go forward. If you’d prefer to stick with what you have, that’s fine, too. However, the rest of this article won’t apply to your decision making process.

Contact experts at Cprime to discuss scaling solutions using your existing software.

Which Jira tool is right for the job?

The Jira ecosystem includes several different solutions built off the base platform:
  • Jira Software + Advanced Roadmaps (formerly Portfolio for Jira)
  • Jira Software + Add-ons (e.g., Structure, Easy Agile Programs, Cprime Power Scripts, etc.)
  • Jira Software + Jira Align

It’s essential to recognize that these various tools and add-ons are not a good-better-best path, but rather, the evaluation and selection of the right tool to provide the functionality needed at each step of your scaling journey.

What is your current situation?

Most organizations that have been using Jira for any length of time have evolved a unique collection of add-ons, integrations, and process workarounds to mold the solution to their particular needs. It may work reasonably well for the current requirements. But, when they move to scale their agile practice using that Frankenstein-like conglomeration, it becomes a roadblock.

To address this pain point, the scaling experts at Cprime have developed the Atlassian Foundation Solutions program. In a nutshell, the Atlassian Foundation provides a proven scaled agile solution with best practices and configuration using the right add-ons. And it can be customized to your needs too.

In other cases, companies have already progressed well in their scaling efforts, incorporating lean portfolio management and agile financial management principles across the enterprise. Or, they’re ready to take that leap into full business agility. In that case, a holistic enterprise solution like Jira Align fits the bill.

Does your scaling framework matter?

Several popular frameworks to help organizations structure their agile scaling journey exist today. SAFe (the Scaled Agile Framework) is the most popular, and the one we implement the most. But LeSS, [email protected], DAD, Spotify, and the others can all be equally effective.

While the different scaled Agile frameworks approach the process in different ways, they are more alike than not. That’s because all of them address the same core requirements for scaling agile, and they’re all based on the same basic lean and Agile principles. They all prescribe slightly different arrangements and management models. The purpose of all these concepts is to facilitate communication of shared strategic goals and greater collaboration between teams so they can work independently or together toward a common goal.

Realize that your framework of choice most likely has similar roles, ceremonies, and scaling milestones to the others.

Do you need a roadmap or Gantt view?

Do these statements describe your organization?
  • Our development organization is around 100 people
  • Our development organization includes a few collaborative teams, but mostly we are project-based teams
  • We need a Gantt or roadmap view to be in sync with the work in Jira
  • We are already well-established with Jira
  • We aren’t necessarily sold on or need any specific scaling model
  • Our company is not currently practicing lean portfolio management and is not planning it.
  • Our company is utilizing agile financial management principles and is not planning it.

If most or all of these statements are true, the right next step could be simply adding Advanced Roadmaps to provide a view of the execution work to leadership using an elegant, simple roadmap. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Maybe a more customized solution is the right tool for you?

If the statements above didn’t quite line up with your current reality, try these on for size:
  • Our development organization includes several collaborative teams
  • Our development organization is less than 500 users/20 teams
  • We are already well-established with Jira
  • We need a Gantt or roadmap view to be in sync with the work in Jira
  • We are just starting to explore scaling our agile practice, or have a ways to go
  • We have not decided on any specific scaling model
  • We have some support for the scaling effort, but not at all levels of the organization
  • Our company is not currently practicing lean portfolio management and is not planning it.
  • Our company is not utilizing agile financial management principles and is not planning it.

If that sounds more like your organization, a custom program we developed under the Atlassian Foundation Solutions is the perfect tool for you

With the right add-ons and configuration in place, our Jira experts can provide the structure needed to support your scaling journey from wherever you are currently to whatever business goals you need to achieve. You won’t be investing in more tools than you need, but you won’t be forced to cobble together a Franken-app of your own.

Or, is Jira Align the best tool for you?

How many of the following statements accurately describe your organization right now?
  • Our development organization exceeds 500 individuals and 20 teams
  • Our executive team has a desire to view work cohesively across multiple portfolios
  • We are already well-established with Jira and our scaling framework
  • We have already invested heavily in scaling our agile practice
  • We have support for the scaling effort at all levels of the organization
  • Our company is, or has a desire in, practicing lean portfolio management
  • Our company is, or soon will be utilizing agile financial management principles

If most or all of those statements ring true for your organization, the right tool for your current and future success is Jira Align. It is truly the “total package,” designed specifically for businesses at your stage that is ready to take the final steps toward true business agility.

Dive deep into scaling agile with Jira Align with this free download

We’d love to discuss your needs and help you decide whether Advanced Roadmaps, Atlassian Foundation Solutions, Jira Align, or something else is the best option for your company. Contact us below to get started.

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Brandon Huff, VP, Atlassian Services
Brandon Huff, VP, Atlassian Services
[email protected]