How to Successfully Scale Agile with Atlassian Cloud

As the originator of the first Scaling Agile solution in Jira (supporting SAFe 2.3® initially), Cprime is an expert in defining and refining the best way to configure Jira to support Scaling Agile and SAFe® (see our Atlassian Whitepaper). Over this time, we have learned a lot about what works, what doesn’t, and how to put a solution in place quickly and easily.

Two key aspects that are often overlooked are:

  1. The customized configuration that aligns to how your organization does Scaled Agile (and which flavor of it)
  2. How to put this configuration in place regardless of your Atlassian hosting platform (Cloud, Server, or Data Center)


Your Scaled Agile needs

Every organization does Agile slightly differently and that drives the configuration and enablement needed for a Scaled Agile solution. To be successful with a Jira Scaled Agile solution, there must be an understanding of:

  • Where you came from – what has your agile journey been and what challenges were encountered (and overcome) around Jira
  • What your teams need now – what are the current scaled agile needs (events, reporting, permissions, workflow, etc) and where are the Jira pain points
  • Where you want to go – as the teams mature with scaled agile, architecting how Jira can easily scale to meet the teams needs and how it will support governance

We have found that this understanding and alignment of the tool and the process helps ensure a scalable and useful configuration that meets your needs now and for the future.


Your Jira solution

Our solution provides a best practice configuration as a starting point for your needs regardless of your hosting platform or current configuration. This includes everything from the overall design and architecture to the unique implementation customized to your needs. While there is a common starting point, none of our clients end up with the same solution since it is customized based on your scaled agile needs. This best practice configuration is slightly different between Jira Cloud and Jira Server/Data Center.

So, is Atlassian Cloud ready?


Atlassian Cloud is Ready

While a Scaled Agile solution in Jira Cloud was challenging as recently as a year ago, many of the gaps have been addressed with the latest releases. Atlassian has improved:

  • User tiers – now you can have up to 10,000 users in Cloud, where it was limited to just 2,000 not long ago
  • Performance – Dedicated internal networks connect your users to the Atlassian cloud via the private, dedicated internal network nearest to them—even if the content being requested lives in another region. This speeds up connections and keeps the user experience running smoothly. Additionally, frequently accessed content is automatically cached and a system of distributed servers (a Content Delivery Network) quickly delivers static assets that are common across all user requests.
  • Security – protect data with encryption in transit and at rest and provide administrative controls to enforce organization-wide protection such as Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), Single Sign-On (SSO), enforced Two-factor authentication (2FA), and System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM)
  • Add-ons/Applications – more and more add-ons/applications are available every day to support almost all the functionality you need (more on this later)

These changes have made the Atlassian cloud offerings suitable for enterprise clients to support a Scaled Agile implementation. So, now that we’ve established that the tools needed to support your Scaled Agile process/methodology needs and that Atlassian Cloud is ready, what does it look like?


Scaling Agile in Jira Cloud

While the Scaled Agile solution is similar, there are some key differences in how a Scaled Agile solution is configured between Jira Cloud and Jira Server/Data Center (have a look at the server solution here). So, what’s the difference?


What’s different in Jira Cloud

Jira Cloud’s differences in hosting and access (see Considerations & Risks of Migrating to Cloud) can create some key differences between most Server or Data Center configurations:

  • Add-ons/Applications – Many of the most common add-ons/applications are available for Atlassian cloud, but not all. This is due to the API in cloud that has required some redesign and architecture for almost all add-ons/applications. While improving, there is often a gap in functionality compared to a server version even if the add-on/application is the same (for example, Big Picture has different functionality in Cloud than it does in Server/Data Center). This gap can impact a wide variety of add-ons/applications including:
    • Reporting/Visibility
    • Connectors/Integration
    • Automation
    • Key agile add-ons (estimation, various sprint analyzers, dashboarding, etc)
  • Migration approach – While cloud migration assistant is available, it doesn’t cover some key aspects in cloud
    • Application migration
    • Upgrades to your current server or data center instances to support the migration
    • Post migration validation/verification
  • Governance – It’s not all bad news however! Cloud has some unique aspects to support governance including:
  • Enablement – While Cloud and Server/Data Center User Interface (UI) are growing in similarity, Cloud has some unique differences in both UI and functionality. This results in a need for new enablement/training for end users and administrators.


What’s the same

Fortunately, there is still a considerable overlap between Cloud, Server, and Data Center when it comes to the overall approach and structure to a Scaled Agile solution in Jira. Since we have designed this solution to support each hosting platform, we have ensured some common elements to help make a migration to cloud easier, faster, and lower in cost. Here are some of the common elements that remain the same regardless of the hosting platform:

  • Architecture – Work hierarchy and structure, project structure, add-on/application usage, and organization access
  • Support for Events/Activities – Support for common activities and events for the organization and methodology
  • Core Jira Configuration – Permissions, notifications, automation, collaboration, and visibility
  • Enablement approach – Enablement approach through workshops to support your scaled agile level, roles, and knowledge level


What’s Next For You?

Cprime offers a number of services to meet your Atlassian Scaled Agile needs. We offer everything from on-demand experts to predefined Scaled Agile solutions.

Contact us to discuss your Scaled Agile in Jira needs and see how we can help.

Scaled Agile Foundations

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Brandon Huff, VP of Technology, Atlassian Services
Brandon Huff, VP of Technology, Atlassian Services