The Voice of Business Value: Jira Align Governance, Part One

This is the first in a series of articles regarding governance around Atlassian Jira Align:

  1. Voice of Business Value
  2. Tool Administration
  3. Framework & Process
  4. Intake & Triage

To provide context, the first three articles will explain the responsibilities and areas of focus for each role making up the Platform Team. The final article will explain how each works collaboratively with the other two to effectively support the rest of the organization. While each article will be informative on its own, we highly recommend reading all of them in order to get the big picture.

What is  Jira Align governance?

In connection to Jira Align, governance involves a set of formal controls set in place to monitor the business value, technical value, and process value the organization derives from the tool. It involves strategic record keeping and analysis, but also in-the-moment triage of challenges that may erode that value.

Effective Jira Align governance involves three equally-vital, collaborative elements that make up a Platform Team (sometimes referred to as a governing body):

  1. Voice of Business Value
  2. Tool Administration
  3. Framework & Process

Depending on circumstances, these roles may be filled by three specific individuals, teams, or a combination thereof. They should not be made up exclusively of tool administrators — a mistake far too many organizations make — but should rather include stakeholders from across disciplines who have expertise in the role.

The decisions made and solutions adopted by those individuals charged with governing Jira Align will go a long way toward determining if the organization sees a worthy return on its investment in the software and whether it can successfully achieve business agility.

Why is governance needed to succeed with Jira Align?

Unlike many other software solutions the business may adopt, Jira Align touches every level of the organization: enterprise, portfolio, solution, program, team. It offers the ability to project a plan from the near-term to the long-term roadmap — anywhere from three quarters to three years. So, it serves as a digital simulation of the enterprise strategy which should be driving every decision being made. Something that powerful takes a governing body to manage it.

Additionally, it’s not an inexpensive solution. The company may spend several hundred thousand dollars implementing Jira Align because they can rightfully expect an ROI in the millions over the long term. But, only if the software is used and governed effectively.

What is the Voice of Business Value?

Megaphone_Medium_black_coralJira Align offers near real-time strategic visibility that allows agile organizations to affect positive change across portfolios. That visibility can reveal the need to get leaner in delivery practices and more efficient so as to get more value to the market more quickly. Companies that want to become market leaders can achieve that with Jira Align. That is the business value this solution provides.

The Voice of Business Value determines exactly what that value is for each organization. As one part of the governing body, it’s this role’s responsibility to understand the optimal value the company wants and needs to get out of the use of the solution, identify challenges that threaten that value, and work to resolve those challenges. In collaboration with Tool Administration and Framework & Process, the Voice of Business Value focuses on continual improvement in how Jira Align is used.

What situations will the Voice of Business Value be most focused on?

This person advocates for the ultimate value the platform needs to deliver to be considered successful. They should represent the enterprise at the highest level with an overarching strategic view. They are not always the purchaser but they have an influence or authority over whether or not Jira Align is renewed.

As such, the Voice of Business Value is primarily concerned with whether or not data is being represented properly, how reports are being calculated, and Jira Align recommendations regarding Lean Portfolio Management, value engineering, value stream mapping, and anything that appears to be a failure in current functionality.
Since their main focus is ensuring the organization receives the maximum value from its purchase and use of Jira Align, other areas falling within their purview include:

  • Ongoing costs of adoption, onboarding, and licensing
  • Data security and surrounding regulations
  • Data integrity
  • Organizational alignment to enterprise delivery
  • Budgets
  • Timeframes (scheduling)
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Predictability (estimating, budgeting, scheduling, etc.)

What is the optimal outcome if Jira Align governance is handled properly?

If Jira Align is used and governed properly, there is no better solution for complete alignment and operational support for the agile enterprise.

To illustrate, many tools used by organizations as they attempt to scale agile could be likened to your average midsize sedan. It’s going to get you from Point A to Point B if you put gas in it and drive it safely. It won’t necessarily be fast, or especially efficient, and it probably won’t be a lot of fun. Plus, as you put more miles on it, it’s going to require quite a bit of maintenance and will probably become less reliable.

Jira Align, on the other hand, is like a futuristic supercar — maybe an electric Lamborghini with a 25-year warranty. It’s not just going to get you where you want to go. It’s going to do it in style, at record speed, and it’s going to be a blast to drive. Of course, you have to maintain it properly. And, you need to learn how to drive it safely. You’re not going to take it to just any old mechanic if something goes wrong, and you’re going to pay close attention to how it’s running at all times.

Stay tuned for Part Two of this series where we’ll be focusing on Jira Align governance from the Tool Administration perspective. To learn more about Jira Align and whether it’s right for your organization, check out our free resources.

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Jesse Pearlman, Business Agility Consultant
Jesse Pearlman, Business Agility Consultant