An issue that digital organizations face is being able to establish a process that will enable them to consistently deliver high-quality products.
From drawn-out comprehensive product requirements, to having thorough quality assurance standards in place, product managers try their best to craft a process that will allow the team to work seamlessly. That’s why, here at Nolte, we came up with a process that works for superior product development.
Weapon of Choice
All our projects use JIRA, a project management tool created by Atlassian. At first, JIRA may seem like an intimidating platform. From its endless macros to its infinite configurability, JIRA is a powerful tool that will help your product managers create an effective workflow.
As an example, Nolte has opted for a process that better fits our needs. Our JIRA workflow consists of the following columns:
- To Do – This is where all issues are dragged and drop from the product backlog to the sprint. We also use this column for reopened issues, which consist mainly of issues that failed to meet an acceptance criteria.
- In Progress – This is self-explanatory. Process is on the way!
- To Review – In order to assure that all our developers use our development standard, we have the code peer-reviewed by another of our developers before merging it into the repository.
- Acceptance – Product managers make sure that the user story meets the acceptance criteria. If not, the issue is reopened and the product manager communicates to the developer what element of the acceptance criteria was not met.
- Done – The most pleasant word to hear in English.
How does that board looks like?
JIRA’s standard workflow is composed by 3 elements: To Do, Doing, and Done.
This might seem rather simplistic for most digital agencies, specially when taking a product from design, all the way to deployment. But with JIRA, you can customize your workflow and harness it to deliver amazing products.
How To Start
As soon as you logged into JIRA, to restructure your project’s workflow you’ll need to draw a new workflow scheme:
- Go to Settings > Issues > Workflows > Add Workflow.
- A window will prompt you to add a name and description.
- The following diagram will show up:
- It’s important that you understand two concepts: status and transition. A status is static and indicates in what column from the board the issue is currently in; meanwhile, a transition indicates a change of status. For example, when a status is moved from Acceptance to Done, the transition is “User Story has passed acceptance criteria.”
- Now, go ahead and create possible statuses. At Nolte, we use 9 different ones. Specifically, I want to point out the blocker status. In a project, blockers are inevitable. A design might be missing or we might still be waiting for a client’s feedback. That’s why it’s important that we communicate these blockers to their responsible party.
- Create the transitions and link the status to them. You are also able to set two-way transitions, but it’s important that these make sense. For example, there’s no reason for a two-way transition between product manager’s Acceptance and Done. Once an issue is in Done, it can only be moved to the To Do column, if the issue is reopened.
- Once you have finished your workflow diagram, click on Publish.
Now, your diagram should look somewhat like this:
Wow! Quite the diagram! It’s important you link your project to the new diagram. To do so, you’ll have to go back to the project’s page.
- Click on Project Settings > Workflow > Switch Scheme .
- Choose the workflow from the drop-down list and click on Associate.
You’ll have to modify your Scrum board to reflect your new workflow. Follow the next steps to setup your new Scrum board:
- Go to your board. Click on the 3 suspensive dots button [⋅⋅⋅] at the top-right corner.
- Click on Board Settings.
- Click on Add Column. Repeat this step as necessary.
- You’ll see all the new status in the Unmapped Status column. Drop the statuses in the right column.
- Click on Go Back to Board.
Go the Distance: From Zero to Hero
The road to the perfect process is a never-ending journey and that’s why creating a process workflow requires constant iteration, one that will allow you to address your team’s current issues. Ultimately, we hope this guide will allow for a creative process workflow and provide you with insight into what constitutes great workflow practice.
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