How to Use Jira for Waterfall and Hybrid Projects (White Paper Extract)

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Two big circles, one with waterfall project management in, the other with agile project management in, overlapping - with hybrid written in the overlap

Even though Jira is officially an agile project management system, purely agile projects are rare in real life. Most project managers still practice waterfall project management to an extent. And although most development teams have been using agile methodologies to build software for years, business teams such as HR, marketing, and legal haven’t.

So, can Jira still work for teams and managers doing waterfall? The answer is yes, it can. However, Jira is best suited to teams and managers who may be doing waterfall now but want to transition to a more agile way of working in the future.

As it happens, that’s what most teams and managers these days want, particularly as the global shift to remote working is forcing organizations to become more agile. But while these organizations may understand the benefits of agile, embracing it is easier said than done for teams who are used to the hierarchies and forward momentum that characterize waterfall. That’s why a platform that enables them to continue doing waterfall to a certain degree, and introduce agile practices gradually, is the best fit.

The three platforms available within Jira are designed to facilitate agile collaboration across the enterprise. Jira Software is set up for software teams using Scum and Kanban and other agile methodologies. Jira Service Management (JSM) is designed to bring agile to the IT support team by way of DevOps, an offshoot of agile that unites software development (dev) and IT operations (ops). And Jira Work Management (JWM) enables business teams to connect with the dev and support teams and collaborate on projects in a more agile way.

But what’s good about JSM and JWM is that they don’t shove agile down the throats of the uninitiated. Atlassian knows that within IT service management (ITSM), the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework of best practices prevails over agile. And whenever IT ops teams are faced with a big implementation project, they’ll tend to default to waterfall because it’s easier. Same goes for business teams like marketing. Iterative development of a marketing campaign might be the best way of getting the organization’s messaging just right, but permanently pinched marketing budgets and strict deadlines often make waterfall the only way to go.

So, Atlassian allows these teams – the ones that just aren’t ready for agile quite yet – to follow their own path. Within Jira there are ways of doing waterfall using either built-in functionality or Atlassian Marketplace add-ons, and you can have either fully agile and fully waterfall projects side by side, or mixed, hybrid projects carefully aligned.

In this white paper we’ll explore the best ways of approaching waterfall and hybrid projects in Jira. We’ll look at why waterfall remains popular and what hybrid project management actually is (because many teams do it wrong). And then we’ll home in on three ways of doing waterfall and hybrid in Jira, using:

  • Native Jira
  • Advanced Roadmaps
  • BigGantt by SoftwarePlant
The Perfect Blend White Paper Cover

Christopher is a self-confessed nerd who’d probably take the cake on Mastermind if Star Trek: Voyager was his specialist subject. He writes fiction about time travel, conspiracies and aliens; loves roller coasters, hiking and Christmas; and hates carpet, rom-coms and anything with chilli in it. He’s written extensively for technology companies and Atlassian partners and specializes in translating complicated technical concepts, specs and jargon into readable, benefits-driven copy that casual readers will understand.