Implementing SAFe with Cycle Control for Jira


The vast majority of business leaders are already familiar with the concept of agile teams – these small, self-governing entrepreneurial teams are designed to stay close to customers and adapt quickly to changing conditions. When implemented correctly, they almost always result in higher team productivity and morale, faster time to market, better quality, and lower risk than traditional approaches can achieve.

As agile adoption continues to expand within organizations of all sizes and industries, company leaders are beginning to ask some compelling questions:

– Could whole segments of the business learn to operate in an agile manner

– Would scaling up agile improve corporate performance as much as agile methods enhance individual team performance? What are the best agile management tools available?

– Can we successfully implement consistent practices, processes, and tools across multiple teams, without seeing them bottlenecked by slow-moving bureaucracies?

Many organizations have grown with agile and are using scaling methodologies to help them plan, deliver, and track progress across their teams. According to the 2018 State of Agile report, The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) was reported to be the most-used approach for scaling agile, with 29% of respondents saying it was the method they used most. According to the same report, over 58% of responders said that they are using Atlassian’s Jira as an agile project management tool.

While out-of-the-box Jira doesn’t have the built-in capabilities required for effective scalability, numerous third-party applications fill in the gap between managing a single team and a portfolio. Cycle Control for Jira is the best Project Portfolio Management solution on the market that seamlessly bridges the gap between Atlassian’s Jira Software and SAFe. The tool is designed to allow companies to achieve the necessary balance between enterprise governance and team autonomy.

Top three critical practices that Cycle Control for Jira helps implement for SAFe

During the development of Cycle Control for Jira, our team paid special attention to how the tool will enable organizations to easily implement SAFe within their organization. We focused on three critical practices, designed to help companies scale their Agile teams and implement the Program level of SAFe (where the majority of the team level work occurs).

Backlog Management
Managing backlogs generation and breakdown on each SAFe level – Epics on Portfolio level, Capabilities on Solution level, or Features/Stories. We visualize the breakdown hierarchy and enable collaboration on the best approach for delivery.

Backlog Flow 
To ensure a successful iteration planning, a well-prioritized agile backlog is a crucial component – it outlines all the things that your teams intend to spend time on and prioritizes the delivery of the must-have features, capabilities or stories that need to be completed.

Execution Tracking
Executing tracking enables teams to seamlessly execute from planning to delivery for the Program and Solution level of SAFe. The execution tracking entails the following steps:

1. Defining the Agile Release Trains, Solution Trains, and tracking the delivery of PI and Solution
2. Forecasting completion dates of whole initiatives or intermediate deliverables
3. Aligning and coordinating the teams’ delivery of System or Solution demos with Milestones, Checklists, and Quality Gates
4. Managing team and inter-team dependencies, identifying risky dependencies
5. Reporting across any data in the system with historical baselines and forecasting – burndowns, quality, budget, etc.
6. Managing the PI and Solution
7. Tracking Epic Milestones

Our integrated solution provides a comprehensive approach to implementing SAFe within the context of the Atlassian’s ecosystem. Botron Software’s Cycle Control tool follows the rules of Agile to the letter; it enables large enterprises to:

– Easily scale their Agile practices with minimal overhead and no top-down management

– Provides the required level of flexibility, thus adapting to the company’s existing business processes

– Retains individual team autonomy, while giving managers the necessary visibility to facilitate effective communication and coordination between multiple teams

If you are using the Atlassian stack for your agile project management needs and are looking to implement SAFe within your organization – contact our staff and we will provide you with the required level of assistance.