Scaling With Jira

I love Jira. You can do practically anything with it. Of all the agile tools on the market, Jira provides the most flexibility. That is its greatest strength. It’s also its greatest weakness – that is, it makes it easy to create a huge mess. That is why I personally like to use Jira as it is out of the box, without resorting to plug-ins or lots of custom configuration.

Some Definitions for scaled agile

  • Portfolio: A collection of “value streams”. In plain English, a collection of products (or services) that a company develops and sells.
  • Value Stream: A product or service that generates revenue (SAFe definition).
  • PI: Program Increment – an increment of a product. In plain English,  a release of a product comprising a set of features.
  • Product Backlog: Ranked list of features for a given value stream.
  • Program Backlog: Ranked list of features for a given release (PI) of the product.
  • Feature – product feature as in the everyday meaning of the term. (For example the iPhone 7 features include the following:
    • Available in jet black,black, silver, gold, rose gold, and red,
    • All-new 12MP camera;
    • Splash, water, and dust resistance;
    • New Retina HD display with wide color;
    • Stereo speakers;
  • ART: A mechanism to synchronize the work of multiple teams to produce a deployable product increment on a fixed cadence
  • Story – a piece of a feature that is deliverable in a single iteration.
  • Task – a work item required to implement (design/code/test) a story.


Jira has all of the necessary artifacts to support this without custom configuration changes or plug-ins. Here is how one organization set this up:

Scaled Agile Artifact Jira Artifact
Product (Epic) Component
Release or PI FixVersion
Feature Epic
Story Story
Task Sub-Task

Once this is set up, you can get the list of features and their associated stories in a release by running a Jira query like:

Component = “iPhone” and FixVersion = “10” and issueType=”story” order by Epic-Link