Tempo Planner Tip of the month: Getting Things Done With Iteration Planning

The iteration planning in the Tempo Planner add-on for JIRA has grown by leaps and bounds with the latest release and now offers a handy and intuitive method for timeboxed planning.

In particular, the Iteration Timeline is an exciting feature to help team leaders forecast their iteration planning reliably against actual visualization of team plans.

A view of the Iteration Timeline in the Team Backlog of Tempo Planner

What is Iteration Planning

Iteration planning is a form of timeboxed planning. This provides you with the ability to do short-term scheduling, which in turn provides clearly defined parameter for the work to be accomplished and a clearer estimate of the time needed to perform that work.
Planning by iterations helps those in project management manage risks, stay on deadline, and determine progress in the blink of an instant.

With timeboxed planning, teams can rapidly align to changes in scope and deadlines and know how those changes will affect the bigger picture.

Iteration planning is available for all JIRA users, regardless of whether they are also employing JIRA Agile. For JIRA Agile users it’s another way to do sprint planning; users without JIRA Agile can take advantage of the benefits of this simple timeboxed planning and management feature, native to Tempo Planner.

A Look at the Team Backlog

There are three ways to access the Team Backlog in Tempo Planner:

  • By clicking the Backlog button on the top-right, above the Planner Timeline.
  • By clicking the Backlog link in the Plan Item Sidebar for the iteration plan item.
  • By clicking the name of an iteration in the team agenda on the team space.

In the Team Backlog Sidebar on the far left view, users are greeted by expandable columns. All JIRA users will be able to view the Iterations and Versions columns, and JIRA Agile users will see an additional Epics column.

The Team Backlog Sidebar with Columns showing Iterations, Versions, Epics, Projects

  • The Versions column displays unreleased versions linked to projects.
  • The Iterations column shows existing Iterations and a button for creating new iterations.
  • JIRA Agile users are able to view Epics assigned to the team in the Epics column.
  • At the top of the Team Backlog sidebar, are buttons for the projects the team is connected to.

To the right of the Team Backlog Sidebar we have a space where you are able to manage the content of an item selected from the Sidebar. The view in this space is dependant on what type of work item you are working with - Versions, Iterations, Epics, or projects.

For now, let’s focus on Iterations.

Planning With Iterations

Creating a New Iteration in the Tempo Planner Iteration Backlog

To create a new iteration, you simply select the New Iteration button in the Iterations column. You are then greeted with a pop-up window and from there you need to select the project you wish to connect the iteration to and select the start and end dates to frame the Iteration. Writing a short description for the Iteration is optional.
A new Iteration will automatically carry the title of the associated project, with the description displayed below (if one was created).

Now you can click the project button and select issues you would like to add to your new iteration.

When an iteration is selected, it reveals the Iteration Timeline and below it a list team members and their availability and left of them a section for Unassigned Issues. Subtasks are shown nestled below each of the assigned tasks.

At the top of the Unassigned Issues section, the sum total of estimated hours is displayed. Each unassigned issue displays issue type, issue priority, issue key, remaining estimated time, version (if available), and story points (if configured in JIRA Agile). All issues are grouped by epics (if using JIRA Agile).

Member Availability lanes below Iteration Timeline

In the header of the Member Availability section, you will see a display of the total remaining available hours. Below there, the assigned issues are divided by New (blue), In Progress (yellow), and Complete (green). Each assigned issue below is given a corresponding placement and color code.

Each team member lane shows the team member’s role, their commitment, and that team member’s total availability for the given iteration.

Iteration Timeline with Plan Items

By dragging an issue from the Unassigned Issues section to a team member, the issue is displayed on the Iteration Timeline. The timeline will forecast a plan for the team member on the iteration timeline. Issues that are not in the current iteration are displayed in blue, but the issues within the iteration are displayed in green. Team member worklogs appear in grey on the iteration timeline, provided that team members have logged their work.

Finally, users can choose which views they would like to appear in the iteration backlog view by clicking the corresponding symbols in the metrics bar. If you don’t feel you need the iteration timeline, you can simply toggle it off.

This is iteration planning in a nutshell. Tempo Planner’s native way of timeboxed planning, whether you’re using JIRA Agile or not. Timeboxed planning that helps you get things done.

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