After you create your backlog hierarchy, prioritize and estimate the backlog items, it is a good idea to visualize your work with roadmaps. A roadmap is a great visual tool that can be used by RTEs, Product and Portfolio Managers to get a bigger picture of the organizational plans. To access the roadmaps, follow the Navigate to roadmaps procedure.
The roadmaps have three views: Work, Program Increment, and Release Vehicle. The Work view offers a granular level of objects, it shows what you have for a selected PI—your themes, epics, capabilities, and features. It shows the objects rolled up to a parent (for example, features by epic) and specific lists of objects (for example, epics or themes). Not to lose the context of what you are working on, you can click the object ID for themes, epics, capabilities, and features and be redirected to the object page where you can view and edit the object.
- PI must exist in the system and be tied to a program.
- Sprints must be created and tied to a PI.
- Epics, capabilities, and features must be created and tied to a program.
Views: sprint by program increment and month by quarter
By default, your roadmap shows as months by quarters so that you can see your work in context to relevant time aggregations and be able to navigate without losing that context. However, you can filter your roadmap by PIs and by their associated anchor dates to view your roadmap by when the code is actually released. You can switch between the Month by Quarter and Sprint by Program Increment view options in the View drop-down menu. PIs show at the top of the roadmap in chronological order and are labeled by their roadmap name. Anchor dates show below their respective PIs and are labeled the same as on the Program Board (for example, S1, S2, S3) and by their date range in the day/month-day/month format.
The Month by Quarter view gives a better visualization for when your PIs begin and end. When you point to a round blue icon next to a certain month, you can see a PI’s name and a light blue area, indicating the time period of the PI. This is available only when you select PIs, not time periods or custom date ranges.
You can view the rolled up values of LOE points, hours, and number of items in the object (epic, feature, and so on). Additionally, for features in the Sprint by Program Increment view, you can view a story rollup—a number of stories associated with a specific feature for an anchor date—in the lower-right corner of each grid that represents one anchor date range. This helps better visualize how stories are laid out across the planned feature. Point to the number to see a list of the story names and click a story name to view its details. When the stories fall within the start and end anchor dates, the number indicator matches the color of the bar it corresponds to. If there are stories outside of the feature’s start or end anchor dates, the indicator is red. Here, you can also find the Today Line (a dotted black line within the grid), showing a reference that indicates the current date to better visualize the progress of objects throughout the selected sprint or time period.
Reordering, filtering, and sorting objects
You can reorder the list of objects by dragging and dropping them. Selecting and dragging objects (even the ones with children) moves the object up or down in the list and reorders other objects in the list up or down, indicating the drop position by a blue horizontal bar. However, this order change will not be persisted.
To manage your view, you can add or remove column details at the object list level. You set a view of what your work is and then can tailor what is shown there, for example, by filtering the view by theme, epic, capability, feature, health, and others or by sorting the items by their date and health.
To sort your items, click the sort type drop-down menu, and then select the necessary option. The sorting applies only to parent items, not children. You can also sort your items according to a program rank defined in the backlog. This sort is ascending by default and only applies to the parent work items when viewing work items as a hierarchy, for example, features by epics. If you view work items as a list, for example, features or epics, then the ranking applies to all work items in the list. Work items with no rank appear at the bottom of the list in no particular order.
Program rank sorting does not reflect work item rank within the entire portfolio, if a portfolio is selected. Additionally, the program rank displayed on the roadmaps is based on the work item's primary program, not its secondary programs.
When a program and a single PI are selected, work items are shown in the PI by program rank order. When multiple PIs are selected, the work items are shown in order of their respective PI, then by rank order. The lowest ranked work item in the first PI will be immediately above the highest ranked work item in the second PI, and so on. PI order is determined by the start date. Epics and capabilities that span multiple PIs only appear once by their rank in the first PI they are associated with.
Managing your roadmap
After you made the changes on the roadmap, you can synchronize them—push those changes down to the actual objects. You can make a lot of different changes, and then decide what to synchronize with a list of things to sync.
Additionally, you can share the roadmap by creating a detached instance, which is a snapshot of a roadmap in a certain moment in time. You can share your roadmap using a detached instance link or create a .png download of a roadmap. This allows putting the roadmap into a variety of reports outside Jira Align.
You can add and view milestones within your roadmaps to visualize them in relation to your work. On the toolbar, click the Milestones button to turn milestones on and off. The two types of milestones can be turned on and off separately:
- Fixed Date Milestones: Fixed date milestones are found under the Time/Skills tab on epics. They are used to track important milestones at the epic level.
- Objective Milestones: Also called objectives, these milestones are created from the Objectives grid, and will display on every feature or epic they are associated with. Objective milestones serve as high-level goals for teams, programs, solutions and portfolios.
If Fixed Date Milestones are turned on, they render as stars on epics. The stars’ horizontal positioning lines up with the defined Portfolio Ask, Start/Initiation, and Target Completion dates on the fixed date milestone and are color-coded; Initiation Date stars are cyan, Portfolio Ask Date stars are purple, and Target Completion Date stars are yellow. The stars’ vertical positioning is on the same row of the epic they relate to. Fixed Date Milestones are found on the Time/Skills tab of the epic.
If a fixed date milestone has been completed, a Completion Date check icon will also appear on the roadmap, indicating the date the milestone was finished. When pointing to a star or check icon, all stars related to the milestone are highlighted on the roadmap. Additionally, a label appears where you can view the milestone’s title and dates associated with the milestone.
If Objective Milestones are turned on, a list of available objectives appears with the option to toggle whether they are in view or hidden. Objectives should be tied to epics or features on the objective details panel to appear in the list. When selected to be shown, they render as flags on the epics or features that were assigned to them. Their horizontal positioning is determined by their target completion date and their vertical positioning is determined by each epic or feature that is assigned to them. Objective Milestones can appear across multiple objects.
Important: Objectives will only display on a roadmap if the following dates are defined (when creating an objective):
- Portfolio Ask. This date is set early in the process by the portfolio groups when they do their planning to request the delivery date for an objective.
- Start/Initiation. This date indicates when the objective will start. It is used to do the strategic planning activities more effectively.
- Target Completion. This date indicates what the target completion date is. It is used to do the strategic planning activities more effectively. It reflects the date the scheduler believes the objective can actually be completed (versus the Portfolio Ask date which is the date the business wants the objective to be delivered).
The health status of an item is reflected by the colors. Right-click the bar, and then select the necessary health status. Take a look at the following list to understand the color legend:
- Dark gray – no health
- Blue – done
- Orange – at risk
- Red – critical/slip
- Green – on track
- Light gray – on hold
Changes to the health status are only saved when the roadmap is synced.
The work item bars show the date range of your themes, epics, capabilities, and features, as well as the progress of their completion. By default, work item IDs and names appear inside their respective progress bars. Point to a bar to view the progress completion percentage for the object that is based on the completed and accepted rolled up effort points divided by total possible rolled up effort points.
Dates rendered for objects on the Work view reference the defined dates seen on the object. If there are no dates defined on the object, then the date from the object's parent is used. You can manually set the dates by pointing to the start or end date on the work item's bar and dragging the double-headed arrow in the needed direction.
If an object spans outside of the selected time frame, an arrow icon appears on the side of that object. Point to the arrow icon to view the start and end dates of that object, its percent completion, and the PIs it is assigned to.
The start and end dates for themes are based on the dates set on the object in the following priority order:
- If a theme has a target start and end date set, the data is returned within the start and end dates (rendering the start and end date bar based on those dates).
- If a theme does not have a target start and end date set, the dates are rendered based on the assigned PIs from the start date of the first PI to the end date of the last PI.
- If a theme does not have a target start and end date and does not have an assigned PI, the dates are not rendered.
The start and end dates for epics are based on dates set on the object in the following priority order:
- If an epic has a target start and end date set, the data is returned within the start and end dates (rendering the start and end date bar based on those dates).
- If an epic does not have a target start and end date set, the data is returned within the start and end dates based on the assigned PI's start and end date (rendering the start and end date bar based on those dates).
- If an epic does not have a target start and end date and does not have an assigned PI, no data is rendered (no dates and, thus, no start and end date bar).
- If an epic spans multiple PIs, the epic bar is based on the start date of the earliest PI and the end date of the last PI.
The start and end dates for features are based on dates set on the object in the following priority order:
- If a feature has a target start and end date set, they are rendered based on those dates.
- If a feature does not have a target start and end date set, they are rendered based on the target start and target end sprint.
- If a feature does not have either date, they are rendered according to the dates of the PI(s) assigned to it.