Changes to Feature Sync and Estimation Conversions

As part of resolving a reported defect, we are updating the Jira Software connector’s behavior when syncing epic issue types with Jira Align features. These updates will be included with version 10.109.0, which will deploy to environments on the continuous release track on July 1, 2022. The updates will then be deployed in version 10.109.2 to environments on the bundled release track on July 15, 2022.

What we're resolving

As of version 10.104.0, estimate values can be unintentionally overwritten between Jira and Jira Align when teams use certain combinations of point and t-shirt size estimates. This is due to Jira Align’s new ability to automatically convert estimates between points, t-shirt sizes, and member/team weeks, as well as some settings in the Jira Connector. Consider the following two scenarios:

Jira Align uses point estimates (click to expand)

Prior to the changes coming in version 10.109.0, the following can occur when syncing point estimates between Jira Align to Jira Software.

Settings that enable an unintentional overwrite

  • Jira Align is configured to use point estimates through the Admin > Platform > Portfolio > Estimation System setting.
  • Jira Align is configured to sync t-shirt size estimates to a custom field in Jira Software, through the Admin > Jira Settings > Jira Setup > T-Shirt field mapping.
    • This can happen when a team uses t-shirt size estimates in Jira Align for a short time, sets up the connector to sync t-shirt sizes to Jira, and then later changes Align to use point estimates.
    • If the T-Shirt custom field mapping is cleared in connector settings, this overwrite would no longer occur.
  • Jira Align is configured to sync point estimates from Jira Software through the Admin > Jira Settings > Jira Setup > Enable Feature Point Sync setting.
  • Jira Align is set to make the following conversions through the Admin > Platform > Portfolio > Estimation Conversions settings menu:
    • 10 points = T-shirt size XS (extra small)
    • 20 points = T-shirt size S (small)
  • Jira Software is set up with fields enabled for both point estimate and t-shirt size estimate.
    • This setup can exist when teams use t-shirt sizes to signal a rough estimate before formally estimating with points.

Timeline

  1. A new epic is created in Jira Software. The team does pre-estimation and enters a t-shirt estimate of XS (extra small) into the custom field used for t-shirt size.
  2. Data syncs from Jira to Align. The XS value for t-shirt is not written to the new feature created in Align, because that field only syncs from Align to Jira.
  3. A few days later, the team formally estimates the epic in Jira. They assign a point value of 20.
  4. Data syncs from Jira to Align. The 20 points from Jira is written into Align’s points field.
  5. Align’s database detects that its points field has a value. It converts points into the other available estimation systems. Because Align’s Estimation Conversions settings state that 20 points equal a S (small) t-shirt, S is recorded in Align’s hidden t-shirt field.
  6. A typo is discovered during a review of features in Jira Align. Someone updates the Description of the feature.
  7. Data syncs from Align to Jira. The updated Description is written to Jira. The hidden t-shirt field, S, is also written, overwriting the XS entry in Jira. This happened because the field, while hidden, is mapped in the connector settings.

 

Jira Align uses t-shirt size estimates (click to expand)

Prior to the changes coming in version 10.109.0, the following can occur when syncing t-shirt sizes from Jira Align to Jira Software.

Settings that enable an unintentional overwrite

  • Jira Align is configured to use t-shirt size estimates through the Admin > Platform > Portfolio > Estimation System setting.
  • Jira Align is configured to sync point estimates from Jira Software through the Admin > Jira Settings > Jira Setup > Enable Feature Point Sync setting.
  • Jira Align is configured to sync point estimates to Jira Software through the Admin > Jira Settings > Jira Setup > Allow bidirectional syncing of points for Features setting.
  • Jira Align is set to make the following conversions through the Admin > Platform > Portfolio > Estimation Conversions settings menu:
    • 10 points = T-shirt size XS (extra small)
    • 20 points = T-shirt size S (small)

Timeline

  1. A new epic is created in Jira Software. The team enters an estimate of 18 points on the epic.
  2. Data syncs from Jira to Align. The 18 points from the epic is written to the new feature in Align. Align is set to use t-shirt size, so the feature’s points field is hidden. Because point sync is enabled in the connector settings, 18 points are written to the hidden field.
  3. Align detects a new value of 18 in its hidden points field, and converts that using the estimation conversions settings into the t-shirt size that most closely matches, which is size S (small). S is written to the feature’s t-shirt size field.
  4. Align detects that the t-shirt size field contains a value. It runs the estimation conversions service again, and matches 20 points with size S. The value in the hidden points field is overwritten, 18 becomes 20.
  5. A typo is discovered during a review of features in Jira Align. Someone updates the Description of the feature.
  6. Data syncs from Align to Jira. The hidden points field syncs to the epic in Jira, overwriting the value set of 18 points to 20 points.

Changes to connector behavior

To prevent unintentional overwrites from occurring, we will change how the connector syncs feature estimates:

When Jira Align is set to use point estimates

  • Jira Align will no longer sync a t-shirt size estimate to Jira Software, even if a custom field for t-shirt size is mapped in connector settings.
  • If the connector is set to sync points to Align, a points field must be configured in Jira Software. If this is not present, syncs from Jira will write a 0 into the points field in Jira Align.

When Jira Align is set to use t-shirt size estimates

  • Points synced from Jira will not be converted into a t-shirt size in Jira Align. Any t-shirt estimates entered in Align prior to a sync will be retained.
  • Converted point values in Jira Align (hidden in the database, but converted from an entered t-shirt size) will not sync to Jira.
  • T-shirt sizes entered in Jira Align will continue to sync to Jira.

We’ll continue working on additional changes to estimation sync behavior and connector settings to provide a better experience in the future.

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