Software development planning


Interesting attack on JIRA (and any ticket based project planning approach for that matter) from Jon Evans writing at TechCrunch.

He’s all for managing bugs and support tickets with JIRA, but against the idea of breaking projects into a series of tickets:

…But an increasing number seem to be using it to define requirements; just deconstruct the project into a flock of JIRA tickets, the thinking goes, and then you can use them to estimate, communicate, track progress and manage changes.

In his post he outlines his reasons why it’s a bad idea, and then promises a solution – which is gold:

I promised a better way. It is astonishingly simple. We already have an extremely powerful descriptive system which can be used to specify complex systems while including ambiguities, uncertainties, interwoven relationships, iterative levels of success and an arbitrarily broad spectrum of scale and detail. It is called “prose.”

And then:

For some reason many companies today seem to be terrified of the prospect of writing more than a couple of paragraphs of clear and simple prose. But a well-written 8-page document can define the nuances of a complicated system far better than a whole cumbersome flotilla of interlinked JIRA tickets.

Lots to like in this insight, but possibly the picture he paints is a little too black and white.

Although scrum and agile approaches have made backlog items and PBIs common – they’ve also put a focus on User Stories, which in many ways are the simple parts that combine to provide the whole.

I don’t think I’ve ever been in a project meeting where items were added to a backlog list without any discussion over the overall scale and detail.

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By Craig Bailey