Integration team, workstream leads/project managers, key stakeholders
Moderate to Difficult
project management platform
This is an ingoing play.
Synchronized backlog maintenance presents a significant organizational challenge. Selecting a strong project management platform is key in meeting this challenge.
The integration team at Atlassian approaches it like the tech innovators they are: with a powerful collaborative project management software called JIRA.
Using the project management platform, begin to map out high level tasks of the integration into a centralized program backlog. This forms the vertical axis of the project, defining the steps the project will move through over its lifespan.
The horizontal axis consists of the different workstreams involved. The cross-functional team leading integration maps out the work items required to complete each task on the centralized program backlog across their constituent workstreams.
This allows the team to determine the best work order for each functional team from a cross-functional strategic perspective. It also creates a rich, living matrix of information. As functional teams proceed through their backlogs, the IMO can visually track the real-time progress of each workstream.
With the help of communication tools, track workstreams’ progress and manage dependencies.
Christina Amiry, Head of M&A Strategic Operations at Atlassian offers the following practical application for this step:
“We use our own systems and tools [Confluence and Jira] to manage dependencies, define work, and track its progress. Then, on a daily basis, we use communication tools like Slack to do the back and forth design of dependencies and negotiate when things are going to happen so that our timelines line up [and we conduct efficient] resource planning.”
Either on a weekly or biweekly basis, representatives from each workstream should meet.
More specifically, the purpose of this meeting is to review requests and unplanned work introduced to the initiative. The level of complexity, effort, and uncertainty for each request is discussed in detail.
A priority level is assigned for each new request; if the request is urgent, current work in progress may be deprioritized to allow team members to dedicate time to the new urgent request.
Additionally, these meetings are an opportunity to maintain/achieve a cross-functional, project-wide workflow. If one team works more quickly than anticipated and reaches a dependent task ahead of schedule, they must wait for the other teams to catch up, or the other teams must jump ahead in their own backlogs.
Conversely, if a team falls behind and fails to complete their task on time, they may hinder many teams at once and jeopardize the project timeline as a whole. To prevent problems like these, the IMO must work tirelessly to keep the backlogs of their functional teams in sync.
Any changes made to the backlog or task list from the Step 4 meeting must be quickly and clearly communicated to the workstreams.