If you’ve been through a pain-free software development cycle... 🎊 congratulations! 🎊 You are a unicorn and should be the one writing this blog post. Because as most people can attest, building new software is hard. We’ve been experiencing it first hand while building Gliffy Project, a new Jira app that maps tickets to a visual plan.
We talked to Zac, our Director of Engineering, who has been using Gliffy Project while building it. For him, the biggest challenge has always been in getting the requirements from the Product department to his team of engineers without anything getting lost in translation. Because,
“Chasing down requirements is hard. Finding the right people and getting the right input is hard. And the message gets diluted by the time it gets to the team."
Yup, communication is hard and so is building new software. So hard that an IAG Consulting study found that 68% of IT Projects are doomed to fail. And if you look at #8 of the 21 shocking reasons projects continue to fail, you'll see that 57% of the time communication problems are to blame. That's why, having clear communication between teams is key for a successful product launch. That's where Gliffy Project comes in.
Gliffy Project gives teams that use Jira a way to visualize their tickets by mapping tickets to a visual plan (whether that visual plan is a photo of a post-brainstorm whiteboard, a wireframe of a future website, a prototype, a software architecture diagram or a combination of all of the above). How exactly does it work?
3 steps to getting started in Gliffy Project
1. Sync your Jira board to Gliffy Project.
2. Upload a visual that represents what you're working on.
3. Create hotspots, then either map your existing tickets on to your visual or create new ones directly from your visual.
Gliffy Project gives teams a concrete, common goal to work towards — something failed projects always lack. Our Engineering Manager, Zac says that the way he works has changed since he started using Gliffy Project. It has saved him time, kept miscommunication to a minimum and allowed him to be more specific with both his team and the stakeholders he interacts with. It has also brought both him and his team one step closer to the product vision. With Gliffy Project,
"You take a traditional screenshot or diagram and you breathe life into it. It becomes something you strive towards, a thing you are going to turn into reality.”
Zac can now:
- short circuit conversations by referring back to visuals
- see how and when requirements change
- grasp the big product idea more quickly and spot problems earlier
- hang on to all comments that were made rather than losing them when a ticket is closed
- have an easy hand-off to design because there is a visual trail of completed items
- create tickets 10x faster because he can now show instead of telling
Zac has gone from writing "paragraphs of text in a ticket, to 'change this thing here.'" Instead of figuring out ways to describe them, he can now simply screenshot a bug and assign it to a person. He can then quickly see the status of bugs being worked on and fixed and share that with stakeholders.
"I can walk through an app, see what isn’t right, screenshot it, and assign it to people. When all the tickets are green, I can easily delete the project.”
Not only does having a visual point of reference give teams a common goal to work towards, it also helps them remember details better (because 65% of us are visual learners). Gliffy Project has different benefits throughout the software development lifecycle:
At the beginning
- Gets teams together to create visual plan and work out any confusion.
- Aligns teams to a common goal.
- Gives multiple teams a single place to store all documentation.
- Provides an overview of who is responsible for which part of the build, highlighting potential dependencies.
- Ensures that there is less back-and-forth during hand-off from product, to design, to engineering.
In the middle
- Gives instant visibility into changes to product requirements.
- Reduces miscommunication.
- Allows anyone to compare old visual with new so they can quickly see what's changed.
- Clear audit trail for post-mortem
- Easy way to see where the blockers were and what went wrong
Gliffy Project is a flexible tool that lends itself well to different use cases. For those who manage large teams and need a quick, high-level overview, it can quickly show progress and dependencies. For those who need to keep track of daily tasks, it can show a granular view of what has been finished and what is yet to be done. Gliffy Project can be a visual checklist or a repository of bugs that need fixing. But whatever other purpose it serves, Gliffy Project ensures that teams are aligned around a single vision of success.