June 30, 2020

Do Change Impact Assessment & More Using Jira (Without All the Plugins)


Change impact analysis requires functionality that Jira just does not have. Yet, the development team is efficient at using Jira, so they want to keep it. This can create challenges because Jira doesn’t extend functionality to teams that work with testing and requirements. It doesn’t scale well. And it doesn’t provide traceability — which is needed to do change impact assessments.

A forwards and backwards change impact assessment will show you the impact of a change before it is made.

The solution a lot of people turn to is using a mixed bag of Jira addons. At the end of the day, it’s the equivalent of duct taping together a solution — that still doesn’t give you that end-to-end traceability.

But do you need it? Let’s look more closely at what Jira is missing and how you can fill in the gaps more easily without abandoning Jira.



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What it Means to Have Traceability

Traceability is about the relationships between items. This could be a parent child relationship, or a peer or a sibling relationship where one object impacts another. Understanding what the parent is, the child, or how these items are related is what you need to build a traceability matrix. But without establishing a structure of these relationships, it is very difficult to get traceability going.

These relationships exist among more than just issues in Jira. They are often between high-level requirements that get broken down to a lower level item. They can also link things like tests, test executions, and even source code. If you want to establish these relationships, you simply have to step outside of Jira.

When it comes to the importance of traceability, we often share an example from one of our customers. They’re in a regulated industry, and before using Helix ALM, tracked requirements manually. They received a surprise audit, and every person had to stop what they were doing to validate. Their entire project had to be shut down for two weeks. With automated traceability, they now have that information in seconds.


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Change Impact Assessment for Risk Management and More

You know that you’re forced to add on to Jira if you want traceability. When you choose a tool for this, it’s important that it provides end-to-end traceability. That way you can conduct both forwards and backwards change impact assessment. Which tells you the impact of a change both when and before it’s made. This proactive impact assessment is significantly cheaper, more efficient, and more powerful for risk management than reacting to changes.

Remember: with impact analysis, it’s not just you who can see how a change will impact workflow. You can clearly show a stakeholder what happens if you implement a requested change.

Change analysis can help you in other ways, too. Take the engineering teams, for example. Impact analysis can help them improve their development lifecycle by:

  • Understanding the relationship between items, marking them as suspect or having a dependency.
  • Using that to investigate these dependencies.
  • Reusing existing artifacts, instead of reinventing the wheel.

If something changes, they can see what caused it, and know what actions are needed from there.


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The Hidden Costs of Numerous Addons

Using a handful of plugins to fill in the gaps is more than just inconvenient. It is inefficient, and it costs more than you may know.

Let’s say you only have ten testers, but 100 developers. If you’re forced to buy licenses for every individual who would need to use a tool, even minimally — and you need to do this for every plugin — your out-of-pocket costs skyrocket.

If licenses aren’t an issue, all these plugins can still put you at a disadvantage. Primarily because:

  • You deal with separate vendors, support, and updates for each.
  • Teams are still siloed if their separate tools don’t all integrate together.
  • You still don’t have traceability.

These things make it very difficult to be efficient, and they can increase the time it takes to release your product. The good news is that there is a solution.


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Keep Jira and Improve Efficiency For Less

If you want to keep Jira, but have it integrate with one tool that lets you manage tests and requirements, you’re looking for an ALM (application lifecycle management) solution. 

ALM tools provide a single platform for tests, requirements, and issues. They’re built to help you understand traceability and perform impact analysis. Jira is good at managing issues, sprints, and Agile teams. So it’s understandable that your development team doesn’t want to give it up.

It’s critical, then, that your ALM tool integrates with Jira.  Without this integration, you’re siloing teams, and you won’t get traceability. 

Helix ALM is a great solution because it integrates with Jira out of the box. It gives you visibility into what your teams are doing regardless of their tool preferences. It also creates traceability, giving you instant impact analysis.

Additionally, with Helix ALM, you can buy only the licenses you’ll actually use to further lower your cost per user.

Using a single platform like Helix ALM makes your testers, business analysts, and product managers happy — while still letting your engineers push their items into a tool like Jira. See an actual demonstration of this at the 9:35 stamp in this video.

Or simply learn more about how Helix ALM integrates with Jira so you can ditch all the addons.


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