The Evolution of Planning and Tracking Tools
May 27, 2021

The Evolution of Planning and Tracking Tools

Project Management
Application Lifecycle Management

In an unforeseen move earlier this year, Atlassian announced that they were depreciating server products to accelerate movement to cloud products. For teams that utilize Jira Server products, the announcement started the clock on a pivotal decision. Users of Jira Server products have until February 2nd, 2024 to integrate into Jira Cloud products, or migrate into an on-prem server solution.

This change has had and will continue to have a wider effect of other parts on the ecosystem of DevOps tools.

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A Brief History of Tracking and Planning Tools

Before we can get into the evolution and tracking and planning tool, and look towards their exciting future, we need to quickly touch on how far they’ve come already. It wasn’t that long ago that many organizations were using post-it notes on a large board or conference room to manually advance.

This system of course created several security and control concerns. Who has the ability to move the post-its through the process? What happens if a post it falls underneath the table? Is there a view of the board from a window, exposing intellectual property for anyone to see?

Naturally, the process was digitalized to create a single source of truth that could mitigate many of the aforementioned concerns. Many teams turned to Excel, creating a spreadsheet or something similar to create a digital representation of work consisting of a large list of issues, features, and action items. Instead of a stationary board, the spreadsheet would be emailed to team members. This system created a safer, digital alternative, however, Excel is an accounting tool so there were, of course, some things left to be desired, particularly with versioning.

Enter Jira. Suddenly, organizations had a database where everybody could be connected. Teams were able to track issues within a system that was designed for that purpose. As the product evolved, dozens of plugins were created to help boost functionality and customize the experience to the unique demands of the user.

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So where does that leave us today? There are three major trends that are both important today and as we look towards the future of planning and tracking tools.

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1) Performance is a must

Regardless of what you are planning and tracking —any tools must first and foremost make communication easier both within the team and externally. Thinking back to teams standing around a Kanban board, how is the planning and tracking tool going to enable the team to work together as efficiently? Delivering this requires that tools are as fast as the communication processes they support. This is a change in paradigm, as most issue trackers (including Jira) are slower than what is acceptable by high-performing teams.

2) Automation

A key component of increasing the speed and performance of planning and tracking tools is also automation. Today’s tools aim to automate all of the predictable actions to save time. This can be a tightrope to balance as over engineering and over automating can quickly lead to losing visibility. To be effective, the automation must be intentional, responsive, flexible, and powerful. In planning product development work, most decisions relate to the future and machines are yet to beat humans when it comes to thinking outside the box and making good decisions.

3)  Integrated Single Source of Truth

The final trend to touch on is that the planning and tracking tool must be a single source across tools. Look at your toolset as an integrated network where management and team members have full visibility into the status of all types of work.

Want to Learn More?

Now that you’re equipped with a brief history of how planning and tracking tools have evolved over the years to meet the demands of the development teams that utilize them, you’re ready to learn more by watching our webinar on the topic. Watch the webinar today!

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Additional Resources

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