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How to Manage Dependencies – The Hidden Killer of Your Roadmap

Did you know 90% of product teams rely on other teams to complete their products? Portfolio dependencies aka roadmap dependencies can be a hidden killer to even the best-orchestrated product roadmaps.

Portfolio dependencies are difficult to spot, hard to coordinate, and even more challenging to keep track of, causing a cascading effect when things change. Dependencies can also cause delays and impact other roadmap items, having a much more widespread impact than the individual features involved. Overall, portfolio roadmap dependencies are a key risk to product delivery.

What Are Roadmap Dependencies?

Here are the most common types of dependencies:

  1. Feature dependencies – you need to complete another feature first to enable the ideal user experience
  2. Technical dependencies – code needs to be completed first for more efficient development
  3. Resource dependencies – you need resources/ skillsets outside of your current team 
  4. External dependencies- you need partners/ vendors outside of the company

How Do You Effectively Manage Roadmap Dependencies?

To effectively manage roadmap dependencies, you need to identify, plan, and track them with the right participants throughout your roadmapping workflow. Here are the 5 key steps to follow:

  1. Identify and log dependencies
  2. Plan and visualize with sequences
  3. Account for resourcing needs
  4. Track the evolution and progress of dependent features or projects 
  5. Initiate the trade-off discussion and share broader impacts as needed

Let’s Break it Down

1. Identify and log dependencies – it takes product knowledge and tech-savvy participants to identify feature or technical dependencies, but what fails a roadmap is not being able to document and track them. A good product portfolio tool allows you to log and visualize dependencies so you’re not surprised down the road.

2. Plan and visualize with sequences – visualizing dependencies in sequence can help you organize the roadmap better. In Dragonboat, you can choose to show or hide an external team’s dependencies. So you can see cross-team dependencies for quarterly portfolio planning and progress discussion, but view only your roadmap for day-to-day tracking.

manage roadmap dependencies in dragonboat

3. Account for resourcing needs – this is one of the most challenging parts of planning, especially if your roadmap requires multiple teams or resources. Check out the allocate then prioritize approach for tips on prioritizing with Responsive PPM.

For example, the screenshot below shows how various features from different product teams need resources from multiple teams. Account for cross-team needs during planning to drive product alignment and prevent “agile madness” during team execution.

use prioritization frameworks when dealing with roadmap dependencies

4. Track the evolution and progress of dependent features/ roadmap items. Though time-consuming, this is essential. Modern PPM tools with integration to execution tools allow you to automate and roll up progress tracking so you can set alerts on key changes and delays.

5. Initiate trade-off discussion and share with a broader audience – dependent roadmap items may not appear high on the prioritization list/ score. Avoid delays from invisible dependencies by reflecting key roadmap items in planning.

Digital products are complex and often contain one or more of the four types of dependencies. Having the right product portfolio management tool in place can help you easily identify, plan and track dependencies. Dragonboat has helped thousands of product teams streamline dependency planning and automate tracking to become more outcome-focused. Book a demo to learn more about our solutions.

Roadmap to Success for Prod Ops Webinar CTA

Best Jira Align Alternative for Product Portfolio Management

Choosing a Product Portfolio Management (PPM) tool is a serious undertaking. And while adopting Jira Align may seem sensible if your team uses Jira software, it isn’t right for every organization. Below we provide tips for determining what is right for you and present a viable Jira Align alternative.

What Is Jira Align?

Agile Craft was an enterprise PPM solution for Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). Atlassian acquired it in 2019 and rebranded it to Jira Align.

While Jira Align is a comprehensive portfolio management tool, to adopt it, companies must have a mature, unified SAFe process, a standardized Jira project setup, and an integrated agile team process across the entire enterprise.

Implementing Jira Align also typically requires a large-scale process transformation that can take months and cost over $1,000,000. These factors naturally limit Jira Align’s suitability to mature, large enterprises without frequent changes.

When to Consider an Alternative to Jira Align

How can you determine whether Jira Align is right for you? Ask yourself if any of the following statements are true about your organization.

  1. It is product-led or product-centric.
  2. Your team must incorporate customer insights, requests, and feedback.
  3. It requires portfolio and roadmapping capabilities.
  4. Your team doesn’t practice SAFe “by the book.”
  5. It has varied agile practices across teams, e.g., standard scrum, kanban, scrumban, or uneven sprints.
  6. Estimation practices vary across teams.
  7. The company is growing or rapidly changing team sizes and processes.
  8. Management wants a fast implementation and iterative rollout.
  9. You use multiple agile planning tools.
  10. You have a small PPM budget (way less than $1M).

If one or more of these statements pertains to your business, you need a Jira Align alternative, and Dragonboat might be the perfect option.

Why Dragonboat’s Responsive PPM Tool Is the Best Jira Align Alternative

Dragonboat is a modular, end-to-end responsive product portfolio management platform that connects OKRs, customer insights, product and project management, outcome tracking, and agile delivery. It is a great solution for companies of every size that must quickly grow and scale.

Diagram of the responsive product portfolio management framework.

Dragonboat Democratizes Product Portfolio Management

Built upon the best practices of leading companies like PayPal and Netflix, Dragonboat is robust yet lightweight and economical. It only takes hours to get started, and there is no need to immediately change your process or tool stack because you can make adjustments as you go.

The PPM tool stack of Dragonboat + Jira is similar to the Jira Align + Jira combination, with Dragonboat for product portfolio planning, resource allocation, and alignment and Jira for Agile execution. It forms a complete PPM solution that can handle everything from strategic alignment and administration to product and program management, all integrated with team execution.

A Robust, Customizable 2-Way Integration with Jira, Github, and Asana

Within the Jira integration, Dragonboat works well with Jira classic, Jira next-gen, Jira server, and Jira Advanced roadmap. Dragonboat also integrates with GitHub and Asana and supports the traditional waterfall process.

You Don’t Have to Change Your Existing Process

Your teams can continue to work as before. Whether you use SAFe, Scrum @scale, OKR + Agile, V2MOM + Agile, lean product management, fuzzy planning (e.g., this month, this quarter, next quarter), or quarterly planning, product managers can easily pick up and use Dragonboat without changing their processes. Dragonboat supports standard scrum and sprints or scrumban, kanban, irregular sprints, processes with or without estimates, etc.

See real customer feedback on Capterra.

A real Dragonboat customer review on Capterra to demonstrate an alternative to Jira Align.

Dragonboat Enables an Agile Rollout

You can start Dragonboat for one team, then expand to a few more before rolling it out to the entire organization, taking a minimum viable process change (MVPC) approach. Or, you can even implement multiple instances of Dragonboat, all integrated with the same Jira instance, allowing for process autonomy and smoother adjustment by team members.

Save Money – Fewer Paid Licenses Needed

Because Dragonboat decentralizes team execution in Jira, it requires fewer licensed editors than Jira Align.

It Provides Visibility to the Whole Company Regardless of Jira Access

Use the embedded Dragonboat reports or its request portal (kept in Confluence or an internal website) to provide product portfolio context and visibility to everyone in the company.

Dragonboat Closes the Loop on Portfolio Outcomes

Besides supporting OKR alignment, Dragonboat provides outcome tracking to close the product portfolio loop and guide the prioritization and allocation efforts in the next portfolio iteration.

A Flexible Jira Align Alternative for Fast-Moving Companies

Increased digital processes, remote workforces, and changing consumer behavior have paved the way for a new breed of product leaders. Gone are the days when your product team only focused on the “what” and “why” of product development. Now, they must also collaborate on the “how,” “when,” and “who” in building robust products.

Today’s product teams are dynamic, cross-functional, and data-driven, so their tools must be too.  

While a great option for traditional companies with established and static goals and processes, enterprise PPM tools, like Jira Align, require a high level of process maturity, intensive implementation, and a staff of Agile professionals to maintain.

You can implement Dragonboat in minutes, not months, and for thousands, not millions, of dollars. And it can be as flexible and dynamic as your team and process.

“Responsive Product Portfolio Management capabilities are needed by every product organization, regardless of whether you have 1 or 100 teams. Dragonboat provides a responsive PPM platform for outcome-focused, dynamic companies.”

Rajesh, CPO, Nium

Dragonboat supports your entire responsive portfolio workflow. Check it out for yourself with our free trial, or schedule a demo with one of our product experts.

Plan & Deliver Roadmaps Responsively with Dragonboat & Jira CTA

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