Using ALM Works Structure & Power Scripts™ for Jira

If your business is struggling to scale using Atlassian, there are resources to help you plan and prioritize that also offer the ability to track work across your organization. We’re working towards better solutions for the Atlassian Marketplace by creating content that helps our users better leverage their workflow systems.


Video Transcription

Hi, in today’s discussion, we’re going to be talking about automating power structures with Power Scripts™. My name is Jonathan Muse and I am a product manager at Cprime. So the problem is organizations using Atlassian to scale planning and prioritization struggle with the ability to plan and track work at scale across an organization. As they plan and agree to the scope of the work they’re investing in for a given time period, once the clock starts running the plans change. Without a single unified approach or plan to address these areas, complexities rapidly accelerate. As a result, you have work and processes that are breaking down, a lack of visibility, and trouble getting ahead of your problems.

Use Cases for Automation

Dependency Management

So some of the use cases for automating would be dependency management in a structure tree, alignment and traceability for your agile work or items in a structure tree, and governance. So first let’s take a look at dependency management. In this simple example, what we’ve done is in this typical structure board, you have a custom scripted field called blocking, and it shows any issues that might be affecting our current selected story, which is number 16 here.

So here we’re walking through the process of creating a new link to the issue that is a blocker. And now you can see that the field has dynamically updated and is providing us the information about the block, right on the structure view.

Alignment & Traceability

Next, we look at alignment and traceability. With this use case or another example of a use case would be one to help promote agile alignment traceability. Here’s a sample structure board that shows a high-level overview of a project’s deliverables.

The workflow status of the deliverables merely shows what step the work is currently on, it does not give an indication of the overall health of the work and what the likelihood is of succeeding to deliver the work on time. To resolve this, we’ve added two custom fields to Jira, a status field and a log field.

On the structure board, we’ve converted the status field into a button that both shows the current status and allows the user to quickly update the status, and to add a new update to the log while viewing all the information at once on the structure board. The button automatically adds information to the log such as the date and the name of the user adding the log message.

A scripted field has also been created that only displays the latest and most relevant log message to keep the presentation on the board clean. This implementation allows users to work their way down the list of issues on the structure board and update the statuses on each deliverable with detailed information in a very quick but controlled manner. Structure organizes the tasks in a way that is very easy to consume visually, and the power suite helps add traceability while keeping the information presentable on the board.


Next, for governance, because your structure views can be so dependent on regular issue links or Epic links, it is important to guarantee that these links will always be present on issues. Otherwise, tasks could get lost and not accounted for during the planning process.

A simple solution to ensure that your links are placed on issues and that issues don’t become lost would be to use validators in the workflow as seen here.

The solution is to rethink how to visualize dependency management so you can manage everything from your structure trees. This will help you synchronize alignment and traceability across all your projects.

Combining Products Between Marketplace Vendors

The ability to bring automation to an agile process using structure enhances the ability to make sure the plan stays on track. Structure users leverage structure trees to augment their agile processes and use it as a reporting tool to establish an aggregated issue hierarchy. Structure trees bring a powerful alignment functionality to Jira, but we find that we’re still asked for critical automation that can uncover risks hiding in your agile processes. With automation, we can uncover, highlight, and display this information in a structure tree.

Okay, so now we’re going to be moving over to a demo.


Power Structures Demo

Okay. So this is a demo of the alignment and traceability use case. Here you can see the health update column and on the Epics are actual buttons that also rely on the status of the issue.

If we push the button, we’re now presented with a screen that has some information such as the total hours on this issue, the total hours spent, and the hours remaining, and these are disabled because these are just for information only. So here we can set whether it’s at risk, on track, or off track. So we’ll update this for off track. And the engagement status, where you can type additional notes about the health of your issue.

Here you see the last entry that was made in that comment box you just saw. Now, if we click on the issue and we find this engagement status log, you’ll see that there are many entries under these logs, but we’ve consolidated this list into the most recent and relevant one, just to make it easily displayed on the structure view.

The next thing we can look at is the example of the workflow validator. In this example, we’re going to take this story and we’re going to try to transition it to the in-progress status, but it’s missing an Epic link and therefore might not show up appropriately on a structure board.

So if I try to transition this issue while it’s missing an Epic link, the action is blocked and a message is displayed telling the user exactly what the problem is and what needs to be done in order to fix the problem.

This guarantees that your data will be present on your issues and that you won’t lose visibility on issues when displaying them in structure.

Download free trials for Structure and Power Scripts™ for Jira and build out your own power structures today!