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My company has subcontracted a project and the subcontractor is using their own instance of JIRA to manage their work.

Because we use a different tool I opted to let them use the tools they know and work instead of giving them access to our tool and asked to spend some time "learning" and adapting their workflow.

I have visibility of the project because I can track their project board, but I want to bring some visibility to the rest of my organization as well.

What I don't want to do is duplicate all of the stories in JIRA to our own PM tool, so what is the alternative?

What have you guys done when you want to give visibility to the progress of a project that is being subcontracted?

Cheers, André

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    "I can track their project board" - Is there a reason the rest of the organization cannot likewise track such? – Sarov Feb 26 '18 at 14:11
  • It's too much information for the upper management :). This is more of a general question about how people keep track in an Agile tool of contractor projects. Starting from Epics down to stories, we can have a reasonable idea of progress and with the team velocity of the likelihood of completion. With this subcontractor (times & material), I have an estimate of hours for each task that I could put into the tool we use and use that to check the progress as work evolves, but I just want to know what PMs usually do to show progress to upper management. – André Moreira Feb 26 '18 at 22:23
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    make a dashboard and show that to them – Homerothompson Feb 27 '18 at 11:53
  • Look at the reports that are used to inform (upper) management in projects that use your in-house PM tools. Then see how you can create similar reports from the data in the JIRA system of your subcontractor. – Bart van Ingen Schenau Mar 4 '18 at 13:05
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This is communication and stakeholder management. You need to figure out which stakeholder requires what information at what time and then how to deliver it to them. Access to the tool for the raw data is not necessary and, for many (likely most) types of stakeholders, the wrong vehicle for information delivery.

What you are looking for is a report. This report can be built in many different ways but must be built in the the right way for a specific stakeholder segment, which means the right information synthesized the right way and displayed the right way. And you can expect, or should expect, multiple different types of reports to meet the differing needs of your stakeholder segments.

Your issue is not atypical and it appears you need to bone up on communications and stakeholder management principles. Or, you need to hire these skills as there are professionals that do nothing but this type of work. There is a lot of minimization bias with a lot of these PM-type processes and capabilities with the assumption that any technical resource could easily do this work. This is rarely if ever true. So if you're having issues here, you're missing key roles and skill sets on your gig.

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To get early visibility into upcoming problems, you must participate

It is not enough for you to have access to Jira. Here is why:

  1. Developers are notorious for not keeping statuses updated. Impediments that are reported by developers rarely, if ever, show-up on Jira.
  2. Jira may show history of what happened. You want to know problems before they become critical, or at the least, as they happen. Otherwise you will be left with picking up the pieces after a disaster.
  3. The biggest bottleneck for a subcontractor is most likely your own organization. You must feed them requirements, give clarifications, provide feedback on UX design, do user acceptance testing...and so on. This won't be in Jira. You don't want to find out after a sprint ends with many incomplete stories that you guys were responsible for it.

So, my suggestion is for you or another person from your side, to attend the relevant subcontractor meetings. Jira access is a supplement to this, not a substitute. The person attending the meetings can then send out status and action items list to the people concerned in your organization.

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