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Jira’s Next Gen Revises Scrum/Kanban

Jira Next Gen templates are ideal for smaller teams seeking simplicity and ease of use. Offering limited features, they nonetheless promote agile methodology via revised scrum and kanban boards.

Simply put, Jira software is built for teams to collaborate. DevOp teams find Jira especially useful, as Jira attempts to create a “the single source of truth for development information across your DevOps workflow.” In essence, Jira attempts to ensure that everyone in the DevOps workflow can understand what is happening at any one time in the development process. And using its Search feature, Jira can even display up-to-date development information from Github, Bitbucket, or Bamboo.

As impressive as that is, Jira has rebuilt much of its software based on two years of customer feedback. With a renewed focus on usability, they have used this input to create a cloud-based ‘Next-Gen’ template. According to Atlassian (parent-company of Jira), Next-Gen software is meant to be, and much easier to use, with inline column and card creation to help you move more quickly and easily through your work. It also comes bundled with far simpler project configuration that pushes control and decisions about project customizability closer to those in the team. 

The Atlassian designers are promoting this new template as a way to grow “with your team more organically.” Ideal for smaller teams, larger teams can also use Next Gen to “add more structure to the template” when necessary.

Next Gen Changes Scrum/Kanban

In the Next Gen template, Scrum and Kanban boards display fewer features and are designed for ease-of-use. As such, projects are designed to be run autonomously rather than by an administrator. In addition, template features include a streamlined configuration (vs advanced configuration), simple workflow options (vs a highly configurable workflow), and burnup and velocity reports (vs twenty reports with the Classic template).

Project teams are also limited to a single board per project (vs multiple boards in Classic) and have the capability to configure only one project at a time. Nonetheless, these features will enable smaller teams to more easily exercise agile capabilities. Otherwise, Atlassian recommends sticking with the Classic Template, especially if your team is “familiar with Jira, has a mature agile practice, or has a complex workflow.”

Next Gen

Story Points

In Jira, story points are a common scrum estimation method for determining completion time (as opposed to using time itself). Users assign story points to project sub-tasks to indicate relative effort. By comparing Stories, project velocity can be roughly worked out for each project sprint.

For instance, a project member can estimate and assign the number of story points below:

  • Sub-task 1 -> Redesign website path (2 story points)
  • Sub-task 2 -> Revise Contact Form (3 story points)
  • Sub-task 3 -> Create logo (1 story point)

Given this input, revising the Contact Form will take 3x as long as creating a logo. And finishing the parent task altogether will take 6x as long.

In the future, Atlassian hopes to include an estimate roll-ups feature with regard to story points. A roll-up feature would allow project users to summarize multiple sub-tasks (via story points) for each parent task. If one was created that filtered subtasks by version/release, users could determine if the sub-tasks for a particular release have been achieved – even if they had escaped from an epic.


It’s important to deliberately select Classic or Next Gen when starting a new project. Otherwise, project leaders may find themselves dealing with a very limited Next Gen templates. Fortunately, the Atlassian community forum explains in detail how to convert a Next Gen project to a Classic type

Again, understanding this capability is seemingly critical, as it appears that many users are fairly upset (or at least more vocal) at the lack of customization that Next Gen templates present. Likewise, be sure that the online documentation you’re accessing relates to these Next Gen templates rather the Classic template, as the functions and steps to set up your project are different.

While Next Gen templates are simpler by default, Atlassian is hoping to add more control to them in the future (as users believe they’re over-restrictive). To that end, they’re seeking “a way to share settings between the new projects so that multiple teams in the same company can share their ways of working.”