This is a bit of a blast from the past. Steve Greene and Chris Fry wrote this paper around 10 years ago, after their ‘big bang’ agile transformation at (30 teams).

I had the chance to work with Steve and Chris at Twitter. I greatly admire their ethos and approach to creating and maintaining an effective organisation. I’m sorry I wasn’t much help in achieving the level of success they had at when they started the repeat at Twitter.

Anyway, here is their paper on the experience: – Large Scale Agile Transformation in an On-Demand World – Chris Fry and Steve Greene

And here is a writeup from Steve Denning on the same journey: Six Common Mistakes That Didn’t Make – Steve Denning


Update; the site is now at as we rebranded the company, and the /conf/server.xml settings have changed (Jira 7.4). Thanks to Chad H for bringing this to my attention!

<Connector port="8080"


Original Post

Quick writeup as I’ve struggled to get this working and now that it is I want to document for future reference.

Goal: Get JIRA Server working behind an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) with Secure HTTP / SSL

  1. My desired final URL was
  2. Setup a new ELB (mind was pointing to an EC2 instance with JIRA Server)
  3. ELB Health Check can be HTTPS://SERVER:443/status
  4. Set JIRA Base URL to
  5. Edit /conf/server.xml and add the following under Connector
    1. scheme=”https”
    2. proxyName=””
    3. proxyPort=”443″
  6. Voila, it works –
JIRA conf/server.xml configuration for AWS ELB load balancer with HTTPS

JIRA conf/server.xml configuration for reverse proxy with AWS ELB

JIRA Server AWS ELB Load Balancer HTTPS SSL

One challenge we faced at Twitter was understanding how much time it took to complete an epic. Our hypothesis was that across 300+ teams we could discern a pattern and understand how long a chunk of work took to complete on average.

Understanding Epic Cycle Time in JIRA for Agile Success

Of course each team chunked work differently and epics may represent experiments, projects, or even part of a customer journey as is the case with an agile user story map. We hoped that understanding the cycle time better would enable us to improve the effectiveness of the organisation.

Unfortunately JIRA Agile/Software decoupled the status of an epic from the actual workflow using a custom field called “Epic Status”. This meant we could not check cycle time for epics on a kanban board as the epic was never moved to the In Progress or Resolved state.

In this whitepaper I detail how we synced the epic status field with the workflow and understood the cycle time of epics in our organisation.

Get the whitepaper