Using Jira in a way that conforms to your specific ways of working can sometimes be a pain, especially when the way that works for you requires a little more detail at a high level.
Are you sick of being the person that has to constantly remind the project teams who is responsible for a particular role? Or do you like to keep all important project information in a single place for people to easily ingest?
Apps like Portfolio for Jira provide the ability to produce project road-maps, and to break down higher level work such as initiatives, but this information could seem like it is behind an iron curtain of planning information.
Natively, Jira does not give the user an option to store high level project related information in an single, easily digestible, repository.
For example, the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has multiple organisational levels, each with their own information.
Being able to see an overview of basic project information, such as which Agile Release Train (ART) the project belongs, or who is the Product Manager could be a serious benefit for disparate global teams, or for external stakeholders.
Maybe you want to document all of the members, and their roles, for a particular project or release train in a single place where everyone has access. How would you do this?
You could produce something like this, which is easy to maintain, graphically clean, and fully accessible to the entire project team (please zoom in or open the image(s) in a new tab for a more detailed view):
Being able to easily see who is involved, and their capacity of engagement, in the project provides insight to whom members could seek answers while also visually representing project responsibility.
In addition, basic project information can be stored within the layout to boost value to management and to be able to keep all team members on the same page.
By utilising the Profields app, from the Atlassian Marketplace, you can store project level information in fields just like how you can store information on Jira issues in custom fields!
For this example we want to show each of the members involved with a specific project. With SAFe, depending on the scale of SAFe that is practised, there are many different roles to be filled on different levels of the SAFe hierarchy.
We will assume that we want to display only the ‘Essential’ SAFe roles which comprises of the ‘Program’ and ‘Team’ levels.
The roles that will need to be captured are:
Agile Team level
To capture data at a project level, Profields utilise ‘Layouts’ which are customised pages used to display and store custom fields and their values.
Each project can be given a single layout to use to collect and display it’s own specific information.
Projects can share layouts, reducing maintenance, or have a bespoke layout to give each project greater depth of information that might not be needed elsewhere.
Navigating to ‘Layouts’ within the Jira header navigation bar will give you the option to create a new layout.
You can name the layout anything you desire. It could be the name of a specific release train, solution train, or project name. It could also be generic so it can be applied to multiple projects within your Jira instance.
For this example, I’ll keep it generic, calling it SAFe Layout with a generic description text:
Each layout is separated into sections. For the SAFe example, I think it would be logical to separate the sections into ‘Project Information’ for basic information, ‘Team Level’ for the teams involved with deliverable production, and ‘Program Level’ for strategic management and higher level information:
For your layout, you could choose any combination of information separation. The limit is your imagination.
Within each section you have ‘Containers’ to help divide out the fields and to make logical sub-groups. It also helps keep the layout looking nice and tidy!
Once we have the layout set up of how we would like to structure our fields, there is only one thing missing. The fields!
Profields uses project fields for projects the same way Jira uses custom fields for Issues.
There are two ways to create the new project fields, from the ‘Fields’ screen accessible from the Profields drop down in the Jira header bar, or from right here in the layout screen:
By clicking ‘Add field’ you can select any project field, or create a new field.
There are 12 types of fields, including script fields which use groovy scripts to display any data depending on your conditions. With scripted fields available, imagination really is the limit!
For more information regarding field types and how they operate, here is a link to the official Deiser documentation.
To capture the roles I will be using the ‘User’ project field type, for roles where only a single person should be responsible I have chosen ‘single user’ and ‘multiple users’ where there could be one or many people, such as ‘Dev Team’:
Don’t forget to click save in the top right hand corner! This has caused a lot of pain in the past and many times where I have had to recreate my layout!
After saving, click the ‘Associate to projects’ button and select all of the projects you wish for your layout to be associate with. This means that this particular layout of fields will be visible to the members of that project.
Navigate to your layout page in the associated project by clicking the Profields icon in the project sidebar
After filling in the fields on the layout, you can forever point people to this page whenever the question of who is responsible or what ART the project is in pops up:
Do you have any good ideas of how to better use Profields to help manage projects in a SAFe environment? Let us know in the comments below!]]>
The focus next year will be IT Service Management (ITSM), which Atlassian defines as, “how you manage the delivery of end-to-end IT services to your customers”.
Commonly considered a wholly IT role, the principles of ITSM can be utilised throughout your entire organisation. We’ve seen adoption of Atlassian tools (e.g. Jira Service Desk, Jira Software and Confluence) by different business teams to help organise, monitor and manage project tasks, signifying that ITSM approaches are becoming more mainstream and are not only for IT professionals. We aim to have keynotes addressing ITSM from these differing perspectives.
From an IT perspective, process is vital. Atlassian’s approach to ITSM comprises four core elements: Service Request Management, Incident Management, Problem Management and Change Management. We will explore each of these processes in more detail during Atlassian in Scotland 2020, discussing theory, offering expert and tooling advice, and sharing real customer use cases where possible.
The conference will also discuss the importance of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), exploring the differences between ITIL and ITSM and reviewing the latest update, ITIL 4.
At the inaugural Atlassian in Scotland 2019 event last March, an engaging and insightful panel discussion was organised with panellists including Anthony Christensen from RBS, Philippa Christie from the Equator Agency and Sorcha Lorimer from Trace Data Ltd. offering their views and sharng their experiences of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) in action. We will look to replicate an expert discussion next year within the theme of ITSM, with the opportunity for you to submit questions before and ask during the discussion, allowing you to become part of the conversation.
What does the future of ITSM look like? This will also be addressed during the conference, giving you the opportunity to hear expert opinions from speakers, sponsors and like-minded peers.
With plenty of refreshment and networking breaks anticipated, you will be able to network with fellow Atlassians and share best practices, user experiences and more. We will also look to host an AUG in the evening, allowing for a more informal discussion and of course the obligatory beer, pizza and SWAG!
With 7 months to go until Atlassian in Scotland 2020 is here we are still shaping the agenda to make it the event to attend for all things Atlassian in Scotland. Follow the hashtag #TartanTeamwork and be kept informed of event updates and developments. We have exciting things planned for next year so watch this space!
For more information and to register, please visit the New Verve presents Atlassian in Scotland 2020 event page.
For a taste of what to expect, read our Atlassian in Scotland 2019 post event blog.
“Attending the Atlassian in Scotland event was very beneficial. It was excellent not only to hear from Atlassian directly but to share challenges & solutions with other attendees. Taking the time to attend an event like this helped us to refocus on how we were making use of the tools & associated processes.”
Peter Hinds, Head of Operations, Synergy Learning
“New Verve presents Atlassian in Scotland is a fantastic event that brings together the Scottish Atlassian user community. Tempo were event sponsors and speakers in 2019 and we were delighted with the quality of the event and with the valuable opportunities to connect with and learn from attendees who were interested in or already using Tempo products to keep track of their projects.
It is a great platform to demo tools and hear about product news, upcoming features and product vision. Thank you Scotland!”
Eyglo Oskarsdottir, Sales Manager, Tempo.
I really enjoyed meeting Atlassian customers and local Solution Partners and hearing how our tools shape how they work. If you’re looking for insights on working more collaboratively and meeting likeminded users in Scotland, this is the event for you!”
Darlene Auguste, Atlassian Community Manager, APAC & EMEA
See you in 2020!]]>
We were recently invited by New Verve Consulting to discuss Project Portfolio Management (PPM). What follows is a condensed version of our presentation on Tempo and PPM.
PPM stands for Project Portfolio Management. The point of PPM is to be able to prioritize multiple projects, plan them realistically, and staff them with the best possible employees. At heart, PPM is about understanding how all of your projects are going and what you should do next. It enables you to make sure that your work contributes to your goals and that you are heading in the right direction. PPM has several components, including pipeline management, resource management, change management, risk management and financial management.
With PPM, you know that important (and often less risky) projects are the first to be launched, and that qualified staff are available for the job. Leftover resources can then work on other initiatives. When a company neglects to use PPM, they often end up implementing too many unimportant projects. Employees end up overwhelmed and overworked. Projects may end early because of poor quality or a lack of feasibility.
Tempo is a leading app for Jira that allows users to see the value of their time. With Tempo, users can better understand which projects and tasks to invest their time in. We have offices in Montreal, Canada; Reykjavik, Iceland; and Stockholm, Sweden, with over 100 employees. Used by over 120 of the Global 500, as well as many small and medium-sized companies, Tempo is trusted by world-leading companies across all sectors.
Tempo offers three efficiency-enhancing products: Tempo Timesheets, Tempo Planner and Tempo Budgets. We assist our users in solving many different problems and use cases with these three products. With Tempo Timesheets, users can track and approve time, report on timesheets with ease and flexibility, and manage accounts. With Tempo Planner, users can plan work for teams, maximize team capacity, and find available resources. With Tempo Budgets, users can view real time dashboards, navigate large project portfolios, and easily create project budgets.
PPM systems are complex by nature; it requires extensive training to interpret the data and apply it to a day-to-day workflow. That’s because the PPM solutions that exist on the market today tend to be siloed information systems where few people have access. Those people who do have access are the only ones who can translate what a given system does and how it fits into day-to-day work. Other stakeholders may have difficulty managing the data and acting accordingly.
On the other hand, Tempo’s PPM solution in Jira has many advantages. Tempo apps sit directly in Jira, so you don’t have to go from one system to the next. There is easy access for all users.
So what are the five components of PPM all about? And how does Tempo sit in?
Pipeline management means overseeing your current projects and knowing which ones you are going to work on next. It means understanding what to do when. With Tempo Budgets, you can estimate your staff costs, which is both the amount of money you will be spending on that staff, and the number of staff that you need for a given role. With this tool, you can start to manage your pipeline so that operations are always readily visible.
Resource management means the efficient and effective development of your organization’s resources when they are needed. Tempo Planner can help with a resource planning view, which is a graphical representation of resources and their allocation. It is critical to have the necessary resources to deliver on schedule, and to understand what skills are lacking in order to fill gaps in staffing.
Financial management means overseeing budgets and finances for projects and knowing whether or not your business is profitable. Tempo Budgets really shines as an end-to-end financial management tool in JIRA.
Risk management is defined as the forecasting and evaluation of financial risks together with the identification of procedures to avoid or minimize their impact. Having accurate and real-time information enables stakeholders to see early warning signs and react accordingly in order to maximize the success of projects. While Tempo does not provide risk management for PPM, there are other apps with options for managing risk in Jira.
To drive forward a project, you need a good change management regime, from what gets added to the backlog to what should be developed or prioritised. For example, with Tempo Budgets, if you change your budget for a project, you are able to see what it was when it first started, what it is today and what your actual costs are compared to either of those.
It’s important to have the clarity needed to solve business problems. Knowing how to make decisions and move forward requires clear, in-depth information. With Tempo, you can enhance your PPM practice in order to better prioritize and plan projects. With better insights, you can benefit from improved business processes and an increased bottom-line.
Discover Tempo’s PPM solution!
New Verve Consulting are Tempo Silver Partners and we offer resale, training and consultancy for the entire Tempo product suite. Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.]]>
As an authorised supplier on G-Cloud 11, public sector organisations can procure our services without needing to run a full tender process.
Our services in G-Cloud 11 span three categories:
Cloud hosting covers the provision of platform or infrastructure services ‘in the cloud’. In this category, we provide Atlassian Server and Data Center applications as a cloud service via Amazon Web Services: Jira Software, Jira Service Desk, Confluence, Bitbucket, Bamboo and Crowd.
We also support all Atlassian apps and most Marketplace apps.
Our aim is for public sector organisations to reduce the cost, complexity, and risk of ownership by using our service.
Cloud software services are applications that are accessed over the web and hosted in the cloud. In this category, we resell subscriptions to Atlassian’s SaaS offerings.
‘Atlassian Cloud’ delivers the power of collaborative tools such as Jira Software, Confluence, Bitbucket, and Bamboo. This service is hosted and delivered by Atlassian. As a delivery partner in Scotland, we can provide annual subscriptions and value-add services via PO on payment terms to the public sector.
This category is all about helping public sector buyers to set up and maintain their cloud hosting or software services.
We provide two key services in this category, ultimately helping our customers to design, build, deploy, and support Atlassian solutions that meet their specific needs. We work with both technical and non-technical teams, and have highly-trained staff that specialize in collaborative tooling such as Jira Software.
To find out more about G-Cloud 11, search for ‘New Verve Consulting’ on the Digital Marketplace. If you’d like to speak with us, feel free to call the team on 0141 291 5950.]]>
Have you ever tried to combine ‘Waterfall’ and ‘Agile’ methodologies in a single Jira project? Senior-level executives like high-level, waterfall tools to keep an eye on deadlines, milestones, goals, and risks. Low-level teams, on the other hand, prefer to plan their sprints on agile boards. Let’s see how to run a project in Jira to address the needs of both groups so that the small tasks belonging to teams form larger chunks digestible by CEOs. And vice versa.
First, let’s assert that the hybrid or mixed project management is hardly feasible without some add-on on top of your Jira. It’s because Jira Software alone has ‘just’ the agile boards, and lacks a timeline-based, waterfall planning tool, such as the Gantt chart. So, as a bare minimum, research Atlassian Marketplace on some Gantt chart app for Jira. Even better, get a full-scale project management add-on, because Jira’s agile boards lack another valuable feature, namely ‘Teams’.
BigPicture is one good example. For the essence of hybrid project management in BigPicture, check the below screenshot:
Can you recall senior executives from your home organization? Do they rely on dates and deadlines? If so, they might appreciate that they can keep an eye on high-level tasks and milestones (essential dates) sitting on the timeline of the Gantt chart. It is the ‘waterfall part’ of the above screenshot.
To see the ‘agile part’ let’s descend to the teams’ level. Teams across software, finance and healthcare industries, as well as R&D and marketing departments in just about any sector, increasingly rely on two- or three-week iterations. In BigPicture they would typically use an Agile board for planning:
So imagine them moving tasks from the backlog onto the board during their planning session on Monday. Two things would happen on-the-fly:
Check this Step by step tutorial on how to launch and run a mixed agile-waterfall project in Jira and BigPicture.
Other than the above, there are more techniques suitable for hybrid-mixed projects. Let’s go through them one by one:
This is another measure that caters to the HYBRID projects in Jira. Have both ‘Time tracking’ (waterfall) and ‘Story points’ (agile) columns in the same BigPicture view, like we marked on the below Gantt chart:
BigPicture’s Scope is another module you can pursue this approach in.
Those PMs who use purely agile software have difficult times allocating their teams’ and team members’ capacity to the standard of 90-110%. Since BigPicture supports the waterfall concepts, it has to have the full-size Resource module, pictured. The intuitive orange, red and green bars lets you visually scan for the areas of underallocation (represented by green) and overallocation (red) of your workforce.
Also, note how you can switch between ‘Individuals’ and ‘Teams’ views. We’ve marked the buttons in the above picture. Agilists involved in your project will appreciate the ‘Teams’ view, while those working the waterfall style will appreciate the classical ‘Individuals’ outlook, enabled in the above screenshot.
Does your agile software has some risk management module? It not necessarily does since some agile PM methodologies skip the risks altogether. Fortunately, BigPicture not only has the Risk matrix, but you can configure its axes. Why is the latter crucial in hybrid project management?
Waterfall projects very typically use the following Risk probability matrix: one of the axes represent Risk probability, with values ranging from ‘almost none’ to ‘very high’, and the other one stands for Risk consequence - ‘trivial’ to ‘severe’. This is the default configuration of BigPicture’s Risk module.
Now, let’s throw a glance at an increasingly popular agile methodology - Scaled Agile Framework, with its unique Probability / ROAM axes. As evident in the below picture, the risk matrix in BigPicture has been re-set specifically for SAFe:
The ability to drag and drop tasks to reassign them to teams or individuals may seem granted, and it certainly is in modern agile project management software. Step back to some pre-Jira, waterfall applications, though, and you might get surprised by the drag&drop feature missing. And for a reason: back then you would have rarely rescheduled things, once a plan had been approved.
So, it could come as a not-all-that-common combination that BigPicture both supports the waterfall methodologies and it has the precious drag&drop capability - on the Agile Board and Resources module.
I’m a PRINCE2 project manager. Should I consider hybrid projects?
PRINCE2 is a waterfall methodology, so a Gantt chart is all a PRINCE2 project needs, right? Not quite. Hybrid projects are applicable here as well. Think of those ‘work packages’ that PRINCE2 project managers pass responsibility for to teams. Why not let teams slice these ‘work packages’ into iterations in an agile manner on a Program board?
A team failed to deliver a task in the current 2-week iteration and put that task off for the next iteration using their beloved agile Program board. What does this mean for the hybrid project?
The delay could be noticed by the project manager observing the Gantt chart (with View > Show > Cadences option enabled), as the BigPicture’s Program Board keeps in-sync with the Gantt chart. This 2-week delay could hit the whole high-level plan.
Is budgeting easier in hybrid projects?
It could be. Very typically, teams get hired and paid per iteration. Therefore, with iterations evident on the Gantt chart, you multiply iterations by the weekly rate.
Hybrid projects vs. MS Project
We see this all the time. Even if an organization migrates to Jira, they keep Microsoft Project alive, as their PMs got used to MS Project’s Gantt chart. This dilemma is no longer legit with hybrid projects available from BigPicture + Jira. It’s pretty straightforward to migrate your work from MS Project to BigPicture.]]>
Over the course of 2 days in Riga, we got the opportunity to hear practical use cases and gain insights from a range of partners and customers in the Atlassian and eazyBI ecosystem.
This was the third annual eazyBI user conference and is the biggest eazyBI event of the year.
eazyBI enables you to create business intelligence reports, charts, and dashboards with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop tool. Data can be imported from various sources including Excel, SQL, and REST. With a bit more experience, you can then start diving into more complex features such as defining your own reporting formulas using the MDX query language.
Targeting both new and experienced users of the product, this event is all about learning from and networking with the wider community. Theatre-style presentations were interspersed with lighting talks over the 2 days. eazyBI put on a great event and certainly brought the community together at the evening event hosted by the Drift Hall, where we all got the chance to race around a track on electric trikes at 50 km/hr!
We have been huge fans of eazyBI for a number of years now, and have implemented many bespoke reporting solutions for customers that use eazyBI as a Jira app. We also use it ourselves!
Last year, our Technical Lead, Kris Siwiec showed how eazyBI can be combined with the Tempo product suite for portfolio oversight. This year, we followed a similar path, but combined forces with one of our customers Synergy Learning. Our very own Victor Lee presented with Peter Hinds on a project reporting solution using eazyBI and Profields. Here’s a nice relaxed snap before they kicked off
As an Atlassian Solution Partner, we applied our expertise in building a solution that reported on a number of key metrics including project status, workload, and revenue. We utilised Scriptrunner for Jira to extract and process project data from another Jira app: Profields. The processed data was then pulled into a cube for reporting in eazyBI.
We took away a tonne of insights and this blog entry certainly doesn’t cover everything that happened over the two days. However, I’ve tried to highlight some key takeaways.
First up, I was intrigued by how successful eazyBI have been as a company with stellar year-upon-year growth. Recognised two years running as one of the top 50 Deloitte fast-growing companies in Central Europe, it’s even more amazing that eazyBI does all this in an entirely distributed setup. In other words, they don’t have a physical office - everybody works remotely. This of course comes with its own challenges and questions on how to maintain company culture and team morale. eazyBI seem to have found the right formula with regular group meetups, a packed schedule of events throughout the year, regular online team collaboration and of course the infamous morning team runs when everyone gets together in the same location.
eazyBI 4.6 and 4.7 have arrived with some nice new features, including:
eazyBI 5.0 is upcoming and will include:
Interestingly, eazyBI also announced that a brand new product eazyBI for Confluence will be announced soon. Keep your eyes peeled for the Beta.
There were various presentations throughout the 2-day event, from eazyBI, partners, and of course customers.
Most participants were trying to achieve the same ultimate goal: to improve operational efficiencies by consolidating and automating reporting. Here are a few tips and tricks from some highlighted speakers:
Some really useful tips were shared by Jānis Gulbis from eazyBI in his presentation on the ‘Do’s and Don’ts of data Visualization’. Ultimately charts need to be simple and easy to understand:
All of the presentations were recorded over the two days and will be made available on the eazyBI website. Keep an eye too on future events.
Get busy building reports in eazyBI!
We look forward to participating again in future events with eazyBI and other ecosystem vendors. They’re really a fantastic opportunity to share and network with the wider community, and we’d encourage customers and partners to partake in these valuable exercises.
Oh - and wouldn’t it be great if we could bring Riga’s drift racing to Scotland?!! (picture courtesy of eazyBI)]]>
On March 19, 2019 at the inaugural Atlassian conference in Scotland organised by New Verve Consulting I presented a talk on ‘Challenges with Digital Project Management Tools’. This conference was a great experience filled with great talks, interesting people from various organisations in Scotland and a great platform for me to share my personal views on a topic that has impacted my professional life – digital project management (PM).
Having worked as a Technology Consultant in Accenture for around 6 years now, my experience centred around delivering digital projects and technical solutions meaning working with various project managers and their tools, or at times acting as a project manager myself. Therefore, this digital project management element linked well with what Atlassian offers, so that is why I decided to explore the challenges experienced with digital PM tools by me and the industry while looking at some solutions, and some of these come from Atlassian which I focused on in more detail (Jira, Confluence, Trello).
In this post I provide an overview of the presentation about the challenges with digital project management tools in a modern day to day context. These views are my own which are influenced by my experiences and research.
In project management, PM tools, and more precisely the software nowadays, is important to the success of the project manager and even the wider team. Great tools enable project managers to employ their methodology and strategy and share it with the team. Below I outline the key daily uses of PM tools:
According to GetApp Lab research 75% of PMs use two to five total tools for project management
From the previous section it is clear that digital project managers juggle various tasks and activities hence they need multi-functional tools that are made for the modern workplace context (whether that is cloud based, shareable, mobile app functional, etc.). Therefore, the statistic that PMs use two to five total tools is not that surprising and I see that as one of the worst issues which I evidenced on projects. The juggling of tasks is one thing but adding to that juggling of tools, especially ones that have different UIs, rules, philosophies, create so many inefficiencies.
In the presentation I delved into more challenges with day to day PM tools that can impact the organisation and can influence the statistic outlined above:
The market nowadays is filled with project management tools yet there are still go-to tools at major firms.
Atlassian is one of these brands which flagship tool is the Jira application. Jira, alongside Confluence and Trello is what I found efficient as I had the chance to use these Atlassian applications a couple times. They solve several challenges modern PMs face. Here is a list of some of the characteristics:
Another brand I have dealt with many times is Microsoft which is also a big player and is constantly innovating across all enterprise needs, not just project management. Microsoft has a software ecosystem which stretches across office, planning, cloud, collaboration, development, planning, etc. The ecosystem edge may useful for large organisations who want everything from the same provider and brands. Its main tools for PM purposes are MSP and TFS, which have a different feel to the Atlassian tools. They at times feel clunky but Microsoft has been very good in innovating to keep up with the market and improving these tools and adding things like Teams, Planner, etc.
There are other big providers, but also there is a huge number of smaller providers that have been catering to niche requirements. Some of them eventually get acquired, for example recent acquisition of AgileCraft by Atlassian proves that. I have seen the following common PM tool characteristics from smaller providers:
To close off my presentation I demonstrated some quick applications of Atlassian tools to bring to life how solid PM tools can combat some of the challenges outlined earlier in the talk.
I demonstrated how Jira can be used to manage ‘issues’ which can be tasks, stories and defects focusing on the configurable feel of Jira, the workflows, and other features (permissions, WIP limits, CSV import, roadmaps). Following on from Jira I touched upon collaboration with Confluence, which can be integrated with Jira, and is a great ‘space’ to collaborate and manage collaboration across teams (blogs, team structure, pages, etc.)
Trello, which was an Atlassian acquisition over a year ago has been my favourite tool due to its practicality and Kanban board style that can be applied to work projects but also personal things. A recent Bloomberg article actually demonstrated a detailed look into how Trello can be maximised for example in planning a trip.
Photo from Bloomberg article, see original article here.
To conclude, I recommend for digital PMs to test tools for themselves as there are always free trials from providers. Also, comparison sites are useful. A thought-out decision needs to be made when selecting software used by digital PMs to reduce the number of challenges faced and increase productivity and happiness of the user.]]>
I was delighted to speak at the New Verve Consulting event in March. Synergy Learning have been using the Atlassian stack for many years and we felt we had an interesting story to tell.
Synergy Learning are a full service provider of Learning Technology. We’ve been a Moodle Partner since 2005 and a Totara Platinum partner since 2011. We offer services similar to an Atlassian partner for these applications.
For some, the talk hopefully struck a chord from their own adoption and was a nice trip down memory lane! For those who are just venturing into the ecosystem it hopefully gave them hope and reassurance that it’s a journey that’s worth embarking upon.
To recap our journey; we started using BitBucket in 2011 replacing an in-house maintained “git” server. I wish we’d a better reason for why we chose BitBucket over competitors but it came down to a simple calculation that the per-user licensing model was substantially more advantageous for us. From that point BitBucket has become a central tool in our workflow specifically for our development teams “peer review” process & for managing “pull requests” in our theme products.
Not long after introducing BitBucket we also introduced Jira but for our development team only. We had a number of supporting applications for time tracking, project planning, communication & support services but these all sat as islands of each other with little to no integration.
Surprisingly, this loose group of applications worked rather well for us. Although in hindsight we’re not quite sure how! The company was enjoying substantial growth but as we started to scale and take on larger & more challenging pieces of work the chaotic nature of application sprawl took its toll. We agreed it was time to standardise.
We reviewed several competitors to Jira as we knew this was going to be a long term strategic partner for us. Our Dev Team were strong supporters of Jira and we’d built up a lot of useful information within the system. We were also wary of the learning curve that would be associated with a new system; but this was a minor point in comparison. We chose Jira for its strengths rather than sticking with it out of fear.
The big difference with this implementation of Jira was that we decided to stay within the Atlassian ecosystem i.e. If we needed additional functionality rather than looking to additional applications we would rely upon the apps that exist within the Atlassian Marketplace.
The biggest move during this transition was for our support system. We were quite happy with the current system but in-line with the agreed policy we would standardise within Jira using Service Desk. We were a little uneasy about this as our perception of service desk was that it was more focused on Internal IT type of support rather than external customer facing. Thankfully our preconceptions turned out to be incorrect and ServiceDesk slotted into daily use seamlessly. In fact within a short space of time we were reaping the rewards of the simplicity and power of the ServiceDesk SLA’s. Our Support Team quickly acknowledge how helpful ServiceDesk was for enabling them to be even more productive in their jobs.
One of the biggest mistakes we made with our implementation was that we went overboard on mapping business process into Jira workflows. The number of statuses and number of issue types was excessive. If you’re starting to implement Jira for yourself please don’t make the same mistake. I’d advise that you reach out to an Atlassian partner like New Verve Consulting to discuss your implementation. There are simple tips like this that a seasoned partner can help with that will save you time & money in the long run.
One of the best parts of the “Atlassian in Scotland” event was meeting with the event sponsors as we are a customer of all three. We use Tempo Timesheets for time tracking, Big Picture Enterprise for Project Planning and EazyBI for our reporting purposes.
For EazyBI we’d recently just completed a development project with New Verve Consulting so it was rewarding to be able to showcase the fruits of that project. The EazyBI reports have helped drive operational excellence within Synergy Learning.
It was useful to be able to highlight some of the smaller plugins too.
The final piece of our implementation was Confluence. This is where we collaborate together as a company. We purchased the “refined” theme and customised it in-house to our requirements. We run two “sites” from Confluence namely our internal “Intranet” and a site for our “Customers” where we store useful documentation relating to their configurations, meeting notes, technical documents and so forth.
The closing section of my presentation gave me the opportunity to speak in broad strokes about future plans we have. I always find this an interesting conversation topic to continue during the breaks and thankfully this was the same here.
After the official ‘Atlassian in Scotland’ event ended there was the opportunity to attend an Atlassian User Group. The user group is usually based in Edinburgh but had made the journey to Glasgow for the evening. This was an informal gathering of Atlassian users with additional presentations from Tempo, EazyBI and Software Plant. Tempo presented a product demo, EazyBI spoke about some do’s and don’t when creating reports and Software Plant gave a sneak peek into the “Box Revolution” that’s coming in BigPicture 7.5. There’s sadly no AUG in Belfast so being able to attend this as part of the event was a bonus for me not to mention free Pizza, beer and swag from the sponsors!
Having the opportunity to speak with people working in similar and non-similar fields but all using the same software to achieve their goals made for a fantastic event. The lasting impression from the event was that of shared experiences and challenges.
Huge thanks for New Verve Consulting, Atlassian, Tempo, EazyBI & Software Plant for making the event possible. We are looking forward to next year already!]]>
We were sorry to miss it in person this year but we were delighted to participate virtually via the Summit portal. We would like to share with you a few of the exciting announcements made during the tenth Atlassian Summit:
Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes stated that they are building where customers are today as well as building where they want to go in the future. Mike also quoted that over 90% of companies already use cloud somewhere in their organisation. With more than 100,000 Atlassian customers already on the cloud, Atlassian are accelerating investment in cloud solutions as they believe this will be the destination of choice for almost every customer over time.
Cloud Premium for Jira Software and Confluence was announced at the Summit. For Jira Software, the premium edition includes advanced roadmaps and better visualisation of project status straight out of the box with no apps required. Confluence Cloud premium boasts 15+ new features, including faster, easier content creation, pre-formatted templates, better organisation of content and Analytics for Confluence. Cloud Premium is backed by a solid promise:
Other updates for standard versions of Cloud included:
Support for 10,000 users: This started at 1,000 users and was increased to 2,000 and then 5,000. Atlassian state their goal is to support unlimited users in the future.
Data centre distribution: Atlassian had originally launched three data centres in Dublin and the West and East Coasts of America. Last year they announced two new data centres in Singapore and Sydney. Atlassian has now added a data centre in Frankfurt, providing customers with better choices with regards to data locality whilst meeting any data residency guidelines.
Cloud performance increases: Jira boards load 50% faster, backlogs 80% faster and navigating in Jira is now 100% faster than before.
Admin experience: Atlassian has unified the admin experience so its easier to manage multiple Atlassian Cloud products in one central place - the Atlassian Admin Hub. Built-in domain capture allows visibility over every user in a company and an all new admin API set to automate user management across an organisation.
New Atlassian cloud migration centre: helping customers plan, migrate and optimise their journey from server to cloud.
Atlassian Access: Launched 9 months ago, Atlassian has witnessed “blockbuster adoption” of this across its customer base in less than one year. Features include 2FA and SAML Single Sign-On. Already partnered with 5 of the largest identity providers, Atlassian are pleased to announce partnerships with two additional identify providers: Google Cloud Identity and Microsoft Active Directory Federated Services. Atlassian Access now also has automatic user provisioning through Okta, Azure and OneLogin. Features include:
Key highlights at the Summit for Data Centre features comprised:
Support for Amazon Aurora Data Centre: More details to follow.
Content Delivery Network (CDN) Support: this will allow distributed teams to accelerate performance as remote users interact with the UI of the product and reduce peak load on the primary application instance.
Smart Mirror Farms: for Bitbucket Data Centre. Allows the enterprise customer the ability to cluster smart mirrors into farms, grouped together behind a load balancer which reduces the time a team has to wait for build results and increases the overall experience for a distributed team.
Rate limiting for rest APIs: “self-protect” instances by allowing customers to set thresholds for the number of concurrent requests a user can make to a server whilst also setting exemptions. Currently released in Bitbucket with similar support to be added to Jira Software and Jira Service Desk soon.
Issue level archiving: Atlassian announced project level archiving last year and at this year’s summit they have introduced Issue archiving. This will allow customers to archive individual issues and use JQL to collect and archive issues as a bulk action. An API will be released soon.
Overhaul of Data Centre AWS and Azure Templates
Centralised licence and permissions visibility: starting with centralised license visibility in Crowd, which will be followed by centralised permissions visibility.
Atlassian stated that major releases across all server and data centre products ensure that the customer will have a platform that they can depend on for years to come. Key takeaways from the Summit include:
Jira Software 8.0: improved performance, 31% faster JQL searches, agile boards load twice as fast and re-index 71% shorter (on average). The overall index size is cut in half.
Bitbucket 6.0: Code Insights takes critical information from third party systems directly into pull requests, allowing developers to stay in the flow and progress work.
Portfolio for Jira 3.0: Key features include:
Atlassian recently announced its acquisition of AgileCraft and at the Summit a new brand identity was unveiled: Jira Align. Jira Align aims to get teams aligned across an enterprise and drive outcomes, as opposed to outputs, at scale.
On an end note, Atlassian has pledged to go 100% renewable by 2025. They are joining RE100, an initiative that is bringing together a group of influential business across the world who are committed to sourcing 100% renewable electricity.
Interested in learning more? Full replays of the General Sessions and Product Keynote Presentations are now available via the Atlassian website. Enjoy!]]>
Check out the Atlassian in Scotland 2019 social story on wakelet!
Unleashing the potential of every team
With a central theme of Project Portfolio Management, an exciting programme of keynotes, product demos and a thought-provoking panel discussion was arranged throughout the day. Nigel Rochford, Managing Director of New Verve Consulting, welcomed delegates to the first ever Atlassian in Scotland event and set the scene for the day ahead. Feico Mol, Head of EMEA channels at Atlassian, acted as MC and panel host and opened by outlining Atlassian’s mission and core values. The recent acquisition of AgileCraft by Atlassian was announced, with Feico explaining Atlassian is now better equipped than ever to scale agile to the enterprise.
Scaling agile leads to business success
The first keynote of the day was delivered by Giulio Iannazzo, Solutions Engineer at Atlassian, who continued with the importance of scaling agile for enterprise. The journey that organisations embark on to become increasingly agile requires acceptance that the world is uncertain, scaling agile isn’t only about tools and of the importance between growing and transforming. Giulio explained that properly laid foundations for scaling agile leads to business success; these include visibility, evolution, decision making (by those closest to the problem), structure and the power of a team of teams. Alignment requires insight without stifling innovation. Giulio finished by exploring how Portfolio for Jira enables the enterprise to gain visibility across all teams and projects.
Presentation: Scaling agile with Portfolio for Jira - Giulio Iannazzo, Atlassian
Distributed team cohesion and inclusion
Darline Auguste, APAC & EMEA Community Manager at Atlassian, shared with the audience 5 tips for working effectively as a distributed team. Expanding on Atlassian’s mission to unleash the potential of every team, Darline stressed the importance of staying connected, over-communication, involving everyone, being considerate and to level the field. Tools from the Atlassian product suite (principally Confluence and Trello) along with Slack and Zoom were instrumental in enabling distributed team collaboration, organisation and communication. Adopting the mentality of taking ownership and the realisation that it’s not only up to your teammates, Darline concluded that you are the key to unleashing the potential of your organisation.
Presentation: Tips for working effectively as a distributed team - Darline Auguste, Atlassian
Tempo and Jira
Next up were Eyglo Oskarsdottir, Sales Manager at Tempo Software and Thorunn Oskarsdottir, Solutions Architect at Tempo Software, who demonstrated how teams can achieve strategic objectives with Tempo and Jira. Eyglo and Thorunn discussed how it is possible to gain insights into potential returns on a project whilst enhancing transparency and gaining real-time insights into scope, resources and timeline. Eyglo and Thorunn highlighted the event theme of project portfolio management as a way to ensure that a company’s work contributes to its goals. Jira as a tool provides the building blocks and the Tempo software suite better enables Pipeline Management (Tempo Budgets), Resource Management (Tempo Planner), Financial Management (Tempo Budgets), Change Management (Tempo Budgets) and Risk Management.
Customer journey implementing the Atlassian product suite
The final presentation before lunch was from Peter Hinds, Head of Operations at Synergy Learning. Peter discussed the reality of implementing Atlassian software in a growing organisation and how Synergy Learning uses the Atlassian product suite to create globally leading learning management systems and e-portfolio software.
It was really interesting to learn how a company with hyper growth has standardized on Atlassian to facilitate project delivery and support future growth. Synergy Learning started on their Atlassian journey with Bitbucket for code reviews and Jira was next introduced for the development team alongside various supporting 3rd party applications. Ultimately, the number of tools was becoming a hindrance and with the help of a long-term partner, Synergy Learning decided to scale and standardize using Atlassian software.
Presentation: Our experience with implementing the Atlassian product suite - Peter Hinds, Synergy Learning
Challenges with digital management tools
After lunch Andriy Stukan, Technical Consultant at Accenture discussed an interesting statistic “75% of PMS use two to five total tools for project management”. Andriy explored day-to-day planning with Jira and collaborating with Confluence and Trello, addressed the challenges that project managers face when it comes to tooling and how Atlassian software can solve them.
Perfect project reporting?
Janis Plume, BI Consultant at eazyBI illustrated how to create project reports for Jira using eazyBI. EazyBI allows the user to gain insights into project status, progress and forecasts. To achieve perfect project reporting Janis recommended consistency, continuity, availability and effortlessness.
Presentation: Project reporting for Jira - Janis Plume, eazyBI
Project portfolio with BigPicture
The final keynote of the event was delivered by Jerzy Sekula, Product Owner and Business Analyst at SoftwarePlant. Jerzy introduced the BigPicture product suite and examined how BigPicture facilitated project portfolio management. Waterfall, Agile and hybrid project management methodologies can all be adopted within BigPicture. Jerzy closed by highlighting the use of SAFe in BigPicture and the portfolio management, resource planning and risk management features.
Presentation: Project portfolio management with BigPicture - Jerzy Sekula, SoftwarePlant
A lively and insightful panel discussion followed the keynotes which was based around questions submitted by the audience over the refreshment breaks. Philippa Christie, Production Manager at Equator, Sorcha Lorimer, Founder of Trace Data Ltd and Anthony Christensen, Agile and DevOps Centre of Excellence Lead at RBS made up the panel. The overall discussion was around ‘How can Agile, governance and the PMO work together?’ with the audience keen to learn more about “what is the role of the PMO in agile?” and “how to stop metrics being misused”.
Philippa stated that from her experience the nature of work and client demands drives the approach companies adopt, resulting in not always being able to use Agile methodologies. Philippa also felt it was important for people to feel empowered and comfortable raising concerns, something which the PMO should encourage as the role of the PMO is to proactively make things better.
Sorcha reminded delegates to be inclusive and to go at the pace of the whole organisation when implementing agile. The use of language was also very important. With regards to metrics, Anthony suggested we keep it simple and to ensure you know what the metrics are for and why you are reporting. Anthony also asked the question of how best to encourage a large organisation to implement Agile in a consistent way and is this something we should be doing?
Other key takeaways from the panel discussion included the importance of a PMO to facilitate and not to dictate, to focus on the outcomes and to consider the best fit for your organisation and objectives.
In addition to engaging keynotes and panel discussion, Atlassian in Scotland provided a valuable opportunity for Scottish businesses and fellow Atlassians to exchange ideas and to discuss the personal challenges encountered around project portfolio management. The New Verve team were in demand at our booth throughout the day showcasing the Atlassian product suite in action and exploring any queries the event delegates had in relation to the tools. Tempo, eazyBI and SoftwarePlant were also exhibiting and on-hand to discuss issues ranging from how best to schedule resources, manage budgets and track time to creating business intelligence data reports and dashboards, and Jira project management plugins. Everything was covered!
A drinks reception followed the main event which allowed delegates, speakers and panellists a chance to relax and unwind after the conference. Discussions continued over a glass of wine and a beer in the airy surroundings of the atrium.
The Edinburgh Atlassian User Group changed location and tied in with Atlassian in Scotland with an informal evening AUG event. Tempo, SoftwarePlant and eazyBI stayed on and presented to the user group. With beer, pizza, conversation and swag it was the perfect way to wrap up the first ever Atlassian in Scotland conference!
New Verve would like to thank Atlassian, all the speakers, panellists, vendors and the delegates for making the inaugural event such a success.
Would you like to be involved in Atlassian in Scotland 2020? We are in the early stages of planning next year’s event and we would like you to be part of it! We are sourcing speakers, sponsors and panellists and aim to make Atlassian in Scotland 2020 even bigger and better than the last. Contact us for more information and watch this space for speaker blogs and exciting developments in relation to the next event. See you next year!