Brian Nye

Brian Nye


Recent posts by Brian Nye

3 min read

Last call for new Server Licenses: What you need to do NOW...

By Brian Nye on Jan 20, 2021 10:49:41 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Last call for new Server Licenses, what you need to do nowAtlassian announced last year that its Server products will be sailing off into the sunset in three years (2024) but the first big date is upon us... February 2, 2021. On this date, the following will happen:

What this means is that you will no longer be able to purchase new licenses for Server-based Atlassian products. You may experience a price increase on your Server-based products, Atlassian has outlined them in their Future Server Pricing FAQ. For new instances of the Atlassian stack on or after Feb 2, 2021, you will need to implement either the cloud or Server versions. If you are currently running Server, you have time, however, you need to start thinking about what your long term plans are for your Atlassian technology stack.

So what do you need to do now?

The answer is simple, start to plan for the future. Most of you will not need to take any immediate action as Server is not "going away" and business will proceed as usual. But over the past seven years, I've seen a lot of Atlassian instances and some of you have some work do because what you've done will make it hard to go to Datacenter or Cloud. "Why will it be difficult?" you may ask...well some instances would be a good candidate for "Hoarders, Atlassian edition". Some of you have not seen an app you didn't like while others want to keep every issue and page ever created. Sprinkle in bad practices and untrained administrators, you've got a mess that needs to be untangled. 

Three years will go by quickly. Many of you work for companies that take a long time to make decisions and then want miracles to happen in the 11th hour. My recommendation is you start planning now to figure out what is the best solution for you. With that being said, you should start by looking at the following areas:

Apps: Not all apps are created equal. Many were built with Server in mind and some do not have an equivalent in Cloud or Datacenter. You should start evaluating what this will mean for your user community if the app goes away or the functionality changes. 

Data: Moving a ton of data is never easy, especially if you're moving from Server to Cloud (which most will). Data comes in the form of issues and pages, as well as configurations. You should be questioning if you need to bring it all over. You should also evaluate if you want to bring over all the crud that's associated with the data (poor configuration setups like custom fields and statuses).

Customizations: Outside of apps, many have customized templates and files to control UI behaviors. These are usually not able to be replicated in Cloud or will break the multi-node Datacenter infrastructure.

Every instance is different from the rest and while those are generally the first places to start on your journey. Plus you must factor in the cost of operation with the security stance of your company. There is a lot to think through and this is why you must not wait until 2024 to start down this journey.

Here are the remaining dates that you should be aware of:

  • Feb 2, 2022: End of Server upgrades and downgrades
  • Feb 2, 2023: End of new App sales for existing Server licenses
  • Feb 2, 2024: End of Server support

Need help or don't have time to think about this? Praecipio Consulting can help guide you through this transition by helping you plan and perform the migration when the time is right for you. Our consultants can evaluate your current set-up and provide a path forward customized to your unique situation. 

Topics: atlassian blog plan server licensing
2 min read

Confluence Spaces: Rightsizing for Maximum Effectivity

By Brian Nye on Jan 11, 2021 3:45:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Confluence Spaces- Rightsizing for maximum effectivity

Your company has decided to make Confluence your collaboration platform, and you've been asked to get this thing going. Where do you start? Don't worry, you are not alone. Trying to figure out what makes up a Confluence space is a struggle that many people have when getting started with Confluence (and even for those who've had it for years). There are two questions that should be asked to help make the decision: What's the purpose of the space and who will be using the content? Once you get the answers, you'll be on your way to setting up the perfect space for you.

What's the purpose of the Space?

Confluence and Jira will be working hand-in-hand to get work done. Because the two applications work so closely together, it is important for the information to be organized in a way that will allow users to draw parallels between the two applications. The best practice is to create a Confluence Space for each Jira Project. By doing this, users are able to create and find information quickly and easily. This mapping will allow users to first create the ideas in Confluence that will relate to Jira Issues as the ideas mature. Confluence can then be the home to the reports of the products or process as the issues are worked and closed. This prevents guesswork from trying to figure out where content should live or where to find information in the future. 

This is not a hard and fast rule, as there may be reasons for having multiple spaces for a single Jira Project, but those should be edge-case scenarios and not the norm. It is highly recommended that users do not create a space based on a single user or group's access permissions. Confluence Space permissions, along with page restrictions, can often satisfy the need to keep information segregated. There may be times that one Confluence Space represents multiple Jira Projects when the projects are closely related. If this is is the case, be sure that the structure is clear so users can find the information quickly.

Who will be using the content?

Spaces don't always need to have a related Jira Project in order to created. Sometimes, a Space needs to be there to coordinate the thoughts of other entities like a Team or Department. For example, my Team may want to document how we are going to improve our Agile process. This is not something that others will care about when they are looking at the Space of the product that team happens to be building. So rather than having one large space that contains all the things the Team is doing, split the space with a clear distinction based on who will use the content. 

Last but not least, socialize the decision

Don't forget that you are not alone in your Confluence instance; others in your organization are likely feeling the same! Be sure to take action by clearly naming Spaces based on what their purpose is to the business. Feel free to add Space Categories and Descriptions to help other navigate more easily to your content. Following these simple rules, Praecipio Consulting has helped other companies organize their Confluence into a more productive and manageable application.

If you have questions on Confluence, Jira, and how these two amazing Atlassian tools can work together in your organization, contact us and one of our experts will get in touch with you.

Topics: jira confluence
3 min read

Jira Align Jumpstart: What to expect

By Brian Nye on Dec 31, 2020 10:30:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Jira Align Jumpstart- What to expect

Do you want to roll out Jira Align in your organization but are not sure where to start? The answer is simple, use our Jira Align Jumpstart solution. This solution will give you access to a Solutions Architect who will walk you and your core team of Jira Align practitioners on the setup of your first Program in Jira Align. 

As part of a Jumpstart, there are five phases that you will go through:
  1. Discovery
  2. Set-up
  3. Implementation
  4. Training
  5. Launch

Discovery

The first phase of a Jumpstart is Discovery. During the discovery phase, your Jira Align Solutions Architect will get to know your company. The goal of this is to understand where you are in the scaling process and to get your leadership engaged in communicating the reasons that you are implementing Jira Align. A large part of this will be driven through the value drivers exercise. In this exercise, the team identifies common goals for the organization's agile journey. The output of this exercise will give the whole team a better understanding of the functionality that will need to be configured inside Jira Align and identify how your Solutions Architect can help guide you through that journey. 

Set-up

Following discovery is the setup phase. The setup phase will establish all the connections and settings needed to support your business. The Solutions Architect digs into the integration between Jira and Jira Align, making sure the two systems can pass information between one another. During this phase, there will be a lot of toggling on and off the various features and permissions for each of the user roles. This is based on the goals of the value driver exercise and the roles and responsibilities of the various levels of management using the tool. At the end of the set up phase, Jira and Jira Align will be connected.

Implementation

Connecting the two systems isn't all you have to do! To have the tool set up for your teams, you need to have some base data present to make sure it's working as expected. During the implementation phase, the Solutions Architect will work with Program Management to configure the initial teams and program data. This includes setting up initial strategic snapshots, goals, themes, epics, and features. The Jumpstart focuses on Program-level implementation, but basic configuration for some high level roll up is also included. Based on this data, we will see the flow from the work in Jira pushed up to Jira Align and changes in Jira Align, pushed down to Jira. Although this sounds like a simple task, it usually involves fine tuning some processes to ensure that reports and structure align to the goals established from the project onset.

Training

As the saying goes, a fool with a tool is still a fool. To avoid this, training is done with the teams who will be using the system. There are various types of training that are done with the team. One is for program management so they know how to use the tool from a day-to-day basis. Other training targets Jira Align Administrators so that they understand how the back end is configured and how to maintain the system following the Jumpstart. Both trainings help establish the fundamentals needed for working in the system.

Launch

Now that everyone is prepped and ready to go, all you need to do is launch the program officially. This is targeted to align to a PI Planning session. Now that your having these "Big Room" meetings virtually, you have a tool that will help facilitate the overall direction for your next Program Increment. 

What's next? 

If you want to know more about Jira Align Jumpstart and how to launch the product successfully, contact us here at Praecipio Consulting. We would love to chat with you about your situation to make sure that you are set up for success. Many clients are looking for better ways of scaling with Atlassian, and we would love to understand your current processes so you make the decision that is best for your business. 

Topics: jira digital-transformation atlassian-solution-partner jira-align
3 min read

Are Atlassian Tools Right For My Business?

By Brian Nye on Jun 3, 2020 12:15:00 PM

2020 Blogposts_Statuspage copy

Many businesses considering or have purchased one or more products from the Atlassian stack (Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, etc.) have thought, "Is this right for us?" If you are asking this question, you are not alone. Some question why a business would invest in tools that they are not even sure if they meet their business needs, and this is rooted in the fact that Atlassian tools are extremely flexible, perhaps too flexible. Combine Atlassian's flexibility with evolving process requirements and lack of true Atlassian expertise, and you get a toolset that doesn't fit your business needs. This doesn't need to be your reality. You just need some guidance, and Praecipio Consulting can help by doing an Atlassian Process Assessment.

What is an Atlassian Process Assessment?

Praecipio Consulting understands two things extremely well: business processes and Atlassian tools. Simply put, the Atlassian Process Assessment utilizes our core competencies to understand your business process challenges to put together a plan of action on how to get you on the right path to maximize the Atlassian technology stack. It doesn't matter if you are brand new to Atlassian or a long-time user, we can help you figure out the best approach for implementing the products. Here are some of the cases we have encountered during the last year. 

  • One business was in the process of transitioning from another tool to Jira. They were looking to use Aha! as their product roadmap tool but wanted to use Jira for their development teams. We helped them align Jira and Aha! from a process perspective, and we figured out how to structure Jira to support their agile development needs. 
  • A company was undergoing a merger, where two instances of Jira and Confluence were going to be used in a single instance. The entities that were merging used the tools differently based on their users' needs. They brought us in to figure out the best way to structure Jira in the new shared instance and also to correct years of system misuse. We provided a roadmap detailing out the order of operation needed to be successful in their efforts for simplifying and streamlining processes. 
  • One client had been using Jira and Confluence for many years to manage various teams, and they were wanting to see a more holistic, SAFe view of their work using the Atlassian stack. During the assessment, we evaluated not only their use of Jira and Confluence but also their SAFe implementation by identifying areas of opportunity for key agile practices. 

What to expect during an assessment

Praecipio Consulting conducts the assessments by meeting with various teams to discuss their overall business processes and what tools they currently use to support them. Typically, we interview small groups of people in similar roles (such as Scrum Masters or Program Managers) who have a comprehensive understanding of their current processes. We look for patterns of common challenges that teams across the organization are experiencing and result in inefficiencies. Once the patterns emerge, we propose recommendations about how to overcome those challenges and how to best represent the process in the tools. These recommendations are prioritized into an implementation roadmap so clients know how to go about making the changes in their organization. 

Throughout the assessment, the client's project sponsors gain valuable insights into how the business performs and the areas that the Atlassian stack can help make processes more efficient. Praecipio Consulting takes as many voices as possible into account so that we can get a "big picture" understanding of the good and the bad. That way we can give our expert take on what we should do going forward. We have seen hundreds of tool implementations across different industries, which allows us to confidently give you the best advice for making impactful changes to your organization.

What clients say about our Atlassian Process Assessments

After all of our engagements, a retrospective is held for the client to express the value they received from the Atlassian Process Assessment. Here are just a few of the things our clients have found valuable about the service:

  • A healthcare technology company said, "It was a positive interaction that presented a clear vision of what we want to do after the engagement so we can be tactical about our long-term strategy."
  • A telecom device manufacturer stated, "The consultant was able to navigate the personal nuances of our teams and provided us with great value that helped us move forward in our transformation."
  • An energy provider said, "We needed to take a step back to look at what we were doing and come up with a strategic roadmap. The consultant helped us understand the gaps in the path and charted a course that's in line with our practices so we are not trying to learn those ourselves. It was a good investment in what we need to do."

Are you ready to let our professionals take a look at your business? Our fresh set of eyes can provide you with new insights and guidance towards a more healthy and productive Atlassian implementation. Reach out to our team if you are interested in an Atlassian Process assessment!

Topics: process-improvement process-assessment atlassian-products
4 min read

Essential Services for Pivoting Your Business During a Pandemic

By Brian Nye on Apr 17, 2020 9:15:00 AM

2020 Blogposts_Services Companies Consider During a Pandemic

2020 has been a roller coaster of a year, and few would have predicted that this year many of us would be working from home and facing some of the most critical challenges of our professional careers. And while this will pass, many leading businesses are taking this time as an opportunity to break away from traditional molds to better position themselves for the next challenge.

Over the past few weeks, we have worked closely with our clients, some of the largest names in their respective industries, to understand where they want to focus their resources to not only weather this storm but also better prepare them for future ones as well. We found that our clients are primarily in need of solutions that keep the business moving forward, connect employees, and control costs. 

Shifting from Legacy Systems

Servers and the teams that maintain them are expensive. This is by no means news to anyone, but when we look at critical systems and infrastructure, most solutions now have cloud options that are less expensive and perform better than legacy server solutions. Most companies that reach out to us want to understand two things:

  • Which is the best solution for me: Atlassian Cloud or an AWS Data Center?
  • What will it take to get me there?

Offloading your current infrastructure for critical business tools like Jira and Confluence on to more scalable, lower-overhead-cost options like AWS or the Atlassian Cloud can save your business a lot of money, plus it takes the maintenance burden off of your teams. To find out which option is best for your business, there are a lot of considerations - things like data residency and customizations made to your current environment.

Praecipio Consulting has a team of experts that would be happy to work with you virtually to understand the complexities of your situation and provide a solution fit for you. For more depth on the subject, try this webinar on planning your Jira Server to Cloud migration, which focuses on migrating to the Atlassian Cloud and walks you through the steps in preparing for any type of migration. This case study on a project we completed with one of our clients in the healthcare industry is also helpful for understanding how to achieve a successful migration. 

Contracting out administrative functions

Businesses are restructuring teams to best serve their companies. This can take the form of job alignment since people are the most expensive and valuable resource. The Atlassian tools are often administered by folks as a secondary job, and in our experience, this role is one that bounces around from person to person in times of reorganization. When companies go through a transition, people tend to make unintentional bad decisions that negatively impact the instance in the long run due to undertrained and overstretched administrators.

If that sounds familiar, now is the time to offload the day-to-day problems of administration to our Managed Service team who can proactively support your organization's administrative needs and on an ad-hoc basis when necessary. This allows your administrators to focus on their key functions, and it gives you greater peace of mind knowing that the work inside your Atlassian environment is performed correctly and fulfilling your requirements. To better understand how Managed Services can support your organization, check out this case study on how we helped a leading rail technology company achieve stability and more functionality through Managed Services.

Optimizing for virtual work

Given that many Atlassian administrators are implementing requests and fixes rather than providing a solution for the problem, many processes built in the tool are not optimized for virtual work. Processes are often built into the tool that assume employees will be in the same setting, which may not translate well for remote work settings. This is the downfall of a powerful tool that has infinite configuration possibilities.

Praecipio Consulting can help your teams understand the principles of leading frameworks like SAFe, DevOps, and ITL, and we develop solutions that align with any type of work environment. Having these frameworks in place and powerful tools to support them sets you up for success and gives you the capacity to easily scale your infrastructure as your business evolves.  For a better understanding of how we maximized the Atlassian tools for a worldwide electronic payment processor using ITSM best practices, check out this case study.  

Virtual training on the Atlassian tools

As employees have shifted to working from home, businesses are seeing that employees may not possess the level of understanding with Jira that they thought. Without the in-person help that comes from an office setting, businesses are in search of ways to train their employees from their homes. At Praecipio Consulting, we are equipped to offer several Atlassian-designed and custom training courses around the Atlassian applications. We have provided virtual training long before the current state of affairs and can easily bring your employees up to speed with essential knowledge and hands-on practice. 

We are in this together!

Although these times are unprecedented, we have operated and navigated within the virtual landscape for many years and would be happy to discuss your organization's challenges. Together, we can keep you on the path for greater success in the future by taking the right steps today. We look forward to learning how we can serve your organization, but until then, stay safe and stay healthy. 

 
Topics: managed-services training covid-19 work-from-home
4 min read

Jira: Your Path to Digital Transformation

By Brian Nye on Mar 2, 2020 2:00:00 PM

JiraYourPathtoDigitalTransformation-1

We're all Going Digital

No matter the industry or product, digital transformations are happening all around us. Gone are the days where a product is just a product. It's now a mechanism that gives us analytics and prepares us to launch the next best thing. Everything we touch has some digital aspect to it, and companies that never planned on competing in the digital arena are needing to catch up to the standards of today's landscape. 

I'm sure that many of you who have been in business for more than 10 years, working in sectors that seemed to have no digital relevance, but now are investing for a digitized future, whether it's through:

  • Augmented reality to see how a product would look on you
  • Drones delivering packages from purchases made by a scan of your face.

The digital age is firing up, and the question is, are you STILL using a spreadsheet to manage your business? 

Running a Business Like it's 1999

I loved a powerful formula and a well-crafted spreadsheet. Everyone has that one colleague who is a macro wizard at pulling together all the data and using it to plan the future of your products (that was once my job).

Think about running a multi-million dollar business from a spreadsheet that: 

  • Is locked for editing
  • Is never up-to-date
  • Is passed around in several emails
  • No one has the same version of

Some of you don't have to imagine; it's your reality. More than once, production slips, and you've missed hitting your target shipments because the business didn't have the most up-to-date information. 

I have personally seen this over and over again during my five-year tenure at Praecipio Consulting, and it comes down to two issues: 

  1. The business is stuck doing things the old way. 
  2. The tools are just as old as the processes they are supporting. 

And on top of all that, there's an overall demand and expectation to be more innovative than ever. Naturally, we start to silo the business into segments so the "core business" can keep marching to the same tired beat while the digital team is building a platform that's state-of-the-art. 

How do we close the expanding gap between a growing machine and a time machine? 

How can we plan for when Ralph is out, and no one can get to the spreadsheet with the latest numbers?

Digital Transformation Doesn't Happen on a Spreadsheet 

To transform, you have to make significant changes. The tried and true spreadsheet can't keep up with the on-demand visibility needed in the digital environment. Granted, it's a useful tool and has a place in business, but it shouldn't be the source of truth for guiding your business down the path of digital transformation.

The same applies to using email as a tool to operate your business and for project management. Not only can managing hundreds of incoming emails be counterproductive, but email is not a platform built for collaboration, nor can it provide the visibility needed to compete in the digital landscape. 

Jira, on the other hand, is designed to handle this task for the business. Gone are the days when Jira is just a "developers tool." It's now being used as the primary source of understanding in all facets of business and helping leaders make real-time decisions about what comes next on their product and operations journey.

Most development teams are already using Jira to plan, track, and report on the requirements determined by the business. However, the business side of an organization is hesitant to adopt the same tool as the development teams. Centralizing all the data and processes across all aspects of your business using the Jira platform  can help your teams better understand where your business is going and, better yet, why it is where it is. 

I can't count the number of times when I've heard of innovative teams needing to pull data out of reports and update an outdated spreadsheet because there is a perception that the business finds Jira too hard to use or reference. 

Becoming a Digital Transformation(ist)

Business leaders, it's time to step up and utilize a toolset that bridges the gap between where you are and where it's all going. If you have an OKR around digital transformation and you're still using a spreadsheet to plan when you have Jira in your business, you are 0% complete on that objective. 

The good news is that you can change your business, and Jira isn't hard to learn; you just need some guidance on the transformation. 

At Praecipio Consulting, we have helped hundreds of clients, big and small, build business processes in Jira to support their needs and become a digital transformation(ist). The first step is understanding you have a spreadsheet problem, and once you own that, we can help you build a better business. 

 

Topics: jira best-practices digital-transformation atlassian-products
3 min read

How to Successfully Plan & Track OKRs With Atlassian Tools

By Brian Nye on Feb 5, 2020 9:39:41 AM

OKR: More Than Just a Buzzword

Like most of you, I have been challenged to establish my annual "OKRs" at the start of this new year. It seems that OKR has suddenly become a big buzzword that businesses have been throwing around the past few years. If you were like me before ever hearing of this acronym, you might be asking yourself: what is OKR, and what happened to the classics like KPI or SMART goals?

I decided to do some digging around to understand where this new buzzword comes from, and I learned that the term, in fact, has been around quite some time. More than 30 years to be exact! OKR was first introduced in the book High Output Management by Andy Grove, which was published in 1983. This term would later be used by one of Google's early investors, John Doerr, who used to work at Intel, and then it caught on at Spotify, Amazon and other big companies. That's when it gained traction to become the business buzzword that it is today. 

What is OKR?

Enough with the history lesson, what is exactly is OKR?

Simply put, OKR is a strategic framework that stands for (O)Objectives and (K)Key (R)Results. When setting your OKRs, the Objectives should be tied back to your organization's mission, vision, and strategic initiatives, and the Key Results are the measurable components that help you determine whether or not you are meeting your objectives. 

So, what is the difference between OKRs and KPIs or SMART goals? To start with, KPIs are are just measurements that represent output and don't tell you the entire story, whereas OKRs give you the big picture from the start to finish. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals are usually a bit more targeted and lack the full scope of the OKR methodology. You can think of OKRs as a collection of SMART goals and their respective KPIs. 

Plan & Track Your OKRs with Atlassian

Now that we understand the concept of OKRs, our next step is to establish them, and there is no better tool for this process than Confluence. At Praecipio Consulting, we dedicated a Confluence Space to our OKRs because we wanted to make sure that it is easily accessible to our employees. After all, we are all working together towards the same strategic objectives, and Confluence is the perfect collaborative space that allows us to check in on our goals and progress at any time. 

We started by organizing our OKRs by year so that we know what we have achieved in the past, as well as what we are working towards now and into the future. Within each year, we group our OKRs into overarching concepts that we refer to as "tracks". For example, we have a track for our 2020 OKR around "Climate Action Plan", and we use the Confluence Project Poster blueprint as a guide to document why this is part of our strategic objectives and who should be involved.

This also serves as a snapshot to get people excited about a track's children pages, which are the actual OKRs. Our OKR pages are custom templates that we built out and allow us to describe how we want our OKRs to look. More importantly, we use the page property macro to capture key pieces of information to display on that specific year's parent page, and we utilize labels that make the pages easier to reference.

For instance, one of the OKRs is to involve you, our community, by educating you and inviting you to join our efforts in overcoming climate change, which we do by providing your with content and information about organizations that we partner with via blog posts and webinars.  We will measure our success by the content we produce, the number clicks we receive on that content and the success stories shared by you as a result. 

To help with following up on OKRs, we utilize a Jira project for internal projects to track each OKR as an Epic and all the separate tasks as related issues. We use a Fix Versions as a grouping mechanism for the track so that we have visibility on how we are doing from a big picture perspective. 

Improve Your Goal-Setting Process

OKRs are not new to the business scene, but they can definitely help drive business value and help you reach your strategic objectives. Confluence is a great tool that allows you to capture the "why" and "what" you want to do, and Jira can show you "who" and "how" the OKR is doing.

If you are interested in learning how Atlassian tools can help you with your goal-setting and other business processes, contact us at Praecipio Consulting, and we'll be glad to get you on the right "track". 

Topics: jira praecipio-consulting confluence process-improvement global-climate-crisis atlassian-products
2 min read

Jira Align Features for Agile Portfolio Management

By Brian Nye on Feb 4, 2020 1:30:00 PM

Are you an enterprise company looking for a tool to support your Agile processes at scale? Do you find that you've grown beyond the capabilities of Portfolio for Jira? Announced during Atlassian's 2019 Summit, Jira Align is the latest addition to Atlassian's Jira product family with all of these concerns in mind. Jira Align is jammed packed with features that will make Business Owners, Program Managers, and all other planning people rejoice by providing a tool that is designed with Scaled Agile Best practices in mind (SAFe, DaD, LeSS). Below are some of the key features that will make planning and tracking easier than ever before.


Portfolio Strategy Management

Jira Align provides top down alignment by providing a visualization of what the business is doing through Strategic Snapshots. Gone are the days where the mission, vision, and value are created and forgotten until the next planning cycle. The Snapshot becomes a one stop shop for setting the company's "Why" which is displayed as a button throughout the product. Now, it's easy to see and track the goals the company is marching towards. 


Backlogs and Workflows to Keep Big Items on Track

Effectively manage your biggest work items (Epics/Initiatives) utilizing Backlogs and Kanban boards. Similar to Jira, global ranking is applied so the most important items are at the top. 


Roadmap

Understand what your PI looks like and the number of stories that will be worked in each sprint. Progress bar shading provides indication of the level of completeness. The Roadmap is populated with live information which takes its use beyond planning and into execution reporting. 


Program Boards to Guide Execution 

Big Room Planning is a big deal. Ensuring that all the Initiatives, Objectives, Dependencies, and Risks are captured and agreed upon is a full time job, but is vital to the success of the planning meeting. Jira Align recognizes the importance and provides the Program Board feature that allows for Teams to see these critical touch points in an easy layout. The Program Board, like all reports, is constantly updated with the latest information so teams and management can stay on top of the plan as it's being executed. 


Ultimate Customizable Dashboard aka Program Room 

The Program Room is an information radiator of the health of the project. This one stop shop is a customizable dashboard laying out key data points that will help management keep tabs on what's important to them. Now decisions can be made on active live data without the need to collect data from disparate sources. 


Time to get Aligned!

These five features are barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Jira Align can do for organizations. This is a feature-rich product designed for Enterprise Business who are ready to take the next step in scaling their agile practice. Not sure where to start? No worries - we have you covered! Praecipio Consulting is ready to provide services around agile transformations and implementing Jira Align solutions that will get everyone moving in the same direction. 

4 min read

Jira Resolutions: Why are They Important?

By Brian Nye on Jan 28, 2020 1:30:00 PM

One of the most frequent questions we get asked when on a project is, "Why do I need 'Resolutions', can't we just use statuses?" The short answer is "No" and it's because they are not the same thing. I know that you all would be terribly disappointed if I just stopped here so I'm going to outline a few reasons why it's an important field and share some best practices. 

Why Do I Need the "Resolution" Field?

The Resolution field provides a few important functions to issues in Jira:

  1. When it's set, the issue key will be displayed as a strikethrough (KEY-556), which is extremely helpful when looking at linked issues in the issue navigator or other areas where the Resolution field is not displayed. 
  2. It's the field that Jira uses for the "Created vs. Resolved" report. 
  3. It's what the 'system filters' and 'gadgets' use to determine if the issue is resolved, not the statuses. 
  4. Lastly, it's the field that sets the "Resolution Date", which is a great way to know when something was completed.

For these reasons, you are doing a disservice to your organization by not using the Resolution field. Next I'm going to talk about some common mistakes that people make and how to correct them. 

Common Mistake 1: The Issue's Status is the Same Thing

While you may have created a status that reflects the same intent of the Resolution field, it's not considered to be best practice. Think about having to search every status to determine all the issues that were closed. It would be tragic if you were to forget one of them and it would be difficult to standardize around them as Jira Admins can add statuses as they see fit. Not to mention, issue statuses do not have an out-of-the-box way of knowing when something enters into that status. In reality, it's much easier to think of the lifecycle of the issue when it comes to issue statuses. If the issue is at the end of it's lifecycle, choose a status name that reflects that no more work is going to be done (I have a preference for the word "Closed" as it's neutral in meaning and conveys we're not going to be doing anything more to the issue). The Resolution field can then be used to differentiate why the issue is closed. This gives the resolution a purpose and helps people use the resolution correctly, giving the benefits described above.

Common Mistake 2: I Don't Want to Enter a Resolution

A conversation that starts like this is usually because the client doesn't care about defining the reason why an issue is closed, or they have a bunch of resolutions in the system because of poor decisions made by Jira Admins. There is one main question that needs to be asked to decide what needs to be done - "Do you always want the resolution to be the same when transitioning to this status?" If the answer is "yes", use a post function to set the Resolution to a single resolution. This will achieve the goal of setting the resolution without asking the user. If the answer is "no", then you may want to limit the available resolutions to the user. You can do one of two things:

  1. Delete some of the resolutions in the system. 
  2. Limit the options available on the transition by using a workflow property. 

If you decide to delete resolutions, you will be changing data for issues that have that resolution. This means you are impacting the Jira instance and may want to warn everyone before making the change. Jira won't allow you to make the change without giving a new value for the issues impacted by deleting the resolution. However, if you decide to use the workflow property, understand that this is on a workflow-by-workflow basis and will need to be instituted anywhere the change is needed. Additional information on workflow properties can be found here.

Common Mistake 3: The Dreaded "Unresolved" Resolution

I can't tell you how many times I've seen this and cringed. Here is the issue with adding an "Unresolved" resolution (other than being an oxymoron) when an issue is created, the Resolution is null, displaying "Unresolved" as the text on the ticket. What typically happens is someone will place the Resolution field on a Create or Edit screen. The Resolution field is always required when presented on a screen and since there isn't a resolution at this point, the user is forced to make a selection that doesn't apply. To fix this, a Jira Administrator will go in and create an "Unresolved" option to match the text displayed on the issue when no option has been selected. This is not the correct solution to this problem. This actually causes all sorts of data integrity issues and should be corrected immediately. Check out this Atlassian knowledge base article on ways to identify and correct this problem.

How to Use Jira More Effectively

Jira is a big complex tool that can be used in many different ways. This is just one seemingly important aspect that really can change the expected behavior of the application. We Praecipians have seen a lot of "interesting" uses of the tools and have helped guide many clients on how to use the tool to support their processes. If you are struggling with how to best use Jira for your organization, reach out! Praecipio Consulting offers Process Assessments that focus on your processes and your environment to ensure you are getting the most out of your Atlassian tools. 

Topics: jira atlassian-products
5 min read

Simplify FDA eSignature requirements in Atlassian Jira

By Brian Nye on Jan 22, 2019 11:40:00 AM

What is FDA 21 CFR Part 11?

FDA 21 CFR Part 11 regulation (Part 11) is the Food and Drug Administration's regulations that cover document signing and records retention for processes and documents specified by the FDA. Prescribed as an “open system” system solution, as defined in Section 11.3(b)(9), in which there is electronic communication among multiple persons and where system access extends to people who are not part of the organization that operates the system. The controls for an open system are discussed in Section 11.30.

...the system shall employ procedures and controls designed to ensure the authenticity, integrity and, as appropriate, the confidentiality of electronic records from the point of their creation to the point of their receipt to ensure record authenticity, integrity and confidentiality.

To help meet the control requirements, DocuSign’s Part 11 module has pre-set account options to add, authenticate and limit envelope access to authorized signers. 

DocuSign's Part 11 Module: Designed for Ensured Compliance

DocuSign sets the global standard for electronic signatures and Digital Transaction Management (DTM) and supports life science organizations’ compliance with the e-signature practices set forth in 21 CFR Part 11 with tailored functionality and packaged service offerings. DocuSign’s open, standards-based approach makes it easy to integrate compliant electronic signatures, even into complex processes and systems.

DocuSign Part 11 Module available with DocuSign Enterprise delivers transactions guaranteed to meet all FDA regulations. It contains capabilities designed specifically for the Life Sciences industry that include:

  • Signature-level credentialing
  • Signature-level Signature Meaning
  • Pre-packaged account configuration
  • Signature manifestation (Printed Name, Date/Time, and Signature Meaning)

Automating Compliance Into Your Workflow

For organizations that use Jira to manage their business processes, DocuSign for Jira makes it easy to integrate and automate DocuSign-guaranteed compliance directly into your Jira workflows. For Life Science and other industries that must comply with strict FDA regulations DocuSign for Jira is a must. DocuSign for Jira is specifically designed to work with your existing DocuSign template libraries so you can automate the sending of critical, government-regulated documentation at each stage of your business process that requires official sign-off.

Map Your Recipients to Jira Issue Fields & Roles

In each transition you can specify variables from Jira issue fields, roles or identify static Jira users and email addresses to map to the DocuSign's envelope recipients. This can be done using Template Schemes where Jira Issue Types can be mapped to DocuSign Templates and recipient roles mapped as well. Or Jira administrators can identify specific templates, recipient and field mappings directly into workflow transitions for greater flexibility.

Pre-Fill Your DocuSign Documents with Jira Data

The sign-off process involving official, regulated documentation can be data-entry intensive. Often this is done by manual document creation, then further manual uploads to DocuSign via Word .docx or Adobe .pdf files that are then decorated with initial, signature and other DocuSign tabs.  Though DocuSign provides a robust field definition and configuration capability, this often goes unused beyond capture of necessary inputs for the document itself. Reporting, querying or re-use of the valuable data entered during envelope signing is not possible. DocuSign for Jira allows fields 

Capture Your DocuSign Recipient Data Entry in JIra Fields

DocuSign for Jira supports bidirectional or "two-way" synchronization between DocuSign "Tabs" and your Jira issue fields allowing capture and reportable persistence of all information and corrections gathered during the signing processes. If your recipients are external to your organization and not users in your Jira instance, you can still capture their data inputs from DocuSign envelopes using the "Delegate Edit" feature. This capability is particularly useful in cases where multiple documents are filled/signed in a process where subsequent documents rely on previous 

Manage DocuSign Envelopes from Jira

Your employees who rely heavily on DocuSign and Jira to perform their daily functions and duties will find links and information at their fingertips from within their Jira issues or in DocuSign for Jira's Project Report. Filter by Envelope Title, Sender, Status and sort as well. View recipient-level status as well by expanding the rows. Each issue has a new DocuSign Envelopes pane as well as a DocuSign audit tab for quick, easy access to envelopes and important, audit events.

 

Automate and Simplify

DocuSign Enterprise CFR Part 11 Module guarantees thorough compliance with FDA regulations. DocuSign for Jira takes that full capability and DocuSign's carrier-grade infrastructure and combines it with Jira's world class business process management application to automate the review, approval and signature processes that require the utmost confidence in security, retention, audit and repeatability. With DocuSign for Jira's unique template-based mapping system, you can capture all your data inputs from the signature process in DocuSign in to Jira for reporting and reuse.

To learn more about DocuSign for Jira, take a look at our demo video or contact Praecipio Consulting to help your organization automate your eSignature process.

Topics: jira regulation compliance docusign fda
3 min read

How to Extinguish Fires with Jira Service Desk Automations

By Brian Nye on Aug 27, 2018 11:00:00 AM

While service desk agents do everything they can to avoid firefighting, they are often focused on extinguishing one fire and moving to the next. This usually causes tickets to smolder in some status of "not quite done" until months later when they will finally be closed out (thanks bulk edit!). The good news: there is a way to keep things moving using out-of-the-box functionality. No longer will your metrics be inaccurate because people aren't "moving their tickets through the system." Jira Service Desk can help do the moving for you with automation.

Putting out Smoldering tickets

Many workflows offer customers a chance to review the ticket before closing. But, replying to the work request isn't always the top priority of the customer, which in turn, leaves the ticket to smolder in an almost done state. Instead, Jira Service Desk can help you do a fully extinguish the request by doing a couple of things, messaging the customer on impending closure and auto closing the ticket with no response. Just follow these steps below.

Step 1: Create SLAs

While this may seem odd, SLAs can be used for more than just metrics, they are a great trigger for automations due to the extended functionality SLAs bring in Jira Service Desk. Start by creating two SLAs, call them Time in Resolved - Customer Notification and Time in Resolved. Set Time in Resolved - Customer Notification to the parameters shown in the screenshot below. Note, the SLA time can be changed depending on the amount of time you want to elapse before notifying the customer that their ticket will be closed. The SLA for Time in Resolved will have the same start and stop conditions, but put the goal time to be more than the goal of the notification trigger (for example, if the notification is set to send 120 hours after entering the status, than set the goal for the auto close to be 168 hours as this will give 48 hours for the customer to respond).

Step 2: Create Jira Service Desk Automations

Great, now that these SLAs are in place, let's use them to trigger Jira Service Desk Automations.  

Step 2a: Time in Resolved - Customer Notification

For this Automation, you will want to set the When to trigger off of the Time in Resolved - Customer Notification SLA when the SLA has been breached. Feel free to add an optional If statement should there be situations in which the SLA should not be executed. Lastly use the Public Comment option for the Then statement to send a message that the customer will receive. Included is a screenshot of this automation.

Step 2b: Auto Close Resolved Ticket

For this Automation, you will want to set the When to trigger off of the Time in Resolved SLA when the SLA has been breached. Feel free to add an optional If statement should there be situations in which the SLA should not be executed. Lastly use the Transition Issue option for the Then statement to move the issue to the final status. Note that it is best to use a hidden transition which does not require any fields or info as this is done through an automation. Included is a screenshot of this automation.

Step 3: Find other small fires to put out using automations

This is just one example of how automations can be used to keep customers engaged on the ticket and closing out issues that have been resolved. This same logic can be applied to many different areas in Jira Service Desk and can keep your front line firefighters focused on the hot spots and less time doing clean up!

If you still want to learn more about Jira Service Desk automations in action, join us for our next webinar on September 12, 11 a.m. CST: Automation with Jira Service Desk.

Topics: jira blog optimization process-consulting consulting-services itsm jira-service-desk

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