Chris Hofbauer

Chris Hofbauer


Recent posts by Chris Hofbauer

2 min read

The Impact Installing Apps Can Have on an Atlassian Application

By Chris Hofbauer on Mar 30, 2021 1:30:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_The impact of apps on an Atlassian applicationPerformance and uptime are crucial when hosting any application. For the Atlassian suite, the use of apps can have a major impact on these hosting aspects. There are many third-party developers as well as Atlassian developed apps that are available to be installed within the Atlassian tech stack. Depending on the app installed, each of these apps will have its own impact on the application and its health. Many apps that may be installed are considered lightweight and the impact would be very minimal; however, there are apps that are resource intensive and can cause significant impact of application performance. The apps that tend to cause the largest impact on application performance are those that allow customization of scripts and manipulation of data within those scripts, especially if these scripts are capable of running on a particular cadence or during certain issue functions. Other app types that are frequently found as the culprit for performance issues are those that return long running database queries. Common impacts from these resource intensive types of apps are high CPU usage and high memory usage. When either of these metrics begin to rise, the server is forced to work harder in order to operate the application, which then can cause the application to face performance degradation, manifested in slow page loads, timeouts, or outages. 

There are best practices you can implement in order to prevent your apps from having an impact on your application's performance. It is highly recommended that you install apps that are supported and developed by a trusted developer. Be sure to also read any documentation and truly understand what the app does before installing. It is extremely important that the apps are always up-to-date as well: apps may have bug fixes in releases that are ahead of yours, and even though you may not be currently facing any issues with your release, it is best to be sure you are on the latest version so that you can prevent any issues that may already be known by the developers. We also recommend that you thoroughly test any app you are considering installing within a non-production environment. Running User Acceptance Testing in a lower environment will allow you to capture any performance issues that may come from the app. Following this approach will strengthen your instance and help prevent any potential impacts your apps can have on your Atlassian applications.

If you run into any trouble with your Atlassian apps, let us know, we'd love to help you make the best of your tools.

Topics: atlassian blog best-practices hosting marketplace-apps
3 min read

Tips for maintaining a Jira instance

By Chris Hofbauer on Feb 11, 2021 12:07:37 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Tips for maintaining a Jira instanceAtlassian's Jira is a powerful tool to promote best practices of internal processes and provide efficiency to development teams within your organization. The powerful nature of the tool is not only with the features offered by Atlassian but with a vast variety of options at your disposal to customize the instance. These customizations can come from the native features and options available as well as the apps brought to you via the Atlassian Marketplace. While these can all be great in building your Jira instance to get the most out of it, they can also have the potential to be detrimental to the health of the instance and negatively affect your organization's teams. 

Marketplace apps

Following best practices when configuring your instance as well as proper control over the integrations added to your instance is critical. If not properly managed you can experience system issues resulting in downtime due to a number of reasons but most commonly high memory or CPU. While installing apps through the marketplace may seem trivial and rather safe, keep in mind that each install of these apps does modify the database and can also be creating items such as custom fields in your instance. Make sure to properly vet all apps, check the reviews in the marketplace for any reports of impact to the instance. Also, review any documentation for the app to see how the application integrates with your instance. Most importantly it's highly recommended to install any apps in a lower environment (Dev or QA) before installing it in production. Thoroughly testing all new installs will give you the best idea of how the application will impact your instance once installed into production. 

Configuration

In addition to the configuration items created by apps are the ones created manually. Being mindful when adding items such as custom fields, statuses, workflows, etc. can save headaches long-term. It's important to reuse configuration items wherever possible. Having numerous, similar or duplicate, custom fields and statuses will create an administrative burden. Having a large number of these items will also have an impact on exporting issues and projects as well as for instance performance when loading reports, project boards, and dashboards. 

User Management

Proper user management will help to keep licensing costs to a minimum as well as give better control over access to the instance. Use groups wherever possible in permission schemes, boards, and filters. Provide only Jira administrator access and Service Desk agent licenses to those that need it. All users may not need Service Desk agent licenses and since these are billed separately in the instance, assigning all users to the Service Desk group can incur unnecessary charges going forward. Frequent review of active users is important as well. Based on business rules, users who have not logged in for some time (3 to 6 months) may be able to be made inactive. Frequent review of these types of users will also allow you to keep access to a minimum, save licensing counts, and in turn reduce user tier costs.

Stale Data

Review stale or old data is critical in maintaining a Jira instance as well. Instances will begin to grow over time and as your organization and teams grow, so will the ticket count in your instance. The larger the instance size, the high likelihood for performance degradation and instance issues. Analyzing your instance for stale old data is a key step in maintaining a healthy instance. For stale data, take a look at any unresolved tickets as well as any older tickets that have no resolution or that are not in a "Closed" status. You will also want to review any projects that have not had a ticket created in them for a long period of time (we generally recommend 3 to 6 months). After thorough analysis, you will want to close any stale tickets and archive any projects that are deemed to no longer be in use. 

Praecipio Consulting's Managed Services

Praecipio Consulting offers guidance and services to help maintain your Jira instance and provide you with industry best practices. Through years of experience, we at Praecipio have developed a wealth of knowledge in properly configuring and managing Atlassian products that will ensure you get the most out of the product for every use case in your organization. As part of our Managed Services offering, we deploy our proprietary Health Checks. These Health Checks include a thorough review of various aspects of maintaining your instance. Praecipio's Health Checks are split into two main categories: Infrastructure and Process; and include topics such as Licensing, Database Health, Security Vulnerabilities, User Management, Upgrade Readiness, Performance, Process Consolidation, Stale Data, apps/App and Workflows. With these Health Checks and working with Praecipio Consulting's Managed Services, your instance will be in an optimal state for growth and longevity.

Topics: atlassian blog best-practices managed-services optimization health-check
2 min read

How to Pay Down Technical Debt with an Agile Approach

By Chris Hofbauer on Jan 14, 2020 5:05:00 PM

Technical debt is a silent killer in many organizations today. A common misconception is that technical debt can be found in software bugs. While having bugs in your software is definitely one example of technical debt (and could be the most expensive), it is not the only one. Other technical debt comes in the form of work that was never completely finished, old code that is still in use, or even the systems and tools being used in the organization. These could have stemmed from taking short cuts or not delivering what was promised and then getting lost in the backlog. Whatever technical debt your organization owes, it is best to identify it as soon as possible and begin to pay it back before it is too late. 

Understanding Agility

Over time, productivity begins to give way to backtracking and putting out small fires. This causes deadlines to be missed or delayed, which again can lead to more shortcuts, patches, and workarounds. This causes the snowball of technical debt to continue to build momentum, which increases the concern for security threats. Anytime these shortcuts are made, there are crucial steps in the work process that are missed; one of those being documentation. Keep in mind - The less technical debt your organization has, the more agile they will be. Being more agile allows team members the ability to dedicate time to the items that are most important. 

Importance of Documentation

Documenting each step in your process and the work that was done, or not done, is extremely important in any organization. It's common for work to get done quickly and often not finished all in one sitting. For that reason, it is extremely important to not miss documenting all details of your work. Each step in the process should be described in enough thorough detail so that you or anyone else can pick up right where you left off. Having to go back and figure out what was done is not only frustrating but causes a decrease in productivity and additional missed deadlines.

Agile Approach with Jira

Paying down your technical debt can be better managed while taking an Agile approach using Jira software. One of the first and most important steps when beginning to pay down technical debt is to identify and bring transparency to it. Jira can be leveraged to shine that light on your current debt and give greater control over who this debt belongs to. Setting up your dashboards but using the power of the filters and the gadgets provided through Jira can help immensely. The average age chart and the pie chart are some of the most frequently used filters and gadgets. These help show all of the issues that have not been addressed over a period of time, which lead to an ever growing backlog. 

How to Pay Down Technical Debt

The road to paying down your technical debt can be a long one for many organizations and can be bumpy at times. However, it can be one of the most liberating and impactful undertakings your organization can take on. It's important to note that avoiding technical debt is not always realistic; however, it is crucial that it is controlled and kept from spiraling out of control. If you need help identifying technical debt in your organization or interested in learning how to configure Jira for more transparency, check out an old (but relevant) webinar Agile Best Practices with the Atlassian Toolset. Of course, you can always contact us to give you a hand. 

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile tips agile
2 min read

Providing Visibility and Transparency through Atlassian's Dashboards and Gadgets

By Chris Hofbauer on Sep 25, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Leveraging Atlassian's dashboards and gadgets can provide teams within an organization the visibility and transparency into their work they may be lacking. The use of these tools gives greater insight into work in progress and completed work for individual teams or team members as well as providing top-level views of all the work across teams. Dashboards can be configured in many ways and be custom tailored to surface whatever information is desired. Dashboards are made up of gadgets as they are the driving force behind the data. These gadgets are embedded into the Dashboards and the information within them is determined by the JQL in the filters.

Some of the commonly used gadgets are the Pie Chart, Jira Road Map, Average Age Chart, Created vs Resolved, and Issues in Progress. Below is an explanation of these gadgets and their uses.

Pie Chart Gadget: The Pie Chart gadget can display data from many fields. The determination of which field you choose depends on your particular use case. Assignee, Resolution, Status, and Priority are some of the more powerful and frequently chosen fields. The issues are split by these fields and displayed in a manner that is easily digested as a visual. Clicking on any chunk of the pie in the gadget will take you to a more comprehensive list view of those issues. From here the data can be dug into deeper or exported for reporting.

Created vs. Resolved Gadget: The Created vs. Resolved gadget is exactly how it sounds. The data in this gadget will show all the issues that are resolved against those that are not. The use of this help to track how well the team is keeping up with their work items. Team leaders can view this data to determine where they are within a given sprint. If things are going as planned, the later they are in the sprint, the fewer number of issues should be logged. Since the Created vs. Resolved gadget focuses on work submitted and work completed, it is a good choice for Kanban teams to see their workload and progress made within a given timeframe.

Issues in Progress Gadget: The Issues in Progress gadgets provides a more granular view of all the issues within the development cycle that are still being worked by the team. Team leaders can use this information to get a more detailed view and quickly determine if there are some bigger issues in progress that could not be completed before the end of the sprint.

Jira Road Map Gadget: Development teams will get great use from the road map gadget. This gadget shows what has been completed within the sprint and what versions are due to be released at the conclusion of the sprint. Teams leaders can leverage this information to see where they are at in their projects and how their teams are performing.

These are only some of the many gadgets that can be used to provide the desired visibility and transparency into the work in progress. Team leaders will find these gadgets easy to use and customizable to whichever way fits their needs. It is important for teams to leverage these dashboards and gadgets so that their work can be done as efficiently as possible and completed in a timely manner.

Topics: jira atlassian blog
2 min read

What's the real value of Managed Services?

By Chris Hofbauer on Sep 17, 2018 11:00:00 AM

For organizations that use the Atlassian product suite, it's critical to decide whether to administer the products in-house. After all, there are significant considerations with infrastructure, networking, product tuning, let alone the configuration of the products. Choosing to engage in a Managed Services agreement can be extremely beneficial. A great Managed Services team can be a great asset and provide tremendous value to any size organization.

One of the greatest values provided is the administrative relief you get from a Managed Services team. The Atlassian products require devoted attention, especially within organizations that use it for all sources of truth. Having a Managed Services team allows an organization to have fewer full-time employees dedicated to the tools and instead on their primary area of expertise. Depending on the contract, signing onto Managed Services is typically half the cost of hiring on a full-time Atlassian administrator as well.

System monitoring, performance, and upkeep can also become a major burden to bear. Atlassian products and add-ons are frequently updated and if the applications are not well kept, the system can become outdated fairly quickly. With a Managed Services team, we work closely to ensure performance and maintenance doesn't fall behind so teams can continue to leverage the power of the Atlassian toolset.

One of the most valuable aspects of hiring a Managed Services team is the tribal knowledge and best practices that come along with it. When an organization has one or few Atlassian administrators, they are limited to the knowledge of those individuals. With a Managed Services team, you have the entire company to leverage. We have a large team that has seen various installations and configurations (both supported and unsupported) of the Atlassian tools, including those we host in Cumulus, our Atlassian Hybrid environment. By seeing all these variations, we are able to provide the best solutions that have been tested and proven.

The Atlassian product suite requires attention and care from people who are dedicated to the tools. Our Managed Services team helps to relieve administrative overhead for every organization through system performance and monitoring as well as best practices through tribal knowledge, all at less expensive option compared to a full-time employee or team. With this, hiring a Managed Service team provides peace of mind and great value. 

Topics: blog managed-services hosting itsm

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