Praecipio Consulting

Praecipio Consulting


Recent posts by Praecipio Consulting

1 min read

Praecipio Consulting joins the Aha! Partner Program

By Praecipio Consulting on Nov 9, 2020 11:30:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Aha!

We’re excited to announce that Praecipio Consulting has been selected to join the Aha! Partner Program as an inaugural partner. Recognized as the world’s #1 roadmap software, Aha! serves over 5,000 companies and 400,000 users. The Aha! Partner Program provides customers with access to a small and highly specialized group of certified partners that includes Praecipio Consulting. As a partner, Praecipio Consulting offers a wide range of product management and development services to extend the power of Aha! products.

Partnering with an innovation thought leader and one of the most respected SaaS companies will enable Praecipio Consulting to expand our reach and build on our current portfolio of cutting-edge technology solutions. Ultimately, our partnership with Aha! will allow us to better serve our clients  and advance their businesses. As one of the first partners, we benefit from the opportunity to deliver new services with close support and collaboration from the Aha! team. 

“We are honored to join the Aha! Partner Program as an inaugural member. Our diverse clients have varying sets of requirements, but common to them all is the need for a world-class product management solution. Aha! is a leader in this space and is a welcome addition to our portfolio of  technology solutions,” says Praecipio Consulting Founder & CEO, Christian Lane. 

"We are thrilled that Praecipio Consulting has joined our partner program to help customers innovate even faster and build products that customers really love. They are recognized experts in helping organizations achieve their digital transformation — by leveraging robust technologies and process frameworks like Agile, ITSM, DevOps, and ESM. We look forward to working closely together." — Brian de Haaff, Aha! co-founder and CEO. 

Praecipio Consulting also looks forward to what this partnership will bring as we continue pushing boundaries in the digital space with Aha!

Topics: technology technology-partners aha
3 min read

Enterprise Service Management Blog Series (Part 2): Three Key Benefits of ESM

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 5, 2020 4:48:47 PM

2020 Blogposts_What is Enterprise Service Management-2

If one system can do with relative ease what it used to take multiple systems to do, it makes sense to use that one system, right? Following up on our first blog post of this series, we continue to explore the benefits that ESM brings to an organization. 

Historically, the toughest part of this statement had been that one system could not do what multiple systems could, resulting in a need to keep those multiple systems in place. However, software has advanced to the point where this is not the case anymore. As an example, Jira Software was originally developed for software development teams to track bugs and was not feasible for an HR or Legal team to use. Today, its flexible workflows, security controls, ease of visibility, and several other characteristics have allowed all teams within the organization to use Jira. This has given way to the rise of Enterprise Service Management (ESM) as teams realize that they can simplify their software landscape and reduce the number of systems in play.

Consider three specific benefits of replacing multiple systems with one:

  1. Eliminate clunky handoffs. The toughest part of the process to understand and improve the handoff from one system to another. In addition to evolving teams, the work itself tends to change physical form, from an Excel spreadsheet to a Jira issue to a Salesforce ticket and so on. This creates unnecessary steps in the process and requires extra time to convert and understand the work. This behavior is not the result of intelligent design, but rather a factor of history and the way things evolved. Condensing to one system helps eliminate these physical shifts, resulting in cleaner handoffs and reduced process time.
  2. Include a rich history. When an item moves from one system to another, its history can get lost. A classic example is when a developer has a work item without the original business requirements or design thoughts from upstream teams. Cutting down to one system provides the team with the ability to receive the entire history of the work item. This rich history provides valuable context, eliminates confusion, reduces process time by decreasing the time spent understanding the problem, and decreases the possibility of rework due to misunderstood context. 
  3. Reduce Costs. One license paid to one vendor generates economies of scale and minimizes costs related to using multiple licenses. It typically increases bargaining power with the vendor and decreases cost per seat. Additionally, maintenance and training costs both decrease. If an employee works in one system, compared to several, that translates to only one training session versus multiple sessions. Better yet, keeping the training budget the same and committing to several training sessions on one system will further increase people’s proficiency in that system, boosting their productivity and performance. Maintenance then becomes easier as the IT team only has one system to monitor and keep running. Similar to training, when you invest time into only one system, it encourages deeper learning within the team and drives results in better support of the system, further minimizing costs due to less downtime and incident recovery time.  

Not to mention, using one system as opposed to several brings additional benefits of improved communication and data insights. Understanding the workflow and developing patterns is much easier in one system than it is when work transfers through several systems. Furthermore, when teammates only have one system to check instead of several, they are more likely to communicate faster and better understand problems. 

Finally, a benefit not to overlook is the fact that employees like working within a single system. In our experience, employees enjoy seeing work flow through to different teams and appreciate the ease of using a single, connected, and integrated system. Furthermore, with one system to monitor, teammates have improved visibility of work coming up the pipeline and can follow the progression of the work they’ve completed. This leads to a better understanding of upcoming work, as well as a greater sense of accomplishment when they can see their work completed. 

In the last of this series on the topic, we will explore the ROI of ESM based on our experience with a client, demonstrating how implementing ESM best practices can save you money while improving your processes.  

Topics: process-improvement service-management cost-effective
4 min read

Enterprise Service Management Blog Series (Part 1): Why ESM Is Hardly A New Concept

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 22, 2020 12:45:00 PM

2020 Blogposts_What is Enterprise Service Management

Michael Porter, a former Harvard professor, is one of the founding fathers of business strategy. He lent credence to the field by developing several ideas, frameworks, and theories around strategy that have been utilized, debated, and taught for four decades now. You may be familiar with his 5 Forces model, which is used to analyze the competitive landscape of a given industry, or his course titled “Competition and Strategy”, a requirement for all first-year Harvard MBAs. Though his ideas and theories are certainly not perfect and have evolved over the years, they laid the groundwork for modern businesses to think about their strategy, their position in the market, and their ability to move forward.

And when you think about it, it’s weird that some consider enterprise service management to be a new business process management trend. Let me explain. 

In 1985, Porter co-authored an article with Victor E. Millar in the Harvard Business Review titled “How Information Gives You Competitive Advantage”. In it, he laid out a central argument that said with the explosion of computer usage, companies would have access to a ton of information, flowing freely through the organization, that would allow managers to make more informed decisions faster. This, Porter argued, would fundamentally change how business was done and provide new ways for companies to stay ahead of their competitors. 

Consider this excerpt from Porter’s article:

“The value a company creates is measured by the amount that buyers are willing to pay for a product or service. A business is profitable if the value it creates exceeds the cost of performing the value activities. To gain competitive advantage over its rivals, a company must either perform these activities at a lower cost or perform them in a way that leads to differentiation and a premium price (more value).”

In other words, to gain an advantage over competitors, companies must perform their value activities at a lower cost or in a way that adds more value. Porter foresaw the drastic increase of information that would be available to businesses with the shepherding of the digital era. He logically concluded that such information, if used and communicated correctly, could be advantageous to managers looking to make decisions around the value-added activities in which their business engages.

The prediction of a sharp increase in the amount of information has certainly come true. In the era of big data, companies gather, store, process, and use more data than ever before. The problem is that typically this information is siloed, only about one particular subject, or only accessible and understandable to a few highly-skilled workers. This is the problem that enterprise service management will solve to bring Porter’s 35-year-old vision to fruition once and for all.

Enterprise service management (ESM) holds that the (mostly digital) processes that have been championed and used to gain efficiencies by IT teams for so long apply to the business as a whole, as seen by the adoption of similar processes and technologies in departments like HR, Facilities, and Procurement. ESM suggests that an organization should have a tool, which typically takes the form of a piece of software, that allows information to flow easily, quickly, and freely through the organization (sound familiar?). At Praecipio Consulting we have grown fond of referring to this as an operating system for business - one central piece of software that is used nearly ubiquitously in the organization, one that allows work to flow from division to division, team to team, teammate to teammate, with no loss of information and an attached, rich history.

Consider the typical lifecycle of the development of a new offering by a business - whether that be a software feature, physical product, or a new service offering. Marketing will research the market and determine where gains can be made. They will pass intel along to Product, which will develop these insights into a new product idea. The Product team will work with Development to create requirements, Dev will build it, QA will test it, and then it will be released to the market. Along the way, Marketing will generate buzz, Sales will sell, Legal will validate legality, HR will manage employees working on the offering, so on and so forth. In short - it takes a village, a coordinated effort among teams from different parts of the organization to deliver the new offering to market. 

The logic of a single system which transmits work in this lifecycle with no loss of info and rich history is apparent, as is the cost savings garnered from a single license paid to a single vendor, maintenance and training for one system instead of several, and usage of an efficient process unmarred by clunky handoffs to other systems.

To achieve this business process nirvana, we have long advocated for the usage of Atlassian’s Jira, Jira Service Desk, and Confluence products. Similar to Apple, Atlassian set out to develop products that work together seamlessly, but unlike Apple, Atlassian has retained that characteristic and further developed it to the point that these three products work together in harmony. The malleable and flexible nature of these products has helped them evolve from those used exclusively by software development teams for bug tracking to those used by IT, HR, Legal, Marketing, Customer Service, and several other business units. The ability of these products to merge these disparate units within a business shows an exciting step forward and potentially a culmination in Porter’s vision of a connected and integrated business.

In the next two articles that will form part of this ESM blog series, we will further explore the logic and numbers behind enterprise service management, and why and how it can help your company. 

 

Topics: service-management
2 min read

How to Track MTTR With Jira

By Praecipio Consulting on May 26, 2020 9:15:00 AM

2020 Blogposts_What’s the difference between Affects Version & Fixed Version- copy

One of the most important metrics for IT and Customer Service teams that solve problems and answer customer questions is mean time to resolution, commonly referred to as MTTR. Atlassian defines MTTR as the average time it takes for an issue to reach a resolved state, as measured from the time the ticket was created. It’s an exceedingly important metric to track, especially for IT teams because it is one of the few great ways to quantify team productivity. When tracked and reported over time, it becomes possible to determine the efficacy and ROI of business process improvements. While Jira gives us an easy way to track service level agreements (aka SLAs), there is no great built-in tool for tracking MTTR (yet).

Fortunately, as with most desired features in the Atlassian ecosystem, there’s an app for that. We’ve discussed eazyBI quite a bit in the past, and for good reason: it is simply one of the best data aggregation and reporting tools available for Jira. Period.

To track MTTR, try using the Issue Resolution Days report. This report can roll up all of your issues and report average MTTR, broken down by issue type and time period. As with most eazyBI reports, you can customize this one just about any way, including which additional metrics to report on (such as median, min, and max time to resolution) and total or average hours logged. You can even set up your data visualization exactly how you want it.

If you’d like to learn more about the Issue Resolution Days report, eazyBI has some excellent documentation

One important thing to keep in mind when a team begins tracking MTTR is to make sure you properly define when an issue is resolved in your Jira instance. Without this clear definition, you may have trouble collecting data, or worse, you report on the wrong information. Tracking your MTTR to learn more about how you can reduce this metric can help your organization save time and resources, as well as contribute to generating a better user experience. 

If you want to get more out of reporting with Jira, let us help! As an Enterprise Platinum Atlassian Solution partner, Praecipio Consulting has spent over a decade working with the Atlassian suite to build, implement, and activate best-in-class solutions. When it comes to Jira and other Atlassian tools, we've got you covered!

Topics: jira meantime-to-recovery data reporting eazyBi customer-experience
2 min read

How Jira Can Help Your Teams Work Remotely

By Praecipio Consulting on May 8, 2020 9:15:00 AM

According to a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review, one of the common challenges when working from home is a lack of access to information. At Praecipio Consulting, we often see this challenge with many teams, especially they remotely. Here's how Jira can help:

Visualize current work with Kanban boards

A Kanban board (or a similar variant) can be a remote team’s best friend. Instead of emailing, Slacking, texting, or calling a coworker to find out the status of a particular work item, a team member can simply navigate to the Kanban board and find a wealth of information. A well-configured board is easy to read and quickly conveys a brief description of each item the team is currently working on, as well as the status, assignee, and any other team-specific information. This helps cut down on extraneous communications within your organization and provides remote workers with a quicker and easier way to access information.

Reduce the number of emails by commenting on issues

Not only is commenting on issues quicker than typing up an email, but comments also live in publicly visible space and are saved in the issue. This immediately creates two advantages over email. First, commenting makes it much easier for other coworkers to see the progress on the issue, preventing them from having to send an email to ask questions about the issue, who’s working on it, when was it last worked on, and what progress has been made in the past week. Second, users never have to wonder why somebody made a particular decision or repeatedly ask for information because the entire conversation is stored within the issue. Using @ mentions to tag a coworker or manager helps speed up this process and better organize the information, in addition to drawing specific users to the issue and providing context.

Benefit from linking Jira and Confluence together

When Jira and Confluence are linked together, one can simply enter a Jira issue key into a Confluence page, and it will automatically contain a link to the Jira issue. Similarly, it becomes possible to link a Confluence page to a Jira issue by just referencing the title of the page. A few common use cases include: linking a resolution document in Confluence to the incident issue in Jira, displaying the progress of related Jira issues on a requirements document in Confluence, and linking several helpful articles to a service request in Jira. This helps solve similar problems more quickly, reduces time spent searching for that one Confluence article, and eliminates the need for status emails.

Jira was created to help teammates access information, allowing them to visualize and organize complex and hard-to-see work; and that's why Jira is the perfect tool for a remote team.  

 

Struggling with remote work in this time of uncertainty? Praecipio Consulting provides a turnkey implementation of best practices in Jira with an Accelerator. Whether you're supporting SDLC, ITSM, or PPM, we can rapidly deploy Jira to support your team. Reach out to us to learn more about Jira and how it can facilitate remote work. 

Topics: jira tips atlassian-products work-from-home
2 min read

Why Now Is a Perfect Time to Start Daily Stand-up Meetings

By Praecipio Consulting on May 1, 2020 9:15:00 AM

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Many software development teams have done well with the stay-at-home orders since they are accustomed to the work-from-home lifestyle. One factor for their success with remote work–both before and during the shelter-in-place–is the daily stand-up meeting, which forms part of the Agile movement in software development, primarily because development work is invisible and hard to understand.

What is a stand-up meeting?

As many employees have moved to remote work over the past few weeks, work-related information has become less visible and harder to understand since people are used to quickly hashing things out in-person at the office. But that's where the daily stand-up meeting can help.

A daily stand-up meeting is typically a 15-minute daily meeting, usually held mid-morning, in which all members of a team come together to discuss what they’re working on, preferably while standing up (this helps promote the 15-minute limit!). Each team member can follow this simple script to give their team members an update: 

  1. What they worked on yesterday
  2. What they’re working on today
  3. What, if any, problems they’re facing

This daily check-in helps the team stay on track, avoid any rework or duplicated work, and tackle problems quicker. The idea with this script is not to outline every single thing you've worked on but instead provide a high-level overview to ensure that the team's focus is in sync and that everyone is aligned with the team's objectives.

How to run a productive stand-up meeting

Here are a few best practices to keep in mind for leading a successful stand-up meeting:

  • Follow the work being discussed on a Kanban board or a similar variant. Visualizing the work item gives context about what it is, who it’s assigned to, and current workflow status. 
  • Limit all side conversations to roughly 30 seconds to allow everyone a chance to get through high-level communications.
  • Make sure to follow up after the stand-up with questions or conversations sparked by information in the stand-up.
  • Take the 15-minute time limit seriously. Actually standing up during the meeting tends to help with this.
  • Hold the meeting every day, regardless of whether you think there are many updates to give or not. This helps the meeting become routine, improves the quality of the updates, and keeps the team in sync.

And the final benefit? Standing! Chances are we’re all sitting down a little bit more than we need to be at the moment – meaning this is a great time to embrace the spirit of stand-ups!

If you in need of more resources on how to help your teams with remote work, here are some great WFH tips. You can also tune in to our upcoming webinar on to leverage tools like Jira, Confluence, and EazyBI to keep your teams connected and productive when working from home. 

2 min read

Five Stages of ITIL and the Atlassian Suite

By Praecipio Consulting on Jan 7, 2020 12:30:00 PM

What is ITIL? The Five Stages of ITIL

As a process consultant for a Platinum Atlassian Solution Partner, my responsibilities include helping our customers set up their ITSM solutions and providing guidance in-line with best practices and industry standards. The ITIL framework has been accepted as a collection of best practices for ITSM and the ITIL processes are designed in a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle with the end goal being continual improvement. The Five Stages of ITIL are as follows:

Stage 1: Service Strategy - Understanding customer needs and determining which services and capabilities will provide the most value

Stage 2: Service Design - Designing new services or changes and improvements to existing services 

Stage 3: Service Transition - Coordinated effort to build and deploy services

Stage 4: Service Operation - Fulfilling requests, fixing problems and performing maintenance tasks

Stage 5: Continual Service Improvement - Capturing lessons from successes and failures and incorporating those learnings in the process

Getting Started with ITIL and the Atlassian Suite 

Based on the Five Stages of ITIL, I'll walk through how the Atlassian suite of products can help you and your company continuously improve your ITSM offerings.

Stage 1: Service Strategy - Confluence and Jira 

In the strategy phase, you are gathering market research and determining customer needs. Confluence is a great place to document these ideas and requirements. When integrated with Jira, you will be able to create a Jira issue for each requirement from the Confluence page.

Stage 2: Service Design - Confluence

In the service design phase, you are determining the services and service levels based on the decisions made in the strategy phase. You will want to document these design decisions in Confluence. Confluence also has built in diagram capabilities for modeling processes.

Stage 3: Service Transition - Jira and Jira Service Desk

In the service transition phase, you will use Jira to track the work on the requirements while you build the services in Jira Service Desk. Jira Service Desk will allow you to create different services, workflows, permissions, SLAs and automations. You can also customize the portal and what the customers see.

Stage 4: Service Operation - Jira Service Desk and Confluence

In the service operation phase, you will use Jira Service Desk queues to manage requests and you can communicate with customers through the Jira Service Desk tickets. Confluence will be used to document fixes and how-to articles. Customers will also have access to Confluence's Knowledge Base – as a way to identify or resolve in a self-service manner.

Stage 5: Continual Service Improvement - Jira Service Desk and Confluence

In the continual service improvement phase, you will use Jira Service Desk's satisfaction surveys and documented lessons learned in Confluence to help determine how to improve services. 

After all of this - Rinse and repeat.

Building an ITSM Solution

By utilizing the Atlassian tools, you have many of the recommended capabilities to create a great ITSM solution that is continuously improving. If you don't have the time, resources, or experience to do this yourself – Praecipio Consulting offers an ITSM QuickStart that can set you up with many of these recommended practices (in a fraction of the time it would normally take to design and develop your own ITSM solution). To learn more about the ITSM QuickStart or other services please visit https://www.praecipio.com/itsm-consulting

Topics: itil itsm jira-service-desk
2 min read

Team Coleson Golf Tournament Fundraiser for JDRF Austin

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 4, 2019 2:42:08 PM

Praecipio Consulting has been an active member of Pledge 1%, the movement to build corporate philanthropy, since 2015. The mission-driven non-profit asks members to pledge 1% of equity, 1% of time, and 1% of profits to a variety of charitable causes. Praecipio Consulting has fostered on-going relationships with the Colorado River AllianceDam that CancerTreeFolks, and the Coastal Conservation Association, to name a few, since becoming involved with the Pledge 1% initiative.

Our most recent “Do good in the world” event was participating in the Team Coleson Golf Tournament fundraiser, where the proceeds went to benefit JDRF Austin, an organization that champions for millions of adults and children affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D). Praecipio Consulting identified with JDRF because of their commitment “... to funding research that improves life for people at all ages and stages of the disease.”

On September 28, 2019 at Avery Ranch, Praecipio Consulting’s team members Esme Huber and David Gorder played their hearts out, knowing that the competition was all in good fun, but stakes were high for those suffering from the disease. Each dollar raised would go towards critical research to identify everything from how to have a higher quality of life (even while being afflicted by T1D), to eradicating the disease entirely. Team Coleson’s campaign has raised to date $52,700 for JDRF Austin.

We are deeply humbled that our staff would volunteer their personal time to help families cope with the autoimmune disease that affects millions of Americans—both young and old. JDRF works tirelessly to find preventions and better treatments through critical research, in order to—hopefully, one day—find a cure for type 1 diabetes. If you would like to help families affected by type 1 diabetes, you can visit JDRF’s website to make a donation

Topics: do-good
2 min read

How to Solve: "Too Many Jira Email Notifications"

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 20, 2019 8:03:00 PM

“Jira sends too many emails.”

When I tell people I consult on the Atlassian suite, this is usually one of their first comments. I’ve worked with many clients who set up filters in their inboxes just to reduce the amount of Jira emails they see. 

Getting Jira to send fewer emails is actually surprisingly simple. Here are 3 ways to do it effectively:

How to Create a Jira Notification Scheme

If you’re receiving too many emails from Jira, the first place to look is the notification scheme. Notification schemes tell Jira when to send a notification and to which recipient. For example, an effective best practice is to send an email to the Assignee when an issue is created. A good Jira environment, except in rare cases, will only alert users who are directly involved in the issue, such as the Assignee, Watchers, and the Reporter. 

To check your notification scheme, go to Project Settings, and then to Notifications. Make sure to note if the scheme is being used by any other projects so you don’t accidentally change any of that project’s settings.

Check if Add-ons are Sending Emails 

Automation for Jira (one of my all-time favorite Jira add-ons), Enterprise Mail Handler for Jira, or JEMH as it’s commonly known, as well as a host of other add-ons in the Atlassian ecosystem can be configured to send emails. This is a commonly used practice to get highly specific emails to a targeted audience. Visit the Add-ons (also known as Apps in some later versions) portion of the Jira Administration page and check out the configuration of these add-ons. You may find that there are outdated, redundant, or unnecessary rules resulting in extra emails.

A good way to recognize an email from an add-on is that it will typically not look like a regular Jira email. It may have different formatting, include different pieces of information, or have a note describing which add-on sent it.

Batch your Email Notifications

Starting in the Jira 8 version, Jira notifications can be batched. Batching email notifications means that changes within the same ten minute period will trigger a single email. Therefore, if a user updates an issue field, then adds a comment, then adds an attachment to the same issue within a ten minute time frame, only one Jira notification email will be sent, instead of three. You can read more about this behavior on the Atlassian Support confluence.

No Need to Stop Emails from Jira

Atlassian Jira can easily be an important application that is part of your daily workflow. Don’t let Jira take over your inbox - With these simple steps, you can take control of your Jira email notifications (and your sanity). 

Interested in more Jira tips? Check out our blog “Guide to Import Linked Issues into Jira from CSV”.

Topics: jira how-to email-notifications
3 min read

What’s the Difference? Agile Coach vs Agile Consultant

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 9, 2019 12:17:00 PM

Agile has become quite the buzz word within the software development community. Some of the most successful software companies are known for how Agile they are and how often they can release code in production. However, before becoming Agile in software development, these companies first embraced and implemented the Agile framework across the entire organization–not just with the technology team, but with HR, Finance, Biz Dev, Legal, etc. And this isn't something that they accomplished overnight. 

Becoming an Agile organization, which can take a minimum of six months to achieve, involves undergoing a massive organizational transformation – redesigning everything, from strategy, processes, teams, governance, and work culture. This is why many companies decide to hire experts when they are implementing this methodology. Not only is it an enormous undertaking, but being Agile is instrumental for the future success, sustainable growth, and continuous improvement of an organization in an increasingly complex marketplace. 

So, when you are ready to bring in the right help for successfully achieving and sustaining Agile within your organization, you may be wondering if you should hire an Agile Coach or Agile Consultant. Before understanding the differences between Agile Coaching vs. Agile Consulting, you should ask yourself:

  1. Is our organization already Agile or are we trying to be?

  2. How mature is our team?

  3. What are our pain points?

  4. At the end of this engagement, what does success look like?

Now, let's shed some light on the differences between an Agile Coach and an Agile Consultant:

Agile Coach - A Subject Matter Expert

An Agile Coach plays a similar role to the one a teacher plays in school. They studied Agile methodologies and have been trained on how to teach those methodologies to others. Agile Coaches help train all teams within an organization and manages the implementation process in order to carry out a solid transformation. The coach works closely with each team and walks them through the steps of fully embracing and adopting the Agile framework. Instead of actually doing the work for the team, Agile Coaches equip their students with proper training, education, guidance, and resources so that they can successfully implement and sustain the Agile methodology. Working with Agile Coaches is typically a longer engagement. 

Some of the most common reasons for hiring an Agile Coach are:

  1. Organization is new to Agile methodologies and needs guidance (i.e. companies undergoing Agile transformations)

  2. Scaling Agile, working across all teams or at the enterprise level

  3. Improving performance, visibility, and predictability (portfolio planning)

Agile Consultant - A Business Consultant 

An Agile Consultant, on the other hand, is a practitioner. As the word practitioner suggests, he or she puts the Agile framework into practice by using their extensive experience with Agile to navigate roadblocks and quickly resolve any problems that are preventing the organization from achieving their desired results. Unlike the Agile Coach who provides guidance, the Consultant actually does the necessary analysis and problem-solving to put your organization back on track for success before handing the reigns back over to your teams. Essentially, an Agile Consultant provides a more short-term solution.

The most common reasons for hiring an Agile Consultant are:

  1. Problem-solving: You realize the problem is beyond your teams' capabilities and you need a specialist.

  2. Your organization is not seeing the effective outcomes associated with the Agile methodology. 

  3. You want advice on what issues need to be resolved and how to quickly tackle them.

Difference Between Coach and Consultant

Now that you understand the key differences between an Agile Coach compared to an Agile Consultant, you are one step closer to hiring the right expert for your organization and even that much closer to accomplishing a sustainable Agile framework. Even though a Coach and a Consultant play different roles, they are both equally essential in promoting cultural change and overcoming the obstacles that come with successfully embracing, implementing, and practicing the Agile methodology. 

Is your organization undergoing an Agile Transformation? Learn how our approach empowers organizations to achieve a successful Agile transformation in a sustainable and scalable manner, which drives business performance and propels our clients to be disruptive, innovative leaders in their industries.

Topics: scaled-agile process digital-transformation
3 min read

Our Pledge to Not Give T-shirts at Atlassian Summit 2019

By Praecipio Consulting on Mar 21, 2019 11:05:54 AM

As a Gold Sponsor for this year’s Atlassian Summit, we get it - t-shirts are cool. And at past Summits, we’ve given away some awesome t-shirts but this year when you come by Praecipio Consulting's booth, expect to be given something much more meaningful... Something even life-changing.

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Our Pledge

We got to thinking about what we do as a company and what our customers expect of us. As a consulting company leveraging the Atlassian product suite, we deliver the best in-class technology solutions to our clients. Helping companies run their business seamlessly through processes and technology is just one way Praecipio Consulting improves the lives of those around us. We also seek to be caring stewards of the planet and helping those in need. Three years ago, we joined the Pledge 1% Movement, and since then we've donated 1% of our time, equity, and profit to nonprofit organizations. We contributed to great causes, such as volunteering at an orphanage in Nicaraguahonoring veterans, helping out with a tornado disaster relief, raising money for the Flatwater Foundation, and organizing a Colorado River cleanup.

Our Commitment

Giving away t-shirts this year just didn’t cut it, especially when you think about what it takes to make a t-shirt... Did you know that growing the cotton necessary for one t-shirt requires more than 2,700 liters of water? Many resources are needed to manufacture and transport the product. Additionally, caring for a t-shirt leaves no small footprint. Most of us use 40 gallons of water to wash a load of laundry and 5 times more energy to dry a load.

So, this year, Praecipio Consulting is doing something different. In lieu of receiving a t-shirt, Summit attendees that stop by our booth will choose who we (Praecipio Consulting and Workato) will contribute $10 (the cost of a t-shirt). Summit attendees will choose from1 of 4 amazing nonprofit organizations that are making a difference every day: 

Flatwater Foundation is dedicated to providing those diagnosed with cancer, their families, and loved ones access to mental health therapy and family support, including traditional and non-traditional methods of psychological counseling.

TreeFolks has engaged thousands of volunteers to plant more than 2.8 million trees in Central Texas. Planting trees is a powerful means of connecting people with their communities, as they clean the air and water, provide habitat for wildlife, produce fresh fruit for neighbors, and provide shelter.

SAFE (Stop Abuse For Everyone) serves survivors of child abuse, sexual assault and exploitation, and domestic violence through prevention, advocacy, and comprehensive services for individuals, families, and communities that have been impacted by abuse.

Colorado River Alliance believe that a healthy, flowing river is imperative to the long-term well-being of their communities and state. Their mission is to champion the long-term vitality of the Texas Colorado River through education and engagement.

Our Responsibility

By taking this step to do our part in conserving the environment and fulfilling our corporate responsibility, we do not claim that we'll never print another t-shirt again; we do promise that we'll be judicious when we do. 

We look forward to seeing everyone at Summit, please make sure to stop by our booth 1106 to easily contribute to these causes!

Topics: atlassian-summit community culture do-good pledge-1%
3 min read

Could Testing Be the Missing Link for Effective Agile Transformation?

By Praecipio Consulting on Feb 20, 2019 7:03:00 PM

NOTE: The following is a guest post by Tricentis Director of Product, Ryan Yackel.

A modern testing platform is a critical, but often overlooked, element of successful agile transformation. Could QA (Quality Assurance) be the missing puzzle piece in your quest to deliver higher quality software faster?

The pace of software development is accelerating, and technology teams face increasing pressure to adopt agile development and continuous delivery models so that their businesses can more quickly respond to customer demand.

But your first-mover advantage will suffer if you are first to market with mediocre software.

If you fail to deliver high-quality digital experiences at the pace today’s users demand, you risk alienating customers. In the case of defect-ridden software, poor user experience, or a catastrophic bug, you risk losing significant market share and damaging your reputation.

Software Testing

In the rush to beat the competition to market, organizations are transforming software development and delivery processes. But too often, business leaders fail to prioritize QA transformation, and QA teams are stuck using ineffective legacy solutions that were built for outdated waterfall environments. The reality is that as long as your testers are using legacy QA tools, your transformation will remain incomplete.

Legacy QA tools like Micro Focus Quality Center cannot accommodate modern development workflows. (Year over year, Micro Focus Quality Center (HPQC) has been among the least recommended testing tools for agile teams in VersionOne’s State of Agile Report.)

Legacy tools do not integrate with open-source automation tools, which limits testers’ options for accelerating test cycles and makes it impossible to integrate QA into continuous delivery pipelines. This means QA teams lack visibility and are not able to test new code as it is written. Development is further delayed when developers cannot quickly access test results and mitigate issues QA has found. As a result, releases are delayed, and quality inevitably suffers.

When testing occurs at the end of a development sprint, bugs are often embedded in the code, where they are significantly costlier and more time-consuming to correct. As a result, the myth of the QA bottleneck persists. Or worse, the QA process is rushed, and organizations end up with defect-ridden releases that fail to provide the high-quality experiences their customers demand.

Development and QA

If you can integrate quality into agile and DevOps processes, instead of treating it as an afterthought, testing can occur almost simultaneously with development. When a tester finds a bug, he or she can alert a developer to address it right then, instead of after lines of dependent code have been written on top.

With the right approach QA can help speed development by helping developers identify potential defects early. That means that QA is no longer pressured to complete testing quickly as the last step in a sprint. With a truly agile testing approach, QA can become a strategic enabler of business success, rather than a bottleneck.

Integrated Testing

Successful agile organizations have adopted modern test management tools like Tricentis qTest to successfully integrate testing into modern development and delivery processes. Tricentis qTest offers a real-time Jira integration and centralizes test automation management across frameworks and tools – including out-of-the-box integrations and a robust API for test automation management. qTest also offers testers in DevOps environments a single platform for unifying tests that run through continuous integration with other tests.

Contact us to learn more about how we can help you accelerate your agile transformation by modernizing testing.

Topics: testing
3 min read

5 Reasons You Should Add Atlassian Confluence to your Mix of Tools

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 11, 2018 2:20:00 PM

Atlassian Confluence is a wiki platform that allows document creation, collaboration, and management. It is a one stop shop for document storage and knowledge sharing. It integrates seamlessly with Jira, has powerful add-ons, and enables knowledge sharing, storing, and managing within teams. Confluence allows teams to create spaces for their area of focus while also giving visibility to content from one team to another in an organized manner.

Remember that really important document your colleague sent you months ago that you thought you didn't need? Or at least you thought you didn't need, until a new team member joins the organization and you're asked to provide that exact document for them to get insight into the work being done. As you navigate through your inbox, it begins to feel a lot like traveling through a vortex of information where that really important document just can't seem to surface. After wasting valuable time searching your inbox, you find that the document is actually stored in another location outside of your email. Confluence can save the day by reducing the wasted time fishing for knowledge based documents.

Here are the most common reasons why Confluence should be added to your mix of Atlassian tools:

Confluence and Jira Software are a meeting of minds

Capturing product requirements is part of a product’s lifecycle. Confluence's product requirements blueprint helps define, scope, and track product or feature requirements. Within the blueprint, teams can collaborate on gathering user stories in a table format specifying the changes needed and any additional notes. Once the table is filled out, the user stories can be highlighted and, with a click of a button, create issues directly in Jira. This allows converting ideas into trackable pieces of work in Jira. Each time the associated Jira issue is updated, teams have a dynamic report into the current state of each user story in their Confluence product requirements page.

A space for your teams to collaborate

As organizations grow, cross-functional teams become more apparent. For example, before development teams make software updates in Atlassian's software development tools, they collaborate on new features with product managers to assess what's feasible from a software development aspect. As these teams work together to meet the same organizational objectives, collaboration becomes the key to ensuring knowledge and ideas are shared.

Add-ons provide extended functionality

Atlassian products are well known for their powerful add-ons that allow for more features and Confluence is no different. Add-ons extend additional features outside of the native functionality of Confluence. If there is a feature you want, there's probably an add-on that provides you with the functionality you need. Add-ons allow you to optimize content inside of Confluence with dynamic reports, diagrams, data forms and much more.

Keep your teams’ process progressing forward

Confluence coordinates and aligns your team as work is being done. Whether you're iterating changes in your code in Bitbucket or deploying code in Bamboo, Confluence gives you a single platform to populate your technical documentation. If a new team member joins your team, they have insight into the work that's being done; reducing friction in knowledge sharing while keeping your team moving forward.

It can make your team smarter

Every team has a unique style of sharing knowledge. Confluence allows you to share knowledge in a variety of formats, helping create a more versatile experience for users consuming the content. Whether you're creating runbooks for technical processes or simply creating a table for a team schedule, Confluence supports the format you wish to create. Additionally, Confluence streamlines knowledge sharing by allowing you to standardize your teams’ documentation process, which reduces the friction in searching and learning for team members.

Confluence gives teams the freedom to store, share and manage knowledge in a single platform. Documents no longer have to live in separate areas, breaking down communication barriers and knowledge sharing among teams. Please contact us to learn more about Atlassian Confluence.

Topics: confluence collaboration
2 min read

DevOps + Atlassian = Doing it Right

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 17, 2018 11:00:00 AM

You've probably heard about a lot of the benefits DevOps teams enjoy - more effective investments, less stressful deployments, increased collaboration and visibility, and a healthier, happier, more empowered team.  With such encouraging results, the choice to take on a DevOps approach becomes an easy one. The trickier question, then, is what products can help your team take on that approach?

Fortunately, there are thousands of applications to help get you there.

Unfortunately, there are thousands of applications to help get you there.

We've worked with hundreds of clients across virtually every industry, and we have encountered untold numbers of applications, tools, and solutions along the way. In our experience, the Atlassian stack is a top choice.

We typically see a lot of added value with each team using an Atlassian stack:

Cost-effective

The overall solution is more cost effective. Atlassian prefers to spend money on product development, rather than supporting a gigantic sales team. This enables them to build best-in-class products while keeping the price tag favorable.

Integrations

Every application in the solution is integrated. Again unlike other companies, Atlassian produces products across the entire DevOps infinity loop, which results in a number of standalone products that integrate extremely well. It's kind of like the days before Apple became a dongle company when all of their products just worked together.

Customizable

Teams can customize the products to meet their needs. Not all teams want to work the same way. Differences as large as Scrum vs. Kanban or as small as where to record Acceptance Criteria can be easily managed.

Numerous applications

The Atlassian marketplace has over 1,700 different add-ons, meaning there are options to extend into nearly any other existing application in the DevOps space. If that somehow doesn't cut it, there's also middleware like Workato to help bring systems together.

Atlassian prefers to focus on building products that people love, and we've seen and confirmed for a dozen years that teams love using the products. And after all, isn't empowering teams what DevOps is all about? 

Topics: blog devops process-consulting consulting-services
2 min read

Tips, Tricks, and Tools for Time Management

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 27, 2018 11:00:00 AM

In an age where there’s a tool for every toil, we’re fortunate at Praecipio Consulting to be able to work with the best tools available. As an Executive Assistant who survives on staying organized, ahead of the game, and juggling with an exceptional attitude is just part of the day-to-day. If you hear “How do you do it?” you are not alone. How do I do it? The right tools.

Finding tools with exhaustive capabilities, that are simple enough a non-technical user to navigate, isn't an easy task. So here are my top three tools that help me find the most success in my day-to-day.

Calendars 

I live, eat, sleep, and breathe with my calendar - ok not that extreme. But, our team does use Google calendar, and from your first day, the expectation is that it’s up-to-date and detailed enough that others will have the information needed in order to make scheduling meetings with you a breeze. Establishing this as a best practice will help teams maintain prioritization, eliminate duplicity, and create a more cohesive dynamic.

Task Management 

Jira serves as our task management tool. I will either assign tasks to myself and/or manage tasks for other projects or teams. Jira is an Atlassian workflow management tool that helps teams plan, track, and manage tasks, tasks within larger tasks, and prioritize projects while eliminating the common silos and blockers associated with project management.

Communication

Team chat and collaboration tools are a necessity for productive teams and there are a couple of good options out there to choose from. Our team currently uses Stride, an Atlassian chat platform that facilitates a more communicative environment; however, we will be moving to Slack soon. Stride helps our entire (local and remote) team stay connected, engaged, and informed. Several of our team members are constantly on the road traveling to visit clients, so having a communications tool is very important.

Ultimately, no one wants to drop the ball, fall behind, or be so overwhelmed they have a case of the Mondays every day. So use the tools you have, and make sure you are maximizing the tool's capabilities. If you aren't sure that you have the right tools to be successful, pioneer the charge for change and introduce one of the tools I mentioned. Who knows, it just might work! We all want to get the job done and sometimes the path to completion can be challenging, so why not make that path smoother for the next person or the next trip? Pick a tool, put it in place, and practice good process.

Topics: blog

Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian Platinum Partner

This means that we have the most experience working with Atlassian tools and have insight into new products, features, and beta testing. Through our profound knowledge of Atlassian environments and their intricacies, we can guide your organization as you navigate these important changes.

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