5 min read

Can We Talk for a Moment About Spreadsheets? | Praecipio Consulting

By Amanda Babb on Jul 27, 2021 11:14:14 AM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-July_Can We Talk for a Moment about Spreadsheets-

No, seriously: can we please take a moment to talk about spreadsheets? I have a very large bone to pick with them. Spreadsheet is a four-letter word to me; and don't get me started on workbooks! I recognize spreadsheets have their place in the world. I'm always in awe when I see the most complicated and fragile spreadsheet being used to manage a simple set of data to provide "insights" into the business. Even better, a spreadsheet that helps manage prioritization, planning, and execution reporting on a regular cadence. I've seen complex CountA and SumIf formulas, and Concatenate, and pivot tables, and everything else people can throw at them. And while I'm impressed at the craftsmanship, I'm also incredibly frustrated. The time it took to create and iterate on that reporting could have been spent having conversations about the work or checking in with a team or removing blockers. Instead, the extraction, manipulation, and reporting of easily-accessible, real-time data takes precedent. 

While it was published in 2014, I still reference an article when discussing data and reporting with our clients: This Weekly Meeting Took Up 300,000 Hours per Year. Yes, you read that right: 300,000 Hours. Per. Year! A single team extracting data, then aggregating it across several teams, then teams of teams, then programs, then everywhere else, all to be reviewed in a 30-minute executive meeting where the conversation was, "Are we on track? Yes? Great."  <sends weekly update deck to recycle bin>.

I hold no ill-will to the spreadsheet warriors out there. Instead, I view it as a simple case of "We've always done it this way." Well, what if I could show you a different way? What if, through the power of Atlassian, I could provide you real-time analytics? What if I could show you how to integrate Jira with a Business Intelligence solution? Or provide Program and Portfolio Management including planning and execution data in Advanced Roadmaps or Jira Align? How many hours would that save you or your organization when providing in-depth analytics to executive management? I promise you, this is all possible. 

Individual Team Metrics: Scrum and Kanban

Individual Team metrics are available for both Scrum and Kanban Teams under Reports in a Jira Software project. For Kanban Teams, both the Cumulative Flow Diagram and Control Chart provide flow metrics for the Team. While it may have been a while since you've taken a statistics class (if at all...I confess I tried hard to avoid them), spending ten minutes reviewing these reports will provide information on bottlenecks, flow trending, and backlog growth. Adding Quick Filters to your Kanban Boards will allow you to drill down into a specific subset of data on your board. Want to focus on Stories or Bugs only? Create the Quick Filters. 

Scrum Teams have nine (yes, NINE) reports available on their boards. Are you using the Burndown during your Daily Standup? Can you predict your release of an Epic or Version based on the throughput in those reports? Have you reviewed the Sprint Report to see what was added or didn't complete during the Sprint and asked why? The Scrum Reports will tell you what is happening during the Sprint (or happened, during the Retrospective), but it's up to you and the Team to ask why it happened. 

Need additional assistance to understand what these metrics are telling you? There's a training class for that. Praecipio Consulting is happy to help!

Program, Product, or Teams of Teams Metrics

Client: "Hey, Amanda, we're pretty good on the individual team stuff. Is there another way we can aggregate team data together?" 

Me: "How much time you got?" 

Three solutions come to mind for this one:

First, let's talk about Advanced Roadmaps for Jira. As always in the Atlassian tools, flexibility is key. When creating a Plan in Advanced Roadmaps, tying the work to the Teams by pulling in the scope of work is the first step. Whether it's a Board, a Project, or a Filter, aggregating data across multiple Teams, then tying the source to the execution team, provides you predictable velocity and capacity planning as well as execution reporting. 

  • You want Progress? You got issue count and story point or time-based progress.
  • You want to predict a milestone (read: release) date? You got milestone dates.
  • You want dependency maps? You got dependency maps.
  • You want to look at the Plan in a capacity view or a release view or a specific timeframe? You got custom views. 

Sharing all this information from Advanced Roadmaps in Confluence is amazing. While native in Confluence Cloud Premium, you can download and install the free app from the Atlassian Marketplace for Data Center. If you would prefer to simply share a link to the specific view of the Roadmap, that's available to you as well. 

Second, EazyBI. We constantly hear of clients looking for a more robust way to cube and concatenate data across their Jira instance. However, our clients tend to revert to what's comfortable: the spreadsheet. Instead, using an OLAP analysis and multi-dimensional calculations, EazyBI can provide the complex reporting when Jira's native Reports and Dashboards just won't do. EazyBI started as a purpose-built solution for Jira: it recognizes Jira's data structures and surfaces field data you may not be able to work with in native Jira. Since it's a unidirectional sync, EazyBI will not change your Jira data either. EazyBI can also integrate with other data sources including (sigh) a spreadsheet. 

Third, Jira Align. Here at Praecipio Consulting, we love Jira Align. The Program Room brings together all the information from multiple teams, i.e. an Agile Release Train. Every bit of data from Jira Software is aggregated to provide a clear understanding of the pace of the Train. The Program Board, the current implementation Roadmap with risk indicators, the investment data, the actual execution data, all of it is available in the highly-configurable Program Room. Burnups, Burndowns, progress by Epic, this is all available in Jira Align. In fact, there are over 180 reports available in Jira Align. And if that's not enough, Jira Align BI extends the already-robust reports into your existing visualization tools or your enterprise data lake. 

Enterprise Business Intelligence Integration

You may already have a Business Intelligence solution. Quite frequently at Praecipio Consulting, we hear our clients mention PowerBI, Tableau, or data lakes such as Hadoop or Snowflake. These powerful solutions are likely already embedded in your organization. And there's probably a SME out there just waiting to assist. Enterprise organizations usually have an integrations team to help connect Jira and other data sources. In fact, we worked with a large organization to consolidate Jira instances to better connect data to their business intelligence platform. In just 12 short weeks, they were able to analyze and report on their current execution progress simply by being able to feed consolidated Jira data into their business intelligence platform. 

At Praecipio Consulting, we have extensive integrations experience across a wide-range of technologies. We can recommend Atlassian Marketplace apps as a fit-for-purpose solution or we can work with third-party integration engines to help you map data for enhanced metrics. 

Take a moment to step back and really examine your use of spreadsheets. While, again, they have a purpose in this world, to a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The spreadsheet is dead. Long live the spreadsheet. 

Topics: atlassian blog best-practices kanban scrum reporting support-live-music eazyBi jira-align advanced-roadmap business-intelligence
3 min read

Tips for Being a Successful UAT Tester | Praecipio Consulting

By Luis Machado on Jul 9, 2021 12:48:44 PM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-July_Tips for being a successful UAT tester

User acceptance testing (UAT) is a critical practice to employ for a multitude of products and processes.  For the purpose of this article most of my examples will be within the context of migrating or merging instances for Atlasssian products. Nonetheless, these tips can be used for other avenues: I actually picked up these habits working as a QA tester for a video game publisher.

Context is king

When testing a product or a process, such as a migration or a merger of two instances, if you come across any issues, the most important thing you can do is provide as much context as possible so the developer or admin whose responsibility it is to correct the issue can have as best of an understanding as possible of how the issue came about. The best way to achieve this is by telling them what you did (repro steps), telling them what you expected to happen (expected result), and then telling them what actually happened (actual result).  By providing the steps you took and giving the context of what you expected from those steps, followed by what actually happened, it paints a better picture for the team in charge of dealing with it.

Screenshot or it didn’t happen

Speaking of pictures, we used to have a saying on the QA team I worked with: “Screenshot or it didn’t happen.” If you can provide a screenshot of your issue, you increase the chance that the person responsible for resolving the issue will be able to address it without any back and fourth.  Screenshots of any errors you see on pages, or incorrect configurations or data, help identify the exact issue, with no room for interpretation.  If you’re doing user acceptance testing, a screenshot of the UAT instance where the issue lives and what it looks like in production is even better. Again we’re trying to establish context for what your expectation was and what you actually saw.

Often during migrations or mergers, the individuals who are performing the work do not have the context of what the content is and what it should look like.  This is why user acceptance testing is such a valuable tool: It gives the users a chance to scope out the changes and see if anything looks wrong.  So it is the tester’s job to provide as much information as possible to resolve any issues. Here’s an example of an issue related to a migration:

  • Summary - Write a brief summary of the issue you’ve run into, it can be a simple statement, 2-3 sentences at most. (This can be optional depending on the medium for reporting the issue, if you’re using a Jira project to track bugs this would be important. If you’re tracking things in a table, the description would probably be sufficient)
  • Description - Provide a detailed description of what you observed. Include specifics like a link to the exact page or any particular tools used. This is a situation where less is less, more is more.
  • Reproduction Steps - Give a detailed step by step walkthrough of how you achieved the result.
  • Expected Result - At the end of the reproduction steps explain what you expected to see.
  • Actual Result - Also describe what you actually saw; be sure to indicate how this is different from the result you expected.
  • Expected and Actual results can sometimes be obvious or at least seem that way, just remember that it may be obvious to you but not necessarily to someone with a different context.
  • Screenshots - Where possible, include screenshots of the errors or issue you witnessed, and provide a comparison if possible to paint that contextual picture.

The most important thing to remember when doing testing of any kind is providing context. Always assume you can’t… assume anything! Treat it like the person you’re explaining the issue to has no idea what you’re talking about.  And if you have any questions regarding UAT, or how it can make the most of your processes, drop us a line, we'd love to help you out!

Topics: atlassian migrations tips gaming user-acceptance-testing merge
3 min read

What is Jira Align: A Primer | Praecipio Consulting

By Amanda Babb on Jun 30, 2021 4:45:59 PM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-June_What is Jira Align- A PrimerA couple of years ago, in Atlassian's annual flagship event formerly known as Summit and now known as Team, I was in a room full of people for two days providing training on Advanced Roadmaps for Jira on behalf of Atlassian. If you've never attended a live Summit event, the Kickoff Keynote is always a sight to see. One year, Scott and Mike dressed as Daft Punk and mixed music as DJ Kanban (I still nerd out on that one), you see announcements about the expansion of Pledge 1%, and, of course, new product announcements. Jira Align was acquired by Atlassian and announced at Summit 2019. I. Was. Floored. You see, we here at Praecipio Consulting were looking for a larger agile-at-scale solution for some of our largest clients. 

Enter Jira Align

After becoming a SAFe® Program Consultant (SPC) in 2015, I spent a lot of time with clients understanding intake and execution processes and facilitating them through the Atlassian product suite. These clients were either just starting their SAFe® journey or had been the earliest adopters and already implementing SAFe®. After implementing Advanced Roadmaps (then known as Portfolio for Jira) to support SAFe®, becoming the Atlassian University On Demand "voice" of Planning with Advanced Roadmaps, and guiding the course content with Atlassian, I was in love with Advanced Roadmaps. And I still am. Advanced Roadmaps is a powerful data aggregation, roadmap, and scenario planning tool for small- to medium-size organizations either as standalone entities or within an Enterprise organization.

Jira Align, however, brought forth a whole new realm of possibilities. Bringing robust framework expertise and combining it with an easy-to-use interface, Jira Align is THE solution for Enterprise organizations running agile-at-scale. Don't believe me? Atlassian is considered a Leader in the Gartner Enterprise Agile Planning Tools Magic Quadrant as of April 2021. Experience and third-party accolades aside, why is Jira Align so amazing? Let's take a closer look. 

Jira Software Integration

Unlike Advanced Roadmaps, Jira Align is a standalone product hosted either in multi-tenant or single-tenant cloud infrastructure. While there is an on-prem solution, of course, there are a lot of additional considerations if you have to choose this deployment. The connection between Jira Align and Jira Software supports both Data Center and Atlassian Cloud instances. The most critical part of the integration is the Jira Software Epic. Epics can be created in Jira Align and pushed to Jira Software or created in Jira Software and pulled into Jira Align. Keep in mind, when creating the integration, best practice is to isolate Epics into their own Jira project. Bringing in Stories and Sprints is also easier if a Jira project represents a single team. 

Rooms at Every Level

Whether you're just starting out with a single Agile Release Train (ART) or are running multiple ARTs, Jira Align provides the Program Room for each ART. This is the central hub for tracking the current Program Increment (PI) and planning the next one. Sprint Progress, investment runway, intra-ART and inter-ART dependencies, PI Burndown, it's all centralized within the Program Room. This provides Business Owners, RTEs, and Program Managers a clear view of the progress of the work in the PI. 

Jira Align also provides the Portfolio Room and Strategy Room. These rooms provide the progress towards Strategic Themes, Portfolio investments, progress toward long-term goals, and status updates. When properly connected to Epics in the Program room, Teams and ARTs can open the "Why?" tab on the Epic and see how their work is contributing to the overall strategy. 

Everyone's Favorite: Reporting

Jira Align has over 180 out-of-the-box reports. Each layer in Jira Align has a Track section pre-populated with the more popular reports for that section. For example, in the Program section, Jira Align provides Program Increment tracking, Program Increment insights, and Dependency Maps. If you're not sure what type of report you're looking for, simply click the Reports menu and ask a question in the search box. 

For those organizations that need to integrate with other systems or need more robust business intelligence, Enterprise Insights can be added to Jira Align. 

Want to know more? We here at Praecipio Consulting would love to walk you through how Jira Align can support your agile-at-scale transformation. Contact us!

Topics: atlassian blog scaled-agile integration reporting jira-align safe advanced-roadmap
3 min read

4 Things to Look Out for When Migrating to Atlassian Cloud | Praecipio Consulting

By Jerry Bolden on Jun 28, 2021 3:17:41 PM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-June_Challenges moving from server to cloud (# things to look out for)Migrating to cloud can be a challenging move for any organization: there are many moving pieces to keep track of, and with the threat of negatively affecting both internal and front-facing operations, failure is not an option! Here are some key blockers to keep in mind when migrating to Atlassian Cloud from on premise instances, so that you can review ahead of time just how prepared for a successful migration your company is:

  • User Management
  • Automations
  • Size of Attachments
  • Apps

User Management

User Management and how users are set up is a major difference when operating in Atlassian Cloud versus on premise. This is an important obstacle to understand and address, as the approaches for user management are different between cloud and on-premise. Key to this is how users are created and managed; equally important is identifying any users with missing or duplicate email addresses, since these cause problems with data integrity and users being able to use Filters and Queues in Atlassian Cloud. 

Automation

Automations are critical to research, as some automations may not be functional or even allowed in Atlassian Cloud: these will need to be identified and assessed to determine the balance between the value they bring and the level of effort of recreating them. 

Attachments

Size of Attachments becomes critical when using the Jira Cloud Migration Assistant, as this does not support migrating Jira Service Desk projects, which may require importing data via Site Import that forces attachments to be uploaded separately in 5 GB chunks, one chunk at a time. This alone will drive the migration of attachments to exceed a typical outage window, as the Site Import process must first conclude prior to uploading attachments. 

Jira Service Management utilization is tied to the size of the attachments as noted above. While JSM is used heavily it is currently not able to be migrated using the Jira Cloud Migration tool. With that being said this drives the use of site import. With this comes having to migrate the users and attachments separately. This becomes more moving parts during the migration outage and the coordination and timing will become even more critical.  

Apps

Jira Suite Utilities (JSU) / Jira Miscellaneous Workflow Extension (JMWE) / Scriptrunner are apps available in the Atlassian Marketplace that may be used in one or more of your current workflows. While these apps have helped to drive the creation of workflows and processes to automate certain transitions or enforce proper data collection, there is also no current migration pathway to Atlassian Cloud. While JSU has become part of the native cloud, JSU along with the other two apps must be manually fixed in all workflows migrated up to the cloud. You must run a query on your on premise data base to ensure you map out all transitions affected by the apps. Then once the migration to cloud is complete, they must be reviewed and recreated manually to ensure they are all working properly. Where possible utilizing the out of the box options, that mimic JSU, can help to move away from at least one app. 

Specific to Scriptrunner, one common scenario is the use of it in filters can cause them to no longer function, potentially causing boards and dashboard to render incorrectly. These filters must be rewritten using the Scriptrunner Enhanced Search functionality. One good example is any filter that contains the phrase "issueFunction not in" will need be rewritten as "NOT issueFunction in". It would be advisable, when doing the migration to Cloud, to open a ticket with the vendors for advise on how to fix scenarios with JQL that worked in Server/Data Center that no longer work "as-is" in Cloud.

Overall these key obstacles will get you on the correct path to understanding what you know will need to be done in preparation for starting the migration. This by no means is a complete list of the only obstacles that you can encounter, but we hope it will help you to be proactive in fixing obstacles before they become a blocker to the migration.

We are Atlassian experts, and understand how the move to cloud can be fraught with unpleasant surprises. If you have any questions, or are in need of professional assistance, contact us, we would love to help!

Topics: atlassian blog automation best-practices migrations atlassian-cloud marketplace-apps jira-service-management cloud migration
6 min read

Confluence, by Atlassian: Understanding the Software | Praecipio Consulting

By Kye Hittle on Jun 23, 2021 4:42:15 PM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-June_Confluence Atlassian- Understanding the Software

If you've ever asked the question, "What is Atlassian Confluence?" you might have received one or more of the following common answers:

  • "It's a wiki."
  • "It's a knowledge base."
  • "It's an enterprise-friendly collaboration workspace."

And although these answers may be accurate, they aren't that illuminating if you're not already familiar with terms like "wiki" or "knowledge base." Confluence is meant to be used by everyone in your organization; every additional contributor increases the value of your instance. On your Confluence journey, it's important jargon doesn't intimidate users before they even get started! They are much more likely to jump in if you use simple, clear language and explanations.

As always, we're here to help! Let's look at each of these common methods of explaining Confluence and some alternate approaches.

What's a wiki?

Since most users are familiar with Wikipedia, Confluence champions may assume the first answer above ("it's a wiki") is a good way to employ the time-honored tactic of starting with something users already know. However, while most users have read a Wikipedia article, there is very little chance they've actually written or edited content on the site. This is where the analogy doesn't take us as far as needed for new Confluence users.

For most users, Wikipedia is just another read-only page on the web. Even if aware Wikipedia is user-editable, they almost certainly don't have the experience of easily creating and editing wiki pages and then having the content immediately available to other users. It's powerful, but hard to really "get it" if you haven't actually done it before.

This concept is critically important in understanding Confluence's value:

You can create and edit content that's immediately available to your team, or even our entire organization on Confluence. It's as easy as editing a document in a word processor but more powerful because you don't have to worry about how others will access the new content.

What's a knowledge base?

Next up in common ways to explain Confluence: the term "knowledge base."

This is even more unfamiliar to most users outside of IT. We may be able to better meet users where they are by using the phrase Frequently Asked Questions, aka the infamous "FAQ." Thanks to it's popularization as a go-to spot for answers on many websites, this might be a better entry point to explaining the value of Confluence as the central repository for an organization's knowledge.

We're all familiar with the struggle to find answers in our organizations. Our clients have tackled this challenge by centralizing their knowledge in Confluence. Users need to know:

Confluence is the single place where we store our FAQs. When you have a question, it should always be your first stop. Since you generate new organizational knowledge each day, help teammates (and yourself!) by storing answers, historical information, and future useful content in Confluence!

What's a workspace?

The problem with the term "workspace" is overuse. We hear it used to describe project management systems, collaborative editing in documents, physical locations (e.g. desks, lab tables, kitchens, classrooms), the main area of an application where content is manipulated, and even online portals. And that's just the beginning of things that get called "workspace."

We need something more precise when describing Confluence. Sometimes it's better to use an example to illustrate the value of Confluence instead of abstract jargon. Quickly explain how you or one of your teams have used Confluence. The more germane it is to users's daily responsibilities, the better. In other words, avoid using a software dev team's use case when talking to the accounting department. While Confluence can enable very complex use cases, stash those for advanced users. With new users, make it approachable and the value immediately obvious.

Drinking our own champagne

Recently at work I joined a three-person ad hoc team to reach out to attendees at Atlassian Community Events about career opportunities here at Praecipio Consulting. We started with a single Confluence page and simply attached one Keynote file as the starting point for our presentation. That's it. It took our team lead 15 seconds to create our team's "workspace."

During a subsequent remote meeting using collaborative editing we added sections to our page for talking points, an email template to event leaders, a table for tracking progress, and a Team Calendar to prevent schedule conflicts. All of us updated the document simultaneously. Additional meetings generated additional content sections, sub-pages (e.g. lessons learned), and more.

Because this was a one-time effort, a full project-management system or "plan to plan" would've taken longer than our actual project. But not having Confluence would've made it much harder to stay organized and make quick progress. Confluence is flexible and grew with us as our project evolved. Confluence also stores every edit as a previous version which can be referenced if the change information is ever useful (e.g. when did we reach out to a particular city last?). Since it was so successful, we'll likely repeat this effort in the future. Our work is stored in Confluence for when that day arrives. The wheel will not need to be reinvented, even though Confluence made that first round very efficient and effective.

That simple, thirty-second example of a one-page project "workspace" demonstrates several components that make Confluence so powerful:

  • Quick ramp-up and flexible for any kind of work
  • Evolves and grows with your team as needs change
  • Real-time collaborative editing allows everyone to stay on the same page, even in remote meetings
  • Add-ons and features, like Team Calendars, add deeper, dynamic functionality
  • Confluence automatically versions edits, allowing us to go back in time if needed

The Journey to Confluence Success

Making Confluence approachable for new users is a critical first step in successful Confluence adoption, but it's not the only one. Here are some other resources to ensure your success.

Professional Services

Confluence is easy to get started with, as long as users aren't intimidated by jargon. It's also easy for it to grow out of control without some guardrails in place. To prevent your Confluence from becoming an overgrown forest - and to make it easy, especially for your newer users - a good design for space organization, permissions, add-ons, and more will save you lots of pain. Praecipio Consulting engagements range from accelerators to get up-and-running on common Confluence use cases to custom-designed engagements tailored to your organization's specific requirements. Let's discuss what would work best for your situation.

Training

Atlassian documentation is great but most users don't read it. We offer instructor-led training to make sure your users get the practical how-to knowledge they need to be effective with Confluence from day one. Contact us for more details.

Atlassian University

For learning the basics of Confluence, you can always direct users to Atlassian University which offers on-demand online courses.

Atlassian Community

Finally, Atlassian has a thriving user community which meets online and in-person every day. Check the forums to see if your questions have already been answered or, if not, post it.

Confluence can dramatically streamline knowledge and project management. It can become one of your users' favorite tools for getting work done. We're experts and ready to help. Please get in touch and let us know how we can help.

Topics: atlassian blog confluence knowledge-base
4 min read

What is a Portfolio in Jira Align? | Praecipio Consulting

By Amanda Babb on Jun 21, 2021 1:55:35 PM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-June_What is a Portfolio in Jira Align-

Have you heard of Jira Align? I feel like we've told you about Jira Align. Maybe a few times. We here at Praecipio Consulting can't say enough about it. Its ability to manage agile-at-scale for enterprise organizations is unmatched. 

When implementing Jira Align or expanding your footprint, however, it's important to understand the objects in Jira Align, as well as their definitions. It's also critical that your organization agrees on these definitions as a whole. With that in mind, let's discuss the Portfolio in Jira Align. What it is according to the product, and more importantly, how to define it in your organization. 

What is a Portfolio in Jira Align? 

A Portfolio supports a value stream. What is a value stream? It's a specific set of solutions that deliver value to your customers whether internal or external. Where a lot of organizations make mistakes is thinking that a Portfolio is a grouping together of projects that need to be complete in a fiscal year. There is no regard for strategic alignment to themes, no consideration for investments, and may follow a business-unit-esque structure. This is NOT how agile-at-scale frameworks define Portfolios, nor how Jira Align defines them. In addition, Programs (aka teams of teams or Agile Release Trains) support a Portfolio. This ties the execution to the strategy in Jira Align. 

In Jira Align, a Portfolio has the following things: 

  • A Strategic Snapshot
  • One or more Program Increments (PIs)
  • A budget for the Snapshot
  • Strategic Themes with allocation to PIs
  • PI budgets established
  • PI budgets are allocated across the Programs
  • Blended rate established for the PIs
  • PI budgets, per program, have been allocated to Strategic Themes
  • Portfolio Epics are created and have been connected to a Strategic Theme, scored, swagged, budgeted, and targeted to one or more PI

Ok, that seems like a lot, right? And it is. In the words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." While you may have established goals (e.g. increase new subscriptions by 15% over last year), without tying goals to the PIs, allocating a budget, then creating Portfolio Epics, you have a wish, not a plan. 

How Do I Define a Portfolio? 

Depending on your organization, you may have to take a step back and really examine how you operate. There are many questions to ask your organization: how do we deliver value to our customers? Which programs support the value delivery? Are these programs truly cross-functional and able to deliver from idea to value in the hands of the customer? 

At Praecipio Consulting, one of our Portfolios is Client Delivery. This Portfolio delivers value to our clients by providing professional services around the Atlassian products and complimentary technologies. The solution (professional services) drives the definition of the Portfolio. Our Client Delivery organization is the delivery mechanism and is grouped into two delivery programs: technical and process. While these are not mutually exclusive, they do require specialization on the part of the teams depending on the services needed from the client. 

Can you break your value delivery, solutions, and execution mechanisms in the same way? If you're struggling to do so, it may be time to reevaluate your organization's definition of a Portfolio before defining it in Jira Align. 

Once the Portfolio is defined in plain language, then examine which Program(s) will execute against the Portfolio. Remember, a Program is a team of teams organized around the value delivery of the solution to your customers. The Program operates in their cadenced PIs, creates and ties Epics and Stories together to the Portfolio Epics to estimate and complete work. Without these links, you will not be able to understand your progress, investments, or overall health of the Portfolio in Jira Align. 

Reporting on the Portfolio

I know I've said this before, but there are over 180 reports in Jira Align. However, the most commonly used object is the Portfolio Room. There are three tabs in the Portfolio Room out-of-the-box: Financials, Resources, and Execution. In all three views, you will always see the Program Increment Roadmap. This gives you an understanding of the planning and progress of the PIs.

  • The Financials tab provides Budget by PI, Estimates, and Actuals in a single glance as well as Theme Effort vs. Value and Theme Budget Allocation against the ranked Theme Priority. 
  • The Resources tab provides allocated resources by theme based on estimated work in the PIs as well as team-week allocation Theme Effort Distribution against the ranked Theme Priority. 
  • The Execution tab provides Theme Progress, Points, and team-week efforts as well as Theme Burnup based on the number of points accepted. 

Of course, the Portfolio room is configurable based on the KPIs relevant to your organization. And a Portfolio manager can drill into any or all of the items listed above in further detail either by a specific PI or multiple PIs. Simply update the Program Increments you'd like to focus on and the Portfolio Room will update the data specific to those timeboxes. While Jira Align will suggest reports under the Track section of the navigation menu, again, you can simply ask Jira Align to provide the report you need under the full Reports section. 

Jira Align makes it simple to understand the health of one or many Portfolios in your organization. Best Practice is to start with one, iterate until you get it right, then expand across other Portfolios when ready. Praecipio Consulting's deep expertise with agile-at-scale frameworks as well as intimate knowledge of Jira Align can provide you the needed support when you're ready to take your teams to the next level: contact us and see if Jira Align is a good fit for your organization.

Topics: atlassian blog best-practices portfolio portfolio-management reporting jira-align
3 min read

Atlassian Certification Program: Should I get an ACP Certification to be a Jira Admin?

By Luis Machado on May 26, 2021 10:07:00 AM

Blogpost-Display image-May_Atlassian Certification Program Should I get an ACP certification to be a Jira admin-To quickly answer the question: YES. At least that was the answer for me.  I’ve been an Atlasssian admin for nearly 7 years and I’ve only just this year received my first Atlasssian certification (ACP-600 in case you were curious).   It’s only recently that I’ve been able to really appreciate the value of getting certified, and I plan to go for as many certifications as I’m able to.  

Getting certified was something that I had thought about from time to time, but honestly I didn’t see how it would help me be better at my job.  I had put in a request with my employer to see if they would compensate me for the cost and never really heard anything back.  The cost was enough for me at the time that if my employer wasn’t going to worry about it, then I certainly wasn’t.

Fast forward several years and I find myself laid off, and in search of job. The layoff was budget related, the company was having some issues bringing products to market and so cuts were made all over. Even given that I found myself in a position and a state of mind that I hadn’t ever really considered I’d be in.  Those who have experienced being laid off know that it can actually be a pretty traumatic event, especially if it’s from somewhere you’ve worked for a long time.  I wanted to continue working in the Atlasssian ecosystem as it was something that I had become very familiar and very fond of.

After revamping and updating my resumé, I quickly realized that on paper I didn’t really seem to offer a whole lot to a prospective employer.  I had a decent amount of experience in my field but all I had to offer was my word.  Now, in an interview that could be enough.  If you can talk shop, and give enough context for the things you’ve done in a presentable and coherent manner, then an employer could potentially see the value in what you have to offer.

I was fortunate that eventually that actually happened for me and I landed a job with Praecipio Consulting, but before that, I had to fall back on other skills from previous jobs I had done.  Part of the requirements for companies that are Atlasssian Partners is maintaining a certain level of certification, being certified from the get go gives you a potential advantage. Looking back, I can see that me not having any certifications not only reduced my potential to even land that interview, but maybe also played a part in me being laid off in the first place. 

Certifications and similar credentials are there to prove to everyone else that you know what you’re doing and you’re continuing to grow, and learn, and become more proficient in your craft.  There is another aspect to this though that had not really occurred to me until now and that is, not only does it prove to others you have the skills to pay the bills, but also to yourself.  When you have something tangible that validates all the time and effort you’ve put into becoming the professional you are, it gives you the confidence to raise your own expectations.  This is something that is beneficial to the employer and employee alike. If I’m ever again in a position where I’m re-entering the job market looking for that next stage, I will be exponentially more confident that I’ll be able to find something, because I’m taking the time to ensure my resumé reflects my skills with official validation. 

So if you’re an Atlasssian professional, you like the toolset, you see yourself staying within the ecosystem and want to progress, do yourself a favor and start getting certified.  I recommend first going to your employer and seeing if they would be willing to cover the cost. Even if they’re not willing, it’s worth it for you to pursue it on your own.  It’s reassurance for the employer, but it’s an investment for the employee. One that will show dividends down the road, regardless of where it leads you.

If you have any questions regarding the Atlassian certification process: contact us, we'd love to talk you through your options.

Topics: jira atlassian blog training atlassian-certification-program
2 min read

Why Instructor-led Atlassian Training Is Better Than Online Courses

By Jerry Bolden on May 24, 2021 9:15:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Why instructor-led Atlassian training is better than online coursesAs the world transitions to more virtual or remote work and training, it seems that more organizations look to the ability to perform training online. Not with an instructor, but just the class or lab. 

While it is true you can follow along with a course online, you cannot ask the course questions and get answers live, and the question you type in will likely only get a direct answer (if any),  not an in-depth assessment of the question and other considerations that could arise.  Having an instructor-led course makes sense for the same reason there is a Human Resources department in each company: they are in charge of onboarding and touching base with new employees as they transition into a company and its culture.  Sure, the tasks of onboarding can be done online, but who would be there to answer questions or concerns of the employee without a team dedicated to making each employee successful in a company?  Instructors have the same drive, which is to make not only the training successful, but to ensure each person successfully learns the program. 

Personal interaction and adjustments to the class can be very important, and are not easily done through online-only learning.  Instructors are able to give students the experience and anecdotes they have learned while using the product.  They are not only able to clearly answer questions and point the person in the right direction, but they can also teach some of the 'tricks of the trade' they have learned throughout the years. This can help people retain the information as it is a personal story to connect the person and the instructor.  

Interpretation of body language or inflection in a voice is something that once again can only be done with human interactions.  The ability to listen to a person's question and read them or their voice allows for a better set of answers given to questions.  An instructor can not only give the answer to a specific question, but also understand if that answer is what the person was truly looking to understand or is now just accepting that answer and hoping they will learn, later on, what they wanted to know.  This also allows instructors the ability to ensure they have clearly understood the question and, in turn, clearly provided the right answer to the question.  The minimal interaction an instructor allows is for clarity and answering of questions to be focused to each person.  

Finally, when you have instructor-led teaching, the instructor is able to understand the different levels of knowledge/experience in a class at any time.  This allows the instructor to help with "extra" learning by being able to teach different levels of information.  This ability is important not only for the instructor to ensure they are communicating at the correct levels to people, but also it helps to drive the most fulfillment from the training. As instructors adapt to the classes, they can still go over the information, but at times may go a little deeper into a demo if the class is showing they can handle the learning, thus giving them more value to the training and the time they are willing to invest in the class. 

Instructor-led training is not necessarily essential to learning how to use a system, Atlassian or others. Yet without an instructor, the value of the course is minimized and relegated to only the material on the screen.  Instructors are able to not only lend their experiences and learned knowledge, but also allow for different individuals to get more out of the training as they may be able to handle more advanced information.

Interested in getting your teams the tools they need to reach their maximum potential? Contact us, and one of our Atlassian experts can talk you through our training options.

Topics: atlassian blog teams training atlassian-solution-partner remote-work
3 min read

Best Practices for Software Licensing Management

By Jessica Ellis on May 19, 2021 11:25:00 AM

Blogpost-Display image-Best Practices for Software Licensing ManagementLet's make something clear: my.atlassian.com (MAC) is your best friend. Never heard of it? It's Atlassian's central license management platform. On the MAC website, you'll be able to see your license information and history, update technical & billing contacts, access license keys, and generate development keys. 

Over the last 6 years, I have helped hundreds of customers (from small businesses to Enterprise companies) with their license management. There are a few questions and frustrations that I see time and again, and based on that feedback, here are some of my top suggestions that will save you from future headaches.

Track your SEN’s

Your Support Entitlement Number (SEN) is a unique identifier that follows the life of the license. Even if the user tier or product name changes over time, your SEN never will. Consider it your “source of truth”. SEN’s can be found in your my.atlassian.com account, and are visible to all technical and billing contacts. I recommend sharing your SEN list with colleagues and procurement to make renewals more transparent. You can either export your license list from MAC, or include additional technical and billing contacts to open up visibility across teams and departments. 

Centralize your visibility

Once the Atlassian products gain popularity in an organization, I receive requests from different business units asking for their own instance or app for specific functionality. Logically, it makes sense to assign the technical contact as the person in charge of that instance or app. However, if you do that for each license you can splinter the visibility across the organization, making renewals complicated and time consuming.

I work closely with a global video game company who renews over 300 Atlassian licenses annually. Their organizing method has helped procurement streamline renewals, decreasing the amount of time it takes to identify who owns the license and what needs to be renewed. Each time a new license is requested I use the same technical contact email associated to the procurement department. After purchase is complete, procurement adds secondary technical contacts to the licenses in my.atlassian.com, giving the end user access to license keys. This allows procurement to see ALL licenses in MAC, understanding the entire license footprint and centralizing visibility when it comes time to renew.

Proactively transition your licenses

Life happens and people switch jobs all the time. I get a lot of requests from end users who inherit licenses but can’t see any of the licensing information or access license keys. How do you make sure the handoff is seamless before leaving? If you oversee the Atlassian licenses in my.atlassian.com, change the technical contact to the new employee information, or transition to another colleague who can retain access in the meantime. This will ensure continuity and give your organization a change management process for your licenses.

Co-term your end dates

Co-terming your license end dates can save you time during procurement cycles and allow you to plan for and estimate your annual licensing budget. If you have a variety of end dates it is best to co-term everything at once, allowing some licenses to be renewed for less than 12 months. Any new license purchased throughout the year can be co-termed (as long as the term is for 12 months or more). If this requirement makes the order too expensive, you can purchase your license for 12 months and realign to the co-term date on your annual renewal.

Co-terming is only possible for on-premise licenses (server and data center). Atlassian’s cloud licensing automatically “co-terms” the licenses on each cloud site to the same end date. However, at this time, if you have multiple cloud sites or Atlassian Access, they will have different end dates.

License Management doesn't have to be stressful: Praecipio Consulting's extensive experience can help you better navigate and manage your licensing landscape. Contact us, we'd love to discuss your options.

Topics: atlassian blog best-practices tips licensing
6 min read

All in Good Time with Atlassian’s Team Calendars for Confluence

By Kye Hittle on May 17, 2021 11:23:52 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Team CalendarsAh, a fresh, new month. For so long there was always at least one day where my email inbox was flooded with many, many calendar invites for recurring company-wide meetings, holidays, and deadlines. After carefully clicking “Accept” on each invite, I’d think, “there’s got to be a better way.”

Atlassian’s Team Calendars for Confluence offers a great solution, and it's included with Cloud Premium subscriptions! Let’s take a look.

TEAM CALENDARS FOR CONFLUENCE

 

Image source: Atlassian

What is Team Calendars for Confluence?

The plugin adds a Calendars tab to each space and you can create multiple calendars using built-in or custom event types. Each user also gains a “My Calendars” page which rolls up all Team Calendars they’ve watched. This is centralized, always up-to-date, and customizable calendar management.

Why use Team Calendars?

Clear the clutter. While Team Calendars helps avoid periodically flooding everyone’s inboxes with invites, it also prevents tasking someone to reissue invites to new team members who onboard mid-year. Even those of us who aren’t new can avoid getting peppered with calendar updates when inevitable changes occur.

Visualize. Team Calendars display events as a live calendar, which is a visual metaphor instantly grokked by most everyone. Select between week, month, list, or Gantt-like timeline views. Assign different colors and icons to event types to further visually distinguish your layout. We often see clients using Confluence tables to list out dates. Tables capture the event data but require unnecessary mental overhead to comprehend and can’t be combined with other calendars to spot opportunities and conflicts.

Crowd-source your calendars. Team Calendars allow any user to add and edit events, keeping calendars comprehensive and accurate. Most calendar systems don’t allow this or it’s too cumbersome. In Confluence, it can also be restricted when needed.

Let’s TAke Control of Calendars

At Praecipio Consulting, we’ve helped organizations use Team Calendars for an incredibly diverse set of use cases. Here’s how we suggest you get started. 

Corporate holidays and time off (vacation, medical leave, volunteer time off, etc.) are often some of the first calendars created since they have major impacts across the organization. Keeping these events in context with your day-to-day planning in Confluence increases their visibility and prevents conflicts.

Holidays and time-off are just the tip of the organization-wide event iceberg. Take a look at your work calendar and you’ll see lunch & learns, committee meetings, submission deadlines (expense reports, timesheets, benefits enrollment, etc.), social events, and more. Centralizing all of this in Confluence can result in a major productivity boost and a calmer work life.

Next, each team should consider the events unique to their work and create logical calendars to match. Marketing teams need to keep content creation, campaign schedules, and ad runs coordinated. Dev and product teams always need to have their release schedule handy. Client-facing teams may need to schedule around their clients’ external schedule of milestones, holiday, and deadlines. IT and service desks will need to keep support professionals informed of planned maintenance and outages. Each team will find they have many calendars and events to keep track of – and they’ll likely do a better job when using Team Calendars versus the invite model imposed by most calendar systems.

PRO TIPS

  • Designate a single calendar as the official organization holiday calendar. Have all other teams add it to the Calendars tab in their spaces. It’s inefficient (and dangerous) to have many different “Acme Co Holiday” calendars! Remember, Team Calendars makes it easy to reuse calendars and combine the calendars into one view! Many organizations choose to have this calendar live in a Human Resources space.
  • If you use Jira to track time-off requests, you can setup Custom Event Types which display these requests from Jira on the calendar to avoid duplicate data entry!
  • Use the Custom Event Types which allow Team Calendars to display live sprints, releases, and more from Jira. Using JQL you can specify exactly what’s displayed on your calendar, automatically updating as Jira changes.
  • If you are working with a client and they can provide an .ics file (usually available as an export option from most calendar services), you can quickly import hundreds of events into a Team Calendar so you can keep tabs on their events.
  • If there’s an existing calendar system you cannot migrate to Team Calendars, you may still be able to display the calendar feed within a Team Calendar. See subscribing to third-party calendars. Examples include Outlook/Exchange, Google, Teamup, Opsgenie, and PagerDuty.

Using Your Calendars

Now that you’ve got calendars setup, you’ll always find them under the Calendars tab within your Confluence space. This tab rolls up all calendars in the space (including calendars linked from other spaces) so you can see holidays, time off, deadlines, and happy hours all in one place. 

But wait! There are additional convenient ways to access your calendars!

  • Embed a calendar into a Confluence page with the Team Calendars macro
  • Link to an existing calendar in another space so that it shows up in your space’s Calendars tab (example: most spaces will likely link to the official corporate holiday calendar)
  • Each Confluence user will see all of the calendars they’ve watched in their My Calendars page
  • Integrate Team Calendars into your personal calendar in Outlook, iPhone, etc. Share these instructions with your users!

MORE TIPS

  • Embed a calendar(s) into your weekly team meeting notes (automate this with a template). Many of our customers have reported dramatically decreased schedule conflicts when the calendar is right there, being reviewed regularly.
  • When viewing calendars in a space’s Calendars tab or all the calendars you’re watching in the My Calendars page, you can temporarily filter out unnecessary event types by unchecking the boxes displayed to the left of the type under its calendar. If you want to hide an entire calendar, click the menu (…) next to a calendar name and choose Hide Events.

Caution

Like all Atlassian tools, it’s easy and intuitive to get started with Team Calendars. Here are some more considerations to make it an even smoother journey.

Calendar Names. A Confluence space’s view permissions are used to determine calendar visibility by default. Team Calendars does not enforce unique calendar names. For admins and others who belong to many Confluence spaces, having 27 calendars all named “PTO” makes it hard to find the correct calendar. We recommend including the space name or key in each calendar name. For example, “PTO - IT Help Desk” and “PTO - Marketing.” 

Beware when deleting custom event types. Deleting a custom event deletes all events assigned that event type. Move events currently categorized under the event type to another event type before deleting.

Migration considerations. Atlassian does not officially support Team Calendars migration but you can export and import each calendar manually to move your calendars. Custom Event Types are great but if you’re migrating to a new environment, make sure you are using the latest version of Team Calendars in both environments, otherwise custom event types may be lost.

Help is here! There’s an entire section of documentation for Team Calendars. If you need Team Calendars licenses (or are looking to migrate to Cloud Premium, which includes Team Calendars), need to migrate your Confluence environment, or need assistance with any part of the Atlassian suite, get in touch with us!

Topics: atlassian blog confluence teams tips project-management confluence-cloud
2 min read

Why Digital Asset Management is Important

By Kye Hittle on May 14, 2021 1:37:00 PM

Blogpost-Display image-May_Why Digital Asset Management is ImportantWe're always looking for ways to keep track of our stuff, from old metal asset tags firmly glued to lids of the first "portable" computers to Apple's recent AirTag product release.

At work we call these "assets" because they cost money to acquire, maintain, replace, and are (hopefully) required for our organization's operation. (If assets are not being used, your digital asset management system should be highlighting that potential savings opportunity!) Keeping track of these items doesn't just make sense from a financial perspective, it's also required by law in many cases.

When it comes to asset management we're not just concerned with an item's current location. Surprisingly often, an asset's purchase price, age, vendor, warranty details, user assignment, support/maintenance contracts, service history, and any of hundreds of other details become critically important to keeping the asset—and therefore our business—running.

And we're not just talking about physical assets like desks, laptops, phones, tablets, tools, networking equipment, etc. The move to cloud means we can instantly deploy servers, licenses, and other IT infrastructure we'll never actually see or touch! How do I put an RFID tag on a cloud server?

With more devices and services being employed to operate our organizations every day, spreadsheets don't cut it. Given this amount of critical data to manage, the only way to keep up is to turn to digital transformation.

Traditional Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs)

The technology market has seen the introduction of many inflexible, expensive "solutions" to manage assets digitally. Traditional Configuration Management Databases (CMDBs) have failed to deliver the necessary transformative power:

  • IT is overpaying hundreds of millions of dollars in unused features in these legacy CMDB tools
  • Customization requires specialized consultants (quickly adapting to the changing needs of the business is a core tenant of digital transformation)
  • Legacy tools often result in slowing down the flow of work across teams instead of enhancing collaboration between them

Praecipio Consulting is transforming organizational service delivery with an Atlassian alternative built to deliver maximum value: Insight, now built into Jira Service Management. It is a modern, flexible digital asset management solution to easily define collaborative asset tracking that best fits your organization's needs, right in Jira.

Atlassian Service Management saves companies money by retiring their legacy tools. This explains why Atlassian is ranked as a strong performer in this market, having a strong strategy, and achieving a rapidly expanding market presence.

From employee and contractor onboarding to incident management to asset intelligence, Atlassian Insight for Jira Service Management can quickly get your digital asset tracking under control and flex to meet your constantly changing business.

Digital asset management done right doesn't just require the best-in-class solution, however. It's a cultural shift in the way IT is delivered as a service. Contact Praecipio Consulting to get started on your service delivery transformation now.

Topics: jira atlassian blog asset-management tips service-management insight digital-transformation jira-service-management
2 min read

Queues vs. Dashboards in Jira Service Management

By Rebecca Schwartz on Apr 26, 2021 10:15:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_When do I use JSM queues vs. dashboards-When it comes to understanding the progress of work in Jira, Atlassian has some great options natively within Jira Service Management. Queues are available in each Service Management project in Jira and Dashboards are available in all Jira products. These features give users important insight into what teams are working on, but how do you know when to use which, and why? Having easy access to the progress of work in the system, as well as some of the stats that go along with the quality and completion of the work, is essential for any team's success. Below, I'll discuss the functionality of Queues and Dashboards in Jira and when one should be used over the other. 

What are queues?

Queues are groups of customer requests that appear in Jira Service Management projects. They are used by service desk agents to organize customer requests allowing the team to assign and complete customer requests quickly and efficiently. There are a few helpful queues that come with your service desk, but Jira Admins can also create custom queues if the ones in place are not the correct fit for the team. 

What are Dashboards?

A Dashboard is a page of reports and data visuals related to issues in Jira. Dashboards are customizable and can be tailored to meet the needs of various users throughout the organization. Individual users often create their own Dashboards to easily visualize what outstanding work they specifically need to get done. Teams can use them to see their overall progress of work. Management can use them to get a more high-level overview of the progress of work across the entire organization. Gadgets make up Dashboards and are often based on Jira filters or JQL. They typically come in the form of charts, tables, or lists. Dashboards are available no matter what kind of Jira project you're working in.

When to use queues vs. Dashboards?

Queues are great for agents and other folks who need to work on issues in a service management project. If queues are broken up by SLA's and/or priority, they help agents determine which issues are most urgent and need to be worked on ASAP. Then, agents can easily grab issues from the list and begin working on them. Queues don't give you any stats or overall status on work that's in progress or has yet to be completed. It's simply a way for those working on Jira tickets to organize them and decide what to work on.

While queues are limited to a single project, Dashboards can be used across multiple projects. They give more information on the work and can provide more details such as the time from creation to resolution, how many issues of a particular type were submitted in a given time period, and which agents completed the most issues. Dashboards are perfect for users who need to get an overview of what's going on, but don't necessarily need to work on the issues. Since Dashboards are meant for viewing Jira data, these pages are perfect to give higher-level users an insight into what's going on with the outstanding work. Using gadgets, these users can see where improvements need to be made if, for example, SLAs are continuously breached. They can also be used to see what works well for your teams. 

You have questions?  We have answers!  Contact us to schedule a call with one of our Atlassian experts.

Topics: jira atlassian blog tips service-management tracking project-management jira-service-management
2 min read

Get early access to Atlassian Data Lake for Jira Software

By Kye Hittle on Apr 23, 2021 2:00:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Jira Data Lake Preview

What's a data lake?

Read up on the basics in our explainer.

At Praecipio Consulting we understand that the data contained within your Atlassian tools is a critical asset for your organization. To help customers more easily access their Jira data, Atlassian has developed Data Lake! As of March 2021, Data Lake is available to preview in Jira Software Cloud Premium and Enterprise.

Warning! Beta software should not be used for production purposes. Breaking changes are likely as Atlassian tweaks this functionality based on user feedback. Not all Jira data is currently available and permission levels are limited but Atlassian is quickly working through its roadmap. In addition only English field names are available, as of now. Therefore, any information presented here is subject to change.

Data Lake allows you to quickly connect the best-in-class business intelligence (BI) tools you've already invested in to query the lake directly.

Compatible BI Tools include:

  • Tableau
  • PowerBI
  • Qlik
  • Tibco Spotfire
  • SQL Workbench
  • Mulesoft
  • Databricks
  • DbVisualizer

Jira-Data-Lake-preview

Data Lake uses the JDBC standard supported by many BI vendors. Supporting an open standard provides tremendous flexibility and power in reporting on your Jira projects.

Once you've identified the components of your BI solution, you'll follow three basic setup steps:

  1. Configure the JDBC driver
  2. Connect your BI tool(s)
  3. Navigate the Jira data model

You'll need your org_id and an API token for your Jira Cloud instance. Except for creating an API token (if you haven't already), there's no config required within your Jira instance. There are instructions for connecting to various BI tools in the Atlassian community Data Lake Early Access group. In addition, you'll find posts and diagrams to assist in answering business questions using Jira's data model.

If you're a Premier or Enterprise customer and would like to access the Early Access Program for Data Lake, complete this form to request access. You can also post questions and feedback for the devs in this group.

Are you interested in unlocking the power of data stored in your Atlassian tools? We're a Platinum Atlassian partner with years of experience helping customers leverage their Atlassian investment for even more value, so get in touch!

Topics: jira atlassian blog enterprise jira-software atlassian-products business-intelligence data-lake
2 min read

4 things not to do when starting to use Jira Service Management

By Robert Davenport on Apr 21, 2021 4:35:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_When do I use JSM queues vs. dashboards-Finding yourself in need of a solution where others can request for service, help and support without sending an email?  Do you have stakeholders constantly asking for status updates on things they emailed you 20 mins ago?  If so, you might be looking for a service desk solution, and Atlassian has a solution for you: Jira Service Management.  Here are four things you SHOULDN'T do when converting over to or just starting off with Jira Service Management:

  1. Forget about the portal.  At first it might seem like extra effort because you can utilize SLAs and automation without a portal, but you will be doing your customers and yourself a disservice.  That, and you might be spending more than you should.
    1. By utilizing the customer portal through request types, you can take full advantage of quick support request with helper text, self service functionality, and customer alerting, allowing your agents to focus on resolving requests, and your customer to have a simple portal for updates and visibility.
  2. Forget about approvals.  JSM makes approval auditing super simple.  Through simple query filters you are able to generate reports around approvals.  You can easily identify within the support requests, which approvals and who declined or approved.  And all of this can be done through the customer portal (see 1 above), with one click approval or denial.
  3. Forget about SLAs.  When tracking performance metrics in your Service Desk, Atlassian makes it easy to configure SLAs, allowing visuals references in the support requests and well as generating reports.
  4. Forget about Automation.  Through simple If..Then logic, Atlassian makes automating routine tasks a breeze.  Tired of aging support requests junking up your resolve status?  Add an auto-close automation to move them directly to Close without passing Reopen.

By taking advantage of the powerful out of the box features provided by Atlassian's Jira Service Management, you will be simplifying your life and delighting your customers. If you're wondering if it's the right fit for you organization's needs, or are looking for expert advice on all things Atlassian, contact us, we would love to help!

Topics: jira atlassian blog optimization tips jira-service-management
5 min read

How Do You Manage Releases in Atlassian?

By Amanda Babb on Apr 16, 2021 11:05:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_How do you manage releases in Atlassian-At a recent Atlassian Community Event, I was asked to present on a topic of my choice. After some thought (and, to be honest, a poll to our Client Delivery team), I decided on Release Management. It's a frequent topic of discussion with our clients: how can I understand what will be or is released? Also, what changed between what was in Production to what is in Production now

I've seen many complicated solutions and I've seen many simple solutions. However, your team, your company, or your organization has to hash out the following: 

  • What is your definition of "Done"?
  • What is your definition of "Release"?
  • Are these two things in conflict? 

Definition of Done versus Definition of Release

As you may already know, in Scrum, "Done" is when the Product Owner accepts the story as complete, meeting all acceptance criteria, and packaged into a potentially shippable increment. While I agree with this definition, at the same time I challenge the phrase, "potentially shippable." This is where you, your teams, your operations teams, and your product managers need to have a conversation. Does "Done" and "Released" mean the same thing across your organization? 

In one organization, they had four definitions of done: Done, Done-Done, Done-Done-Done, and Done-Done-Done-Done. In reality, they were defining the QA, deployment, and Production Release processes with the four separate definitions of "Done". This was also directly related to their use of Jira Software and how to demonstrate success to management. Notice I said success and not progress. The Teams wanted credit for code complete in Jira Software to demonstrate a predictable velocity. QA wanted credit for test complete in Jira Software to demonstrate a continuous flow. Release Managers wanted credit in Jira Software for integration activities before deploying to production. Operations wanted credit in Jira Software for the production deployment. As you can imagine, this was relatively messy in Jira Software and tying work from code complete through release to Production was excruciating. 

While Done may be clearer to your organization, "Release" may not be as clear. Different parts of the organization will have different definitions of Release. For a team, "Release" may mean the code has been deployed to a QA environment. For Operations, "Release" may mean deployment to Production. In the example above, "Done" and "Release" meant the same thing among the teams, QA, and Release Management, but not Operations. Nor did it mean the same thing across the organization. Without clarity across the organization, tracking and managing Releases in Jira Software becomes nearly impossible. Clearly defining "Done" and clearly defining "Release" across the organization can drive organizational alignment. Once you understand these two concepts, you can manage these in Atlassian using the following two methods: The Release Issue Type or Bitbucket Pipelines.

Method One: The Release Issue Type

Within your SDLC projects in Jira Software, create a new Issue Type called, "Release." This lets the organization know that, while code is complete, there are additional items that need to be fostered through the process. These may include documentation, release notes, a hardening sprint, or anything that can foster work from code complete to Production. The additional items can be managed as Sub-Tasks of the Release to understand the scope of work needed to move it through the process. 

As with any new Issue Type, the Release will need a Workflow. The Workflow can be simple, however, we recommend using a Ready for Production Status in the workflow. When integrating Jira Software with Jira Service Management, the transition to Ready for Production is a perfect time to automate creating a Change Request. Your Operations team can review the change request with a link back to the Release Issue Type. 

How do we know which stories and bugs are tied to the Release? Do we link all the work to the Release Issue Type? No. I mean, you could, but why take the time to do that? Is it really a value-added activity for traceability? Is there another way to tie these things together that could be quicker and easier? the answer: Yes. 

Even long-time users of Jira Software forget about Versions. If used properly, Versions can provide every team the status, progress, and any known issues in a single view in the Release Hub. This is true for all development activities AND the Release issue. By adding the Fix Version of the intended Release, every part of the organization can see the progress of the Release. Because JQL supports Versions, all items tied to a Fix Version can be displayed in other places such as a Dashboard or a Confluence page. With a little up-front discipline during backlog refinement, or sprint planning, or even big room planning, managing a release is as simple as adding a Fix Version to the work as well as the Release issue. 

Once the Release issue has been deployed to Production, always go back and release the Version in Jira Software. Anything that is not in a "Done" status category can either move to the next Version or be removed from any Version entirely. 

What if a story or bug spans multiple Releases? There is still only one Release issue per Version. However, I would also challenge you to take a look (again) at your definition of Done versus your definition of Release. Are you actually completing the work or are you pushing it forward again and again because there's a problem? In the next backlog refinement meeting and/or retrospective, ask why this continues to happen. Really dig in and understand whether the work needs to be moved to an Epic, de-prioritized, completed in the next sprint, or abandoned altogether. 

Method Two: Bitbucket Pipelines

Using Bitbucket Pipelines still requires your organization to have a conversation defining "Done" and "Release". However, the entities that support these definitions are different when integrating Jira Software and Bitbucket Pipelines. The Release is managed through the Pipeline and requires little human intervention. Instead, we work with a series of Workflow Triggers and automated deployments to determine where the Release is in its process. 

You still need to create a Version in Jira Software. You still need good discipline during backlog refinement and sprint planning to ensure work is tied to the correct Version. You may also choose to halt the automation just before deployment to Production based on your Change Management processes. Clarify the process before implementing in Atlassian. 

After your Version is created and work is tagged with the Version, add Triggers to your development workflows. For example, you can automate a transition from Open to In Progress based on the creation of a Branch in Bitbucket. You can also automate a transition to Closed or Done once a Pull Request is merged. Triggers in Jira Workflows keep people focused on the work instead of Jira Software. But where Bitbucket Pipelines really shine is everything that happens after code is merged. Separate Pipelines can be created per environment. For example, if you need to manually deploy to production, a Pipeline can automate the process through build and deploy to a staging environment after it passes all checks. Commits, build, and deploy information is visible in the Development Panel of the individual story or bug. You can even quickly understand failures and receive additional information by clicking on the failure. For a specific Version, as long as work is tagged, you can aggregate the overall health of the Release in the Release Hub by viewing the Version. Status, success, warnings, and errors are available in a central location. If everything looks good, simply click a button and deploy to Production. Alternatively, if the staging deployment is successful, automate the production deployment in the Pipeline as well. 

Which one is right for you? 

At Praecipio Consulting, we believe the answer is: "It depends." Regulatory compliance, risk tolerance, product uptime requirements, etc., may dictate which method is right for your organization. And, to boot, the answer can be different for different parts of the organization. However, the critical first step to implementing release management in Atlassian is to have a conversation. Are your definitions of "Done" and "Release" at odds with one another? What do they mean from a process perspective? Is there room for improvement in those definitions? We here at Praecipio Consulting have extensive experience with both Release Management best practices and the Atlassian suite of products. Contact us to find out how we can help you manage your releases more effectively. 

Topics: atlassian blog bitbucket process-consulting scrum tips project-management jira-software
2 min read

Jira Tips: Create From Template vs. Create From Shared Configuration

By Morgan Folsom on Apr 9, 2021 11:26:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Create from template vs. Create from shared configuration (1)

There are a variety of ways to create projects in Jira – whether from a predefined template from Atlassian or from a shared configuration with an existing project. As Jira administrators, this is one of the first questions you'll be faced with when onboarding new teams to the instance. Let's walk through the different strategies, and why we prefer creating from shared configuration. 

Creating from a template

Creating from the Atlassian templates will create a new set of unique schemes to that project - new items in your instance that are not shared with any other project. To create from a template, simply select one of Atlassian's predefined models on the 'Create Project' page. 

The benefit of using these templates is that each of your projects are self-contained, and a model has already been put together by Atlassian. Configuration is not shared with any other projects, even if everything is exactly the same. This means that teams can adjust their workflows, screens, etc. without affecting anyone else. This can be good for teams who don't share any processes with other teams using Jira, and allows project administrators more control over their projects. 

However, for organizations that are looking to scale and/or standardize, this can be a huge headache.

Creating from shared configuration

Using a shared configuration means that you are reusing existing and established configuration items in your instance. Rather than creating new sets of schemes when a project is created, you create based on another project. For example, if you created from shared configuration, both the old and new projects will use the same workflows, screens, and field configurations. Note that they won't share any Jira Service Management specific configuration items, like request types or queues. 

Additionally, once a project shares a configuration with another project, Project administrators can no longer edit the workflows without being Jira admins, which has the added benefit of supporting the goal of standardization and scalability in addition to administrative governance.

There are pros and cons to each of the above, but ultimately, it is recommended that whenever possible, projects should be created from Shared Configuration.

While templates allow teams to have more control over their projects, it does not lend itself to standardization or maintaining a clean Jira instance. Although IT teams often request more options for teams to self-service with Jira project configuration, in the interest of scalability, allowing any user to create their own Jira projects is not a best practice. Jira projects should not be treated as "projects", spun up or spun down on a regular basis: as a best practice projects should be long-lasting and consistent. Additionally, from an administrative perspective, it can be challenging to manage the sheer number of schemes and additional items when trying to troubleshoot issues or maintain the instance.

Looking for expert help with your Jira instance? Contact us, we'd love to help!

Topics: jira atlassian blog administrator best-practices tips
17 min read

The Journey to SSO, Part V: Onboarding and Offboarding Contractors automatically with SAML Single Sign On

By resolution on Apr 7, 2021 9:45:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Resolution Blog Series, Pt. 5Praecipio Consulting has partnered with our friends at resolutionan Atlassian Gold Marketplace Partner based in Germany that specializes in software development and network security, to bring you a series of blog posts about how to successfully implement single sign-on (SSO) with Atlassian tools. With more than 7 million users from 58 countries, resolution is the market leader for Atlassian Enterprise User Management Apps.

In the last article of these series on the journey to Atlassian SSO, we followed the steps of ACME, a company with large instances of Jira and Confluence on prem, planning a migration from AD FS to Azure AD.  

In particular, we had a detailed look at: 

  • How users from the Atlassian directories can be seamlessly migrated into Azure AD building a no code integration with User Sync 
  • How users can be mapped between Azure AD and the Atlassian applications even if usernames don’t match 
  • How to connect users from different organizations (ACME and CU.com, a consultancy firm) each with its own Identity Providers, both for authentication and provisioning purposes. 

In order to complete the setup, however, ACME needs to add some restrictions to CU.com users to answer the following questions:  

  • Who at CU.com must have accounts in ACME’s Jira and Confluence? 
  • How long should access be retained? 
  • How should access be revoked? 

Let’s look at how to automate the process for onboarding and offboarding consultants so that these are the answers: 

  • Who should have accounts? Only contractors assigned to active projects. 
  • How long should access be retained? Only for as long as the project is active. 
  • How should access be revoked? Automatically, as soon as the project concludes. 

How to provision only contractors assigned to active projects 

Let’s quickly recap what ACME needs to set up: 

Challenges 

  • Access to ACME’s Atlassian tools should only be granted to consultants who have been assigned to specific projects 
  • Consultants have a quick turnaround. It’s important to give them access quickly and deactivate them as soon as their assignments conclude. 
  • It’s also vital to ensure that consultants only occupy licenses of the Atlassian products while they´re on an active assignment. 

Implementation steps 

The approach has four steps 

  1. The group that gives consultants access will be operated from Contractor’s Okta and filtered in ACME’s User Sync connector. 
  2. Specific project permissions and roles in the Atlassian applications will be managed locally.  This has important implications, as the Okta and local group settings must coexist and not overwrite each other. 
  3. The synchronization between Okta and ACME will be scheduled to run every night (but users will also be updated when they login, eliminating waiting times entirely). 
  4. As a result of the synchronization, consultants who no longer are on active assignments will have both their access and their licenses revoked. 

Here’s the walkthrough: 

1. In the Okta User Sync connector configured in the section above, ACME adds a filter so that only consultants in a specific group are passed and enabled in Jira 
  • Go to User Sync > Azure AD Connector > Edit > Advanced Settings 
  • In Groups mandatory to sync a user, create a new entry group filter user sync
  • Add the group active-acme-jira-project Filter by active project
2. Now we need to tell User Sync which local groups may be added locally in Jira to these contractors. These are the groups that define what projects contractors have access to, and which roles they fall under.  

It's extremely important to add this information! Failing to do so results in removing access  to Jira projects:  

  •  every time the contractor logs in 
  •  with each user sync. 

However, we can protect groups in both contexts from the User Sync connector,  

  • To protect the groups in the connector, we go back to the Advanced Settings and add all the groups used to give permission to Contractor Unlimited consultants in the Keep these Groups field. Note that you can either include every group, or regular expressions, if there are any patterns. keep groups 
3. Now, we will schedule the synchronization at regular intervals to happen every morning at 3am using this cron expression: 0 0 2 ? * *schedule user sync with cron 
4. Finally, we will tell the connector to deactivate contractors who have finished their assignments so that they don't consume any licenses.  
  • In the cleanup behavior dropdown, select disable users. cleanup behavior disable users

What does this last step mean? Consultants will be automatically deactivated in Jira and Confluence following this process: 

  • When an assignment concludes, the consultant is removed from the active-acme-jira-project group 
  • At 3am, the user sync connector runs 
  • The user is removed from the active-acme-jira-project group in Jira, together with any other changes. 
  • As a consequence, the user is deactivated in Jira. 

Bonus trick: With the right SAML setting, if the consultant logs into Jira after they have already been removed from the active group, the login will succeed but will also result in the deactivation. 

We reached our destination! 

Congratulations! You have finished the journey to Atlassian Single Sign-On! Hopefully by this time you are on your way to an implementation that will last for many years to come. 

The sample implementation in the last two articles has offered a selection of very popular options among Atlassian on prem customers. As you have seen, User Synchronization is very often a cornerstone of the implementation, since it permits to use the Identity Provider as a single source of truth to automate user on- and offboarding. At the same time, it’s compatible with multi-IdP setups and access provision to partner organizations. 

However, the example is just that – an example. And it might be very different to what you need to solve. 

How can we help you? 

If you have any doubts or need help with advanced technical issues, there are several next steps. 

  • Our friends at Praecipio Consulting will be happy to help you get up and running. We go way back with a long history of shared implementations.  
  • If you need help configuring the resolution SAML SSO application or the User Sync standalone that can be combined with the Data Center SAML, we provide free screenshare sessions every day. 

Excited to see you there, very soon! 

Topics: atlassian blog optimization practices security collaboration human-resource
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
2 min read

Jira Administration: Sys Admin vs Jira Admin vs Project Admin

By Luis Machado on Mar 2, 2021 7:35:43 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Jira Administration- Sys Admin vs. Jira Admin vs. Project Admin2When thinking about Jira administration, or really administration of any software, project, or endeavor, the old idiom “too many cooks in the kitchen” often comes to mind. There’s a fine line between empowering your user base and setting the stage for mass hysteria and confusion within your instance. Fortunately Jira offers some out-of-the-box options to help with setting up boundaries for those users who need more control over the instance but keep them from wreaking too much havoc.

Admins

We’ll start with the bottom, Project Admins. There was a time in ancient Atlasssian historical records when those who were managing projects almost had to be System Admins as well. This was because the permissions needed to make necessary regular changes to the projects these individuals were maintaining required as such. Atlasssian has been improving upon this incrementally as of Jira 7. Since that update it is possible for Project Admins to add Components and Versions to their projects and even as of 7.3, expanded with 7.4, make adjustments to the workflow among other things. So if you’re evaluating your System Admin group and discover that many of the individuals are really only responsible for maintaining specific projects it would behoove you to re-assign those you can to the Project Admin role within the projects they are responsible and get them out of your kitchen.

The next level of administration is the Jira Administrator. Now this is where things can maybe become a bit confusing because the powers granted to that of the Jira Administrator are very similar to that of the System Administrator, but there is a very key distinction which we’ll explore. Those within the Jira Administrators group are not able to make changes related to the server environment or network. This would prevent them from making changes to things such as configuring mail server settings, export/import data to and from XML, configure user directories, as well as many more functions related to the system as a whole. Where this could be useful is delegating out some of the more regular tasks such as creating new projects, creating users, etc. This gives larger organizations a way to separate out the tasks without increasing the risk of potential hazardous changes to the application.

After having covered the last two, the final role should be somewhat obvious. The System Administrator permission is for the Grand Poobah of the Royal Order of Buffalos. This role allows unlimited access to all aspects of the Jira instance. It is recommended that only 1 - 3 people maintain this permission as needed. Again, the idea is to ensure that there is concise and regulated changes being made to the instance as well as accountability. With great power comes great responsibility. When in doubt, opt for the lesser of two evils when granting administrative permissions. You can always bump them up If it’s not serving your needs. Again, the goal is to empower your user base, not have them overpower you.

For question on admins, or anything else Jira, contact us, and one of our Jira experts will get in touch.

Topics: jira atlassian blog administrator best-practices
2 min read

Praecipio Managed Services: The power of a part-time, full-stack Atlassian admin

By Suze Treacy on Feb 18, 2021 12:50:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_The power of a part-time, full-stack Atlassian admi-1Do you find yourself tasked with administering Atlassian tools on top of the normal duties of your job? Have you ever been faced with an Atlassian question that is out of your wheelhouse? Are you interested in improvement opportunities to configure your instance and architecture to Atlassian best practice standards? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then read on!

With a wide range of Atlassian products available, and a marketplace full of apps to accompany those, it's hard to find admins who specialize in everything. Particularly with the Atlassian toolset being highly configurable, administrators should be able to analyze a request and advise the correct path forward, balancing functionality available to them, with corporate governance and best practice processes. Here at Praecipio Consulting, we have the answer to this unicorn, part-time, full-stack Atlassian admin, through our Managed Services offering.

Atlassian Experts, Best Practice

With over 10 years of Atlassian experience, our team has knowledge across the full stack - whether your question is about hosting considerations, tuning, networking, infrastructure, process-related, Marketplace Apps, or anything else, we can advise and implement functional, practical, industry-specific, best practice processes to maximize efficiencies among your teams. As we are squarely focused on the Atlassian toolset, your IT teams can focus on all of their other tasks, driving productivity and innovation among your team.

Preventative Measures

We're proactive, with bi-monthly cadence calls to discuss your long term goals and objectives, and monthly health checks to ensure your instance is secure, clean, and performing efficiently. We monitor Atlassian vulnerabilities, alerting you of any CVEs affecting your instance, alongside recommendations to mitigate. If you are hosting with us through Cumulus, we monitor your systems too, identifying and resolving issues before they become expensive incidents, and minimizing downtime.

Predictable Cost, Scalable Model

Whether you're utilizing Atlassian Cloud, Server, or Data Center, whether you need 9-5 support, or 24x7, we're always here to help. You dictate your monthly hours cap, enabling Atlassian administrative support at a fraction of the cost of hiring an admin. Even with the cap, it's possible to utilize more hours - managed services is scalable as your business and Atlassian needs grow.

Relationships

As Platinum Enterprise solution partners to Atlassian, we're big on relationships with our clients, Atlassian, and App vendors. When faced with issues, we can be the connection between yourselves and the answer you need, to discover the optimal outcome available for your circumstances. We're vested in your instances being healthy and working for your business: allow us to be a trusted partner in helping your business grow.

Praecipio Managed Services can help with your Atlassian needs, we'd love to talk to you more about our offering! 

Topics: atlassian blog implementation managed-services atlassian-products bespoke
4 min read

How to Handle Delete Permissions in Jira

By Courtney Pool on Feb 16, 2021 11:47:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Why you should restrict who can delete issues in JiraPermissions are one of the most important things to “get right” in Jira. Sure, having the right fields, screens, and workflows are all vital pieces of the puzzle as well, but they can easily be tweaked along the way. While permissions can also be updated as needed, a user who can’t see or edit the issues they need may have their work completely blocked in the meantime.

And then there is the group of permissions so important, so crucial, so absolutely imperative to get right that they earned a blog dedicated solely to them: the delete permissions.

“Well, of course,” you may be thinking, “everybody knows that.” But even if it may seem like common sense to you, it can easily slip through the cracks — it’s happened to others before, and let me tell you, it doesn’t always end well.

You see, delete permissions are so incredibly critical for one reason:

There is no recycling bin in out-of-the-box Jira.

This means that if something is deleted, whether through intent, accident, or malice, it’s gone. Poof. And while the loss of one item may be easy to recover from, the loss of tens, hundreds, or even thousands? Even I can feel the sweat dripping down your spine now.

So, to summarize: Delete permissions? Very important.

Types of Delete Permissions

Amongst these permissions are four groups:

  • Delete Worklogs
  • Delete Comments
  • Delete Attachments
  • Delete Issues

And two types:

  • Delete Own
  • Delete All

Delete Own Permissions

The Delete Own permissions, as the name implies, will allow a user to delete content tied to their specific user account. These permission types exist for the majority of the above-mentioned groups, with the exception of Issues.

Delete Own Worklogs applies to any time that's been tracked to an issue, whether through Jira's native feature or through an app like Tempo Timesheets. As such, it is a fairly innocuous permission and can be assigned to any user with access to a project, unless you have very strict requirements otherwise. It will likely primarily be used for clean-up, and the ripples it can cause are fairly limited.

Delete Own Comments is also often used for clean-up, and again, its area of effect is a bit smaller. However, just because a comment is deleted doesn’t mean that people haven’t already seen it, or even acted upon it. It may be better to instead point users in the direction of comment editing, or have them enter new comments entirely, even if it’s just to say, “Disregard the last.”

Delete Own Attachments is another permission that can be used for tidying. This might be useful were someone to, say, accidentally upload an adorable picture of their dog rather than the spreadsheet they were looking for. It's fairly low impact as well and can likely be given out to any users within your project, especially if you're following the Backup Rule of 3 or similar internally.

Delete All Permissions

Each of the Delete Own permissions has a Delete All counterpart. Delete Issues exists here as well, though the naming convention differs from the other four. Delete All permissions give a user access to delete items associated with any user account. As such, we generally recommend these permissions are limited to only certain groups, such as Project or System Admins.

Delete All Worklogs, Delete All Comments, and Delete All Attachments can each only be performed in a single issue at a time. This barrier helps to protect against mass deletion, but in the interest of data integrity, you’ll still want to restrict who is allowed to perform these actions.

And as for Delete Issues? This will also give a user the ability to delete from within a single issue, but unlike the three mentioned above, this permission gives a user access to Bulk Change as well, which allows actions to be taken across multiple issues at once. As such, ask yourself if you even need to grant this permission at all. Sure, there could feasibly be a time when you need to mass delete issues, but it’s likely to occur so rarely that, should those stars align, the permission can be assigned when needed to system admins and then removed as soon as the job is done. This extra step will save you from being the organization that just lost a year’s worth of tickets.

If something is deleted in Jira, it’s gone forever. This can be a nightmare for many, but especially those in organizations with heavy audit requirements. Rather than leaving yourself open to a very unpleasant surprise, do your team a favor and review your permissions now.

Stop worrying about Jira and make full use of its powerful features!  We can help you implement and optimize your Jira instance, contact us, and one of our experts will be in touch shortly.

Topics: jira atlassian blog best-practices tips configuration verify bespoke
4 min read

Which Atlassian Cloud Tier is Right for My Organization?

By Amanda Babb on Feb 15, 2021 9:33:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Which Atlassian Cloud Tier is Right for My Organization--1In October 2020, Atlassian announced End-of-Life for their Server products coming on February 2, 2024. With Atlassian's continued investment in both their Cloud and Data Center hosting options, many organizations are making the switch to Atlassian Cloud. Atlassian is continuing to invest in and expand capabilities in Cloud to support even the largest customers. 

With the announcement, you and your organization have decided to either migrate to Atlassian Cloud or deploy an Atlassian Cloud instance and migrate teams as they're ready. But which Atlassian Cloud tier is best for you? 

The Four Tiers

Most Atlassian Cloud products* are available in four tiers: 

  • Free
  • Standard
  • Premium
  • Enterprise

*Trello and Bitbucket are the exception. More information on these two products later. 

Standard, Premium, and Enterprise tiers can be licensed either monthly or annually and each product can be licensed individually as well. For example, you can license Jira Software Standard monthly at 50 users and Confluence Premium annually at 200 Users. As always, Atlassian provides you the flexibility for your unique implementation. Even if you don't make the right choice the first time, you can always upgrade to Standard, Premium, or Enterprise in addition to adding licenses as needed. Let's take a closer look at each tier. 

The Free Atlassian Cloud Tier

The Free tier is a great way to get started with the Atlassian Cloud products. If you've never used Jira Core, Jira Software, or Confluence, pick a pilot team of less than 10 people (including Administrators). This team can act as your test team to both configure and use the products. You can also add other products such as Bitbucket and Jira Service Management. Bitbucket is free for up to five (5) users and Jira Service Management is free up to three (3) agents. The Free tier also includes limited storage for attachments, out-of-the-box reporting, and (depending on the product) automation. And of course, you can extend functionality through the Atlassian Marketplace. Support for the products is offered via the Atlassian Community: a robust Q&A platform that references Atlassian's product documentation, Marketplace vendor documentation, and general answers to just about every question you can think of about the products. 

Don't forget about Trello! Trello is another way for a team to organize and collaborate on work. Trello is free for up to 10 boards. There is no user count limit. Trello allows teams to create Lists and create and manage Cards to represent their work. The team can create as many Lists and Cards as they'd like on a single board. And with up to 10 free boards, the team can manage multiple work efforts on separate boards based on categories or work types. 

As an example, I have a Free Atlassian Cloud Jira Software and Confluence instance for my household which consists of my parents, a few close friends, and myself. This allows us to plan trips and vacations with one another (all Jira issues are sitting in an On Hold status currently), share pictures, links to events and lodging, and organize decisions as needed. I also have a Trello board that helps me organize my longer-term home improvement projects. Since these items are longer lived without any specific due date, I prefer Trello's flexibility such as creating lists, updating labels, and reprioritizing based on my monthly and annual budgets. 

Standard Versus Premium (and Enterprise)

Each of the three tiers (Standard, Premium, and Enterprise) can accommodate up to 10,000 licensed users. The key difference between the Standard and Premium tiers in Atlassian Cloud is added functionality. While there are a few differences between Premium and Enterprise, they only apply to specific requirements such as data residency, uptime, the inclusion of Atlassian Access, and billing. Let's focus on the key differences between the Standard and Premium tiers. 

First, storage is limited in the Standard tier to 250GB per product. If your organization attaches to or stores a significant number of files in issues or pages, you may hit this limit faster than anticipated. Second, support is offered during local business hours. That usually means 9am to 5pm in your timezone. And third, Standard has no uptime guarantee. If your organization requires 99.9 or 99.95% uptime, you should look at Premium or Enterprise, respectively. 

The Premium tiers for each product offer a significant amount of added functionality with more on the way. For example, Jira Software Premium adds Advanced Roadmaps for Jira and both Jira Software Premium and Confluence Premium allow for native archiving. For larger instances, archiving is an administrative boon as older data is removed from the search index and can only be accessed by a designated group. In addition, the Premium tiers add a significant amount of administration logging and management, adds unlimited storage, and adds 24/7 Premium Support. 

Bitbucket Standard offers unlimited end users, an increase from 5 on the Free tier. The Bitbucket Standard tier also increases Git Large File Storage to 5GB (from 1GB at the Free tier) and Build Minutes increase from 50/month to 2500/month. Bitbucket Premium, however, provides even more Git Large File Storage (up to 10GB), increases build minutes to 3500/month, and adds enforced merge checks and deployment permissions. As of the writing of this document, there is no Enterprise tier for Bitbucket. 

Trello has a slight difference in the names of their tiers. Instead of Standard, Premium, and Enterprise, Trello uses Business Class and Enterprise. As you would expect, Trello Business Class adds unlimited Boards, significant customization opportunities (i.e. backgrounds, custom fields, and templates), and automation runs (though capped at up to 6000 per month). Trello Enterprise includes all the same features as Business Class, increases automation runs to unlimited, and extends administrative capabilities such as organization-wide permissions and enhanced restrictions for things like attachments. 

What should I be asking when trying to decide which one is best for me? 

<Insert typical consultant answer here> It depends! Atlassian has provided transparent pricing for each of their products and each tier of each product as well. Atlassian has also included a handy comparison table for each product for you to quickly see what is included in the tiers. Here are a few additional things to be asking yourself as you start your journey to Cloud. 

  • How many people will need to work in the products? 
  • How are those users managed currently?
  • Do you have any data residency restrictions (e.g. GDPR)? 
  • If you're currently using the Atlassian products, how large are the instances?
  • If you're currently using the Atlassian products, which Apps are you using?

While not an exhaustive list, these questions may help guide you in looking for the right products at the right tier. Of course, Praecipio Consulting has extensive experience with the Atlassian Cloud products and we're here to help! Reach out to us today to let us help you narrow your options. 

Topics: atlassian blog bitbucket implementation teams cloud licensing trello
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

Using Jira Service Management's email functionality for ticket intake

By Jerry Bolden on Feb 8, 2021 12:04:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Using JSDs email functionality for ticket intake

Setting up an email account within Jira Service Management (JSM) allows different clients to provide extensive information without using the Portal every time they have a question.  While this is a great functionality within JSM, and quite easy to set up, there are some key items to remember to ensure all works well: things that can be required, setting up the queue, and email addresses do's and don'ts.  

As you set this up, not only will you need an email address tied to an inbox, but it's just as important to have a request type set up in your JSM project. The request type should be hidden from the portal; this way it cannot be selected as an option if someone accesses the portal to create requests. This will give you control and the ability to clearly separate emailed requests from ones created through the portal by other users/customers. Once the request type is set up, you can only require the Summary and/or Description to be set.  These two fields will be pulled directly from the email, with the subject becoming the summary and body of the email becoming the description.  If you try and require any other fields, the request type will fail and the emails will not be processed into requests automatically. 

In conjunction with setting up the request type for the email is setting up the queue for this specific request type.  Remember, you are able to reference the name of a request type in JQL searches. This allows your agents to quickly identify which requests were created via email and not just lumped into the other queues.  Due to some of your requests being created through email, the communication back to the customers is critical to make them feel like the request is being seen. The queue will alert the team when there are incoming email requests, and coupling them with SLAs correctly, will focus the proper communication and solving of these issues consistently. 

Lastly, think critically about the email address you select.  First, the email needs to be specifically used to receive issues from customers; this means it should not be used for mass communication where you also get NoReply email addresses, or mass communication that will cause false tickets to be created.  While you can add certain automation into JSM to look for specific emails and not respond to them, the point of JSM is to allow for ease of administration of a Service Desk of which customer communication is the most critical item. 

Overall, the email request creation for JSM is a great option, which is at times easier for users/customers to use versus going onto a portal.  With the proper configuration and use of the recommendations in this article, the email will function and you can maximize the effectiveness of JSM email requests.  Always keep in mind it is better to have a purposed email address than to reuse one and wonder why some emails work, some do not, and there are loops of comment(s) being sent due to NoReply. 

For any help with this issue, or anything else Atlassian, drop us a line, we live and breathe Atlassian, and would love to help!

Topics: atlassian jira-software email-notifications atlassian-solution-partner jira-service-management
2 min read

Should my Jira Service Management instance be separate from Jira Software?

By Morgan Folsom on Jan 29, 2021 2:04:24 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Should my Jira Service Desk instance be separate from Jira Software-As companies grow either organically or inorganically, many are faced with the decision of whether they should consolidate or keep their Jira instances separate. Today I'm going to address one specific flavor of this conundrum that I am often asked about, specifically with regards to separate instances of Jira Software and Jira Service Management. Some organizations choose to have separate instances for Jira Service Management and Jira Software, but I am here to tell you that is probably not necessary!

Although Jira Software and Jira Service Management are different products, there is no need to keep them separate. The most efficient companies use both in a single instance, so that teams can collaborate much more easily. As organizations adopt DevOps or start to think about it, one of the first things that is looked at is how IT interacts with the development organization. If these two groups are working in separate Jira instances, collaboration and clear understanding of ownership and handoffs is much more difficult. For example, It is much easier to link an incident that was submitted to the service desk to an associated bug if all of those tickets live in the same instance. While you can link to tickets in other instances, that requires users be licensed in both and have a clear understanding of where the work lives. Working in a single instance removes the need for potential duplicate licenses and ensures teams can communicate clearly. 

Occasionally teams use separate instances due to security considerations. However, in almost all situations your security concerns can be addressed by project permissions, application access, and issue security. There are few cases that Jira's native security features won't account for. 

Finally, let's look at this from a user experience perspective. One of the most prominent complaints that we see as organizations undertake their digital transformations are that users have to keep track of too many tools, a pain that I've felt in my career as well. Trying to remember where to log in for a specific subset of your work can be a headache. If your Jira Service Management and Jira Software instances are separate, they'll have two separate URLs that users have to navigate to. Signing into multiple locations and using different URLs adds an extra step where there need not be one.

Since you've already made the great decision to use both Jira Software and Jira Service Management, you might as well reap the benefits of the easy connection between the two so your teams can focus on what matters, rather than managing their tools. 

Are you looking to merge your Jira instances? Contact us, we know all about how to do that, and would love to help.

Topics: jira atlassian blog optimization tips integration project-management jira-core merge jira-service-management
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 atlassian blog confluence tools
3 min read

How do I migrate to Cloud if my apps aren't compatible?

By Jerry Bolden on Dec 23, 2020 1:06:11 PM

Blogpost-display-image_How do I migrate to Cloud if my apps arent compatible-

How many people are ready to move to the new hotness: Atlassian Cloud?  While this is becoming a more focused platform for Atlassian, there are some things that each company/team will need to think about as they move to the cloud:

1. What do I do if my current Server/DC apps are not compatible? 

2. What do I need to understand about my current set up within my workflows?

Apps are used to upgrade the out-of-the-box abilities of Jira, Confluence, and Bitbucket and most people not only become reliant on the apps, but may not even know they're using the apps for their day-to-day work. While there are quite a few apps operating on all three platforms (Cloud, Data Center and Server), some apps may not be available for all three platforms. For example, an app may be supported for Cloud-only or Data Center only.

While trying to migrate to Cloud, you need to understand which Apps are also compatible in Cloud and which ones are not. You can navigate to Atlassian Marketplace and set your first filter for Cloud.  Then, simply search the App name and the marketplace will do a good job giving you other options that have some of the same features as your current Data Center/Server app. Look through the recommendations and compare the current features you use with some of the recommended apps features.  The best thing is to also download a trial version of those apps in Cloud, but also if you are still on Data Center/Server, see if they have an app trial for those platforms as well.  

The other side of this will be having apps that exist on Cloud as well as on Data Center/Server but may affect your workflows.  For example, Automation has come included within the cloud, but JSU Automation Suite for Jira Workflows exists as a separate app on Data Center/Server.  While this app is now integrated into the Cloud,  when importing the data, workflows, etc. during the migration, you currently cannot use the Atlassian Cloud Migration tool and the links to the automation can fail. 

Reach out to those specific App vendors for support and open a ticket to understand what the migration path could be from Data Center/Server to Cloud. For example, In JSU's case, you have to redo all the affected workflows and their validators, conditions and post functions.  While some applications will be compatible, others will either require a little manual reconfiguration or finding ones similar in features to your current Apps.

Migrating to Atlassian Cloud is becoming more and more seamless as Atlassian continues to focus on the Cloud platform. But where apps are concerned, you will need to either find apps that already have a Cloud version or look for the Developer to review similar options and features. 

If you need guidance with your Atlassian Cloud migration, Praecipio Consulting is here to help! Contact us and one of our specialists will contact you shortly, and in the meantime, here are some helpful resources that you can start with

Topics: atlassian blog migrations cloud atlassian-solution-partner marketplace-apps
4 min read

How is Confluence Cloud different from Server/Datacenter?

By Morgan Folsom on Dec 18, 2020 1:06:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_How is Confluence Cloud different from Server-Datacenter-

If you've recently moved from a Confluence instance that was hosted by your organization to one on Atlassian's cloud, you may be noticing some differences in how the tools work! The experience is quite different, and we know that can be a bit overwhelming if you've spent a lot of time getting used to the server UI. The change will require some adjustments, so we've provided a quick overview of things to keep an eye out for so you can get back to expertly collaborating with your team.

Navigation

Let's start with getting to Confluence! You can of course access your instance via the new link provided by your IT team https://yourcompany.atlassian.net. But, if you're looking to get to Confluence from your linked Jira instance, the application switcher looks a little different. The application switcher now lives in the grid icon(Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 11.09.36 AM). Select that and you can navigate to any linked applications, including Confluence. 

Creating pages

Page creation looks different in the new view - you'll notice that there is now only one option to create pages, the Create button. This functionality has made it a lot more intuitive to create pages from templates! In Server, users need to consciously make the decision to create from a template (selecting the '...') or a blank page. Now when creating pages available templates will appear on the right, allowing you to filter and search through templates. With this new navigation you can even see previews of the templates before you select them. 

Keyboard shortcuts

This is the change that threw me off the most when switching between the products, because I rely very heavily on shortcuts! Here are three that I use a lot that have changed:

Action
Server/Datacenter
Cloud
Insert a Macro { /
Start an ordered list 1. 
Change header level Cmd/Ctrl + 1/2/3... # / ## / ###

 

To see a full list of shortcuts, you can select Cmd/Ctrl + Space while editing a page and a dialog will appear and display all of your options. 

Page layouts

The experience in Confluence Cloud is more mobile friendly, so pages are more narrow by default than previously. However, you can still expand your pages to span full screen if you've got a lot of content. Opening the page layout options hasn't changed - you select the icon in the editor. However, the page layout editing experience has changed so you can work on it within the body of the page, instead of at the top.

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 11.24.48 AM

You'll notice the arrows pointing out - those allow you to span full screen for either the entire page (top) or the specific section (bottom). The same options to edit layouts are available but you can see them in-line instead, which makes for easier navigation while working them into your pages. 

Panels

The Panel macro is one of my favorites - I like the ability to break the page up visually, and they are a great way to do that. Atlassian has revamped how panels work in Cloud so that instead of having separate macros for different types of panels: Panel, Info, Warning, Note, Success, etc. they are all just one macro, and you can switch the coloring as needed by selecting different icons. 

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 11.28.05 AM

Macros while viewing a page

The last change I want to highlight is perhaps my favorite. When editing Confluence previously, you might've noticed that when you insert macros, many of them appear different while editing vs. viewing the page. In cloud, we now see that macros like the Jira Issues macro pictured below actually shows the content while editing now. 

Screen Shot 2020-04-17 at 11.31.30 AM

Switching between tools or views can be tough, but with Atlassian's cloud platform you'll see a lot of changes that make the user experience run more smoothly. Now you've seen some of the changes, you're ready to hit the ground running!

Thinking about switching to Cloud? Contact us to talk about how we can help!

Topics: jira atlassian blog migrations server cloud data-center confluence-cloud
5 min read

How Your SaaS Provider Contributes to the Customer Experience

By Christopher Pepe on Dec 16, 2020 1:44:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_SaaS Requires Delightful Customer Service

SaaS Providers & Customer Service

The year 2020 has forced organizations to consider how they service customers and enable staff to do their work by having them reconsider the benefits and value of their current technology practices. 

Look at the fun visual below: most businesses use a combination of managing their own data centers and software or by using cloud-based facilities. Software as a Service (SaaS) allows a provider to perform a service on their technology. You pay for the provider's expertise and convenience to maintain the servers, networks, security, software, and the upgrades or changes. No more cooking as you always eat out!

pizza as a service

SaaS providers now perform almost any main business functions: HR, Accounting, Sales, Finance, Communication, Coding, Marketing, Websites, and more. The cost benefits dazzle the eyes but consider that when you allow someone else to perform a business function that the customer still sees you.

At a restaurant, if the service is terrible, you never return to that restaurant. In the eyes of your customer – you are the restaurant! Therefore, how you interrogate the provider before deciding to use them and how you monitor and respond afterward is paramount to your business's success.

The rest of this article offers insights and tips to ensure that your relationship with a SaaS provider does not ruin the relationships with your staff and customers.

Training

  • Transitioning to SaaS changes your workflow – how will you be trained, and what documentation will you receive?
  • Are any other vendors impacted, which will also require training, and who pays for this?
  • Your products will require integration with the SaaS provider, so how will you train them?
  • How will changes to the SaaS provider service be addressed?
  • Do customers require new FAQs?
  • If someone has a question, do they go to an internal team, the service desk, or the SaaS provider?

Know Your User

Before you move a service to SaaS, you need to define the user of that service. Deep dive:

  • What is the user of this service in terms of ability, technology, the reason to use the service, expected benefits from their view, and dislikes?
  • What is the journey of that user as they use the service? Where will there be issues?
  • How can the SaaS provider mitigate these issues? How will you know that problems are occurring?
  • What messages can you provide the user to help them on their journey or if they get stuck? Can the message be personalized?
  • What can you automate for the users, such as renewals, reminders, or upsells, or anything to make the journey more enjoyable?
  • Can users form part of your test team to improve the journey's flow or provide feedback on proposed changes before go-live or to develop future releases?

IT Service Management

ITSM is the practice of allowing technology to benefit someone. It is a required business set of processes that engender better, faster, safer technology applications that deliver value. Initially the IT domain, Enterprise Service Management (ESM), is now commonplace as organizations take advantage of the cloud, SaaS, or move to digital products.

Not long ago, more technology services supported a single department, with only Finance reaching out across all areas. Now technology services are so integrated into your work that a change in one place impacts the entire organization and could disrupt your customers. ITSM processes and tools can help by:

  • Logging all incidents or requests, no matter who sees them, the SaaS provider or your teams.
  • Merging the incident and request data for performance reporting, improvement actions and decision-making. Daily integration is best practice.
  • Helping to determine how long it takes for incidents or requests to be resolved or some sort of communication is issued to the customer? Lack of service will increase customer churn, and they might disparage you in social media.
  • Creating alerts for monitored services.
  • Obtaining historical information to ensure that improvements are of value.
  • Enabling user support via live chat, AI chat, easy to find widgets, easy to read FAQs, and reporting on these interfaces' satisfaction.
  • Acquiring your customers' level of satisfaction and does this match to the XLAs (Experiences Levels Agreement) with your provider.
  • Informing support staff on offers as refunds or incentives during disruptive events or poor service.
  • To know when to follow up with customers that require special care.

Metrics of SaaS

At some point, your customers will have issues that highlight your value stream or service pipeline's weaknesses. The tools that you use to monitor, alert, investigate, and respond to these issues can be improved by agreed metrics that make sense, such as the ones below:

  • How fast do customers receive a response?
  • What do they feel about that response?
  • How fast are incidents or requests resolved?
  • What is the lifetime value of a customer?
  • What is the cost of servicing a customer?
  • What is the cost of acquiring a customer?
  • What is your customer churn?
  • What is the total investment of SaaS over your customer value or cost?
  • Is there a group of customers that benefit more from a SaaS provider than others allowing you to decide how best to service those customers?

Final thoughts

The economy of tomorrow will be fully customer (user) centered. SaaS, cloud, digital and ESM will enable your products and services to become more individualized. Your SaaS provider has little value to you if the user journey is full of bad service. Your goal is to leverage the provider to retain and attract customers and staff. Thinking about how this will happen, setting clear expectations, expectations, documenting service examples with metrics in the contract, testing and monitoring service delivery, and having active conversation with your SaaS provider will ensure that the customers' experiences are delightful.

If you are looking for ways to improve your customer experience through technology and digital transformation, let's chat!

Topics: atlassian blog saas cloud hosting customer-experience
3 min read

Atlassian Certification Program: Tips for Studying for your ACP Exams

By Rebecca Schwartz on Oct 21, 2020 12:45:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Atlassian Certification Program- Tips for studying for your ACP exams-1

Atlassian Certification Program (ACP) exams are a great way to enhance your Atlassian skillset and better leverage the tools at your organization. Atlassian offers a few different exams, depending on what aspects of the tools you're focused on and your current skill level. If you pass, you get a nifty badge you can place on your LinkedIn profile or email signature! Here at Praecipio Consulting, all of our consultants have taken at least one of the available ACP exams, and we have some great tips and tidbits to share that will help you prep for the tests and understand what they entail.

A little bit about the exams

  • Atlassian offers 6 different ACP exams
  • Exams are typically between 70-80 questions
  • Exams can be taken remotely due to COVID-19, but are proctored
  • Depending on the exam, the passing score is between 60-70%
  • You have 180 minutes (3 hours) to complete your exam

Take it back to your college days with study guides and flashcards

When studying for any exam, it's important to figure out how you best learn the material. Is it taking notes by hand so you don't have the distractions of a laptop? Or, are you more like me, where you tend to lose loose leaf paper so you prefer to type out what you've learned? Either way, the best tip I used to prepare for my exams was to organize my notes into a comprehensive study guide. Atlassian requires the completion of specific courseware before you can take the exams, and they provide downloadable PDFs for each exam topic. All of this information is great for your study guide. You can use a good ol' fashioned notebook for this, or, if you have access to Confluence, create your study guide there. I took notes on the courseware in Confluence, then used macros and Tasks to organize my notes and remind myself of topics that I needed to focus on. Because the exams cover a lot of material, flashcards are another great way to memorize information. There are several online services that allow you to create flashcards for free, such as Quizlet. Repetition works wonders when studying for any exam, so be sure to review your study materials several times.

Practice in a test environment

If your way of learning is by doing, a great way to prep is by reviewing admin functionality in your Jira or Confluence instance, especially if you have a test or demo environment. Project schemes, permissions (project and global), and workflow functionality can provide helpful knowledge around exam items. Chances are, if you're taking an ACP exam, you already have access to a Jira and/or Confluence environment, but if not, Atlassian offers a free Cloud instance if you're maintaining 10 users or less. Keep in mind that some exams only focus on Server functionality, but it's still great to get a visual for the items you'll be tested on.

Collaborate with others prepping for the exam

At Praecipio Consulting, we are all about teamwork. As I was prepping for my exam, so were several other Praecipians. We collaborated on our notes, shared our study guides, and had study groups. Sharing our thoughts and notes allowed us to each figure out our strengths and weaknesses around the exam material so we could help each other be successful. If you're the only one at your organization taking the exam, or are just deciding to do it individually, no worries - there are folks all around the world looking to get certified! If you venture over to the Atlassian Community, there are often discussions that folks have started to create study groups with members of the community (check out this post around the ACP-100). 

Stay in tune with your physical and mental state 

Prepping for and taking any exam is physically and mentally exhausting. It's important when studying to allow yourself breaks to better absorb the material. As I studied, I'd create incentives and goals around my study material. Once I got through half of my flashcards, for example, I'd watch the next episode of my newest Netflix addiction or read a chapter of my favorite book. That way, I had something to look forward to when studying and allotted plenty of time for brain breaks. When it comes to taking the exam, try to find a quiet space in your home where you can remain undistracted. If you get stuck on a question, mark it and come back to it - you've got 3 hours to get through the questions, so take your time! Remember, your well-being is a key factor in being able to focus and perform your best, so it's important to keep it in check.

Good luck with your next exam, and let us know if your organization needs further support with how to best leverage your Atlassian applications. 

Topics: atlassian blog agents training atlassian-products atlassian-certification-program
3 min read

Challenges in Managing Your Own Atlassian Instances

By Morgan Folsom on Oct 2, 2020 12:30:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Challenges in managing your own Atlassian instances

Are you having trouble managing your Atlassian instances? As tools like Jira become mission-critical to organizations, it's increasingly important that their maintenance is formalized, with dedicated resources who manage the tools. Let's walk through a few of the biggest challenges that we see and how Praecipio Consulting's Managed Services offering can help ease the pain.

 

Can you help if we don't have the technical experience to support the tools?

It's not uncommon that teams find themselves struggling to manage the specifics of Atlassian. Just because you've got a killer IT team doesn't mean they'll be experts on a whole new platform on day one! There are a lot of intricacies to the tools that can take admins a while to understand, especially when we're looking at Jira. On top of figuring out the technical aspects of maintaining the tools, you're also expected to help make process recommendations and changes for the teams that use the tool at your company. 

One of the biggest benefits of using a Managed Services provider is that you don't have to develop all of the in-depth expertise on the tools, because we've been there and done that. Our focus on the Atlassian suite means that we know the tools better than anyone so that in addition to answering your requests, we can anticipate issues because we know what to look for. 

What about about if our IT team is too small to have dedicated admins?

Maybe your team are experts at managing the Atlassian suite, but you're missing one major thing: time. Keeping your instances healthy requires ongoing maintenance, dedicating time for things like platform upgrades and marketplace app configuration, as well as triaging requests from your users to make the tools work for them. This is something that affects teams of all sizes and can be especially painful if you're part of a small organization. When you don't have dedicated Atlassian admins, the impact on your instances can be huge. If teams are only able to focus on addressing breakfixes and user requests, things like upgrading your marketplace apps can fall by the wayside. 

Our Managed Services team excels at thoroughly preparing for and executing upgrades, and regularly checking to make sure your instances and apps aren't affected by any critical security issues. 

Or what if we've moved to Cloud and don't know what administration we need to do anymore?

If you're one of the many organizations that have moved from hosted Server or Data Center instances to Atlassian's Cloud, you've probably realized that administration looks a little different now. Because a lot of the technical maintenance tasks aren't necessary anymore (woohoo!), your team gets to focus on making sure the instance is healthy from a process perspective. This kind of administration requires different skills from your admins – and while they hopefully have been providing this before, it's easy for this to fall through the cracks. 

Administration isn't just about creating workflows or fields, but making sure that the configuration in the instance aligns to industry and Jira best practice. Jira in particular is extremely configurable – with the right combination of apps and know-how, you can do basically anything, for better or worse. A lot of common configuration choices can be setting you up for future headaches – things like too heavy a reliance on scripting when out-of-the box configuration can do the same thing, making upgrades a pain and causing negative performance impacts. 

If any of the concerns above strike a chord, let us help

Topics: atlassian managed-services cloud atlassian-products atlassian-solution-partner
3 min read

What's important for growing pre-IPO companies?

By Christian Lane on Sep 17, 2020 12:15:00 PM

What's important for growing pre-IPO companies_

It’s a dream we all have: To be the founder or early employee in a company so disruptive that it has a real chance to hit it big. With success comes prestige, security, respect, and of course, lots of money. 

How can you set up your small business to become the next big thing?

The key is to learn from others who blazed the path before you and not make the same mistakes they did. 

Jim Collins, author of the iconic business book Good to Great, suggests that one of the most important factors in building a great company is to adopt the right technology early in your business lifecycle.  

“When used right, technology becomes an accelerator of momentum, not a creator of it.”

-Jim Collins

Whether your business is the manufacturing of widgets, service, or software development, technology is what allows you to spin up faster, pivot, and gain a competitive edge through efficiencies. Praecipio Consulting specializes in helping organizations leverage technology through the use of Atlassian’s suite of products and leading frameworks like Agile and Scaled Agile, ITSM, DevOps, and Enterprise Service Management. EVERY company is a technology company or is currently undergoing a transformation to operate with those capabilities and mindset.

Michael Corbat, CEO of Citi, agrees. In a recent keynote at Mobile World Congress, he said, “We see ourselves as a technology company with a banking license." Capital One’s CIO, Rob Alexander, says they are a “software development company that does financial services.” Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, says she wants the public to “see GM as a technology company rather than an automaker.” Uber, Amazon, and other high-profile companies have made similar comments. It’s a common theme from organizations that have already had their IPO. Pre-IPO companies should take notice and follow their lead because it's what investors are looking for. 

Early investors want to see customer growth, not necessarily profitability. Having a plan to scale using technology can help a company get to a critical mass. For example, Twitter had 321 million users before they turned an annual profit in 2018. That figure would have been impossible to reach without cutting edge technology and processes.

But before you’re a big company eyeing a public offering, you have to start somewhere. When a business first starts, you usually have a founder or two with a good idea and the ambition to match. In a few months, when the concept is market-validated, a few motivated employees are hired. The excited team runs hard and fast but without established processes. Good ole’ fashioned hustle covers up any existing weaknesses. But eventually, the lack of infrastructure and tools catches up with the founders, and the business will begin to falter. If not acted upon quickly, failure is imminent. 

It’s at this point in a pre-IPO’s lifecycle that technology infusion becomes so critically important. It’s smart to set up your small business like it’s going to be a big business and plan for success.

We recommend moving toward standardization and being a cloud-first business. Utilizing platforms like Jira and Confluence keeps projects moving forward and with a high degree of predictability and reliability. Tools like these allow you to scale and will never be a choke point in your growth.   

It’s not just about growth either. It’s about sustainability and resilience. Even established companies like General Electric, Kroger, and Fitbit have found cloud computing success. Investors and boards of directors appreciate the risk mitigation in times of crisis and the flexibility that comes with the updated IT strategy. 

As a startup-founder myself, understanding the cost-benefit technology can bring you is just the first step. The details lie in implementation and design. It will always be worth the investment to bring in an outside consulting firm to design a workflow to reflect your desired processes. Training your team on how to use this technology as the backbone of your operations means you have a system for accountability and quality. Once in place, you can concentrate on building more, selling more, and not worrying whether or not your IT infrastructure can keep up.

Getting to the IPO means your company has joined a very select group of highly-efficient and promising companies of a generation, and the proper technology tools can help you get there faster.

At Praecipio Consulting, we are total Atlassian enthusiasts, so if you want to know more about how Atlassian products can help your business grow while becoming more resilient, we can answer any questions you may have!

Topics: atlassian devops technology service-management cloud itsm digital-transformation
1 min read

Atlassian Hosting: What are my options?

By Morgan Folsom on Aug 20, 2020 2:15:00 PM

Atlassian Hosting options

One of the most important decisions that your organization has to make with regards to your Atlassian applications is which hosting option you'll use. Not only will you will want to review the differences between Cloud, Server, and Data Center, but unless you are using Atlassian's Cloud platform, you'll also have to make key decisions about infrastructure. Praecipio Consulting offers Cumulus Cloud, our managed hosting solution to help make your decision easier. 

Amanda Babb, our Principal Consultant, was recently invited to chat with the hosts of “CarahCast,” Carahsoft’s new podcast dedicated to bringing listeners the latest in Government IT case studies, technology trends, recent legislation news, and Government IT best practices. 

In the podcast episode titled “Hosting in the Cloud with Atlassian,” Amanda discusses Cumulus Cloud, our comprehensive hosting solution that manages server and data center editions of the Atlassian suite, the value it brings to the enterprise organization, and why it's different from any of the other solutions out there.

Listen to Principal Consultant Amanda Babb outline all of the above and more in this Atlassian Podcast with our partner, Carahsoft. 

Topics: atlassian blog migrations cloud hosting atlassian-products podcast
2 min read

Praecipio Consulting's Incident Management Solution Is Live in Workato's Automation Marketplace

By Morgan Folsom on Jul 31, 2020 12:15:00 PM

2020 Blogposts_Praecipio is live in Workatos automation marketplace

Fun fact: At Workato's 2020 Partner Awards, Praecipio Consulting took home the Partner Award for IT Automations for the work that we did in collaboration with Workato and a leading animation studio to deliver an integrated Incident Management solution. The award recognizes our value in streamlining the incident management process through the integration of on-call tools, leading to improved resolution times and an enhanced experience for both the agent and customer.

And now, you can find this exact solution to in Workato's recently-launched Automation Marketplace, an online marketplace of best-in-class workflow automations across various business functions inside an enterprise. The Praecipio Consulting team created a solution around Incident Management using Workato and the Atlassian suite that seamlessly communicated to Jira Service Desk, Slack, AND PagerDuty. This recipe for success keeps agents focused on helping their users (rather than trying to figure out which tool has the most up-to-date information) and delivering an exceptional experience for the client's customers.

Head over to Workato's automation portal, where we outlined exactly how to implement this solution within your organization. And for more information about how we use Workato, check out our recent case study on Enterprise Service Management!

Topics: atlassian automation workato incident-management user-experience
4 min read

How and When to Choose the Right Atlassian Solution Partner

By Christian Lane on Jun 18, 2020 11:44:49 AM

2020 Blogposts_How and When to Chose the Right Atlassian Partner Support

No matter the size of the organization, small business or Fortune 50, most successful companies will come to a point where they need a technology and business solution partner to optimize processes and move projects forward. 

In today's disruptive business world, you may have furloughed employees or lack resources for critical functions. There may be no better time to hire an Atlassian Platinum solution partner, especially if you can’t afford the project to be fumbled. 

However, choosing the right partner can be difficult. All vendors claim to be the best, have impressive client lists, and work with smart people. Where should you start?

First, understand the consequences of a poor decision. Lost opportunity costs, money wasted, boss disappointment, ruined long-term growth, damaged reputation, and careers devastated - maybe even yours. Scary thoughts, indeed. 

A much more pleasant exercise is to consider if the project goes well. If you use company resources well and with a good result, you could be seen as the rising star and be assigned more complex and important projects. With this recognition comes upward career mobility, peer respect,...and a raise!

Make sure these factors are part of your Atlassian partner selection process.

Research 

Your solution partner is happy to tell you about their successful projects, but after they give you their initial pitch, ask some hard questions such as, “What is your Net Promoter Score (NPS)?” NPS is a widely accepted measurement of customer satisfaction and woven into the culture of companies that take the customer experience seriously. The higher the score, the more satisfied the customer is. If they don’t know what NPS is, or they don’t track it, it gives you a good glimpse into their business practices. You will find that companies with a good NPS, want to let you know about it early in the process. Christian LanePraecipio Consulting founder says, “It’s one of the first things we communicate to soon-to-be clients. We want them to know that with an NPS score of 70, they are in good hands, especially since the IT consulting industry average is 31. Setting high expectations for our sales and delivery teams ensures we focus on customer success and continual improvement to our delivery model. This helps earn trust so we can talk next about speed, execution, and value.”

 christian-lane

Other good questions to ask are: 

  • Tell me about your change order volume as a percentage of overall revenue.
  • What is your change control revenue as a percentage of overall revenue? 
  • If something goes wrong in the client relationship, what is a typical reason?
  • What does the discovery process look like?

The method

Be sure to ask about their methods and how they execute during an engagement. IT projects can be complex, and it takes a focused effort from the solution partner and the client to get a good result. Ask about how both teams will stay on track and what the regular cadence of communication is. Do they have a method that marches you toward success? Or do they rely on you to assign tasks? Ask them what quality controls they have in place so that no detail goes unnoticed. Lane’s best advice? “Get a comfort level with reliability and consistency.”

Great partners sell solutions, not just blocks of hours. 

Consultants or operators

No one solution partner has a monopoly on the smartest people, so don’t let the number of certified Atlassian engineers be your sole decision driver. What’s more important is how the talent communicates. Do they simply fix your problems and wait for the next one? Or do they take a more consultative approach and advise on things like, how your projects will connect to your existing infrastructure or the cost-benefit of creating features. Lane summarizes it best when he says, “Consultants help you look through the windshield and see where you are going.”

Ease to do business 

Some operators keep a minimal US team and outsource across the world. This could be problematic due to the differences in time zones slowing down the work, or having a language barrier that requires more middlemen. “It’s an opportunity for error,” Lane says. Don’t let your project be the one that they use to get through a learning curve. All of these factors contribute to how easy it is to do business with the solution partner. 

Getting complex projects off the ground or stalled projects across the finish line is hard enough to do even with the right solution partner. Failing to spend enough time and energy on the vendor selection process can have catastrophic results with major repercussions. However, choosing the right solution partner can get you recognition and bring the rewards that a superstar deserves.

Read more about the different tiers of service here.

Topics: atlassian blog culture atlassian-products nps atlassian-solution-partner
3 min read

How to Make State Business Services Better, with Automation by Atlassian

By Atlassian on May 28, 2020 5:31:07 PM

Moving through processes faster, improving service responses, and reducing unnecessary workloads are three great ways to make state business services better, less costly and more efficient. Digital project management, service desk, and knowledge management tools can provide these benefits and more with powerful yet easy to use automation features. Here are 3 ways that the Business Services Division of Secretary of State departments can use automation to improve job satisfaction, reduce costs, and at the same time boost the state’s economic development, with Atlassian solutions.

At Atlassian, we help teams of all shapes and sizes work better and more efficiently with an integrated and comprehensive set of tools, services, and playbooks. For this example, we will look at the automation capabilities within three of our tools: Jira Core, Jira Software, and Confluence.

Make Workflows Move Faster with Jira Core

Jira Core is designed for managing projects and keeping teams organized. Workflows are one of its most powerful features. From simple to complex, you define the workflows to match your process, tasks, and tracking needs. As tasks move through the workflow, built-in automation makes the process faster and easier. For example, you can have new business license applications automatically routed and assigned to the appropriate team member based on current workload, expertise, or any other criteria. Make things simpler and reduce confusion by hiding fields that are not necessary for the current application or status. Modify field permissions and restrictions to ensure the right people act on the right things at the right times. Or generate automatic email notifications to key stakeholders when applications change status, including external addresses such as the person who submitted it. By automating workflows, you spend less time on administrative tasks and more time on strategic ones.

Create Automatic Reminders for Open Issues with Jira Service Desk

Jira Service Desk is ideal for delivering exceptional services, and issue tracking is a core component. You can see and collaboratively resolve issues based on your defined set of priorities. Sometimes your team gets really busy, perhaps with an unusual flood of queries or new applications, causing them to overlook a few open issues. In a manual world, these slipups may not come to light until a detailed status review meeting or the originator complains, negatively impacting service targets and satisfaction ratings. Automating reminders eliminates this risk. For each different status you can easily specify how long an issue can remain unchanged before a notification is sent, in minutes, hours, or days. This simple trick keeps things flowing and ensures that the team processes issues in the proper order and timeframe. It also serves as the baseline for some pretty great team performance analytics.

Use Page Templates to Improve Operations with Confluence

Confluence provides a team workspace for collaborating and organizing work. Confluence page templates are essential building blocks for reducing duplication and enhancing compliance. There are many ways to choose templates, whether provided by Atlassian right out-of-the-box, available from our extensive marketplace, or created for your specific needs. Staff get a jump start on their work by using a template instead of starting from a blank entry. For example, a meeting notes template starts things off quickly by automatically bringing forward open action items. Add your agenda, record discussions and decisions during the meeting, and update action items as they are worked on. These are a tremendous boost for remote or distributed teams, too. Teams collaborate more easily and stay on the same page at the same time—with each team member seeing the updates in real-time. Team members each have their own to-do lists generated from these and other meeting notes, giving them a complete and up-to-date view of what they need to work on.

Automation makes things work faster, improves response times, and results in higher job satisfaction. State business services departments can leverage Atlassian’s powerful, easy-touse automation to enhance productivity, respond faster, and help fuel their state’s economic development.

Topics: jira atlassian blog automation confluence government project-management atlassian-products
4 min read

Leveraging Statuspage To Support Remote Teams

By Larry Brock on May 15, 2020 9:15:00 AM

2020 Blogposts_Statuspage

As many writers from a variety of perspectives have observed, we are truly living in interesting times. Before we get into how StatusPage helps remote workers, I would like to express my sincerest wish that you and your loved ones are safe and remain so through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the state of business in which we now find ourselves, many companies have transitioned their operations and workforce to a more distributed model. This has exposed or amplified many procedural failures, demonstrating how the severity of some issues can significantly impact business success. 

I have experienced a few of these workforce transitions and almost without exception, the underlying failure already existed. Because people worked in close proximity to each other, they were able to mask this issue at hand, and that issue is only exposed when the proximity changes. A multitude of reasons can explain why this change may occur, with one being that the business is experiencing phenomenal growth, or like our current state of the world, maybe external factors are the cause. Regardless of the reason, change is inevitable and processes must adjust, adapt, and improve.

There's currently a plethora of information flooding the web on better ways to work, and while a lot of them are useful, what I haven't seen is content focused on how to make better use of tools you already have to solve some of these new challenges related to external forces.

Many organizations today use the fantastic Atlassian tool Statuspage to communicate the status of their services to their customers, users, and possibly any interested party on the Internet. What these organizations may not realize is that Statuspage is also a great way to communicate important information regarding system availability to their internal staff.

So, how can Statuspage be used to do this? Well, I'm glad you asked! Consider these situations:

  • A staff member needs an item from their desk and wants to know if the office is open and accessible.
  • A staff member expects the VPN gateway that they use to access internal systems to be fully operational, 24x7.
  • The staff of a particular department needs to receive timely updates on developments that may affect them as they attempt to complete a particular task.

In each of these situations, the need for information is similar in nature to that of a customer: both are trying to stay updated and informed

If you're already using Statuspage to communicate to your customers, then you know and appreciate the power of letting customers determine what information they receive and the channel through which they receive it. Now, let's revisit the above situations, but with Statuspage:

  • A staff member who subscribes to the company's Internal Operations Status page will have already received an SMS message, a phone call, and/or an email from Statuspage about the closure of some offices when the incident was created under the Physical Locations service. They can check this message for more details or better yet, visit the Statuspage to see up-to-the-minute information regarding building access.
  • A staff member who is having trouble with VPN can check Statuspage to see if there are any notices about VPN, or they can subscribe to the incident in-progress to get updates and know when they can safely resume their connection.
  • The team that builds out your data center infrastructure or computer cluster is waiting on delayed equipment to arrive before converging on the datacenter from their various shelter-in-place locations. With Statuspage, you can easily broadcast the update about the equipment arrival to subscribers who follow the incident related to the delay. 

These are just a few examples of how you can utilize Statuspage to arm your staff with valuable information using a tool that you already have available. Not using Statuspage? Look into this powerful communication tool, which eliminates the guesswork of who to contact and how, not to mention that it allows teams to focus more on their key functions of serving the organization. 

If you would like to learn more about how to leverage Statuspage, check out our webinar. We also have some great resources available on how different tools can help your remote teams, such as Workato and Jira

Topics: atlassian statuspage work-from-home
6 min read

Distance Learning With Atlassian: Remote Training Your People

By Amanda Babb on Apr 2, 2020 5:01:46 PM

2020 Blogposts_DistanceLearningAndAtlassian

When I was growing up, my parents taught me all kinds of useful skills. By age 12, I helped my dad build my lofted bed. Routers, saws, drills, clamps, hammers: you name it; we used it. At age 19, I rebuilt a 1968 El Camino from the ground up. Everything from tearing down an engine to rebuilding suspension to (somewhat terrible) electrical. Even today, if you've read some of my other blogs, I've installed floors, rebuilt our fence, and completed other small home improvement projects throughout our home. Since a young age, I have constantly been learning new skills and putting them into practice.

At Praecipio Consulting, we help organizations streamline their processes and drive business with the most powerful digital transformation tools, yet their end-users struggle day-to-day with how to use them the right way. After all, you can give the worst carpenter the best hammer, but it doesn't mean they can build a chair.

Employee Learning as a Business Pillar

We've worked with clients of all sizes to implement the Atlassian tools as part of their digital business transformation. Our clients are always pleased with the results (lifetime Net Promoter Score of 70), and the subject matter experts we work with daily walk away with a deep understanding of the processes that the Atlassian tools facilitate. We always recommend expanding that knowledge beyond our champions to end-users and managers alike via training and training programs. While there are a lot of statistics regarding Return on Investment (ROI) for training, instead, we should focus on the learning and development of our employees as a pillar of our business. 

According to this article in Training Magazine, measuring ROI is not enough. Instead, we need to look at five key areas when evaluating the effectiveness of your learning approach: 

  • Individual performance
  • Time to effectiveness/productivity
  • Employee engagement
  • Ability to respond to market conditions
  • Voluntary turnover

The authors go on to say that learning is not a static exercise. Employees should continuously learn throughout the digital transformation process. The article also mentions that learning and development should be strategically aligned with the business, yet only 40% of organizations surveyed stated that their learning strategy is well-defined. We see this with our clients as well: they take time to implement the Atlassian tools to facilitate industry best practices, however, they can't afford to take the time to teach their people how to properly use them. Implementing and using these tools are tied to overall business objectives, and there should be a clear learning strategy for educating your people about them. 

Learning outcomes and measuring success

As we move to remote work, we must first look at where we were. In-person courses were generally considered the most effective. Why? Because of the interaction with the instructor and the accountability of being in a room with your peers. I have served as an Atlassian instructor since 2015, so I have seen a breadth of engagement in my classrooms. Generally, I received high marks for the content and depth-of-subject knowledge. How do I know? Because we ask. At the end of each course delivery (whether it's at a conference, such as Summit, or a private course for an organization), we provide surveys as well as retrospectives to our clients. The surveys are for attendees to provide feedback, and the retrospective reviews the entire process of obtaining the training, from scheduling to logistics and delivery.  

If the organization releases an on-demand training, what is considered a success? First, the organization should ask what the intended outcome is. Learning outcomes depend on the "why" we've provided this training. For example:

  • Is it compliance/security regulated?
  • Is it mechanical (I can do) or do we explain why?
  • Is it tied to a strategic outcome? 
  • Is it tied to organizational change?

Each of these learning outcomes are measured differently. One client organization required every employee and contractor to complete annual compliance training. They revoked access to their systems if not completed within the expected timeframe. Success was measured at 100% completion within 30 days of your start date and every year thereafter by the end of January. This is a binary measurement, however. Did you complete it? Yes or no. 

When looking at other learning outcomes, success becomes less black-and-white. Many organizations are tying agile and agile-at-scale training to strategic outcomes and organizational change. The strategic outcome could be the number of departments or programs that have moved to agile. This is measured by the number and type of certifications held by employees. This is still binary: are you certified? Yes or no. Again, this metric does nothing to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the training or certification as it relates to the organization and general business strategy. 

The Kirkpatrick Model provides both the foundation as well as the "new world" evaluation for the effectiveness of training. While this methodology has been around since the 1950s, it is still relevant today. As with any model or framework, it's the application of these items that become an indicator of success. 

Organic versus formal learning

At Praecipio Consulting, we encourage our consultants to seek additional learning. Certifications are an option, but we also encourage Udemy courses, continuing education courses at colleges and universities, and networking or professional groups. We organize a monthly Skills Exchange for all members of the company, and we have weekly meetings to discuss what we learned the week before. But outside of these formal discussions and learning exchanges is the day-to-day interactions of our people that result in organic learning.

For internal communication, we use Slack. We have dedicated channels based on topics as well as client delivery efforts. No topic is off the table: everything from troubleshooting a problem to a specific function in the tools. If someone needs more dedicated help, we hop on a call to solve the problem. No one of us is as good as all of us together.

What is even more amazing (and I fully credit our people for this) is how much we learn from each other. Because we can teach one another, this reinforces what each of us has learned in the products. Moreover, when we consult and advise our clients, they learn best practices as well as tips and tricks to impart on their peers. Learning does not have to be formal: simply talking through a topic with a peer can teach both people. Providing a solid foundation, however, is where training courses can benefit everyone.

Distance learning and student engagement

While many of us may be working from home for the first time, many a company is scrambling for alternate ways to engage in training. Learning management systems are a great way to provide training content, but as stated before, are these systems delivering the right outcome based on the "why"? Are students actually engaging with the content or are they just checking off a box after completion?

If you can't bring an instructor to your people, bring the people to your instructor. Virtual Training is a great way to provide knowledge and guidance to your people. Praecipio Consulting instructors are live and on camera. They walk through the content and manage questions and discussions through virtual platforms. Hands-on exercises and guided demos provide students with a greater depth of understanding of the Atlassian tools and ecosystem. Other benefits include: 

  • Cloud and Data Center/Server options
  • Audience-specific courses
  • Options to license a recorded session for internal distribution
  • Custom training program development and delivery

Engaged employees equal business success

Overall, your organization must embrace employee training. While the Atlassian tools can facilitate your digital business transformation, your employees need guidance when it comes to working within them. Make the time to provide access to quality instruction and training content on the Atlassian products. And it doesn't have to be delivered in-person to be considered quality; virtual delivery is just as effective, and now is a great time to explore remote training opportunities. Reach out to us to discuss training options for virtual delivery. 

REACH OUT

 

Topics: atlassian blog training work-from-home atlassian-certification-program work-life-balance remote-work
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

Five Stages of ITIL and the Atlassian Suite

By Martin Spears 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 Management

In the service transition phase, you will use Jira to track the work on the requirements while you build the services in Jira Service Management. Jira Service Management 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 Management and Confluence

In the service operation phase, you will use Jira Service Management queues to manage requests and you can communicate with customers through the Jira Service Management 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 Management and Confluence

In the continual service improvement phase, you will use Jira Service Management'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 our ITSM consulting offering.

Topics: atlassian blog devops itil itsm jira-service-desk frameworks
2 min read

3 Ways Atlassian Tools Help You Avoid Common DevOps Mistakes

By Morgan Folsom on Jun 4, 2019 11:42:00 AM

Using Atlassian tools for your DevOps endeavor sets your teams up for success. While there are many challenges in a new DevOps implementation, the tools you use don't have to be one. A quick search will show you that there are many ways to fail at DevOps - it requires massive organizational change and lots of moving pieces to function, so getting started can be tough. It might be a painful process to initiate, but as we've seen, it's absolutely worth it. With that in mind, while you focus on the big questions (Like how in the world can I deploy daily/weekly/hourly?), the Atlassian stack helps you out in some ways you may not have even considered. With one (or all) of these questions out of the way, you can get back to focusing on what matters: the people and processes that you're revolutionizing.

Below are a few common DevOps mistakes that Atlassian can help you avoid:

1. Failing to Automate Effectively

Automation is an essential component of DevOps - and one of the hardest. Rather than finding one product that tries to do a million things well, with the Atlassian stack you've got the killer combination of several awesome products that integrate seamlessly. The native integrations mean that in just a few clicks, your Bitbucket branch creation or pull requests, your Crucible code reviews, or even your Bamboo builds can move your Jira issues through their workflow. This is essential when you're working with several different tools - trying to keep track of where the work is will slow you down and has the potential to delay important milestones. Additionally, while the Atlassian tools work together like one product, if your team uses an alternative to one of the options, you can integrate them as well with the same ease.

Don't let your work tracker become just another bottleneck - make sure your tools are effectively integrated and refocus your energy elsewhere.

2. Ignoring HA Principles

The best systems aren't worth much if they're not up. When you're committed to High Availability (HA), you need your systems to be up as much as you (and your users) are - avoiding single points of failure, focusing on redundancy, and immediate failure detection. Jira and Bitbucket Datacenter products provide high availability so you can trust your systems will be up when they need to be (which is to say, always).

3. Mishandling Incidents

DevOps isn't just deploying quickly, but managing your code in an intentional way. This means making sure that if something goes wrong, you know it. Jira Service Desk has built in automation to keep work up-to-date and moving through its lifecycle. When you pair that with real-time build information, accurate visibility into things like pull requests and open incidents, then staying up to date is a breeze. Tracking incidents and development work in the same tool means you don't have to jump between issue trackers to know what's going on, and you can set up Jira Software and Jira Service Desk to keep everyone on the same page.

You'll often hear that DevOps is too focused on tools, and that you need to refocus on people and processes. This is absolutely true - the key is to work with tools that help you get out of your own way so you and your team can Get S@!# Done.

To read more about how Atlassian works with DevOps, read DevOps + Atlassian = Doing it Right by Senior Consultant Michael Knight or Top 5 Ways Atlassian Facilitates DevOps by Bryan Robison, Principal at Praecipio Consulting.

Topics: atlassian blog devops tips women-in-technology stem
2 min read

Why Co-Terming Atlassian Licenses is Important | Praecipio Consulting

By Jessica Ellis on May 21, 2019 5:31:00 PM

Do you find yourself renewing your Atlassian licenses every month? How much time is spent on each cycle? Do your licenses expire because there are too many expiration dates to keep track of?

Here’s a brief explanation of why co-terming your Atlassian licenses is important and how to take advantage of co-terming benefits.

What is co-terming?

Co-terming licenses readjusts the expiration date of the support term to align to one renewal date.

How is co-terming beneficial?

Co-terming all your licenses will result in an annual renewal cycle which helps with budget planning and reduces procurement cycles. Trusting an Atlassian Platinum Partner with your license management takes the pressure off of you. All renewals are handled in a proactive manner and you will receive annual renewal quotes 90-days prior to your license expiration.

What licenses can be co-termed?

Data Center & Server: All Data Center and Server licenses can be co-termed when purchasing new add-ons, upgrades, or at renewal.

Services (Premier Support & TAM): If you use Atlassian's services, the service term can be co-termed to align to your other licenses.

Atlassian Cloud (Annual contracts): By design, Atlassian's cloud is automatically co-termed. Once the cloud environment is created, any license changes to the current environment (new purchases, upgrades) will be pro-rated to the cloud end date.

When should I co-term licenses?

If your renewal cycles are too time consuming, now is the time to ask about co-terming. Once a co-term date is determined, all new purchases, upgrades, and renewals will be co-termed to the same date moving forward.

How do I decide on a co-term date?

Some end users already have a date in mind, or choose to use a fiscal year-end to align to. If you don't have a specific date one can be determined for you by looking over the complete license list.

How do I get started with co-terming?

Email us at contact@praecipio.com to submit your request.

Topics: atlassian server licensing co-terming
5 min read

3 Tips for Atlassian Cloud Migration | Praecipio Consulting

By Bryan Robison on May 7, 2019 10:39:00 AM

It’s no surprise that Atlassian Confluence has become a mission critical application for your customers and support teams alike. You may find yourself in one of these scenarios:

  • Your company has recently acquired another company (with its own Confluence instance) and you’d like to combine the two

  • You’re using Confluence Cloud and have decided to make the switch to Server in order to leverage a particular add-on

  • You just had a successful product launch

  • People are simply adopting it in droves

Whether it’s making the move from Cloud to Server, consolidating two or more instances, or upgrading your instance to Confluence Data Center, migrating and consolidating Confluence may seem like a daunting task. However, migrating can be stress-free by creating an action plan that includes choosing the right strategy, focusing on the different versions of instances and add-ons, and relentlessly testing for errors. Here are 3 simple tips that will ensure that you have a successful Confluence migration.

Tip 1: Choose a Migration Strategy

Confluence instances come in all shapes and sizes and the particulars of your instance(s) can help you choose an effective Migration Strategy. Here are three examples:

Single Cloud Site to a NEW Server/Data Center instance

Export your Cloud site to XML using the backup manager and restore onto the latest version of Confluence Server following Atlassian’s instructions. Please note, in most cases add-on data will not be migrated as part of the XML backup so check with your add-on vendor to determine if they provide any type of data migration assistance.

Complete Server/Data Center instance to an NEW Confluence Cloud Site

The instructions are similar to migrating from Cloud to Server but in the reverse. There are more restrictions on moving from Server to Cloud, the most important is that your XML backup file must be smaller than 200MB. Consult your version matrix to determine add-on availability and compatibility. See Atlassian’s detailed instructions for migrating from Server to Cloud.

Restoring a Confluence Site from XML will overwrite any existing data. If you need to preserve data in your Confluence see the instructions below for migrating to an existing instance.

Confluence Cloud/Server Site to an EXISTING Confluence Instance

To migrate a spaces or spaces from one site into another existing site you have to use the Space Export method rather than backup/restore. This method can be a bit labor intensive as it involves exporting and importing one space at a time. Again, consult your version matrix for any incompatibilities between Confluence or add-on versions.

Users and content permissions will not be migrated using the Space Export method and will have to be recreated in the target instance.

If you’re migrating Jira at the same time, migrate the Jira project first to ensure that macros are updated to the new Jira location.

Tip 2: Create a Version Matrix

Each Confluence instance is different. When you’re changing platforms or consolidating instances you need to carefully review the differences between Confluence and add-on versions, determine whether upgrades are necessary, and identify any “gotchas” prior to starting your migration. A simple version matrix like the one below is an easy way to quickly identify those items you need to pay special attention to.

Product

Source Version

Target Version

Notes

Confluence

6.4

6.8

  • PostgreSQL 9.2 is no longer supported

Secure Content

2.0.3.1

2.2.0.1

  • Required for 6.8 Compatibility

  • Administrators can reassign ownership to any user

  • Improved Reporting Macro

  • Contact SCB owners with custom messages

  • Secure content blocks look better exported to PDFs

  • Improve performance and UI of secure content admin screen

  • Added Autocomplete in Macro editor key field to help locate pre-existing keys

DocuSign for Confluence

1.1.4.1-GA-6.1

1.1.5

  • Improved tabular output for Envelope List Macro

  • Multi-Select status for Envelope List Macro

  • Confluence 6.6 compatibility

 

Tip 3: Test, Test, Test

Testing is a key component of every successful Confluence migration and consolidation. There are a few areas you should review in your test instance (you do have a test instance right?)  prior to performing your production migration:

Content Formatting

The version of Confluence and Space Theme you choose can sometimes alter the formatting of content when you change instances. Carefully review and compare different page types to ensure that they render correctly and pay special attention to any pages that utilize Space or Global Templates and Blueprints. If you have Space Blueprints in your source instance, make sure they are migrated along with your content to your target instance.

Add-on Functionality

Add-ons can differ between versions and platforms so make sure that you review the usage of add-ons that may be incompatible and consider altering the content in your Source instance prior to migration or consolidation. Also note that add-on data is not often migrated when exporting content from Confluence. Consult your add-on’s documentation and contact the vendor for special assistance.

Space Permissions and Page Restrictions

We discussed earlier that users and content permissions will not be migrated using the Space Export method. Ensure that users and groups exist in the target instance prior to importing your Space and the Space Permissions after import. Page Restrictions will automatically be applied once the groups are in the target instance.

Application Links and Integration Points

Remember to migrate any associated Jira projects prior to migrating Confluence. Test your Jira macro links in the source instance to ensure that they are pointing to the correct Confluence instance. If you’re migrating a complete instance from one platform to another, make sure you update the application links between all of your Atlassian applications. Don’t forget to update any 3rd-party integrations you may have in place and notify any teams who may be accessing content or data through the Confluence REST API that the URL will be changing.

Successful Migration

Needs change over time, and migration and consolidation of Confluence instances can become a stressful endeavor. By following these tips you’ll have some tools to ensure success and keep your teams, users and customers happy. Visit Atlassian Cloud Migration's page here.

Topics: atlassian blog confluence migrations tips cloud cloud migration
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: jira atlassian blog confluence collaboration
7 min read

A Guide on How to Import Linked Issues into Jira from CSV | Praecipio Consulting

By Morgan Folsom on Nov 6, 2018 6:24:00 PM

This resource is for you if you've read Atlassian's documentation but are still confused on how to import linked issues.

Using the external system importer, Jira admins are able to import CSV spreadsheets into Jira to create new issues or update existing ones. This guide is an overview on how to use the External System Importer to create issue links. Note: This is not a comprehensive guide. Before reviewing this information you should understand Atlassian's guide on importing data from CSV. 

Requirements

Your file must meet the basic requirements described in the above-mentioned Atlassian reference material. For the different link types, any additional prerequisites are outlined below. 

How it works

When importing, each issue is assigned a unique ID, which is used when creating links. This ID can be the Issue Key, the Issue Id, or any Unique Identifier that you choose. Once the issues have been identified, you can link them in a variety of ways. 

What should I use for an ID?

  • Issue Key - Use this if the issue already exists in Jira. This is easiest if you are using data exported from Jira, as links export with Issue Key.
  • Other Unique Identifier - If the issue you're referencing doesn't exist in Jira yet, this is your option, which is particularly useful if you're importing linked data from another system that already has an ID assigned.

Examples

Sub-tasks and Parents

To create a sub-task/parent link, you use the Issue Id and Parent Id fields. Issue Id and Parent Id should each have their own columns in the spreadsheet. You can use whichever ID type you have decided on. In the below example, the issues are assigned consecutive numbers as IDs. This will work with any sub-task type issue types.

The spreadsheet should look something like this:

Issue Key
Issue Type
Summary
Issue ID
Parent ID
SCRUM-1 Story Ability to reserve an item for 2 hrs and return to it later 1  
SCRUM-2 Sub-task Create unit tests 2 1

When mapping the CSV columns to the fields:

Sub task and parent mapping in Jira

Importing Standard Link Types

If all of the issues in the spreadsheet are new (i.e., they do not exist in JIRA yet), you do not need to include an Issue Key. 

When importing issues using standard issue links (Epics, blocks, duplicates, etc.), you will follow a similar structure as before. You will still map Issue ID to a unique identifier, but instead of using Parent Id, you will use the specific link type. Each link type requires its own column, as shown below, allowing you to import multiple types of links at once. 

If any of the issues already exist in Jira, be sure to enter a value into the Issue Key field. You can import issues in any combination: whether all, some, or none of the issues already existing in Jira. 

Issue Key
Issue Type
Summary
Issue ID
Link "blocks"
Link "relates"
  Story As an admin, I'd like to import issues into Jira 123 456  
  Story As an admin, I'd like to link Jira issues 456   123

When mapping the CSV columns to the fields:

Importing standard link types in Jira

Here's an example of what one of the newly imported issues above looks like:

newly imported issues

It is important to note that Portfolio for Jira's parent linking functions differently than the standard issue links. Portfolio for Jira uses a custom field "Parent Link" to create the connection, and for this reason, it has different requirements for importing. 

For these links, you'll need to use the Issue Key, otherwise the field will not recognize any other IDs, which means that the issues must exist in Jira before you can create a Portfolio parent link via import. In this case, there needs to be a column with Issue Keys mapped to the Parent Link field. Note that all hierarchy levels above Epic use this same field, so you can have only one column. However, the Portfolio hierarchy must be respected; if you try to link an Initiative directly to a Story, for example, you will receive an error on import. 

The example below shows what it might look like if your hierarchy was configured as: Initiative - Epic - Story. The Epic would be linked to the initiative using the Parent Link field, but the Story is linked to the Epic through the Epic link. 

Issue Key
Issue Type
Summary
Link "Epic"
Parent Link
SCRUM-1 Story Make the server more efficient SCRUM-2  
SCRUM-2 Epic Blazing-fast server   SCRUM-3
SCRUM-3 Initiative World Class Product Experience    

 

Once imported, the issues appear in Portfolio like this:

Imported issues in Jira Portfolio

Now it's your turn to Import and Link!

Once you have your file prepped as described above, you can import issue links into Jira. If you run into any trouble, be sure to check:

  1. Your mappings -  Are the correct columns mapped to the right fields?
  2. Field values - Do I have the right values?
  3. IDs - Have I used the right type of ID mapping? 

As always, before importing large files, be sure to start with small amounts of data and test regularly. 

 

Now that you have your imported issues linked, feel free to check praecipio.com for other helpful tips on using the Atlassian tools.

Topics: jira atlassian blog how-to portfolio tips
2 min read

Getting to DevOps: Where to start? Where is done?

By Michael Kelly on Sep 25, 2018 11:00:00 AM

As with life, the only constant in DevOps is change. To position your teams to seamlessly flow with the changes and to empower them to innovate, some of the old ideas on Operations and Development practices must be left behind. An integral component of DevOps is culture. An iterative approach to a collective ownership should be taken when planning your move toward a DevOps environment. You can start your DevOps journey by advocating for the adoption of a consolidation of tools designed specifically for DevOps, which provides an environment of transparency and ease of use.


Agile

Adopting Agile development practices, iterative planning and short cycles can alleviate the frustrations that fester as ill-planned deadlines are not met. Developers will be more empowered to meet shorter competitive deadlines while working appropriately planned sprints and have more time to innovate and experiment. Agile development will also be far less likely to produce bugs that are difficult to locate and fix.

Continuous Integration

Adopting the use of CI, you can avoid code that may have to be completely redone when it fails in production. Tests performed on small changes to the code, committed several times a day, have proven to be less prone to failure. Smaller changes lead to higher quality, have less risk, and allow for easier code reviews and locating problems.


Infrastructure as Code to define test, prod, and other environments has proven very successful. Self-service infrastructure for developers to have provisioned, tested against, and disposed of, can bring your team to a place of continuous learning and experimentation and make reactive scrambling to determine what is broken a thing of the past. Utilizing these methods, environments can stay in closer parity with fewer differences and remove the surprises when tests pass on the test environment, but fail in production deployments, as tests are more complete and valid.

Monitoring

Monitoring infrastructure, operating systems, application, and third-party cloud services are crucial in observing trends, understanding the health, and receiving an important feedback loop. Tying all of the monitoring together with a tool specifically designed to do so, and having alerts visible to everyone involved will provide transparency, trends to act proactively on, and ensure that the end user is receiving the highest quality product.

ChatOps

ChatOps is not the same as IM, or instant messaging. ChatOps tools have the capability to integrate with other tools. Seamless integration makes statuses of all the components transparent at all times. Utilizing ChatOps in your DevOps environment provides faster and continuous communication at all phases, from planning to a commit to a production deployment and its effect on the end users.  

Continuous Communication

Select tools that enable continuous communication.

Feedback loops should be real time and visible to teams at all times.

To consider your environment DevOps, you should be in a state of constant and iterative improvementAgile practices, CI, Monitoring, ChatOps, and the flow of Continuous Communication are all necessary steps to reach this goal.

If you're still interested in our approach to DevOps, be sure to register for our upcoming webinar "DevOps: An Interpersonal Approach" on October 10!

Topics: atlassian blog devops process-consulting consulting-services
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

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: atlassian blog devops process-consulting tools consulting-services atlassian-products
4 min read

Save Millions in a Matter of Minutes with Jira Service Desk

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 23, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Automation saves teams from the monotony of repeatable processes. More importantly, it saves businesses time and money. According to a recent report by our partner Splunk and Quocirca, organizations face an average of 1,200 IT Incidents every month. Using automation to reduce the time it takes to resolve these incidents is a no-brainer. In this article, we'll describe how you can implement time and cost saving business process automation rules in a matter of minutes using Jira Service Desk.

Note: On November 9, 2020, Atlassian announced Jira Service Management, the next generation of Jira Service Desk. Jira Service Management is an ITSM solution built on Jira to help IT, operations, development, and business teams collaborate at high velocity. It empowers teams to respond to business changes rapidly and deliver great customer and employee service experiences.

Out-of-the-Box Automation with Jira Service Desk

Many tasks are iterative, time-consuming and potentially prone to error, and are therefore great candidates for automation. Jira Service Desk (JSD) offers out-of-the-box automation functionality that can be configured in the Project Settings of your JSD project. Some of the preconfigured automation blueprints allow teams to set up rules that can do the following:

  • Close resolved issues after a period of inactivity
  • Re-open issues when a customer comments on a resolved issue
  • Transition issues between 'Waiting on customer' and 'Waiting for support' statuses on comment
  • Notify agents when issues are at risk of breaching SLAs
  • Triage email requests based on keywords 
  • Update linked issues when related issues are transitioned or edited

Jira Service Desk also enables Custom Rules to automate business processes that are outside the predefined scenarios. 

 In the Jira Service Desk interface, users can easily add parameters for triggers, conditions, and actions to create custom rules.

The logic follows a WHEN → IF → THEN formula with the following options:

When (triggers):

  • Comment added
  • Comment edited
  • Issue created
  • Issue resolution changed
  • Status changed
  • A linked issue is transitioned
  • Participant added
  • Organizations added to issue 
  • Approval required
  • SLA time remaining

If (conditions):

  • Issue matches (JQL)
  • Comment Visibility (internal/public)
  • User type (customer, not a customer, agent, not an agent)
  • Comment contains (key phrase)

Then (actions):

  • Transition issue
  • Add comment
  • Alert user
  • Edit request type
  • Edit issue
  • Webhook
  • Send email

Automation in Practice

Setting the priority of incoming incidents

The Priority field in Jira can (and should) be used to help triage incoming incidents upon creation. That being said, exposing the field to Service Desk customers is usually not a good idea, as most people tend to over-emphasize the priority of incidents affecting them. One of the best ways to set the Priority field is to use one or more data points to automatically set it while the issue is being created. We helped a Fortune 15 Technology company implement a Prioritization Matrix that calculated (among other things) the custom fields Impact and Severity to set the priority of the issue. 

  • The field Impact can be used to measure the number of users affected with values such as 1, 2-10, 11-50, 51-250, 251-1000, 1001+. These values could also be represented in words such as "I am impacted", "My team is impacted", "My organization is impacted", "The whole company", or for customer-facing incidents, "1 user impacted", "Several users impacted", "All users impacted". 
  • The field Severity can be used to measure the degree of impact. Some standard values that we've seen used for this field are, from least to most severe: "Enhancement", "Inconvenience", "Normal", "Critical", and "Blocking."

A similar solution is described in more detail in this Atlassian Support article: Calculating priority automatically

Save Millions–Really?

“The average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. Downtime, at the low end, can be as much as $140,000 per hour, $300,000 per hour on average, and as much as $540,000 per hour at the higher end."

Gartner

According to Gartner, “The average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute. Downtime, at the low end, can be as much as $140,000 per hour, $300,000 per hour on average, and as much as $540,000 per hour at the higher end." Using the average downtime cost of $5,600 per minute, the average company hits $1,000,000 in just under 3 hours. So, yes, millions are at stake and the costs can add up very quickly.

Almost any reduction in mean-time-to-recovery (MTTR) can represent a cost savings, and a quality service desk can help achieve those savings. The Jira Service Desk automation functionality is intuitive to use and the short time it takes to implement will pay dividends by saving your employees time and by avoiding lost revenue by resolving IT incidents more quickly. 

Learn more about how Jira Service Desk is the right ITSM solution for you. And if you're already using Jira Service Desk but need to maximize your investment and implement ITIL best practices, we can help.

Topics: jira atlassian blog assessments optimization consulting-services itsm
2 min read

Five Signs You Can Forgo A Custom Jira Service Desk Implementation

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 23, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Implementation

In many walks of life, the word custom is synonymous with time and money. This is particularly true of technical solutions, and Jira Service Desk is no exception. It’s not unusual for a Jira Service Desk implementation to result in an intensive months-long project involving significant resources for the development of custom workflows. If that doesn’t sound ideal, you’ll be relieved to learn that there’s another option: A Quick Start implementation by Praecipio Consulting.

Quick Start implementation is exactly what it sounds like. We get you up and running with Jira Service Desk in weeks rather than months, allowing you to realize a speedy return on your investment and reduced time to value. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we take our baseline best practice implementation and tune it further to fit your organization's needs.

So how do you know if this approach is best for you? Here are five signs that you can safely forgo a fully customized Jira Service Desk implementation and realize the benefits of Quick Start implementation by Praecipio Consulting.

1. You’re not looking for bells and whistles.

Jira Service Desk is touted as an enterprise-grade service desk platform. But the nice thing about it is you don’t have to be a large enterprise to take advantage of its benefits. If you know you don’t need extra customizations, don’t let a large consulting provider tell you otherwise. You can still realize Jira’s value by implementing common workflows that we have developed for other organizations over the last decade under ITIL best practices.

2. Your service organization is small, new or both.

As service desk organizations grow, their workflows tend to become more complex, and Jira’s flexibility is an advantage. However, if your organization is small, new or both, you probably only require basic workflows. Don’t worry—you can always take advantage of Jira’s flexibility later when you have a business need to evolve your workflows.

3. You want to adopt ITIL—but haven’t a clue where to start.

As a framework of best practices for delivering IT services, ITIL aligns IT services with the needs of the business. While Jira Service Desk is ITIL certified, it requires careful oversight and expertise to implement. The out-of-the-box workflows require some tweaking to enable you to fully realize ITIL’s benefits—but there’s not a lot of variation from one implementation to another. A well-experienced consultancy can implement ITIL-compliant workflows without significantly increasing your implementation time or cost.

4. Your organization has a low-risk tolerance.

Every project has some risk associated with it. It stands to reason that the longer, more complex the project, the higher the level of risk. If you can’t afford to wait months to use Jira Service Desk “in the field” and demonstrate success, then you need a Quick Start. Once you realize a quick win with an industry standard implementation, then you can go back and expand your implementation. 

5. Your organization lacks the necessary resources.

A custom implementation is great if you lack the necessary skills in-house, but it won’t necessarily remove the burden from your staff. Their input will be needed to determine what workflows are needed and how they should be customized. Relying on these resources for several months can have quite an impact on productivity and morale.

If any of the above are true for your organization, then we encourage you to consider a Quick Start implementation. Our number one goal is your success and we are committed to helping you realize your goals. Contact us and we’ll help you determine if a Quick Start is right for you.

Topics: jira atlassian blog assessments implementation optimization process-consulting consulting-services itsm
3 min read

Five Things to Love about Jira Service Desk

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

Note: On November 9, 2020, Atlassian announced Jira Service Management, the next generation of Jira Service Desk. Jira Service Management is an ITSM solution built on Jira to help IT, operations, development, and business teams collaborate at high velocity. It empowers teams to respond to business changes rapidly and deliver great customer and employee service experiences.

Over the years, Praecipio Consulting has developed and implemented service desk solutions for a range of clients using Jira's powerful out-of-the-box capabilities and a few key add-ons; however, there was always something missing. When Jira Service Desk was first introduced, we were excited to see Atlassian embracing their customer (and partner) feedback. Over the few short years it has been in the market, Jira Service Desk has revolutionized the way teams serve their customers both internal and external. If you couldn't tell, we're in love with Jira Service Desk. Here are five things to make you fall in love with it too. 

Customer Portals make requesting help easy

Jira Service Desk provides customer-friendly portals to assist your customers in creating Requests. The portal can be configured to speak your customer's language while providing Agents pre-set information describing the customers' issues. Give your request types custom names and icons while mapping them to existing Jira issues. Add your company's branding, color schemes, and flair to personalize your Portals. These customizations look great and are a great way to automatically triage and resolve your customers' requests.

Approval tracking and visibility

Visibility is key when it comes to approvals. By assigning an Approver to an issue, Agents can see who needs to approve Requests at each step. Approvers will be listed on the Agent view as well as the Portal along with the details of what they're approving. Once the Request has been approved, this decision will be recorded with the ticket and can be referenced at any point during the lifecycle of the work. This helps everyone keep track of the official stamp of approval.

Handy Automation

Jira Service Desk has many out-of-the-box automations to trigger different steps in your workflows. Using automation to facilitate interaction between Customers and Agents stops support Requests from getting lost. Since a Request can almost always be 'Waiting on Customer' or 'Waiting on Support', you can use automation to transition between these two statuses when someone comments on the Request. When the ticket is 'Waiting on Support' and the support team asks a question in a comment, this Request can automatically move to 'Waiting on Customer'. Never worry about tickets being forgotten again! If you don't see what you need, create a custom automation rule using simple When, If, Else, Then logic to automate everything from a Notification to a Workflow Transition. 

SLAs that work for you

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) should help increase visibility into how a team can best work together, not something that adds pressure to situations outside of your control. Configure SLAs so that they are paused when a ticket is 'Waiting on Customer' or 'Blocked'. This lets you understand how your team is working while measuring performance in a fair, practical way. Using Jira Query Language (JQL), tune your SLAs to a specific Customer, Request type, even Priority or Severity to ensure your team meets or exceeds your Customer agreements. 

Confluence Knowledge-Base Integration

Integrate your Confluence knowledge base to help your customers fix their problems before they're submitted to the team. While a customer is typing in a request name, Confluence uses SmartGraph (tm) to suggest articles that relate to the request. The suggestions could be articles with similar words in the title or articles that other Customers have clicked on while submitting similar requests. Customers can self-serve and ultimately finish what might have gone through the entire support process. This saves the support team time and helps the customer get their problem fixed right away.

While there are many more reasons we love Jira Service Desk, these five things make us here at Praecipio Consulting fall in love with it even more every day. If you haven't experienced this for yourself, contact us for a demo or visit our collection of ITSM with Jira Service Desk Webinars here. We're more than happy to share the love. 

Topics: jira atlassian blog itsm jira-service-desk jira-service-management
4 min read

Reduce the Pain of Outages with Jira Service Desk

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 3, 2018 11:00:00 AM

During an outage, if you feel like your computer is on fire, chaos is abounding, and the world is coming to an end, it's typically a good sign that your incident management process could use a bit of tuning. Gartner indicated in a now-famous blog post that an outage typically costs an organization $5,600 per minute of downtime. An hour-long outage at that rate can cost an organization nearly $350,000. As Amazon or Knight Capital will tell you, that number can be significantly increased if it occurs in a revenue-generating system. 

Note: On November 9, 2020, Atlassian announced Jira Service Management, the next generation of Jira Service Desk. Jira Service Management is an ITSM solution built on Jira to help IT, operations, development, and business teams collaborate at high velocity. It empowers teams to respond to business changes rapidly and deliver great customer and employee service experiences.

IT teams must find a smart, stable response and resolution to these incidents, usually very quickly in hopes of calming down a manager doing his best Vernon Dursley impression. With the myriad of tools available, at Praecipio Consulting, we've seen IT teams develop creative solutions to acknowledge, respond, and ultimately resolve downed services and systems. But like most processes, we've also seen overly-complicated procedures requiring messy integrations that are unreliable, at best. The key to managing an outage gracefully is to understand not only that the system is down, but ownership, recovery procedures, and communication. 

At Praecipio Consulting, we typically see three big inhibitors IT teams face in reducing downtime:

  • working in multiple systems 
  • alert overload 
  • lack of communication and visibility

Working in Multiple Systems

As microservices become more prevalent in IT organizations, ops engineers are frequently required to work in several disparate systems, resulting in costly context switches that impact productivity. In addition to the (very expensive) wasted time that this incurs, information can be lost in the transition. An effective solution is a single system with several integration points, where information can flow into and be actioned on. Reducing the need for context switches helps users retain information and provides a single source of truth. As a bonus, after the incident is triaged and resolved, the information on how the incident was resolved is all in one location.

This is just one of the many reasons we love the Atlassian products. Jira Service Desk, in combination with Confluence as a knowledge base, can serve as the central location for all things outage. Whether or not the creation of a request is triggered automatically or manually, the creation of a central ticket where the team can swarm, communicate, and collaborate is essential in dealing with the outage quickly. Coupled with the knowledge base filled with Standard Operating Procedures, the IT team can reduce the chaos and confusion of an outage and move toward resolution. Notifications can be sent automatically through Jira Service Desk to any interested parties using Filter Subscriptions and the root cause analysis can be shared via a page in Confluence. 

Alert Overload

There are a plethora of wonderful monitoring tools in the market today providing a wealth of information to system engineers. The problem is that during an outage, we don't want to wade through a mountain of data to figure out what happened. Instead, we need a way to reduce the noise and get straight to the source of the incident.

Enter companies like Moogsoft, who specialize in aggregating all of that data and sifting through it to identify cause and effect. Building out timelines of when certain alerts were triggered and applying machine learning to identify patterns can greatly reduce the time it takes to get to a root cause.

Of course, an integration into your single system for work is critical. The information should funnel in automatically, thus enhancing the system instead of pulling users away from it. Integrating alert systems into Jira Service Desk to trigger the creation of an Outage, running out of disk space, or even access alerts is invaluable to an IT team looking to respond and resolve as quickly as possible. 

Lack of Communication and Visibility

We spoke with a client recently who was reminiscing on 70-person emergency bridges, recalling how chaotic and comical they were. After a good laugh, we were glad he was able to reminisce on those times, as for many IT teams this is still an all-too-real part of the job. 

We prefer systems that provide an integration with a collaboration tool and enable a user to proactively reach out to the right support. Ideally, once we're in the communication and collaboration stage, relevant information has already been gathered to a single ticket. Spinning up a chat room from that ticket, and then using an application like xMatters to proactively alert the on-call members of the right support group, enables us to quickly and effectively get the right people looking at the issue. When integrated with Jira Service Desk, the chat room is created via the click of a button and if integrated with an asset management tool such as Insight by Riada, the right people are automatically notified and can join the conversation. 

Connecting the right people with the right process in the right tools empowers IT teams to quickly and effectively address incidents. While we all know incidents are painful, the process to identify, work on, and resolve them doesn't have to be. Having a mission control system that intelligently handles alerts, allows for proactive notifications, and promotes collaboration can drastically reduce the time spent working incidents. 

How we can help

If you're interested in learning more about how you can establish your own mission control system, give us a call. We can assess your current toolchain configuration and provide next steps on how you can move forward with the technology you have, or help you find the tools that work best for your team. 

Topics: jira atlassian blog assessments process-consulting consulting-services itsm
3 min read

Mitigate Risk with Secure Content for Confluence

By Praecipio Consulting on Jun 26, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Sensitive information and the security of that information is becoming increasingly critical for organizations across the globe. GDPR, PHI, HIPAA, PCI, and other sensitive information legislation has had a profound effect on what information can be stored where and who can access this information. At the same time, the need for centralization and collaboration for disparate teams has also increased. At Praecipio Consulting, we believe balancing the need for security with collaboration is a critical concept in content management. Secure Content for Confluence Server and Data Center helps users store and manage sensitive information while balancing Confluence's powerful content collaboration. 

As the number of users and amount of content begins to grow in Confluence, security becomes almost impossible to manage. As teams are encouraged to collaborate, the need to protect sensitive information such as passwords, data, reports, etc. also grows. While restricting pages can be a solution to protecting sensitive information, the ability to scale Space or Page content restrictions becomes impossible. Manual intervention from a Confluence or Space Administrator is required or, in the worst case scenario, sensitive information is unintentionally exposed putting the organization at risk. The more the users use Confluence, the more challenging content organization becomes. Without the use of the Secure Content macro, we've seen teams use page restrictions, complex page trees, page or excerpt include macros to manage confidential information. The downside to this approach is the lack of structure it creates inside of Confluence. If there are several restricted pages created separately from the page discussing the primary topic, not only does this make the content severely disorganized, it introduces an unnecessary risk of accidental exposure of sensitive information. In order to prevent clutter inside Confluence spaces and mitigate risk, Secure Content protects sensitive information inside the relevant page eliminating the need to create or reference additional pages. 

Secure Content for Confluence Server and Data Center can mitigate this risk with its inline content encryption and robust, yet flexible, permissions. To ensure content is only visible to authenticated users, Secure Content blocks are encrypted before being stored in the database and are only decrypted when an authorized user provides their Confluence credentials. The Secure Content block evaluates the password and if it matches the user's Confluence password, it will authorize the user to either read or read and edit the content inside the block. Additionally, Secure Content uses symmetric AES encryption with a key that is determined when the plugin is first installed. This key is inaccessible even if a user has access to the Confluence Database itself. 

In addition to the encryption functionality, assigning permissions for a Secure Content block helps the owner of the block manage the visibility of each user or user group. There are two conditions that must be met before content is decrypted and displayed for a user or group. First, the user/group must successfully be authenticated using their Confluence password to access the block. Second, the user/group must have permission to read/edit content in the block. Aside from the owner of the block, who will always have read/edit permissions, both conditions must be met to give users entry into the protected content. 

Every Secure Content block is assigned a key. A Secure Content key is a self-made unique identifier that allows users to add the block on different pages with the same properties as the original block. This is especially useful for organizations that have hand-offs between teams. For example, an operations team may provide 24/7 support for their internal or external customers. During an incident, credentials to access or reboot a system can be easily shared in a central location and perpetuated to both business-hours operations personnel and off-hours operations personnel. This prevents sharing of credentials through unencrypted channels such as text message or email. It also prevents duplication of effort, allowing users to spend more time troubleshooting and resolving the issue. 

Combining security and collaboration, Secure Content for Confluence Server and Data Center is the perfect solution to managing sensitive information while leveraging the powerful collaboration abilities in Confluence. It relieves the administrative burden of managing Space and Page restrictions and mitigates the risk of exposure of sensitive information. It allows organizations to maintain an organized content structure without compromising the security of critical systems or personnel. Secure Content makes managing sensitive content inside Confluence organized and protected. Try it free from the Atlassian Marketplace here

If you run into issues with your Secure Content macro, please contact support@praecipio.com for troubleshooting help or information on Secure Content. 

Topics: atlassian blog secure-content-macro consulting-services
3 min read

Achieve GDPR Compliance with the Atlassian Stack

By Praecipio Consulting on May 25, 2018 11:00:00 AM

What is GDPR?

If any of your partners, employees or customers are citizens or businesses in the EU, its time to review your company's compliance strategy. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new European Union privacy standard that mandates the ability for someone to have access to their personally identifying information (PII) and have the ability to change the information or "be forgotten" by requesting the removal of that data. These requirements can make achieving backward compliance standards very difficult. This new privacy law will impact everyone, from C-level executives to new hires and likely every department to include Human Resources, Information Security, Compliance and more. Regulations surrounding GDPR will affect most organizations, large and small, regardless of whether your business does business directly in the EU.

With the right tools and know-how, companies using Atlassian products like Jira and Confluence can not only achieve forward compliance by the May 25, 2018 deadline but also attain assurance that pre-existing content is compliant as well.

Why GDPR?

GDPR was designed to strengthen and unify data for European Union residents, regardless of where their data is used, processed, or stored. GDPR essentially legislates a lot of common sense data security ideas, like minimizing the collection of personal data, deleting personal data when no longer necessary, restricting access, and securing data through its entire lifecycle. But compliance violations can have costly consequences including Fines and penalties Your organization can face damaging penalties of 4% of annual global annually or 20 mil. euros. 

The GDPR Checklist

Backward compliance

Praecipio Consulting has over 11 years of expertise in Atlassian products alone. As an Atlassian Platinum Partner, we have full-service solutions ready to go to get your organization's pre-existing Atlassian application data within GDPR compliance quickly and confidently.

Praecipio's Solutions Consultants come armed with the tools to identify, review, and address the content that may not be in compliance throughout your Atlassian stack. We will conduct a thorough scan of your application's existing data to include all version histories. We produce reports that help your teams identify violations, use that feedback to improve and refine our search algorithms to ensure the highest level of coverage possible.

  • Identify: we use tools and techniques developed in-house to locate potentially non-compliant data within JIRA, Confluence and other Atlassian applications.
  • Review: We then provide a detailed analysis and report of our findings and conduct a thorough review of potential violations with your team.
  • Address: Praecipio then incorporates findings from the review into further refinement of identification and generates an execution plan to redact pre-existing content to ensure compliance of your legacy data.

Maintaining Compliance in Confluence with Secure Content 2.0

Once your data is fully reviewed and in compliance, you'll need solutions to keep it that way. After all that effort and expense, you don't want to be one Confluence page edit away from a violation. For Confluence, Praecipio Software offers Secure Content 2.0 to easily secure and limit access to sensitive page content. We use 256-bit encryption to ensure any new content will not expose your organization to penalties in the future.

Your organization can invest considerable time and expense to get your Atlassian data GDPR compliant, but you'll need the tools to keep it that way. Praecipio Software's Secure Content Confluence App, available on the Atlassian Marketplace, gives your team an easy and safe way to store content securely that is both encrypted and with granular-level access control. This means sensitive data is securely encrypted on your database and access set by the author at the group or even individual level.

Secure Content is designed for robust security and ease of use. Ideal for shared, sensitive content such as passwords, data, reports - anything you need to restrict access to; anything that would likely fall under the 'identify and remove' GDPR regulation requirements.

Features Include:

  • Owner Report macro: See all your Secure Content in one place. Drop it on any page and be a click away from all of your Secure Content across the entire Confluence instance for time-saving administration and editing.
  • Transferable ownership: Control of Secure Content blocks can be optionally transferred by the Confluence administrator if needed. Or the owner can lock it down to make sure they maintain complete privacy and control, even from Confluence administrators.
  • Implicit rendering: Less sensitive but still protected data can be optionally made to render automatically with the rest of the page content but only to Authorized users.
  • Access request: Non-Authorized users can request access with a single click, alerting the content owner immediately for action via Confluence notifications.

Custom Compliance Solutions

Praecipio Software's custom development solutions can be engaged as well to address your organization's unique GDPR data security and compliance concerns.

Topics: atlassian blog assessments confluence process-consulting secure-content-macro consulting-services
2 min read

Thanks to Portfolio for Jira, Everyone Has a Seat at the Table

By Praecipio Consulting on Nov 21, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, we can't help but think about our favorite things this time of year. We have opportunities to see family, friends and relatives, enjoy good food, and talk about everything that happened throughout the year. It is great to catch up and visit about what's happened, and what's going to happen. It's a time when families and friends reflect, collaborate, and even begin planning for the next year (because all families get along perfectly, right?).

What if you had a holiday table year-round for your organization?

If a project is delayed, or a change needs to be made, wouldn't it be nice to update the entire plan and everyone on the team at once?

Atlassian's Portfolio for Jira is the solution. 

The core of Jira Software is a workflow engine. It allows you to track issues and tasks in a predefined, customizable workflow. Now, take this awesome workflow capability, and lay a forecasting and visualization tool on top of it - that's Portfolio for Jira. Atlassian’s Portfolio for Jira is the road mapping and visibility tool used to forecast and track long-term plans, increasing visibility and business alignment. Portfolio provides a living, breathing plan for teams and leadership to stay up-to-date on existing plans, all while forecasting new long-term plans.

The best part? It's not just for software teams. 

Portfolio for Jira organized existing marketing tasks (entered as issues) into releases and themes, giving our entire team the visibility we needed to stay on track.

Teams that can benefit from Jira Software: 

  • Human Resources
  • Operations
  • Marketing
  • Procurement
  • Legal
  • Sales
  • And more 

Because we track just about everything we do - including marketing activities - in Jira, the marketing team at Praecipio Consulting was able to use Portfolio for campaign planning and execution. As a test case, we launched a product marketing campaign for our newest add-on in the Atlassian Marketplace, Turbo Kit for Jira. Portfolio for Jira helped our team plan, forecast, manage, analyze, track and report on our campaign efforts. 

Change happens – all the time. Portfolio can help you, your team, and leadership stay well-informed on project and planning statuses, and it can also help you see the big picture and track business goals (not just your team or department!). It is the ultimate visibility tool. 

We'll dig into this a little more in our upcoming webinar Portfolio for Jira: Best Practices. Be sure to grab a seat at our table to learn more!

Learn more about Portfolio for Jira in the Atlassian marketplace.

 

Topics: jira atlassian blog marketing plan release training jira-software marketplace-apps
4 min read

How Samsung does lean ITIL® with Jira Service Desk

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 13, 2017 11:00:00 AM

October 12, 2017

This is a guest blog written on behalf of Jack Harding, IT Consultant at Praecipio Consulting and Larry Brock, IT Chief of Staff at Samsung Austin R&D Center and Austin AUG Leader. Based on their presentation “The Power of Process: How Samsung Implemented ITIL” at Summit San Jose 2017.


The IT team at Samsung’s Austin R&D Center had the talent to be successful. Yet, there were bottlenecks getting in the way of their efficiency and productivity. Poor communication, lack of visibility, bad process, and unorganized tools were hampering their ability to support the rest of the organization and realize their full potential. Sound familiar?

As an IT organization within a very successful processor design business unit, they realized they needed to do better or they could potentially cost their business unit speed and design quality – the things their reputation was built upon.

 

Samsung’s Austin R&D Center, with the help of Praecipio Consulting, decided to go lean and set up a simple ITIL®  implementation of Jira Service Desk for Incident, Problem, and Change Management processes. Over the course of only 3 weeks, they were able to mitigate those pitfalls and ultimately increase productivity across their IT organization.

What exactly is ITIL and how should my team use it?

ITIL®  (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) is the most widely-used IT service management framework in the world. It’s essential for organizations to align the assets and functions of IT to the overall business. As the de-facto standard for ITSM, ITIL places your organization on the path to deliver the best, customer-centric service management.

The ITIL framework has been developed over the course of 25+ years and the entire library consists of numerous volumes containing thousands of pages of prescriptive process definition. While there is much to be gained from the specification as a whole, sometimes a lighter touch is needed – maybe even necessary. In Samsung’s case, they needed core ITIL processes but also needed to prove ROI quickly.

Before you even decide to implement a framework like ITIL, you should identify your team’s pain points and think about what processes are critical for your IT team. Most teams start with the four key ITIL disciplines, Incident ManagementProblem Management,  Change ManagementService Request Management, and decide which are the highest priority.

Find your pain points

Start by assessing your team. How do they communicate with each other, customers and other teams? Do they have the right processes? Are those processes being followed? Do customers have visibility into their request status? Some of the most common ITSM pain points that IT teams experience are:

  • Process: Processes are often poorly defined or not implemented properly within the tools

  • Communication: Teams work independently of one another and don’t focus on communication outside of their silo

  • Transparency: Customer or partner teams are often unable to see into pertinent processes and work items

Identifying these pain points will help you prioritize which ITIL processes to implement first and how to structure them for your team.

Samsung’s lean ITIL processes

Samsung’s Austin R&D Center had similar challenges. They didn’t have a process for incident, problem or change management, no single source of truth, disjointed communication and a total lack of transparency.

We realized, we have got to do this better than what we’re doing now. – Larry Brock, IT Chief of Staff, Samsung Austin R&D

They already had a clear process in Jira Service Desk for service request management, but none of the other core ITIL processes. They knew they needed structure for incident, problem and change management but needed help to implement them in a lean way. So, Praecipio Consulting helped them take these processes from just theory, to practice in order to see ROI quickly.

Process

The team began to define, publish and follow processes built from their own experience in addition to input and feedback from customers. They also built a multi-faceted workflow allowing for easy escalation of an event into an incident, while automatically generating and linking problem and change issues.

Communication

Praecipio Consulting helped the team create notification templates in order to build comprehensive and consistent messaging into their process. Using queues, they built an attractive change review dashboard with automated removal of stale and abandoned requests. Now, change issues have become the single source of truth regarding what IT has planned, in progress, and completed regarding infrastructure or computing environment.

Transparency

Because changes are now all documented, customers are finding creative ways to access and use this information, including in their own dashboards. The IT change calendar now shows when changes are scheduled and they’ve even seen it layered into Team and Department calendars outside of the IT team.

Evaluating their pain points and creating lean processes to improve productivity has helped them be more transparent within the team, with customers and key business stakeholders and has allowed them to provide better and more timely reporting. The ITIL framework is just that: a framework. It’s up to your team to determine what matters most and how robust or lean you want your processes to be.

Topics: atlassian blog implementation consulting-services itsm jira-service-desk jira-software
2 min read

Jira Reports & Dashboards

By Praecipio Consulting on Apr 21, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Expert led, hands-on Atlassian training

This course is for those who are new to Jira dashboards and reports. You'll learn how to use Jira's out-of-the box reporting and dashboard capabilities to view and assess progress and bottlenecks within projects. In hands-on exercises, you'll create and configure a project dashboard and learn how to configure dashboard gadgets. You’ll also learn how to read Jira Agile reports, configure a wallboard, and create a multi-project dashboard. The course discusses dashboard best practices and pitfalls and how to ensure your reporting reflects the right metrics at the right time. This course should put you on the path to using one of Jira's core strengths: displaying project status visually on fully customizable dashboards.

High-level topics

  1. Overview of each of the major Jira and Jira agile reports - the purpose of each, how to use, how to read and interpret the data
  2. How to create a dashboard and populate it with gadgets
  3. How to create a dashboard that tracks multiple projects
  4. How to configure gadgets so they display data as you need
  5. How to create and use a wallboard

Who should attend?

Agile project managers, scrum masters, technical managers, Jira system administrators, or anyone looking to learn more about Jira dashboards and reporting

Level: Introductory

Suggested prerequisites

Familiarity with Jira Agile, Jira Query Language (JQL), and basic Jira functionality

Course objectives

After attending this course, attendees should be able to:
- Identify and describe the purpose of the most commonly used reports in Jira and Jira Agile
- Create a dashboard, populate it with gadgets and configure the gadgets 
- Read and interpret Jira and Jira Agile reports 
- Create and use a wallboard 
- Create a dashboard that tracks multiple projects

When

Friday, April 28th 2017 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM (CST) 

Where 

Praecipio Consulting - 5918 West Courtyard Drive Suite 450, Austin, TX 78730

As an Authorized Atlassian Training Partner and Atlassian Platinum Enterprise Expert, we deliver value-added instruction and expertise to help you increase your knowledge of and throughput with the Atlassian product suite.

 

Topics: jira atlassian scaled-agile training jira-software
3 min read

Uniting Tech Giants | DocuSign for Atlassian

By Praecipio Consulting on Apr 21, 2017 11:00:00 AM

By Tony Mann (DocuSign)
Shared from the DocuSign Blog  

An interview with Steven Kling,

Principal of Product Development at Praecipio Consulting

With DocuSign Momentum fast approaching, we sat down with Steven Kling, Principal of Product Development at Praecipio Consulting – makers of DocuSign for Atlassian – to learn about the experience of building a DocuSign integration and what he’s most looking forward to at this year’s Momentum conference.

Q: Tell us about what led Praecipio Consulting to build a DocuSign integration?
A: We use DocuSign extensively at Praecipio Consulting. From Statements of Work to contracts in our Sales team, to everything internally from HR to Legal. As an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner, we use their suite exclusively for all of our processes, so an integration is something we wanted ourselves for Atlassian’s Confluence collaboration platform. We’re the experts in JIRA, Atlassian’s industry-dominating business, software, and service desk management platform, and we saw a huge potential market for regulatory compliance (FDA, SOX, etc) that required repetitive, signatures; especially given the various digital initiatives out there pushing adoption.

Q: What was the development process like?
A: I’m a veteran of many various integration efforts over the years; some more successful than others. One key factor is a strong partnership. DocuSign provided solid and reliable technical assistance the few times it was necessary to reach out. Nobody has a perfect API, but DocuSign’s is as close as I’ve seen with excellent documentation and a testing UI that made familiarization easy. It’s definitely one of the most well designed products I’ve worked with from an integration perspective.

Q: What lessons did you learn during the process that you can share with other people looking to build a DocuSign integration?
A: We learned a great deal about Adobe PDF, CSS and multipart http requests! We had thought we could rely on Atlassian’s bundled export utilities but these were not exposed APIs and we had to come up with our own export-to-PDF solution. It’s not something we had counted on. So make sure you know if the product you’re integrating with can hand you a pdf, or start cracking the books. As for multi-part http posts, we were caught between versions of Apache’s http offerings with wildly differing APIs for multi-part, which is required for sending documents. If you’re using Java you’re likely to use Apache, so go with the latest 4.5.x HttpComponents and be wary of which version when looking at examples and online documentation.

Q: What are the use cases and types of teams that can benefit from DocuSign for Atlassian?
A: We’ve got a suite of products to make any team that relies on signatures much more efficient and provide consistent traceability, built seamlessly into the Atlassian applications they use every day. My favorite example is an HR recruiter. Each new hire goes through stages of the hiring process that require signatures, but also captures a lot of personal information. Today’s standard at best is a repetitive set of documents sent via PDF in email attachments that, best case, are fillable but more typically must be printed, filled out, signed and scanned. The same information: Name, Address, Phone, SSN, etc entered each time. Depending on the HR team’s process, these will get saved to a share network drive or worse, printed and left on a desk or an unlocked filing cabinet. With DocuSign for JIRA, each needed document is sent automatically as the prospect’s JIRA is moved through the new hire workflow. Each DocuSign field (tab) filled in is captured as a JIRA field that can then populate subsequent documents further in the process and even on into the on-boarding tickets post-hire. Of course there are other use cases for Release Management, SOX Compliance, FDA CFR21 Part 11, Legal, and Sales – but the HR recruiter is as solid a value proposition I’ve seen. And its totally customizable to your current process. No major culture changes required!

Q: What can we look forward to seeing from you at Momentum 2017?
A: Well, on the developer track I’m going to focus on two things: First, a review of the use cases from requirements sign-off to release management for enterprise development teams and how DocuSign for Confluence, DocuSign for JIRA and DocuSign for HipChat (coming soon) can automate approvals and ensure traceably through the development life cycle. Then I’ll go into lessons learned, reviewing some of the technical challenges of integrating with DocuSign. I don’t think anyone has flexed the muscles of the DocuSign APIs as much as our team and we’re happy to pass on what we’ve learned!

See you at Momentum 2017

Make plans to catch Steven Kling’s presentation, Uniting Tech Giants: DocuSign for Atlassian (Thursday, May 4th at 10:00 AM – Developer Track) to learn more about how DocuSign for Atlassian can transform your approval processes, and to learn their best practices for DocuSign API integration.

Topics: atlassian blog docusign
4 min read

Ideation to Implementation with Lucidchart and the Atlassian Trio

By Praecipio Consulting on Feb 22, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Guest post by Lucidchart

As the first third-party app to integrate with Confluence, Jira, and HipChat, Lucidchart allows you to add diagrams to each of these Atlassian tools in order to clarify your ideas and foster collaboration. The Lucidchart add-on will feel like a natural extension of your Atlassian apps. Using Lucidchart in conjunction with this powerful trio can improve the effectiveness of your team collaboration all the way from ideation to implementation.

Start your brainstorm in HipChat

How many times have you kicked off a project with a team brainstorm consisting of a stuffy conference room, a single whiteboard, and a designated scribe? And how many times have you failed to take a photo of that whiteboard and lost your entire brain dump to the eraser?  

Forget the whiteboard and the conference room. Start a brainstorming discussion within a HipChat room and use a Lucidchart diagram as your virtual whiteboard. By typing /lucidchart in the message bar of any HipChat group room, you can get your whole team collaborating visually. Every member of your team, regardless of physical location, can add ideas to the diagram in real time. Ideation is documented in an editable format for easy reference. 

Any time you need to resurface a particular diagram for further discussion, simply use the Lucidchart share button to post your document to a HipChat room to invite more real-time collaboration.  

Store your ideas in Confluence

Once you have all your ideas documented and organized in a mind map, flowchart, or other diagram, use the Lucidchart Confluence add-on to ensure safekeeping. Share your diagrams on a centralized platform that anyone at your company can access. Add your diagram to an existing Confluence page to clarify the ideas already there, or start a new page for your diagram and add necessary context—both help to ensure employees have the right information for streamlined project completion. 

Even if you make edits to your diagrams in Lucidchart, those changes will be updated in Confluence without you having to re-upload a single diagram. Confluence can become a centralized platform serving as a single source of truth as you begin to carry out ideas.

Take action in Jira 

As you begin implementation, you can plan, track, and report on your projects within Jira. Add Lucidchart diagrams to supplement complicated ideas with eye-opening visuals—make it easy to understand what action is needed. 

Attaching your diagram to a Jira issue eliminates the hassle of emailing documents back and forth and trying to keep track of the most updated version. It’s the most efficient way to communicate with your team. 

Start using Lucidchart and the trio

Lucidchart and Atlassian can save any department time and money as they develop innovative solutions. Here are a few ways you can start using the combination of Lucidchart and Atlassian within your organization. 

  •  Product: Start with a Lucidchart document in HipChat to brainstorm product design with your team. Add the diagram to a Confluence page containing other crucial data that the whole team can reference. Once you start building the product, attach the diagram to the appropriate Jira tasks to communicate work that needs to be done.
  •  Engineering: If you’re dealing with a project involving previously documented architecture, post the existing UML or network diagram back to HipChat for further discussion. Edit the document to reflect proposed changes and then embed it in a Confluence page or attach it to a Jira issue to convey the underlying architecture.    
  •  Marketing: Create a flowchart in your marketing HipChat room to map out the different email campaigns currently running. This chart will help you identify areas where you need additional emails or where you need to cut or consolidate emails. Embed the diagram in Confluence so you can easily reference it as you make the proposed changes to your campaign flows. Then add it to Jira to track the emails being adjusted.

Pairing Lucidchart with your favorite Atlassian workplace applications can improve the efficiency and communication of your team. Make visual thinking a key part of moving a project from the whiteboard stages to a finished product. Learn more about Lucidchart’s Atlassian integrationsIf you would like to use Lucidchart with your Atlassian tools, please contact our friends at Praecipio Consulting.

Topics: jira atlassian blog confluence hipchat implementation lucidchart product-services integration
5 min read

Q/A: Best Atlassian Deployment Options for Your ROI

By Kristopher Hall on Feb 1, 2017 11:00:00 AM

In two recent studies*, 86% of IT organizations are concerned about delivering value to their organization and 80% of an IT department's budget is used in Keeping the Lights On (KTLO). As such, IT organizations are focusing more on the right ways to keep their applications happy and healthy. One of the most important decisions an IT organization can face is how to host their Atlassian applications. Depending on resources, experience, and budget, the best choice may not be obvious at first glance. There are pros and cons of each hosting method. The question to ask is where do you find the most value when considering each option? Maybe the IT organization is new (or the company is new) and is looking for a hosting option that will take little-to-nothing to spin up and maintain. In this case, Atlassian Cloud may be the perfect fit. But what if you have a large employee headcount and access to experienced IT resources and increased funding? Maybe it makes sense to host internally to maintain complete control or, for a more hands off approach, off-loading the maintenance and performance responsibilities to someone else. That's where Praecipio Consulting can assist by offering Cumulus, our Managed Hosting platform. As Atlassian Platinum Solution Partners, we take on the responsibility of maintaining your system and are on call for your Atlassian needs. Where do you find the most value in your particular case?

What is the best return on investment for hosting?

The answer is: it depends.

 

1. What are the hosting methods and what are the pros and cons of each?

 

Atlassian Cloud

Pros:
  • You let Atlassian manage your system as SaaS (Software as a Service).
  • No upfront hardware costs.
Cons:
  • No access to database or operating system.
  • Some features that are present in Atlassian server products may not be available in Atlassian Cloud.


Internally Hosted (Server)

Pros:
  • Full range-of-motion on the entire application and operating system. You are the admin.
  • Personally dive into the application and get to know its inner workings.
Cons:
  • Whether you’re building on top of a virtualized or physical system, you’re going to run into hardware costs and the maintenance fees that hardware brings with it.
  • Time away from your team to keep that system up, running, and configuration changes when needed.
  • Performance tuning can be a daunting task.

Praecipio Consulting Managed Hosting

Pros:
  • More customization than Atlassian Cloud allows.
  • Atlassian Platinum Solution Partners manage your instance and performance tune for you.
Cons:
  • Some features will be present to Cloud first before they are released to Server.
  • No control over file or database structure.

2. What does it take to migrate to a different hosting method?

Each hosted method is little different to migrate to. If you’re migrating to cloud, it’s preferred to migrate via export (if it’s not a huge instance). If you’re migrating to a server you could migrate with the above method or you can take a backup of your database and move over your data (attachments, logos, etc) to the new server. Praecipio can help you out if you’re looking for a seamless transition.

3. What kind of database should I use?

Although you can use MSSQL or MySQL, it's PostgresSQL that Atlassian deems as its preferred database. PostgreSQL also allows for an easy move to datacenter Atlassian products as PostgreSQL is able to be turned into a database cluster, a functionality that MySQL is not capable of. You can make a MSSQL cluster too, but it comes with high licensing costs.

4. What is the trickiest migration Praecipio Consulting has taken on? What made it tricky?

We had a client that needed to migrate various applications. During this migration they needed to conform to a new username and email standard associated with the parent company. What made this tricky was you couldn't manually change this easily since there were thousands of users; you'd waste a lot of man hours and downtime making a change like that. The change had to be automated to modify each user in each application with various different places in the databases being updated with the new user values. This was to ensure that you kept all the users historical data intact and the user could come back into work after the migration, use his new account to log in like nothing happened.

5. What is the cloud user license limit?

Atlassian Cloud's user limit is 2000 for licenses. If you have a 2000 plus user count your options could be multiple Atlassian Cloud accounts or the Atlassian Server products that you'd manage internally or through managed hosting.

6. What is the storage limitation on cloud?

Atlassian Cloud has another limitation that you should be aware of. Cloud has a storage limitation. If you have a user count below 500 users you're looking at a overall storage limit (across all applications on your account) of 25GB. If you're over the 500 user count, you've expanded that limit to 100GB.

7. Between Jira and Confluence, which is more difficult to migrate from Server to Cloud? 

When performing a straight migration, Jira and Confluence are just about on equal footing on complexity to move to Cloud. Now, if you are merging two applications, that is a different story. Jira is a lot more complex to merge than Confluence due to the amount of variables that Jira has to have in place, like workflows, issue types, fields, notifications, etc. The list is long and you have to make sure the structure is there before you can merge your data. Additionally, merging data must be done from server to server. So if your end goal is to be in the Cloud, you have to merge all your instances to a single server and migrate that up to the Cloud.

8. Why should I consider Data Center if I don't have a performance problem?

One of the main reasons to consider Data Center is uptime. Data Center has multiple application nodes that you connect to through a proxy. If a node goes down due to a hardware issue, guess what? The proxy connects you to the next available node so that you don't even realize there has been an outage. To take complete advantage of the high availability perks of Data Center, you would also incorporate a database cluster. The same rule as before comes into play. If you lose a database server in the cluster, you're still up and running. You could even lose database servers and applications nodes at the same time and still have your environment up and all users working. Granted, there are at least one application node and database node up at the same time.

9. When doing a migration or merge - do you recommend having a staging environment to cutover from (as opposed to going straight from production to production)?

Usually it's not that necessary to have a staging environment to cutover from. Actually it's preferred to do the entire migration while the current production instance is off so that no one can update it to avoid anything becoming out of sync. What should be done is preform the entire migration/merge in a test environment and list out the steps that a needed to perform that migration. As long as any extensive configuration changes are not being made those steps are going to pan out the same no matter what data is actually included into the application.

10. How difficult is it to change the OS? For example, Windows to Linux?

Surprisingly, it is not as difficult as you might think. Most of the time it acts as any other migration. The thing that will usually cause problems is if you have something tied into you Atlassian application that is dependent on Windows or Linux to run correctly, a plugin for instance. The application itself can be installed and the data moved over without much of a headache.

 

*Source: HDI, “Service Management, Not Just for IT Anymore”, 2014
*Source: Gartner, “Eight of Ten Dollars Enterprises Spend on IT is “Dead Money”, 2015

Topics: atlassian blog managed-services migrations cloud data-center hosting
2 min read

2017: The Year of the Human

By Christian Lane on Jan 19, 2017 11:00:00 AM

It's only a few days into the new year, but already we see the latest tech crazes for the next 346 days in the headlines: DevOps, ITSM, and SAFe. With Atlassian, the world's industry leaders have had great success in these frameworks (many with our expert help) and technology is producing the most ground-breaking things in human history. Everybody wants to put a proverbial man on the moon with their next release, and these are the proven methods to do so. 


But one integral factor in the equation remains- beyond products, beyond methodologies: human beings. Behind each of these revolutionary web applications, overseeing each of these cutting edge processes, are our most important resources: our team. We must automate our technology to give us more time to collaborate with each other; to facilitate the tribal knowledge sharing that allows a community – a business – to thrive and grow. 

In a recent presentation, Praecipio Consulting partner, Christopher Pepe remarked on the paramount asset of human knowledge within organizations. Behind each great innovation is a team who did their work to the best of their ability to reach this next level. People are the ones who make DevOps, ITSM, and SAFe the successful frameworks they are. People are the ones who developed Puppet, Splunk, Tempo and Atlassian to help us do our jobs more efficiently. We choose and configure our tools in the most advantageous way to give us both the best competitive edge and to, ultimately, free up our resources (our people) to come up with the next, history-making idea.

Each of these products and frameworks enables us to be more efficient. To build things faster, better, and smarter that help us (and others) do the same. With that time we save - be it programming an application to triage errors to give back support time, or an app that helps you order groceries for pickup so you have an extra hour to spend with your family. The things that will move our industries (and our world) to the next phase are being created by the companies that configure their tools to give them that time. We know - we've helped them.

Everybody says they will give you your greatest technology ROI. When we say that, we mean that we're sending the best team in the world to help YOU be the best team in the world. We have the knowledge and the expertise to put your proverbial man on the moon - whether that's breaking the Fortune 500 or doubling the size of your new business in a year. Our clients and partners (like DocuSign, Splunk, and Tempo) are a testament to our commitment to delivering this ROI to you at exponential rates. We don't just care about you getting a functional product - we want to see you use it perform optimally so you can go back to what you're passionate about. 

Give us a shout and let's talk about your most valuable resources- your team- and how we can get you the technology solutions to focus on their best work. We're ready to help you get to your proverbial moon. 

Topics: atlassian blog scaled-agile devops itsm
3 min read

Join the Atlassian team at Amazon Web Services re:Invent!

By Praecipio Consulting on Nov 22, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Re-posted from Atlassian

In the DevOps era, the technology tools you choose are critical for fostering innovation and overcoming development and deployment challenges, and creating a seamless experience between these tools is key to streamlining processes and maximizing productivity. And that’s why we are excited to be attending Amazon Web Services annual conference, re:Invent. Come join us at the event! Here’s what we’ll be up to:

Atlassian and Amazon Web Services for the Enterprise

Enterprises running on AWS can now leverage Atlassian’s collaboration platform for instant scalability, quick setup, and painless administration. At Atlassian Summit 2016, we announced that Data Center customers can deploy their Jira Software and Bitbucket Data Center instances to Amazon’s Web Services (AWS). With AWS’s Quick Start guides, powered by AWS CloudFormation templates for Atlassian, Data Center customers can deploy their Data Center instance to AWS in 10 minutes and standardize on one reliable platform that scales seamlessly.Stop by our booth to find out what’s new and get more info on an exciting offer for enterprise customers.

Find out how our own team went from a single Jira Software server instance to Jira Software Data Center on AWS at the talk: Case Study: How Atlassian Uses Amazon EFS with Jira to Cut Costs and Accelerate Performance. Add it your re:Invent agenda today!

AWS and the art of scale and interoperability

But our solutions aren’t just for enterprises. It’s easier than ever to scale your business with the power of AWS and Atlassian’s cloud platform. With about half of Jira Software cloud customers running on Amazon EC2 and 60% of Bitbucket users using AWS tools, we’ve created several integrations to help streamline your workflows and make continuous delivery and quick deployment a breeze. AWS CodeDeploy for Bitbucket,  AWS + Bitbucket Pipelines, and Bamboo Tasks for AWS are just a few examples of how easy it is to move between platforms to get the job done.

Check out all our AWS integrations here and get a demo at re:Invent.

Stop by our booth 2446 for a chance to win a complete HTC VIVE – Virtual Reality System or a new Echo Dot!

Developers: tap into our $200M Ecosystem

Developers can use our tools and APIs to build customizations for Atlassian products. Additionally, they can build hyper-growth businesses by selling add-ons on our Marketplace, which has reached $200M in sales, $100M of which were generated in the last year alone! Atlassian’s deep relationship with AWS allows us to provide the resources to get started fast and scale with ease.

Now it’s easier than ever to build an integration on AWS. In fact we are offering $100 in AWS credits for developers who launch an add-on in the Atlassian Marketplace between December 1 and May 1, 2017.  

Tackling devops together: come meet our partners

A powerful technology solution cannot stand alone. It has to integrate with other solutions in the market in order to truly offer an end-to-end devops experience. That’s why we’ll have several partners with us at re:Invent to show how you can combine the power of Atlassian, AWS, and the strong ecosystem surrounding these tools. 

Our Atlassian Platinum Enterprise Expert, Praecipio Consulting, will be joining us in the booth to discuss enterprise implementation and share their newest integrations- Docusign for Jira and ConfluenceSplunkPuppetXmattersRollbarWorkato and the newest addition to the Atlassian family, StatusPage, will also be in the Atlassian booth demonstrating how our solutions work together. Come by and check it out. 

See you there! Booth 2446

Topics: atlassian blog aws
8 min read

4 Phases of Agile DevOps | Atlassian | Praecipio Consulting

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 15, 2016 11:00:00 AM

As Development and IT Ops teams look to be more efficient, decreasing their time to market and increasing product support, DevOps has become the predominant industry solution. There are many resources that paint a picture of the ideal processes for Development and Operations working harmoniously together- but how do we actual get there? Where should we start? 

We need to begin with the end in mind. Our end goal is to deliver customers the software they need as fast as possible. The software industry is faster and more dynamic than the businesses of physical products. We need to get our customers features so they can give us crucial feedback while beating our competitors to market. The faster release development goes from concept to code, the quicker we can make customer happy. DevOps is a broad term with a variety of meanings, but at the end of the day, it seeks to increase the collaboration and automation between Development and Operations so we can get more frequent and higher quality releases into the hands of our customers.

When it comes to collaboration and automation, a focus on process and the use of the Atlassian suite are the best way to get there.

 The infinite loop of developing and supporting products that customers need and want with DevOps and the Atlassian Suite.

Image source: Atlassian 

Selling DevOps

The pain of hectic firefighting and troubleshooting make the need for DevOps obvious on the frontline, but getting alignment and investment at the organization level can be pretty difficult. Successful implementation is going to require buy-in and support from a variety of stakeholders and many levels. Before we can get our hands dirty, we need to convince everybody to spend the time and money to get these processes and tools in place.

Here are three ways to get the ball rolling:

One for the Book Club: Phoenix Project

Everybody has those business books that revolutionize the way they manage their work and companies. The Phoenix Project by Eugene Kim narratively addresses and exposes the gaps in processes between teams and points to a DevOps prescription to unblock cross-team work. We highly suggest recommending it to your teams, as it's a great way to get everybody on the same page and really see the value of DevOps.

Build a Business Case

At the end of the day, businesses exist to make money. To invest time and effort, we need to calculate the business return. The 2016 DevOps report from Puppet Labs does a brilliant job showing the financial reasons to adopt this shift.

The ROI of reducing excess work with DevOps according to 2016 DevOps report from Puppet Labs

Image Source: Puppet Labs

Phase 1: Go Agile

To get the real benefits of DevOps, it requires a shift in mentality and how we manage work through our teams. As we break down our requirements into smaller individual user stories, we can flow the work through the features through the process faster. By having the structure, ceremonies and processes in place to accommodate smaller pieces of work, we can get our customers the features they need and incorporate their feedback to iterate the next, improved release faster.

Here are some helpful ideas to help your teams go more Agile: 

  • Get Up, Stand Up | Simply doing stand-ups doesn't mean you're all the way agile, but it's a great way to get our teams into the mindset. Keep them short and reduce the headaches of status updates and emails. Fill everybody in on what you did yesterday, what you're doing today, and what pesky blockers are in your way. It's facilitates more agile and responsive team collaboration and support (the heart of DevOps).
  • Iterate Everything! | Speed up that Agile transformation, breaking down your waterfall projects into smaller sprints so you can always reprioritize and adjust as needed. Start with your software teams and spread out to your IT Ops projects and even marketing projects. Start in your own department: find the planning spreadsheets with those idealistic due dates, set up a backlog, and start sprinting!
  • Agile Boards | Once you're planning and executing in sprints, track and visualize it on a Jira Software board. Avoid those dreadful status meetings and send out the link to the board to keep everybody informed. Also, throw some wallboards up around the office so everybody can see your team killin' it. 

You'll know you're a lean, mean, agile machine when your software teams are cranking out stories in a steady cadence of sprints. Over time you'll see that velocity stabilize - then you can accelerate!

Phase 2: Get with Gitflow 

Git and Gitflow is a great way to help our dev teams increase velocity. As we're working with smaller stories, we need to be able to collaborate effectively with on our code base so we're not stepping all over each other. Version control systems of the past aren't going to be able to keep up with our blazing fast development teams. Bitbucket and the underlying technology of git are going to let our teams build user stories and merge them into the code base without wasting time messing with annoying versioning issues and costly code conflicts. 

  • Start with the Basics | Start by learning (allthethings) about how to effectively manage your branches and build in code quality with Atlassian's Git Tutorials and the Git Getting Started guides. Share them with your team so everybody's on the same page and knows the difference between a commit and a pull request.

  • Move to Git | If you haven't made the cutover to Git quite yet, get your team and managers onboard by sharing the benefits and how it will help ship more code. Once folks are convinced, learn why Bitbucket is the Git solution for professional teams and helps with pull requests, branching strategies, permissions and scalability. When it's time to actually move all that code over, see how we helped Splunk get git and 4 times the number code reviews completed. 
  • Start Branching | With the tools in place, it's time to start branching! Learn more about some common workflows to better handle branches here. Utilize those pull requests to build in code quality as you go. Eventually your Dev team will be humming with full Gitflow and your Ops teams will be in love with the clearly designated branches.

  • Automate, Mate | The marvelous integration between Bitbucket and Jira Software lets us automatically update the Jira issues based on what's going on in Bitbucket. Developers don't need to switch context anymore to keep the ticket up to date, and the whole team gets an accurate idea of what's actually going on. Check out our Automation Webinar to learn more about the powerful workflow triggers that make this possible.


The Gitflow branching strategy shown above utilizes different branches for specific roles like hotfixes and releases to help manage larger and more complex projects. 

 Image Source: Atlassian

Phase 3: CI/ CD

The next phase is how we define the crucial handoff between Dev and Ops. When our units of work and code changes are smaller, we're going to need to deploy more often to get those features to our customers. Before we ship it to the ops team and production, we need to ensure quality as our individual features come together. This is where good Continuous Integration/ Continuous Deployment practices along with Atlassian's Bamboo are vital to successfully shipping our product. Catching bugs and issues before they go to production is going to help both the Dev and Ops teams sleep better at night.

  • Learn about Bamboo | For on-prem Atlassian users, Atlassian's Bamboo is the CI/CD solution that allows professional teams to build their CI/CD pipeline. You may be using Jenkins or other open source teams, however the deep integration points and improved build management make it the right choice for professional teams.
  • Integrate with Jira | Once you have Bamboo up and running, leverage the integration between Bamboo and Jira Software.
  • Bitbucket Pipelines | If you're an Atlassian cloud user, Bitbucket Pipelines is a new, powerful solution in Beta that lets developers build, test and deploy directly from Bitbucket. Developers have the power as they can define the environment and tests for their specific branch with YAML file style configuration.
  • Dockerize Everything! | Docker and containerization is the latest craze sweeping the IT world as teams look to deploy applications to any environment faster and easier. Check out our Docker +Atlassian webinar to learn more about how. As partners with Docker, we love to helping teams harness this cutting-edge technology.
  • Automate Testing | Automating testing with tools like Charlotte, QA Symphony, and Zephyr (which integrate with Bamboo and Jira) gives your development team an even more agile edge. Get efficent, high-fidelity testing to expedite the finding and squashing of bugs to ensure your next iteration is the best version.

Phase 4: Harmonize with Support

Once the story is shipped, the process does not end. Now it's time to keep the product working and collect that vital feedback we need.

  • Check out our webinar, DevOps with the Atlassian Suite, for a full picture of how development and operations are going to work in harmony.
  • Set up a product feedback service desk in Jira to really hear your customers and integrate directly with development teams.
  • Learn how to set up your Service Desk teams for success with our ITSM webinar.


By implementing the right DevOps tools and processes, you'll see the faster shipping of higher quality and better supported releases. As your Development and Ops teams continue to execute these lock-step processes, you get more agile by good practice. Take the steps to start implementing DevOps today by contacting us to get up and sprinting.

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile automation bitbucket bugs continuous-delivery bamboo branching devops docker distributed-version-control-system process-consulting qa-symphony sdlc selenium software sprint testing version-control-system workflows tracking continuous-integration cloud development integration it operations release-management marketplace-apps
3 min read

Expedite Approvals with Confluence | Praecipio Consulting

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 4, 2016 11:00:00 AM

According to IDC's 2015 report, The Document Disconnect, 76% of executives and managers in sales, HR, procurement, legal, and other departments estimate that fixing the “document disconnect” can lead to document process issues impact revenue recognition or create auditor issues. As process improvement experts, we at Praecipio Consulting love saving our clients money by mitigating wasted time and helping them do work faster. With that in mind, we've compiled our top 4 tips to get faster approvals leveraging DocuSign for Confluence to integrate your mission critical document tools. 

1. Maximize Your Macros 

Confluence macros add significant value to your document drafting process with their features and functionality. Just select from your macro options and voìla - your desired information appears! By utilizing the out-of-the-box DocuSign for Confluence macros, you can simply drop the macro for your DocuSign tabs (ex. signature, initials, date, title, and more!) into your document right inside of Confluence. Adding this functionality to your document drafting allows you to save time otherwise spent selecting and adding these approval actions outside of Confluence, and also ensures that your document collaborators can see the macros you're adding and where.

Select from the menu of macros to inform your signee of what do provide.

2. Template-ize It! 

Think of the documents you create the most frequently. From sales and marketing to HR and legal, every department has documents that need signatures and approvals on a daily basis (often multiple times a day). Save your team countless hours by creating Confluence templates for these frequently used documents and reduce unnecessarily wasted time. Your Space administrator can add these templates (including the aforementioned DocuSign macros) to your instance, in the spaces you need them, so you can now spin up your next contract with the click of a mouse. 


In Confluence, click 'Create' and get prompted with both custom and out-of-the-box templates.

3. Streamline Sending 

It's simple logic: the faster you send your document, the faster you can get approvals. However, cumbersome sending processes can keep you from firing off that contract as quickly as you'd like. Leverage DocuSign for Confluence to send documents from Confluence (including all the attachments and pages your heart desires) to not one, not two, but as many recipients as you want! Set action type and order in this same step to determine who needs to sign, who needs to receive a copy, and the sequence in which these actions will occur. 

When adding recipients inside your organization, names are pulled from your Confluence user directory so you can send even faster.

4. Track in Real-Time  

Being able to see where your document is in the approval process is invaluable when you're waiting for that proverbial ink to dry. DocuSign for Confluence provides real-time status notifications so you can track your documents, from sending to completion. By simply clicking the DocuSign lozenge at the top of your Confluence page, you see what stage your document is in and who has completed what action. Additionally, clicking the status to see approval actions on the document in DocuSign. This level of visibility allows you to see when you're DocuSign envelope has been created, sent, and signed to give you the most accurate document tracking. 

View the status of all your DocuSign Envelopes in one streamlined view.

Improving processes relies heavily on cutting our unnecessary intermediary steps that can become blockers. It's these steps that, unchecked, can cost a company thousands of hours that could otherwise be spent focused on core competencies. As process experts, we recommend to all our clients- from 20 person startups to Fortune 5 enterprises- to ask themselves the following questions regarding their processes:

  • Can it be repeated? 

  • Can we automate it?

  • Can we eliminate unnecessary steps?

By optimizing your repeatable e-signature processes with DocuSign for Confluence, your organization not only saves time, but also reduces document processing issues that cut into profit or jeopardize compliance with auditing agencies. 

Ready to expedite your e-signatures? Get DocuSign for Confluence and start getting your fastest approvals.

Topics: atlassian blog confluence experts hipaa marketplace process-consulting regulation sign service-level-agreement tracking compliance docusign e-signature fda integration productivity atlassian-products marketplace-apps bespoke
3 min read

Three Reasons Why Developers Love Docker

By Praecipio Consulting on May 6, 2016 11:00:00 AM

A smooth running production environment is a beautiful thing. But how do we get there? And how do we ensure that all of our production, staging/test, and development environments stay in sync in order to get there? Today, it seems like everyone in software development is talking about Docker and containers. In fact, according to the 2016 State of the Cloud Survey by RightScale, Docker adoption doubled from 13% to 27% in just one year. Furthermore, 35% of the organizations surveyed reported that they have plans to adopt it soon. 

Why has Docker adoption skyrocketed and how can those using Bamboo for continuous deployment reap the benefits? Check out three reasons why developers love Docker, and how it can provide value for your dev team. 

But first... 

What are Containers?

A Docker container packages software in a complete filesystem with everything it needs to run – such as code, runtime, system tools, system libraries – guaranteeing that it'll always run the same on any environment. Docker is all about creating consistency and encouraging collaboration. It revolutionizes how we share our environments the same way Git has changed code collaboration. At its core, Docker is about utilizing the least amount of operating system resources and dependencies needed to run an application. This focus on maximizing efficiency leads to a painless, more collaborative, and seamlessly integrated environment to test and deploy applications. 

Sourcewww.docker.com

1. Test without surprises

A crucial part of the development process is testing, whether on a local machine or in a virtual dev environment. With containers, every environment is exactly the same so changes and unexpected dependencies won't interfere with testing – saving developers time and energy from tweaking problematic environments and instances. 

Running containers on your local machine using Docker Quickstart Terminal lets you test in a consistent environment.  

2. Collaborate with consistency

Unexpected dependencies are already a hassle for one developer and becomes an even bigger headache when other devs enter the picture. Unknowns in an environment are amplified with each new team member – who knows what's on their machine or which version of Java they're running? With Docker, consistency facilitates collaboration. By starting with a known configuration in a common container, devs are always on the same page about which version to use; it's right there in the container.

Share your Docker Images with a registry like Docker Hub.

Source: https://hub.docker.com/_/hello-world/

3. Integrate with Atlassian 

Atlassian, the leader in enterprise software for collaboration and issue tracking, is the perfect complement to Docker. By pairing Docker's consistency with Atlassian's integration and automation, collaboration between development and IT ops becomes seamless. Using the new Docker Hub 2.0 with Atlassian's Bamboo, source code can be automatically built and deployed to an identical development, test, or even production environment. No more requesting environments from the IT ops teams; triggers will automatically fire from your approved pull request in Bitbucket to spin up a lightweight container in your QA environment almost instantly. Without the excess back and forth, you can go from source code to a running application in minutes. 

The Docker Task in Atlassian's Bamboo let's you run, build and deploy images and containers with ease.

Docker is picking up a lot of traction today and rightly so. Docker containers provide consistency in the turbulent world of software development environments. They allow dev and operations teams to get customers the applications they need now – all while providing a consistent environment that makes working together a whole lot easier. 

To learn more about how Docker and Atlassian can help your dev team work faster and smarter, contact Praecipio Consulting.

About Brendan Kelly

Brendan is a Consultant & Solutions Specialist at Praecipio Consulting where he enables the sales team through technical discovery, training and product demos. When Brendan isn't delivering best-in-class business technology solutions, he can be found in the Austin Green Belt hiking and bouldering. 

Topics: atlassian blog automation continuous-delivery bamboo docker optimization process standardize testing continuous-integration deployment development environment integration cicd
7 min read

Seen It, Solved It: Jira Service Desk for ITIL

By Praecipio Consulting on May 4, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Growth Through Change 

"Organizations that do not or cannot evolve will not last." In the business world, change is constant and necessary, especially when it comes to meeting the dynamic needs of customers. ITIL, or Information Technology Infrastructure Library, is a methodology that helps organizations effectively manage change while putting the customer at the center of the process. ITIL prescribes processes to ensure the customer's needs and requests are handled with ease – from acknowledgement of an issue through the application and evaluation of the solution. One of the greatest values of the ITIL methodology is that it embeds continual improvement into the process. The ITIL framework can be leveraged by anyone, including non-technical teams, to better manage change and serve customers. Atlassian's fastest growing product, Jira Service Desk, facilitates ITIL adoption in an organization by encouraging traceability, collaboration, and reporting. 

As business process experts certified in ITIL, we leverage the ITIL methodology in unison with Jira Service Desk to institute best practices for our clients. Here are 5 real-world examples of how Praecipio Consulting helped our clients implement lasting organizational change by embracing key ITIL concepts of automation, visibility, knowledge base, change management and evaluation, and continuous improvement. 

Automation

"Using service automation to streamline both simple and more complex workflows of course impacts the overall efficiency of the organization... it also allows for a much better end-user experience for everyone at the company." - ITIL beyond IT: What is Service Automation & Service Relationship Management?

Problem: A major utility company powering the U.S. Eastern seaboard was manually reporting security equipment issues and coordinating with external vendors to fix the issues. This manual process was prone to errors and didn't allow for tracking of service level agreements (SLAs), which would determine which vendors were breaching their contracts. The company was using spreadsheets to track these crucial assets and their maintenance. The spreadsheet system was inefficient and created duplicate versions – leading to confusion, frustration, and waste. Furthermore, the spreadsheets could not track SLAs for Acknowledgement or Resolution for vendors.

Solution: To reduce redundancy and enforce SLAs, our experts implemented Jira Service Desk for the major utility company. By replacing their spreadsheets with Jira Core and Jira Service Desk, we helped them add a level of automation to their workflow. This reduced waste of time and resources, allowed for better communication with third-party vendors, and created a clear path for escalation. The custom configuration we created for the company maintained their security, while also allowing vendors to be a part of of the conversation. Furthermore, reporting features from both Jira Core and Jira Service Desk allowed for a central point of truth. The utility company could check the status of service tickets and see how well vendors were adhering to their SLAs. Through the process of improving their security equipment reporting and vendor coordination, the company found other areas of improvement and have chosen to continue working with us to maximize those workflows. 

Visibility

"It can be very difficult to know the health of your service desk, run reports, and find way to improve your support if you don’t have the right data." - The ABCs of Jira Service Desk: measuring success

Problem: A major U.S. waste management company wanted to adopt a more structured reporting system, replace an old enterprise software application, and incorporate the ITIL framework into their organization. The company's goal was to standardize tools in order to improve communication and rally around a consistent project management methodology. The waste management company desired a suite of tools with the ability to integrate functions across IT service areas, leading to better service for the end customer.

Solution: In addition to implementing several other Atlassian products, our experts helped the company leverage Jira Service Desk to achieve their business goals. We helped them create a central application with the ability to distinguish request types through a structured workflow. This included a more robust user interface to better triage issues and send them to the appropriate teams. The ability to categorize requests and label them with levels of urgency allowed the company to have better reporting, leading to improved enforcements of SLAs. 

Knowledge Base

"[A knowledge base] gets [customers] the help they need at the speed they’ve become accustomed to – i.e., in the time it takes to swipe around on their phones – and it frees service desk agents from stressing out while anxious customers wait on hold or answering the same question over email for the 10th time this week." - 4 tips for getting started with knowledge management

Problem: A large, private U.S. university wanted to revamp an old software application and replace it with a more robust and dynamic knowledge base. The university's goal was to increase usability for both their students and faculty regarding technical and campus-related questions, deflecting tickets by providing requesters with FAQ's and other resources to help them self-serve to find their answers. 

Solution: Our experts helped the university leverage Jira Service Desk and Confluence to achieve their goal. Combining Jira Service Desk with Questions for Confluence (a Confluence add-on that provides a knowledge base inside the already powerful wiki tool) allowed the university to implement a centralized knowledge database. Jira Service Desk allowed for better help engagement using queues and other helpful functionalities. Questions for Confluence empowered external users to help themselves by accessing a database of pre-answered questions, without tying up service desk agents with redundant problems.

Change Management and Evaluation

"Listening to your customers is the single most important thing you can do for the health of your company." 5 tips to transform your IT team from zero to superhero

Problem: The largest provider of support services to general and multi-specialty dental groups in the United States needed the ability to receive and respond to client feedback in addition to handling client issues. They did not have a clearly defined process for patients to interact with the organization and to raise issues. Their marketing team was searching for a new software tool that would manage feedback in a way that led to issue resolution and change management. The team's ideal tool would be able to enforce and report on multiple SLAs through issues submitted via the company's public website.

Solution: Our experts helped the dental corporation adopt Jira Core and Jira Service Desk to manage issue tracking and change management. With Jira Service Desk, the company was able to cleanly sort through client feedback and create a workflow to address issues that arose. Beyond managing client feedback, the dental corporation also used these tools for clinical tasks, billing, and other activities that needed life cycle tracking. In addition to tracking, the Atlassian tools helped the organization evaluate the effectiveness of their changes and quantified the improvements made – empowering all teams, not just marketing, to better serve their customers. 

Continuous Improvement

"With a single-product approach, configuring an SLA or modifying a workflow is easy, because they share core processes." How Jira Service Desk approaches ITSM 

Problem: A major U.S. insurance company was using three different software applications for code management, issue tracking, and service desk management – leading to inefficiencies and miscommunication. Their use of three separate applications resulted in duplicate tickets and the inability to enforce SLAs across the organization.The insurance company wanted to improve these processes and embrace ITIL's practice of continuous improvement. 

Solution: Our assessment encouraged the company to adopt a single application, Jira Service Desk, to provide a single source of truth. With Jira Service Desk, there was a common point of collaboration for issue management. This reduced duplicate tickets and saved valuable time and resources. Leveraging entities, workflows, and issue linking, we helped the insurance company align their processes to make reporting and enforcing SLAs easier, more efficient, and more effective. By strengthening their ability to track what changes are needed and to act upon those needs, we helped them develop a cycle for continuous improvement.  

ITIL for One, and ITIL for All 

"Just because one service desk streamlines the IT and service departments, it doesn’t mean that other teams can’t also benefit from them." - 5 tips to transform your IT team from zero to superhero

These real-world examples from our clients highlight how ITIL and Jira Service Desk can help organizations evolve and change – without the growing pains. ITIL concepts of automation, visibility, knowledge base, change management and evaluation, and continuous improvement aren't just for IT teams. These powerful ideas also provides immense value to other parts of any organization, technical and business teams alike. At Praecipio Consulting, we excel at leveraging the ITIL methodology and Jira Service Desk to help organizations do what they do better. Want more proof? Contact us to learn how we can help your organization evolve and do your best business. 

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile automation business confluence process standardize workflows traceability collaboration continuous-improvement integration it itil itsm jira-service-desk operations reporting white-paper
3 min read

Unifying Distributed Teams: A Conversation About Dog Treats, Tortilla Chips, and Atlassian

By Praecipio Consulting on Apr 20, 2016 11:00:00 AM

 

One of the things I love about my parents is that any time we get together, I can talk to them about work stuff. My brilliant parents are retired and – to be honest – bored with retirement, so it's an intellectual treat whenever I visit. Mom is a retired teacher with two master's degrees (cue awkward conversation about the whereabouts of my one master's degree), and Dad is a retired portfolio and project manager also with a master's degree (again, cue awkward conversation). During our talks, we have fun and insightful discussions about anything and everything- and we love using whatever's at hand to make a point. This time, the topic was disconnected teams, and the props at hand were dog treats and tortilla chips. Yes, you read that right: dog treats and tortilla chips. Stay with me.

We were munching on tortilla chips at the kitchen island and talking about how disconnected business organizations today could be. Mom brought up the point that it seems, for example, many c-level executives are removed from the day-to-day operations of their organizations. This is true... and necessary. Good leaders cultivate others into leaders, and c-level folks should be able to focus on delivering the mission and vision, while trusting that day-to-day operations are taken care of. The reality, however, is that this division of work usually leads to some disconnect between teams and executives.

This phenomenon is illustrated below using tortilla chips (sharp executives) and dog treats (trusted business teams). 

Note: There's no implication that one is better than the other. Both are in the same genre of deliciousness i.e. snack food. The difference is that their intended end users are different. 

Sure, both dog treats and tortilla chips are on the same countertop. In fact, they're actually only distributed across an area of two feet. But, even with a 12 megapixel camera, it's really hard to see the forest for the trees – see the granite countertop for the dog treats and tortilla chips. In other words, it's easy to get tunnel-vision into one's immediate team or project and forget about the rest of the organization. This disconnect makes it hard to get everyone on the same page... err, countertop.  

Using this groundbreaking analogy, I then proceeded to come up with one of the best explanations for what I do at Praecipio Consulting every day: getting teams on the same page

In this analogy, each of the dog treats and tortilla chips represents a team in an organization. Each of these teams may be in the same office, building, country, or, increasingly, anywhere in the world with a strong internet connection. The problem that most companies struggle with is bringing these disparate teams together – getting everyone on the same page, moving in the same direction, and towards collectively defined goals. In order to achieve this, most organizations embrace the colocated work model. They believe that, if everyone is in the same place, it's easier to get folks to collaborate and work together. Other organizations, especially technology companies, embrace the distributed work model, which allows teams to work remotely. 

The reality with collaborative work is that geography alone does not determine how effectively teams work together. Rather, the only surefire way to foster effective teams is through a clear understanding of the mission and vision and a clearly defined communication process. Instances of communication can take the form of a workflow, product requirements doc, or simply a quick conversation. Regardless of its form, communication is key, and all organizations are looking for a better way to communicate – from concept to launch. 

There's a reason Atlassian, our principal technology partner, chose TEAM as their stock ticker. They believe their products can bring teams together through improved communication regardless of location. At Praecipio Consulting, we help teams find ways to connect, plan, and execute better and support their efforts with software solutions. This is what I do day in and day out – helping companies come together to achieve more.

Mad props to Mom and Dad for bringing up the topic and prompting my creative juices. 

Note: No humans or animals were denied delicious snack food in the making of this blog post.  

 

About Amanda Babb

Amanda is Principal of Delivery at Praecipio Consulting where she brings her extensive project management and Atlassian expertise to some of our largest clients. When Amanda isn't delivering best-in-class business technology solutions, she can be found playing golf, working on cars, and spending time with her dogs, Leonard and Howard. 

Topics: atlassian blog teams
5 min read

All-Star Incident Management: How to Be Like Mike

By Praecipio Consulting on Mar 21, 2016 11:00:00 AM

The best teams sync with each other. Think of the intangible magic conjured by the Championship-sweeping Chicago Bulls of the 90's, helmed by Michael Jordan. They ran their offense to perfection, playing to the strengths of each team member and executing each step in perfect rhythm to put points on the board. Any member of those teams will tell you their success came not only from having high-performing people but from working together within an established offense, or process. Because they bought in and trusted the process, each team member knew his responsibility at all times. The team ran time-tested methodologies for getting the win, adjusting as needed after analyzing the other team's strategy. Basketball is all about strategy, process, and teamwork.


Now think of that team that loses to the Bulls- that loses to everyone. The team that's always scrambling after a broken play, unsure of how to set up their offense or what to do after a missed basket. They spend the entire game – and all their focus and energy – trying to just keep up. These are the teams that don't trust in their process, usually because it hasn't worked in the past or they haven't learned how to work with each other. It's hard for each player to handle his responsibilities because he feels like he has to win the game by himself instead of together with his teammates. It's not a good way to win games, and it's certainly not a good way to structure your IT team.

As Atlassian Platinum Enterprise partners and experts in all things process, we've got your playbook for all-star incident management:

Top 3 Tips for Championship ITSM

      1. Track your failures for greater success.

Basketball teams use stats to identify strengths and root out weaknesses. Tracking areas for improvement is key. When agents solve issues in silos they can't tell when an issue reoccurs or causes other issues, indicating a root cause that should be investigated. Ability to link issues is paramount to give your problem-solvers visibility into what keeps going wrong and, ultimately, what should be changed to keep it from happening again. 

2. Success loves preparation.

The 90's Bulls probably lost count of how many times they ran the same plays during practice. The better we prepare, the more successful we are. In the IT world, reporting, documentation, analytics, and other functionalities of our ITSM tool of choice make it easier to prepare well. When we're able to forecast issues based on prior knowledge, we're prepared for what's ahead. Data like a team's sprint velocity or average resource allocation per type of project inform planning for all foreseeable project outcomes.

3. Establish repeatable processes.

Michael Jordan is one of the most successful athletes in history because he was the first one in the gym and the last one out. He was always running drills and perfecting his shot, establishing repeatable processes that became muscle memory. Applying this concept to your organization allows your team to handle day to day operations with relative ease - each agent knows what to do, and they trust in the established process. This is a key to effective incident management and it allows you to focus on improving and advancing solutions rather than fighting fires.

Seen It, Solved It: Major U.S. Insurance Provider

Ready to see these plays in action? Here's how these 3 tips helped our client do better work, faster.

THE PROBLEM

Issues are like potato chips: you never have just one. In a business, any single issue that arises is usually experienced by multiple end-users and often starts a domino effect that causes more related issues. Without the ability to see across all these related issues, each agent responding to an individual issue only sees just that, failing to see the forest for the trees and moving on with an issue fix that doesn't address the root cause.

A major U.S. insurance provider came to us with concerns about their incident management. They already knew that their processes were poorly designed and not well adhered to, but they needed help figuring out how to improve them. In particular, incidents were not well documented or properly managed, putting them at risk for violating regulatory compliances. The client's struggles included:

  • ITSM Processes with No Buy-In (Too complex, too outdated, or too redundant)
  • Lack of Integration Across Tools (Lots of time wasted in context switching, Inability to analyze across platforms)
  • No SLAs or Metrics to Gauge Effectiveness

In short: They were focusing all their time and resources trying to just keep up, but could never get ahead in the game.

THE GAME CHANGER

Enter Coach Praecipio Consulting and Jira Service Desk to deliver a slam dunk incident management solution.

 
New Process Playbook

Because our client had different tools for managing incidents, their lack of visibility across platforms led to slow speed to market with fixes. Jira Service Desk not only solves this issue, but also supports best practices for incident management. By standardizing automated workflows and establishing lean processes, our client is no longer burdened by redundancies and can gather meaningful metrics across incidents.

 
Pass to other Players, er... Tools

In order to deflect the amount of incoming tickets, Jira Service Desk integrates with Confluence to provide a self-serve knowledge base. By leveraging this integration, our client gets back time and resources, no longer tied up on tickets to which an answer already exists. Leveraging machine-learning, the Confluence knowledge base identifies frequently searched topics and strengthens its query language to provide the best answers to questions around incidents. 

 
Set the Shot Clock

As an insurance provider, our client needed to ensure that they stayed within regulatory compliance with vendors and customers alike. Configuring SLAs in Jira Service Desk allows for the client to start the timer the minute a ticket is assigned, tracking time to resolution and producing reports to identify SLAs in danger of being breached. By doing this, the client gains visibility into incident management and can use metrics against goals for continuous improvement. 

Be Like Mike

Like the Bulls' 1-2 punch of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the tandem of Jira Service Desk and experience-driven process expertise gives our clients a heightened ability to execute ITSM best practices and keep their teams in a cycle of continual improvement. Maximizing your processes makes your day-to-day work simpler, allows you to focus on higher level objectives for better business, and helps you get numbers on the board (with dollar signs in front!). 

Practice makes perfect- it also makes money. Michael Jordan and his teammates knew it, and the best IT teams in the world know it. Take your team's performance to championship levels with the right processes and the right tools- and, if you need help, think of Praecipio Consulting as your coach with a lot of championship experience. 

 

About Sam Besozzi

Sam is a Consultant at Praecipio Consulting where he delivers expert solutions to our top clients. He has an extensive background in process improvement and design and draws heavily from Six Sigma, Lean, and other efficiency-focused models. As a new Austin, TX transplant (originally from Ohio), Sam enjoys exploring his new hometown, hiking, and searching for the perfect taco.

Topics: atlassian case-studies blog analysis best-practices business experts implementation process process-consulting technology workflows support configuration consulting-services itil itsm jira-service-desk request
3 min read

HipChat Connect: Your New Mission Control

By Praecipio Consulting on Nov 30, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Imagine you work in an office with a room for every job you do- each project, each team. However, there is no communication between rooms- so you have to walk from one to another if you want to share project information or ask questions. This seems ridiculous in real life, but yet business teams still fail to leverage integration of tools due to disparate legacy systems (“IT uses Product X while Business Teams are on Product Y”), lack of customization options (“I’m in HR. Why should I use the same tools as our dev teams?”), and disappointing functionality (“I have to use Product A for reporting, but it’s not in real-time and it leads to lots of email chains to track the conversation.”).  

That’s where Atlassian comes in.

Making software for teams of all types and sizes, Atlassian enhances collaboration by providing easy to use, dynamic tools that move at the speed of your business. With this ethos in mind, Atlassian has released HipChat Connect to the world in order to encourage teams to “live in” HipChat, integrating with all their other tools and endless add-ons. HipChat is now your control pit for everything your team needs, all in just clicks.

The week of November 9th marked Austin Developer Week, hosted by Atlassian and Capital Factory. During the week, developers (and even some business teams) were challenged to learn the HipChat Connect API and create their own add-on. On Friday, add-ons were demoed, and while most were only in their beta versions, excitement was stirred with the expectation to see many of these fan favorites on the marketplace soon.

Uber for HipChat

Why did we not have this at Summit? When you and your team want to grab a bite, simply order the Uber inside HipChat, Determining location, estimated time of arrival, and cost, your team has the info they need to hitch a ride- and they can! Easily “join the ride” to save your seat and, within minutes, you’re on your way to your destination. Props to Atlassian's Julien Hoarau for this awesome add-on, which he demonstrated live by ordering his Uber to the airport (which arrived speedily as planned).

Graphic Annotation

Presented by a developer for a design team, this add-on has functionality for your marketing department to your IT crowd. With built in annotation options for graphics- including text, circles, arrows (all the must-haves!)- it’s never been easier to point out an issue in a performance report, identify an area of improvement on a presentation slide, or circle your own face so you can be spotted in the latest company photo. 

Props via HipChat

Part of Atlassian’s appealing culture is their open sharing of kudos across the company. Everyone likes to be appreciated and, by integrating a reward notification system like youearnedit.com (based in Austin, TX), you can give public shout outs over HipChat. Give points to team members for work well done and track past kudos given in the side panel. Increase your instant karma and share the love across your organization!

…and Many More!

Austin Developer Week was only the tip of the iceberg for add-ons to come for HipChat Connect and, with the API made public on atlassian.com, it’s only a matter of time before the marketplace explodes with amazing possibilities for HipChat functionality. With ideas already spinning up around customer service, business team use, and culture-building, we can already see HipChat becoming our home base. 

Want a Custom Add-On?

Our innovative, inspired custom dev team loves a challenge. They’ve built add-ons for startups and enterprise organizations alike, working across the Atlassian product suite to enhance functionality, increase adoption, and maximize efficiency. Tell us what we can develop for you to keep your business running on all cylinders!

Topics: atlassian blog best-practices hipchat collaboration culture developers marketplace-apps bespoke
2 min read

Hipchat: Customize Your Connection

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 29, 2015 11:00:00 AM

HipChat has long been the beloved messaging application for Atlassian users, developing integrations with Confluence and Jira to increase the seamless nature of the SDLC process with notifications and team and project-specific rooms. With the success of these integrations, Atlassian is raising the bar for HipChat functionality, offering up their API for other software producers to code their own connections to allow even more tools to team with HipChat. Recently, Atlassian held a HipChat Dev event in San Francisco for a handful of popular and innovative tech companies to dev and demo their HipChat plugins, opening the door for an all new level of HipChat functionality. New Relic, Salesforce, Tempo and other Atlassian-inclined software makers came together to tweak the HipChat API to get their products talking for an even more robust integration offering in the messaging system. With many new options becoming available, excited HipChat users can expect to see these plugins available soon, making HipChat a real-time communication hub for all aspects of the software development life cycle.

HipChat, Meet New Relic

New Relic, maker of integral tools to gain insight into the operation of your business processes, becomes a critical component of IT management when paired with HipChat. Using New Relic products like APM, Browser and Synthetics, companies gain real-time analytics for their SaaS applications to ensure that their platforms are running optimally for the best user experience. When integrated with HipChat, New Relic provides teams regular status updates, allowing issues to be addressed efficiently and expediently. Create a HipChat room for New Relic applications and stay up to date with your application performance leveraging the constant monitoring of New Relic with the constant communication of HipChat. 

Build Your Own Add-Ons

Atlassian enables users of Jira, Confluence, and yes- HipChat, with the ability to build customized add-ons for Atlassian tools and corresponding applications. The provided documentation allows the use of any web framework and any programming language to build with Atlassian's REST API to get the applications talking with remote operation over HTTP. With the unlimited possibility of integration, HipChat becomes a true force of functionality as more and more applications are tied into the tool. Give each dev team their own HipChat room built around their products to get the latest updates on their in-flight projects. Create a marketing room to allow your bloggers to see immediately when a new page view or comment comes through. With HipChat customized add-ons, your teams get the information they need, when they need it. 

Video courtesy of Atlassian

It's in the Numbers

Need more reasons to expand your company's collaboration beyond just Confluence and Jira? Atlassian has the stats the make the case for HipChat!

Statistics courtesy of Atlassian

Chatting cuts down on unnecessary, efficiency-draining emails, enhances collaboration between teams and delivers a platform for easy communication. Using Atlassian HipChat, your teams run at the speed of business with application integration, video chatting, and file sharing -- everything they need to work smarter and faster! 

Get Chatting

Revolutionize the way your teams work with HipChat! It's as easy to get as it is to use; simply contact Praecipio Consulting to learn about our extensive HipChat services, including: managed services and hosting, implementation, customization and licensing. HipChat is your central source of better business practices and Praecipio Consulting is your one-stop-shop for all your HipChat needs. Collaboration has never been easier, so get HipChatting today!

Topics: jira atlassian blog best-practices confluence hipchat new-relic rest-api integration
2 min read

Big News From Atlassian

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 25, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Atlassian Reaches 50K Customers

Since their founding in 2002, Atlassian has disrupted the tech industry with their innovative products. Focusing on collaboration, integration, scalability and efficiency, Atlassian continues to change the way companies do business as we move more and more towards a global business model. Because of Atlassian, teams across the world can work seamlessly and in real-time on projects no matter where people are located. They've build products that not only keep up with the needs of today's industry leaders, but they are themselves industry leaders (reflected in their ever-growing Gartner rating). It's with that forward-thinking and must-have product suite that Atlassian has reached 50,000 customers! As Atlassian Solution Partners, we at Praecipio Consulting love nothing more than introducing these products and their capabilities to clients who enthusiastically adopt them with great success. We've seen first-hand how Atlassian brings the best in IT and business process solutions to companies of all sizes and industry, from the dev teams to the marketing teams, and could not be more excited to see what they will come up with by the 100,000 customer mark. 

 
Image courtesy of Atlassian

Meet The Newest Bitbucket Addition

One great example of Atlassian's cutting-edge innovation? Bitbucket! The Git repository that 1 in 3 Fortune 500 choose to help build and ship software is getting even better with the addition of Stash (now Bitbucket Server) to the product family. Now, dev teams have their choice of Bitbucket Cloud, Bitbucket Server (formerly Stash) and- for those with loads of code- Bitbucket Data Center. As more companies switch from Subversion to Git for their source code needs, Atlassian has developed the Bitbucket line of offerings to bring the most desired features a dev team could want: Git mirroring, large file storage, organization ability by project and more CI capabilities. Development teams love how Bitbucket helps them up their game and work smarter and faster, releasing better products with even greater ease. Among the biggest fans of Bitbucket is Splunk, an industry-leading operational intelligence company with a huge need for code storage and scalability. Check out what the folks at Splunk have to say about Bitbucket and how it's changed their way of doing business (for the better)!

Video courtesy of Atlassian

Get Some Atlassian in Your Life

Companies are moving to Atlassian everyday for a way of doing better business. Will you be Customer #50,001 (or #50,002, #50,0003...)? Praecipio Consulting can help! Contact us to learn how we can deliver custom solutions fit for your company with Atlassian and see why it's the top software choice of major companies worldwide. 

Topics: atlassian blog bitbucket continuous-integration data-center
2 min read

SAFe Cheat Sheet: A Guide to Scaled Agile Framework | Praecipio Consulting

By Praecipio Consulting on Feb 23, 2015 11:00:00 AM

No matter the size of your organization or your industry, the end game of any company is to deliver the highest quality product to customers at the greatest market value, with the lowest cost of production. This school of thought drives the Agile methodology of software development, pushing for faster delivery of better products with the least amount of risk, and has fueled the scalable Agile solution for enterprise-level organizations: Scaled Agile Framework (or SAFe). Operating under the principles of Agile development, SAFe aligns the development and initiatives of all levels of the enterprise company- from agile teams to executives- for accelerated value delivery at a reduced risk. Leveraging short feedback cycles organized into sprints and release trains, the cost of deployment decreases as deliverables have clearer direction and requirements to ensure a better fit for purpose. 

How does Atlassian support SAFe?

What are the core values of SAFe?

 

How does Atlassian support SAFe?

The Atlassian product suite was created (and is continually innovated) to support best practices in the Software Development Lifecycle. To that end, the use of products like Jira Agile, Confluence and Jira Portfolio integrate to bring maximum traceability to every release, enabling teams to hit their deadline and their budget with the highest quality product. With Atlassian, you unlock the power of SAFe, leveraging Jira Agile, Confluence and Jira Portfolio to achieve the following objectives (and much more): 

Want to learn more about SAFe?

Ready to learn more about how Scaled Agile Framework brings best practices and greatest results to your enterprise organization? As Atlassian Platinum Enterprise Experts, we at Praecipio Consulting are here to help! First, check out our recent webinar on SAFe, Agile in the Enterprise, presented by Senior Solutions Architect, Certified Scrum Master, and soon-to-be SAFe Program Consultant Amanda Babb to get a more complete introduction to implementing Agile practices at the Enterprise level. Next, contact Praecipio Consulting to begin introducing SAFe to your company. We can assist you with anything from Atlassian product licenses, implementations and configurations (to get you the right tools for the job) to customized consultations and trainings on SAFe. 

Deliver your highest quality product and the lowest cost of deployment with SAFe, Atlassian and Praecipio Consulting!

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile best-practices confluence enterprise sdlc jira-software safe marketplace-apps
2 min read

Here Comes the Product Owner: Wedding Planning with Atlassian

By Praecipio Consulting on Feb 13, 2015 11:00:00 AM

When Praecipio Consulting Senior Solutions Architect and Certified Scrum Master Amanda Babb got engaged over the new year, her first thought (after "Yes, I'll marry you" of course) was that this was an affair for the Atlassian tool set. With family members on both coasts and Amanda and her fiancé residing in Texas, she knew Atlassian would be the trick to best practices in MDLC (Matrimony Development Life Cycle). "There was never a question." says Babb. "From the moment we got engaged, I got a Cloud instance." Establishing a Kanban board that will take Amanda and her family from gathering information about venues to the nitty-gritty tasks like purchasing the cake slicer, this Scrum Master feels confident in an on-time, on-budget release of an October 2015 wedding.

 

Amanda Babb, Sr. Solutions Architect & Bride-to-Be

With Jira, Jira Agile, Confluence, and Team Calendars in her arsenal of planning tools, Amanda began on-boarding her family, including Project Stakeholders, Mom and Dad. After spending time showing her parents how to use the tools, they were able to begin collaborating and creating tasks. "The first thing my dad did was create a bug in Jira called Fat Elvis or Skinny Elvis and how many," Babb happily shares, noting that they have ultimately decided not to have their wedding officiated by an Elvis of any kind. Aside from fun with naming conventions, her family has enjoyed the ease with which they can view and add to wedding details, as often these large-scale affairs get bogged down with endless email chains, binders and internet bookmarking. With Atlassian, Amanda is able to share everything from a budget table for tracking deposits to multiple wedding registries and even bridesmaid dresses. Like most Scrum Masters, this bride's biggest "blocker" is adoption, often having to remind her family that, "it's in Confluence!"

So what does Babb's fiancé Doug think about his bride-to-be's planning with Atlassian? "He likes that it's streamlined communications." Babb reports. "Since we have opposite work schedules, it makes it easy for him to respond quickly. All I have to do is mention him in a comment!" Once Amanda and Doug have become husband and wife, their Atlassian instances will continue to play a role in their marriage. Babb intends to continue using the products for household projects, increasing transparency and communication between the couple leveraging a shared knowledge base. 

On this Valentine's Day, Praecipio Consulting wishes Amanda and Doug (along with all the other Atlassian lovers out there) all the best! May your collaborations be harmonious, your issues quickly resolved and each of your iterations better than the last.

 

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Love,

Praecipio Consulting

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile best-practices calendars confluence kanban jira-software
3 min read

Introducing New HipChat Server

By Praecipio Consulting on Feb 9, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Effective communication is critical to the daily operation of your organization. Whether it's alerting your dev teams to the status of their latest release or brainstorming ideas for the next Happy Hour venue, your team needs a way to talk. With more companies operating disparately, the idea of around the watercooler conversations is now defunct and people look to technology to help them connect. It was this exact need that Atlassian sought to address with their chat platform, HipChat. 

During the lifespan of HipChat, 3.7 billion messages have been sent, 25 million files have been shared and 23 million video minutes have been logged, making it one of the most widely used chat tools on the market. Responding to the popularity and demand of HipChat clients, Atlassian has expanded the product offering to now include a host of features and functionality that propel HipChat into an elite, unmatched realm of chat tools that bring simplicity and reliability.

Meet HipChat Server

Behind the Firewall

With the increased capacity for file sharing and features like private rooms for sensitive conversations, the need for security in your chats is paramount. Now with a Server option, you can run HipChat behind the firewall for the utmost security to keep your private conversations truly private. HipChat Server is also ideal for those unable to run cloud applications, allowing HipChat to run on your own server (or outsourced server hosting, as offered by Praecipio Consulting!).

Increased Integration

Link your HipChat Server up with other Atlassian applications like Jira, Stash and Confluence to increase communication between teams and keep everyone up to date on projects. Is your team's latest build ready for release? With a DevTeams room in HipChat, Stash will notify your team! Tag a co-worker to review a document in Confluence? HipChat will let them know. Integrate with the HipChat bot lab (or build your own) to sync your HipChat Server instance to an unlimited number of applications for maximum traceability. 

Enhance Culture & Collaboration

HipChat makes it easy for teams to communicate, boasting features that make the platform your organization's key resource for staying in the loop on work happenings from presentations to co-worker's birthday plans.

  • File Sharing- No more asking "Did you e-mail me that file? Or did you share it with me in the drive?" Just HipChat co-workers your images, presentations and important documents. They'll have it at their fingertips in an instant!
  • Video & Phone Chat- With teams spread out all over the world, sometimes it's nice to hear the voice or see the face of a teammate you don't often encounter in your home office. Use HipChat's video and audio chat to stay in touch and up to date!
  • Team Rooms- Need a space to brainstorm? Get a room! Create rooms for group needs to discuss specialized subjects like Marketing or hold a private conversation for more sensitive information like HR.  
  • @Mentions- Get peoples' attention with the @mention feature in HipChat to let them in on the conversation. Additionally, using @all notifies everyone in a room of a conversation. 
  • Emoticons- Why lie? You know the awesome emoticons are the real reason you use HipChat. With HipChat Server, you get all your favorites: (mindblown), (allthethings) and, of course, (celeryman). 

New HipChat Server brings you all the functionality you know and love, from file sharing and video chat to those ever-entertaining emoticons, but with the added benefits of running behind the firewall. Interested in HipChat Server (or any other Server-versions of Atlassian products) but don't have the bandwidth to host yourself? Let us host for you! At Praecipio Consulting, we provide Atlassian hosting to companies of all sizes to ensure you get the instances you need without the organizational strain that comes from internal hosting. With Atlassian and Praecipio Consulting, you can bring your teams the tools they need to achieve their best collaborative practices (and play with some fun emojis while they're at it). Contact us to learn how we can bring new HipChat Server to your company!

Topics: atlassian blog best-practices hipchat collaboration culture hosting integration
2 min read

Jira Portfolio Cheat Sheet

By Praecipio Consulting on Jan 13, 2015 11:00:00 AM

For projects big or small, Jira Portfolio helps you plan it all! With the ability to pull work in progress in from Jira or push the work breakdown structure into Jira, Portfolio makes managing projects a breeze. With a little set-up and some good old-fashioned planning sessions, your organization can quickly view release schedules, track estimates and actuals to business strategy targets, and manage resources in one place. 

Setup is key with Jira Portfolio. Simply choose your plan type, then work right to left: Configure, Reports, Releases, People. Once you have the business strategy and available resources, then populate your Backlog. Importing an existing set of issues from a saved filter in Jira requires only a few clicks. Or, if you prefer, create your plan and push individual initiatives, epics, stories, and defects into a single project or multiple projects. For those that are truly Agile, plan and push Epics into Jira, then allow the teams to develop and estimate Stories. Synchronize your plan and you're able to predict releases and inform stakeholders.

Push 

Dial in your plan before work begins. Add level of effort estimates and link Epics and/or Stories together to create dependencies. Then let Jira Portfolio inform you of a missing skill set, plan your sprints, or predict the release schedule. 

Pull

Mitigate risk and communicate with stakeholders with ease. Importing in-flight work provides stakeholders with more accurate release schedules based on current work efforts. Mitigate risk by seeing how new work and dependencies affect the overall schedule. Flex resources across teams to fill skills gaps. 

Choose 

Which of the five key capabilities of Portfolio Project Management are you trying to manage: change, risk, resource, pipeline, or financial? Let the capability determine whether a push strategy or a pull strategy works best. The answer may be to use both strategies in the same plan. 

Learn more about Jira Portfolio and get an in-depth demonstration in the tool with our Introduction to Jira Portfolio webinar.

Topics: atlassian blog scaled-agile best-practices integration marketplace-apps
2 min read

The Atlassian Appeal

By Christian Lane on Dec 17, 2014 11:00:00 AM

The Atlassian Appeal:

Why It's The Software of Choice for Today's Graduates

Despite the end of the Great Recession in June 2009, five years later the effects are still felt amongst those newest to the job market. Today's college graduates face 8.5% unemployment and 16.8% underemployment as the U.S. experiences a 7 million job deficit. However, in spite of overall downtrends for college graduates, jobs in technology are not only remaining buoyant- but continually growing! In 2013, nearly 70% of students pursuing degrees in technology had at least one job offer by graduation. Though salaries for graduates in other industries have dipped by 7.7%, those who work in the tech industry are enjoying some of the highest, most competitive pay of all college-educated workers.

Today's business world looks radically different than it did ten (even five) years ago; companies operate virtually, contracting employees and doing business across the globe on an  around-the-clock basis, and their bigger-than-ever demands have been the catalyst for continuous advancement in technology. It has never been a better time to be in this field; however, not all technology education is created equal.

Atlassian offers continuously innovative products that push the technological envelope. With products like Bitbucket, developers contribute to the ongoing innovation of the Atlassian offering by integrating more processes, expanding their teams and reaching for the limit of each product. Boasting the appeal of cutting-edge technology that refuses to rest on its laurels, Atlassian is used by leading businesses in their respective industries. What college graduate wouldn't want to flex their Atlassian muscles to land the best possible job? Colleges have also caught onto the Atlassian appeal! Within universities, a growing number of information technology departments have incorporated the software into their curriculum to ensure their graduates will be big names in the technology field. During recent on-site training with an Enterprise client and top travel company, Praecipio Consulting learned that the corporation's recent migration to Bitbucket not only improved their processes, but gave them immediate job appeal with college graduates. "We've seen that as graduates are entering the job market, they're looking for companies that use Atlassian products like Bitbucket that offer continuous innovation," says Praecipio Consulting partner Christopher Pepe, who holds a degree in engineering and is an Atlassian Expert, "Companies are switching to Atlassian to get the best products and the best new talent." 

Atlassian continues to evolve to remain the leader in changing technology. We can expect to see more companies adopting the popular product line in the future. Just imagine what the Class of 2014 will contribute to the innovation of Atlassian that will inform development for decades to come!

Sources: The Economic Policy Institute and The National Association of Colleges & Employers 

Topics: atlassian blog best-practices bitbucket implementation it

Summit Expedia Co-Presentation

By Christopher Pepe on Nov 11, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Discover how making the move from Perforce to Git at Expedia lead to standing room-only training sessions abundant with high fives. The move to Git improved Expedia's software development with faster development cycles, deeper integrations, increased transparency, and a more unified development platform. 

 

Topics: atlassian atlassian-summit best-practices bitbucket migrations perforce git
4 min read

Jira for Asset Management

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 20, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Last year, companies spent a third of their budget on IT assets and related costs. Each piece of hardware and software equates to dollars, time, and resources. This can become costly when not well managed. Much like keeping a maintenance log for a vehicle, thorough documentation from purchase to hand-off  is required for every asset in your organization. Technology is central to your organization's operations and if not well managed it becomes a source of profit loss, unnecessary expenditure and endless frustration. Leveraging Jira, Atlassian's product and issue tracking software, you gain the documentation and visibility you need for best practices in ITAM (information technology asset management).

A large portion of ITAM involves tracking your assets from purchase to re-distribution. It is paramount to keep documentation of the details of your asset, as doing so facilitates informed decisions around your IT needs. There are multiple data points to collect with each new asset addition in order to implement best ITAM practices. Begin by gathering the following information:

  • Where is the asset being deployed?
  • How is the asset configured?
  • Who is using the asset?
  • Does the asset have a warranty?
  • What are the asset's requirements?
  • What are the asset's supporting applications?
  • What is the asset's maintenance history (if not new)?

Once these data points are determined, simply create a ticket in Jira including all information and attach documentation you have for the asset. Depending on the workflow of your organization, you may consider utilizing an automated asset inventory discovery tool to trigger Jira to fill in the details of the asset. This mitigates errors made when entering the information manually and ensures that, even if an asset is not spotted by a team member for logging, Jira will still capture it. Again, the more thorough your documentation, the more story points you have for your best ITAM. After creating a ticket for the asset in Jira, you immediately begin increasing your ROI with every action in the asset's lifecycle. 

Tickets for Total Traceability

With Jira's customizable issue types, workflows, and schemes, each asset is managed with fine granularity to ensure that at each phase of it's life cycle, informed and accurate decisions can be made regarding maintenance and overall value versus cost. 

Issue Types and Components- What kind of asset is it?

Create issue types to manage the lifecycle of a set of assets and components in your Jira Project to reflect the exact type of asset you're documenting. From hardware, software, and servers down to keyboards and mice, organize your assets according to type for at-a-glance reporting on asset lifecycle.

System Fields- Who is responsible for the asset?

In addition to the ability to document what kind of asset you're managing with custom issue types, you can also add to the system fields:

    • Summary- What is the asset name (ex. 22" Monitor)?
    • Assignee- Who is responsible for the asset? (This is typically the end-user, but will change throughout the asset lifecycle as maintenance is performed, the asset is re-distributed, etc.)
    • Reporter- Who is the asset manager (from procurement to end-user delivery)?
    • Labels- Describe assets (ex. brand name, asset type, new or used, etc.)

Custom Fields

Jira allows the creation of custom fields to capture the most pertinent information related to your assets. As seen in the screenshot to the right, you can track multiple variables associated with the asset, including CPU model, RAM speed and warranty period. Using query filters in Jira, you can easily search assets according to date acquired, current value and other data collected in the asset ticket.

Security Schemes

Certain asset information needs to remain private. By leveraging Jira's security schemes, you can determine who can view and edit issue tickets for ultimate security. Schemes can be changed at any time so administrators can set security according to specific asset managers and team leads.

 

Maximizing Your ROI

One of the biggest points of superfluous expenditure for companies is unnecessary costs associated with misappropriated or untracked assets. Caused by incomplete documentation, assets are needlessly purchased while others devalue as they sit unused and unmaintained. Consequences of poor asset management can be as steep as fees for violating licensing terms, which are critical for documentation and active tracking. According to a 2013 survey by KPMG, 86% of those polled were found to have inadequate and incomplete documentation on their assets, preventing them from achieving maximum ROI. Documentation on your assets informs your organization's decisions on budget forecasting and IT strategic planning. With Jira, you have a method of easily accessible, customizable reporting to make the best call.

Jira helps eliminate these oversights and redundancies with custom workflows to ensure your assets are always accounted for. By using the Assignee field, a member of your organization becomes responsible for the asset during that phase of its lifecycle. Beginning with the person who procures the asset, to all the team members who will interact with it- from the end-user to the IT manager to Finance- your assets are always traceable through Jira. With Jira custom workflows, you can determine the specific lifecycle of your asset, setting a standardized sequence of action types your asset moves through. 

Best Practices in ITAM

Avoid spending more than your asset is worth on costly, unnecessary expenditures related to poor ITAM. With Jira, you gain a robust, highly functional tool to track all your assets with maximum traceability. Leveraging best practices in ITAM with the powerful Atlassian products, you benefit from:

  • Avoiding unnecessary maintenance costs
  • Knowledge of your assets when working with vendors 
  • Preventing costly compliance penalties 
  • Strong cross-team communication at all stages of your asset lifecycle
  • Enhanced tracking of asset activity with assigned users and reporters
  • At-a-glance reporting for informed decision-making for stakeholders
  • Thorough documentation for
    • Audits
    • Re-Distribution
    • Budget Forecasting
    • IT Strategic Planning Decisions

85 Fortune 500 companies worldwide, including Pfizer and Boeing and Cisco use Jira for their high-level enterprise asset management needs. With Jira, you gain robust functionality, ultimate transparency across teams, and efficient reporting. A scalable software that grows with your organization, Jira provides a powerful asset management tool that gets you the highest return on your investment. More than just a tool for development teams, Jira offers asset management capabilities to streamline your business practices and lower your cost of ownership. Accounting for each asset in your organization, Jira allows you to track the life of your technology to ensure their value is retained and no unnecessary costs are added. Learn more about how Jira can increase your ROI and bring best ITAM practices to your organization by contacting Praecipio Consulting.

Topics: jira atlassian blog best-practices implementation consulting-services itam
3 min read

JIRA Portfolio: Atlassian's Latest & Greatest Release

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 19, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Five major announcements at Summit 2014 weren't enough for Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar and Mike-Cannon Brookes. Sneaking in a "Number 0" announcement after such crowd pleasers as Jira Service Desk agent-based pricing and HipChat for Server and iOS8, the San Jose Convention Center nearly exploded when Mike introduced the world to Atlassian's newest addition:

 

Since Jira first hit the marketplace in 2004, usage has gone through the roof with worldwide adoption of the popular issue-tracking product by industry giants with enterprise needs. In ten years, Jira has only gotten better with age, as Atlassian continuously pushes to improve products based on user feedback. That kind of user response- from Atlassian Experts who implement Jira, to stakeholders looking for a larger return on their investment- drove the design, development, and release of Jira Portfolio. Designed for maximum traceability, projects can be easily viewed to enable strategic planning, provide project reporting, and link work amongst teams for greater consistency in realizing business initiatives. Jira Portfolio adds value to every Jira instance in your organization: from stakeholders needing at-a-glance analytics, to technical leads scheduling project delivery, to team members who need to see how their work fits into a larger context. 

ONE SOURCE FOR ALL

Standardization across teams is important in your business processes, especially in organizations with cross-functional team projects! Leveraging Jira Portfolio across your organization fosters collaboration amongst teams and provides supreme visibility. Jira Portfolio makes use of the integrative power that we know and love in Atlassian products, seamlessly communicating with your other tools including Jira Agile and Confluence, making it a major force of functionality in the world of technology solutions.

ON TIME, EVERY TIME

Jira Portfolio is a centralized home for business development projects that unifies your organization, allowing for project tracking in real-time across teams for incredibly accurate strategic planning. Never miss the mark on a scheduled release again! With Jira Portfolio, you can track projects (Yes, more than one project at a time!) from proof-of-concept to delivery thus cutting cost-of-change and continually improving business processes through the use of dashboards and workflows.

TELL BETTER STORIES

Keep your team fully informed with the integration and cross-team collaboration you get with Jira Portfolio. When builds grow from business initiatives, you can keep your devs clued into the strategy by linking projects with themes. With Jira Portfolio, your user stories have more narrative power, as epics and stories can now point to business initiatives and themes. Your dev teams can build products informed by the business initiative that outlines its place in the market. Your business team can see the development of the product they're marketing and advertise its upcoming release.

ALL OF THE FRAMEWORKS

Want Jira Portfolio but don't know how it will work in your framework? Atlassian washes those worries away with Jira Portfolio's Framework-Agnostic compatibility. No matter what framework your organization uses, Jira Portfolio will always be a perfect fit. 

LOW COST POINT

Jira Portfolio makes your Jira instance even more robust by driving down development costs, but your savings don't end there. Jira users can expand their Atlassian product suite to include Jira Portfolio, gaining the highest functionality of strategic planning software available at a fraction of the cost of competitors. 

With Atlassian's new Jira Portfolio, you can achieve your best business processes. Drive costs down with strategic planning, easy cross-team collaboration, and high-level reporting to take your organization to a whole new level. At Praecipio Consulting, we're just as excited about Jira Portfolio as our clients! And...we're thrilled to offer a first look inside the hot new offering in our upcoming Jira Portfolio webinar on November 5th. Join one of our Solutions Architects and Certified ScrumMaster, Amanda Babb, to learn how to unlock the power of Jira Portfolio.

Wherever you want to go with the Atlassian product suite, we'll take you there.

Topics: atlassian blog atlassian-summit best-practices process-consulting consulting-services marketplace-apps
4 min read

The Future of Atlassian: Blowing Minds at Summit '14

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 17, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Make a list of all the things you'd like to see in new and existing Atlassian products. Dream big. Get thoughts from other Atlassian users. Then- build, test, deliver and repeat. No, this isn't the Atlassian version of Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

It's the future of Atlassian- and your mind will be blown!

Atlassian co-founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes kicked off Summit 2014 in San Jose, CA with an Opening Keynote that not only inspired the audience, but moved them to on-going applause as one-by-one new products and features were announced. For those of us streaming the presentation remotely, HipChat rooms all over the world were surely abuzz with excited talk about the new offerings, all of which were on our personal wish lists! 

Without further adieu, we present six more reasons that Atlassian is the shiz: 

6. The Atlassian Family is growing!


Atlassian is expanding- and we don't just mean their product line.

They've welcomed 9,000 new users (Many of whom we've introduced to Atlassian!), added over 300 new Atlassian team members, spent 1,600 hours giving back to non-profits and, most notably, opened a new office in Austin, Texas (but we're biased). 

It's a good thing Atlassian added to their ranks, because they are going to be very busy with the next 5 announcements!

5. HipChat comes to iOS8!

All the Apple users of HipChat had their (mindblown) when Atlassian announced the new HipChat app for iOS8.

The re-designed app allows you to view HipChat in your lock screen and go straight to notifications in an easy-to-use pull down screen for reading and replying.

Just when we thought we couldn't love HipChat any more than we already did! 

4. Holy Confluence 5.7, Batman!

Wouldn't it be nice to simultaneously work on a single, shared document in Confluence and offer in-line comments to collaborators on pages and attachments?

Atlassian thought so too- that's why they included these real-time, collaboration-enhancing features to their already robust CMS.

The fastest way to get your non-technical team members to love Atlassian? Introduce them to Confluence 5.7.

3. Unlimited Customer Usage of Jira Service Desk!

Since making its debut at Summit 2013, Jira Service Desk has quickly become one of Atlassian's hottest, most used products. Thousands of teams received thousands of requests through Jira Service Desk- and now, all those customers are FREE.

With new, agent-based pricing, you get Jira Service Desk 2.0 for your team to serve as many customers as you can. Just one price, no matter the size of your client base! 

2. Stash in the Enterprise! 

Stash is the latest Atlassian product, after Jira and Confluence, to join the Data Center offering- and it's set to be the biggest Data Center release yet!

The first high-availability Git repository, Stash Data Center is a dream for teams running mission-critical processes with no room for downtime and a great need for scalability. 

1. Introducing Jira Portfolio!

On the last day of Summit, attendees packed into Demo Alley to get a glimpse of the newest addition to the Atlassian product line: Jira Portfolio.

The world's largest companies leverage Jira for this purpose- and Atlassian is providing even more planning, reporting and traceability than ever before!

Improved strategizing, change response and growth planning? We're signing up right now!

Where are you going with Atlassian? 

Judging by the non-stop excitement and discuss by our team, nobody is more enthusiastic about the future of Atlassian than Praecipio Consulting! 

Our passion is improving your processes- making them better, faster and stronger so you can achieve best practices for your best product- and those are the tools Atlassian builds.

No matter if you're a new user, a small start-up or an industry giant- wherever you want to go with Atlassian...

...We'll take you there.

Topics: jira atlassian news blog atlassian-summit best-practices bitbucket confluence hipchat mobile jira-service-desk marketplace-apps
1 min read

Stash in the Enterprise: Meet Stash Data Center

By Christopher Pepe on Sep 17, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Atlassian shot into the Enterprise with the release of their revolutionary JIRA Data Center in July, followed by Confluence Data Center in August. Major companies worldwide relying on Enterprise-level, mission-critical processes rejoiced- and now, they have even more reason to celebrate! Now Stash, the popular source code management for Git, is the newest Data Center offering from Atlassian. Currently in its beta version, the first and only platform of its kind to provide a highly available, scalable solution to collaborative Git teams of unlimited sizes with countless products and processes, Stash Data Center brings optimal uptime, the utmost reliability and unlimited scalability. It's only been a week since Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes introduced us to Stash Data Center in the Opening Keynote of Summit, but the IT community is already buzzing over the newest addition to the Atlassian Enterprise family!

Let's meet Stash Data Center!

AVAILABILITY

Using active-active node clustering, your Stash instance is always up and running! Should a node go down, the load balancer distributes the processes of the failed component to keep your workflow moving and kick off node repair. Once the node is fixed, Stash Data Center automatically updates your data with rapid re-indexing so you never miss a beat.

SCALABILITY

Whatever size your instance, Stash Data Center scales to your needs. The platform ensures your Git repository can be accessed quickly, efficiently and at all times- no matter how many users and functions are running concurrently. Have more data than you can handle? Just add another node to your instance to help share the load

SECURITY

Control who has access and permissions within your Git repository with Stash Data Center's robust security options, as well as customizable workflows to get the right code to the right people. Operating on premise and behind the firewall and using global, project, repository and branch level permissions, Stash Data Center provides the safest way yet to run mission-critical Git processes.

Atlassian thrilled new and existing users across the world with their six big product announcements and Enterprise teams everywhere cheered over Stash Data Center! 

Topics: atlassian blog atlassian-summit best-practices bitbucket enterprise reliability repositories scalability uptime data-center git high-availability atlassian-products
2 min read

Hack the Code, Be the Change.

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 4, 2014 11:00:00 AM

What do you get when you put 10 developers in an 18th floor downtown Austin office with 24 hours worth of tickets, iced coffee, beer and pizza?

The 24-Hour Atlassian Hack-a-thon.

The first charity event for the recently-opened Austin office kicked off significant work around the Make a Diff website, where Atlassians, Experts, and developers around the city committed a full day and night's efforts towards resolving issues. To give back, all participants had to do was search for Jira issues by fields such as expertise, assign to themselves, and work to resolve. The charity model, as user-friendly as the Atlassian product stack itself, unlocks the power and skill set of people looking to make a difference in a collaborative, effective, and fun environment. 


Dave Nicholson, Atlassian Hack-a-thon Organizer, gives the team a pre Hack-a-thon pep talk.

Growing from the Atlassian Foundation, where one percent of profit, employee time, and company equity is donated to a non-profit, volunteers donated their knowledge, skills, and time towards improving the Jira plugin that drives the Make a Diff website. 

Praecipio Consulting's Bryan Robison, Senior Solutions Architect and Certified ScrumMaster,  jumped at the opportunity to donate time to Make a Diff. "I've participated in charity code-a-thons before....[those] code-a-thons [were] only 8 hours, so it's nice to have the time to accomplish more." The seasoned veteran's secret to maintaining his coding focus and stamina for 24 hours? "Stay hydrated." 

Bryan Robison of Praecipio Consulting, Scrum Master and glorious beard-haver

By the end of the Hack-a-thon, bleary-eyed, caffeine-fueled developers were able to resolve 19 Jira issues and vastly improve the user experience of the Make a Diff website. In 24 hours, countless lines of code were written; large quantities of snacks and soda were consumed; non-profits can now log on and find the skills they need more easily; and four sets of group push-ups and planks were completed. Volunteer and Praecipio Consulting Business Development Manager Shayla Sander is already looking forward to next year's Hack-a-thon. "Atlassian embraces socially minded endeavors. It helps us to achieve goals greater than ourselves." 

Gahndi said "Be the change you seek," and Atlassian puts their time and skills where their mouth is, listing the inspirational quote as one of their company values.

The user story of the July 2014 Hack-a-thon? A good time and a #goodhack was had by all. 

 

Topics: jira atlassian blog charity
1 min read

Beer Me Jira

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 1, 2013 11:00:00 AM

 You may have seen our toaster video where Christopher configures and customizes Jira to control a toaster. Well, this year for Atlassian Summit 2013, we've taken Christopher's prowess a step further to do something not entirely useful again ... but ... think of the limitless opportunities. Check out this video to see Jira and Jira workflows pour beer. We leveraged Confluence for specifications and collaboration on the idea, Jira for managing the effort (imagine the number of tasks and sub-tasks) and of course Stash as our code repository. Way to go Chris - Praecipio Consulting and Atlassian for the win!

Beer Me Jira!

Oh yeah, did we mention we've gone Platinum?

Topics: jira atlassian blog bitbucket beer-me-jira jira-software
1 min read

We've Gone Platinum

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 13, 2013 11:00:00 AM

It all started seven years ago when Joseph and Christian Lane and Christopher Pepe took their years of software consulting knowledge and focused their energy on the Atlassian product suite.

Since then we have set big goals, worked hard and have grown in leaps and bounds. With clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 20 and 500 companies, Praecipio Consulting has proven itself as a leader in consulting on the full Atlassian portfolio. We're proud to announce that we are now one of four platinum experts in the US, and one of 25 in the world.

Praecipio Consulting is certified across the entire Atlassian product suite. Whether it's a complex Enterprise implementation, a custom add-on, or a deep-dive training for Jira admins and power users we have done it, and we can help.

We're excited and honored to have been named a Platinum Atlassian expert and can't wait to continue growing our business and helping businesses overcome their challenges.

Topics: atlassian blog enterprise implementation atlassian-solution-partner
1 min read

The Secure Content Macro for Confluence

By Praecipio Consulting on May 16, 2013 11:00:00 AM

That’s right, our highly anticipated Secure Content Macro is now available on the Atlassian Marketplace. Secure Content allows you to securely display sensitive data to the right people at the right time anywhere in Confluence.

How does it work?  Secure content blocks are stored, encrypted in the database, and are only decrypted when an authorized user provides their credentials. Users must be logged into Confluence to be able to decrypt a secure content block. Secure Content uses the currently logged in user and ensures that the provided password matches the user’s Confluence password. It’s that simple!

We’re thrilled for the release of this amazing plugin and hope you find it as useful as we have. Click here to download and begin collaborating in secret.

 

 

 

Topics: atlassian blog confluence marketplace secure-content-macro macros
7 min read

Migrating SVN to Git: How Atlassian Made the Switch - the Human Side

By Praecipio Consulting on May 16, 2013 11:00:00 AM

The following content was taken from Atlassian.com

This is the third blog post of a three part series where we focus on migrating the Jira code base from Subversion to Git. We wanted to share Atlassian’s migrating experience to those of you who are contemplating moving a large project to Git – without sacrificing active development. In our first post we discussed why we decided to make the switch to Git. In our second post we dove in the technical details of switching from Subversion to Git. 

Migration – The Human Side

So you might know that you can run a pretty slick migration from the technical side, minimize commit downtime and ensure high availability of your supporting infrastructure. But are your developers ready for the change?

The opinions of Jira developers on the migrations varied from, “Git is the most wonderful thing to ever happen to Jira,” to, “I know Git’s better than SVN but I need training,” to, “Just show me how to do what I currently do in SVN in Git”. It’s critical to address the needs of developers across this spectrum.

The VCS you use (along with some other core things like programming language, IDE, frameworks and libraries) is one of your core tools and one of the key areas where you develop skills. Your VCS is the vehicle for technical communication and collaboration. You need to ensure that all developers are fully on board to maximize their own potential. If a developer has any uncertainty or hangups about the tools they use – particularly their VCS - their work can be severely impeded. Atlassian prides itself on openness – people are encouraged to speak up and risk falling flat on their face rather than not speak up at all – but there are all types of companies where we can envisage people hiding, not speaking up about issues if they’re not comfortable.

Also, developers worth their salt feel a connection to the code they write and their infrastructure. The most productive developers feel an ownership of their environment. If you are going to change that environment, like their VCS tool, it needs to be a change that they own and embrace.

1. Your team will need training

Assuming that everyone in your organization can learn Git on-the-fly after the migration is finished is a recipe for failure. Git is fundamentally different to SVN. Being aware of this, making your developers aware of this, and preparing them for Git is critical in making the migration a success.

The first thing we did to get our developers ready was to run a couple of Git training sessions. For example, we started out with, “How to do what you do in SVN, in Git.” This included Git commands for things like committing and demonstrating what tools are available (developers at Atlassian use their IDE, SourceTree, gitg, and the command line to work with Git). More importantly, it focused on explaining the key differences between SVN and Git. What does it mean to have a local repository that’s a clone of the remote repository? What is a working copy? What is the staging area? Finally, a step-by-step guide to cloning the Git repository and getting started fast was introduced and published on our extranet.

Further, Charles Miller (our Confluence Architect) ran a seminar that was a real deep dive into how Git works internally – what data structures it uses internally, and how actual operations like committing work get done. This was optional for all developers, but some people learn by deep investigation which helps onboarding. Also, the more you delve, the more you discover that Git is a wonderfully elegant architecture internally which is valuable for any computer scientist to learn.

We developed these training sessions internally, however there are a number of external companies that run Git training if that is your preference.

2. Your team wants to know how the migration is proceeding

While we were running the migration, we kept the team up-to-date on the migration status via email and HipChat, our real-time group chat offering. Every time we reached a milestone, we let the team know. Every time we changed infrastructure, we let the team know – partly as a warning in case things break, but also to keep them updated on how things were progressing. It’s a satisfying feeling when you say to a team member, “Hey, you know that code review you just created, you actually created it off the Git repository,” especially if you can pull it off without anything failing during the change. This regular communication, from within the team, was huge in making each developer feel like they were up to date and owning the change. The worst outcome is if the team feels like this change is forced from outside, or if the tools they use every day are changing under their feet without them knowing.

3. Your team will need “Git champions”

Let me say this once again: Git is different to SVN and it can take a while for people to adapt. No matter how much you prepare, how much you educate – developers will run into issues when they start actually using it. Left unattended, these issues will reduce productivity and can spiral into hostility to change.

We marked a couple of developers who had Git experience as ‘Git champions’ after the move. Any time people had issues, or didn’t understand things, or just wanted to know, “What did I just do?” or “How did it work?”, they could pull in a Git champion to help them. This was critical to making the change as seamless as possible.

In practice, we found the major difficulty people encountered was not the differences between commands, but the differences in the conceptual model of working copy, local repository and remote repository. Developers had internalized the SVN model. I would say it took 2-6 weeks for each developer to reach the same familiarity with Git.

4. Don’t change your workflows too much too quickly

There are a number of really advanced Git workflows out there that allow you to put the “D” in DVCS. Branches, feature branches, forks and pull requests are just the start. If you switch to these advanced workflows at the same time as you migrate, you are either Albert Einstein leading a team of Nobel laureates, or you are setting yourself up for a fall. We took the principle of “success through stability” into our workflows as well. We started off with exactly the same workflow we used in SVN:

  • one or two stable branches for bug fixes; and
  • a master branch for new development work

As I mentioned above, our SVN workflow for getting bug fixes from stable to trunk was to manually patch each commit. We kept this workflow when first migrating to Git – each bugfix commit is manually cherry-picked into master. Why would we do this? Git is designed for merging – wasn’t it part of the reason we migrated? To maintain stability, we felt that the change to Git itself was big enough for developers to take on and that changing workflow would only complicate things.

5. Make small, iterative workflow changes

We made our first workflow change about two months after the migration – no more cherry picking. Stable branch merged to master with each commit.

Again, we invested in communicating this change to the team – the motivation why, and a series of steps for how to do it. We re-awoke the Git champions to assist people anytime they had a difficulty. It proved to be a smooth, easy transition. Making small, understandable, iterative changes is what made each change a success.

The Current State of Play – Distributed VCS, Decentralized Development

Once we had settled into a merging workflow, we started embracing the distributed workflows that Git enables.

I mentioned at the start of the article that one of our major products, Jira, now releases to our hosted platform every two weeks. We tend to run with separate teams in separate branches; this enables frequent releases by decoupling separate teams’ work from each other:

  • On the day-to-day level, one team’s changes do not affect other teams. Did Team A break the build? That’s not a problem.  Their changes are isolated to their own team – they only broke their own build and no other team’s development speed is affected.
  • On the two-weekly release level, one team not making the cut does not affect the release. If Team B did not get all their stories over the line, they do not merge back at the end of their iteration. The release can go ahead with everyone except Team B’s stories.

This does introduce challenges of its own. Merging multiple sets of changes at the end of an iteration runs the risk of integration conflicts that can cause bugs. In practice, this is mitigated by the fact that individual teams tend to be working on separate areas of the code base. However, if a team or teams are working on areas that are likely to conflict with other teams, they tend to work directly on the master branch. The teams that are running on individual branches pull regularly from master to get these changes regularly and catch the conflicts before they become critical. Thus far, keeping the lines of communication open has prevented these sorts of conflicts from becoming problematic.

Another complicating factor is geography. Jira’s main development is done in Sydney and Gdansk; but on any one day we might get commits from Atlassian teams in San Francisco, Boulder, or Amsterdam. Teams in different cities tend to run on different branches allowing us to get over the communication gap. To facilitate communicating the kind of potential conflicts I mentioned above, we use HipChat (our group chat product) for 1-1 and group announcements and communication; this works extremely well with our distributed team members. The real-time chat rooms kept conversations persistent so when someone logged on from a different time zone, they could check the status of the conversation and get quickly up to speed. Developers were pinged when they were mentioned in a room so they could respond to someone’s query without having to read through the whole conversation.

A quick note on branch strategies: some people advocate a ‘branch-per-feature’ workflow, where each individual story is developed on a feature branch. This is a great workflow if it fits your project. Some products at Atlassian use this. In Jira, our CI overhead is very high. Running what we would consider ‘adequate’ CI on every story that gets developed is not within the bounds of reality for us. Branch per team, however, is working out well.

Success

The migration turned out to be a great success. No developers’ time was lost in limbo where they could not commit. CI ran continually, and we maintained the ability to do a 5.0 release throughout the entire migration. Post migration, we hit each change successfully and today, developers are embracing the power that DVCS gives them. The proof of this is in the complete change in our release cadence. There is no way we could have shifted from a 90-day to 14-day release cycle without DVCS.

This is probably the fifth time I have mentioned this but I cannot stress enough the importance of communication to the rest of your development team. During the migration, do not be afraid of giving it a higher importance than the actual technical migration tasks. It gets the developers to own the change. For those reticent to change, communication decreases worry and helps developers love Git.

Topics: atlassian blog migrations svn git
6 min read

From SVN to Git: How Atlassian Made the Switch Without Sacrificing Active Development

By Praecipio Consulting on Feb 15, 2013 11:00:00 AM

The following content was taken from Atlassian.com  

In this the first of a three part blog series which focuses on migrating the Jira code base from Subversion to Git. We wanted to share Atlassian’s migrating experience to those of you who are contemplating moving a large project to Git – without sacrificing active development. In our first post we discuss why we decided to make the switch to Git. In our second post we dive in the technical details of switching from Subversion to Git. In our third, and final post we will discuss how we managed the “human” angle to migrating.

Atlassian has been extremely excited about DVCS for a number of years and has invested heavily in DVCS. Atlassian has acquired Bitbucket – a cloud DVCS repository host, developed Stash – a behind the firewall Git repository manager and added DVCS support to FishEye, Atlassian’s code browsing and search tool. They have also added a myriad of DVCS connectors to Jira.

Along with Atlassian we believe DVCS is a great leap forward in software development. As part of this, Atlassian migrated the codebases for their own products and libraries from centralized version control systems (generally SVN) to DVCS. Some of these have been big migrations!

In this three part blog series we will  focus on the biggest migration Atlassian has done – migrating the 11-year-old Jira codebase from SVN to Git. What obstacles did they encounter? What lessons did they learn? And most importantly, how did they do it without sacrificing active development on Jira? We hope that sharing this experience helps anyone approaching a similar migration.

We’ll focus on Git, because Jira moved to Git, but everything in this series applies equally to Mercurial. At Atlassian, they use both.

Why DVCS?

Migrating a big code base is not without cost. The first thing you will need to answer – both for yourself, your bosses, and the people who work for you – is what will DVCS bring us, and why is it worth the cost of migrating?

We have used SVN successfully on many projects.  So has Atlassian.  And I am sure many people reading this article have also used SVN successfully. Since there is always a cost to migration, you may be inclined to ask, “If Subversion has met my version control needs for many years, why should I change?” To me, that is the wrong question. The real question is, “How can DVCS make what we do today even better?”

Git is known for several things.  For a developer working with code, it’s faster.   It allows for advanced workflows like feature branching, forks and pull requests – in theory, these workflows are all possible with SVN, however the difficulty of merging in SVN compared to Git makes them untenable.  But for anyone moving from SVN, the main benefit of Git is that because of its lightweight branching and easy merging, Git allows you to do your default SVN workflow better than SVN.

What do we mean by this? Let’s talk about how we actually develop and release software. Most of us work in a world where we have at least one released version of our software in the wild, which we call a “stable” branch. We maintain and contribute bug fixes to a stable branch while developing new features on a “development” branch (which is called trunk/master/default depending on which VCS you use).

When we commit bug fixes to stable, we need to get them into master too. SVN merge is known to be a pain and works solely on revision history – not actual content.  As a result, a lot of people avoid it, or they do it infrequently and not as part of their day-to-day workflow. How many projects have you worked on where stable and development branches have started to diverge, or diverged so significantly that the effort to bring them back together is a real project cost? Many have certainly been in projects where this has happened, and when we speak to other developers it’s a frequent occurrence with SVN. There are some strategies to deal with it.  For example, with Atlassian’s issues and tracking software, Jira, they ignored merging and required developers to make each commit individually to each stable and development branch, relying on QA to make sure that it happened correctly.

Git allows you to remove this pain. Git makes merging so easy that merging the entire stable branch into the development branch on each commit is a reality; it’s now Atlassian’s default workflow. So even if you don’t want to use feature branches or forks or pull requests immediately, Git provides advantages from day one.

And when Atlassian was ready, they were in a position to take advantage of the advanced workflows that Git allows. Before the switch to DVCS, Atlassian’s major products targeted 90-day release cycles. These 90-day releases went to two platforms: downloadable products for clients to install on their own servers; and a release to Atlassian’s  hosted cloud platform (Atlassian OnDemand) for which clients pay a monthly fee. Using branches as a core part of development workflow has allowed Atlassian to shorten this to the point where they now release major products to the cloud every 2 weeks.

The Switch

Jira is a decent size code base to move – 11 year’s worth of history, 47,228 commits across approximately 21,000 files. Atlassian averages about 30 different committers over a two-week period. More than that, the VCS is a real work-horse for a project like Jira. Builds, code reviews, scripts for releasing both product distributions and source… all these things have a rich tapestry of dependencies on the source code management system.

Their main goal in the migration was to minimize interruption to developers. This is about more than just the ability to commit code; it is about the infrastructure surrounding software development.

Atlassian has 3.5 years of history in Jira’s code review system.

Jira has a lot of CI. Atlassian runs approximately 60 build plans over different configurations and branches.

They have some other dependencies too – Jira has a somewhat complex release process that involves pulling together code from multiple sources. Atlassian also releases their source code to customers, which involves a different set of build scripts.

There is a tradeoff here between how fast you can migrate and how stably you can do it – Atlassian’s guiding principle was to optimize for stability over speed. If you set a deadline for your migration and it slips, what’s the worst that happens? Developers have to commit code to SVN for another week or so. Not the end of the world. It’s far worse if the migration interrupts developers’ ability to work and meet their own deadlines.

In the end, the migration took 14 days in total, with only a total of two hours where developers were unable to commit code. Atlassian were nearing the end of the development cycle for their latest release, Jira 5, and at no point were they unable to cut a release candidate.

Preparation

When preparing the migration, there are a couple of things to be aware of.

First, it will take time. The actual git-svn clone, which takes all of the commits in the SVN repository and replicates them in Git, took three days for Atlassian.

Second, you should prepare and think of all the dependencies your infrastructure has on your VCS. And know that if your infrastructure is sufficiently complex (like Atlassian’s), there will be things you never dreamed of and only discover when they break. So don’t beat yourself up when you encounter a dragon. Just slay it, and continue on your quest.

A migration like this is not something you can do overnight, or even over a weekend. It needs to be managed for a sustained period of time.

Migration – The Technical Side

Stably migrating is daunting but it is not brain surgery; there is a process Atlassian has employed to make it manageable. In part 2 of Atlassian’s Switch to Git series we walk through, step-by-step, the technical details on migrating from Subversion to Git.

Topics: atlassian blog management migrations svn technology git incident-management information
4 min read

Happy New Year - 2012 Recap

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 31, 2012 11:00:00 AM

Looking back, 2012 was a stellar year for both Atlassian and Praecipio Consulting. While Atlassian continued to expand its presence in the software development community, so did we! As the year comes to a close, we look back at all we’ve accomplished and are truly grateful for the opportunity to grow alongside such an awesome partner. As the year comes to an end, we can’t wait for the new opportunities that will arise. We want to give a special thanks to all of our clients, partners and friends for making 2012 so great, and wish each and everyone of you a prosperous 2013!

The following includes the 2012 milestones experienced by us and our awesome partner, Atlassian:

DECEMBER 2012

NOVEMBER 2012

OCTOBER 2012

SEPTEMBER 2012

AUGUST 2012

JULY 2012

JUNE 2012

MAY 2012

APRIL 2012

MARCH 2012

FEBRUARY 2012

JANUARY 2012

Topics: atlassian blog
2 min read

Praecipio Consulting Webinars

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 20, 2012 11:00:00 AM

Our monthly webinars are designed to help you become proficient with the entire Atlassian product suite. Wether you want to convince your team to adopt Jira or are in search of some handy tips and tricks for End Users and Administrators, our webinars are designed for any skill level.

 

Praecipio Webinars

Topics: jira atlassian efficiency management practices process tips tricks lifecycle
5 min read

Collaboration Best Practices - 3 Reasons Why Email Hurts Your Productivity

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 12, 2012 11:00:00 AM

The following content was taken from Atlassian.com:

One of the turning points for communication in the workplace was the invention of email. Historically it’s been the easiest way to make contact in any business relationship – short, pointed conversations with the teammates you work closest with, or quick messages to people you’re communicating with for the very first time. You could say it changed the way we all work. Since its inception, however, the notion that email is also a good channel for team collaboration is what’s holding us all back.

Email is great for communication, but not collaboration…

 

Email is an effective means for communication, but when it comes to collaborating with your team on projects and getting work done, it’s a major hindrance to your team’s productivity.

  • Group conversations grow unwieldy too quickly
  • Keeping track of the most current version of an attached document is the modern-era’s needle in a haystack
  • It’s nearly impossible to maintain clarity about what needs to get done, and by whom

At the end of the day, when it comes to collaborating with your team, email wastes A LOT of your time.

Don’t get us wrong, email is not all bad. It’s really effective at quickly and effortlessly communicating with others, but it just doesn’t scale. When it comes to productively working together with your team, it fails to help you get the job done. Here are three reasons why we feel email is killing your productivity.

1. Your email inbox is a lot like quicksand

You receive a ton of email each day (yeah, like you didn’t already know that!) – some of it’s important, some actionable, some is SPAM, and some is unavoidably pointless. As a result your mornings go wasted in your attempt to reach inbox-zero. It’s a losing battle. Each time you take a step forward, you take two back. You’ve likely tried all the organizational features your email client has to offer to control your inbox – labels, filters, multiple inboxes, smart inboxes – but at the end of the day, your morning consists of at least an hour of unavoidable email ground-and-pound. You also probably manage emails when you get home at night and even first thing in the morning when you wake up just to keep your head above water. I’m preaching to the choir here, right? The fact is that this is the norm these days and hardly leaves you anytime to get real work done.

Pro-Tip: Use the ‘Four D’s of Decision-Making’ model

According to a article published by Microsoft, of the email you receive:

  • 50% can be deleted or filed
  • 30% can be delegated of completed in less than two minutes
  • 20% can be deferred to your Task List or Calendar to complete later

With this in mind it’s good practice to decide what to do with each and every email you receive – you have 4 choices:

  • Delete it
  • Do it
  • Delegate it
  • Defer it

2. Your email inbox silos your team’s tacit knowledge

Email is regularly used to share and discuss work, but that doesn’t mean its supposed to. Attaching files and documents or linking to them via shared network drives makes for a complete mess. Countless versions of shared files and relevant follow-up conversations are trapped in email inboxes everywhere. Your inbox is a graveyard for valuable tacit knowledge, knowledge that gets buried deeper and deeper every minute of every day. It’s truly criminal.

So, what’s the real problem? Email is a tool that best serves simple communication, not discussion, and certainly not collaboration either. When you send an email asking someone to review your work, the most valuable piece of information being transferred is not the file itself, but the ensuing conversation. Regardless of the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to find this email in your own inbox later, no one else outside of the email thread has the opportunity to benefit from this transfer of knowledge, keeping stakeholders in the dark.

3. Switching context between work and email wastes a lot of time

The rate at which most people check their email is astonishing – it’s practically become a nervous twitch. Just like Pavlov’s dog, your email has you trained incredibly well.

The problem with checking your email so much is that you rarely have a solid block of time to get any real work done. Take into consideration that if you’re actually checking your email 36 times an hour, and it takes 16 minutes to refocus after handling an incoming email, your workday is basically non-existent.

Switching contexts is distracting, if not annoying, and your email is the number one culprit – destroying the focus you need to get your job done well.

Pro-Tip: Practice Timeboxing to increase personal productivity

Thanks to email, staying on track at work is nearly impossible. Timeboxing is a time management technique that limits the time during which a task is accomplished. Start with 25 minute intervals. Work on a task for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break, then commit to email for 25 minutes, and finally take another 5 minute break. Repeat. Focus. Flourish.

If 25 minutes sounds like a lot of email time, it sure beats checking your email 36 times in a single hour. At least with Timeboxing you can put all of your energy both into your work and email respectively.

Is there a solution?

We’ve outlined the major problems with using email to collaborate with your team, and even provided a few tips to help avoid the daily snags of collaborative emailing, but these are just simple workarounds. They don’t necessarily get at the core of your problems, which is that email is not the best solution for team collaboration.

OK, we are Atlassian Experts so we’re obviously biased, but we encourage ut clients to use Confluence and HipChat, Atlassian’s team collaboration and group chat tools, as means to reach decisions faster with less email and fewer meetings.

Topics: atlassian blog business confluence efficiency enterprise management optimization process project technology value collaboration information
1 min read

Praecipio Consulting - Atlassian Enterprise Expert

By Praecipio Consulting on Nov 15, 2012 11:00:00 AM

Along with Atlassian’s new offering of Enterprise level Jira and Confluence comes the Atlassian Enterprise Expert Certification. It’s designed to help Enterprise level clients find Atlassian Experts best suited to provide solutions to enterprise level problems. It’s hard to believe that it has been 6 years since our first enterprise deployment, and we are honored to announce that we are officially, Atlassian Enterprise Expert Certified!  

As an Atlassian Enterprise Expert, we have expert-level knowledge and success in the following:

  • Configuration,  analysis, development, and integration of large scale Atlassian installations
  • Diverse product experience with the entire Atlassian product suite
  • Hybrid tool chain experience with both Atlassian and non-Atlassian tools and their integration
  • Git, Mercurial and Subversion

Over the last 6 years, Praecipio Consulting has provided Expert Services to small, 5 person companies to large fortune 100 and 500 companies across several industries including the automotive, pharmaceutical, aerospace engineering, retail, gaming, and financial sectors. 

Topics: jira atlassian blog austin central business confluence efficiency management process technology texas value continuous-improvement information operations

Jira 5.2 Sneak Peek

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 26, 2012 11:00:00 AM

The Atlassian team has been working hard, and to prove it here is a sneak peek of Jira 5.2, soon to debut. With Jira 5.2, it’s easy to add, remove and swap workflows to find the perfect set for your project. Check it out:

 

 

Learn more and let Atlassian know what you think at here.

Topics: jira atlassian blog business process product-services technology information it
2 min read

GreenHopper Innovation Week

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 15, 2012 11:00:00 AM

 Between Atlassian Summit and the launch of  GreenHopper 6, the Atlassian team took a break to conduct an innovation week. Basically, the team had saved up their  “20% time” over a number of weeks to put it to use during one week.

Like all Atlassian 20% time, the team got to choose what they want to work on, in this case three neat features came to light:

GreenHopper TV

GreenHopper TV came out of the desire for our customers to be able to update their board on one computer and see the results on another. For instance, if Michael on the team in Sydney updates the GreenHopper Team board, I would see that immediately on my board when looking at it in Austin. This is a nifty new feature that Michael Ruflin and Brad Baker worked on.

Card Colors

One of the pieces of functionality that GreenHopper Classic mode included was the ability to change the color of the card, depending on its Issue Type. Martin Jopson and Michael Ruflin took that further in Greenhopper 6.0.2 with the introduction of configurable card colors based upon Issue Type, Assignee or JQL. How cool is that?! You can change the color of the card based on JQL – very useful if you want to color based on SLA, for instance.

Simplified Workflow

The simplified workflow was an approach to avoiding the complexity involved in adding an additional column to the GreenHopper board – add status, create draft workflow, add transition, add step, publish, etc. 

Michael Tokar worked on this one and managed a mighty feat – every new project and board created via the GreenHopper Getting Started page can opt to use the GreenHopper Simplified Workflow which enables the board owner to add columns to their hearts content.

Keep an eye out for goodness from GreenHopper Innovation Week. The team is working on some very cool stuff!

Topics: atlassian news blog greenhopper
3 min read

Jira Tip of the Month: Dot and Comma Dialogue Shortcuts

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 3, 2012 11:00:00 AM

Dot ‘.’ and Comma ‘,’ shortcuts

Take your fingers off that mouse! These keyboard shortcuts will help you become a Jira speedster, and get your co-workers to ask “Whoa, how’d you do that?”

Dot Dialog

When your on the Issue Navigation screen or viewing an issue, pressing ‘.’Will bring up an operations dialog menu.

From here, start typing the first few characters of the operation you wish to use.  For example, if you are viewing an issue and want to close it, simply type ‘.’ then ‘close’.

Here is a list of operations you can access using the dot dialog:

  • Start Progress — Set the issue’s Status to In Progress.
  • Resolve issue — Set the issue’s Status to Resolved and select the appropriate Resolution.
  • Close issue — Set the issue’s Status to Closed and if the issue has not already been Resolved, select the appropriate Resolution.
  • Reopen issue — Set a Resolved or Closed issue’s Status to Reopened.
  • Edit — Edit the issue’s details (Summary, Description, etc).
  • Assign — Select an asignee for the issue.
  • Assign To Me — Assign the issue to yourself.
  • Comment — Add a comment to the issue.
  • Log Work — Record the work done and time spent on the issue. This option is only available if Time Tracking has been activated on your Jira site.
  • Attach Files — Select a file, upload it and attach it to the issue.
  • Attach Screenshot — Select a file, upload it and attach it to the issue.
  • Voters — Opens the Voters list of the issue, where you can manage your vote and see others who have voted on the issue too.
  • Add Vote — Adds your vote to the issue. (This option is only available if you did not create the issue.)
  • Watch Issue — Become a watcher of the issue.
  • Stop Watching — Stop watching the issue. (This option is only available on issues you are currently watching.)
  • Watchers — Opens the Watchers List, where you can manage watchers of the issue.
  • Create Sub-Task — Create a new issue which is a sub-task of the issue.
  • Convert to Issue — If the issue is a sub-task, convert it to a standalone issue.
  • Convert to Sub-Task — If the issue is a standalone issue, convert it to a sub-task.
  • Move — Move the issue to a different project.
  • Link — Create a link between the issue and another issue. This option is only available if Issue Linking has been enabled on your Jira site.
  • Clone — Create a new issue which is an identical copy of the issue.
  • Labels — Edit the issue’s labels.
  • Delete — Permanently remove the issue.

(Note that some options in the menu will only be available if the operation is relevant to the issue, if you have the necessary permissions, and if certain features have been enabled by your Jira administrator.)

Comma Dialog

Similarly, if you are viewing an issue, pressing ‘,’ (available in Jira 5.1 or greater) will bring up the Go To Field popup.

Use the popup to edit issue fields in-line, without leaving the page. The following fields are available for editing:

  • Assignee
  • Summary
  • Issue Type
  • Priority
  • Component/s
  • Affects Version/s
  • Fix Version/s
  • Reporter
  • Description
  • Labels

Tune in next month

We’ll be delivering you tips and tricks every month, so make sure to keep you eyes peeled next month for another handy Jira tip. If you found this helpful, please visit Atlassian University - interactive tutorials and videos with tons of tips just like this one.

Topics: jira atlassian blog business efficiency management process tips tricks lifecycle
1 min read

AtlasCamp 2012: Intermediate Jira Plugin Training Course by Praecipio Consulting

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 18, 2012 11:00:00 AM

That’s right, only one day left until AtlasCamp 2012. Our developers eagerly await this day every year, so you can imagine our excitement when Atlassian asked our very own Christopher Pepe to design and teach the Intermediate Jira Plugin Training Course!

Christopher is one of our resident Atlassian experts, counting on over 7 years experience with Jira. Chris has designed training courses for many of our clients including NASA, and has even used Jira to control a toaster - so obviously we knew he’d be a shoe in.

The course will be designed for experienced Java programmers who have basic familiarity with writing Atlassian plugins. The course will demonstrate how to create a working plugin for Jira, implement a REST resource, store and retrieve custom data using Active Objects, and render a custom web panel.

Topics: atlassian news blog
2 min read

Jira: Not Just for Software Development

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 17, 2012 11:00:00 AM

Jira’s an issue tracking application, but its core flexibility and strengths mean it can become much more than a tool limited to a development group. Jira’s incredibly adept at helping teams track and accomplish tasks. Jira also has a masterful ability to manage life cycles - and it’s found great success in numerous use cases.

Use Cases

The following use case guides are meant to explain a bit of the details related to using Jira for a specific use case. The info you’ll find in here highlights much of what we’ve learned from working with clients in a variety of different industries, as well as our internal expertise and use of Jira.

For each of these use cases, we’ll attempt to highlight:

  • Particular Jira functionality specific to the use
  • Related plugins we’re aware of
  • Customization and tweaks
  • …and sometimes a sample file to help get you started

General and Non-Software Uses

Agile Software Development

Project Management

HelpDesk / Support / Trouble Ticketing

Test Case Management

This can be done by using either of the following approaches:

Requirements Management

Change Management

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile austin automation business efficiency enterprise issues management process services technology value tracking change cloud collaboration computing continuous-improvement incident-management information integration it itil itsm operations
6 min read

7 Ways Social Enterprise Apps Are More Than Just Talk

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 1, 2012 11:00:00 AM

by Ashley Furness

CRM Market Analyst, Software Advice
June 27, 2012

Until recently, I might have called Microsoft crazy to drop $1.2 billion on social enterprise app vendor Yammer. The business case for replicating popular social networking functionality in a corporate environment seemed dubious at best. Would there ever be a return on investment?

“Social is more than a trend, it is a revolution that is changing the way we work and collaborate. Powerful social tools, such as Chatter, help employees work faster and more efficiently—making it a strategic piece of the workforce.” — Dave King, Chatter Product Marketing Director

But then I talked to some corporate AtlassianYammerChatter and Jive users, all of whom claimed measurable gains from these tools in a variety of areas. Here are seven ways they derive value from social enterprise applications.

1. Streamline Project Management

Software developers at PerkStreet Financial use Yammer to facilitate scrum meetings, a key component of the agile software development methodology. Rather than hold their daily morning standup meetings in person, each member of the 37-person team posts “what I did yesterday,” “what I will do today” and “barriers to moving forward” using the hashtag #scrum.

Praecipio Consulting has helped in.gredients, a package free micro-grocer, leverage many of Atlassian’s products into extremely powerful tools for project management. Jira and Confluence for example, are used in conjunction to inform teams or others externally on goals, tasks, progress, and results. Confluence makes it easy for their teams to collaborate and share knowledge of Jira roadmaps, workflow, and tasks, or to document work, allowing users to delegate tasks with the “@”symbol.

The tag in Jira and Confluence allows users to quickly see what everyone is working on and chime in when appropriate. Similarly, Yammer can also delegate tasks to others with the “@” symbol. With Jive, users can also employ shortcuts such as an “!” to pull information into the thread from CRM and other enterprise systems.

2. Augment Transparency and Accountability

Since PerkStreet hosts all conversations on Yammer rather than trapped in someone’s inbox, management has continuous insight into the team’s progress.This also prevents work duplication and redundancies because everyone is literally on the same page.

“If you look at someone’s scrum over time, you can see whether they actually accomplished what they said they were going to,” PerkStreet COO Jason Henrichs notes.

Similarly, Jira and Confluence have allowed for Praecipio Consulting to increase its clients’ transparency and accountability even in the case of telecommuting among employees, who at times live in different states. Christian Lane, Managing Partner of Praecipio Consulting said, “the ability of the Atlassian product suite to increase transparency and establish accountability has allowed our business to grow and operate seamlessly across borders.”

3. Increase Communications Efficiency

HipChat, the newest member of the Atlassian family, is similar to Yammer and Jive. It’s a hosted group chat service that helps teams, or entire companies, collaborate in real-time. HipChat has a powerful API and comes loaded with integrations to Atlassian’s most popular products - JiraConfluenceFishEye and Crucible. These integrations allow you to get targeted notifications from products into the relevant chatrooms for your teams.

Salesforce surveys show enterprise wikis can reduce email by 30 percent and meeting by 27 percent.

FlexJobs founder and CEO Sara Sutton Fell said Yammer drastically cut down on her need to email, call or schedule a meeting to check in.

4. Find Experts Faster

Centerstance Inc. Managing Partner Greg Lueck says Chatter helps sales staff answer deal-specific questions expeditiously. He recalled one situation where a partner needed someone certified in Cast Iron software integration who spoke Mandarin. The resource manager working with the partner posted the query in Centerstance’s news feed.

“They had an answer within 30 seconds… in Mandarin,” Lueck remembers. In this and similar scenarios, the employee would have otherwise “relied on a central repository of all company’s experience that is located in one person’s head, or nowhere at all.”

Jive surveys show sales win rates increase an average of 23 percent, and time to find experts falls 34 percent.

5. Better Leverage Information and Insights

Social enterprise vendors have invested heavily in social and adaptive intelligence. These sophisticated algorithms suggest articles, files and experts based on the user’s position, connections, group memberships and resources they’ve previously accessed.

“Chatter knows what you care about based on your activities, making it’s value immeasurable,” King says of Chatter, the salesforce.com social layer. As a result, employees are better informed and can answer questions before they even know they have them.

“Imagine you have 10,000 people in an enterprise. Sales materials, RFPs are constantly flowing through system… Jive makes the most of this information by channeling it to the right people,” according to Jive Product Marketing Director Tim Zonca.

Additionally, HipChat stores full conversation history, so anyone new that joins a room can catch up and participate in the discussion.

“HipChat is incredible – perfect for product teams but fantastic for any team. Its use absolutely exploded at Atlassian, demonstrating the viral adoption potential of a modern communication system for teams,” says Mike Cannon-Brookes, CEO and co-founder of Atlassian. “Connecting and sharing ideas in real-time helps teams move faster, and HipChat does this better than any other product I’ve used.”

6. Generate More, Better Ideas

Yammer provides several means for employees to contribute ideas–from responding to queries and surveys, to posting ideas in a group discussion threads. Users receive gratification when co-workers and leadership “like” their contribution. Then, they are continually rewarded as they watch project teams bring the idea to fruition.

With one advertising campaign, for example, Deloitte CEO Peter Williams asked employees for their ideas for a tagline. More than 38 groups formed that submitted 1,184 original concepts.

7. Boost Employee Recognition and Engagement

In the four years since Deloitte AU implemented Yammer, the turnover rate for active users has fallen to two percent annually–about 10 times less than for employees who don’t use it. Leadership attribute change to employees feeling more engaged and recognized for their work.

“In a company with 180,000 people, most employees rarely interact with leadership,” says Frank Farrall, national leader for Deloitte Australia’s Online Consulting Practice. “Yammer breaks down those barriers.”

Deloitte leadership uses Yammer to pull reports that identify employees with high engagement and positive feedback. The more a user interacts with groups, downloads articles and responds to queries with the same keywords, the more they are distinguished as thought leaders on a subject.

“This is one key way to rise up in the firm–get recognized as someone who drives connectivity,” Farrall added.

Deloitte layered gamification elements into Yammer to further drive engagement and recognition. Using the behavior platform Badgeville, Deloitte awards “badges” when employees report milestones in Yammer, such as completing segments in Deloitte’s Leadership Academy. Users can monitor their rank on a leaderboard that shows what they need to do to surpass the person immediately ahead, encouraging them to do more.

 

Topics: jira atlassian blog business confluence efficiency enterprise management practices process tips tricks value collaboration continuous-improvement operations
2 min read

The Powers of Persuasion - Atlassian and Business Process Management

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 26, 2012 11:00:00 AM

During our last Atlassian User Group meeting a few attendees asked us for pointers on how to convince their managers to implement or expand upon the Atlassian product suite as a Business Process Management Tool. To us the task seemed easy, especially since Process Optimization and Management are some of our founding principles.

After doing a bit of research we were a bit surprised by what we found. According to a study conducted by the Journal of Information & Management71% of executives had negative feelings concerning IT as a source of competitive advantage.

This is especially shocking since exploiting current capabilities while simultaneously developing new ones is a common theme among organizations. This idea serves as a baseline for strategic management and is crucial for adapting to changing environments. It’s through this delicate balance of business activities that the notion of Business Process Management (BPM) was born.

As BPM continues to be considered an important way for organizations to achieve a competitive advantage, senior management should be aware of IT’s ability to facilitate these processes. However, as the study pointed out, this isn’t always the case. In many organizations senior management’s reluctant to promote the strategic role of IT and instead, consider it just an automating tool.

This notion’s not only outdated but it also negates the entire philosophy of BPM, and the idea of developing new organizational capabilities.

So how can you overcome these seemingly insurmountable sentiments, standing in the way of cost-cutting, Business Process Optimization? According to the study, executives were most likely to be convinced of the almighty powers of IT when provided with substantial evidence of the following outcomes:

  • Assurance in the success of process re-engineering
  • Greater simplification in business process
  • Increased efficiency by at least 50%

So whether you are attempting to convince a coworker, boss, or yourself, being well armed with relevant examples of the above will come in handy.

Looking for relevant examples? Try the following case studies:

Topics: atlassian blog automation bpm business management practices process tips tricks continuous-improvement lifecycle operations
5 min read

Meet the New & Improved Bamboo OnDemand!

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 17, 2012 11:00:00 AM

If you’re a Bamboo OnDemand subscriber, you could be forgiven for feeling a stab of jealousy every time a new batch of awesome features comes out for the on-premises Bamboo offering.  ”When, oh when, will it be my turn?”, you pined.  Well, if you logged into your Bamboo OnDemand instance this morning, you already know that the wait is over.   Bamboo OnDemand is now roughly on par with Bamboo 4.1.  ”Roughly”, because there are still a few differences such as not being able to install plugins or use commercial version control systems.

The collection of features now available in Bamboo OnDemand is large enough to fill a book (regular readers know I’m not one for brevity!).  My strategy here today is to call out the biggest n’ bestest of ‘em, and point you to resources that’ll take you deeper in. So bookmark this page.  Reference it.  Love it. Repeat.

Better AMI Support

You’ll need to update custom any custom AMIs used by your build agents to make them compatible with today’s upgrade, but going forward this won’t be necessary.  In addition, BoD now offers a stock image for building on Windows as well as support for EC2 spot instances.

Read more about AMI & Agent Support here: Atlassian OnDemand Release Notes – July 2012

DVCS & External Repo Support

 

The people have clamoured for it, and so the people shall have it!  BoD can pull code from external Git and Mercurial repos hosted on Bitbucket, GitHub or on your own network.  That goes for SVN repos on your own network, too.  Using Git submodules?  No problem. Want to pull code from a hosted SVN repo and a Bitbucket Mercurial repo into the same build? Done.

Read more about DVCS & multiple repo support here: What’s New in Bamboo 3.3

Tasks

All your builders and post actions are belong to us Tasks.  Tasks are the granular steps that make up your Plan: checkout source code, call MSBuild, execute a script… etc.  Your existing builders were converted to Tasks as part of the BoD upgrade, and we think you’ll find it to be a great usability improvement.

Read more about Tasks here: Configuring Tasks

Manual Stages

Many users’ workflows require a set of requests and approvals for deploying code to an environment.  And many many users would like to compile, test and deploy to a QA env with each commit –but deploy to production much less frequently.  Manual stages let you construct a single pipeline, and add “gates” or “valves” to satisfy those use cases.  You’re welcome. 

Read more about Manual Stages (and other cool features) here: Bamboo 3.2 Release Notes

Plan Branches

For a couple of years, the developer community has been complaining that using short-lived branches to build new features simply doesn’t play nicely with continuous integration.  We’ve taken a big step toward proving them wrong.  As soon as Bamboo knows there’s a new branch in your repo, it will clone any associated Plans and point them at the new branch.  Branches are automatically discovered in Git & Mercurial repos, with auto-discovery for SVN coming soon. Très facile!

 

Automatic Merging

Because automatic branch discovery wasn’t enough.  We wanted more!  With each commit to a branch, BoD can now grab code from a second branch, merge the two, run your Plan against the merged code, and if successful, push the merged code to either branch.  Great for ensuring longer-lived branches don’t drift to far from the main line, or for two developers collaborating on a feature using their own feature branches.

Read more about Automatic Merging here: Using Automatic Merges

Test Quarantine

When I was a test engineer, I would’ve killed for this.  But you don’t have to!  No more commenting out tests or dorking around with your suite.xml file.  Just click a button to neutralize a busted test.  It’ll still get run so you can see when it’s fixed, and you’ll see your count of quarantined tests on each build result summary so you don’t loose track of them.

Read more about test quarantine here: Putting Tests in Quarantine with Bamboo 4 (Yes, the zombie apocalypse has indeed arrived.)

Jira Issues

BoD has issues.  And how!  Forget all that inefficient context switching, and create Jira issues from any build results page in Bamboo.

Read more about Jira Issues here: Top 5 Reasons Creating Jira Issues from Bamboo Makes Your Team Awesome-r

Broken Build Tracking

Team leads and scrum masters have better things to do than hound people to fix the build.  With broken build tracking you can assign one person to be the default owner of broken builds for each Plan, or have responsibility assigned to users who made changes since the last passing build.  Bamboo will nag them on your behalf until the build is green again.

Read more about Broken Build Tracking here: Bamboo 4.1 Announcement Blog

Failed Stage Do-Overs

Everyone needs a do-over sometimes.  Maybe a build config needed tweaking.  Maybe your QA environment down just as you were deploying to it.  Re-running only the Stage that failed can save you a whole lot of time.  And time is money, so… yeah.

Read more about Failed Stage Do-Overs here: Bamboo 3.2 Release Notes

Onward!

Bamboo OnDemand is now resting on a more stable platform than before, so expect fewer stability hiccups going forward.  We’ve also made custom AMIs for your build agents easier (even updated the templates, so you might not need to customize at all!), and made Windows images available by default.  Très facile (redux).

But it’s also the end of an era.  This is the last announcement I intend to write about BoD upgrades.  Why?  Because they simply won’t be a big deal anymore.  We’ve retro-fitted our upgrade process such that BoD will be upgraded with new versions of Bamboo at the same time, possibly even before, those versions are available for installation behind your firewall.  This is one “good bye” I think we’re all happy about!

Topics: atlassian blog bamboo business enterprise management practices process technology collaboration information it lifecycle
4 min read

How to Customize your Jira Dashboards | Praecipio Consulting

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 12, 2012 11:00:00 AM

About Dashboards and Gadgets

The Jira Dashboards is the first screen you see when you log in to Jira. It can be configured to display many different types of information, depending on your areas of interest.

If you are anywhere else in Jira, you can access your Jira Dashboards view by clicking the ‘Dashboards‘ link in the top left corner of the Jira interface.

The information boxes on the dashboard are called Gadgetsjira-4_1-jira-dashboard-example

If your user account has only one dashboard, the tabs on the left of the browser window will not be available and the dashboard will occupy the full window width.

 

You can easily customise your dashboard by choosing a different layout, adding more gadgets, dragging the gadgets into different positions, and changing the look of individual gadgets.

You can also create more pages for your dashboard, share your pages with other people and choose your favorites pages, as described in Managing Multiple Dashboard Pages. Each page can be configured independently, as per the instructions below.

 See the big list of all Atlassian gadgets for more ideas.

This gadget will only be available if it has been installed by your Jira administrator.

 

  The Firebug add-on for Firefox can significantly degrade the performance of web pages. If Jira is running too slowly (the Jira dashboard, in particular) then we recommend that you disable Firebug. Read this FAQ for instructions.

 

Creating a Dashbo