3 min read

Jira Service Management Request Types Best Practices

By Praecipio Consulting on May 10, 2021 3:10:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Jira Service Management Request TypesSince 2013, Jira Service Management has been Atlassian's solution to IT Service Management for both internal and external customers alike; more than 8 years of continual development has led to countless examples of how JSM has delivered value to its users. In this 2014 video, we can see how Puppet Labs used Atlassian's Jira Service Desk, now Jira Service Management, to resolve tickets 67% faster. Take it from Atlassian's ITSM Partner of the Year three years running, we love how JSM supports your IT governance strategy. However, when defining a service desk for your organization, one of the most important decisions that you'll make is around how you define your Request Types.

What are Request Types 

In Jira Service Management, the request type defines exactly what the customer sees and how the ticket moves and is displayed after it's been submitted. 

Request types allow you to map a single issue type to different kinds of requests. For example, you may have issue types like Incidents and Service Requests. That's how your IT team understand incoming requests and they have the benefit of being able to span multiple contexts. However, as an end-user, when I'm coming to the portal I'm not thinking in ITIL terms. I'm likely thinking more along the lines of "I can't login" or "I need a new computer." 

Request types allow you to represent both sides of the equation - the foundation of your portal are the issue types, but request types let you customize how they appear to customers in the portal. So, let's see what exactly we can do with request types.

What can I do with request types

  • Map a single issue type to many different request types: If there are multiple requests that follow the same workflow, you can utilize a single workflow across as many forms as you'd like!
  • Group requests: You may have multiple requests that can be logically grouped together, like Software and Hardware.
  • Change field display names: Even thought they're filling out the Summary field, on a request you may want it to say "What problem are you experiencing?" or "How can we help."
  • Show specific Jira fields: While an agent may need to see and edit fields like Team or Priority, you probably don't want your customer to see those on Create.
  • Preset fields: If certain request types have some constant information, you can preset fields without needing to modify the workflow or use any automation.
  • Customize how workflow statuses are displayed: If you don't need your customer to know that an issue is being escalated to Tier 2 or Tier 3, you can mask those statuses so all the customer sees is that the issue is "In Progress" and they won't receive notifications as it moves through that internal workflow. 

With that in mind, there are some best practices to keep in mind. 

Request type best practices

  • Think about the customer experience! Why are they coming to the portal?
  • Don't necessarily break request types or groups down by IT org structure. While this could be useful, there are lots of ways to route request types to the right place without having it affect the customer view.
  • Use hidden fields on your requests to simplify the experience - if you know a system wide outage is always urgent, don't make the user complete that field!
  • Use hidden components or Team custom fields to route to the appropriate queues. 

At Praecipio Consulting, we have the experts that can help you implement ITSM best practices across your entire organization.  Contact us, we'd love to help!

Topics: jira blog best-practices tips request jira-service-management
2 min read

Test Driven Development

By Praecipio Consulting on Apr 28, 2021 11:15:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Test Driven DevelopmentWhen we're in the process of creating a product, we want to see the end result. We have a vision of what the product will look like and how we want to get there, so it's tempting to try to get the product running as quickly as possible. However, if and when the product breaks or needs to be updated, we are going to be responsible for fixing it. With that in mind, we look toward Test Driven Development (TDD)

Nobody likes folding laundry. It takes time, and not everyone appreciates the results (at least not initially). The next morning is a different story: When you wake up to a crisp stack of folded shirts, choosing an outfit is easy - there's no rummaging through a laundry bin and you know exactly what's ready to wear. Sometimes, an initial time investment such as folding laundry, can help us out in the future.

Testing the Feature

We could test manually, going through our list of features and testing each feature to make sure the product is operating as intended. Or, we might write automated tests once the product is finished. But like rummaging through a laundry bin, working through this retroactively can be complicated and we may miss important information.

Many developers use TDD to prevent dealing with this "laundry". Instead of writing tests during the QA phase of development, developers write automated tests before anything else. Imagine a developer adding a new feature to software that allows the user to change the color of the background. The developer first writes an automated test to check whether the background color is changed once a button is clicked. The test may initially fail. They would then add the functional code and use the automated test to make sure the feature works.

Why would a developer want to spend extra time writing tests before building a product?

First of all, TDD keeps development simple and goal-focused. Features are added only when they can pass a specific test. This means that the developer has to make sure that each feature is necessary and the objective of that feature is clear. With no objective, it's impossible to write a test to pass your objective.

The TDD time investment leads to time savings in the future. Although it takes more time to include automated tests in the initial development of a product, there is potential for time savings in the future. When a product breaks, it's clear which part of the code is causing the failure. This means that QA may go more smoothly as bugs or product upgrades arise.

Test Driven Development-1Conventional development vs. Test Driven Development. Using TDD requires an initial time investment but can lead to time savings long-term.

Of course, TDD processes aren't the best for every team. When there are too many possible test cases (often seen in GUI development) it can become impossible to write tests for every functional situation. Like any set of processes a team uses, think about what makes sense for your situation. Does the product have finite requirements? Has QA testing used eaten away hours of time due to buried bugs? Making an early time investment can keep things orderly. Even if your sock drawer is destined to be a mess, think about how you're building your products.

Want to learn more about testing? Check out Could Testing Be the Missing Link for Effective Agile Transformation.

Topics: blog best-practices plan testing development agile
2 min read

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

By Katie Thomas 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
2 min read

Should Stories & Bugs Follow Different Workflows?

By Joseph Lane on Mar 31, 2021 10:07:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Should stories and bugs follow different workflows-The short answer: Not really. Stories and bugs are both software development items by different names. As such, the vast majority of activities and controls that we model for a story are applicable to bugs. The key distinction between stories and bugs often comes down to data. Bugs should include Affects Version/sSteps to Recreate, Expected Behavior, and Actual Behavior. How and when we require this data relies on what practices we're observing.

For teams using Kanban practices where there is a Backlog status and a Ready for Development status, the transition to Ready for Development can be used to capture required data based on issue type. In this simple case, we would have two transitions from Backlog, Ready for Dev and Ready for Dev - Bug. For each transition, include a transition-specific screen to capture the appropriate fields.  Example: SDLC Ready for Dev - Bug Transition Screen will include: Affects Version/sSteps to Recreate, Expected Behavior, and Actual Behavior in addition to any other fields needed in both cases. Then, leveraging your workflow conditions allow the Bug issue type to only use the Ready for Dev - Bug transition. All other issue types can default to the Ready for Development transition by explicitly checking that the current issue type is not a bug.

The considerations above work well in workflow cases where you have gated controls as a function of status change. This might apply to teams that include requirements definitions and design efforts within the story or bug life cycle (as might be the case with Waterfall). Additionally, this logical approach allows for workflow reuse which in turn decreases administrative burden and increases process consistency.

Scrum teams view Ready for Development a bit differently. Good Scrum practices dictate that product owners will refine their backlog as items are prioritized upward. Refinement provides all functional details necessary for the scrum team to be able to work the ticket including validation of bug reports and associated details. Once prioritized, the development team will review stories and bugs at the top of the backlog to make sure they understand the requirements. The work is considered Ready for Development at the moment it is accepted in to a sprint.

I hope this explanation helps you avoid unnecessary workflows!

Topics: blog best-practices bugs kanban scrum workflows software-development coding
2 min read

The Impact Installing Apps Can Have on an Atlassian Application

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

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

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

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

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

Three Things No One Tells You About Custom Fields in Jira

By Mary Roper on Mar 4, 2021 12:19:10 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Three Things No One Tells You About Custom FieldsCustom fields can be an over-looked configuration point in Jira, and it's easy to see why: they're easy to create, modify, and make available for your users. Although Jira ships with several system fields, it's inevitable that teams using Jira will reach a point where they require additional fields to input specific information into their issues. But in order to maintain Jira's performance as well as instance hygiene, it's important that Administrators take great care when it comes to custom field creation. That's why today we're sharing with you a few custom field insights we've gleaned over the years. Read on to learn three things no one tells you about custom fields. 

1. Technically, there is no limit to the number of custom fields you can have. BUT...

Custom fields do impact system performance in Jira. Below are some recent results breaking down each configuration item's impact on Jira. Here, we can see that custom fields have an impact on the speed of running a large instance. Your teams may feel this impact in the load time of issue screens. As an admin, one indication can be having a long page of custom fields to scroll through. Additionally, this is often accompanied by longer than usual load time for the custom field Administration page. 

Response Times for Jira Data Sets

To combat this, Jira Administrators should partner with the requestor and other impacted users to determine some guidelines for creating custom fields. For instance, requiring the requestor to submit an example of how they plan to report on the custom field or having the Administrator ensure the custom field can be used in the majority of projects (>=80%). Execution is crucial here: once the guidelines are aligned with management and stakeholders, it's crucial they are followed to prevent your custom field list from unnecessarily growing.

2. There are native alternatives to custom fields.

There are a few usual suspects to look for when reviewing custom fields. Duplicate custom fields ("Additional Comments" as a supplement to the "Comments" system field), variations of custom fields ("Vendor" vs "Vendors"), and department specific custom fields ("Company ABC" vs "Vendor") are a few custom fields that can needlessly drive up your custom field count. To prevent this from happening, Admins can offer their business partners alternative suggestions to creating a custom field by looking at the following:

  1. Utilize an existing custom field that may be more general, but is fit for the purpose to get the most out of what is already in place.
  2. Rather than implementing a custom field, Labels or Components can be used to help organize issues and categorize them for future reporting.
  3. Apply a custom field context to help maximize the potential for picker, select, checkbox, and radio button custom field types. Adding field context enables Administrators to pair different custom field select options or their default values to specific projects or issue types within the same project.

3. You can proactively manage custom fields.

Rather than waiting for custom fields to pile on and create a lag on the instance speed time, proactively scheduling time to scrub your instance for stale custom fields will help Administrators keep on top of their custom field list. This can be a visual check to understand what fields aren't associated to a screen- those are good candidates for removal- or if there are similarly named fields- those can be good candidates for consolidation. More information from Atlassian on how to identify and clean up these fields can be found here.

Ultimately, a well-maintained Jira instance includes a good understanding of custom fields and their overall impact on the system. As your instance grows overtime, the guidelines around custom field development will become all the more important. Bringing these tips to life will help your instance run at top speeds for your users. 

Need help making the best out of your Jira instance? Our experts know Jira inside-out: contact us and we'll get in touch!

Topics: jira blog best-practices optimization standardize configuration bespoke health-check
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
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
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
3 min read

Individuals and Interactions Over Tools Doesn't Mean No Tools

By Morgan Folsom on Feb 1, 2021 11:00:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_People & Process over tools doesnt mean no tools-1"Individuals and interactions over processes and tools"

It's an important line from the Agile Manifesto – one that establishes that the focus when trying to work in an Agile way is the people. However, we often see this used as a justification to provide inadequate tools to teams. In a well-run Agile organization, you shouldn't have to think about the tools - they should support the work that the team needs to do without getting in the way. Organizations often make the mistake of implementing tools to make teams work in an Agile way. However, tools are in and of themselves not enough - the people and processes behind them are what makes a business go.

However, this doesn’t mean we should ignore the tools we use, opting for whatever’s cheapest, easiest to setup, what we’ve always used, or something that’s “good enough.” Rather, we should take the exact opposite approach and select our tools purposefully, deliberately identifying the tools which best empower employees and promote processes. Because of this, there are two properties of utmost importance when considering a new tool: the tool should allow our team to run with the process that best meets our team’s needs, and the tool should help our team members work better together.

To fit the first of these criteria, the tool should be customizable in a way that allows your team to use your own process. Much of enterprise software today shoehorns teams into predefined configurations and settings which the tool manufacturer thinks are best. This leads to frustration, difficulty in using the tool, and potentially costly transitions to new software. In our experience, every team is at least a little bit different, and even two teams that want to implement the same fundamental process will find they have a few differences they would like reflected in the process. Because those differences tend to arise from the uniqueness of your team, they are important to capture in the tool in order to give your team the tools that best meet your needs.

Further, a good tool will promote communication and collaboration between teammates, inside or outside of the tool. Information tends to get lost when team members do their work in one system but communicate that work in another. For this reason, an ideal product will allow for conversations to take place within the product, ideally directly on the work item those conversations are referring to. Historical conversations should be preserved to allow for a look back on what decisions were made and why, and the tool should have options for how users are notified of important communications. Further down the collaboration path, handoffs should be made simple if not automatic, and any approvals should be doable within the tool. Finally, high-level or detailed status reports should be visible and accessible by any team member who needs or wants to see them.

These two crucial properties are two of the reasons we like Jira. Atlassian’s strategy for a long time has been to develop applications to meet the 80% of needs that are shared by most teams, such as collaboration features, malleable processes, and easy visibility of work, while allowing the remaining 20% of needed functionality to be determined by individual teams and sourced in the Marketplace. The result is a product which delivers good performance out of the box, but can be optimized to meet the needs of any team.

Consider the role that Jira plays in Agile. A large portion of the functionality is built in: Kanban and scrum boards, backlogs, issue types, workflows, and sprint reports. However, the software is customizable to the point that it works equally well for teams that have a quick, simple process with a few issue types and teams which have a complicated process with several rules, handoffs, and types of work. It doesn’t matter to Jira whether your version of Agile requires multiple manager sign-offs before it’s done or if your team lives on the edge, skips QA altogether, and goes straight to production. The point is that the software fits your process, not the other way around. Regardless of process, there are several mechanisms for the team to stay in touch along the way. Every issue can be commented on and allows for @-mentions to draw attention quickly. Email notifications are sent out at times decided by the team, not at arbitrarily defined times decided by the tool’s developers. Progress is simple to see on a board, and every user has access to generate reports or build dashboards to collect information relevant to them, reducing the need for repetitive status reports.

Most organizations will purchase a tool, kick it around for a few years, then junk it because it “doesn’t work right” or “doesn’t make sense for us.” Don’t let this happen to your organization. Pick your tools with care and optimize them for your team. And if you need help, talk with the experts, and get great advice!

Topics: jira blog best-practices tools atlassian-products agile
3 min read

Tips for archiving your Confluence spaces

By Luis Machado on Oct 23, 2020 12:15:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Archiving Confluence spaces

Projects come and go, and sometimes what we once thought was a great idea may no longer be relevant or you've evolved your thought process. Since we're all undoubtedly great at documentation, chances are every one of your projects or endeavors has been noted or tracked in some fashion. Confluence, of course, is a great tool to do this with, especially if you organize your project all within the same space. But what do you do with that documentation when it's time to hang up the towel?

Usually, some record of your success or failure must be kept for posterity or perhaps, compliance. Whatever your motivations, archiving is important and Confluence allows us an easy way to do this natively. In this post, we'll focus on the native feature to archive spaces and also share some apps that could help you to organize archived content at the page level.

There are several reasons you might want to archive content in your Confluence instance, and it all depends on the life cycle of your projects or groups. To give an example, I worked for a game publisher for many years, and we would archive spaces after sunsetting (a term used to shut down a game product) one of our games. The major advantage to archiving is the content is still available in Confluence for reference purposes but won't show up in any page searches you perform nor will it appear in the Space Directory. This keeps your daily traffic from being cluttered with content from spaces that are no longer relevant to your business.

So you've reached a point in a project where it's officially time to move on, but the leadership team wants to keep the space for reference since some good ideas came out of the endeavor. Archiving the space seems to be the way to go, but how do you do that? Atlassian has put together a great document that details the steps for archiving in a cloud environment. To briefly summarize the process, you navigate to the portion of the space tools that contains the details and edit them, set the status to archived, and save. Pretty simple.

If at any time after archiving the space there is a request within your organization to review the archived content, you can link to the pages directly, and they will still be accessible. The search functionality within Confluence will automatically allow you to specify if you want to search through archived content in the case that the content available.

Atlassian also gives guidance on how to archive specific pages, which you can accomplish through a combination of manually moving pages and adjusting permissions to achieve similar results for the space archiving functionality. There are also third-party apps available, such as Better Content Archiving for Confluence, which gives you an increased toolset to make the archiving processes a bit less work. I recommend installing any third-party apps you wish to try into a dev or test environment before running on your production instance. One last thing to note, if you end up archiving a space accidentally or perhaps want to revisit an archived project and need the space to be active, you can easily change the archive setting to make the space available again.

If you need help managing your Confluence instance and want to learn how your organization can take full advantage of this tool, get in touch with Praecipio Consulting

Topics: best-practices confluence confluence-archives
4 min read

Should I run my Jira Data Center on Linux or Windows?

By Yogi Kanakamedala on Oct 14, 2020 12:29:22 PM

Blogpost-display-image

This is a debate as old as the Operating Systems (OS) themselves and a discussion that never seems to end. Being in charge of making the decision between Linux or Windows for your team can be a hard choice. Currently, about 77% of all personal and professional computers around the world run Windows, while only about 1.84% of all computers run a Linux distro. Linux is the current choice of many organizations because of their development machines and servers. JIRA can run on either OS, with only slight differences as to how the software is managed and monitored. Linux offers better ability to write one-off scripts and utilities. It is important to note that Atlassian does developments and testing on Linux systems. Even though windows historically has performance issues compared to Linux, the gap has been reduced in recent years. Potential problems that Windows users face can be getting backups or processing data. Let's dive further into each OS and learn more about them! 

Operating System Overview

Before making any decisions, it is important to know the history, pros, and cons of each OS. 

Linux

LinuxLinux is an open-source, OS created by a Finnish student, Linus Torvalds, in 1991. This free and highly customizable OS is currently the choice of many organizations, large and small, as their development machines' and servers' OS. Most of the different flavors of Linux, called distributions or 'distros,' are built to use fewer hardware resources, making the overall system more efficient. Additionally, Linux is easy to customize and modify to the liking of the user due to the fact that the source code for it is available publicly. 

Because Linux is completely free, there is less traditional "technical support" available with the product. The available support comes in the form of paid support from a third party or from the Linux community through public chat boards and FAQ sites. Not all versions come with long-term support due to a slow rate of change when it comes to OS upgrades. 

With customizability and freedom to modify as needed comes with a steep learning curve. For example, remote access requires command-line knowledge. This is less intuitive than Windows graphical remote access interface. System changes and customization requires complex operation. 

One of the benefits that comes with an open-source OS is security. With many eyes around the world looking at the source code and improving it everyday, less and less attack vectors are found by malicious parties. Another reason for better security is obscurity. Linux, when compared to Windows, has considerably less market share, making Linux systems less of a target for attacks. 

Linux also offers some additional benefits. It is very easy to write custom scripts, users have full control on updates and changes, and lightweight architecture helps with performance.

Windows

windows

Windows is a for-profit product and was first launched by Microsoft in 1985, gaining popularity with the release of Windows 95 in 1995. This propelled Windows into being the leader of OSs around the world. One of the reasons for this popularity boom is the easy to use graphical interface that Windows is known for. Windows is usually the choice for novice and business users, as well as large companies looking for quick responses and dedicated support. As with all proprietary technologies, individual users experience less customization. Additionally, the OS is not going to be as optimized to hardware as Linux. 

When the OS is purchased, Microsoft provides integrated and online help to all customers. Getting personalized help is usually easier with Windows than with Linux. Due to the market share of Windows, almost all software products are designed with Windows in mind. Some Windows programs are simply not available in Linux. It is important to note that even while many third-party products are free, the majority of Microsoft products are only available at a cost. 

Windows was designed with ease of use in mind. Graphical interfaces are available for making most configurations. For example, to access remote servers, Windows offers a graphical remote desktop software. There is no need to be a command-line expert to customize the server. The learning curve for Windows is not as steep as Linux. This is really important for novice users and more proficient users may be frustrated by the lack of fine-tune control over the system or by the oversimplification of system tasks. 

Due to the popularity of Windows, the OS is a large target for malicious parties. Many security vulnerabilities and system instabilities have been reported throughout the years. To be fair, Microsoft has been able to make security improvements in response to the security leaks. Regular system upgrades and security fixes help protect sensitive data. 

So, should I run my Jira Server/Data Center on Linux or Windows?

As with many hard questions: it depends. Windows is more user friendly. The built-in remote desktop access makes it simple to make changes and update JIRA configurations. Linux servers may have a sharper learning curve and feel more demanding, but they perform better. Linux provides more customization options while working with JIRA and better security.

jira

The decision comes down to one main factor- comfort level. Having prior knowledge of Windows or Linux servers will go a long way in helping make the decision and will make working with JIRA easier. How comfortable is the team with each OS? It is also important to consider the style of the rest of the organization, as OS consistency is incredibly important for productivity and collaboration.

If your organization just wants to focus on development and not worry about managing JIRA, Praecipio Consulting can offer expert support services with our Atlassian Platinum Enterprise expertise and process focus. 

 

Topics: jira best-practices linux windows server
5 min read

Should We Use Next-Gen Projects in Jira Cloud?

By Amanda Babb on Aug 28, 2020 9:30:00 AM

Benefits of Next-Gen projects

Atlassian has always held the concept of the team in high regard. As you may know, even their stock ticker is TEAM. And with many organizations pushing to Atlassian Cloud from their Server or Data Center solutions, it's no wonder Atlassian is removing barriers to entry for first-time users and admins. Whether you choose Standard or Premium, Jira Software adds the ability to create next-gen projects.

What is a next-gen project? 

Jira Software next-gen projects are a simple and flexible way to get your teams working. With some limited delegated administration, next-gen projects are created using a pre-defined template (Kanban or Scrum). These projects also come with three pre-defined roles: Administrator, Member, and Viewer.

  • Administrator: Updates project settings and can add other Administrators
  • Member: Can perform most functions such as create, edit, assign, and transition issues
  • Viewer: Can view and comment only

By default, if a user is added to the Jira Cloud site and provided access to Jira Software, they automatically become a member of every next-gen project (also known as Open). However, a next-gen admin can change the settings to be either Limited or Private. Limited puts all users of Jira software into the Viewer role and Private requires the admin to add a user to perform actions in the project. In addition, setting the project to Private hides the project from any search results. 

Each next-gen project operates similarly to a Classic Software project. You get either a Kanban or Scrum Board based on your project template as well as the reports you've come to know and love from the Server and Data Center products. One key difference is the addition of a Roadmap. Each next-gen project and board comes with a Roadmap. This allows teams to track start and end dates of the epics and better communicate with their product owners and stakeholders. 

The benefits of a next-gen project

Next-gen projects are flexible and delegate administration to the Administrators. This means the Administrator can create new Issue Types and Workflows, add unique fields, assign access to individuals or groups, and can enable or disable specific agile features such as enabling backlogs. This provides the ultimate flexibility for newly formed agile teams to work out their processes and data needs while performing their daily work. Let's take a closer look at each of these elements. 

Issue Types can be created on the fly at any time. As an Administrator, you can add up to 30 unique issue types to your next-gen project. By default, next-gen projects come with Epics, Stories, Bugs, Tasks, and Subtasks. If you remember, these are arranged in a loose hierarchy with Epics at the top; Stories, Bugs, and Tasks in the middle; and Subtasks on the bottom. Currently, any additional issue types will be added at the same level as Stories, Bugs and Tasks. If you'd like to add your own Subtasks or parent issues, feel free to submit feedback to Atlassian. 

Workflows are configured directly on your Board. Simply add a column to add a status to your workflow. That's it. You may also add rules such as assigning an issue or updating a field. Other Marketplace Apps can add automation triggers and the like to next-gen projects as well. 

Administrators can also add Custom Fields for your project. While Jira already comes with a robust set of Jira-created fields, you may choose to add checkboxes, people fields, numbers, dates, dropdowns and more. You can even change the order of the fields on the issue view to put the most important information at the top. 

Notifications on certain events can also be tuned to suit the team's need. For those already familiar with notifications, these events include: Issue Created, Issue Updated, Issue Assigned, Issue Deleted, etc. In a next-gen project, you can notify All Watchers, Current Assignee, Current User, Reporter, or a Project Role. Simply select the event and the people you'd like to notify, and Jira will take care of the rest. 

Last, but not least, there are nine separate Board features you may choose to enable for your next-gen project. This includes things like the Roadmap, Reports, Backlogs for Kanban, and more. 

There's no doubt that next-gen projects provide your team the ultimate flexibility in managing their work. With easily navigable menus and a simplified Administration interface, next-gen projects can be great for you and your team. 

The disadvantages of a next-gen project

One of the things we love about the Atlassian products is that they are super flexible and you can do pretty much anything you'd like with them. One of the things we hate about the Atlassian products is that they are super flexible and you can do pretty much anything you'd like with them. The same is true of next-gen projects. With ultimate flexibility and delegated administration, it becomes difficult to aggregate data across multiple projects. As a product manager, project manager, Release Train Engineer, or other person over several teams, you may find next-gen projects frustrating. 

Because the configuration of a next-gen project is unique to the individual project, gathering a status update is difficult. Not impossible, but you need a solid working knowledge of Jira Query Language (JQL) and good discipline from your teams to ensure they're transitioning tickets through the workflow. Creating custom Filters and Dashboards is your only way to aggregate data across projects. In addition, since each team can create their own custom fields, you risk data bloat. For example, one team may create a field called Bug Type using a dropdown and another may create Bug Type using checkboxes. While both are correct, to understand where Bugs are located, you have to add both fields to your filter. And the values may be unique per project as well. 

Work can only be estimated in Story Points, regardless if your project is Kanban or Scrum. This is also regardless of Issue Type. If you enable estimation on either a Scrum or Kanban next-gen project, every piece of work should be estimated and estimated in Story Points. Tasks, Bugs, and Stories all need points to establish a consistent velocity for predictability. 

Since there is a single workflow for all Issue Types, the team cannot split processes between types of work. If a Task follows a simplified process (To Do, In Progress, and Done), but a Story needs more detail (Backlog, Selected for Development, In Progress, and Done), the team cannot split these items into two distinct workflows. Every type of work must follow the same path through the board. 

There are additional technical considerations as well for things like Cloud merges (bringing two instances together) and Cloud to Server or Data Center migrations (moving off Atlassian Cloud to an On Premise solution). While these efforts are few and far between, all next-gen projects must be converted to Classic projects before these efforts start. 

Are next-gen projects right for you? 

At Praecipio Consulting, we believe you must use the right tool for the right job. The same goes for next-gen projects. While there are many benefits, there are disadvantages as well. How do you manage cross-team dependencies? Are you willing to span multiple projects for status updates? Do you trust your teams to make the most out of the functionality? Are there long-term scaling opportunities you need to consider, such as integrations, or other products, such as Advanced Roadmaps, for Jira or Jira Align? If you'd like to know more about next-gen versus classic Jira Software projects, Praecipio Consulting has extensive experience managing and assisting clients with these questions and more. 

 

Topics: best-practices business-teams cloud atlassian-products jira-align next-gen-project
2 min read

Why Confluence Is The Ultimate Documentation Tool

By Nicholas Redwine on Jun 16, 2020 12:15:00 PM

2020 Blogposts_Confluence as the Ultimate Technical Documentation Tool

Where do most of us go when we want to find answers to work-related questions? Like, "How to set-up a PC" or "where to find the best supplies for your workspace"? 

Below are some of the common ways we find answers at Praecipio Consulting when things get "too technical" or our expertise is limited. We want to ensure we're getting the correct information that will draw us closer to the solution:

  1. Ask an experienced co-worker/direct superior
  2. Web Search (Google or Wiki)
  3. App Store (There is an app for everything right?)
  4. Books (If applicable - we're no strangers to "Topic X for Dummies")
  5. Internal Documentation

No matter what route you go, Confluence can bring all of the information that you find into one centralized landing spot with templates, articles, blogs, company intranet spaces, and many more helpful tidbits that connect you to your most mission-critical Atlassian applications.

Providing external access to specific Confluence spaces can also assist in answering any technical questions the client may have. By creating a knowledge base in Confluence, we can give people's time back by reducing the number of calls and emails, which create noise and distract from primary work functions. Instead of having to set up a call or go back and forth over email, having a knowledge base allows you to provide a self-service resource for the client to look up information on their own time. 

Not only can the knowledge base help with organizing technical information, but it also allows your team to work more efficiently, leading to shorter response times and improved Service Level Agreements with clients and external users. With JIRA being the baseline of projects, software development, and ticketing, Confluence comes heavily integrated along with other supporting applications to serve as the ultimate documentation hub. 

For a more detailed Webinar around Confluence essentials, check out Confluence Fundamentals, and check out this post to learn about our tips for what NOT to do when setting up your Confluence Knowledge Base. 

Topics: best-practices confluence knowledge-base
3 min read

How to Solve "Too Many Confluence Email Notifications"

By Morgan Folsom on Mar 18, 2020 9:30:00 AM

confluene email notifications

We often hear feedback that Jira is too noisy, but Confluence has the potential to fill your inbox as well if you're not on top of your email preferences. If you've read our blog outlining the solution to reducing Jira notifications, but your users are still complaining about noise, it may be time to provide some guidance on Confluence notifications too. 

So if you're a user, let's talk about which notifications you're getting and how you can escape the inbox overflow. 

Watching a Space

If you use Confluence 6.13 or an earlier version, you may be required to watch a space when you first log into the instance. Watching a space means that you will receive notifications for all updates to the pages within this space, and this can be a harsh welcome to a new Confluence instance. If you are on one of these affected versions, a Confluence admin can fix this by disabling the Onboarding dialog globally. Confluence 6.14 and later removes this requirement, but it is still possible to watch spaces manually.

To identify which spaces you are watching:

  1. Click on your profile photo in the top right and select Watches.
  2. View Space Watches to identify which spaces you are watching.
  3. If you want to unfollow the space, simply click Stop Watching on the right side of the screen.

Watching a Page

In addition to watching entire spaces, you can watch specific Confluence pages. You can do this manually, or automatically if Autowatch is enabled on your profile. If Autowatch is enabled, you will be added as a watcher to all pages and blog posts that you've created, edited, or commented on. For users that contribute to a lot of content, this can result in a great deal of notifications. 

Disabling Autowatch is your best bet if you receive too many of these. To disable Autowatch:

  • Click on your profile photo in the top right and select Settings.
  • Select Email under the left panel labeled Your Settings.
  • Select Edit at the bottom of the page, and uncheck Autowatch

Additionally, to see all pages that you're watching:

  1. Click on your profile photo in the top right and select Watches.
  2. View Page Watches to identify which spaces you are watching.
  3. If you want to unfollow the page, simply click Stop Watching on the right side of the screen.

Recommended/Daily Updates

If you receive notifications that aren't tied to specific pages that you edited or watched, you may be receiving Confluence Recommended Updates or Daily Updates. This functionality will send updates and information about Confluence content.

If you're not interested in receiving these updates:

  1. Click on your profile photo in the top right and select Settings.
  2. Select Email under the left panel labeled Your Settings.
  3. Select Edit at the bottom of the page, and uncheck Recommended Updates and/or Daily Updates

Notify on My Actions

If you don't ever want to receive notifications for changes that you've made in Confluence, you'll want to be sure that this box is unchecked as well!

  1. Click on your profile photo in the top right and select Settings.
  2. Select Email under the left panel labeled Your Settings.
  3. Select Edit at the bottom of the page, and uncheck Notify on My Actions

Uncheck Notify Watchers

Help keep your team's inboxes clean by unchecking the Notify Watchers box when updating pages. Checking this only when you want to let your team know there have been changes to a page will help keep notifications relevant.

 

Now that you've updated your Confluence and Jira email settings, you can get rid of those inbox filters, and finally receive just the notifications that matter to you. 

Topics: best-practices confluence email-notifications
4 min read

Jira: Your Path to Digital Transformation

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

JiraYourPathtoDigitalTransformation-1

We're all Going Digital

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

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

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

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

Running a Business Like it's 1999

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Digital Transformation Doesn't Happen on a Spreadsheet 

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

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

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

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

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

Becoming a Digital Transformation(ist)

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

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

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

 

Topics: jira best-practices digital-transformation atlassian-products
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

SAFe Cheat Sheet

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
6 min read

Top 12 Jira Questions of 2014

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 29, 2014 11:00:00 AM

On December 3rd, we went where no Praecipio Consulting webinar has gone before: We answered your Jira questions live! Between pre-submitted questions from webinar registrants, online Praecipio Consulting followers, and real-time queries from viewers, our resident Jira expert Christopher Pepe fielded the questions you most wanted answers to. We were thrilled by your response to the call for questions and feel the answers to be so helpful that we decided to share them with the Jira-using public at large! From new Jira users to experienced technical leads, here are the top Jira questions and answers for your inquiring minds.

 Q: We have yet to find a way to enter our estimates in a manner that gives us valid burn-down charts on agile projects and would like advice. The process we use is as follows:

  • Issues are entered into Jira (into the backlog) with a high level estimate.
  • When we get into a sprint, we'd like to create sub-tasks that reallocate the hours in the original task (e.g., a story is entered with 40 hours, then the team determines that there will by 6 hours of BA work, two 8 hour development tasks, 8 hours of QA, 2 hours of documentation, and some PM work that can be logged against the main story).

Presently, we see the subtasks showing as additive and in the scenario above it ends up looking like there are 72 hours. How would you recommend that we solve this?

A: (6:04) The way Jira handles time tracking, all of your time is rolled up, so your time is double-entered. Take the original hourly estimate, delete from parent ticket (as it misses the intent of the time-tracking) and either a) don't include time estimates in the original story or b) make your stories into epics and give all sub-tasks (tests, bugs, etc.) time estimates that roll-up to give a more accurate picture of time tracked. It's also worth noting that, as people are generally not the best at estimating time, one could utilize story points to track time and establish velocity across your Agile team. For example, this new feature will take x amount of time based on x amount of sprints (compared to previous tasks of the same type). 

Q: Can we delete Statuses from already published Workflows? 

A:  (9:26) Historically no (and I believe that's still the case). You have to copy the workflow and modify, or rebuild. Then map it back to your workflow scheme, deleting the status.

Q: We are creating different issues-types for different entities, User Story, Task, Test, Bug, etc. Does having these many different issue types create complication? Is it convenient to keep track of these issues? For Ex. 1 User story might have 3 Tasks, 2 Tests and 4 Bugs, isn’t that creating linking issues or traceability issues?

A: (10:42) This is a big question and the answer is really our whole business at Praecipio Consulting, as we seek to model your processes to Jira for connectivity across all systems. Creating an efficient data model in Jira can be challenging. You're taking the right approach in thinking about how to model your data. I can't advise you without knowing more about how you operate, but recommend you think about making your Stories into Epics in Jira Agile, and then add your Tasks, Tests, and Bugs to the Epic. That really simplifies the issue linking.

Q: Is there a quick way to see an issue's priority when looking at it on a board besides filtering it?

A: (13:54) Yes, the priority is shown by its icon. Hover over to see what it is. Agile packs a lot into a little space

Q: Is there a way to automatically move an issue to a different workflow when the issue type changes. Like any Post-Function?

A: (15:29) Jira will automatically do this. It means that your Workflow Scheme needs to have different workflows configured for the issue types. If workflows have different custom fields, Jira will force you to go through a mapping stage. No post-function is needed!

Q: What options for Pass Through Authentication exist? Are Add Ons the most often used method? Are there other ways of doing this without paying hefty prices? 

A: (17:44) Add-ons are really the only way. There are REST authentication resources so if you can control intercepting the username and password you can hand them off to the application, but if your mechanism isn't HTTP based its hard to get the token in the users browser. Atlassian's Crowd is a popular choice, providing a single-sign on platform for authentication through multiple avenues.

Q: Beside custom fields, what other system configuration items can cause poor system performance? Permission schemes? Notification schemes? If so what are some best practices for these? 

A: (20:35) The short answer is: lots of schema. Custom fields, complicated workflows and the like can contribute to slower performance. Finding bottlenecks is challenging. Many layers of monitoring is the best approach (Maybe you don't have a big enough thread pool or your disk access speed is too slow.) to make sure you can see what the JVM is doing. New Relic offers simplified yet robust monitoring capabilities for these purposes 

Q: When entering a custom field, what is the best practice for configuring the field for specific issue types/projects versus a global context (all issue types/projects)? We have custom fields that will only be used for one or two issue types and a subset of projects, but we have configured them as all issue types/all projects. Is there a downside to this configuration?

A: (24:35) I encourage new admins (and even seasoned ones) to use global context and focus their energy on designing screens and related schema to get a project to operate as expected. Context makes it hard to track down why a field isn't showing up or some odd behavior that's occurring.

Q: How can I make an issue editable when the status is already closed? Also, I am unable to add a transition from a closed issue to another status. 

A: (27:25) You should be able in the workflow editor to create a transition from closed. Jira may be blocking this, since closed issues are uneditable. The default workflow that comes with Jira, if copied, wouldn't allow you to edit a closed issue- so the properties associated with the workflow are copied too. You'll need to edit your custom workflow and delete this property or create your own. 

Q: Can we add more fields in ‘Test’ Issue-type, like currently there are Test Step, Test Data and Expected Result. Can we include columns for Module, Test Scenario, etc.?

A: (30:18) Yes you can add more fields by modifying the Screens and maybe Field Configurations. You may need to create your custom fields first too.

Follow-up: (in the Zephyr panel shown in the issue) No, that is not configurable. You should tell Zephyr that you'd like it to be.

Q: Can you fix the Jira header to stay at the top of the page when scrolling?

A: (37:26) There isn't a way in the Jira UI, but if you go and inspect the element, you will find that the header bar is just a div (and stuff inside it) that you can target with CSS or Javascript to fix the hold. In Javascript, present it to Jira by creating an add-on and install. This helps you control the context and action. If you only want it on issue view, you'd add the Javascript to the field configuration. Having this function as an add-on helps future system admins know that it's an individual, customized feature that can be found and identified.

(If you listen to the webinar audio, you also hear our Jira Expert cat weighing in on the subject as Christopher Pepe translates.)

Q: What are the benefits of a federated Jira instance?

A: (41:06) Atlassian has several resources on the benefits of managing multiple instances through federating. The only places where we really see people federate instances is in industry mandates (ex. industry permissions for viewing data) or when different groups within an organization need individual ownership. In this case, you'd create application links between the two instances to allow reporting from one instance to another; the pitfall is that you can only get results from one instance at a time. 

When it comes to Jira, there is so much to know and learn! At Praecipio Consulting, we bring our Atlassian expertise to Jira and the entire product suite through our webinars, trainings and full service offering. Still have Jira questions or want to apply our experience to your instance? Find out how we can answer your questions and get you your best instance by contacting Praecipio Consulting. 

Topics: jira blog scaled-agile best-practices training configuration consulting-services integration
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
3 min read

Everybody Gets a Pony! Top 5 Reasons to Outsource Your Hosting & Managed Services

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 15, 2014 11:00:00 AM

As the holiday season approaches, my family will undoubtedly ask me the same thing they do every year - What do I want? Since I was a little kid, I've always given the same answer to no avail, my request steadfast and unchanging: I want a pony. The likelihood of my receiving a pony this Christmas is still as unlikely as it's ever been, and I ask knowing that I'll be getting pajamas, stationery, and other non-pony related items like every previous holiday. While I repeatedly ask for the pony, the regular maintenance and upkeep (not to mention storage) of a pony is more than I can handle. Believe me, I'd still love a pony for Christmas. My life and schedule might permit some allocated riding time, but I don't have the resources or bandwidth to commit to everything else that goes into pony ownership. 

Wouldn't it be great to get something you really want, that would make your life better, and never deal with the time-draining, resource-monopolizing hassle of upkeep?

Companies around the world have recognized for years that the Atlassian product suite is the ultimate in scalable, reliable Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and business management products. Offering both Cloud and Server versions of the tool set, users get varying levels of functionality and add-on capability. While Server versions offer extra options, businesses often opt for Cloud instead, as it brings them an Atlassian-hosted solution. Now, with Praecipio Consulting's Hosting and Managed Services, you get the benefits of a Server instance with the freedom of outsourced hosting by our Atlassian Enterprise Platinum experts. 

Our Top 5 Reasons to Outsource Your Hosting and Managed Services

5. Save Your Space

My hypothetical Christmas pony needs room to run and graze, so keeping it in my small, urban backyard is impractical. Likewise, software needs room to run and the power to do so. Server instances consume RAM and can slow the speed of other processes running concurrently. With Praecipio Consulting's Hosting services, we host your Atlassian instance on our dedicated Rackspace servers, giving you uninterrupted process flow and unburdened memory. Enterprise industry leaders choose our Atlassian hosting because it frees them up to do their business faster, increasing process and profit. 

4. Trusted Expertise

I love ponies, but am no pony expert (nor do I have time to become one). Similarly, you may not have the bandwidth or expertise to be your team's go-to on your Atlassian instance when something goes awry. With Praecipio Consulting's Hosting and Managed Services, you get an Atlassian Platinum Enterprise consultant dedicated to your instance. By outsourcing your Atlassian expertise to Praecipio Consulting, we deliver the answers and results that your team relies on for continued functionality and success of your instance. Our consultants have a deep expertise around the entire product suite, stemming from years of implementations, configurations and optimizations - so you know your instance is in the best hands possible! 

3. Increase Time and Resources

Keeping up with a pony would require a significant portion of my time and finances to maintain - even if nothing was wrong with the pony. Your software also requires regular touches, from upgrades to regular maintenance, which can all take people, time and money away from your organization. Wouldn't you rather focus on your job and let someone else do the work? Praecipio Consulting can make that happen. Our Hosting and Managed Services include all the scheduled maintenance and upgrades required to keep your instance at its best. No more blocking out time in your schedule to perform that upgrade. Praecipio Consulting has you covered!

2. Maximized Performance

If I had a pony, I would want it to have the very best of everything- including environment. A stable, well maintained environment is as critical for pony care as it is for your instance and, using Rackspace servers, our Hosting ensures that your Atlassian platform has the utmost uptime and availability. You know you can always count on your instance to perform the way you need, when you need it. 

1. Rapid Resolution

Sometimes ponies get sick. Or wander away from the pasture. Or any other number of pony-related problems befall them. With all that I have to deal with in my daily life, I can't guarantee that I'll be the quickest person to respond to the needs of my pony. When your instance goes haywire, you need it fixed immediately. Downtime and system issues equate to lost time and money (not only spent fixing the problem, but in the stop of workflow). When your instance goes down, don't waste time and money- just call Praecipio Consuting and get it fixed quickly!

While getting a pony for Christmas may be something I can only dream of (along with the team it would require to house and maintain said pony), a well maintained, expertly cared for Atlassian instance is within everyone's reach with Praecipio Consulting's Hosting and Managed Services. By letting us manage your Atlassian instance, you save time, money and resources while getting the best functionality and service for your software platform. Increase your ROI, maximize processes and drive down costs with our Hosting and Managed Services for your Atlassian products. We promise to take excellent care of your "pony."

Topics: blog best-practices managed-services reliability uptime hosting itsm

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
5 min read

Expert Tips to Enhance Collaboration

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 30, 2014 11:00:00 AM

While I may have seen Lord of the Rings, I've recently become keenly aware of my overall lack of knowledge around the ins and outs of the franchise. After creating a would-be "one does not simply" LOTR meme related to a new Atlassian product release, I HipChatted the idea to a co-worker for review. The following is the actual conversation that ensued:
 

 

Aside from the fact that I apparently need to re-watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy, my big take-away from the conversation was- thank goodness for Atlassian! At Praecipio Consulting, we leverage the collaborative power of the product suite for everything from content review to coming up with new ideas and innovations for our client work. Even with resources located across the country, I still get the input I need from our team with tools like Confluence, Jira and HipChat.

As an international company with offices from Australia to Austin to Amsterdam, Atlassian knows the importance of remote collaboration across disparate teams. With a product suite that facilitates communication and documentation, Atlassian helps organizations worldwide increase productivity with tools like Jira, Confluence and Stash. One could write code in Asia, then have a team member in South America review and merge it. Marketing initiatives begun in England can be aligned with corresponding product releases developed in Iceland with Jira Portfolio. The Atlassian line of products, designed for maximum collaboration, allows remote team members to bring their expertise to projects to achieve best results. Besides using the Atlassian tools to prevent misappropriated movie references, we also collaborate in other ways.

Everybody Needs an Editor.

While spell check has done wonders for catching errors, it is always good practice to have someone review your work before pushing to production. Jira and Confluence track activity by users, alerting page and issue watchers to edits made and keeping the general population abreast of developments via the activity feed. This allows your team to see changes made and weigh in with comments. If you have Confluence 5.7, you get even more editing power with the ability to leave in-line comments on documents and attachments for the most specific, efficient method of feedback. At Praecipio Consulting, our best collaborative practices include color-coded copy edits that delineate areas for re-write, removal of copy or verification of content accuracy. Using our colored copy system, it is easy to provide specific feedback during collaboration that the content owner can efficiently incorporate into the document.

To further standardize our review process, we created a custom Marketing Communications issue type in Jira with its own workflow. We now have the ability to track the progress all our content from In Progress to QA (review) to Publish. By assigning the issue to the user responsible for each step in the process, the reporter (the person who ultimately owns the project) can easily see when to expect the next content release. With reports and customizable dashboards in Jira, we can easily view our communications schedule to ensure that content is on track throughout the In Progress and QA phases for on-time publishing. Not only does this help us thoroughly review content before publishing, but it also streamlines our processes by avoiding multiple individual sub-tasks and instead tracks the workflow within the main communications issue for best collaborative practices. 

The Marketplace of Ideas

In 1859, philosopher John Stuart Mill raised the idea of "the marketplace of ideas" - a community of open, transparent discourse to find truth. Why not create a Marketplace of Ideas for your teams to share information and gain knowledge? 

With Atlassian tools like Confluence Questions, your entire organization has access to a centralized source of standardized information. Allowing users to easily search for answers, team members can add their own responses and up-vote the answers of others to make Confluence Questions even more robust. Identify experts in your organization with leaderboard reporting so you find your best resource for each project.

Jira Portfolio, Atlassian's most exciting new offering, brings disparate teams together through initiative setting to align all projects to your business strategy, from your marketing department to your dev team. The skill field for each resource gives you even more granularity when searching for the right person, allowing users to set competencies from UI to QA. 

We don't think John Stuart Mill was the one who coined the phrase, "two heads are better than one," but Atlassian users agree with it just the same. Introducing tools like Confluence Questions and Jira Portfolio bring best collaborative practices to your organization as your team begins sharing and learning together. 

Members Only

Getting others' feedback can be helpful, but sometimes you only want input from certain users. With permission setting capabilities across the Atlassian product suite administrators can determine the visibility of information to control who can edit and view data. For additional security for your most sensitive information, Praecipio Consulting's Secure Content add-on for Confluence brings you the ultimate encryption with a secure yet simple user interface. 

Need to discuss something with a specific team? Get a room! A HipChat room, that is. Security settings in the real-time chat software gives you the ability to create your own chat room inside your organization's lobby. Add permissions to decide who gets invited to the room and a lock icon will appear next to your HipChat room to let everyone know you're having a private party.

Atlassian's security and permissions settings give you the power to choose your collaborators and keep that secret project - whether a new hire or plans for the boss' birthday party - under wraps until release.

Secure Content provides an easy to use, secure location for your most sensitive information.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Atlassian facilitates best collaborative practices and your best processes with their entire product suite. You gain the full benefit of your team's expertise as they contribute to the CMS, share knowledge and align business strategy. Atlassian gives you the utmost transparency so everyone stays "in the know" and interacts in real-time. Getting efficient and documented feedback, you can seamlessly track user stories to stay involved in the collaborative process from ideation to release. As Atlassian product and process experts, Praecipio Consulting offers services around the innovative suite of tools to help you achieve best collaborative products and practices. We get you what you need - from process optimization to product licensing - to facilitate your best collaborative practices. The greatest ideas come from inspiration through collaboration. Harness the full brain power of your organization with the Atlassian product suite and Praecipio Consulting's best collaborative practices. 

Topics: jira blog best-practices confluence implementation process-consulting questions-for-confluence collaboration consulting-services jira-service-desk marketplace-apps
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
5 min read

Top 5 Ways Jira Portfolio Increases ROI

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 15, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Your organization is made up of many moving parts- from team members, to products, to stakeholders. Everyone has different project management needs, and the larger your organization, the greater the need for best practices in project management. Nobody knows project planning and tracking better than Atlassian, who continue to build industry-favorite SDLC tools like Jira and Confluence to enhance your team's collaboration and visibility. This year, they raised the bar even higher with the release of Jira Portfolio. You can track real-time adjustments to product releases and analyze use of resources in one central location to determine the best course of action every time for reliable delivery.  

At Praecipio Consulting we are excited to offer our Atlassian expert services around Jira Portfolio, bringing you this revolutionary product from licensing to implementation, configuration, and training. As businesses around the world begin to catch on to the robust planning power of Jira Portfolio, Praecipio Consulting helps you get the maximum return on your SaaS investment. So, how does Jira Portfolio increase your ROI? Here are just a few ways...


5. INITIALIZE YOUR INITIATIVES

Seasoned users of Jira know about using the epic designation in Jira Agile to collect user stories from multiple tasks under a larger project heading, but now you can expand your business narrative with initiatives! An initiative aligns epics and corresponding user stories to link together all the moving pieces of your business processes. Unfamiliar with Agile practices? Use Initiatives to give each team a vision for their part of the story- whether you're the one developing the product or the one marketing it. Each team's actions in Jira track back to Jira Portfolio under the larger initiative plan to give PM's and stakeholders an accurate overview of how the initiative is developing to ensure an on-time delivery. Get all your resources from all involved teams on the exact same page with initiative-setting capabilities in Jira Portfolio.

Before Jira Portfolio: Countless cross-team meetings to convey initiative vision and goals

After Jira Portfolio: Epics and stories streamlined by initiative to keep your teams aligned under the same vision and goals

 

4. THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THE RIGHT JOB

Who has time to work on the project? Who has the required skills? Finding answers to these questions used to take significant time- time that could be spent moving ahead on your project- that is, until Jira Portfolio. Now it's easy to search resources by availability and skill set to assign the right person to the right job. Never again have to guess whether your assigned developer has UI/UX experience- just check Jira Portfolio and see! Not only can you find the perfect person for the task by filtering searches for specific skills, but you can view their availability to determine if they have the bandwidth for your project. If only online dating were this easy!

Before Jira Portfolio: Mismatched assignees who may (or may not) have the skills needed to finish the job right, and on time

After Jira Portfolio: Find the perfect fit for the job by viewing resources' skills and availability 

 

3. EASY ESTIMATION

So, you've found your Mr. Perfect Developer or Mrs. Right Marketing Resource. How much time will it take these team members to complete their assignments? With Jira Portfolio, your resources gain the ability to project the time they need to get the job done. By documenting these estimates in Jira Portfolio, PM's get a percentage breakdown across teams and users for the most accurate, up-to-date forecast of your project timeline. User friendly charts and percentages automatically generate based on the estimated time required, showing you the workload make-up of your project. And, with report export capabilities, the only thing PM's have to do is press print and hand over the beautifully accurate and informative analysis to project stakeholders for easy and always available project tracking. 

Before Jira Portfolio: Imbalance of time allocation per development phases; Searching multiple locations for data then keeping fingers crossed in hopes that the search provides an accurate forecast to stakeholders

After Jira Portfolio: Each phase gets the time it needs; One central location with reporting options that allows you to see your progress in a single glance 

 

2. SCRUM AND KANBAN- YOU GET BOTH!

Your methodology is personal to your organization. Often, teams within the same company, teams operate using different processes. Jira Portfolio meets the process needs of every team with options for Scrum and Kanban. Using Jira Portfolio's iteration-based scrum scheduling abilities, your project moves through a workflow based on completion of one to several week-long iterations. Need continuous scheduling ability? Jira Portfolio has you covered with the Kanban-style scheduling that organizes the stages of your workflow to align with a traditional process workflow, moving to the next step once the previous one has been completed and closed out. Jira Portfolio provides a project planning tool to fit any process methodology in your organization.

Before Jira Portfolio: Different methodologies requiring different software for different teams, preventing cross-team collaboration and centralized reporting for PM's

After Jira Portfolio: One SaaS to rule them all! Any methodology, or even multiple methodologies in the same organization, achieve the same traceability and process maximization

 

 

1. LET'S GET REAL

Perhaps the most exciting feature of Jira Portfolio (but really, how can we pick just one?) is the ability for real-time planning and forecasting. While this is nothing new for Atlassian users, Jira Portfolio takes it one step further, allowing administrators to project timelines based on resources, dependancies and completion of iterations. Need to spend more time in testing before release? Update your date fields, and the project tracking timeline adjusts to re-schedule your release date accordingly. How much time could you gain by adding an additional resource to a phase? No need to guess- just add the resource and Jira Portfolio shows you, based on the resource's availability and role, the new timeline to reflect the extra team member's projected contribution. Those who love to ask "What if?" Jira Portfolio allows you to explore different scenarios to determine your best course of action before making the call. 

Before Jira Portfolio: Guessing at deadlines and making partially informed decisions 

After Jira Portfolio: Real-time forecasting of scenarios to get your best course of action every time

Atlassian's new Jira Portfolio bring robust, flexible, dynamic scheduling capabilities to your organization for best project management practices. This exciting Jira add-on delivers big results, streamlining your organization's numerous projects for supreme visibility and providing thorough, accurate reporting. Masters of best technology and business practices, Praecipio Consulting is here to bring Jira Portfolio to your organization! A one-stop shop for all things Atlassian, we provide implementation, configuration, process consulting, training and anything else you need to get your organization using Jira Portfolio with best-in-breed practices. 

Ready to learn more about Jira Portfolio and how it revolutionizes business practices? Join us on November 5th for our Introduction to Jira Portfolio webinar, which includes a live demonstration of the application and a Q&A opportunity with Praecipio Consulting's Atlassian Expert Consultant, Amanda Babb. Contact us to learn how Jira Portfolio can maximize your project planning and how Praecipio Consulting sets you up for your greatest success.

All images courtesy of "Dilbert" by Scott Adams

Topics: blog best-practices optimization process-consulting training consulting-services portfolio-management project-management marketplace-apps

Introduction to Jira Portfolio

By Amanda Babb on Oct 9, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Want to connect your business strategy to development reality? Jira Portfolio, Atlassian's newest product, allows for easy and accurate planning across multiple projects and teams. Get an inside look at the latest offering and learn how to connect strategic goals to development reality with Jira Portfolio.

Topics: best-practices implementation product-services training webinars portfolio-management marketplace-apps cumulus-cloud
5 min read

Paying for Mistakes: The Cost to Fix a Software Defect and How to Avoid It

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 9, 2014 11:00:00 AM

In 2002, a study by NIST reported the U.S. Economy spent $59.5 billion annually fixing software defects. Less than a decade later, Cambridge University found the cost to have risen (in 2007 to 2011) to a global cost of $312 billion per year. With technology becoming an ever-growing presence in our society- from smart phones to smart cars- the pressure to build infallible software is at the forefront of companies' minds. A software defect, which can be caused by omitting even one character in pages of code, can have far reaching repercussions.

These kind of non-conformance expenditures spent repairing software defects impact your Cost of Quality, costing your company profit and maybe even your professional reputation. Customer satisfaction fuels the reputation of businesses, and even a small software defect can translate into billions of dollars in lost revenue when people become frustrated over non-functional or mis-operating products. 

"To err is human." So, how do we reduce software defects caused by user error?

With the Atlassian product suite, you have security with well-documented, well-reviewed process capabilities- You just have to begin with the end in mind. This should be the mantra for any software development effort. To start, gathering clear requirements in Confluence will allow a team to have a single point of truth when in the early stages. Developers, QA, Stakeholders, Product Owners, Scrum Masters- everyone should be involved in the process. Before kicking off a new project, ask yourself:

  • What are we trying to create? (e.g. a new feature, an enhancement to an existing product or offering, a cleaner UI)
  • Why are we doing this and why is this a need? 
  • Who are the end-users and how will they be using the product?
  • Where in the application will this sit? (e.g. Is it middleware? Is it database transactions? ) 
  • When can we release this? 

These 5 questions can get ideas flowing. Recommendations regarding this phase include creating user profiles to help determine acceptance criteria. In Agile, the creation of user stories helps here too. By beginning with the end in mind and leveraging Confluence, there is no question as to what the expected function of the product is and what is considered done.

Once the requirements have been reviewed and agreed upon, now is where we start tasking. Within Confluence, selecting text and creating Jira tickets is easy once the applications are linked. These issues should be created with the mindset that after an iteration, the issue is complete and potentially shippable. 

Fail fast... then fix it!

These checkpoints in the SDLC process have the opportunity to make or break a deliverable's release, reducing extra costs to the company. Depending on the phase in which the defect is introduced, and how long it takes to catch, the losses can quickly add up. Finding an architecture issue in the construction phase will cost 10 times as much than if it were caught in its starting phase. A requirements issue found in post-release can cost up to 100 times as much to fix than if identified from the beginning. How can you ensure you're shipping a defect-free product that won't cost your company profit or credibility?

Take a moment to think about what potentially shippable means. These items have been developed, tested, re-tested, merged, and are ready to meet the outside world. With a click of a button in Stash, these items can be merged with the Master Branch and are now available for use. But to get to this point, the Scrum Team must have had some way to develop and test and merge and flag issues without affecting the Master Branch or Production System. Here's where integrating Jira, Bamboo, and Stash come in handy. You can create a feature branch, develop against it, and merge it with everyone else's branches to ensure there are no defects. Bamboo will see the new branch and build. Fail Fast. Within a short period of time, the team can see what they did (or didn't do) to make sure the units are potentially shippable- troubleshoot, fix, then merge again. When a build fails or a branch doesn't merge, defects can be filed in Jira and added into the Sprint. 

Accidents will happen.

Even with multiple checkpoints in place for accuracy, a user may spot a defect. In this case, leveraging Jira Service Desk can provide immediate feedback to customer service regarding the problem. By providing a way for customers to communicate their issue immediately, you are able to respond to their complaint- preserving the reputation of your business and gaining important information on what went wrong (so you can avoid it next time). Everybody makes mistakes- it's how (and how fast) you fix them that leaves a lasting impression with customers. 

Limit Defects, Avoid Loss, Increase Productivity

With the Atlassian product suite, user errors that create defects in software are identified and weeded out before your deliverable ships, allowing you to continually increase profit and get solid results. Best practices in robust tools like Jira, Confluence, and Stash help your organization achieve traceability and thorough documentation through continuous integration. Leveraging administrative and reporting functions, including permission setting and customized workflows, you can track project development and identify blockers in real time to mitigate profit loss. Atlassian further stacked their product line to increase visibility and keep deliverables on time and defect-free with their new offering, Jira Portfolio

Million dollar profit or million dollar loss? The omission in a single character in one line of code can be catastrophic to your deliverable, so early detection is paramount. Atlassian helps you catch those bugs before they turn into an infestation and with our extensive knowledge of best practices and process optimization around the product suite can maximize your defect defense. Learn more about how Praecipio Consulting can help you avoid those costly errors. With the money you save, you can treat your team to an Atlassian training course!

Topics: blog scaled-agile best-practices bitbucket confluence process-consulting roi consulting-services jira-service-desk marketplace-apps
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

Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian Platinum Partner

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

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