3 min read

How to effectively communicate across all of your tools

By Morgan Folsom on Aug 5, 2021 12:33:48 PM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-August-Why-more-tools-does-not-mean-better- communication

One of the coolest parts of working with the Atlassian suite is the ability to see the wide variety of industries that use the tools in different ways. In my role working with clients I have seen how every company has adapted the tools slightly differently to make them work best for their processes, and help them make that process even smoother.

 While doing so I get to see firsthand how they communicate internally and externally. 

It becomes clear that while many of the tools that we use in our day-to-day jobs are great at facilitating communication, it can be hard to figure out exactly which tool we should be using for what. Here at Praecipio Consulting, I could reach out to my colleagues or clients lots of different ways – a Slack message, a comment on a Jira issue, a comment on a Confluence page, an email, or I could skip all of that and just call them directly. Sometimes, I'll see a combination – a Slack message to verify if a call is okay, or an email that follows a comment on a Jira issue to make sure that I've seen it. 

While Jira and Confluence is often the most direct way, many organizations run into the issue of mismanaged notifications that means people filter out all of their notifications (for detailed guides on how to fix that in either tool see How to Solve: "Too Many Jira Email Notifications" or How to Solve: "Too Many Confluence Email Notifications"). Ultimately, what's most important is that the team is consistent enough in their usage that you know where to find the information you need. 

Given that, here are my recommendations:

Jira

Use Jira comments for all communications specific to the issue at hand. This keeps the information tied to the subject, easy to find in the future, and permanent. You won't have to worry about having deleted an email if you've got all of the comments on the issue themselves. 

Confluence

Follow the same guide as above – if you've got a Confluence page about a subject, keep the collaboration in one place! You can use either inline comments or page comments to track the communication. Even resolved inline comments stick around, so if you need to reference this in the future, no problem. 

Chat (Slack, Teams, etc.)

Great for informal chats, quick clarifications, and funny gifs – but I try to keep any official decisions either out of the chat, or copied to the issue/page that holds the content on the subject we're discussing. If you're using a tool like Workato to integrate your Jira and Slack instances, you can even have your Slack messages added to the issue directly. 

Email

If you're going to be emailing about a ticket, just include the issue key in the Subject and CC your Jira email address, and the email will be added to the comments of the issue. This way, for folks who prefer working in email, the communications aren't lost. Otherwise, I try to send as few emails as possible.

Call (Phone, Slack, Zoom, etc.)

I'm a millennial, so let's just say this is rarely my first choice. Most of the time, for quick conversations I prefer chat, but, especially as more workers are moving remote, this can replace the quick stop by your desk that you may be used to. 

Ultimately, the above is how I manage communications internally and with clients, but which tool you use for which purpose is far less important than that you're consistent. The less time you have to spend hunting down information the better, so agree as a team how you'll communicate and stick to it!

If you are having trouble managing your teams' communications, contact us and one of our experts will be glad to help.

Topics: jira blog best-practices confluence workato workflows community culture slack
2 min read

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

By Michael Knight on May 1, 2020 9:15:00 AM

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

What is a stand-up meeting?

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

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

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

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

How to run a productive stand-up meeting

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

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

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

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

Topics: blog best-practices teams community culture agile
3 min read

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

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

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

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Our Pledge

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

Our Commitment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our Responsibility

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

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

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

Taking Out the Trash for Earth Day 2018

By Praecipio Consulting on Apr 24, 2018 12:35:00 PM

Praecipio Consulting is dedicated to doing what we can as a company to take care of our Mother Earth. As important as the environment is to every human being sharing our Earth, Lake Austin and its well-being was particularly important to all of us at Praecipio Consulting. When Earth Day 2018 was upon us, we knew what our passion project needed to be. We signed up as a company to help clean Lake Austin, not because the lake is such a fun part of Austin life, but because it desperately needed it.

Keep Austin Weird

Austin is known as a college, techie or even a hippie town (#KeepAustinWeird after all), but it’s also a family town and a real city where many of us love to live and work. Because Texas weather is kind to us throughout the year, we have many weekends swimming, boating, or simply enjoying one of many awesome restaurants on the lake. Sadly, with that enjoyment of the most beautiful and relaxing parts of our city, comes a whole lot of our trash.

According to the City of Austin website, “each year City staff and volunteers pull 250 tons of trash from Lake Austin (in addition to the 6,500 tons removed annually from Austin streets). Some of these discarded items were dropped directly into the river, but most trash washes in from the creeks or through storm drains from land-based areas, such as streets, parking lots, sidewalks, and parks.”

Keep Austin Clean

Once we committed to cleaning up the quarter-mile of Lake Austin that was assigned to us by the City, we had to start planning the logistics. Who has access to a watercraft? How do we even transport a watercraft and how many do we have the ability to transport? How many life vests do we need? Does anyone have access to personal floatation devices? And, of course, as our company has to put our staffs’ safety first, we needed to know who was a strong swimmer to actually remove trash from the lake and determine who was able to help in other ways.

After months of logistical planning, we successfully removed a ridiculously tremendous amount of trash from Lake Austin. To say that is was a “feel good” kind of day is an understatement.

Praecipio Consulting made a commitment to our community, both small and large, by getting involved and doing our best to make a positive difference in the world around us. We are so proud of our staff’s 100% participation in our clean-up event and extremely humbled to be a part of such a large-scale operation with fellow volunteers all throughout Austin. One thing is for sure – we will see you all again next year!

Praecipio keeps Austin clean ...

Praecipio keeps Austin clean ...

Praecipio keeps Austin clean ...

Topics: austin community culture do-good
8 min read

Best of 2011: Confluence Edition

By Praecipio Consulting on Jan 5, 2012 11:00:00 AM

Here’s Atlassian’s Matt Hodges’ take on Atlassian Confluence’s best additions of 2011, which he says “paved the way for the future of online collaboration:”

2011 was the year Atlassian satisfied more than 2,235 of our customers’ votes for new features and improvements with three of our biggest releases, ever. 2011 was the year Atlassian took Confluence to the cloud with our new OnDemand platform, made it even more affordable for small teams, and started to get you new features, faster.  2011 was the year a new era in content collaboration was born.

Taking a page out of Ken’s book, here’s my pick of the starting XI of 2011 for the Confluence Family.

Keeper – The Anchor

No. 1  – A Faster, Richer, Simpler Editor

Suitably, this position is filled by the brand-new editor that shipped in Confluence 4.0. On-top of a brilliantly simple design, it’s packed full of rich editing features that make it lightning fast and able to satisfy two of your top 10 most voted feature requests – Merge Table Cells and Copy and Paste Images.

 

 

Defense (4) – A Solid Foundation

Any winning team needs a strong defensive line. In 2011 Atlassian built and improved upon four rock-solid pillars to ensure Confluence continues to thrive in 2012.

No. 2  – Easier Connections to Active Directory, LDAP, and Crowd

Connecting Confluence to an external user directory used to be painful, whether it was Active Directory, other LDAP servers or Atlassian Crowd. You had to edit XML files, and the configuration options were limited. Confluence 3.5 brought a simple, powerful , and flexible directory management interface and support for nested groups, another top 10 most voted for feature request.

 

No. 3 – Stronger Jira Integration

 

Confluence is great for collaboratively defining specsJira‘s perfect for tracking the tasks that need to be completed to make those specs a reality. In Confluence 3.5 Atlassian made it easy to link the specs you develop in Confluence to the actionable issues you track in Jira, without leaving the editor.

Since more than half of Confluence customers also use Jira Atlassian wanted to reduce complexity with your setup and give your users one username and password for both applications. With the release of Confluence 3.5 and Jira 4.3 you can now manage all your users in one place by allowing you to delegate Confluence User Management to Jira.

No. 4 – New Installer with Guided Upgrades

With new releases coming frequent and often Atlassian wanted to help you get new features to your users, faster. Much to the delight of any sysadmins that are looking after Confluence, Confluence 4.0 brought with it new guided installers for Windows and Linux.

No. 5 – More Plugin Points for Developers

Confluence 4.0 was designed to allow for constant innovation and improvement. Atlassian worked closely with our amazing partners to make sure they can take advantage of the power of the new editor. The latest version of Gliffy is an excellent example of how plugin developers can deliver a more powerful and most importanlty, intuitive user experience in Confluence.

 

Midfield (3) – The Collaborative Engine

Soccer is a team sport. It’s ultimately a collaboration amongst players that leads to a result. Midfield starts the plays. They facilitate the collaboration that helps win games. In 2011, Atlassian added 3 new features to help users share and discover the rich content they create to foster collaboration and achieve better results.

No. 6 – A New Way to Share

 

Tired of copying and pasting Confluence links into emails? Atlassian was too, so in Confluence 3.5 they added a ‘Share’ button to every page and blog post. Then in Confluence 4.1 Atlassian gave you a simple keyboard shortcut – ‘S’ – so you can bring right people into the discussions and projects that are taking place in Confluence without picking up your mouse.

No. 7 – Autowatch Content You Care About

Have you ever forgot to watch a page that you’ve created, edited, or commented on? Autowatch ensures you are always kept in the loop by automatically watching any pages or blogs posts that you contribute to. You’ll never miss another play again.

No. 8 – Familiarly Social @mentions

@mentions are a great way to notify other users about content and conversations they should be involved in. Best of all, they work just like Twitter and Facebook. When mentioned, users receive an email notification so they can jump right into Confluence and start contributing.

 

Strikers (3) – The Cutting-Edge

There are some features that are game-changers. They kick goals and win games. That’s how I like to think of these three features Atlassian gave you in 2011.

No. 9 – Autoformatting Magic

With the new editor in Confluence 4.0, came more power and speed thanks to Autoformatting. Type wiki markup and watch Confluence convert it to rich text, on the fly. Bold, italics, strike-through, underline, headings, lists, emoticons, tables – it all works.

 

No. 10 – Professional Image Effects

Creating content that looks good has never been this easy. Click an image and choose from a set of professional effects. That’s it. Whether it’s screenshots in your release notes or snaps from your company’s holiday party, Image Effects makes everyone look like an editing pro.

 

No. 11 – Instant Autoconvert

Autoconvert takes the links you paste into the editor – Confluence pages, Jira issues, YouTube videos, Skitch images, Flickr photo streams, and Vimeo videos – and transforms them into the dynamic content you desire. Autoconvert will save you valuable time everyday, helping you get things done, faster.

 

Off the Bench – Awesome Additions

There when you need them, your substitutes can fill the holes that pop up during play and change the game. They add the extra flare that’s sometimes needed to win. 2011 was a year Atlassian saw some incredible add-ons – new and old – jump off the bench and shine.

No. 12 – Manage Leave and Track Projects with Team Calendars

In June, at our third annual Atlassian Summit Atlassian revealed a brand-new add-on for Confluence – Team Calendars – where people, projects, and content meet. Since then Atlassian’s given you a new Team Calendar release, 30 days or less…guaranteed. Our two most recent releases delivered the new features you’ve been asking for – now you can share your custom date fields from Jira and add multiple people to a People Calendar event.

 

No. 13 – The SharePoint Connector Meets Confluence 4.0

That’s right, just last week Atlassian released version 1.5 of the SharePoint Connector. Compatible with Confluence 4.0, the SharePoint Connector takes full advantage of the new Confluence editor to make SharePoint integration easier to discover and use.

No. 14 – Get Schooled at Atlassian University

Also revealed at Summit 2011, Atlassian University is an online training tool that teaches your company how to use Confluence through videos and step-by-step interactive tutorials. With over 40 self-paced classes, it’s the fastest and most intuitive path to becoming a master of Confluence.

 

No. 15 – Incredible Add-ons

Confluence 4.0 paved the way for plugin developers to provide a more natural, richer, and intuitive user experience. Here are some stand-outs:

What Will 2012 Hold?

There’s no doubt it’s been a big year for Confluence, our biggest yet. Atlassian has an awesome team that continues to grow and execute. Thank you to our customers, new and old, and the extended Confluence community – users, experts, and plugin developers. Happy Holidays and safe New Year from the Confluence Team.

 

 

Topics: atlassian blog calendars confluence experts flickr release teams user vimeo community features marketplace-apps
1 min read

Giving Back by Promoting Healthy Communities

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 28, 2010 11:00:00 AM

At Praecipio Consulting, we care about promoting sustainability. By reducing organizational waste and making businesses more efficient, we can make a company more profitable while lessening its environmental footprint.

Promoting sustainability is a key component of our mission. Giving back to our local and global community is a product of this. We’re all responsible for maintaining healthy communities – businesses and individuals alike. We’ve chosen to spend a portion of our time developing communities at home and abroad, including our latest service trip to Nicaragua and soccer camp in Chattanooga. Through our parent company, we’re also partnered with Durham, North Carolina-based Glean Organics to gather food waste from businesses in the Research Triangle to divert landfill-bound waste and compost it for re-use.

We do our best to work on projects that align with our mission. We helped the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga prepare and activate for their fiber-optic SmartGrid implementation – the first fully-functional fiber-optic SmartGrid in the US – which now serves as a testing ground for future SmartGrid and sustainable energy initiatives.

In the same vein, we’re now involved with Envision Charlotte – a project that ropes in talent from Cisco, Duke Energy, and our client Intelligent Buildings to create the nation’s most environmentally sustainable urban core. We really enjoy being involved with these types of projects. Lessening our dependency on energy and the environment is critical to ensuring the health of our communities in the future.

There are indeed plenty of places you can spend your money. Many firms offer the services we offer. We’re proud to say the money you spend on us, however, is going to good places – be it a soccer camp, an orphanage, a local non-profit, or the time we spend helping develop sustainable solutions that enable businesses and their local communities to succeed.

Topics: blog implementation reduce sustainability smartgrid waste community environment intelligence
1 min read

Helping Others in Nicaragua

By Praecipio Consulting on Feb 22, 2010 11:00:00 AM

The Praecipio Consulting team spent a week helping others in Nicaragua this month. Our time there proved to be productive and fulfilling.

We served Children of Destiny Nicaragua, an orphanage just outside the nation’s capital, Managua, committed to caring for Nicaraguan youth. We spent time helping the orphanage’s teenage boys by teaching them how to fix their bicycles. It was rewarding for us to work closely with the boys! We taught them useful skills, and enjoyed the time we spent mentoring them.

Here are some shots from our time there:

Joseph plays with kids at the orphanage.

Christian teaches boys to fix a bicycle.

Boys put their bicycle repair skills to work.

The Brothers Lane and the orphanage youth we served.

The Brothers Lane: Patrick, Christian, and Joseph.

Topics: blog community

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