4 min read

How to Report in Confluence with the Jira Issues Macro | Praecipio Consulting

By Morgan Folsom on Aug 31, 2021 12:57:07 PM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-August copy_How to Report in Confluence with the Jira Issues Macro

One of the most powerful integrations in the Atlassian ecosystem is the native link between Jira and Confluence. For users working with both tools, the transition can be seamless if you do it right, but clunky if you don't. 

Now, what if I told you there was just one Confluence macro you could start using today that will immediately make reporting in Confluence easier and help you (and your team) keep track of your work? 

The Jira Issues macro is the go-to when reporting in Confluence.

Here are some tips to get your team to leverage this outstanding integration.

Insert an issue count for a Jira filter

Let's start small. Insert a link to Jira with the number of issues returned from a Jira search, written in Jira Query Language (JQL) or calling an existing Jira filter.  A Jira filter is a saved search written in JQL.

This is useful to pull up basic metrics for a high-level overview. The macro becomes a link to the filter, so if you want to review the issues in-depth, you can quickly hop over to Jira's issue navigator by clicking the highlighted issue count. The table below is an example of how our marketing team tracks employee blog post submissions.

Blog post submissions

To insert an issue count:

  1. Insert the Jira Macro
    1. Select the Jira create new in the top menu bar and select Jira Issue/Filter, OR
    2. Type { on your Confluence page, search and select Jira
  2. Enter in your JQL query
    1. To input an existing filter, type "filter = "Filter name", OR
    2. Type in the JQL directly, we'll use "project = PCM"
    3. Be sure to click on the Magnifying glass to execute the query
  3. Select 'Display Options' at the bottom of the dialog box to expand the options.
  4. Select 'Total issue count'
  5. Click Insert, and Voila!

Insert a single issue into Confluence

The macro can also link a single Jira issue to a Confluence page. That means not only can you see what issues are important (and what status they're in) in your documentation, but you can also see who's talking about the issue when you're in Jira.

Take, for example, this blog post. My progress is tracked on a Jira issue, linked to this very page in Confluence. Below you can see how it looks on the Confluence page I'm writing in. 

Jira ticket in Confluence

If I click on that link, I'll navigate to Jira where I can see under Issue Links, all of pages in which the issue has been mentioned. I can quickly see that this issue has been mentioned on the original page as well as another tracking Blog Content. 

Jira issue link

To insert one issue:

  1. Insert the Jira Macro and enter in your query (steps 1 and 2 above)
  2. Select one issue from the list
    1. If you know exactly which issue, you can simply type the Issue Key into the search bar and hit enter. 
  3. Expand the Display Options and select 'Single Issue'
  4. Select 'Insert'

Use the Jira macro to insert a list of issues in a page in Confluence

Remember that filter you entered in above? You can insert that filter into your page, too. Filters inserted with this macro are dynamic - that is, as the issues are updated in Jira, the Confluence page will reflect the most up-to-date information. You can customize which columns appear in the macro just like you can in Jira. To head into Jira, you can select the individual issues, or click on the total number at the bottom ('2 issues') to pull up the query in Jira.

Jira issue macro To insert a filter:

  1. Insert the Jira Macro and enter in your query (steps 1 and 2 above)
  2. Expand the Display options and select 'Table' 
  3. Edit the maximum issues and columns to display.
  4. Select 'Insert' to add to the page!

Create a Jira Issue from a Confluence page

If your issues don't exist in Jira yet, don't worry. This macro can create new issues in Jira if inspiration hits while you are editing a Confluence page. The issue will be created and you won't even have to leave the page!

Jira issue filter

To create a new issue:

  1. Insert the Jira Issue Macro
  2. Select 'Create New Issue' on the left panel
  3. Complete the form
  4. Select 'Insert'

No edit permission, no worries - you can also create issues from Confluence while viewing a page - simply highlight some text and then click on the Jira icon that appears. Create issues from Confluence

This one macro can solve many of your reporting needs in Confluence. What's more, you can provide context around the data instead of just displaying straight data. The Jira Macro is a great way to keep team members informed without navigating from Confluence to Jira and back again. 

If you have any questions on how Jira and Confluence work together, or any other questions on the Atlassian tech stack, contact us, and one of our experts will get in touch with you.

Topics: jira atlassian blog confluence tips integration macros reporting
3 min read

How to Get Started with Better Confluence Templates | Praecipio Consulting

By Martin Spears on Aug 24, 2021 5:45:00 AM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-August copy_How to Build Better Templates

Atlassian's Confluence is a powerful collaborative tool for teams to track information and content that may not make sense on a Jira ticket. One of the most powerful pieces of functionality in Confluence is the ability to use templates. While there are many templates provided out of the box, you also have the ability to create your own templates either globally or at the space level. Today we'll focus on creating a space template, and show you a few tips to get you started.Let's walk through some basics so you can hit the ground running on a space template.

Creating a Space Template

Before we talk about best practices, here's a quick overview on creating a space template.

The required permissions for creating a space template are Space administrator or Confluence administrator

An easy way to get to your space templates is to select the plus sign on the left navigation while viewing the space where you'd like to create the template.

Blogpost-How_to_Get_Started_with_Better_Confluence_Templates_published

Then simply select "Add or customize templates for the selected space" and it will bring you to the space administration page to work on your template.Blogpost-How_to_Get_Started_with_Better_Confluence_Templates_placeholder

Getting Started

Confluence is a great collaborative tool for sharing information, and templates should be used to make sharing that information easier.  When creating your templates a good best practice is to start with the end in mind.  When a page is created from the template, the page should be easy to read and the most important information should stand out. 

Now that you've got a blank template in front of you, think about how you want it to be used:

  • What is most important about this page?  
  • What info do we need to share/display?  
  • Who is the intended audience?  
  • Where would you expect to find the info you are looking for?

Once you've considered the above, we recommend starting with the layout. The template can be very easily organized using the page layout to space out information differently. Creating sections in the layout to divide up the information can be helpful when starting. You might end up combining some of the sections in the future, but this will give you some buckets to start sorting information into. On a similar note, we also have the Panel macro at our disposal. The panel macro provides a visible container for the information, and allows you to use color coded boxes and icons to call out specific information on the page.

Blogpost-How_to_Get_Started_with_Better_Confluence_Templates_page_titleOnce you've sorted the information into sections, you can start guiding the user on how to fill out the template. We like to do this by using placeholder text. Placeholder text is only visible while editing the page created from the template, and can be used to provide tips to users (how to insert a macro, for example), or act as more detailed guidance on the purpose of the page.

Placeholder text can be added by selecting the sign in the template editor, and selecting Placeholder text. Once inserted, it will appear as grey text, as we see on the right side of the page. 

Blogpost-How_to_Get_Started_with_Better_Confluence_Templates_space_adminBelow you can see what that same page looks like when published - the placeholder text doesn't appear at all. 

Blogpost-DisplayImage-August copy_How_to_Get_Started_with_Better_Confluence_Templates

Now what do I do?

The hardest part is over - you don't have a blank page anymore! Now you can explore things like macros, tables and labels to spice up the template even more. If your team is working with Jira data, don't forget you can use a Jira Issues macro to display it in Confluence. If you need to think bigger, check out our blog Five Ways to Make a Collaborative Team Space in Confluence.

And if you still have any questions on anything Confluence or Jira, or want to find out how to make your company the best version of itself, contact us, and one of our experts will get in touch!

Topics: jira blog best-practices confluence tips integration templates
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
5 min read

Which Atlasssian Products are Right for my Business?

By Michael Lyons on Jul 13, 2021 9:55:57 AM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-July_Atlassian- Which Application is Right for my Business

Are you considering using the Atlassian toolset, but aren't sure which applications are best for your team or organization? Well I'm here to highlight some of the great applications that Atlassian provides so you can make the right choice for your business. Atlassian's product suite is made up of applications that can unlock your entire organization's potential, from Software Development teams, IT Operations teams and Project Management teams to HR, Legal and Product Owners. You can even use the tools for everyday life! We at Praecipio Consulting love these tools so much that we use them in our day-to-day work.

I will be focusing on a subset of applications that can be used as a starting point for your organization. The applications are great foundational building blocks to start with when using Atlassian for managing work, providing service experiences, or housing documentation. These applications can be used on their own, or they can be used together to maximize team collaboration and efficiency, depending on what suits your team or organization best. 

Jira Software

Teams and organizations can use Jira Software as a tool for managing and tracking work in software development projects. This tool is extremely flexible and can be used by teams that leverage both Agile and Waterfall methodologies. It is highly customizable and can track all sorts of work in the software development lifecycle, including initiatives, epics, stories, and tasks, as well as other items specific to the team. Teams can create customized workflows to track statuses for work items to ensure work is being completed properly and the right individuals are involved to support the work. 

Groups that leverage both Scrum and Kanban can equally benefit from Jira Software. Scrum teams can set work for sprints and track the sprint progress directly in Jira. Visual tools such as boards, dashboards, reports and plans can be used to monitor and execute work. For Kanban teams, Jira's board visual is great for seeing the tasks the team is working on and can help determine where the team needs to focus. WIP (work-in-progress) limits can be set depending on what the team can achieve. 

Software, Gaming, Finance, and so many other types of companies find this tool useful to develop new technology. For example, the development of an App across multiple platforms is an excellent case for leveraging Jira Software. Product Owners can help drive improvements of their Apps with enhanced transparency, reporting, and collaboration through Jira Software. 

Jira Service Management

Teams that provide any level of customer service such as enhancement requests, PTO submissions, or change management often look to Jira Service Management as their main tool. Service desks are useful for taking on requests from both internal and external customers. Requests can be assigned and tracked in the application to ensure customers are getting all the help they need. Companies will also use this application to track changes through the business, such as bug fixes or upgrades. As with Jira Software, Jira Service Management can be customized to fit what the organization needs to ensure great service is being provided.

Organizations use this tool for IT Help Desks. If an employee needs a new laptop or to have a password changed, a request can be submitted through a customized service desk. The requests are sent to teams designated by the organization and can be resolved by those teams. Jira Service Management can be used by other groups within the organization as well, such as Human Resources. As described in one of our previous blogs, HR Teams can leverage service desks to onboard new employees. 

Jira Service Management is used for many different types of requests here at Praecipio Consulting as well. For example, our Marketing Team manages a service desk for Webinars. If someone has a topic to present, the service desk can be used to submit the idea. Once the idea is received, our Marketing team will work with the individual to plan and schedule the Webinar. 

Jira Work Management

Jira Work Management functions similarly to Jira Software, but is geared towards teams that are managing non-software development projects. Project Managers across multiple industries can use this tool to assign and track project work. Similarly to Jira Software, Work Management is customizable and provides great visualizations to monitor work and ensure projects are being completed on time. 

This tool doesn't just have to be used for company-related work: it can be used outside of work as well. For example, searching for a new house! The house buying process is extensive, and Jira Work Management can help outline tasks, assign work, and set dates and dependencies so you can purchase your next home in an organized manner.

Confluence

Confluence is a robust content management tool that teams can use to house important project materials, knowledge resources, and document templates. Within Confluence, spaces can be created for organizations and teams to organize documentation. Then pages can be created within the space where teams collaborate and share notes and documents on work being completed. This application can work for any sort of organization in any field, not just for technology groups. 

This application can be used to document daily meeting notes, standard best practices for an organization, and much more. Confluence can incorporate helpful macros to enhance the information being shared. For example, macros include drawing features for diagrams and templates for consistency across documentation. This application enables all of your teams and stakeholders to communicate effectively about projects.

How Can Applications Be Used Together?

I've discussed a small group of the tools that Atlassian offers. These applications can be used on their own, and you may feel the need to only use one. However, if multiple applications fit your needs, you can use them together to achieve operational excellence.  A common case is leveraging confluence and combining it with other Atlassian applications. Confluence, being a great documentation tool, combines extremely well with the applications discussed. Below you will see these combinations and effective use cases for each.

Confluence and Jira Software:  Confluence can be used to document daily notes for scrum meetings and create templates for how retrospective meetings should be organized. It can also be used to store any internal team notes on work being completed.

Confluence and Jira Service Management: Confluence can hold documentation on how to resolve a specific issue pertaining to the business.

Confluence and Jira Work Management: Confluence can be used to document discovery sessions about the project or even store your robust project plans. Drawings can be added to confluence as well for reference. 

The immense synergy between Confluence and all of these applications can help maximize the benefits of your Atlassian applications!  If you have questions about any Atlassian applications, please reach out to us, we would love to help! Best of luck in your Atlassian journey!

Topics: jira blog confluence jira-service-desk jira-software atlassian-products jira-work-management
6 min read

Confluence, by Atlassian: Understanding the Software

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

Blogpost-DisplayImage-June_Confluence Atlassian- Understanding the Software

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

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

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

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

What's a wiki?

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

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

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

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

What's a knowledge base?

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

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

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

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

What's a workspace?

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

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

Drinking our own champagne

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

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

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

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

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

The Journey to Confluence Success

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

Professional Services

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

Training

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

Atlassian University

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

Atlassian Community

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

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

Topics: atlassian blog confluence knowledge-base
10 min read

ITSM and ITIL: Not So Different After All

By Yogi Kanakamedala on Jun 9, 2021 4:01:01 PM

Blogpost-DisplayImage-June_ITSM-ITILThe change to remote work has forced Information Technology (IT) teams to quickly and efficiently serve their customers. Due to this, many people talk about using ITSM processes or ITIL strategies to help their teams. But what does this mean? Are they the same? Or completely different? What does an IT team implementing these practices look like? To understand this, we first have to understand ITSM and ITIL. 

What is ITSM?

Atlassian defines Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) as a way IT teams manage the end-to-end delivery of IT services to customers. This includes a defined set of processes to design, create, deliver, and support IT services. 

The core concept of ITSM is the belief that IT should be delivered as a service

I think of ITSM simply as a set of tools you can use to improve your IT team. Just like you would use a handsaw to cut a piece of wood or a screwdriver and a screw to connect two pieces of wood together, you have to think about what you would like to accomplish with your IT team and which tool would be best for the job. 

ITSM processes focus on your customer's needs and services rather than the IT systems behind the scenes. These processes, when implemented properly, can help cross-department collaboration, increase control and governance, deliver and maximize asset efficiency, provide better and quicker customer support, and reduce costs across the organization. What are some of these magical processes? Glad you asked! 

  1. Service Request Management
    Any incoming inquires asking for access to applications, software licenses, password resets, or new hardware is classified as Service Requests. These requests are often recurring and can be made into simple, duplicable procedures. These repeatable procedures will help IT teams provide quick service for the recurring requests. Applying well-designed practices to your Jira Service Management application can streamline the process for an organizations' customer to create Service Requests and for internal IT teams to act on the Service Requests.  

  2. Knowledge Management
    The process of making, sharing, utilizing, and managing data of an organization to attain its business objectives can all be a part of Knowledge Management. Creating a Knowledge Base (KB) for IT teams to create content is crucial for teams to learn from the past and maximize productivity. Having a collaborative workspace, such as Confluence, for all teams to work within can help create one source of truth of information. KB articles can also be shared with your customers through the Jira Service Management portal to help resolve common or simple Service Request without having to contact the IT Team. 

  3. IT Asset Management (ITAM)
    IT Asset Management (also known as ITAM) can help ensure valuable company resources are accounted for, deployed, maintained, upgrades, or properly disposed of. Because assets have a relatively short life-cycle, it is important to make the best use of all assets. Integrating tools such as Insight with your Jira instance can help track all valuable assets throughout your organization conveniently within Jira issues in real-time. 

  4. Incident Management
    Any process that is responding to an unplanned event or downtime will fall under the Incident Management bucket. The only goal of Incident Management is to make sure that problematic services are brought back to their original operational status in the shortest time possible. For any incident to be quickly resolved, the original reporter has to be able to quickly communicate with the proper IT team asking for help and the IT team must be able to easily communicate back with the reporter to gather any relevant information needed to solve the problem. Jira Service Management can help make this crucial communication effortless.

  5. Problem Management
    Taking lessons learned from an incident and determining the root cause of the problem so that future incidents can be prevented or, at minimum, limiting downtime is the basis of Problem Management. Once a root cause analysis is performed on an incident and documented within your Confluence instance, the impact of future incidents can be reduced. 

  6. Change Management
    Change Management can be used to control and understand the impact of changes being made to all IT Infrastructure. The Change Advisory Board (CAB), a group of individuals tasked with evaluating, scheduling, and validating a change, can be leveraged to better maintain and ensure the stability of your IT Infrastructure. By taking advantage of Jira, employees can easily suggest changes and the CAB will be able to review the proposed changes, approving and scheduling the change as they see fit. 

To see these processes in action, let's consider a tangible example that will help bring it all together:

"Austin Snow" is a new employee at your company. As part of the onboarding process, they will need a brand new laptop. As their manager, you submit a Service Request to your IT team through the Jira Service Management Help Center. An agent in your accounting department is then assigned to this task. Using information from a KB article that has been built out in a Confluence page, the agent can see that they are supposed to put in a purchase order for the new device. From the Confluence page, the agent also knows to add this new asset in Insight and assign ownership to Austin.

Once the laptop is delivered and Austin tries to access an application and finds that they get a 404 error message. Austin reaches out to the IT team through the Help Center to create an incident with them. The IT team then proceeds to investigate this issue. They can find the root cause of the problem and fix it. Using the lessons learned from this incident, the IT team performs a root cause analysis (RCA) for the problem. As a result of the RCA, it is found that a change to the organizations' infrastructure can help prevent this problem in the future. The IT proposed the change to the Change Advisor Board (CAB) who then investigates the impact of this change, weighs pros and cons and schedules an outage window to perform this change. 

As can be seen in this example, ITSM processes can help quickly fulfill requests, transfer knowledge, keep track of assets, respond to problems, identify the cause of a problem, and implement any changes needed to prevent problems in the future. 

What is ITIL?

Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is a set of best practices designed to support a company's IT operations. ITIL was introduced in the late 20th century as a series of books by a government agency in Great Britain in an attempt to help the British Government provide a better quality of IT service at a lower cost. ITIL v2 condensed all of the content in the early 2000s into nine publications. These two older versions are seldom used, most organizations currently implement ITIL v3 or ITIL 4.

ITIL v3

In 2007, ITIL v3 introduced the service lifecycle, a set of five core publications, to help organizations focus on continual improvement. The ITIL Service Lifecycle consists of five stages; Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continuous Service Improvement.

ITIL3-service-lifecycleSource: AXELOS, “ITIL Foundation: ITIL 3 Edition” (2007 - Updated 2011)

The Service Strategy stage helps level set the expectations of an organization so that a service provider can meet the organization's business outcomes. The Service Design stage helps the service provider gather all the requirements and create a plan to turn an idea into reality. The Service Transition stage is when the design from the previous stage is implemented and made ready to go live as smoothly as possible. The Service Operation stage focuses on making sure the services being provided are being fulfilled as agreed upon. Finally, the Continuous Service Improvement stage focuses on service provided staying agile and keeping up with the ever-changing needs of the organization. 

ITIL 4

Most recently, ITIL 4 took into consideration the latest trends in technologies and service management to help organizations as they undergo digital transformation. ITIL 4 consists of two main components; the four dimensions model and the service value system (SVS).

ITIL4-service-value-system-1

Source: AXELOS, “ITIL Foundation: ITIL 4 Edition” (2019)

The four dimensions model lays out four key areas to consider to ensure a holistic approach to service management. These four dimensions are Organizations and People, Information and Technology, Partners and Suppliers, and Value Streams and Processes. The four dimensions have to work together to help ensure that any Product or Service provided to the customer is able to provide value in an effective and efficient manner.

For example, in the above Austin Snow use case, the Organizations & People would be the HR Team performing the onboarding, the IT team helping deliver the laptop, the Support team handling the outage, and Austin Snow themself. The Information & Technology would be all the tools, Jira Service Management, Insight, etc. that were used to help Austin. The Partners & Suppliers would consist of the internal IT team in charge of the service request and incident management or any other external team that as leveraged to deliver the request or fix the incident. finally, the Value Streams & Processes would consist of any well-defined procedures that were used to help deliver the service to Austin.

ITIL4-service-value-chain

Source: AXELOS, “ITIL Foundation: ITIL 4 Edition” (2019)

The service value system lays out how all the components of an organization have to work together to provide maximum value. To accomplish this, 5 main elements are used produce Value from an Opportunity or Demand; Guiding Principles, Governance, Service Value Chain, Practices, Continual Improvement. 

Guiding Principles help define how an organization will respond in all circumstances. These principles should be considered when making any decisions. Governance defines how an organization is directed and controlled and always stem from Guiding Principles. The Service Value Chain is a set of inter-united processes used to deliver a product or service to a customer. Practices are resources to help perform work. Continual Improvement is how the process can be improved to help provide the most amount of Value to an organization. When all of the elements of the SVS are implemented and used properly, an organization will be able to capitalize on every Opportunity. The four dimensions must be considered with all elements of the SVS to ensure a great quality of service is provided to your customers. 

ITIL v3 and ITIL 4 are essentially guiding the same fundamental ideas of service management. ITIL 4 takes a new approach to provide this guidance. It is important to consider the inner workings of your organization to understand a set of principles that will best mesh with your organization. 

How are they related?

Now that we have laid down a foundation for ITSM and ITIL concepts, let's explore the relationship between ITSM and ITIL.

Unlike the title of this blog may suggest, these two concepts are not opposing ideas. ITIL is a framework of ITSM, meaning ITIL takes the concepts and values of ITSM and lays out a set of defined best practices that organizations can easily apply to their business to help improve IT services. In other words, ITSM processes describe the "what" while ITIL best practices describe the "how". 

ITIL is not the only ITSM framework; frameworks or processes such as DevOps, Kaizen, Lean, and Six Sigma are also implemented by organizations. ITIL is the most popular ITSM framework to help improve IT service delivery.

In summary, ITSM is a defined set of processes to design, create, deliver, and support IT services. ITIL, a framework of ITSM best practices, can be used as a set of guidelines to quickly adopt ITSM principles into your organization. These guidelines can then be continuously improved to be a perfect fit for your unique IT team. 

As The Digital Transformation(ists), Praecipio Consulting can help you integrate digital technology into all areas of your business. For more information, please check out these case studies: FORTUNE 20 ELECTRONICS COMPANY OPTIMIZES JIRA AND CONFLUENCE FOR ITSM BEST PRACTICES and WORLD'S LARGEST BEVERAGE AND BREWING COMPANY MIGRATES TO ATLASSIAN ITSM PLATFORM and blogs Three Weeks to an ITIL-based Service Desk—No, Really

If you have questions on ITSM or ITIL, and wonder if your organization can benefit from these powerful methodologies, contact us, and one of our experts will be glad to help.

Topics: jira blog confluence process insight itil itsm digital-transformation jira-service-management remote-work frameworks
6 min read

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

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

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

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

TEAM CALENDARS FOR CONFLUENCE

 

Image source: Atlassian

What is Team Calendars for Confluence?

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

Why use Team Calendars?

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

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

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

Let’s TAke Control of Calendars

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

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

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

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

PRO TIPS

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

Using Your Calendars

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

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

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

MORE TIPS

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

Caution

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

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

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

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

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

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

Root Cause Analysis: Leonard, Howard, and the 5 Whys

By Amanda Babb on Mar 10, 2021 9:50:40 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Root Cause Analysis- Leonard, Howard, and the Five WhysDIY or DIE!

For those of you watching from home, I have been on a home improvement journey for quite some time. Applying an Agile mindset to home improvement (or really anything I do) is one of my passions. Even at my most recent Women in Agile meeting, we discussed applying Agile concepts to daily life and feeding these back into building a great resumé. One of the principles of the Agile Manifesto reads: At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly. We all know this applies to Agile development practices, but it also applies to IT Service Management. Specifically, Incident and Problem Management. For me, it applies to my recent home improvement adventure. 

Strong fences make great neighbors

My neighbor and I spent the better part of a Saturday fixing our mutual fence. You see, I have two dogs: Leonard and Howard.

 IMG_4511IMG_4512

Both are rescues. Leonard is eight and was "free to a good home" while Howard is four and was adopted from my county's animal shelter. Both dogs have been with us since their puppyhood and, as any dog owner will say, they are the BEST. DOGS. EVER. Except when they're not. This was not the first time my neighbor and I had to work on the fence. Observe one of the troublemakers in his natural habitat. 

IMG_4507

This epic saga started in May of last year. I would diligently fix loose boards, prop items against the fence to "patch" holes, and monitor their outdoor activity while I was awake (awake being the key word here: 3am barking and fence-patching sessions are no fun). I supplied my neighbor with fence planks because, well, they're my dogs. We fixed the section above and let the others lapse until a series of shenanigans prompted my neighbor and I to spend our Saturday replacing three additional sections. My neighbor and I became united in making sure my two didn't escape. While my neighbor "doesn't care" that my dogs are in his yard, my (very good) boys take the opportunity to break out of his fence and wander the neighborhood. Howard usually comes back, but Leonard meanders through the streets, swims in pools or the lake, and generally causes mayhem until I can coax him in my car to come home. 

IMG_4508

Not in my back yard...

Before this latest patch, I was determined to find the root cause. Previous to May of last year, this was not a problem. My puppers would frolic in the backyard and simply bark at other dogs in the neighborhood as they walked by. I made sure they were let out several times per day to make sure they were relieved in addition to daily walks. While I was traveling, they were also well-taken care of and monitored. What changed? 

Root cause analysis is, simply put, problem solving. While it is widely used in sciences and engineering, it is also a key element of IT Service Management Incident and Problem Management. When reacting to an incident, the team must restore functionality as quickly as possible. Upon resolution, root cause analysis helps us understand why. It then prompts us to ask, "Is there an action I can take to prevent this from happening again?" Incident Management leads to Problem management and through root cause analysis, we can move from a reactive organization to a proactive organization. 

Of the many techniques of root cause analysis, my favorite is the "Five Whys". It is the simplest technique: ask why until you've identified the root cause. Not like a petulant child, however. Asking the first why should be easy, then continuing to ask well-curated questions based on the previous answer helps you determine the root cause. I applied this to my situation: 

  • Why do I have to replace parts of the fence? 
    Because the dogs are chewing through the fence.
  • Why are the dogs chewing through the fence?
    Because they can access the backyard whenever they need.
  • Why can the dogs access the backyard whenever they need?
    Because we installed a dog door.

IMG_4509

HA! I found it. The root cause. And it didn't even take me all five whys. 

Any root cause analysis technique does not stand alone. There exists a plethora of other techniques. Pareto charts determine that 80 percent of your problems are derived from 20 percent of the causes. An Ishikawa (fishbone) diagram looks at measurement, materials, methods, machines, management, and mother nature. Scatter plots let us look at correlation and causation. Was the dog door the root cause? The existence of a dog door doesn't change the behavior of my boys. Having access to the backyard doesn't make them chew through the fence planks. Did we ask enough questions to actually identify the root cause? Did I also consider a Pareto analysis, an Ishikawa diagram, or a scatter graph to understand why I was constantly chasing my boys through the neighborhood? 

I stopped at three whys: "I have a dog door."

What happens if I keep asking why? 

  • Why did we install a dog door? 
    Because Howard wasn't fully potty trained. 
  • Why wasn't Howard fully potty trained? 
    Because I didn't take the necessary time to train him. 

AHA! My Ishikawa diagram identified "management" as the issue. My Pareto identified the 80 percent as my time to train my puppers. My scatter plot showed the amount of time spent correlated to the amount of dog-induced shenanigans. I would add these to the post, but won't because...reasons. More importantly, I simply kept asking, "Why?" until I identified the root cause. 

Actions speak louder than words

Now that I have a root cause, what is it that I can do to prevent this issue from recurring? When looking at Incident and Problem Management, Atlassian products such Opsgenie and Statuspage can ingest, aggregate, correlate, and trigger the creation of Jira Service Management issues. With Confluence, we can create specific root cause analysis templates to be shared with our customers and stakeholders. However, it's up to our techniques and processes to help us determine the actions we need to take going forward. 

For me and my puppers, it's simple. 

  1. Take at least 30 minutes out of my day for dedicated doggie exercise
  2. Reinforce good behavior while in the yard
  3. Lock the dog door overnight (no more 3AM "let me sing you the song of my people" moments)
  4. Finish replacing the aged planks on the fence

By taking these actions based on my root cause analysis, I should have this solved quickly with redundancies built in. My puppers will be safer and happier, I will have a beautiful new feature of my home, and the three of us will have less stress day-to-day. Using root cause analysis techniques, and Agile mindset, and drawing from IT Problem Management, I can easily solve this problem and any additional ones around my home.

BRB, gotta run and get some more fence planks.

IMG_4510

Topics: blog confluence plan problem statuspage incident-management itsm women-in-technology agile opsgenie jira-service-management health-check
2 min read

Confluence Spaces: Rightsizing for Maximum Effectivity

By Brian Nye on Jan 11, 2021 3:45:00 PM

Blogpost-display-image_Confluence Spaces- Rightsizing for maximum effectivity

Your company has decided to make Confluence your collaboration platform, and you've been asked to get this thing going. Where do you start? Don't worry, you are not alone. Trying to figure out what makes up a Confluence space is a struggle that many people have when getting started with Confluence (and even for those who've had it for years). There are two questions that should be asked to help make the decision: What's the purpose of the space and who will be using the content? Once you get the answers, you'll be on your way to setting up the perfect space for you.

What's the purpose of the Space?

Confluence and Jira will be working hand-in-hand to get work done. Because the two applications work so closely together, it is important for the information to be organized in a way that will allow users to draw parallels between the two applications. The best practice is to create a Confluence Space for each Jira Project. By doing this, users are able to create and find information quickly and easily. This mapping will allow users to first create the ideas in Confluence that will relate to Jira Issues as the ideas mature. Confluence can then be the home to the reports of the products or process as the issues are worked and closed. This prevents guesswork from trying to figure out where content should live or where to find information in the future. 

This is not a hard and fast rule, as there may be reasons for having multiple spaces for a single Jira Project, but those should be edge-case scenarios and not the norm. It is highly recommended that users do not create a space based on a single user or group's access permissions. Confluence Space permissions, along with page restrictions, can often satisfy the need to keep information segregated. There may be times that one Confluence Space represents multiple Jira Projects when the projects are closely related. If this is is the case, be sure that the structure is clear so users can find the information quickly.

Who will be using the content?

Spaces don't always need to have a related Jira Project in order to created. Sometimes, a Space needs to be there to coordinate the thoughts of other entities like a Team or Department. For example, my Team may want to document how we are going to improve our Agile process. This is not something that others will care about when they are looking at the Space of the product that team happens to be building. So rather than having one large space that contains all the things the Team is doing, split the space with a clear distinction based on who will use the content. 

Last but not least, socialize the decision

Don't forget that you are not alone in your Confluence instance; others in your organization are likely feeling the same! Be sure to take action by clearly naming Spaces based on what their purpose is to the business. Feel free to add Space Categories and Descriptions to help other navigate more easily to your content. Following these simple rules, Praecipio Consulting has helped other companies organize their Confluence into a more productive and manageable application.

If you have questions on Confluence, Jira, and how these two amazing Atlassian tools can work together in your organization, contact us and one of our experts will get in touch with you.

Topics: jira atlassian blog confluence tools
3 min read

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
2 min read

Confluence: 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

Building Your Confluence Knowledge Base for JSD

By Rebecca Schwartz on Jun 10, 2020 12:30:00 PM

2020 Blogposts_What’s the difference between Affects Version & Fixed Version- copy 2

Building a successful Jira Service Desk requires a lot of moving parts. It can be difficult to find the perfect balance between ease of use for your agents (those who work on requests) and your customers (those who submit requests). One of the most important ways of achieving that balance is to create a great Confluence Knowledge Base (KB). If your articles are relevant, concise, and easy-to-navigate, your customers can avoid submitting a request, giving time back to both the customer and agent. Below are some common mistakes to avoid as you work towards creating your ideal Confluence Knowledge Base that is a reliable, single source of truth for your agents and customers.

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

Don't Put Your KB Articles in a Space Used for Internal Documentation/Non-Service Desk Related Content

If you create KB articles in a Space where non-service desk related pages already live, confusing or unwanted information may appear when customers search for help. This may push your customer away from reading the content and make their overall experience less enjoyable. Compiling your Knowledge Base articles in their own separate space is key to ensuring the most relevant articles show up when the customer uses the Service Desk. If you need to centralize documentation for both agents and customers alike, leverage page restrictions in the Space to allow for internal and external content.

Don't Create Lengthy Articles Using Technical Terms

When writing articles for customers, it's important to keep them top of mind. The customer may not understand the technical or team-related verbiage your agents typically use. It can feel daunting for them to look at a wordy article, so we suggest using bullet points, numbered lists, and mixed media (images, videos, etc.) to break up the content. Applying screenshots to your articles can also be useful, as it provides the user with a visual guide on out troubleshoot the issue on their own.

Don't Create Every Single Article From Scratch

Although they may not be useful for all of your articles, Confluence has built-in templates available for you to use when creating most of the content in your Knowledge Base. There are templates specifically for Troubleshooting articles and for How-To articles that have handy macros and formatting already incorporated. You can even customize these templates to better meet the needs of your users. If the out-of-the-box Blueprints aren't the right fit for your requirements, you can create custom templates (although you won't be able to create them from the Jira issue directly in the same way), which will save your agents time when creating articles and allow for a consistent user experience when navigating through the KB. 

Don't Ignore Reports on the Usefulness of your Articles

Jira has several native reports that allow you to see how your Knowledge Base articles are performing. The Requests Deflected report illustrates how often your customers find articles useful. This report shows deflected requested and how often articles are viewed in the portal. The Requests Resolved report displays the number of requests that have been resolved with an article, those that were resolved without an article, and requests deflected in the portal. These reports are key for determining which articles are beneficial to your customers, which allows you to tailor your content to meet customer needs.

 

Now that you know what not to do when building your Confluence Knowledge Base, explore how Praecipio Consulting has answered other Service Desk questions, like How does Jira Service work with ITIL? or Can you really set up an ITIL-based Service Desk in 3 weeks?

Topics: blog confluence knowledge-base jira-service-desk customer-experience
3 min read

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

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

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

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

Make Workflows Move Faster with Jira Core

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

Create Automatic Reminders for Open Issues with Jira Service Desk

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

Use Page Templates to Improve Operations with Confluence

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

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

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

Tips for Supporting Remote Employees Who May Feel Lonely

By Courtney Pool on May 5, 2020 9:15:00 AM

2020 Blogposts_Remote Doesnt Mean Alone

We've already seen how COVID-19 has impacted the way companies do business, with employees across various industries breaking ties with their cubicles and desktop computers for the foreseeable future. The rapid nature of these changes has left many employees reeling, and the indeterminate return to normalcy may seem daunting for people who already feel like they need to relearn how to do their jobs, not to mention facing wholly new challenges and struggles in doing so.

Companies can ease this transition for newly-remote employees by understanding the challenges they're encountering and proactively finding ways to combat them. To that end, we scoured the internet and polled affected family and friends to identify a few of the more common concerns for those new to working from home, and we put together a handful of solutions that have helped us at Praecipio Consulting.

"I don't know how to get the support I need"

Many employees may feel that it's more difficult for them to get the support they're used to. Now that they're working at home, there's no deskmate to catch the eye of, no supervisor to roll over to, and no IT personnel to flag down as they're making the rounds. This can be especially true for employees at smaller, entirely-local companies who are used to regularly seeing all of the people they ever need to talk to.

If you're worried that your employees are having a difficult time getting the help they need, consider doing the following:

  • Set up a regularly scheduled forum for people to get help from and provide help to others.
    • We have weekly meetings for each department, but you could also extend blocks for already scheduled team meetings. It's important that there is time dedicated solely for employees to share issues they're seeing and get assistance from others. Complex or complicated problems can be difficult to solve over text, so make it easier for your employees to talk through problems with colleagues.

  • Create additional support channels in current communication tools.
    • And don't be afraid to limit the scope! Some employees may feel uncomfortable asking for help in general support rooms, especially if they're worried that their questions may come off as basic or unimportant. Having dedicated spaces for specific job functions, like one for a specific tool an employee may use, make employees feel more comfortable asking "stupid" questions. This also allows teammates to focus their attention on areas where they feel particularly strong.

  • Implement or improve upon a Service Desk aimed at providing employees with support.
    • Service desks are widely thought of as tools primarily aimed at IT/Ops organizations, but a number of other areas can successfully utilize them as well. If you have any group or team that commonly fields questions and requests from colleagues, a service desk could be used to provide structure and oversight to the process, allowing all parties involved to have a more organized exchange and reliable means of tracking.

"It's taking me longer to do my job"

Suddenly, transitioning from working in an office to working from home can leave employees feeling like they need to relearn aspects of their job, whether it's how to work with different (or less) equipment, how to account for things they don't have at home, or even something as simple as how to handle new distractions. Although studies show that working from home ultimately boosts productivity, there's certainly an adjustment period for those new to it.

 

If tasks seem like they're taking longer to complete than they would have in the office, one of the following may help:

  • Encourage the use of time tracking tools.
    • There are a number of time tracking tools and apps available across the web. Promoting these tools with employees will help them to better track of how they spend their time throughout the day. Employees can use time tracked to determine if they need to make some changes to their own routines, or possibly lean on others for assistance. A manager once told me that if you think it's taking too long to do something, ask around because odds are that someone has found a way to get it done in half the time. Accurate time tracking will help employees identify the areas where someone can help them improve.

  • Share productivity-boosting tips within the group.
    • Look to a best practice guide for working from home and take the recommendations to heart. Something as easy as setting up a dedicated office space instead of camping out in that comfy recliner can immediately have a positive impact on productivity and can help people get back into "work" mode.

  • Understand that some things may take more time.
    • If someone was able to walk down the hall to the mailroom before, but now finds themselves having to put on pants and drive to the post office, it's going to take longer to do tasks that may have taken only minutes before. The same rings true for those who are down from three monitors to only one or for those who are competing for bandwidth with neighbors. Likewise for people who now have to wait for others to get back to them versus looming over a colleague's shoulder until they get an answer. These are all acceptable reasons for tasks to take more time.

"Communicating internally is more difficult now"

Good communication can feel unachievable for those working 'alone' for the first time. No longer being able to tap a coworker on the shoulder to get an immediate answer or huddle together in a breakout room to work through a problem can leave employees feeling a bit lost. 

If your teams struggle with communicating well, the following steps are a good place to start:

  • Adopt a collaboration tool.
    • If you're not already using a collaboration tool internally, considering implementing one; and if you are already using one, consider how it could improve to drive better communication. We make heavy use of Slack internally. In our instance, we have dedicated channels for specific clients and tools, which is a great first step toward better communication, but we make use of a number of the lighter elements the tool has to offer too. Doing something as simple as customizing quick statuses or syncing your calendar with the tool will all ultimately help people communicate better. Even something like a custom emoji of a team member (we have a few!) can act as a quick way to get a point across.

  • Set guidelines for when a particular communication tool should be used.
    • Ask yourself, "When should we use email? When should we use the phone? What do we do when all hell breaks loose?  " Having guidelines regarding when to use each communication tool and standardizing those guidelines as much as you can between teams will take a lot of the uncertainty out of communication. 

  • Encourage documentation of everything discussed.
    • Even if you're just jotting down quick meeting notes or doing a two-to-three line recap of a Slack call, having something to reference later will help drive accountability between colleagues and act as a quick jump-off for conversations to follow. We try to keep all of ours stored in Confluence so that each participant can add in their own notes. Working from home often means multitasking for a number of people, so ensuring that there are records kept of items discussed and decisions made will keep everyone on the same page and make future actions and conversations easier.

"I feel so lonely"

Though this is one of the hardest things to help employees with, it's also one of the most important. Loneliness has a real and palpable effect on an employee's mental and physical health, and failure to address it can lead to increased stress, loss of productivity, and lessened quality of work. This is likely to be especially true right now, with many employees being isolated from friends and family for the past several weeks due to stay-at-home orders.

If you're concerned that your employees may feel isolated and lonely, the following can help:

  • Have employees turn on their videos during virtual meetings.
    • This is our internal policy for all meetings, regardless of the number of participants. Having each participant enable their video reminds other employees that they're not "alone," and it helps to keep participants more engaged. Talking to a "real person" instead of a computer screen can help to simulate at least some of the intimacy of in-person meetings, and it allows people to see a speaker's nonverbal cues, like body language and facial expressions, which can be useful in effective conversation. And if nothing else, it acts as a push for everyone to get dressed every morning, which also aids mental health.

  • Schedule virtual get-togethers.
    • We began hosting "Virtual Bring Togethers" for all employees at the onset of stay-at-home orders, and it truly does help. Laughing together over Pictionary or Bingo or receiving a virtual cooking lesson is a great way to keep employees engaged and to lessen the feelings of isolation. Slate has even found people who've successfully figured out how to play board games together over Zoom. Think of some fun things you and your team can do.

  • Don't be afraid to ask direct questions.
    • The easiest way to monitor an employee's mental well-being is to have a frank conversation about how they’re handling the changes. If an employee does feel isolated, you'll have the opportunity to start putting together individualized plans to help.

 

The recent surge of remote employees has already had a major impact on a number of companies, and the effects are likely to last, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Support your newly-remote teams well, and you might be pleasantly surprised by how much happier and more productive they are. 

If you are searching for more resources on how to navigate remote work with your employees, consider implementing daily stand-up meetings, and you can also check out our tips for mastering the work-from-home lifestyle

Topics: confluence workato work-from-home
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: blog best-practices confluence tips email-notifications
9 min read

The True Cost of Data Storage

By Christopher Pepe on Mar 11, 2020 9:00:00 AM

TheCostofData

Technology continues to increase the efficiency of our everyday lives. Take light bulbs, for instance. In my short life, a 60W incandescent bulb has been reduced to a 9W LED bulb. Eventually, technology reaches the point of affordability, which in turn increases the demand for the more efficient product.

Efficiency & Consumption

Efficiency gains lead to more consumption of a resource, as illustrated in the graph below depicting Jevons paradox.

image2020-2-11_10-3-34

Figure 1: Jevons Paradox 

I see Jevons paradox at play in the size of Atlassian's customers' home directories. The often-mistaken idea that "storage is cheap" is a common excuse to forego storage diligence. "Hey, just get more storage," they say. Data hoarding (currently 2.5 quintillion bytes of data per day!) extends far beyond the realm of Jira and Confluence, which are just one of many places where we collect and store our data treasures. However, I’ve thought a lot about the business impact of storing all of that data, and most recently, I have been contemplating the environmental impact of it as well (which I will get into later).

What Is Your Data Growth Rate?

The thing about year-over-year data growth is that it can't continue to infinitely expand when it consumes finite resources, with the largest limiting factor being disk access speed. For example, we want our Jira data to be quickly accessible, but as data compiles and takes up space, disk access speed slows down. Everyone expects technology to save the day when the status quo runs out, and there are some really interesting new ideas, like storing data in DNA, for ways to store information. Regardless, the growth rate of our data-sets is out-pacing our ability to store them.

With growth, we focus on doubling periods, and you may know that a doubling period = 70/(growth rate). So, if your 401k grows at 7%, it will double in 10 years, and if it grows at 35%, it'll double in two years. This works when you're making money, but it doesn't if you're spending it. Another important thing to note is that every doubling period is greater than the sum of all previous values:

2n

Total

Sum of all that have ever been

0

1

1

1

2

3

2

4

7

3

8

15

 

Figure 2: Doubling value is greater than the sum of all previous values

The doubling quantity is greater than the total of all of the values that came before it (23 > 22 + 21 + 20 or 8 > 4+2+1), which means that in order to continue growing, one will need to consume more than ever before with each doubling period.

How is Your Data Serving You?

In my opinion, our customers overvalue their data and you probably do too. This is a result of habit-forming applications and people valuing their work more than that of others. Stop reading for a moment and ask yourself, "What data am I storing, and what has it done for me lately?"

For example, your Jira instances have been around for longer than a few sprints and most of your issues are closed, but you still keep them anyway. Once several years pass, Jira ends up being filled with closed or abandoned issues, which requires performance tuning and even more hardware to keep scaling. Some of that performance at scale is because you have big problems to solve, but not all of your issues necessarily bring you value. (We'd be happy to help you with scaling  - difficult problems are a good use of expert consultants.)

The overwhelming majority of your issues are closed. They will never be looked at, and they will never serve you. However, they do cost you real money. Here's where you say, "But when I need to look back at that one thing, then it'll be the most important issue we have." Will it? Are stories from sprints four years ago serving you in the present? If you are not mindful of the data that you are holding onto, then things get cluttered and the quality of your data significantly diminishes. Eventually, your data becomes the proverbial needle in the haystack: the more hay you store, the less likely you are to find the needle lost within it.

You can’t foresee how future technologies will utilize old data, but that does not justify the cost of keeping data you’ll probably never use. The real costs of data-hoarding adds up quickly in the form of:

  • More complex software features

  • Bigger, faster, and more servers

  • Need to purchase additional storage

  • Expensive engineers to squeeze out ever-diminishing returns

Ultimately, our systems suffer because they’re expected to perform optimally while storing an enormous amount of old data. All of the computer power in the world will never be able to outrun the pace of exponential growth.

The Cost of Your Data

Data hoarding results in real costs both financially and environmentally. Making our data centers more efficient only drives higher consumption. Increased disk density and speed only encourages us to store more data. Only we, the human beings, who fear the ramifications of the “delete” button, can control what we store to justify the cost.

Take a look at the environmental impact that data storage can cause:

  • "In its 2013 sustainability report, Facebook stated its data centers used 986 million kilowatt-hours of electricity—around the same amount consumed by Burkina Faso in 2012." All of those data stories are probably 60% pictures of people's pets and 40% comment threads of people arguing with your aunt across the country. Again, low-value stuff. 
  • "A 2015 report found that data centers and their massive energy consumption are responsible for about 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, putting them on par with the aviation industry." Given my claim that most of this data no longer serves a purpose in active systems (not backups or other low-power media), holding on to it is comparable to flying empty airplanes around just so people can look for the neat, fluffy line across the sky.

Marie-Kondo Your Data

A general rule of thumb says that if you search for something that you recently got rid of, then you are doing the right amount of purging. I would advocate for doing something similar with your data. If you want a softer approach, then archive old data into AWS Glacier or some other accessible and affordable storage, and set a reminder to delete it later. If you haven't looked at that data in six months, it’s likely that you’ll never need it again. Trust your gut on this one, it won't steer you in the wrong direction.

Attachments and logs usually take up the most space, and you can use the handy tool logrotate to keep your log directories lean. Explore your home and shared home directories for the worst offenders that are clogging up your storage. 

Custom integrations are another source of inefficiency in large instances. It can get so bad that the standard recommendation is to relegate REST traffic to a single Data Center node so that humans don't have to suffer the performance impact. Scripts using the REST API are notoriously inefficient and poll far too often to get a pseudo-real time user experience. Monitor your access logs and work with your team of developers to encourage them to be better consumers. Event-based architectures are more efficient and provide high-quality data.

Here are some ways that you can do a data purge in Jira and Confluence:

Confluence

Apps like ViewTracker provide insight into which content is used. With this tool, you can at least archive, better yet delete, unused and no longer relevant spaces.

Jira

Closed issues, completed projects, and anything that is not active or still "warm" (e.g. items dating back to previous reorganizations) are unlikely to have any real value and should at least be archived, better yet deleted.

Thank you for making it this far. Now, take a deep breath, and let go of your attachments.

 

Resources:

(Fig 1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox

(1) https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/12/there-are-no-clean-clouds/420744/

(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O133ppiVnWY

(3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8ZJCtL6bPs

(4) http://www.mnforsustain.org/bartlett_arithmetic_presentation_long.htm

(5) https://www.mic.com/p/the-environmental-impact-of-data-storage-is-more-than-you-think-its-only-getting-worse-18017662

 

Topics: jira confluence green-team carbon-neutral data-storage
3 min read

How to Plan & Track OKRs With Atlassian Tools

By Brian Nye on Feb 5, 2020 9:39:41 AM

OKR: More Than Just a Buzzword

Like most of you, I have been challenged to establish my annual "OKRs" at the start of this new year. It seems that OKR has suddenly become a big buzzword that businesses have been throwing around the past few years. If you were like me before ever hearing of this acronym, you might be asking yourself: what is OKR, and what happened to the classics like KPI or SMART goals?

I decided to do some digging around to understand where this new buzzword comes from, and I learned that the term, in fact, has been around quite some time. More than 30 years to be exact! OKR was first introduced in the book High Output Management by Andy Grove, which was published in 1983. This term would later be used by one of Google's early investors, John Doerr, who used to work at Intel, and then it caught on at Spotify, Amazon and other big companies. That's when it gained traction to become the business buzzword that it is today. 

What is OKR?

Enough with the history lesson, what is exactly is OKR?

Simply put, OKR is a strategic framework that stands for (O)Objectives and (K)Key (R)Results. When setting your OKRs, the Objectives should be tied back to your organization's mission, vision, and strategic initiatives, and the Key Results are the measurable components that help you determine whether or not you are meeting your objectives. 

So, what is the difference between OKRs and KPIs or SMART goals? To start with, KPIs are are just measurements that represent output and don't tell you the entire story, whereas OKRs give you the big picture from the start to finish. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals are usually a bit more targeted and lack the full scope of the OKR methodology. You can think of OKRs as a collection of SMART goals and their respective KPIs. 

Plan & Track Your OKRs with Atlassian

Now that we understand the concept of OKRs, our next step is to establish them, and there is no better tool for this process than Confluence. At Praecipio Consulting, we dedicated a Confluence Space to our OKRs because we wanted to make sure that it is easily accessible to our employees. After all, we are all working together towards the same strategic objectives, and Confluence is the perfect collaborative space that allows us to check in on our goals and progress at any time. 

We started by organizing our OKRs by year so that we know what we have achieved in the past, as well as what we are working towards now and into the future. Within each year, we group our OKRs into overarching concepts that we refer to as "tracks". For example, we have a track for our 2020 OKR around "Climate Action Plan", and we use the Confluence Project Poster blueprint as a guide to document why this is part of our strategic objectives and who should be involved.

This also serves as a snapshot to get people excited about a track's children pages, which are the actual OKRs. Our OKR pages are custom templates that we built out and allow us to describe how we want our OKRs to look. More importantly, we use the page property macro to capture key pieces of information to display on that specific year's parent page, and we utilize labels that make the pages easier to reference.

For instance, one of the OKRs is to involve you, our community, by educating you and inviting you to join our efforts in overcoming climate change, which we do by providing your with content and information about organizations that we partner with via blog posts and webinars.  We will measure our success by the content we produce, the number clicks we receive on that content and the success stories shared by you as a result. 

To help with following up on OKRs, we utilize a Jira project for internal projects to track each OKR as an Epic and all the separate tasks as related issues. We use a Fix Versions as a grouping mechanism for the track so that we have visibility on how we are doing from a big picture perspective. 

Improve Your Goal-Setting Process

OKRs are not new to the business scene, but they can definitely help drive business value and help you reach your strategic objectives. Confluence is a great tool that allows you to capture the "why" and "what" you want to do, and Jira can show you "who" and "how" the OKR is doing.

If you are interested in learning how Atlassian tools can help you with your goal-setting and other business processes, contact us at Praecipio Consulting, and we'll be glad to get you on the right "track". 

Topics: jira praecipio-consulting confluence process-improvement global-climate-crisis atlassian-products
4 min read

Accessibility With Atlassian Products

By Amanda Babb on Dec 10, 2019 10:30:00 AM

Student Diversity is Key for Learning

Over the last two years, I've had the pleasure of partnering with Atlassian University to provide a wide range of training, including in-person courses, virtual courses, and even being the voice of Planning with Portfolio for Jira. If I had to count, I've likely delivered training to close to 1000 students since 2017 as an Atlassian Certified Instructor, but this week was a first – one of my students was blind. 

When teaching an Atlassian University course, we provide students with access to a virtual environment to practice the concepts presented. Each student is also provided soft copies of the slides as well as a lab workbook to guide them step-by-step through the environment. This particular course, Confluence Server Essentials, provides new users the opportunity to learn about the basics of Confluence. Navigation, page creation, blueprint usage, and collaboration features such as @ mentions, comments, and blogs are all covered in the full-day course. 

My blind student had a laptop with accessibility features and used the Jaws Screen Reader to help navigate the different UIs of the applications. He also had a colleague to assist him if needed. As I started the course, he was attentive and eagerly participated in the discussions. However, when it was time for everyone to log in to their environments and start the first set of exercises, I noticed that he was starting to fall behind. 

During the exercises, his assistant had a technical issue with her own laptop and asked if I would step in while she talked to tech support. I sat down and watched as he tried to navigate his screen reader through the Confluence System Dashboard and eventually to the correct Space to continue through the lab. This was my first time working with a screen reader, and I spent quite a bit of time wondering how it chose which parts of the screen to read. However, once we got into a rhythm, I was able to help him navigate to the correct menu. By the end of the time box, we managed to complete two of the four exercises. 

Accessibility in Atlassian Products

Atlassian supports or partially supports accessibility requirements for Jira, Confluence, and Bitbucket Server and Data Center products, in compliance with Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 (AA). At Praecipio Consulting, we developed a custom accessibility app for Jira, at a client's request, to accommodate sighted and non-sighted users. While support and partial support of accessibility are steps in the right direction, I still needed to find a better way to help this student. 

Enter the Atlassian Marketplace. If the functionality doesn't exist in the products themselves, we search the Marketplace for apps to add on to the instance. There are over 2000 apps available for Server, almost 1000 for Cloud, and nearly 700 for Data Center instances of the Atlassian applications, and these apps are generally tagged with additional information to further help you make the right choice. Through a quick search of all compatible apps tagged as Supported, I found two that looked promising: Accessibility for Confluence and Unstoppable for Confluence. Not knowing which one would work best, I tossed a coin. 

Because the Atlassian University lab environments work like a mini Server environment, they function the same as the customer instances of Confluence we work in every day. Following best practices, I wanted to test the installation of the app in a separate environment before installing it for the student. In my Instructor Environment, I found the user with the most administrative rights (as per the lab workbook) and installed the app. A quick check of the documentation told me the additional installation steps needed to activate it. As testing is important as well, I validated functionality myself first, and I was confident this app would provide the student with a better learning experience. 

A Retrospective on the Accessible Experience

Once installed and configured, my student was able to continue forward with the next two labs, including all exercises. Through exercises like creating a blog post, editing a page, and adding attachments, he was starting to understand how Confluence could help him with his daily tasks.

What did we do well?

  • Found an accessibility app and installed it
  • Walked the student through how to use it
  • Provided 1:1 instruction during labs to ensure understanding

What could we have done better? 

  • Communicated about the student before class
  • Researched screen readers to understand the best one
  • Asked the students for a solution

Going forward, I want to identify students with accessibility needs beforehand, so that I can prepare accommodations as needed. While I have thought about this as an instructor before, now that I've had the experience and have learned from it, I am better prepared to provide a better learning experience for all of my students moving forward.

We can all do great things if we communicate ahead of time. If you or your organization have accessibility needs, let us know! We can bring solutions and custom solutions as needed. 

Topics: blog confluence culture government corporate-responsibility accessibility atlassian-products social-responsibility
2 min read

How Confluence and Jira Make Your Life Easy

By Cindy Smith on Sep 10, 2019 11:46:00 AM

An essential part of a successful organization is communication: open and direct lines of communication ensure that team members react swiftly and effectively. In regards to software and applications, different teams have different needs and collaborating can sometimes feel like speaking in different languages. The reality is, development teams live in one application and business teams live in another.  

The good news is, it’s ok. Your teams can live in different applications. 

How Does Jira Integrate with Confluence?

Atlassian Confluence and Jira integrate effortlessly to address the persistent problem of working in different applications. Through the use of macros, Confluence gives you the ability to display Jira issues on a page, making it simple to create release notes, status reports, etc. You can also write product requirements in Confluence and quickly create Jira issues in seconds.  

Confluence-Jira-work-together

How Does Jira and Confluence Work Together? 

We commonly hear statements such as, "Our company is doing a great job tracking tasks through their lifecycle with Jira, but it's incredibly difficult to find the product requirements and the test cases being tested”, or “HR processed a new hire but we can’t find the original job posting or any of the received resumes associated with that new role”. Finding the associated documentation requires emails to be sent to numerous people (including but not limited to: product managers, product owners, HR personnel, administrators, etc) and digging through emails, GoogleSheets or even <gasp> Microsoft Word documents! And for times that you couldn’t find the original, how many times have you re-created the documentation or found an old version and hope that it would suffice? These are everyday problems in most organizations: Time is wasted duplicating efforts or searching for things that should be easy to find. Imagine what you could’ve completed if you had that time back. 

The integration between Jira and Confluence is much more than a pretty face:

  • It's seamless, making it easy to create automatic linking between the feature and the product requirements.

  • It allows for documentation to live perpetually and not be stuck in a comment box with a stale feature or HR requisition. 

  • It gives you one place for everything - no more searching your inbox, chat history, internal drives. 

  • It allows collaborative editing: multiple people editing a document together. 

  • It has Page and Space restrictions to allow for additional security when needed. 

  • It breaks down the barriers between teams when everyone is using the same overarching suite for working.

Jira and Confluence Better Together

Imagine being able to release with confidence, knowing your project is tracking on time, and ultimately giving your users the ability to find what they are looking for - faster. If you’re frustrated with disparate applications, contact us and let us make your life easier with Confluence and Jira. 

Topics: jira blog confluence how-to integration
5 min read

3 Tips for Atlassian Cloud Migration

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

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

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

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

  • You just had a successful product launch

  • People are simply adopting it in droves

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

Tip 1: Choose a Migration Strategy

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

Single Cloud Site to a NEW Server/Data Center instance

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

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

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

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

Confluence Cloud/Server Site to an EXISTING Confluence Instance

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

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

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

Tip 2: Create a Version Matrix

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

Product

Source Version

Target Version

Notes

Confluence

6.4

6.8

  • PostgreSQL 9.2 is no longer supported

Secure Content

2.0.3.1

2.2.0.1

  • Required for 6.8 Compatibility

  • Administrators can reassign ownership to any user

  • Improved Reporting Macro

  • Contact SCB owners with custom messages

  • Secure content blocks look better exported to PDFs

  • Improve performance and UI of secure content admin screen

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

DocuSign for Confluence

1.1.4.1-GA-6.1

1.1.5

  • Improved tabular output for Envelope List Macro

  • Multi-Select status for Envelope List Macro

  • Confluence 6.6 compatibility

 

Tip 3: Test, Test, Test

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

Content Formatting

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

Add-on Functionality

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

Space Permissions and Page Restrictions

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

Application Links and Integration Points

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

Successful Migration

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

Topics: atlassian blog confluence migrations tips cloud cloud migration
3 min read

5 Reasons to add Atlassian Confluence to Your Mix of Business Tools 

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

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

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

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

Confluence and Jira Software are a meeting of minds

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

A space for your teams to collaborate

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

Add-ons provide extended functionality

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

Keep your teams’ process progressing forward

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

It can make your team smarter

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

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

Topics: jira atlassian blog confluence collaboration
4 min read

How to Report in Confluence with the Jira Issues Macro

By Morgan Folsom on Aug 27, 2018 11:00:00 AM

One of the most powerful integrations in the Atlassian ecosystem is the native link between Jira and Confluence. For users working in both tools, the transition can be seamless if you do it right, but clunky if you don't. 

Now, what if I told you there was just one Confluence macro you could start using today that will immediately make reporting in Confluence easier and help you (and your team) keep track of your work? The Jira Issues macro is the go-to when reporting in Confluence.

Here are some tips to get your team to live their Atlassian life-to-the-fullest.

Insert an issue count for a Jira filter

Let's start small. Insert a link to Jira with the number of issues returned from a Jira Query Language (JQL) query.

This is useful to pull up basic metrics for a high-level overview. The macro becomes a link to the filter, so if you want to review the issues in-depth, you can quickly hop over to Jira's issue navigator. The table below is an example of how our marketing team tracks employee blog post submissions.

 

To insert an issue count:

  1. Insert the Jira Macro
    1. Select the  in the top menu bar and select Jira Issue/Filter, OR
    2. Type { on your Confluence page, search and select Jira
  2. Enter in your JQL query
    1. To input an existing filter, type "filter = "Filter name", OR
    2. Type in the JQL directly
    3. Be sure to click on the Magnifying glass to execute the query
  3. Select 'Display Options' at the bottom of the dialog box to expand the options.
  4. Select 'Total issue count'
  5. Click Insert, and Voila!

Insert a single issue into Confluence

This macro can also link to a single Jira issue to a Confluence page. That means not only can you see what issues are important (and what status they're in) in your documentation, but you can also see who's talking about the issue when you're in Jira.

Take, for example, this blog post. My progress is tracked on a Jira issue, linked to this very page in Confluence. Below you can see how it looks on the Confluence page I'm writing in. 

If I click on that link, I'll move over to Jira where I can see all of pages in which the issue has been mentioned under Issue Links. Right off the bat, I can see that the issue has been mentioned on this page as well as another tracking Blog Content. 

To insert one issue:

  1. Insert the Jira Macro and enter in your query (steps 1 and 2 above)
  2. Select one issue from the list
    1. If you know exactly which issue, you can simply type the Issue Key into the search bar and hit enter. 
  3. Expand the Display Options and select 'Single Issue'
  4. Select 'Insert'

Use the Jira macro to insert a list of issues in a page in Confluence

Remember that filter you entered in above? You can insert that filter into your page, too. Filters inserted with this macro are dynamic - that is, as the issues are updated in Jira, the Confluence page will reflect the most up-to-date information. You can customize which columns appear in the macro just like you can in Jira. To head into Jira, you can select the individual issues, or click on the total number at the bottom ('2 issues') to pull up the query in Jira.

To insert a filter:

  1. Insert the Jira Macro and enter in your query (steps 1 and 2 above)
  2. Expand the Display options and select 'Table' 
  3. Edit the maximum issues and columns to display.
  4. Select 'Insert' to add to the page!

Create a Jira Issue from a Confluence page

If your issues don't exist in Jira yet, don't worry. This macro can create new issues in Jira if inspiration hits while you're editing a Confluence page. The issue will be created and you won't even have to leave the page. 

Additionally, you can also create issues from Confluence while viewing a page - simply highlight some text and then click on the Jira icon that appears.

  1. Insert the Jira Issue Macro
  2. Select 'Create New Issue' on the left panel
  3. Complete the form
  4. Select 'Insert'

This one macro can solve many of your reporting needs in Confluence. What's more, you can provide context around the data instead of just straight data. The Jira Macro is a great way to keep team members informed without navigating from Confluence to Jira and back again. 

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

Topics: jira blog confluence optimization process-consulting integration
2 min read

Page Results Rankings in Confluence

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 13, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Search engines have the ability to house a plethora of information that helps users find the answers they're looking for. As more information gets pumped into a search engine or knowledge base, the importance of finding what's relevant becomes increasingly important.

Search results and ranking go beyond search engines like Google. Confluence is a wiki tool used for team collaboration in a variety of environments. Businesses utilize Confluence as their knowledge base, making it their go-to documentation and collaboration toolFinding a page with the solution that fits your search criteria in Confluence as quickly as possible reduces the time spent on searching, and increases the time spent doing the task at hand. 

It's important to note that all unrestricted Confluence pages have the same chance to appear in search results. However, there are a few approaches to weighing how Confluence pages are ranked. 

Page popularity

Pages with similar content will rank according to the number of incoming links to the page. The more pages linked to a particular page will tell Confluence that the content on that page is of high importance, resulting in a higher rank for that page. 

Frequency of search term in page title and content

Confluence calculates how many times a search term appears in page titles and content. This is especially true for page titles. Matching terms in page titles based on a search criteria are given the highest priority. For example, if you search "insert example" in the quick navigation search bar, Confluence will return pages with "insert example" in the title as the highest search results. 

Page Weighting

For each piece of content, Confluence applies weights based on:

  • Content type - such as user profile, blog post, etc.
  • The type of field in which the search term was found - such as name, content body, or title
  • Age of the page returned

User profiles are a content type that has the heaviest weight, among all types of content. This results in a higher rank for all user profiles within a Confluence instance. Additionally, newer pages have slightly more weight than older pages. This doesn't confirm whether the page will appear first, rather it will optimize the page to potentially rank higher among other pages.

Having a better understanding of how these variables factor into how Confluence searches items can help you optimize content items and leverage the platform more effectively. 

Topics: blog confluence
3 min read

The Intranet is Dead! | Praecipio Consulting

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

Over the past few years, we have worked with a variety of organizations to help design and build intranets. The majority of these organizations were moving away from sites that were built on Microsoft’s SharePoint stack, and were looking for custom designs to better meet business needs. From creating intranets from scratch to simply offering a new look and feel, we have seen it all, and we know what works well and what doesn't. And we have noticed commonalities between organizations looking for an intranet solution. Organizations often share the same goals and challenges, and all can agree that the idea of building an intranet can seem daunting. 

Most organizations have common goals that include:

  • Improved collaboration between teams/departments

  • Improved searching for resources within the organization

  • A one-stop-shop for employees to consume relevant company information and applications

  • Corporate identity 

  • A system that's easy to update and maintain

These organizations also have common challenges:

  • Complicated customizations 

  • The need to find experts that work with development after the instance has been running

  • Integration with other tools 

  • Mobile access 

Yes, there is a solution. No, the Intranet is not dead. It is evolving.

Instead of the intranet serving as just a database, it can serve as a social and collaborative platform with the ability to archive information and documents. Having a knowledge base as an intranet can help organize documents and information in a hierarchical structure.

Intranet solutions based on Atlassian's Confluence can help users and employees locate and view information faster and use applications relevant to their roles and responsibilities – allowing businesses to publish information for their employees on a need-to-know basis and allow restricted access that is dependent on groups. An intranet is an efficient way to provide easy access to all authorized users within the organization, even on a global scale.

While Confluence can serve as an intranet and knowledge base for organizations, it falls short in meeting the 'Intranet 1.0' and 'Intranet 2.0' requirements, nor does it try to. Luckily, there is a solution. Linchpin, a fully personalized collaboration hub, focuses on modern team collaboration (Intranet 2.0) as well as the classic intranet (Intranet 1.0), and is based on Atlassian's Confluence.

The Linchpin suite adds modern intranet features at a lower cost on an easy-to-use platform. It was designed for large companies needing to communicate far and wide. Linchpin allows management the ability to distribute important information top-down with customization options for content dissemination. Linchpin turns Confluence into a modern, collaborative, user-friendly intranet.

Why Linchpin?

  • Integrates top-down communication aspects of large companies ("Intranet 1.0").

  • Reduces complexity through personalization based on language, location, department, etc. 

  • Improves social features by adding microblogging and beefed up profile pages. 

  • Integrates other enterprise applications making it the web cockpit for all things digital. 

  • Builds on a system your people already love and makes it the foundation of your intranet. 

  • Saves you tons of license fees compared to the usual intranet suspects (Sharepoint, JIVE, Salesforce, etc.)

With Linchpin Mobile, organizations can now bring the entire intranet to the palm of their employee's hand, no longer requiring them to be at their desk or in the office. The mobile feature allows all employees to stay connected, informed, and up-to-date on the latest company news, no matter where they might be. Employees can even customize the content they receive, search for colleagues, allow notifications, share pages, create collaborative works spaces, and more!

As organizations have the need for employees to collaborate and communicate, the intranet will be alive and well. To learn more about Linchpin and Confluence, check out our upcoming webinar.

Topics: blog confluence implementation consulting-services
4 min read

Five Ways to Make a Team Space in Confluence

By Morgan Folsom on Jul 16, 2018 11:00:00 AM

While creating a space for your team in Confluence may seem like a simple undertaking, creating one that users actually want to interact is far from easy. We know what can happen when you miss the mark: you've got a team space, but it's a mess - nobody knows where to find anything, there's no consistent structure, and nobody actually uses it. It’s not hard for a space to become a documentation black hole - documents enter, never to be seen again.

Confluence is an industry leader due to its revolutionary capabilities. A well implemented Confluence workspace breaks down team silos, is specifically geared for turning conversations between team members into action, centralizes all information in one space, and fosters and encourages a culture of open teamwork.

Here’s the good news: creating a team space doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. With the right structure and out-of-the-box Confluence tools, you can easily create a space for your team that you don't have to bribe them to use.

5 Steps to a Collaborative Confluence Team Space

1. Create a landing page

The first page that you see when you go to your team space needs to be clear and appealing. If the space’s landing page is too cluttered, your user's eyes will glaze over before they get any useful information out of it. On the other hand, if the page is sparse with no useful information, why would they keep going?

For your landing page, you want to include information about the space: this is where you can throw in a bit of basic information about the team and its members, but you ultimately want to focus on what will be useful for your team. Using a Children Display macro on this page can give users a better understanding of where they can find information in the space as a whole. You can determine how many layers to show, and even include excerpts of the pages below. Similarly, you can link to commonly used pages or provide some navigation hints customized to your space. Now that you’ve got users in the space, you want to make the rest of the experience just as clear.

2. Establish a hierarchy

We recommend thinking about setting up the space as people will look at it - what do they see first? The top-level pages - so start there. They could be anything (and everything) from projects or training to team building. You’ll want to make sure you include any information you want your team to know, without flooding them with a ton of first-level pages. 

You can empower users to build this space with you by using the Create from template macro to help enforce your hierarchy. Including the macro on a high-level page allows your team to click a button to create the right page in the right location (if you customize your space templates, these pages can even include the correct macros and labels you need to report on them in other places). Once you've got an idea of how you want the space to be structured, you'll want to address the ever-important content that lives within the space (that's why we're here, isn't it!). 

3. Make it easy to find information

There are several things you can do right off the bat to keep users engaged and ensure they have what they need to do their jobs. Using the space shortcuts on the sidebar can call out commonly used pages - either in Confluence or external pages. Confluence also has some built-in macros that can improve your content with little effort:

Your pages look great, but who do you want to see them?

4. Restrict what you have to

Confluence allows permissions to be set by space and by page. This means you can lock down individual pages that may be more sensitive, and open up the important ones for viewing and/or editing by the team. Be careful not to lock the space down more than you need to - space and page permissions are great for security, but don't let them be a barrier to collaboration.

Once your space is set up, the next step is about keeping it simple.

5. Cut out unnecessary information

Knowing what doesn't belong in your team space is as important as knowing what does. We've all seen the overflowing wikis, filled with personal user notes or docs that have been around longer than you have. Personal spaces in Confluence are there for a reason - users can track information that isn't relevant to the team in their own space, without filling your space with irrelevant information. Archive information that isn't relevant anymore - Confluence pages track when they were last updated, and using the Attachment macro lets you track that for all of your space attachments as well.

Now you're ready to build out an awesome Confluence team space. Say goodbye to documentation black holes and e-mails from your team asking where to find information and hello to easy collaboration!

Still have questions? Let us know.

Topics: blog confluence teams tips collaboration consulting-services
4 min read

Stay Agile with Jira and Confluence

By Praecipio Consulting on Jun 12, 2018 11:00:00 AM

As a marketing professional, I had a limited exposure to Jira before I joined Praecipio Consulting. Praecipio Consulting is an Atlassian solutions partner, and now, I eat, sleep, and breathe the Atlassian toolset. But before I really knew what it was, I used Jira Software to collaborate with a distributed team on a project. It was an interesting experience using Jira, because this was a ticketing system for 'IT guys and coders,' not for precious marketing professionals - right? I had been happy - or at least at peace - with using Microsoft Project, Sharepoint, One Note and Excel spreadsheets, along with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and marketing automation software. But when I saw my first kanban board, and how easy it was to create, organize and visualize work in process, I thought this was a great way to begin an agile marketing shift.

While I'm still getting used to an all Atlassian world, I'm excited to share with you how ticketing software, originally designed to track software bugs, along with other Atlassian tools, have shown me a path towards an agile marketing future. So, here's my 101-level guide to using agile methodologies and tools to manage marketing projects.

Marketing Tasks = Jira Issues/Tickets

Think of your marketing activities as Jira Issues. For example, say you're hosting a webinar next month. Login to Jira, create a new epic for the webinar, give it a name, provide some additional details (the sky is the limit, you can customize the kind of information you want to capture) and click save. 

But wait. A webinar has a lot of subtasks within it: you also need to set-up a landing page, attach a form, create thank you emails and internal notifications, schedule the speakers, write a script, create the presentation, setup dial-in info, and a lot more. You can add all of those tasks, too, under the webinar ticket and create a nice, tidy place to track all activities. And, just like marketing automation tools that let you automate repetitive actions, you can create a Webinar Issue template that generates all of these recurring tasks each time you plan a new webinar, saving a lot of time and repetitive work.

There's a lot of work up-front to set up your tasking, but once you've done it you can continuously improve and become increasingly efficient and fast only making small adjustments.

Tracking Assets and Tasks 

Now that you have a task list of marketing activities, you have to create the actual assets. You write email and web page copy. Your designer creates beautiful graphics. Your digital folks create tracking links and create a home for all this precious content to live. Confluence gives you a place to create or simply store these assets in a single repository. And you can link the individual tasks from Jira to these pages in Confluence, giving you immediate, bidirectional access between tasks and the actual work product. This is pretty handy and makes team collaboration a breeze.

Again, you have to do some advance planning and preparation to make this work seamlessly. But it's worth the effort in the long run.

Using a Kanban Board

With marketing activities and their related subtasks entered into Jira, and a place to house your marketing assets, you can start managing a project. What should the team be working on first? Where are we on the case study copy? Is Elaine finished with the banner ad artwork? A Kanban Board lets you see where these tasks are in their lifecycle, from "Backlog" to "In Progress" to "Complete" (you can customize these labels, as well). At a glance, you can see how much work is done, how much is in flight, and what's coming up. Do you think the white paper project is more important than the brand guidelines update? Move the brand guidelines to the backlog and focus on the white paper.

With a Kanban board (and even other boards, like Scrum and Agile), you can adjust your work priorities instantly, making it easy to see who is doing what and when it will be done. Ultimately, agile boards help teams improve communication and collaboration.

Plan Alignment

Kanban boards are super cool, as are scrum boards. Portfolio for Jira, too, can help you create a marketing roadmap to visualize all your projects over time and track resource availability and capacity. Once you've got your marketing ducks in a row, Portfolio will allow you to not only visualize a plan the way you've designed it but also create variations. That's pretty dang neat! Admittedly, there's a lot of work required to make the best use of this tool. But again, once your organization is actually organized, your project management can become amazingly powerful and useful.

Now what?

Now, we've learned that Jira is a powerful tool that welcomes all - not just software and IT teams. And if you didn't know about Confluence or any of these awesome planning tools, you owe it to yourself to consider them for organizing your marketing plan. If you're interested, start by checking in with your IT or software development teams. Chances are, they are using Jira and possibly Confluence right now. There's your starting point. And if you want a demo, or to purchase licenses, or need help getting started, let us know!

Topics: jira blog scaled-agile best-practices confluence marketing collaboration agile
3 min read

Achieve GDPR Compliance with the Atlassian Stack 

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

What is GDPR?

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

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

Why GDPR?

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

The GDPR Checklist

Backward compliance

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

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

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

Maintaining Compliance in Confluence with Secure Content 2.0

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

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

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

Features Include:

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

Custom Compliance Solutions

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

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

Custom Macro Parameters | JavaScript

By Praecipio Consulting on Mar 12, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Introduction 

Custom macros are a popular, supported, and versatile addition to any confluence page. Confluence users are able to use macros by making their own, searching the macro library, or by getting access to additional macros through add-ons. If you are making your own macro through an add-on, you will know that the parameter types, aka fields, are limited to the following: 

    • boolean - displays a check box.
    • enum - displays a select field.
    • string - displays an input field (this is the default if unknown type).
    • spacekey - displays an autocomplete field for search on space names.
    • attachment - displays an autocomplete field for search on attachment filenames.
    • username - displays an autocomplete field for search on username and full name.
    • confluence-content - displays an autocomplete field for search on page and blog titles.

Using JavaScript and Soy templates, you are able to inject custom parameters into a macro. The following tutorial is an example of a custom field injected into a basic macro form. The goal is to create a multi-select drop down menu comprised of static predetermined menu items. Note- JS functionality to create a multi-select list and the CSS are not included. 

 

Steps for injecting an element into a macro 

Building the macro

Example code of plugin.xml 

<xhtml-macro name="macro-list" key="macro-list" class="your.class.name"  documentation-url="#"
             icon="/path/to/yourPic.jpg">
    <category name="external-content"/>
    <parameters>
        <parameter name="User" type="username"/>
        <parameter name="Page" type="confluence-content"/>
        <parameter name="StatusSelect" type="string"/>
        <parameter name="Status" type="string"/>
        <parameter name="Width" type="percentage" default="100%"/>
        <parameter name="Max Results" type="int" default="30"/>
    </parameters>
</xhtml-macro>

 

Macro prior to injecting content

*Note: The "Status" parameter is not visible in this image. That is because the element is hidden with CSS. More on why the element is hidden in the JavaScript section. 

 

Configuring the Soy template multi-select code

{template .multiSelect}
    <div class="status-container">
        <div class="closed-status-margin status-selected-container macro-input-fields text">
            <span class="aui-icon aui-icon-small aui-iconfont-arrow-down select-icon" onclick="toggleStatuses()"></span>
        </div>
        <ul class="status-list hide-statuses">
            <li value="created" onclick="statusSelect(this)">Created</li>
            <li value="deleted" onclick="statusSelect(this)">Deleted</li>
            <li value="sent" onclick="statusSelect(this)">Sent</li>
            <li value="correct" onclick="statusSelect(this)">Correct</li>
        </ul>
    </div>
{/template}


JavaScript injection

JS code with explanation

//Run function on ajaxComplete to capture edit macro view.
$(document).ajaxComplete(function() {
    //looking for the macro-list macro to start running
    if( AJS.$("table[data-macro-name = 'macro-list']")){
            //must verify that the MacroBrowser is available to prevent errors
            if (AJS.MacroBrowser) {
            //override command that selectes the ds macro and the field/s selected
            AJS.MacroBrowser.setMacroJsOverride("macro-list", {
                fields: {
                    //calls anonymous function on string fields
                    "string": function (param) {
                        //checks specifically for the string input we want to inject to
                        if (param.name == "StatusSelect") {
                            //calls our function with the input's selected string param
                            return handleSpacesLookup(param);
                        }
                    }
                }
            });
        }
    }
});
//globally available but only called if the above criteria is met
function handleSpacesLookup() {
    //grabbing the div that surrounds our selected input/param
    var paramDiv = AJS.$(Confluence.Templates.MacroBrowser.macroParameterSelect());
     
    //create a variable for our desired template
    var docStatus = path.to.your.template.multiSelect();
     
    //setting a variable to the paramDiv that corresponds to our desired input area via ID
    var select = AJS.$("#macro-param-div-StatusSelect", paramDiv);
     
    //adding our docStatus element to the selected div
    paramDiv.append(docStatus);
 
    //return the selected/created element to the macro
    return AJS.MacroBrowser.Field(paramDiv, select);
};
  
//Functional logic for the multiselect not included.
 

Completed front-end example with JavaScript

Why is the Status Parameter Gone? 

The drop down multi-select captures the user's selection on the front end. When passing the macro form information back to the server via the preview or the save button, the Status Select format is not readable. To make sure that your information is able to be parsed, you may insert relevant information into another macro field. In this case, the user's responses are sent to the hidden Status parameter each time he/she makes a change to the StatusSelect. On save or on preview, only the hidden information is sent to be parsed. 

 

Potential Issues 

  • I only see an empty field when opening the edit macro, I can only see my field when reloading the page with the editable macro, OR I am getting null variable errors. 

    This may be a JS async error, which could explain some inconsistencies. Make sure that this JS file is accessible to the page, that functions are properly nested, and that the initial if clause is triggered as expected. The edit screen and dialog boxes are not connected to a page reload so queries done "on load" of the page will not be caught at this point. Use .ajaxComplete or an event trigger to re-run necessary functions. 

  • My new element works but now I am missing functionality from other parts of my page.

    Make sure that your selectors are unique and as specific as possible. Try to limit using css and JS selectors by the AUI class names as these are repeated through out Confluence. 

  • I am appending my element but only see a blank input box. 

    Your parameter type may limit the content that can be appended to it. For example, select lists cannot have non-option items added to it and will instead render a broken input box. Confirm that your template has the appropriate wrappers if any. You may need to append your template to the container instead of the parameter. 

Topics: blog confluence tips javascript macros bespoke
4 min read

Ideation to Implementation with Lucidchart and the Atlassian Trio

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

Guest post by Lucidchart

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

Start your brainstorm in HipChat

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

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

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

Store your ideas in Confluence

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

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

Take action in Jira 

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

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

Start using Lucidchart and the trio

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

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

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

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

Expedite Approvals with Confluence

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

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

1. Maximize Your Macros 

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

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

2. Template-ize It! 

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


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

3. Streamline Sending 

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

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

4. Track in Real-Time  

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

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

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

  • Can it be repeated? 

  • Can we automate it?

  • Can we eliminate unnecessary steps?

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

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

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

Seen It, Solved It: Jira Service Desk for ITIL

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

Growth Through Change 

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

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

Automation

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

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

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

Visibility

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

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

Solution: In addition to implementing several other Atlassian products, our experts helped the company leverage Jira Service Desk to achieve their business goals. We helped them create a central application with the ability to distinguish request types through a structured workflow. This included a more robust user interface to better triage issues and send them to the appropriate teams. The ability to categorize requests and label them with levels of urgency allowed the company to have better reporting, leading to improved enforcements of SLAs. 

Knowledge Base

"[A knowledge base] gets [customers] the help they need at the speed they’ve become accustomed to – i.e., in the time it takes to swipe around on their phones – and it frees service desk agents from stressing out while anxious customers wait on hold or answering the same question over email for the 10th time this week." - 4 tips for getting started with knowledge management

Problem: A large, private U.S. university wanted to revamp an old software application and replace it with a more robust and dynamic knowledge base. The university's goal was to increase usability for both their students and faculty regarding technical and campus-related questions, deflecting tickets by providing requesters with FAQ's and other resources to help them self-serve to find their answers. 

Solution: Our experts helped the university leverage Jira Service Desk and Confluence to achieve their goal. Combining Jira Service Desk with Questions for Confluence (a Confluence add-on that provides a knowledge base inside the already powerful wiki tool) allowed the university to implement a centralized knowledge database. Jira Service Desk allowed for better help engagement using queues and other helpful functionalities. Questions for Confluence empowered external users to help themselves by accessing a database of pre-answered questions, without tying up service desk agents with redundant problems.

Change Management and Evaluation

"Listening to your customers is the single most important thing you can do for the health of your company." 5 tips to transform your IT team from zero to superhero

Problem: The largest provider of support services to general and multi-specialty dental groups in the United States needed the ability to receive and respond to client feedback in addition to handling client issues. They did not have a clearly defined process for patients to interact with the organization and to raise issues. Their marketing team was searching for a new software tool that would manage feedback in a way that led to issue resolution and change management. The team's ideal tool would be able to enforce and report on multiple SLAs through issues submitted via the company's public website.

Solution: Our experts helped the dental corporation adopt Jira Core and Jira Service Desk to manage issue tracking and change management. With Jira Service Desk, the company was able to cleanly sort through client feedback and create a workflow to address issues that arose. Beyond managing client feedback, the dental corporation also used these tools for clinical tasks, billing, and other activities that needed life cycle tracking. In addition to tracking, the Atlassian tools helped the organization evaluate the effectiveness of their changes and quantified the improvements made – empowering all teams, not just marketing, to better serve their customers. 

Continuous Improvement

"With a single-product approach, configuring an SLA or modifying a workflow is easy, because they share core processes." How Jira Service Desk approaches ITSM 

Problem: A major U.S. insurance company was using three different software applications for code management, issue tracking, and service desk management – leading to inefficiencies and miscommunication. Their use of three separate applications resulted in duplicate tickets and the inability to enforce SLAs across the organization.The insurance company wanted to improve these processes and embrace ITIL's practice of continuous improvement. 

Solution: Our assessment encouraged the company to adopt a single application, Jira Service Desk, to provide a single source of truth. With Jira Service Desk, there was a common point of collaboration for issue management. This reduced duplicate tickets and saved valuable time and resources. Leveraging entities, workflows, and issue linking, we helped the insurance company align their processes to make reporting and enforcing SLAs easier, more efficient, and more effective. By strengthening their ability to track what changes are needed and to act upon those needs, we helped them develop a cycle for continuous improvement.  

ITIL for One, and ITIL for All 

"Just because one service desk streamlines the IT and service departments, it doesn’t mean that other teams can’t also benefit from them." - 5 tips to transform your IT team from zero to superhero

These real-world examples from our clients highlight how ITIL and Jira Service Desk can help organizations evolve and change – without the growing pains. ITIL concepts of automation, visibility, knowledge base, change management and evaluation, and continuous improvement aren't just for IT teams. These powerful ideas also provides immense value to other parts of any organization, technical and business teams alike. At Praecipio Consulting, we excel at leveraging the ITIL methodology and Jira Service Desk to help organizations do what they do better. Want more proof? Contact us to learn how we can help your organization evolve and do your best business. 

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile automation business confluence process standardize workflows traceability collaboration continuous-improvement integration it itil itsm jira-service-desk operations reporting white-paper
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: A Guide to Scaled Agile Framework

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
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
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
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

Show your smarts with Confluence questions

By Joseph Lane on Aug 28, 2014 11:00:00 AM

As Abraham Lincoln famously said, "You can't trust everything you read on the internet." Those familiar with this anachronistic meme appreciate the sentiment behind it, as does anyone who has ever reported erroneous facts found while combing the interwebs. In today's fast paced world, you need reliable answers to your questions on demand.

Confluence Questions delivers search engine capability and collaborative communication across organizations that allows your entire team to demonstrate their expertise. Whether you want to know how to insert a macro into a template or where to get a speedy oil change during lunch, your queries are answered in real-time with the same collaboration and transparency you know and love from Confluence. Confluence Questions allows you to connect with experts in your organization by posting questions and up-voting the best answers for quick search-ability. 

 

LEARN MORE

Leverages your company's brain trust to provide the best answers, easily located, through the collaborative ability of Confluence. At Praecipio Consulting, our team are Atlassian Experts- when bringing clients best in breed practices and in competition. In conjunction with the release of Confluence Questions, Atlassian hosted Tour de Confluence Questions, an international competition to find the top exerts in the world- of which our own Charles Wells is among the top ranked! Interested in learning more about how to leverage Confluence Questions to find experts in your organization? Check out Charles in Praecipio Consulting's  webinar, The Experts Among Us: Finding Expertise via Confluence Questions. 

Topics: blog confluence implementation integration
1 min read

Brikit: Getting More From Your Confluence Investment with Theme Press

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 7, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Software developers have known for years that Confluence is the ultimate collaboration tool. While the value may be apparent for some parts of your organization, others might be intimidated by new technologies, preventing your company from reaping the full return on your Confluence investment. Accentuating the power of Confluence to share information, Brikit's Theme Press gives companies an out-of-the-box tool that will trigger a Confluence adoption craze across your whole organization. Perfect for company intranets as well as external use, the beautiful design and unrivaled usability of Theme Press gives you the flexibility to customize your website for your purposes.

At Praecipio Consulting, we customized our Confluence-based website utilizing Theme Press while incorporating new pages and content into the same design. Victor Vargas, Praecipio Consulting's in-house graphic artist, pushed Theme Press to the max and was excited about the results. "As a designer, it's an effective and robust platform to use." Our new website even caught the attention of Brikit founder Darryl Duke, who featured praecipio.com (at 6:54) in this online Theme Press demonstration. To that end, we at Praecipio Consulting are excited to add Theme Press implementation to our robust service offerings, bringing this innovative platform to new and existing Confluence users. Contact us to learn how Praecipio Consulting can revolutionize your Confluence with Theme Press.

Theme Press has taken Confluence outside of the development team silo and launched a simple, dynamic, user-friendly platform that increases adoption across your organization. With customization, endless design possibilities and the easiest of editing capabilities, Theme Press puts a new spin on an old Atlassian classic to bring Confluence to a wider audience than ever before. 

Check out praecipio.com at 6:54!

Topics: blog brikit confluence implementation technology-partners consulting-services integration marketplace-apps
1 min read

The Secure Content Macro for Confluence

By Praecipio Consulting on May 16, 2013 11:00:00 AM

That’s right, our highly anticipated Secure Content Macro is now available on the Atlassian Marketplace. Secure Content allows you to securely display sensitive data to the right people at the right time anywhere in Confluence.

How does it work?  Secure content blocks are stored, encrypted in the database, and are only decrypted when an authorized user provides their credentials. Users must be logged into Confluence to be able to decrypt a secure content block. Secure Content uses the currently logged in user and ensures that the provided password matches the user’s Confluence password. It’s that simple!

We’re thrilled for the release of this amazing plugin and hope you find it as useful as we have. Click here to download and begin collaborating in secret.

 

 

 

Topics: atlassian blog confluence marketplace secure-content-macro macros
5 min read

Collaboration Best Practices - 3 Reasons Why Email Hurts Your Productivity

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 12, 2012 11:00:00 AM

The following content was taken from Atlassian.com:

One of the turning points for communication in the workplace was the invention of email. Historically it’s been the easiest way to make contact in any business relationship – short, pointed conversations with the teammates you work closest with, or quick messages to people you’re communicating with for the very first time. You could say it changed the way we all work. Since its inception, however, the notion that email is also a good channel for team collaboration is what’s holding us all back.

Email is great for communication, but not collaboration…

 

Email is an effective means for communication, but when it comes to collaborating with your team on projects and getting work done, it’s a major hindrance to your team’s productivity.

  • Group conversations grow unwieldy too quickly
  • Keeping track of the most current version of an attached document is the modern-era’s needle in a haystack
  • It’s nearly impossible to maintain clarity about what needs to get done, and by whom

At the end of the day, when it comes to collaborating with your team, email wastes A LOT of your time.

Don’t get us wrong, email is not all bad. It’s really effective at quickly and effortlessly communicating with others, but it just doesn’t scale. When it comes to productively working together with your team, it fails to help you get the job done. Here are three reasons why we feel email is killing your productivity.

1. Your email inbox is a lot like quicksand

You receive a ton of email each day (yeah, like you didn’t already know that!) – some of it’s important, some actionable, some is SPAM, and some is unavoidably pointless. As a result your mornings go wasted in your attempt to reach inbox-zero. It’s a losing battle. Each time you take a step forward, you take two back. You’ve likely tried all the organizational features your email client has to offer to control your inbox – labels, filters, multiple inboxes, smart inboxes – but at the end of the day, your morning consists of at least an hour of unavoidable email ground-and-pound. You also probably manage emails when you get home at night and even first thing in the morning when you wake up just to keep your head above water. I’m preaching to the choir here, right? The fact is that this is the norm these days and hardly leaves you anytime to get real work done.

Pro-Tip: Use the ‘Four D’s of Decision-Making’ model

According to a article published by Microsoft, of the email you receive:

  • 50% can be deleted or filed
  • 30% can be delegated of completed in less than two minutes
  • 20% can be deferred to your Task List or Calendar to complete later

With this in mind it’s good practice to decide what to do with each and every email you receive – you have 4 choices:

  • Delete it
  • Do it
  • Delegate it
  • Defer it

2. Your email inbox silos your team’s tacit knowledge

Email is regularly used to share and discuss work, but that doesn’t mean its supposed to. Attaching files and documents or linking to them via shared network drives makes for a complete mess. Countless versions of shared files and relevant follow-up conversations are trapped in email inboxes everywhere. Your inbox is a graveyard for valuable tacit knowledge, knowledge that gets buried deeper and deeper every minute of every day. It’s truly criminal.

So, what’s the real problem? Email is a tool that best serves simple communication, not discussion, and certainly not collaboration either. When you send an email asking someone to review your work, the most valuable piece of information being transferred is not the file itself, but the ensuing conversation. Regardless of the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to find this email in your own inbox later, no one else outside of the email thread has the opportunity to benefit from this transfer of knowledge, keeping stakeholders in the dark.

3. Switching context between work and email wastes a lot of time

The rate at which most people check their email is astonishing – it’s practically become a nervous twitch. Just like Pavlov’s dog, your email has you trained incredibly well.

The problem with checking your email so much is that you rarely have a solid block of time to get any real work done. Take into consideration that if you’re actually checking your email 36 times an hour, and it takes 16 minutes to refocus after handling an incoming email, your workday is basically non-existent.

Switching contexts is distracting, if not annoying, and your email is the number one culprit – destroying the focus you need to get your job done well.

Pro-Tip: Practice Timeboxing to increase personal productivity

Thanks to email, staying on track at work is nearly impossible. Timeboxing is a time management technique that limits the time during which a task is accomplished. Start with 25 minute intervals. Work on a task for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break, then commit to email for 25 minutes, and finally take another 5 minute break. Repeat. Focus. Flourish.

If 25 minutes sounds like a lot of email time, it sure beats checking your email 36 times in a single hour. At least with Timeboxing you can put all of your energy both into your work and email respectively.

Is there a solution?

We’ve outlined the major problems with using email to collaborate with your team, and even provided a few tips to help avoid the daily snags of collaborative emailing, but these are just simple workarounds. They don’t necessarily get at the core of your problems, which is that email is not the best solution for team collaboration.

OK, we are Atlassian Experts so we’re obviously biased, but we encourage ut clients to use Confluence and HipChat, Atlassian’s team collaboration and group chat tools, as means to reach decisions faster with less email and fewer meetings.

Topics: atlassian blog business confluence efficiency enterprise management optimization process project technology value collaboration information
1 min read

Praecipio Consulting - Atlassian Enterprise Expert

By Praecipio Consulting on Nov 15, 2012 11:00:00 AM

Along with Atlassian’s new offering of Enterprise level Jira and Confluence comes the Atlassian Enterprise Expert Certification. It’s designed to help Enterprise level clients find Atlassian Experts best suited to provide solutions to enterprise level problems. It’s hard to believe that it has been 6 years since our first enterprise deployment, and we are honored to announce that we are officially, Atlassian Enterprise Expert Certified!  

As an Atlassian Enterprise Expert, we have expert-level knowledge and success in the following:

  • Configuration,  analysis, development, and integration of large scale Atlassian installations
  • Diverse product experience with the entire Atlassian product suite
  • Hybrid tool chain experience with both Atlassian and non-Atlassian tools and their integration
  • Git, Mercurial and Subversion

Over the last 6 years, Praecipio Consulting has provided Expert Services to small, 5 person companies to large fortune 100 and 500 companies across several industries including the automotive, pharmaceutical, aerospace engineering, retail, gaming, and financial sectors. 

Topics: jira atlassian blog austin central business confluence efficiency management process technology texas value continuous-improvement information operations
6 min read

7 Ways Social Enterprise Apps Are More Than Just Talk

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 1, 2012 11:00:00 AM

by Ashley Furness

CRM Market Analyst, Software Advice
June 27, 2012

Until recently, I might have called Microsoft crazy to drop $1.2 billion on social enterprise app vendor Yammer. The business case for replicating popular social networking functionality in a corporate environment seemed dubious at best. Would there ever be a return on investment?

“Social is more than a trend, it is a revolution that is changing the way we work and collaborate. Powerful social tools, such as Chatter, help employees work faster and more efficiently—making it a strategic piece of the workforce.” — Dave King, Chatter Product Marketing Director

But then I talked to some corporate AtlassianYammerChatter and Jive users, all of whom claimed measurable gains from these tools in a variety of areas. Here are seven ways they derive value from social enterprise applications.

1. Streamline Project Management

Software developers at PerkStreet Financial use Yammer to facilitate scrum meetings, a key component of the agile software development methodology. Rather than hold their daily morning standup meetings in person, each member of the 37-person team posts “what I did yesterday,” “what I will do today” and “barriers to moving forward” using the hashtag #scrum.

Praecipio Consulting has helped in.gredients, a package free micro-grocer, leverage many of Atlassian’s products into extremely powerful tools for project management. Jira and Confluence for example, are used in conjunction to inform teams or others externally on goals, tasks, progress, and results. Confluence makes it easy for their teams to collaborate and share knowledge of Jira roadmaps, workflow, and tasks, or to document work, allowing users to delegate tasks with the “@”symbol.

The tag in Jira and Confluence allows users to quickly see what everyone is working on and chime in when appropriate. Similarly, Yammer can also delegate tasks to others with the “@” symbol. With Jive, users can also employ shortcuts such as an “!” to pull information into the thread from CRM and other enterprise systems.

2. Augment Transparency and Accountability

Since PerkStreet hosts all conversations on Yammer rather than trapped in someone’s inbox, management has continuous insight into the team’s progress.This also prevents work duplication and redundancies because everyone is literally on the same page.

“If you look at someone’s scrum over time, you can see whether they actually accomplished what they said they were going to,” PerkStreet COO Jason Henrichs notes.

Similarly, Jira and Confluence have allowed for Praecipio Consulting to increase its clients’ transparency and accountability even in the case of telecommuting among employees, who at times live in different states. Christian Lane, Managing Partner of Praecipio Consulting said, “the ability of the Atlassian product suite to increase transparency and establish accountability has allowed our business to grow and operate seamlessly across borders.”

3. Increase Communications Efficiency

HipChat, the newest member of the Atlassian family, is similar to Yammer and Jive. It’s a hosted group chat service that helps teams, or entire companies, collaborate in real-time. HipChat has a powerful API and comes loaded with integrations to Atlassian’s most popular products - JiraConfluenceFishEye and Crucible. These integrations allow you to get targeted notifications from products into the relevant chatrooms for your teams.

Salesforce surveys show enterprise wikis can reduce email by 30 percent and meeting by 27 percent.

FlexJobs founder and CEO Sara Sutton Fell said Yammer drastically cut down on her need to email, call or schedule a meeting to check in.

4. Find Experts Faster

Centerstance Inc. Managing Partner Greg Lueck says Chatter helps sales staff answer deal-specific questions expeditiously. He recalled one situation where a partner needed someone certified in Cast Iron software integration who spoke Mandarin. The resource manager working with the partner posted the query in Centerstance’s news feed.

“They had an answer within 30 seconds… in Mandarin,” Lueck remembers. In this and similar scenarios, the employee would have otherwise “relied on a central repository of all company’s experience that is located in one person’s head, or nowhere at all.”

Jive surveys show sales win rates increase an average of 23 percent, and time to find experts falls 34 percent.

5. Better Leverage Information and Insights

Social enterprise vendors have invested heavily in social and adaptive intelligence. These sophisticated algorithms suggest articles, files and experts based on the user’s position, connections, group memberships and resources they’ve previously accessed.

“Chatter knows what you care about based on your activities, making it’s value immeasurable,” King says of Chatter, the salesforce.com social layer. As a result, employees are better informed and can answer questions before they even know they have them.

“Imagine you have 10,000 people in an enterprise. Sales materials, RFPs are constantly flowing through system… Jive makes the most of this information by channeling it to the right people,” according to Jive Product Marketing Director Tim Zonca.

Additionally, HipChat stores full conversation history, so anyone new that joins a room can catch up and participate in the discussion.

“HipChat is incredible – perfect for product teams but fantastic for any team. Its use absolutely exploded at Atlassian, demonstrating the viral adoption potential of a modern communication system for teams,” says Mike Cannon-Brookes, CEO and co-founder of Atlassian. “Connecting and sharing ideas in real-time helps teams move faster, and HipChat does this better than any other product I’ve used.”

6. Generate More, Better Ideas

Yammer provides several means for employees to contribute ideas–from responding to queries and surveys, to posting ideas in a group discussion threads. Users receive gratification when co-workers and leadership “like” their contribution. Then, they are continually rewarded as they watch project teams bring the idea to fruition.

With one advertising campaign, for example, Deloitte CEO Peter Williams asked employees for their ideas for a tagline. More than 38 groups formed that submitted 1,184 original concepts.

7. Boost Employee Recognition and Engagement

In the four years since Deloitte AU implemented Yammer, the turnover rate for active users has fallen to two percent annually–about 10 times less than for employees who don’t use it. Leadership attribute change to employees feeling more engaged and recognized for their work.

“In a company with 180,000 people, most employees rarely interact with leadership,” says Frank Farrall, national leader for Deloitte Australia’s Online Consulting Practice. “Yammer breaks down those barriers.”

Deloitte leadership uses Yammer to pull reports that identify employees with high engagement and positive feedback. The more a user interacts with groups, downloads articles and responds to queries with the same keywords, the more they are distinguished as thought leaders on a subject.

“This is one key way to rise up in the firm–get recognized as someone who drives connectivity,” Farrall added.

Deloitte layered gamification elements into Yammer to further drive engagement and recognition. Using the behavior platform Badgeville, Deloitte awards “badges” when employees report milestones in Yammer, such as completing segments in Deloitte’s Leadership Academy. Users can monitor their rank on a leaderboard that shows what they need to do to surpass the person immediately ahead, encouraging them to do more.

 

Topics: jira atlassian blog business confluence efficiency enterprise management practices process tips tricks value collaboration continuous-improvement operations
1 min read

Information Economics and Confluence: Putting the I Back into IT.

By Praecipio Consulting on Jun 27, 2012 11:00:00 AM

When it comes to IT, why do most organizations focus more on the T in technology than the I in information? The purpose of a good IT infrastructure’s to prevent information asymmetry and the implications that come with it. By properly managing your company’s information network you can create value through better decision-making.

Information asymmetry occurs when one party has more or less information than another. This can result in bad decision-making, and at times, unethical decisions. Regardless of the industry you operate in, treating information as an economic resource allows your business to yield higher than expected payoffs, resulting in a competitive edge.

The need for better collaboration both within and across business processes is a problem our clients come across often. Luckily the solution’s one we pride ourselves on offering.

Atlassian’s Confluence serves as an organizational wiki, connecting employees to information and each other. Confluence allows users to create, share, discuss, and discover documents, ideas, Jira issues, specs, mockups, projects – anything. By connecting your entire business in one place, Confluence allows for better integration. We love it and so do our clients!

Topics: atlassian blog bpm business confluence enterprise management practices process technology value collaboration information it
7 min read

Team Calendars 2.3 Released

By Praecipio Consulting on Jun 26, 2012 11:00:00 AM

We’re excited to announce the release of Atlassian Confluence’s Team Calendars 2.3. For this Team Calendars release Atlassian focused a lot on helping you stay up to date with upcoming events in your team.

Here’s a list of highlights for this release…

Upcoming Events View

Atlassian’s created a new upcoming events view in the Team Calendars macro. It’s great for keeping your team informed of leave, travel or upcoming Jira project milestones. Embed it on your team homepage, or your project status page: 

 

Upcoming Events In Confluence Summary Email

Confluence 4.2 introduced weekly/daily summary email, helping you stay on top of popular and important content right from your email. Team Calendars now integrates nicely to these summary emails so you can stay updated with upcoming events in your team, project or company events right in your inbox: 

Learn more about using Jira Calendars to track your upcoming releases and issue dates.

 

Improved Confluence 4 Editor Experience

As of Team Calendars 2.2, Atlassian’s stopped adding new features for Confluence 3.5.x. You can now start taking advantage of all the new 4.0 editor plugin points.

Quickly Switch Calendar Views

Now that newer versions of Team Calendars support Confluence 4.0 or greater, you can start to make use of some of the Confluence 4.0 editor plugin points. So you can now quickly change calendar views using the editor property panel.

See Calendar Names

Previously, when you embedded a calendar on a page you would see something like “calendarID=349834j232″ in macro parameter list for the macro – which wasn’t helpful in identifying what calendars were embedded. As of Team Calendars 2.3, you will now see a preview of the calendar name(s) that you have embedded.

 
 

Other Improvements

  • For People Calendars, we now show the event summary in month and week views for some more context
  • To avoid any silly mistakes, Atlassian’s added a delete confirmation if you try to delete an event from the edit event dialog

Release Notices

  • Reminder: Team Calendars 2.2 was Atlassian’s last feature release for Confluence 3.5.x. Only critical bug fixes will be ported back to Team Calendars 2.2.x. These new features are available on Confluence 4.0 or greater.
  • The Email Summary Integration feature requires Confluence 4.2 or greater.

Upgrading to Team Calendars 2.3

Upgrading from a previous version of Team Calendars is straightforward. We recommend that you back up your Confluence database (which includes Team Calendars data) before upgrading.

  • In Confluence, simply click ‘Upgrade‘ in the Team Calendars entry of the Plugin Administration screen.
    Alternatively, download the latest release from our plugin exchange and install it via the Plugin Administration screen. This should upgrade Team Calendars to 2.3.0 (or higher).

Issues Resolved in this Release

 

 

Type
Key
Summary
Assignee
Reporter
Priority
Status
Resolution
Created
Updated
Due

 

 

 
TEAMCAL-652
Integrate with daily/weekly summary email
Matthew Erickson [Atlassian]
Matthew Erickson [Atlassian]
 
 Resolved
Fixed
22/May/12
23/May/12
 
 
TEAMCAL-116
Add new “Compact List View” to macro
David Chui [Atlassian]
Sherif Mansour [Atlassian]
 
 Resolved
Fixed
11/Jun/11
10/Jun/12
 
 
TEAMCAL-246
Add month, week and list view to Team Calendars macro properties panel
David Chui [Atlassian]
Bill Arconati [Atlassian]
 
 Resolved
Fixed
27/Jul/11
16/May/12
 
 
TEAMCAL-664
Constructing a mail should not result in resolving resources over HTTP
David Chui [Atlassian]
Fabian Kraemer [Atlassian]
 
 Resolved
Fixed
25/May/12
04/Jun/12
 
 
TEAMCAL-533
Adding a new calendar UX – clicking OK should give “Adding…” feedback.
Matthew Erickson [Atlassian]
Sherif Mansour [Atlassian]
 
 Resolved
Fixed
21/Feb/12
30/May/12
 
 
TEAMCAL-642
Macro placeholder image
David Chui [Atlassian]
Sherif Mansour [Atlassian]
 
 Resolved
Fixed
13/May/12
10/Jun/12
 
 
TEAMCAL-33
People calendar should show event description in month and week views
Matthew Erickson [Atlassian]
Sherif Mansour [Atlassian]
 
 Resolved
Fixed
24/Apr/11
10/Jun/12
 
 
TEAMCAL-634
Space picker when creating a new calendar should span the full width of the field
David Chui [Atlassian]
Sherif Mansour [Atlassian]
 
 Resolved
Fixed
08/May/12
28/May/12
 
 
TEAMCAL-605
Delete Confirmation Required in Event Edit Window too
Matthew Erickson [Atlassian]
Mark Russom
 
 Resolved
Fixed
12/Apr/12
30/May/12
 
 
TEAMCAL-668
‘Unable to format date/time’ error when viewing an event anonymously
David Chui [Atlassian]
Foo Guan Sim [Atlassian]
 
 Resolved
Fixed
28/May/12
28/May/12
Topics: jira atlassian blog calendars confluence release teams upgrade integration macros marketplace-apps
3 min read

The ABC's of Agile

By Praecipio Consulting on Jun 7, 2012 11:00:00 AM

The Agile school of software development’s currently one of the most accepted methodologies for improving productivity. Targeted mainly towards IT managers and CIOs, Agile methods promote an interactive approach which have the ability to help flatten your organization’s cost of change curve.

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development was first introduced in 2001, and outlines the foundation of Agile in twelve principles:

  1. Customer satisfaction by rapid delivery of useful software
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development
  3. Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
  4. Working software is the principal measure of progress
  5. Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  6. Close, daily co-operation between business people and developers
  7. Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  8. Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  10. Simplicity- the art of maximizing the amount of work not done- is essential
  11. Self-organizing teams
  12. Regular adaptation to changing circumstances

Cost of Change Curve

First introduced by Barry Bohem in 1981, the cost of change curve represents the exponential increase in cost as it relates to making a change during the normal development phase of a product. This means that as your product moves farther down the developmental pipeline it becomes more costly to make changes and remedy errors.

That’s a good argument for Agile since it ensures you leave the current production phase with a product that’s as close to perfect as you can make it – particularly because Agile methodology calls for testing and up-front integration which translates to rapid production and minimal initial design. Since the test code’s written before functional code and automated test suites are built around the evolving code, developers are allowed to make rapid and aggressive changes.

The ability to make these changes is one of Agile’s key features and the result is a reduction in the amount of product errors late in the development phase, reducing the cost of change. Even if your organization enjoys a rather flat cost of change curve, Agile ideals can be applied to reduce the cost of change throughout the software life cycle.

Scrum

Scrum’s another widely accepted approach to implementing the Agile philosophy, which includes both managerial and development processes. This approach relies on a self-organizing, cross-functional team supported by a scrummaster and a product owner. Scrum makes your organization Agile by ensuring quick progress, continuously creating value, and by keeping projects on track. The most important concepts of Scrum are:

  • Product backlog - A complete list of requirements that are not currently in the product release. Typical backlog items include bugs and usability/performance improvements.
  • CI - Also known as continuous integration; allows for scrum teams to continuously integrate their work. This will often happen on a daily basis.
  • User story – Describes problems that should be solved by the system being built.
  • Scrummaster - The manager of the Scrum project.
  • Burndown chart - The amount of work remaining within a sprint, i’s updated daily, and also tracks progress.
  • Sprint backlog - A list of backlog items assigned to a sprint, but not yet completed

Kanban

Kanban means visual board – and that’s just what it is, a development process that revolves around a board to manage works in progress (WIP). A Kanban board includes “lanes,” each denoting different phases a project might take. It moves WIPs across the board and deploys them into production when they reach the done column. Since Kanban development practice revolves around WIP management each state of progress is limited to a set number of projects. Organizations able to leverage this high frequency of delivery typically enjoy a large financial benefit.  The most important concepts of Kanban are:

  • Swim lanes - The horizontal lanes of a Kanban board represent the different states in which a WIP or task can exist.
  • Backlog - A list of backlog items awaiting deployment, but not yet completed.
  • Stories – A particular user need assigned to a development team.

Atlassian and You 
Atlassian specializes in robust, easy-to-use, affordable internet applications that seamlessly integrate Agile and Lean methodology  with your business processes to support your organizational goals.  Simply put, success breeds extraordinary performance – and  extraordinary performance breeds success. Atlassian’s suite of products are designed to boost your organization’s performance by providing tools that are easy to use, allowing your business to build its own solutions.
Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile central business confluence efficiency issues management process process-consulting scrum technology texas value tracking change continuous-improvement greenhopper incident-management information it lifecycle operations
4 min read

Team Calendars 1.8 Released - Subscribe from Google Calendar

By Praecipio Consulting on Jan 30, 2012 11:00:00 AM

Did you actually think Atlassian was gonna slow down just because it’s a new year? After an exciting first 6 months in 2011, the Team Calendars development team continues it’s blazing pace in 2012.

Ryan Anderson reported last week that Atlassian’s happy to announce that our next major release - Team Calendars 1.8 - is available for download now!

Connect Team Calendars with Google Calendar

At this point in human existence, managing your schedule is nearly impossible. Once upon a time, one’s agenda only consisted of finding shelter, food, and a mate. Today, however, we need a miracle to keep track of the endless meetings, appointments, and dinner dates. Our increasingly busy schedules deny us the clarity needed to successfully plan and organize our time.

Luckily, the latest release of Team Calendars delivers the vision required to confidently schedule events for your team through Google Calendar integration; satisfying 18 of your votes!

Consolidate Your Team and Personal Calendars

This release allows you to consolidate your Team Calendars and your personal calendar. With an already strapped personal calendar loaded with the day’s responsibilities, the idea of tracking the schedule of your coworkers is as farfetched as an airborne pig. But subscribing to your People and Events Calendars affords a new lens to your personal planning.

You might be planning a team lunch the week the majority of your team is on leave – viewing your People Calendars alongside your personal schedule keeps you from scheduling a meeting no one can attend in the first place.

It’s also helpful to know who’s going to be in the office the day of. If you’re like me, I always check my personal agenda before I leave my house in the morning to see what kind of day I have on my plate. I’m much more prepared for the day if I know which of my closest teammates aren’t going to be in the office that day – avoiding any ‘Oh $&*#’ moments – as I’m not surprised by an absence.

Using Outlook?

Great! You can subscribe to your People and Event Calendars from Outlook too. Bring in the new year by consolidating your team and personal calendars and happily plan and schedule your time with all the information.

So many features, so little time

Be careful not to blink, you might miss the next Team Calendars release (especially if you’re aJira user). And if you did blink, here’s a quick review of what Atlassian’s been up to over the last few months:

Have Confluence and Team Calendars?

Awesome. Have a look at the release notes or download it now!

Have Confluence, but not Team Calendars?

Team Calendars averages 65 downloads a day and has reached 2,802 teams - like Facebook, Skype, Workday, and HTC. Using Team Calendars helps teams to schedule their leave, track their Jira projects, and plan events. Learn more now!

New to Confluence and Team Calendars?

Learn more about Confluence and Team Calendars now.

Topics: jira atlassian blog calendars confluence google teams download integration
3 min read

How the Confluence SharePoint Connector Helps You

By Praecipio Consulting on Jan 13, 2012 11:00:00 AM

The latest release of the Confluence SharePoint Connector is loaded with new features that help make the static content you store in SharePoint easier to embed within the dynamic content you create and share in Confluence.

Access Content in SharePoint From Confluence, Fast

Confluence 4.0 delivered a new intuitive editing interface that lets users create rich content with extraordinary speed and simplicity. Combine the content storage benefits of SharePoint with the new content collaboration power of Confluence and you’ve solved your team’s collaboration struggles.

SharePoint is often used to store legacy documents. But there are times when teams need to make these documents accessible in Confluence, where everyone is collaborating around projects and getting their work done. Atlassian has made it even faster for the users that live in Confluence to embed custom SharePoint Lists and link to SharePoint documents in Confluence pages with Macro Autocomplete.

 

With the new View in SharePoint link accessible from the macro property panel, it’s also easier now to jump to SharePoint from the lists embedded in Confluence pages.

 

Lastly, Atlassian’s made the integration provided by SharePoint Connector more discoverable to Confluence users by including the SharePoint Document Link and List macros in the editor’s Insert Menu.

 

Faster Linking to SharePoint Content

Let’s face it, collaborating around the content in SharePoint is a burden. However, pulling content stored in SharePoint into Confluence will not only save you time, but your mental health too!

Improved SharePoint Document Link Macro

Effortlessly create links to your SharePoint server’s Office documents while editing Confluence pages. Links inserted using the SharePoint Link macro let users open and edit SharePoint documents directly in the appropriate Office application, such as Excel or Word, without having to load the SharePoint site.

SharePoint List Macro

If you’ve got a group of related documents – like collateral for an upcoming product launch – that are stored in SharePoint, the SharePoint List macro makes it easy to share those documents with other stakeholders that work  in Confluence. The macro can display most SharePoint list types and document libraries, giving you the ability to access and collaborate around all of your SharePoint documents in Confluence.

 

Watch Confluence Content from SharePoint

If you’re viewing a Confluence page or blog post within a SharePoint site you can now choose to Watch it to receive email notifications whenever changes are made.

Up-to-date Content, All the Time

Even better, if someone edits the Confluence page or blog post while you are viewing it, the Confluence Web Part in SharePoint will automatically refresh so you’re guaranteed to be viewing the most current version. Keeping up-to-date with the dynamic content that lives in Confluence just got easier.

Available Today!

To try Atlassian’s SharePoint Connector 1.5, click the link below – and to learn more about SharePoint or Confluence and what they can give you, drop us a line. 

     
Topics: atlassian blog confluence sharepoint documentation download integration
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
4 min read

Confluence 4.1 Release: Tons of Christmas Goodies

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 13, 2011 11:00:00 AM

Editor’s note: Please note the total coolness of these Confluence 4.1 features, *in addition to what’s listed below*: pimping your imagesautoconvert of content from the likes of YouTube, Google Maps, Vimeo, Flickr (paste a URL, Confluence will turn into content automagically), and find and replace. This is awesome stuff – so make sure you’re sitting down and holding onto something!

Who doesn’t like a big Christmas stocking packed with goodies? It’s the season of giving and, this week, you’ll be able to rip open Confluence 4.1 and get your paws on all the new features packed into this big release. Atlassian’s Ryan already peeled back the covers on Image Effects – in this post Atlassian gives you a sneak peek at 5 more improvements coming your way in Confluence 4.1. Like every Confluence release, there’s something for everyone.

1. Use Any Character in Page Titles

Satisfying many of your votes, Confluence 4.1 removes the restrictions on characters in page and blog titles. This allows more descriptive page names and generally removes restrictions when creating page titles and naming your content.

Click to view full image

2. Set a Global PDF Stylesheet

Fulfilling 90 more of your votes, Confluence 4.1 let’s you set a custom PDF stylesheet at the global level, just like custom layouts. When a PDF Space export is requested, it will fall back to this global stylesheet if there is no specific individual Space stylesheet defined. This means users won’t have to re-apply the same stylesheet to all their individual spaces, if they primarily want one look and feel – perfect for enforcing company-wide styling guidelines.

3. Follow Your Network On the Dashboard

Think about how you work – usually you work closely with a handful of people everyday – people in your immediate team, direct reports, and stakeholders in other teams. Just like Twitter, you can follow these people in Confluence to build you own ‘Network‘. In Confluence 4.1 it’s easy to stay-up-to-date on what your Network’s been up to with a new tab on the Dashboard.

Click to view full image

4. View and Filter Attached Files in a Space

When you want to display all the attachments of a Page on a Page, you can use the regular Attachments macro. A new Space Attachments macro in Confluence 4.1 lets you display all of the files attached to the Pages in a Space, in a table view and filter them by file type. Perhaps you have a bunch of training files attached to Pages in a Space. No you can list them all on one Page to aid discovery.

Click to view full image

5. Translations Made Easier

For those customers working on translating the user interface, Confluence 4.1 has a new feature to make your job easier. After visiting the Confluence Dashboard, just add this text to the end of your Confluence URL and press ‘Enter’.

 

1
?i18nMode=lightning

 

This will then cause each element of the user interface to display its special key name while Confluence is still in an interactive mode. This makes it easier to find the essential context for each key, which can then be searched on http://translations.atlassian.com where you can enter an appropriate translation for your custom language pack.

The key names are displayed with a “lightning bolt” graphic between elements of the names. For example, the Browse button will show up like so:

 

The key system.space.menu can be found on http://translations.atlassian.com, allowing you to write a better translation for the term Browse, being able to see the full context of where the UI element belongs and what it means to the user.

When you’re finished translating, just add the following text to the end of your Confluence URL and press ‘Enter’.

 

1
?i18nMode=normal

 

Helping You Transition to the Confluence 4.x Generation

Thinking of upgrading to Confluence 4.x? How could you resist? Atlassian’s created a set of resources to help you manage the transition. Tutorial videos, Quick Reference and Upgrade Guides – you can find it all here.

Topics: atlassian blog confluence flickr google release vimeo continuous-improvement features
2 min read

Team Calendars 1.6 Released - Share Your Custom Dates

By Praecipio Consulting on Nov 28, 2011 11:00:00 AM

Atlassian’s Team Calendars development team has been working hard to make Team Calendars the glue between Jira and Confluence. They’re excited to announce that their next major release - Team Calendars 1.6 - is available for download now!

Since Team Calendars 1.0, you’ve been able to map default date fields in Jira – issue and version due dates – on a Jira Calendar for everyone to see in Confluence. This was really helpful for Product and Project Managers to visualize the schedule of a project. However, folks have since told Atlassian that these are not the only dates important to teams. Atlassian listened, and with the release of Team Calendars 1.6, they’ve extended the Jira Calendar type to support your custom date fields in Jira.

Display Custom Date Fields from Jira on Calendars in Confluence

If you have custom date fields for your Jira Projects – ‘QA Due Date’, ‘Scheduled Deployment Date’, etc – you can now map them on a Jira Calendar inside of Confluence.  It’s quick and easy to set up from wither the the ‘Create Jira Calendar’ and ‘Edit Jira Calendar’ dialogs.

The custom dates fields you select for any given particular Jira Project will show in month, week, and list views. When you combine your Jira and People Calendars you’ve got a solution that gives your team a better understanding of a project’s progress and the ability to identify potential resourcing issues that may impact its delivery.

How can this feature help you?

If your team is using Jira for project tracking or change management, check out this post to learn how Team Calendars 1.6 can help your team deliver projects on time, all the time, and keep track of when changes were made to your internal systems.

Losing track of all these new features?

We don’t blame you! Here’s a quick review of what Atlassian’s been up to, in case you missed it.:

Enjoy and keep your eyes open for a little present from Atlassian’s Team Calendars Development Team just before Christmas.

Topics: jira atlassian blog calendars confluence project release software development atlassian-products bespoke
2 min read

Atlassian's Confluence 4.0 is HERE!

By Praecipio Consulting on Sep 20, 2011 11:00:00 AM

Introducing a New Standard in Content Collaboration

Confluence 4.0 is here! After more than a year of development, and many more years of listening to your feedback, we’re stoked to deliver you Confluence 4.0 – the fastest, richest, most intuitive collaboration experience ever.

Boost Adoption with a Brilliantly Simple Editor

The new editor in Confluence 4.0 is brilliantly simple, intuitive, and yet still packed with powerful features.

Completely Redesigned

A new streamlined toolbar puts new users at ease with familiar editing operations exactly where they’re expected. A single editor makes for a more reliable experience for your users and saved work that looks exactly like what was crafted in the editor. What you see is really what you get. 

Intelligent and Lightning Fast

While new users will feel at home with the new editor, power users will thrive on innovative new features like Autoformatting. In the blink of an eye, Confluence converts wiki markup to rich text as you type; careful, you might miss it! They’ll love the performance improvements we’ve made to Autocomplete, putting links, images, media, and hundreds of powerful macros a couple of keystrokes away. Not to mention all the new keyboard shortcuts we’ve added to give them a faster editing experience than ever before.

Familiarly Social

Confluence 4.0 takes team collaboration to the next level. Just like Twitter and Facebook, it’s easy to bring others into the conversations taking place in Confluence with @mentions. Whether you’re editing a page, replying to a comment or publishing a blog post, it’s never been easier to foster team collaboration around your content in Confluence.

Hundreds of New Features

This post barely scratches the surface of Confluence 4.0. Take the tour and learn about all the new features today!

Topics: atlassian blog confluence facebook twitter wiki collaboration features macros
4 min read

Easy Release Management | Bamboo 3.2

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 28, 2011 11:00:00 AM

Bamboo 3.2 Now Available

Automate your complete release process down to one-click, add manual Stages to your deployment process, and re-run failed Stages with the newest version of Atlassian’s continuous integration server, Bamboo 3.2.

What’s New in Bamboo 3.2

1. Release Management
The dream scenario with any release process is to automate all of your release activities down to the click of a single button. Bamboo 3.2 and the new Release Management plugin for the Jira bug tracker aims to do just that – one-click release management.

  • Prevent mistakes from being made as part of a long, manual release process
  • Remove the barrier to release
  • Speed up the release – the more often you do it, the faster you will make it
  • Manage all your releases from a centralized and controlled location
  • Use the same streamlined, automated process every time you release

Release in Jira, build in Bamboo! Create a release pipeline in Bamboo to automate your release process: use Stages, Jobs and Tasks to build, run tests, generate release artifacts, publish and deploy your release. Then initiate your release activity or event with one-click directly from Jira when you’re ready.

Run a release build in Bamboo from the Jira Versions tab without leaving Jira. 

When releasing a version in Jira you will have the option to run Bamboo builds.

If the build is successful the version will be released in Jira.

Automate the steps that traditionally are performed to release an application:

  • Building and testing
  • Tag the releases, assign a version
  • Create and populate the release branch
  • Deploy the release to a a deployment server or production environment
  • Release the new version in Jira, move the unresolved issues to the next release
  • Release or activate the new version in Production

Bamboo ships with a number of Tasks to build and deploy including Tasks to tag or branch a repository.

For Jira-Bamboo users the latest release of the Bamboo-Jira plugin is now compatible with Jira 4.3 and provides this release management functionality.

2. Manual Stages
Manual Stages allow you to interrupt/halt/suspend automatic build execution at a specific Stage in the build plan. For Plan execution to continue a user must manually trigger the Stage.

  • The default behavior of any Build Plan in Bamboo is to go to the next Stage upon successful completion of the current stage. Depending on your needs you may need to introduce a manual checkpoint into your build plan before going on to the next Stage:
  • Use a manual stage for deployment to give your QA team a chance to perform a few manual tests before your software goes into production
  • In a release pipeline, you may want to separate your ‘publish’ step from your ‘install’ step and install only after backups or clean shutdowns have been confirmed
  • Introduce a ‘quality’ gate, between build and deploy stages, to allow members of your team to approve and promote a particular build
  • Any other step that’s difficult to automate or that requires special attention

 

 

3. Re-run Failed Stages
It’s not always the code that is broken. Infrastructure problems and other issues can cause a Job, and therefore the Plan, to fail. In these scenarios Bamboo can re-run failed Jobs without having to re-run the entire Plan once you’ve resolved the problems. This can save heaps of time and build resources.

 

4. Filter Bamboo Dashboard by Labels
Bamboo now allows you to label your build Plans. The Bamboo Dashboard can be filtered to only show plans with labels that you are interested in. Filter out the noise on your Bamboo Dashboard.

Hint: When viewing a Plan use the keyboard shortcut “l” to bring up the label dialog for the Plan. When viewing the Bamboo Dashboard press “l” to filter the dashboard by label.

And More…

  • Improved Jira integration – delegate user management to Jira, easier application linking
  • EC2 improvements

This release has over 50 new features and improvements implemented. Check out the full release notes for more details.

Also make sure to check out the new agile testing tool for Jira, Atlassian Bonfire.

Ready to download?

Download Bamboo 3.2 now to get started with a 30-day FREE trial or upgrade your current instance.

Topics: jira atlassian blog automation bamboo confluence dashboard management plan process release software deployment environment integration marketplace-apps
2 min read

Jira + ITIL Working Together

By Praecipio Consulting on Jun 24, 2011 11:00:00 AM

Atlassian Jira's a remarkably flexible tool. For most who hear “Jira,” things like issue tracking, project management, and software development come to mind. Very rarely do people think of ITIL in relation to Jira. But then again, many don’t know what ITIL is.

If you’re a developer or in IT and don’t know what ITIL is, you should. It’s a set of processes for managing lifecycles with relationships to one another. It’s the most widely-accepted approach to IT service management in the world – a set of best practices drawn from public and private sectors around the world. ITIL doesn’t just apply to IT service management (ITSM), though – it’s a reliable methodology for managing any type of complex technological process.

Jira’s an Atlassian tool that’s phenomenal at lifecycle management (workflows, custom fields, etc). It’s designed to be issue-centric, built around managing issues or bugs that pop up within a product or service’s lifecycle. This functionality extends far and wide when you expand how you define an “issue.” On the surface, an issue is more like a problem – but considering an issue’s attributes, it can easily qualify as a task or milestone. With that in mind, Jira can facilitate far more than simple issue tracking. It can support complex process lifecycles.

Every process is a web of highly dependent relationships between regular and conditional tasks – including ITIL processes like Incident Management and Problem Management. The huge breakthrough here is making Jira projects and workflows represent (and support) ITIL processes. Let’s take an incident for example. An incident goes through several states:

(1) detection and recording
(2) classification and initial support
(3) investigation and diagnosis
(4) incident closure

A good Incident Management process within a good technology helps reduce meantime to recovery – i.e. recover from an incident. We all know how well Jira facilitates transitions and workflow. Let’s take it a step further…in ITIL-based Incident Management, we are supposed to designate incident ownership, actively monitor, track and communicate. BINGO! This what Jira does.

Let’s take this another step further. Problem Management is a process used to identify root cause to reduce the number of incidents – thereby increasing the meantime between failures. Using Jira, we can manage root cause analysis and associate the individual incidents (manifestations) back to the Problem Management record we’re analyzing. This ability to link records and collaborate makes Jira a great Problem Management solution. Add Confluence to the mix and the effectiveness is improved further.

Going another step further – having ITIL-based ITSM processes running in Jira alongside your organizations SDLC further helps IT align its capabilities to deliver the highest, best quality software and service delivery.

We’ve helped clients implement Jira to manage Incident Management, Change Management, Problem Management, Asset Management, Software Development, Testing… we love the Altassian products and so do our clients.

Topics: jira atlassian blog asset-management confluence issues management problem process reliability sdlc services software workflows tracking change development incident-management it itil itsm lifecycle methodology bespoke
3 min read

An Awesome Confluence Calendar Add-On

By Praecipio Consulting on Jun 21, 2011 11:00:00 AM

Built from the ground up for collaborative teams that use ConfluenceTeam Calendars is a must have fully-supported addition for your wiki.

 

Built for Your Specific Needs

After lots of listening and watching how you use Confluence, Atlassian noticed a trend. Your work revolves around people, projects and content. You need to:

  1. Quickly track and report on your project releases
  2. Understand how the availability of your team members can impact those projects
  3. Communicate the status of your projects and team’s availability to your stakeholders
  4. Plan events and dive deeper into Confluence content related to them

You also told us that current solutions make it difficult to share calendars, are not project-oriented, and are not tightly integrated with your content.

After a lot of listening and learning, Atlassian was stoked to announce the availability of Team Calendars for Confluence - where people, projects, and content meet.

Choose from Three Calendar Types

People Calendars to schedule team leave, Jira Calendars to track projects, and Event Calendars to plan just about anything.

1. Schedule Team Leave with People Calendars
Atlassian’s made it easier for you to plan events around people. People Calendars help you schedule team leave and travel planning, create your support and IT on-call team rosters, and and most importantly, help you plan who stocks the team beer fridge. With People Calendars you can:

  • Link events to people - displaying their profile picture against the event
  • Link events to content - link to your leave, travel or roster plans to the actual event
  • Create recurring events - quickly create rosters and repeating events

Creating rosters, scheduling team leave, and planning travel just go a whole lot easier since you always know the whereabouts of your teammates. 

2. Track Projects with Jira Calendars
Communicating the release plans for your projects is quick and easy with Jira Calendars. Pull project version and issue due dates into Confluence where everyone can see them – keeping your project on track. View them alongside your People Calendars to see how your team’s availability will impact your release schedule.

3. Plan Anything with Event Calendars
Event Calendars are perfect for sharing company milestones, team events, training sessions, public holidays, or any other type of event. Put them on a calendar that everyone can see and subscribe to. While this may seem like ordinary functionality, this calendar is anything but, as you can link your events to the wiki pages capturing all the finer details about those events. Finally, a calendar that’s tightly integrated with your content.

Share and Subscribe to Calendars

1. Share Any Calendar
Atlassian’s made it fast and easy to share the calendars you create with the rest of your team.
2. Embed Calendars
Embed your calendars on any page to keep everyone up-to-date. Put a Jira Calendar on your Development Team Dashboard in Confluence so your whole team can charge towards a common goal.

3. Search and Subscribe
Subscribe to popular calendars upon your first visit and search at any time to discover new calendars to help you build your own single source of truth. Search makes it easy to find and subscribe to calendars that are relevant to you.

 

Works with Outlook, iCal, and Google Calendars

1.Import from Google Calendars
Build your own single source of truth. Bring your calendars that live outside Confluence – Google and iCal – into Team Calendars. Mash them up with your existing Team Calendars so you have one place to go and view all your team events.


2. Subscribe to Team Calendars
If you live in email all day long you can still stay-in-touch by subscribing to Team Calendars from your favorite email client, like Outlook and iCal. 

Available Today – 40% OFF for a Limited Time

This is the first of many releases and to celebrate the release of Team Calendars for Confluence you can get 40% off the price of a new license (for a limited time).

Topics: jira atlassian blog calendars confluence dashboard google teams development integration marketplace-apps
2 min read

Atlassian: SharePoint Gets Social With Confluence

By Praecipio Consulting on Jun 7, 2011 11:00:00 AM

The latest release of the Atlassian’s Confluence SharePoint Connector is loaded with new features that turn SharePoint into the social collaboration platform you always wished it was. Best of all, it’s available for download today…here’s the scoop:

Unlock Documents and Lists stored in SharePoint
With Atlassian’s redesigned SharePoint list macro, anyone can insert their favorite SharePoint lists into Confluence without needing to know wiki markup.

1. Smarter SharePoint List Macro
New ‘Smart Fields’ for the ‘SharePoint List Macro’ in the Confluence ‘Macro Browser’ make light work of finding your ‘Lists’ from SharePoint and embedding them into a Confluence page for others to see.

2. Custom SharePoint List Views in Confluence
We’ve also made it easy for users to reuse the custom list views they’ve configured in SharePoint. Getting your personalized SharePoint experience in Confluence is now just a couple of keystrokes away.

Bring Social Collaboration into SharePoint
Experience the collaborative advantages of Confluence inside SharePoint like never before with new social features for SharePoint users.
1. Bring Confluence Blogs into SharePoint
A new Blog Post Web Part lets you bring the rich discussions and newsworthy content shared in Confluence, into SharePoint. And, with the power of Web Part Connections, you can connect a Blog Post Web Part to the new Blog Post Tree View Web Part. This lets SharePoint users browse all the blog posts in a Confluence Space directly from SharePoint. Now everyone can stay-up-to-date on the important announcements published in your intranet.

2. Post comments on Confluence content from SharePoint
Users can now make comments on the Confluence pages and blog posts they consume in SharePoint allowing more people to contribute to the conversations taking place inside your Confluence wiki.

For Administrators…
One-step Farm-wide Settings
We’re always striving to make the life of administrators easier. In this release we’ve added a huge time-saving feature – connecting your entire SharePoint farm to Confluence is now single-step process. Now when you add more SharePoint sites to your Farm, they’ll be automatically connected to your Confluence wiki.

Available Today!
There are even more improvements in the SharePoint Connector 1.4. Go get it, try it out, and let us know what you think. Check out the release notes here, or go ahead and download!

Topics: atlassian blog administrator confluence release sharepoint wiki collaboration download integration macros
2 min read

Introducing Bamboo 3.1

By Praecipio Consulting on May 12, 2011 11:00:00 AM

So, what’s new in Bamboo 3.1? Check it out this update from Atlassian:

1. Tasks replace Builders
We’ve replaced Builders with a more flexible and extensible concept called Tasks. Multiple Tasks can run inside the same Job sequentially with access to the same build directory. Previously, a Job was limited to one Builder – Ant, Maven, MSBuild etc. For anything more than just running a Maven Goal or executing an Ant Target, you were stuck with creating a script that performs a number of actions…until Tasks. 

Package up your software and upload it to your website, continuously deploy new version on a QA server or even into a production environment. What you do with Tasks is completely up to you because Tasks are implemented as Plugins (and easy to write). Discover available Tasks and install them in your instance of Bamboo on the Atlassian Plugin Exchange.

All existing Builders have been converted to Tasks and tested (we recommend that you upgrade any custom Builders you may have).

2. Plan Variables and Parameterized Builds
You’ve always been able to specify global variables for use in your build configuration. However, all Plans shared these variables and only Administrators were able to create them, making it hard for individual projects to truly utilise this feature. To help maintain your builds with ease we’ve introduced Plan Variables. You can now specify variables that can be used in your build scripts and Tasks across Jobs in a single Plan.

Taking this a step further, we realized that during the development process there are times when you may want to run a build with customized parameters. These “special builds” can play an important part in the release and deployment process. Bamboo 3.1 allows you to parameterize your build when you manually trigger it and overwrite any Plan or Global variables that you’ve used in your build configuration.

3. .NET Support
With the re-work of Builders into Tasks we had the opportunity to improve upon Bamboo’s .Net Support, and we took it. We thank you for your feedback which helped us implement the following new features:

:: Visual Studio – Build Visual Studio projects devenv.exe.
:: Supports different architectures – x86, AMD64, IA32, IA64
:: MSBuild – Run MSBuild as part of your build
:: NAnt – Execute NAnt targets to build your project
:: MSTest Parser – Parses and displays MSTest test results
:: MBUnit Parser – Parses and displays MBUnit test results
:: NUnit Parser – Parses and displays NUnit test results

We’d love to know what you think about these new features and please tell us if there are any other improvements or .Net features you need.

4. Improved Bitbucket and GitHub Support
Bamboo 3.1 improves on the integration with Bitbucket and GitHub. When configuring your Bitbucket or GitHub repo simply enter your username and password and Bamboo will load the available repositories in a convenient dropdown from Bitbucket or GitHub.

5. Universal Plugin Manager (UPM)
Managing plugins and performing Bamboo upgrades are now much easier. The Universal Plugin Manager (UPM), already bundled with Jira and Confluence, is now bundled with Bamboo. The UPM allows you to:

:: Perform a plugin compatibility check before upgrading Bamboo.
:: Install new plugins from the Atlassian Plugin Exchange – like Community Tasks.
:: Manage existing plugins.
:: With just one click, upgrade all plugins that have updates available.
:: View and track updates via the audit log.

Topics: jira atlassian blog bitbucket bamboo confluence support git marketplace-apps
1 min read

First-Ever San Antonio Atlassian User Group

By Praecipio Consulting on May 4, 2011 11:00:00 AM

San Antonians, you don’t have to make the drive to Austin to get involved. We’re bringing San Antonio its first Atlassian User Group (AUG)!

Join us later this month for the first San Antonio Atlassian User Group (SATXAUG)! Expect to enjoy appetizers, speakers, and the chance to talk shop with other Atlassian users about how they use Atlassian tools.

The event is free – just RSVP here and show up Thursday May 19 at 6PM. Location and directions on our Meetup page.

As we’ve said before, whether you’re a Jira fan, crazy about Confluence, or just looking for advice, come on down and have a good time. We’ll look forward to it.

Follow us on Twitter at @satxaug.

Topics: jira atlassian blog atlassian-community-event austin confluence groups user
1 min read

CTXAUG Second Meeting: Join Us!

By Praecipio Consulting on May 3, 2011 11:00:00 AM

To all Austin-area Atlassian users (we know there are lots of you) – please join us next month for the second-ever Central Texas Atlassian User Group (CTXAUG)! At our first meeting we enjoyed snacks, beer, two Jira and Confluence whizzes, and the chance to talk shop with other Atlassian users about how they use Atlassian tools.

The event is free – just RSVP here and show up Wednesday May 18 at 6PM. Location and directions on our Meetup page.

Whether you’re a Greenhopper fan, crazy about Crucible, or just looking for advice, come on down and have a good time. We’ll look forward to it.

Follow us on Twitter at @ctxaug.

Topics: jira atlassian news blog atlassian-community-event austin central confluence crucible groups texas user greenhopper
2 min read

Atlassian Development: Chris Pepe Slays the Dragon

By Praecipio Consulting on Mar 1, 2011 11:00:00 AM

We’re excited to announce that our primary Atlassian guru, developer, ace, bad-a… Chris Pepe, has slain a dragon. A huge, fire-breathing, metaphorical dragon.

Chris completed Atlassian’s Here Be Dragons quest, in which developers from villages worldwide are challenged with the task of fully integrating a suite of Atlassian applications. And he did it without a sword.

Atlassian challenges its most skilled customers and evaluators to the task. Those who achieve victory as Chris connected issues, wikis, and source code to create an agile set of Atlassian tools for building software fast – that awesome, integrated experience we (and Atlassian) talk about.

Chris’ dragon slaying included:

  • Dragons Stage 1 – Install Java, PostgreSQL and Crowd
  • Dragons Stage 2 – Install Jira
  • Dragons Stage 3 – Install GreenHopper into Jira
  • Dragons Stage 4 – Install Confluence
  • Dragons Stage 5 – Install FishEye and Crucible
  • Dragons Stage 6 – Get Jira and FishEye talking
  • Dragons Stage 7 – Get Jira and Crucible talking
  • Dragons Stage 8 – Install Bamboo
  • Dragons Stage 9 – Bamboo gadgets and Jira victory

We’re excited to have Chris’ black belt Atlassian skills in our arsenal. You’ll have the chance to meet him when we host the first Central Texas Atlassian User Group (CTXAUG) later this month, as well as in our booth at SXSW 2011 Interactive Trade Show. But if you’re adopting an Atlassian tool in the meantime, talk to us now!

Topics: jira atlassian blog atlassian-community-event central bamboo confluence crucible groups show sxsw texas trade user wiki fisheye greenhopper integration
1 min read

CTXAUG First Meeting at Scholz Beer Garten

By Praecipio Consulting on Feb 22, 2011 11:00:00 AM

We’re excited to host the first Central Texas Atlassian User Group next month – a place for Atlassian users (Jira, Confluence, Greenhopper, Crucible, etc) to connect and share ideas. We’re expecting over 50 attendees, so we’ll be starting off with a bang!

The meeting details:
Thursday, March 17, 2011
6:00PM to 8:15PM
Scholz Beer Garten
1607 San Jacinto Boulevard (at 17th Street)
North Dining Room
Austin, TX 78701

We’ll provide some pizza to munch on. Beer can be purchased at the bar. Expect mingling, brief group planning, and two fantastic speakers:

Christopher Pepe, Praecipio Consulting
Sean deBardelaben, AT&T

To RSVP, visit our Meetup page or our Eventbrite page.

Topics: jira atlassian praecipio-consulting news blog atlassian-community-event austin central confluence crucible groups texas user consulting-services greenhopper
1 min read

First Central Texas Atlassian User Group

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 14, 2010 11:00:00 AM

 

We’ve talked a lot on this blog about what Atlassian Jira and Confluence are and how they can be used. We’re big fans. But some of you are already benefiting from them, and are big fans too. That’s why the Praecipio Consulting team has launched the Central Texas Atlassian User Group (@ctxaug), the first Atlassian user group in the Austin metro.

This user group is open to all current and prospective Atlassian product users in the Central Texas Area interested in knowledge sharing and mingling with fellow users – over happy hour, of course. Quarterly group meetings will last 2-3 hours, and will give attendees the chance to:

  • Share and learn Atlassian product knowledge, best practices, and case studies with fellow current and prospective users.
  • Address the needs of both Atlassian product system administrators as well as novice and experienced product users.
  • Network and socialize with fellow Atlassian product users.
  • Meet four times a year on Wednesday or Thursday evenings in locations throughout the Austin area.

When possible, we’ll have an actual Atlassian team member on hand to answer any product questions or discuss how to solve California budget-scale problems.

For more info, follow us on Twitter (@ctxaug) or visit our Meetup page to RSVP for our 2011 Q1 meetup. We look forward to seeing you!

Topics: jira atlassian blog austin central confluence groups texas twitter user
2 min read

Confluence for the Gaming Industry

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 7, 2010 11:00:00 AM

Atlassian’s Confluence is a key supplement to its Jira product. Confluence acts as a powerful project management component, breaking down information barriers within the development environment and keeping everyone on the same page. With an extensive list of plugins and Microsoft Office integration, Confluence can improve information sharing extensively – especially when working in tandem with Jira.

This post assumes the reader has a reasonable understanding of Confluence (if it’s unfamiliar to you, check out Altassian’s intro video). The post highlights how Confluence – as a component of Atlassian’s Agile approach – can streamline game development. Check it out:

Idea central. Confluence can easily serve as a repository for group ideas – and more importantly, offers more structured brainstorming. This is very important in pre-production environments.

Project central. Configuring Confluence to serve as a central portal for project information makes it easy for team members to get current project news from one place. In a hectic production environment, having a page that pulls in the data you need is great.

Personal homepages. Each Confluence user has their own homepage, and can easily write about what’s happening on their team, in their project, etc. This is much easier than navigating a wiki, and also allows developers to find team members with specific expertise.

Permissions. It’s important for all companies to have a mature permission scheme when it comes to file access. Confluence offers thorough permissioning options, so developers can feel confident in the integrity of their work.

Flexibility. Confluence and Jira are each flexible enough to be used differently by different project teams. One team, for example, may use Confluence to track milestones while another might use it to schedule individual tasks by the hour. Tom-ay-to tom-ah-to, it’s improving each team’s productivity by fitting their unique needs.

Documentation. Documenting applications is of course a critical part of the development process. Confluence makes documentation effective by making it searchable, ensuring users have access to up-to-date information on the fly. That’s extremely valuable since game developers need quick access to tech specs about game branding/design scheme/etc.

That’s how game developers are leveraging Atlassian Confluence to streamline project management in the development environment. And once again, it’s worth noting that much of what’s covered above applies to business of all types – not just those in the gaming industry. Check out our Confluence blogs to learn more about how Confluence (and other Atlassian tools)  can boost your operations.

Special note: We mentioned this in a recent post, but if you’ll be attending South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin in March 2011, stop by our booth at the SXSWi Trade Show. We’ll have a Confluence (and Jira) demo live, and have our developers behind the table.

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile confluence management project show sxsw trade documentation homepages integration microsoft
1 min read

Jira and Confluence: Hand-in-Hand Collaboration

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 3, 2009 11:00:00 AM

Atlassian claims Jira and Confluence were “designed to complement each other.” What some don’t realize, however, is how easy and convenient this integration really is.

Confluence has proven itself as an effective project management tool, flexing its muscles as an innovative wiki allowing users to create and share rich content. Jira manages workflows and tracks issues in a well-designed, coherent user interface (UI).

For IT professionals using Jira to track issues, Confluence provides a fertile ground to collect a team’s knowledge. In Confluence, the team may collaborate by embedding Jira content (including graphics) into a collaboration space—and easily link Confluence and Jira pages. They may also embed Confluence pages into Jira. The 3-minute explanation shows you everything you need to know.

The embedding process is remarkably easy. We believe teams using Jira and Confluence can bank on this integration, from a project management perspective.

Would you like more from us? Contact us here.

Topics: jira blog bpm business confluence efficiency enterprise issues library management process services technology tracking collaboration incident-management information infrastructure itil

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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