2 min read

GreenHopper Innovation Week

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

 Between Atlassian Summit and the launch of  GreenHopper 6, the Atlassian team took a break to conduct an innovation week. Basically, the team had saved up their  “20% time” over a number of weeks to put it to use during one week.

Like all Atlassian 20% time, the team got to choose what they want to work on, in this case three neat features came to light:

GreenHopper TV

GreenHopper TV came out of the desire for our customers to be able to update their board on one computer and see the results on another. For instance, if Michael on the team in Sydney updates the GreenHopper Team board, I would see that immediately on my board when looking at it in Austin. This is a nifty new feature that Michael Ruflin and Brad Baker worked on.

Card Colors

One of the pieces of functionality that GreenHopper Classic mode included was the ability to change the color of the card, depending on its Issue Type. Martin Jopson and Michael Ruflin took that further in Greenhopper 6.0.2 with the introduction of configurable card colors based upon Issue Type, Assignee or JQL. How cool is that?! You can change the color of the card based on JQL – very useful if you want to color based on SLA, for instance.

Simplified Workflow

The simplified workflow was an approach to avoiding the complexity involved in adding an additional column to the GreenHopper board – add status, create draft workflow, add transition, add step, publish, etc. 

Michael Tokar worked on this one and managed a mighty feat – every new project and board created via the GreenHopper Getting Started page can opt to use the GreenHopper Simplified Workflow which enables the board owner to add columns to their hearts content.

Keep an eye out for goodness from GreenHopper Innovation Week. The team is working on some very cool stuff!

Topics: atlassian news blog greenhopper
3 min read

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
8 min read

Jira: Best 11 of 2011

By Praecipio Consulting on Dec 30, 2011 11:00:00 AM

2011 was an epic year for the Jira Family including two massive releases, the launch of a new product – Atlassian Bonfire – and the introduction of Atlassian OnDemand just to name a few things. Atlassian’s Ken Olofsen had a tough time whittling this list down to just 11 things, but “did his best” to use a “traditional 4-4-2 formation“ (see primer on jersey number relevance) to highlight his “Jira Best XI” for 2011. So, here’s Ken:

The Keeper

For anyone who’s played the game, you’ll know that goalkeepers are a special breed and sometimes a bit looney – no offense to Michael Knighten or any other ‘keeps out there.

Keepers are typically the older veteran who is wildly popular with both the team and the fans, and for our team this is no exception:

No. 1 – User Timezones

JRA-9 was not only the oldest, but also the most voted feature (454 votes), we added to Jira in 2011. And we didn’t just add timezones support, we took timezones to the next level by making it clear for distributed teams to see when other teammates are either sleeping or on the job.

The Defense

A solid foundation is the key for any winning team, so it was important for the Jira team to bolster the back line and build a platform for success:

No. 3 – New Installers / Upgraders

At the heart of the back four we have the new installers for Windows and Linux. Not only did we add simple way for administrators to setup and configure Jira, we inculded an unattended installer and automated upgrader for pain-free Jira deployments going forward. On top of that, we even provided a self-updating plugin manager, database config tools and enhanced importers.

 

 

The other anchor in defense, Application Links are the glue holding all your Atlassian tools together providing aggregated activity streams and key integration capabilities.

For example, connecting Jira to Confluence allows quick issue creation and linking of Jira issues from Confluence. In fact, with the recent release of Confluence 4.1 Jira issue links will instantly autoconvert in the Confluence editor:

 

No. 2 – Admin Overhaul

In addition to adding LDAP & Active Directory support, centralized user management, and a new visual workflow designer; we revamped the Jira Administration interface to make it easier than ever to manager your instance. A new project-centric administration screen makes it simple to see how each project is setup, so you can make changes quickly.

 

No. 4 – Jira on the Bookshelves

Four new books hit the shelves this year providing an excellent array of resources for Jira admins and plugin developers:

 

          

The Midfield

As the engine room of the team, the midfield is where the heavy lifting happens. We added a number of key features and enhancements to make Jira even more powerful than ever.

No. 6 – Visual Workflow Designer

Jira’s versatility is rooted in it’s powerful workflow. That’s why I was personally very excited to see the acquisition and integration of the Visual Workflow Designer making it easier than every to create and modify workflows on the fly:

 

 

 

No. 7 – Activity Streams

No one can quite “bend it like Beckham”, but Jira Activity Streams are incredibly flexible and configurable.

Each team member can dial in their personal activity streams to keep tabs on the specific systems, people and activities that are important to them. They can also vote, watch and comment directly from their dashboard, or drop custom streams into their favorite RSS reader.

No. 8 – JQL Search Change History

Jira Query Language set the gold standard for advance search within issue trackers. In 2011, JQL blossomed into the prototypical “two-way player” by adding historical search capabilities. Use the “WAS” operator on everything from status to assignee and uncover changes made “BY” certain people anytime in the past. Great for building killer dashboards, ad hoc reporting or just sleuthing around Jira.

No. 10 –  Issue Creators

The spark at the center of midfield is the “creator” who gets it all going. Jira has no shortage of ways to create issues – the web, your browseryour IDEemailremote APIs, applications like Confluence, and more. In 2011, we introduced Jira Mobile Connect for collecting user feedback and crash reports from your mobile apps and the Jira Issue Collector for creating issues from your website:

 

And just wait, 2012 promises even more!

The Forwards

Leading the attack, the forward line is always part of the action and usually the ones making the real difference. In our team, the strikers come from our popular add-ons, GreenHopper and Bonfire:

No. 11 – Rapid Board

After spending a few months in the “GreenHopper Labs”, we finally unveiled the Rapid Board. Based completely on JQL, Rapid Views introduce a new way for agile teams to view issues in Jira and work through their daily tasks.

 

No. 9 – Session-Based Testing

Atlassian Bonfire is the newest member of the team and is already blazing a trail for exploratory testing. We all rely heavily on automated testing, but with the growing emphasis on usability and user experience, many software teams are spending more time manually testing applications.

Bonfire’s session-based testing evolved out of our own need for better tool for managing our agile testing efforts.

 

Off the bench

 

Every strong team needs the support of a deep bench, and ours knows no limits:

No. 12 – The Jira Ecosystem

This year the Jira ecosystem exploded, bringing the list of Jira add-ons – plugins, applications and integrations – to over 400!

No. 14 – Slick New Emails

Email notifications got a nice refresher ensuring we find out exactly what happens, as it happens, on any device.

2012 and beyond

The Jira team has been working very hard to make all of our customers, new and old, as happy and successful as possible. And with Jira 5 on the horizon, 2012 promises to be even more exciting for the Jira Family.

On behalf of the entire Jira Team, I’d like to thank you for being part of our success. Happy New Year!!

 

PS. Don’t forget to check out the Confluence Starting XI for 2011. While no match for this Jira team, it’s quite impressive as well.. 

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile twitter cloud development greenhopper email-notifications marketplace-apps
3 min read

GreenHopper 5.8 Now Available: Rapid Board for Kanban

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 19, 2011 11:00:00 AM

GreenHopper 5.8 is now available, delivering a huge win for everyone: the new Rapid Board.

A major innovation for GreenHopper, the Rapid Board’s a flexible new board for managing and reporting on work in progress. The Rapid Board also provides multiple project support, which alone satisfies a whopping 255 votes - the most requested feature in GreenHopper’s history!

What’s the Rapid Board?

The Rapid Board provides a new way to view issues in GreenHopper by creating Rapid Views.  Creating new Rapid Views is simple:

  1. Save a Jira search
  2. Layout status columns
  3. Set Swimlanes & Quick Filters

This brilliant simplicity calls upon the most powerful search in issue tracking: Jira’s Query Language (JQL). The power of Jira’s advanced search is behind every aspect of the new GreenHopper Rapid Board. The Rapid View, horizontal Swimlanes, and button Quick Filters are all based on JQL search parameters:

This means large teams can collaborate on a single Rapid View, while individuals can use Swimlanes and Quick Filters to see just the issues that matter most to them.

Work Smarter

The new Rapid Board has several smart features in the background. Atlassian’s focused this first release of the Rapid Board on Kanban-specific features, and will continue to work on features for Scrum and all types agile teams as the Rapid Board evolves.

  • Kanban presets: an Expedite swimlane, 3 Quick Filters, default columns (To Do, In Progress, Done), and issues ordered by Global Rank.
  • Permanent links mean ‘what you see is what they get’ when emailing or IM’ing URLs – and include not only you exact view, but also the selected issue or report.
  • Keyboard shortcuts let you perform any issue operation, including selecting an issue and ranking actions, without touching a mouse.
  • Drop zones indicate the available transitions when moving an issue.
  • Column headers stay with the board when scrolling down the page, so there’s no need to scroll back up to find information or take action. 
  • Issue cards have gotten an uplift: avatars show up indicating the card assignee, and the number of days in current status are indicated by dots across the card.
  • Columns can have both a min and a max constraint: limit the amount of work in progress (WIP) for each column to keep the team moving things along.

Keep Issues Moving Across the Board

We’ve added a new Control Chart to show the mean cycle time and trends. Control Charts, along with the “time in status” dots across issue cards, help teams spot outliers and understand which issues spend a long time in flight. 

The Rapid Board views are also available as gadgets, so it’s easy to display this information on a Jira dashboard or a Confluence page. GreenHopper 5.8 is a huge step forward in understanding your teams work andcommunicating priorities and progress to the rest of the org. If you aren’t yet using GreenHopper or you want to see the new features in action, check out the short overview video.

Upgrade Jira & GreenHopper

GreenHopper 5.8 is available today, you’ll just need to upgrade to Jira 4.4.3 to take advantage of all the great new stuff! After you upgrade Jira, search your Jira plugin manager for the latest GreenHopper release.

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile kanban upgrade control greenhopper jql rapid-board
1 min read

Christopher Pepe to Speak at DevChatt

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

Christopher Pepe, head of our Atlassian practice, will travel to Chattanooga this weekend to present at DevChatt – a tech-focused conference for software developers and technology enthusiasts. His presentation – “Jira and Greenhopper for Agile Development” – will focus on how plugins are greats ideas but not the only ideas, how there aren’t any silver bullets, and how to use Greenhopper more effectively for Agile. Be sure to check it out – Christopher will knock your socks (or flip-flops) off.

Jira and Greenhopper are customizable Atlassian tools used for a variety of things. They excel at issue tracking and task/project management. If you’ve never heard of Atlassian, you should know they recently received a $60 million investment from Accel Partners, the same folks who invested in the likes of Facebook and Etsy – meaning it’s likely Atlassian will become a household name in the technology scene in the next five years.

DevChatt’s Chattanooga location is quite relevant in light of the city’s recent achievement: the fastest internet in the US. In 2010 the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga released one of the nation’s first fiber-optic SmartGrids, giving commercial and residential customers 1GB-per-second internet speeds. Because of this, there’s a wealth of opportunity and entrepreneurial spirit in the up-and-coming Tennessee city – making it the perfect place for a collaborative conference like DevChatt.

Follow Christopher on Twitter, or meet him in person this weekend. Hope you enjoy DevChatt!

Topics: jira atlassian blog scaled-agile facebook internet issues management partners project smartgrid tracking utilities greenhopper
1 min read

Forward Planning in Greenhopper

By Praecipio Consulting on May 6, 2011 11:00:00 AM

Atlassian’s GreenHopper has a ton of features to help you organize and plan projects. But some features are harder to find than others. Christine Bang’s new post series The Three Pillars of GreenHopper highlights out-of-the-way features you can use when planning your projects.

Check out Christine’s first post in the series here, discussing how to view project backlogs, working with statistics, and deciding on new project tasks.

Topics: atlassian blog plan project greenhopper
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
3 min read

Jira for the Gaming Industry

By Praecipio Consulting on Nov 24, 2010 11:00:00 AM

Altassian’s Jira is perhaps the best issue tracking and software development management platform around. While Jira can be used in many, many ways, it’s found a sweet spot in the gaming industry.

This post assumes the reader has a reasonable understanding of Jira. The post highlights how Jira and Greenhopper – which collectively make up Atlassian’s Agile approach – can streamline game development. Check it out:

Quick-start projects. In Jira, you can start a new project in less than five minutes. That’s great for developers, since new projects can spawn at anytime during the production process.

Attach files for visual reference. Most developers use Adobe software to design game interfaces. During the development stage, there are usually multiple people designing and updating prototypes – so it’s easy to get off track. With Jira, designers can attach the a screenshot of the latest prototype to a project page, so every one involved with the project can see where the interface is at and stay on the same page. And since Jira allows users to attach files to projects, tasks, time log items, and more, it’s easy for designers to offer team members a visual reference of where they’re at – even if they’re not in the office.

Support and ticketing. Jira helps IT support organizations handle hardware and software support more methodically. Support tickets can be submitted by anyone within the company. From there, they’re assigned to a qualified expert, and either resolved or escalated. This obviously benefits all businesses and not just those in the gaming industry. But for game developers on a tight schedule, hardware performance is critical – and a fast ticketing process ensures minimal downtime.

Bug tracking. Bug tracking is critical in the gaming industry. Jira’s organized, intuitive bug tracking system allows game developers to track the details, status, etc of every kink in the development process – ensuring better performance.

Document repository. Jira can also act as a document repository for files of all types. With a powerful search feature and page indexing capabilities, game companies can ensure quick access to important files – so long as they’re organized responsibly.

Crucible. A web based code review tool, Atlassian’s Crucible (a “friend” of Jira and Greenhopper) allows multiple people to review code online instead of having to crowd around a desktop or overhead projector – the “Google Docs” of code-writing. For game developers, that kind of collaboration is worth its weight in gold.

Greenhopper task tracking. Drag-and-drop task management that associates tasks with Jira projects, items, files, etc, etc. Completely intuitive, remarkably fast. We needn’t say more.

Customize to your heart’s content. Jira is easily and extensively customizable. Most of its customizations don’t require technical knowledge – so designers and developers with different skillsets can configure Jira with ease.

Insanely easy workflows. You don’t have to be a programmer to set workflows up in Jira. Develop workflows quickly to automate repetitive tasks.

Integration with non-Atlassian tools. Jira users can develop their own plug-ins to import and export data to and from Jira. This is crucial, since no software can tackle every need within an organization, and since game developers usually need to leverage multiple tools throughout their production.

That’s how game developers are leveraging Atlassian tools to streamline operations and production timelines. 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 Jira blogs to learn more about how Jira (and “friends“)  can boost your operations.

Special note: 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 Jira demo live, and have our developers behind the table!

Topics: jira atlassian blog crucible show sxsw trade workflows tracking development gaming greenhopper industry integration it bespoke

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