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
2 min read

Get early access to Atlassian Data Lake for Jira Software

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

Blogpost-display-image_Jira Data Lake Preview

What's a data lake?

Read up on the basics in our explainer.

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

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

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

Compatible BI Tools include:

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

Jira-Data-Lake-preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Do You Manage Releases in Atlassian?

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

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

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

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

Definition of Done versus Definition of Release

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

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

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

Method One: The Release Issue Type

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

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

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

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

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

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

Method Two: Bitbucket Pipelines

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

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

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

Which one is right for you? 

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

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

Using Jira Service Management's email functionality for ticket intake

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

Blogpost-display-image_Using JSDs email functionality for ticket intake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Agile 101: Why Jira Won't Make You Agile

By Morgan Folsom on Sep 2, 2020 12:15:00 PM

Why Atlassian tools won't make your organization Agile

It's no secret that here at Praecipio Consulting, we love Atlassianwe love Agile, and we especially love using Atlassian tools to Agile ends. The Atlassian suite (Jira, in particular) has been built to reinforce a lot of the concepts that are core to functioning in an Agile way, which is one of the many reasons that 83% of the Fortune 500 use it. So, setting up Jira is often one of the first steps companies take when they want to adopt the Agile framework. 

However (and this is a big one!), Jira, or any other tool, should absolutely not be the first step in your Agile transformation. 

Here's why:

Tools Won't Change Mindsets

If you've ever happened upon the Agile Manifesto, then you might guess where I'm going here. The very first line of the Agile Manifesto reads:

"Individuals and Interactions OVER Processes and Tools"

Agile is not something that you "do" to an organization by giving your developers Jira and having daily status updates that you call stand-ups. Rather, an Agile transformation is the process of rethinking how you deliver value to your customers from the ground up. It might sound like a big undertaking, and that's because it is! There's a good reason that "transformation" is the word we use to describe this process (I could insert a cheesy metaphor about butterflies, chrysalis, etc., but I think you get the idea). Now, while part of successfully running an organization means identifying tools that help your employees do their jobs well, the function of your process and tools is to support the individuals and interactions. 

Sure, we can use Jira to enforce some good Agile practices, but if teams don't know what the practices are or care why they're doing it, you won't get the same value out of them. The tools should be enforcing values that have been established, keeping teams from veering too off-path, but they are simply not an effective way of establishing values in the first place. 

Jira's not broken, you're just not Agile

While Jira can be customized to do almost anything you want, there are some structures in place that enforce Agile best practices. There are small things that work perfectly if your teams are well-aligned to best practices, but are huge headaches if you've got bad practices.

The most common example of this that I see is the struggle to manage sub-tasks in Sprints. Many teams use Sub-tasks to break down stories and bugs into smaller pieces of work. However, Jira will not allow you to close a Sprint if you've got stories with open sub-tasks. From a process perspective, this makes sense - your story isn't done until all of the work is done, which means you don't get credit for a story until it, and all of the work beneath it, are Done. Teams fight against this, wanting partial credit for the story that's not been completed. Ultimately, the problem here is not Jira - Jira is enforcing a good practice. The problem is the underlying process - maybe the team hasn't had the discussions about the Definition of Done, or they are getting pressure from above to complete a certain number of story points in a Sprint, or QA is not part of the team, so they're hitting bottlenecks along the way, etc. 

Examples like this come up often. Jira will enforce some fundamentals, and your failure to meet those minimum lines can make it look like the tool doesn't work for you. We can see another example in this hotly-debated blog titled Jira is an antipattern. This article posits that the use of Jira is a good sign that an organization's off-track, and while we explicitly disagree with the thesis, it highlights effectively why Jira cannot be the driver. Trying to use a tool to drive your Agile transformation can easily make it look like the tool is the problem, obscuring the underlying changes that need to be made. 

Ultimately, Jira is a great tool for supporting those Individuals and Interactions the Agile Manifesto highlights, but it is essential to remember that's just what it is: support. Trying to use Jira to drive your Agile transformations sets your teams up for failure if you're applying those rules and structures before even explaining what their purpose. 

When we say we love Agile, we mean it. If you'd like some guidance in your journey to Agile transformation and how to properly set your teams up for success with Jira, get in touch with the Praecipio Consulting team

Topics: jira blog scaled-agile jira-software agile
2 min read

Affects Version vs. Fix Version in Jira: The Difference

By Jerry Bolden on May 12, 2020 9:15:00 AM

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

In today's post, we'll address the age-old question: which came first, the Affects version (egg) or the Fix version (chicken)?

Both of these fields are automatically created in Jira out of the box. They are related to Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) projects and are the foundation of releases in Jira. While they are linked and work in tandem at some points, there is a best practice when using the versions inside of both of these fields. Before we delve into how they relate, let's define what each field is and how to properly utilize them. 

What is Fix Version?

Fix version is the release version used to track different software developments and/or any updates. You fill out the Fix version to ensure that as you develop stories, and you can group them together when setting up a release delivery. This release could contain multiple issues created to serve different client needs, and this is designed to help each development team and PO (product owner) track all code to be released at one time. 

What is Affects Version?

The Affects version allows you to track bugs or defects that exist in already-released code. The bug will have a new Fix version on it, which will designate the code release where you can find the solution. Additionally, you can query off of this field to identify which code is having problems after its development and scheduled release. 

Which Comes First?

Now that we reviewed definitions of each version, we can answer the age-old question from the beginning of the post: which came first? In this instance, the Fix version (chicken) comes first. Not only does it group issues together for release, but it's also a way to use the Affects version field properly and efficiently. Without the Fix version field, the Affects version field cannot tie any detected issues back to the respective code releases.

When using these fields, start by tracking releases through the Fix version field first, then use the releases to connect any bugs you found to the Affects version field. This does not stop anyone from using a new Fix version on the bug issue and linking it to a new code release.  

I hope this information will help settle any office disputes about which comes first! You should now be able to communicate through examples with Jira. Think about it this way: if the egg came first, the system would be ineffective, so the chicken most definitely came first. If you want to have a friendly debate about this age-old question or discuss anything related to Jira and/or software development, reach out to us!

Topics: jira blog sdlc tips jira-software coding
2 min read

Which Jira Product Do I Need?

By Morgan Folsom on Oct 29, 2019 11:53:00 AM

Atlassian, the developer of Jira, has a wide variety of products. If you're here, you're probably wondering about a few specifically:

  • Jira Software
  • Jira Service Desk
  • Jira Core

Particularly, what the heck is the difference between them? Which is better/ Which do I need to use? Can I use more than one? Take a look to learn more about each Atlassian Jira product and discover which tool makes sense for your team. 

Jira Software

When you're thinking of Jira, it's most likely you're thinking of Jira Software, Atlassian's biggest Jira (and oldest) product. If you're a user in a Jira Software Instance you can:

  • Work in Software projects
  • View issues in kanban or scrum boards
  • Run sprints
  • Track releases

If you're developing code or are running your teams in an Agile way, Jira Software is likely for you. 

Jira Service Desk

Jira Service Desk, on the other hand, is Atlassian's answer to ITSM (IT Service Management) —it gives you customer portals and the ability to allow unlicensed users to submit tickets to your team. 

If you're working as an agent in a Jira Service Desk instance you can:

  • Work in Service Desk projects
  • Work on tickets submitted through a customizable customer portal
  • View issues in queues
  • Track Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

If your team manages request intake (internal or external) and are tracking SLAs or service requests, Jira Service Desk may be your answer.

Jira Service Desk is ITIL certified, but any team can use it. For more information on this, watch this Webinar to hear how non-technical teams can use Atlassian.

Jira Core

Jira Core is Atlassian's business team offering. If you want to track projects without too many bells and whistles, Jira Core and its "Business" projects will get you there. 

With Jira Core any team can do things like:

  • Manage projects or campaigns
  • Track assets
  • Anything that requires moving work through a workflow

Jira Core ships with both Jira Software and Jira Service Desk, so if your organization has either already, then you can try out a business project today. 

So what do I do now?

Any Jira instance can have any combination of these three products, which makes it very easy to cover multiple parts of your organization.

Each offering brings a number of ways to make Jira work for you and your team, and each type of instance lets you customize everything from permissions to specialized workflows to better fit your organization. 

Now that you've got that figured out, contact Praecipio Consulting to help with your licensing needs or to simply help you get started.

Topics: jira jira-service-desk jira-software jira-core
4 min read

7 Step Jira Upgrade Process

By Kristopher Hall on Oct 1, 2019 2:33:00 PM

Dreading the process of an Atlassian Jira software upgrade? Depending on how many issues you have and how large your instance is, we get it - it’s overwhelming.

Below are a list of steps to help walk you through the process of achieving a successful Jira software upgrade so that you can be free of bug fixes, access new features, and operate with improved performance. Keep in mind that every situation is different, so you may need to follow additional steps in order to meet the needs of your environment.

Jira-Upgrade-Process

Step 1: Evaluate the Backend

The first part of the upgrade process is checking to see if the current backend of Jira is going to be supported - backend platforms such as your java version, operating system version, and most importantly - the version of your database. If the backend is not supported, you're going to have to upgrade/downgrade it in order to align yourself with the correct version that's supported for that version of Jira. You can learn more about supported platforms via Atlassian’s documentation

Step 2: Validate Upgrade Path

Once you've identified the support platforms of your system, the next step is to validate the upgrade path. For instance, if you are running Jira Service Desk, previous versions of Jira before 6.9 require an upgrade path to 7.0 before upgrading to 7.1 and higher.

Step 3: Test, Test, Test

It's important to make sure that the upgrade you're performing isn't going to break your production system. Start with creating a new test machine and completing a refresh of production. This will help you identify any unforeseen issues with the upgrade.

Once you have your test environment established, the next step is to run through the test upgrade. You'll want to create a runbook that can be reused for your production system. Power off the application, take a snapshot, and back up the database. Powering off the application first allows you to get a complete backup of the system.

Step 4: Add-ons

The next step is powering on your system and validating the add-ons. The add-ons page, located under the system settings, has an upgrade checker that allows you to validate which add-ons are supported under the version you're upgrading to. It will provide a list showing which add-ons are Incompatible, Compatible if Upgraded, Compatible, and Unknown (in this order). You'll want to disable all add-ons except for the ones that appear on the list as Compatible. This ensures that the upgrade process will not fail due to unsupported plugins.

Step 5: Upgrade your Production

After disabling all required add-ons, you can shut off the application and perform the upgrade installation. Download the bin file of the new version and run it. It will either ask you if you want to install a new version of the application or upgrade a current installation (which it will default to if detected). It will also ask if you want a backup of the home directory. If you've taken a snapshot in a previous step, this backup is not necessary. The upgrade installation will also identify any changes to configuration files, i.e, server.xml changes for proxy information and setenv.sh changes for added heap size or extra arguments. After the installation is complete, you will need to reapply these changes.

Step 6: Validation 

When the installation of the bin file completes, you can start up the application and the application will make the required upgrade changes in the database. When the application comes up, you can validate the application state as well as re-enable and upgrade any disabled add-ons in the previous steps.

Step 7: Post-Upgrade

As a final step, it's always a good idea to do an integrity check of the database and a reindex of the application. 

Upgrade Complete

Congratulations, your upgrade is now complete! We strongly suggest not to wait until it is too late to upgrade your software and risk damaging your production system. It is crucial to protect your software from any potential security threats or lingering bugs in your system. You also don’t want to miss out on any new features that can help drive business growth and maximize ROI.

Praecipio Consulting works with companies across different industries and realize Jira Software is an instrumental part, not just within IT teams, but across the entire business operation. Read how we helped a fortune 20 medical supply company migrate and consolidate their Confluence and Jira instances. To ensure Jira is performing in an optimal manner, our Atlassian experts at Praecipio Consulting can help you execute a smooth and seamless Jira software upgrade. Feel free to contact us should you need any help. 

 

 

Topics: jira blog how-to migrations upgrade jira-software marketplace-apps
5 min read

Agile Home Improvement Using Atlassian Tools

By Amanda Babb on Aug 13, 2019 11:59:00 AM

This year, my husband and I decided to FINALLY spend some money on the house. We started our conversation about home improvement at the end of 2018, thinking about “the list”: need, want, nice to have. We went through the exercise of writing separate lists to compare and prioritize. Quite frankly, I was surprised at how similar they were. We quickly realized there was a need to actually organize and prioritize instead of working on notebook paper, fridge magnets, and the occasional sticky note.

Trello vs Jira Software Cloud

When we were planning our wedding in 2015, we used Jira Software Cloud. We had a Kanban Board with tasks and actions. My husband, while enjoying the fact we had a list we could access from anywhere, struggled to actually transition the cards through the workflow. With my travel schedule what it was before we got married, I was constantly calling and texting because there were no updates on the Board. He especially hated the WIP limit I added to the In Progress column. He called it the "stop nagging me" column. In the end, it wasn't too terrible. It gave us a chance to talk about each others' annoying habits: my constant need for status updates and his inability to ever finish anything (wink). While it made our marriage stronger, it also taught both of us we needed something a little more lightweight to manage our home. 

This time, we’re using Trello. We have fewer cards and use checklists to manage the work. We still have a backlog, but it's concise and doesn't scare my husband with all the agile terminology. 

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 2.22.48 PM

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 2.20.44 PM

New Back Door with Dog Door? Check. New Ceiling Fan. Check. New Floors? Hmm...we have to research those. Floors can get pricey pretty quickly. While our budget wasn't tiny and we decided to install them ourselves, there are always hidden costs. We added a research column with a few requirements: budget, material choice, finish, and installation method (floating or glue-down). We finalized the budget and away we went. We chose a dark finish engineered bamboo (heh. get it?) and determined we could afford to do the whole house minus the wet areas (Kitchen, Master Bath, and Spare Bathroom). Several monies, a week for delivery, and a week to let the floors acclimate, we were ready to build. 

Bamboo* as the Foundation

*Not the treelike grasses of the family Poaceae. But working with Atlassian Bamboo during my day job got me thinking about continuous integration and continuous delivery while we laid down our floors. My husband and I created the project and plan. Our project name: Floors. Our Plan: LDHB (Living Room, Den, Hallway, Bedrooms). Our repository was the 90 boxes of floors stacked pallet-style. Our repository was centralized so we can both pull from the materials as needed. Our trigger for our build: moisture barrier and underlayment installed. 

The real fun was determining the Tasks. This was my first floor. While I understood the fundamentals, I needed some guidance to make sure I laid them down correctly. While he tackled the large areas, I was solely responsible for the Master Bedroom. My husband, who has laid over a dozen floors over the last few years, gave me the tasks:

  • Start in the corner of the longest wall
  • Insert spacer at the end of the board next to the wall
  • Insert two spacers for each board down the wall
  • Stop both tasks once close to the end of the wall

Pretty simple. However, my first floor required feedback. To be honest, I failed my first build based on feedback from my husband. I kept running the tasks without stopping for cuts at the end of each row. I had to remove some of my work, adjust, and rework the tasks: 

  • Start in the corner of the longest wall
  • Insert spacer at the end of the board next to the wall
  • Insert two spacers for each board down the wall
  • Stop both tasks once close to the end of the wall
  • Measure for cut piece
  • Cut piece
  • Install cut piece
  • Grab additional boards

IMG_3837     IMG_3835

IMG_3836

While it took me a little longer to get it right, the results are pretty spectacular. I was surprised at how easy it was to get into a rhythm. Once I had the right tasks, I could repeat the build relatively quickly and solicit feedback less often as I made fewer mistakes. 

Home Improvement Retrospective

Once we finished the floors, it was time for a retrospective. After all, we both learned new skills whether they were physical skills or communication skills. And you can't have Home Improvement without the Improvement. 

What did we do well?

  • Coordinated the Jobs and Tasks to make sure work was divided
  • Clear responsibilities as to who can and should do what
  • More experienced teammates provided good feedback for less experienced teammates

What could we have done better?

  • More cleaning ahead of the start date (SO MUCH DOG HAIR)
  • Earlier feedback based on the Tasks to prevent the first failed build
  • Planning for food (although our local restaurants and DoorDash drivers made a mint from us)

What actions can we take going forward?

  • Ask for feedback earlier in the entire process
  • Explain "why" each other prefers a specific technique or method
  • Freezer meals or Crockpot meals set up during the day

Continuous Improvement 

We're both feeling pretty confident now that we've tackled a relatively large home improvement project together. Trello's lightweight, flexible interface helps us better communicate and prioritize the needs versus wants of home improvement. Either one of us can add items to the backlog and we have: new interior hardware, update window treatments, etc. This way, each month we can evaluate our budget and either take on smaller improvements or hold off and make a larger improvement after a couple of months. 

Do you use any of your 'work' tools to manage your 'home' life? Contact us to share your use cases!

Topics: blog scaled-agile bamboo devops kanban culture jira-software trello atlassian-products agile
2 min read

Three Weeks to an ITIL-based Service Desk—No, Really

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

If you’ve attempted a Jira Service Desk (JSD) implementation on your own or reviewed proposals from consulting firms offering to do the work, chances are a three-week implementation sounds pretty far-fetched. But I assure you, not only is it possible—it’s something we do regularly.

Jira Service Desk is a highly regarded service desk platform. When an organization decides to implement the platform, they’re often eager to leverage its flexibility and enterprise-grade capabilities to increase team productivity, meet demanding service-level agreements, and improve customer satisfaction. Just one thing stands in the way: implementation.

Most organizations consider two options for implementing Jira Service Desk. They either do it themselves—provided they have the proper skillsets—or they hire a consulting firm to do the work. For some, implementing Jira Service Desk is not always as simple as it looks, and organizations that choose the do-it-yourself option are often disappointed several months later when they aren’t realizing the platform’s full benefits.

Engaging with a consulting firm may seem to be the logical choice then. However, this isn’t the best option if you hope to see a return on your investment sooner rather than later. An experienced consulting firm will work iteratively, meeting with stakeholders daily to gather requirements and demonstrate the previous day’s deliverables. With the right consulting firm, this process will result in a top-notch, custom-built Jira Service Desk deployment—but it will take several months.

If you do not have the time and/or budget for a customized implementation, then you might consider a Quick Start implementation by Praecipio Consulting. We have over a decade of experience with successful service desk implementations using Jira, and we have taken this experience to build schemes that deliver a faster implementation based on ITIL best practices. With a Quick Start implementation, we get you up and running with a functional Jira Service Desk implementation in just a few short weeks.

Come On. Three Weeks?

Yes! Two critical factors make a Quick Start implementation possible. The first is the fact that most ITSM organizations don’t need heavily customized workflows. In fact, what most service organizations need is a properly configured service desk that meets ITIL best practices. By forgoing unnecessary customizations and implementing Praecipio Consulting's Quick Start, we can significantly reduce deployment time and, subsequently, the costs associated with it.

The other piece of this, of course, is expertise. Based on our 10+ year, varied and extensive experience working with companies of all sizes, we can give you exactly what you need and nothing you don’t. We have taken real-world application and experience with industry-leaders to implement JSD and ITSM/ITIL based on best practices to provide companies with processes that are a step above the textbook recommendation. As a provider that knows ITIL, Praecipio Consulting can deliver an industry-standard implementation of Jira Service Desk—with lighter customizations to make it yours—in half the time it takes for a traditional deployment.

Some organizations, unfortunately, never realize the benefits of a Jira Service Desk adoption because they get stuck in the implementation phase. Don’t let that be your fate.

Download our white paper to learn more about our Quick Start implementations or give us a call at (512) 266-8271.

Topics: jira blog implementation process-consulting consulting-services itsm jira-software
4 min read

Using Scrum and Kanban Boards to Improve Communication

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

The ability to 'see the big picture' and have a clear understanding of the work teams complete is something our clients ask for often. With a product like Jira Software, anything is possible; however, there are tools within the project management software platform that are built specifically to help users stay in the know and track project statuses. 

Out-of-the-box, Jira comes equipped with three powerful task boards that teams and managers can use to manage projects and gain better visibility into the work being done: Scrum board, Kanban board, and Agility board.

Tracking issues on a board will open up views into the work that you're looking for and they are simple to set up.

Step 1: What do you want to see?

Step 2: Board Selection

Step 3: Share and Use 

Step 1: What do you want to see?

It's common for organizations have a lot of issues in Jira, but do you need to see all of them, every day? Probably not. The first step in setting up a board is to understand what it is you want to see. Boards can be built to import every issue from every project, or by a JQL filter, which can display a very specific set of results. Using a filter is traditionally more useful and manageable. Either way, it's important to understand the scope of your board to make sure that when you're looking at it, you are only seeing the items that are important to you. You can use one, or a combination of these approaches. Keep in mind that an issue can live in multiple boards, and any updates that are made to an issue will appear on any board where the issue is displayed.

Step 2: Board selection

Jira offers three boards that you can choose from (assuming that you are on Jira Software): Agility, Kanban, and Scrum. Even though they seem very methodology-specific, choose the board that works best for you and/or your team - and it's not just for software or development teams.

Kanban Board

Kanban is all about continuous flow. With this in mind, there are a lot of different uses for this board such as a team that is not practicing scrum or a project manager who wants to visualize the work happening on their project. Recently, Atlassian added the ability to have a backlog option for Kanban boards which will allow you to specify a status that would represent work that it's quite ready for prime time.

Pro tip: Define your swim lanes to organize your work. By default the swim lanes will be set to look at priority but there are a variety of options to split your work into meaningful views.

Scrum Board

Scrum promotes commitment to a subset of work for a specified time period. The Scrum Board focuses on looking at your backlog of work and pulling issues into sprints which the team will focus on completing in a specified period of time. If your team has a sizable task that they are trying to parse into manageable chunks of work, this may be the board for you as it allows users to focus only on the subset that you've committed to for that period of time.

Pro tip: Check the "Days in Column" option found in the "Card Layout" section of the board configuration to ensure your work flows appropriately. 

Agility Board

Agility boards are the newest boards in Jira Software. They're perfect for teams that want to quickly jump in and get started and don't require any complicated configuration. This is a great board selection for projects that may be looking at a single issue type or if all issues follow the same workflow. 

Pro tip: If your Jira Project is for simple task tracking, use a business project and use an Agility board. Its simplistic design is perfect for the Executive with too little time and no "technical" skills.

Step 3: Share and Use

Now that you've chosen (and hopefully created) your board, make sure to use it as a communication tool. Too often we see boards created but not used during meetings with team members. There is a lot of power in seeing the work displayed for the team so everyone can have a complete understanding of what the progress looks like on a continuous basis. The more you use the boards to communicate progress, the better the information will be as its submitted to the board.

Pro tip: It's important to note that when you share the board with others, you need to make sure that your filter is shared with those who will need to view the board. 

Now that you have a better understanding of what the boards can do for you, go out and create a few for your teams. Experiment with different board views to see what works best. If you're still not sure, contact us! We help teams in every industry make the most of their Atlassian tools and business processes.

Topics: jira blog scaled-agile process-consulting consulting-services jira-software
3 min read

A Holiday Recipe for Planning Success with Portfolio for Jira

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

https://www.praecipio.com/webinars/portfolio-for-jira-best-practicesIn our last blog post, we shared with you how Portfolio for Jira can be used to plan and visualize work for any department or line of business. Now that everyone has a seat at the table, let's make sure the meal is excellent by following a trusted recipe for Jira Portfolio best practices.  

There are only two simple ingredients for a successful Portfolio implementation: Jira configuration and data integrity. 

Jira Configuration

It's important to make sure your Jira entities  workflows, projects, boards and filters  are configured correctly. While this may seem like common knowledge, some organizations overlook even the simplest mistakes when configuring their Jira instance - it's important to make sure you cover all the basics early on.

 In addition, Portfolio entities must also be determined, such as hierarchy and parent links, dependencies, and permissions. Portfolio is customizable to fit your organization's needs, and like the importance of making sure your Jira instance is configured correctly, the same goes for Portfolio - its imperative that the time is taken to set up your instance that best serves your organizations needs. 

To start, you should determine a level of organization that is larger than an Epic. If an Epic is 3-5 Sprints, this larger concept should represent a longer timeline: perhaps 6 months. You can call it anything you want, but we commonly use 'Initiative,' which is Portfolio for Jira's native language. With the Epic Parent created, Portfolio's configuration needs to know you're adding a level, and then have it mapped appropriately to the issue type. The next issue type to be created is called a 'Story,' which will include all other standard issue types, and will live between an epic and a sub-task. You can use whatever taxonomy works best for your organization; however, we have one recommendation - keep it simple! 

Adding the 'initiative' level allows your team to not only get a birds-eye view of your entire plan, but also how it aligns with overall business goals

Also part of your configuration recipe is the creation of a scrum board. Boards in Jira Software are driven by filters, and you should group them into a project or project category.  A word to the wise: Don't append your query with clauses that would remove workflow statuses or remove a specific tag of work. Let the board drive what your plan would display. Keep in mind if it's on your board, it's going to be in your plan.

Now that your Jira configuration is cooking with gas, let's dig into data integrity.

Data Integrity

Portfolio brings projects and plans to life; however, its powered by the data inputted into Jira. You've heard the saying 'garbage in, garbage out', right?' Avoid bad data at all costs and follow these simple steps to keep you Jira data clean.

You can start with keeping your backlog groomed by simply resolving and closing your issues. Closed issues will disappear from your backlog and will no longer show on your board, which means the Portfolio won't display them in the plan, either. Not only is this good practice in general for Jira Software, but it will keep your Portfolio plan accurate. If you have a task or issue that has been sitting in your backlog for a year or two, it's time to clean the pantry.

Maintaining hierarchy in Jira software is critical when using Portfolio. You must close out lower-level items before closing the parent - if you complete sub-tasks and close them out, it doesn't mean you're 'in progress' in the hierarchy. No progress will be seen on the story, epic or initiative just because you close or resolve a sub-task. You should be focusing on story completion and story throughput, instead of progress at the sub-task level. Make sure you are closing and completing story level to show progress in your plan overall - again, this will maintain accuracy in planning and forecasting.

Closing your story-level tasks will show your plan's overall progress

This blog post is full, but you can come back for tasty seconds and thirds in the Portfolio for Jira: Best Practices webinar coming up on November 30 at 11 a.m. CST.

Topics: jira blog devops process-consulting jira-software marketplace-apps
2 min read

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

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

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

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

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

Atlassian's Portfolio for Jira is the solution. 

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

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

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

Teams that can benefit from Jira Software: 

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

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

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

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

Learn more about Portfolio for Jira in the Atlassian marketplace.

 

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

Seeking Validation? Turbo Kit for Jira Takes Care of That

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 27, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Customizing workflows in Jira means taking control of your organization's transactions, but that also means quality assurance becomes critical. Fortunately, Turbo Kit for Jira not only provides the deep customization capabilities for workflow creation and customizing conditions, but also has a variety of validators needed to ensure transitions operate correctly and smoothly.

"The main purpose of a validator is to validate any info before performing any transition, such as moving a ticket/issue in Jira from 'in progress' to 'in review' or 'closed'," said Renuka Joshi, Software Engineer at Praecipio Consulting. "After creating validator in the workflow for specific transition, Turbo Kit checks to see if the value is correct and if the value is present on transition." Jira admins and power users can customize this kind of transition easily with Turbo Kit's JQL validator, comment validator, and modified field evaluator." 

Within Jira Service Desk, when a user transitions a workflow to "In Progress", Turbo Kit is enforcing data entry in the Comments field and Approval Notes custom field. Turbo Kit also enables the custom error message.

Turbo Kit's built-in JQL validator checks for specific conditions on custom fields and other supported fields for a ticket before performing a transition to ensure it works correctly before saving your workflow. For example, if a user writes a JQL function to check that the priority of the ticket equals 'medium', then before performing that particular transition, the function confirm that if the priority is not in that state,  the transition will be blocked. With a test issue key available in Turbo Kit, users can test the validators to make sure the JQL function is correct. "That kind of checking is performed automatically, which helps teams improve their quality assurance efforts," said Joshi. The JQL Validator is also capable of performing RegEx validation with the combination of Regex JQL Function, to ensure format validation on specific fields prior to transition.

Turbo Kit can also help enforce compliance with the capture of required data. For example, when creating a ticket, a user may not always know the required information to collect, such as story points, assignee, priority, etc. Validators built-in to Turbo Kit, however, can help ensure those critical data points are entered prior to the ticket closing by blocking issue transitions when required fields are empty. Error messaging related to these transition blocks can also be modified with Turbo Kit, giving your team full ability to enforce compliance and enhance usability. Examples of this type of validation include the comment field validator, where a comment must be entered into the long text field before the issue is allowed to transition in the workflow.

For more information about Turbo Kit for Jira, register for the in-depth product demonstration webinar on Wednesday, November 8 at 11 a.m. CT. 

Ready to take Turbo Kit for a test drive? Download it today from the Atlassian Marketplace.  

Topics: blog product-services turbokit jira-software
3 min read

Turbo Kit for Jira Makes Workflow Automation (and your life) Easier

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 27, 2017 11:00:00 AM

Automation is a popular theme for developers, consultants and everyday users of the Atlassian suite, especially within Jira, because it makes your life much easier. There's no shortage of ways to automate processes within Jira, including custom development and the Atlassian marketplace. Even we at Praecipio Consulting have used most or all of these add-ons. That is until we created our own automation tool: Turbo Kit for Jira.

One of Turbo Kit's most powerful functions is the create and set post function. With Turbo Kit installed, an option in the workflow editor allows the user to select the relevant transition. For example, the 'calculate set field values' function enables you to choose “to do,” and then move to “In progress”, and then add a post function. The target field can be a pre-existing custom field or a default Atlassian field, such as description or summary. The target field can be a string, drop-down field, or number field. When selecting a number field – this could be story points or a custom field - the user is able to select from a set of operators to format mathematical calculations. If your business need includes increasing story points on a transition, or increasing the severity of an issue, or decreasing the severity of an issue on transition, all of these (and more) can be automated in advance with Turbo Kit. This can be done to all workflows, projects or issues.

There are many potential uses for the calculate set field values function in Turbo Kit. In this example, a Jira admin is determining a repair cost by performing a calculation using data from the hourly rate, hours and discount fields.

The string feature in Turbo Kit enables the concatenation of strings to facilitate changes to the description field on transition. Turbo Kit users can also add and create a new description field based on content from a different field in a Jira ticket. This lozenge format, familiar to Atlassian users, is leveraged to form a calculation or a string concatenation. In certain examples, users can add their own custom content to that calculation field. 

In addition to number and string fields, Turbo Kit also provides post functions within the workflow for single select field options that recognize the contexts associated with that field. "Here's how Turbo Kit can make life a little bit easier! A Jira administrator needs to change an assignee or a number value associated with an issue on transition," explained Jillian Flook, Developer at Praecipio Consulting. "In some cases, this could be on an importance level or a more nuanced priority level that isn't available within the traditional priority drop-down list. And because the priority list is another field available for transitions with Turbo Kit, a user is able to move up one or down one." Turbo Kit for Jira offers a variety of supported fields, as well as custom fields. And don't worry about your custom fields. They will not be supported by Turbo Kit initially, but you can enter a custom field ID, and quickly view a list supported fields in a drop-down list. By using the custom field's ID, a user can select the sources in the calculation.  

Out of the box, Turbo Kit's supported fields and custom fields provide an enormous range of enhanced opportunities to leverage post functions and making your workflows much more powerful and easier to build. For more information about Turbo Kit for Jira and a closer look at is powerful new features, register for the product demonstration webinar on Wednesday, November 8 at 11 a.m. CT.

 
Topics: blog product-services turbokit jira-software
3 min read

Say Hello to Turbo Kit for Jira (and Goodbye to Unnecessary Add-ons)

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 25, 2017 11:00:00 AM

We’re excited to announce our newest add-on in the Atlassian marketplace, Turbo Kit for Jira.

Turbo Kit consolidates the features of multiple other marketplace products into a single add-on that provides enhanced search capabilities, additional post functions, and many other features to enhance your Jira instance.

The product's inception was informed by 10 years of field experience directly from our consultants who have implemented, customized and supported numerous, distinct add-ons to achieve the power that Turbo Kit for Jira now provides in one application. Turbo Kit for Jira not only simplifies the implementation and maintenance of a Jira enhancement, but also potentially at a significantly lower investment.

Powerful New Features

Turbo Kit’s key features include JQL-powered issue auto create, JQL functions, a Graphical field calculator and Special input fields, which are described below. 

Validators

Turbo Kit offers a powerful set of validators, conditions, and post functions. The auto create allows users to create new issues on transition based on JQL conditions. No scripting language is required to make this happen, which developers will appreciate.

Functions

Turbo Kit also adds new functions in the JQL function library, including a RegEx evaluator, date comparisons, time in status, status compare, issue link types, members of roles, and epic memberships, just to name a few. These functions not only can help users and administrator create more effective filters to drive dashboards, but can also be used with workflow post functions, conditions and validators.

"My favorite feature is the graphical field calculator and one that I call the most powerful post function ever," said Steve Kling, Principal of Development at Praecipio Consulting. "I’ve been developing in the Atlassian environment more than five years, and I’ve never seen anything quite like this. Turbo Kit for Jira enables selecting a target field, based on either number or string, and providing real arithmetic calculations to create and calculate a field or the ability to string together a new value. And no knowledge of scripting languages, like Groovy, is required."

Special Input Fields

Jira doesn’t ship with any of the masks users might expect, such as SSN, phone number, zip code, or email address fields. Similarly, Jira does not offer out-of-the-box a Regex-based field where formats can be defined. But Turbo Kit for Jira, and its special input fields, enables reinforcement for that type of data entry. This mask provides an additional check to ensure that data entered into a field meets the field's data requirements, ensuring data compliance.

For more information about Turbo Kit for Jira and a closer look at is powerful new features, register for the product demonstration webinar on Wednesday, November 8 at 11 a.m. CT.

Designed for Atlassian Jira 7.0.0. - 7.5.1, Turbo Kit is available for download in the Atlassian marketplace for Server only. In the Turbo Kit for Jira marketplace location, you will find licensing options and pricing information as well as detailed user documentation. Give Turbo Kit for Jira a test drive today!

Topics: blog product-services turbokit jira-software
4 min read

How Samsung does lean ITIL® with Jira Service Desk

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

October 12, 2017

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


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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Find your pain points

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

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

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

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

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

Samsung’s lean ITIL processes

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

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

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

Process

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

Communication

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

Transparency

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

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

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

Kaizen: How A Consulting Firm Integrated JIRA, Salesforce, and Hubspot

By Praecipio Consulting on May 8, 2017 11:00:00 AM

In the consulting world, most work focuses on providing excellent client solutions. And Praecipio Consulting is no different in that regard. Specializing in the Atlassian suite, they consult on IT, DevOps, and several other areas to ensure client success and provide a great ROI. Praecipio Consulting began in 2006; in the past eleven years, they’ve evolved from a startup into an established consulting firm. In 2016, Atlassian awarded them the Atlassian Innovation Award for their work with the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the firm also produces its own add-ons for the Atlassian Marketplace. These add-ons include a DocuSign and Confluence integration, additional security layers for Confluence content, and a Docusign-Jira integration. They also are a Workato Consulting Partner.

But Praecipio Consulting is also distinct for applying kaizen to its internal operations. The firm seeks to continually improve its own processes, so it can work more efficiently and provide better client solutions. Automation has become an important component of the firm’s kaizen, allowing them to onboard customers and complete projects smoothly while conserving resources.

Seamlessly Connecting Salesforce and Jira

Praecipio Consulting uses Workato to connect Salesforce and Jira. The firm’s Business Development team uses Salesforce to manage the entire sales cycle. The Services Delivery team, meanwhile, uses Jira to manage projects but frequently needs access to information stored in the CRM, which serves as the system of record for customer data. “Rather than give them SFDC licenses for this narrow purpose, it made sense to sync Salesforce data to the program they use all the time: JIRA,” explains Michael Kuhl, a Principal at the firm.

Initially, these information silos didn’t exist. “Prior to adopting Salesforce, we used Jira to manage the sales cycle. It was okay, but Jira isn’t made to be a CRM. As we scaled, we needed to graduate to a real CRM,” Kuhl explained. The transition was challenging, however, because many of the firm’s business processes still relied on customer information being accessible via Jira.

Lightning-Fast Implementation

The road to integration wasn’t entirely smooth at first. “We tried using a popular Atlassian Marketplace add-on to create this integration, but it wasn’t a flexible tool,” Kuhl remarks. “It was focused on one use case — connecting customer service teams and development teams — and that’s not what we wanted. We needed a more all-purpose solution.” After experiencing its versatility first-hand at the Atlassian Summit, the firm settled on Workato.

From there, the firm quickly implemented the platform. Kuhl estimates he set up the first simple integration in about two hours. And the return, he says, has been multifold. The delivery team has all the information they need to work efficiently, and the sales team can focus on closing deals instead of answering questions about customers. Instead of waiting to have a conversation, the delivery team can just check Jira; it’s a smooth, self-service workflow. Kuhl says the firm also appreciates the complete peace of mind the integration affords. “We know the delivery team has all the info they need. Once we built the integration, we just turned it on. It just runs in the background; if there’s ever a problem, it informs Jira Service Desk, so our support team can address it. It all happens invisibly.”

Marketing Automation: Sending the Right Emails, Right on Time

The firm also automates their marketing with Hubspot and uses Workato to add extra muscle to their email campaigns. “When someone downloads one of our add-ons from the Marketplace, we wanted to automatically send an email that thanked them for downloading,” says Erin Jones, a Senior Marketing Analyst who handles the firm’s product and email marketing. But the Marketplace doesn’t have event-based integration built in, so Praecipio Consulting uses Workato’s scheduling trigger. “On a daily basis we query the Marketplace’s API to get the set of new downloads. If we find any new downloads, we then call the Hubspot API and create a Hubspot contact,” Erin says. The firm then sets properties on the Hubspot contact to define the sort of support they receive. “If there’s an existing Hubspot contact who then downloaded an app, they need to be tagged appropriately so we can email them with relevant updates or Marketplace information. In other words, we need to tie that contact to a specific product, so that their email says ‘Thank you for downloading Product X; here’s how to get started.’”

Erin explains that the firm used to do this process manually, but sought ought an automated solution as they expanded their product offerings. “Towards the end of last year, our product number increased, and we wanted to make sure that we were sending out the right emails–it’s important that people have an easy time using our products! Before we started using Workato, a marketing intern had to manually download the report from Atlassian marketplace, identify new users, and manually send emails from Hubspot. We are always trying to optimize our internal processes, so this was something we decided to automate,” she says.

A Seamless Transition

Praecipio Consulting appreciates the quick implementation Workato provides. “With Workato, we set this all up in under four hours. A team member–who had never used Workato before–picked it up almost instantly. He was very familiar with the integration at the end of those 4 hours. And we saw results immediately,” Erin says. “At the end of those four hours, we were kicking off the workflow. It was instant.” Though they didn’t try any other solutions before selecting Workato, the firm initially considered writing custom Python code for the integration. “That definitely would have taken more than 4 hours!” Erin laughs.

Improved ROI: No Interns Required

The firm has seen benefits beyond the initial quick implementation, crediting Workato with saving them thousands of dollars every year. “Automating a task that would otherwise require manual input saves us resources and time,” Erin explains. “Overall, the automation saves us five hours per week–which adds up to six weeks of labor per year! That’s about $5,000 we would have spent paying an intern, plus the invisible opportunity costs of responding more slowly to a new download.”

And responding quickly to downloads is key to making the new user experience wonderful, directly impacting the firm’s marketing ROI. “With Workato, our customers get this thank-you email sooner, so they can immediately install the product and use it to the best of their ability,” Erin says. “Having our customers instantaneously receive that email helps them onboard more smoothly and gives them a better feeling about adopting our product.”

Topics: jira blog jira-software
2 min read

Jira Reports & Dashboards

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

Expert led, hands-on Atlassian training

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

High-level topics

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

Who should attend?

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

Level: Introductory

Suggested prerequisites

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

Course objectives

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

When

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

Where 

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

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

 

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

Beer Me Jira

By Praecipio Consulting on Oct 1, 2013 11:00:00 AM

 You may have seen our toaster video where Christopher configures and customizes Jira to control a toaster. Well, this year for Atlassian Summit 2013, we've taken Christopher's prowess a step further to do something not entirely useful again ... but ... think of the limitless opportunities. Check out this video to see Jira and Jira workflows pour beer. We leveraged Confluence for specifications and collaboration on the idea, Jira for managing the effort (imagine the number of tasks and sub-tasks) and of course Stash as our code repository. Way to go Chris - Praecipio Consulting and Atlassian for the win!

Beer Me Jira!

Oh yeah, did we mention we've gone Platinum?

Topics: jira atlassian blog bitbucket beer-me-jira jira-software

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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