3 min read

Enterprise Service Management Blog Series (Part 2): Three Key Benefits of ESM

By Praecipio Consulting on Aug 5, 2020 4:48:47 PM

2020 Blogposts_What is Enterprise Service Management-2

If one system can do with relative ease what it used to take multiple systems to do, it makes sense to use that one system, right? Following up on our first blog post of this series, we continue to explore the benefits that ESM brings to an organization. 

Historically, the toughest part of this statement had been that one system could not do what multiple systems could, resulting in a need to keep those multiple systems in place. However, software has advanced to the point where this is not the case anymore. As an example, Jira Software was originally developed for software development teams to track bugs and was not feasible for an HR or Legal team to use. Today, its flexible workflows, security controls, ease of visibility, and several other characteristics have allowed all teams within the organization to use Jira. This has given way to the rise of Enterprise Service Management (ESM) as teams realize that they can simplify their software landscape and reduce the number of systems in play.

Consider three specific benefits of replacing multiple systems with one:

  1. Eliminate clunky handoffs. The toughest part of the process to understand and improve the handoff from one system to another. In addition to evolving teams, the work itself tends to change physical form, from an Excel spreadsheet to a Jira issue to a Salesforce ticket and so on. This creates unnecessary steps in the process and requires extra time to convert and understand the work. This behavior is not the result of intelligent design, but rather a factor of history and the way things evolved. Condensing to one system helps eliminate these physical shifts, resulting in cleaner handoffs and reduced process time.
  2. Include a rich history. When an item moves from one system to another, its history can get lost. A classic example is when a developer has a work item without the original business requirements or design thoughts from upstream teams. Cutting down to one system provides the team with the ability to receive the entire history of the work item. This rich history provides valuable context, eliminates confusion, reduces process time by decreasing the time spent understanding the problem, and decreases the possibility of rework due to misunderstood context. 
  3. Reduce Costs. One license paid to one vendor generates economies of scale and minimizes costs related to using multiple licenses. It typically increases bargaining power with the vendor and decreases cost per seat. Additionally, maintenance and training costs both decrease. If an employee works in one system, compared to several, that translates to only one training session versus multiple sessions. Better yet, keeping the training budget the same and committing to several training sessions on one system will further increase people’s proficiency in that system, boosting their productivity and performance. Maintenance then becomes easier as the IT team only has one system to monitor and keep running. Similar to training, when you invest time into only one system, it encourages deeper learning within the team and drives results in better support of the system, further minimizing costs due to less downtime and incident recovery time.  

Not to mention, using one system as opposed to several brings additional benefits of improved communication and data insights. Understanding the workflow and developing patterns is much easier in one system than it is when work transfers through several systems. Furthermore, when teammates only have one system to check instead of several, they are more likely to communicate faster and better understand problems. 

Finally, a benefit not to overlook is the fact that employees like working within a single system. In our experience, employees enjoy seeing work flow through to different teams and appreciate the ease of using a single, connected, and integrated system. Furthermore, with one system to monitor, teammates have improved visibility of work coming up the pipeline and can follow the progression of the work they’ve completed. This leads to a better understanding of upcoming work, as well as a greater sense of accomplishment when they can see their work completed. 

In the last of this series on the topic, we will explore the ROI of ESM based on our experience with a client, demonstrating how implementing ESM best practices can save you money while improving your processes.  

Topics: process-improvement service-management cost-effective
3 min read

Are Atlassian Tools Right For My Business?

By Brian Nye on Jun 3, 2020 12:15:00 PM

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Many businesses considering or have purchased one or more products from the Atlassian stack (Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, etc.) have thought, "Is this right for us?" If you are asking this question, you are not alone. Some question why a business would invest in tools that they are not even sure if they meet their business needs, and this is rooted in the fact that Atlassian tools are extremely flexible, perhaps too flexible. Combine Atlassian's flexibility with evolving process requirements and lack of true Atlassian expertise, and you get a toolset that doesn't fit your business needs. This doesn't need to be your reality. You just need some guidance, and Praecipio Consulting can help by doing an Atlassian Process Assessment.

What is an Atlassian Process Assessment?

Praecipio Consulting understands two things extremely well: business processes and Atlassian tools. Simply put, the Atlassian Process Assessment utilizes our core competencies to understand your business process challenges to put together a plan of action on how to get you on the right path to maximize the Atlassian technology stack. It doesn't matter if you are brand new to Atlassian or a long-time user, we can help you figure out the best approach for implementing the products. Here are some of the cases we have encountered during the last year. 

  • One business was in the process of transitioning from another tool to Jira. They were looking to use Aha! as their product roadmap tool but wanted to use Jira for their development teams. We helped them align Jira and Aha! from a process perspective, and we figured out how to structure Jira to support their agile development needs. 
  • A company was undergoing a merger, where two instances of Jira and Confluence were going to be used in a single instance. The entities that were merging used the tools differently based on their users' needs. They brought us in to figure out the best way to structure Jira in the new shared instance and also to correct years of system misuse. We provided a roadmap detailing out the order of operation needed to be successful in their efforts for simplifying and streamlining processes. 
  • One client had been using Jira and Confluence for many years to manage various teams, and they were wanting to see a more holistic, SAFe view of their work using the Atlassian stack. During the assessment, we evaluated not only their use of Jira and Confluence but also their SAFe implementation by identifying areas of opportunity for key agile practices. 

What to expect during an assessment

Praecipio Consulting conducts the assessments by meeting with various teams to discuss their overall business processes and what tools they currently use to support them. Typically, we interview small groups of people in similar roles (such as Scrum Masters or Program Managers) who have a comprehensive understanding of their current processes. We look for patterns of common challenges that teams across the organization are experiencing and result in inefficiencies. Once the patterns emerge, we propose recommendations about how to overcome those challenges and how to best represent the process in the tools. These recommendations are prioritized into an implementation roadmap so clients know how to go about making the changes in their organization. 

Throughout the assessment, the client's project sponsors gain valuable insights into how the business performs and the areas that the Atlassian stack can help make processes more efficient. Praecipio Consulting takes as many voices as possible into account so that we can get a "big picture" understanding of the good and the bad. That way we can give our expert take on what we should do going forward. We have seen hundreds of tool implementations across different industries, which allows us to confidently give you the best advice for making impactful changes to your organization.

What clients say about our Atlassian Process Assessments

After all of our engagements, a retrospective is held for the client to express the value they received from the Atlassian Process Assessment. Here are just a few of the things our clients have found valuable about the service:

  • A healthcare technology company said, "It was a positive interaction that presented a clear vision of what we want to do after the engagement so we can be tactical about our long-term strategy."
  • A telecom device manufacturer stated, "The consultant was able to navigate the personal nuances of our teams and provided us with great value that helped us move forward in our transformation."
  • An energy provider said, "We needed to take a step back to look at what we were doing and come up with a strategic roadmap. The consultant helped us understand the gaps in the path and charted a course that's in line with our practices so we are not trying to learn those ourselves. It was a good investment in what we need to do."

Are you ready to let our professionals take a look at your business? Our fresh set of eyes can provide you with new insights and guidance towards a more healthy and productive Atlassian implementation. Reach out to our team if you are interested in an Atlassian Process assessment!

Topics: process-improvement process-assessment atlassian-products
3 min read

How to Successfully Plan & Track OKRs With Atlassian Tools

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

OKR: More Than Just a Buzzword

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

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

What is OKR?

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

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

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

Plan & Track Your OKRs with Atlassian

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

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

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

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

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

Improve Your Goal-Setting Process

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

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

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

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