2 min read

Why Instructor-led Atlassian Training Is Better Than Online Courses

By Jerry Bolden on May 24, 2021 9:15:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Why instructor-led Atlassian training is better than online coursesAs the world transitions to more virtual or remote work and training, it seems that more organizations look to the ability to perform training online. Not with an instructor, but just the class or lab. 

While it is true you can follow along with a course online, you cannot ask the course questions and get answers live, and the question you type in will likely only get a direct answer (if any),  not an in-depth assessment of the question and other considerations that could arise.  Having an instructor-led course makes sense for the same reason there is a Human Resources department in each company: they are in charge of onboarding and touching base with new employees as they transition into a company and its culture.  Sure, the tasks of onboarding can be done online, but who would be there to answer questions or concerns of the employee without a team dedicated to making each employee successful in a company?  Instructors have the same drive, which is to make not only the training successful, but to ensure each person successfully learns the program. 

Personal interaction and adjustments to the class can be very important, and are not easily done through online-only learning.  Instructors are able to give students the experience and anecdotes they have learned while using the product.  They are not only able to clearly answer questions and point the person in the right direction, but they can also teach some of the 'tricks of the trade' they have learned throughout the years. This can help people retain the information as it is a personal story to connect the person and the instructor.  

Interpretation of body language or inflection in a voice is something that once again can only be done with human interactions.  The ability to listen to a person's question and read them or their voice allows for a better set of answers given to questions.  An instructor can not only give the answer to a specific question, but also understand if that answer is what the person was truly looking to understand or is now just accepting that answer and hoping they will learn, later on, what they wanted to know.  This also allows instructors the ability to ensure they have clearly understood the question and, in turn, clearly provided the right answer to the question.  The minimal interaction an instructor allows is for clarity and answering of questions to be focused to each person.  

Finally, when you have instructor-led teaching, the instructor is able to understand the different levels of knowledge/experience in a class at any time.  This allows the instructor to help with "extra" learning by being able to teach different levels of information.  This ability is important not only for the instructor to ensure they are communicating at the correct levels to people, but also it helps to drive the most fulfillment from the training. As instructors adapt to the classes, they can still go over the information, but at times may go a little deeper into a demo if the class is showing they can handle the learning, thus giving them more value to the training and the time they are willing to invest in the class. 

Instructor-led training is not necessarily essential to learning how to use a system, Atlassian or others. Yet without an instructor, the value of the course is minimized and relegated to only the material on the screen.  Instructors are able to not only lend their experiences and learned knowledge, but also allow for different individuals to get more out of the training as they may be able to handle more advanced information.

Interested in getting your teams the tools they need to reach their maximum potential? Contact us, and one of our Atlassian experts can talk you through our training options.

Topics: atlassian blog teams training atlassian-solution-partner remote-work
6 min read

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

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

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

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

TEAM CALENDARS FOR CONFLUENCE

 

Image source: Atlassian

What is Team Calendars for Confluence?

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

Why use Team Calendars?

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

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

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

Let’s TAke Control of Calendars

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

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

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

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

PRO TIPS

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

Using Your Calendars

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

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

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

MORE TIPS

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

Caution

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which Atlassian Cloud Tier is Right for My Organization?

By Amanda Babb on Feb 15, 2021 9:33:00 AM

Blogpost-display-image_Which Atlassian Cloud Tier is Right for My Organization--1In October 2020, Atlassian announced End-of-Life for their Server products coming on February 2, 2024. With Atlassian's continued investment in both their Cloud and Data Center hosting options, many organizations are making the switch to Atlassian Cloud. Atlassian is continuing to invest in and expand capabilities in Cloud to support even the largest customers. 

With the announcement, you and your organization have decided to either migrate to Atlassian Cloud or deploy an Atlassian Cloud instance and migrate teams as they're ready. But which Atlassian Cloud tier is best for you? 

The Four Tiers

Most Atlassian Cloud products* are available in four tiers: 

  • Free
  • Standard
  • Premium
  • Enterprise

*Trello and Bitbucket are the exception. More information on these two products later. 

Standard, Premium, and Enterprise tiers can be licensed either monthly or annually and each product can be licensed individually as well. For example, you can license Jira Software Standard monthly at 50 users and Confluence Premium annually at 200 Users. As always, Atlassian provides you the flexibility for your unique implementation. Even if you don't make the right choice the first time, you can always upgrade to Standard, Premium, or Enterprise in addition to adding licenses as needed. Let's take a closer look at each tier. 

The Free Atlassian Cloud Tier

The Free tier is a great way to get started with the Atlassian Cloud products. If you've never used Jira Core, Jira Software, or Confluence, pick a pilot team of less than 10 people (including Administrators). This team can act as your test team to both configure and use the products. You can also add other products such as Bitbucket and Jira Service Management. Bitbucket is free for up to five (5) users and Jira Service Management is free up to three (3) agents. The Free tier also includes limited storage for attachments, out-of-the-box reporting, and (depending on the product) automation. And of course, you can extend functionality through the Atlassian Marketplace. Support for the products is offered via the Atlassian Community: a robust Q&A platform that references Atlassian's product documentation, Marketplace vendor documentation, and general answers to just about every question you can think of about the products. 

Don't forget about Trello! Trello is another way for a team to organize and collaborate on work. Trello is free for up to 10 boards. There is no user count limit. Trello allows teams to create Lists and create and manage Cards to represent their work. The team can create as many Lists and Cards as they'd like on a single board. And with up to 10 free boards, the team can manage multiple work efforts on separate boards based on categories or work types. 

As an example, I have a Free Atlassian Cloud Jira Software and Confluence instance for my household which consists of my parents, a few close friends, and myself. This allows us to plan trips and vacations with one another (all Jira issues are sitting in an On Hold status currently), share pictures, links to events and lodging, and organize decisions as needed. I also have a Trello board that helps me organize my longer-term home improvement projects. Since these items are longer lived without any specific due date, I prefer Trello's flexibility such as creating lists, updating labels, and reprioritizing based on my monthly and annual budgets. 

Standard Versus Premium (and Enterprise)

Each of the three tiers (Standard, Premium, and Enterprise) can accommodate up to 10,000 licensed users. The key difference between the Standard and Premium tiers in Atlassian Cloud is added functionality. While there are a few differences between Premium and Enterprise, they only apply to specific requirements such as data residency, uptime, the inclusion of Atlassian Access, and billing. Let's focus on the key differences between the Standard and Premium tiers. 

First, storage is limited in the Standard tier to 250GB per product. If your organization attaches to or stores a significant number of files in issues or pages, you may hit this limit faster than anticipated. Second, support is offered during local business hours. That usually means 9am to 5pm in your timezone. And third, Standard has no uptime guarantee. If your organization requires 99.9 or 99.95% uptime, you should look at Premium or Enterprise, respectively. 

The Premium tiers for each product offer a significant amount of added functionality with more on the way. For example, Jira Software Premium adds Advanced Roadmaps for Jira and both Jira Software Premium and Confluence Premium allow for native archiving. For larger instances, archiving is an administrative boon as older data is removed from the search index and can only be accessed by a designated group. In addition, the Premium tiers add a significant amount of administration logging and management, adds unlimited storage, and adds 24/7 Premium Support. 

Bitbucket Standard offers unlimited end users, an increase from 5 on the Free tier. The Bitbucket Standard tier also increases Git Large File Storage to 5GB (from 1GB at the Free tier) and Build Minutes increase from 50/month to 2500/month. Bitbucket Premium, however, provides even more Git Large File Storage (up to 10GB), increases build minutes to 3500/month, and adds enforced merge checks and deployment permissions. As of the writing of this document, there is no Enterprise tier for Bitbucket. 

Trello has a slight difference in the names of their tiers. Instead of Standard, Premium, and Enterprise, Trello uses Business Class and Enterprise. As you would expect, Trello Business Class adds unlimited Boards, significant customization opportunities (i.e. backgrounds, custom fields, and templates), and automation runs (though capped at up to 6000 per month). Trello Enterprise includes all the same features as Business Class, increases automation runs to unlimited, and extends administrative capabilities such as organization-wide permissions and enhanced restrictions for things like attachments. 

What should I be asking when trying to decide which one is best for me? 

<Insert typical consultant answer here> It depends! Atlassian has provided transparent pricing for each of their products and each tier of each product as well. Atlassian has also included a handy comparison table for each product for you to quickly see what is included in the tiers. Here are a few additional things to be asking yourself as you start your journey to Cloud. 

  • How many people will need to work in the products? 
  • How are those users managed currently?
  • Do you have any data residency restrictions (e.g. GDPR)? 
  • If you're currently using the Atlassian products, how large are the instances?
  • If you're currently using the Atlassian products, which Apps are you using?

While not an exhaustive list, these questions may help guide you in looking for the right products at the right tier. Of course, Praecipio Consulting has extensive experience with the Atlassian Cloud products and we're here to help! Reach out to us today to let us help you narrow your options. 

Topics: atlassian blog bitbucket implementation teams cloud licensing trello
6 min read

How Jira Align Helps Embrace Lean Budgets

By Amanda Babb on Jul 1, 2020 2:30:21 PM

2020 Blogposts_Lean Budgets in SAFe and Jira Align

Hopefully, you've followed my posts and webinars on Portfolio for Jira, as well as how to manage Lean Budgets in Atlassian and its ecosystem. We released a White Paper providing a solution for mid-sized organizations that have embraced SAFe® and want to also incorporate Lean Budgets concepts within the Atlassian technology stack. After all, one of the most critical pieces of adopting an agile mindset is to break the cycle of traditional Project Cost Accounting. 

Project Cost Accounting and agile frameworks (regardless of the flavor) are in direct conflict with one another. Moving teams to work in a Project Cost Accounting model does not work in agile frameworks. Instead, we move work to teams. When we scale agile, regardless of the model, all we're doing is connecting the overarching strategic initiatives to execution. Also, we're all still trying to figure out how to understand the costs associated with the work. SAFe® offers the seductive allure of Lean Budgets. Simply define the Enterprise budget and allocate it to the Portfolios to do what they will. Wait, what? Just hand over $100,000,000 to a Portfolio for the year and trust that they'll make the right decisions? As Yogi Berra once said, "In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is." 

Lean Budgets Guardrails

While the Atlassian tools and ecosystem are not intended to be the financial system of record for any organization, one key part of Lean Budgets, which is called out several times in the Lean Portfolio Management competency in SAFe® 5.0, is to provide Guardrails. The four Guardrails are as follows: 

  1. Guiding investments by horizon
  2. Applying capacity allocation to optimize value and solution integrity
  3. Approving significant initiatives
  4. Continuous Business Owner engagement

© Scaled Agile, Inc.

The Atlassian tools, and specifically Jira Align, are uniquely positioned to provide the Guardrails for Lean Budgets. By adhering to the SAFe® Core Values of Transparency and Program Execution, Jira Align provides complete aggregation from the corporate strategy, including Mission, Vision, and Values, all the way through team-level execution and back up again. This includes Allocation, Estimate, and Actual comparisons based on the Program Increment. Mind-blowing, right? 

While you will have to wait for the full solution (details are coming soon), here are a few tips to assist you in your journey. 

Create a Strategic Snapshot

Your organization has a well-established Mission, Vision, and Values. They're likely plastered all over your organization's intranet or when in an office, you'll find them displayed every 25 feet down the halls. Add these into the Enterprise Room in a strategic snapshot that aligns with your fiscal year. Break down the Mission, Vision, and Values into long-term, annual goals and establish your Strategic Themes. Add those into Jira Align to start tying execution to these items.

Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 10.03.55 PM

Themes are an entity in Jira Align. Think of them as an Issue Type that drives the rest of the hierarchy. However, one of the key strengths of Jira Align is ensuring, at every level, the entity is tied to execution. In SAFe® the key execution entity is the Program Increment (PI). Even if a Theme straddles several PIs, you must commit to the timebox of the PI. This drives the entire organization to say, "This thing is important to us, and this is how and when we plan on executing it." While at first, you may have no idea, you can always go back and add the information after the fact. 

Determine Theme Allocation for the PI

While you may not know the exact dollar amount while planning the budget, you've likely done the SWAG for the fiscal year. SWAG, of course, stands for Scientific Wild Ass Guess. As you're determining your Themes and Portfolio Epics for the Fiscal Year (or just your Themes), you will likely have a high-level idea of how much of the pie you will allocate to each Theme. Since they are also ranked by highest to lowest priority, the allocations should follow suit as well. If a Theme is ranked number one, it should have a higher percentage allocated than, say, Theme number 10. Theme allocations can be updated as your organization moves through the budget cycle. Jira Align will do the calculation for you as you determine the overall budget. 

However, to truly succeed at Lean Budgets in Jira Align, you must determine the budget for the PI. Again, as you're working through your organization's budget cycle, you can start with your SWAG. For example, if you have an overall budget of $100,000,000 for the fiscal year and your PI cadence puts you at 12-week PIs, then allocate $25,000,000 per PI to start. By tagging your Themes with the PI(s), you can start to understand the dollars, as well as the overall level of effort, needed for a specific PI. As you get closer to final budget approval, continue to refine these numbers. 

Determine a Blended Rate

While I've proposed a series of different methods for translating Story Points to dollars either via Cost Per Story Point or Total Cost of Solution or Monetized Opportunity Cost, the fact remains that we live in a time-based world (sigh). And our best method for translation still comes from determining a Blended Rate. In Jira Align, once you've determined the Blended Rate for the PI, you simply enter it into a field and the magic starts to happen. But how do we determine a Blended Rate? 

Remember, a fixed Team equals a fixed cost. Take the combined salary of the team members, divide it by workweeks, then divide it by work hours. You can skip a step if you remember the exact number of working hours are in a year, but that number will vary based on your geolocation. You can always adjust as needed based on PTO policies and holidays to determine the Blended Rate. From there, Jira Align takes over once you're in execution mode. 

Budget, Estimate, and Actual

In the Portfolio section of Jira Align, you can quickly access a report called Investment versus Actuals. Wait, what? It's that simple? I click a button, and I can compare plan, actual, and variance? That can't be right. 

To be honest, it truly is that simple. However, if Teams aren't fostering good data in Jira Software and if RTEs, Program Owners, Epic Owners, and the like, aren't making the connections in Jira Align, you will end up with junk. This leads to frustration, as well as low adoption levels of the solution. Take a deep breath, and remember Principle #1 of SAFe ®: Take an economic view. Just like any other tools your organization uses, you must adhere to the process and commit to the facilitation of that process within the tools. 

Based on the historical Velocity of the individual Teams in a Program, the Blended Rate, the Teams' Burn Hours, and the Theme Allocation, Jira Align will calculate the Estimate (original estimate at the start of the Program Increment) as well as the Actual (actual completed stories in each of the Sprints). This is where the Team discipline comes in. If Teams do not estimate work, move cards across the board, and close Sprints, this fails. You cannot calculate the roll-up, or if you do, it's wildly inaccurate. Thus, the comparisons are out of whack, and when compared against the financial system of record, you find that you've spent your time and money on Theme number 10 instead of Theme number one. 

Want to know more? 

In the coming days, Praecipio Consulting will release a White Paper detailing the solution to managing Lean Budgets with Jira Align. We look forward to your questions and feedback. Lean Budgets is still an emerging concept, and while we have a solid solution, we'd love to know how your organization is currently managing or where you are in your digital transformation journey with the Atlassian tools.

Topics: blog scaled-agile teams tips lean-budgets project-management jira-align safe
2 min read

How Jira Can Help Your Teams Work Remotely

By Michael Knight on May 8, 2020 9:15:00 AM

According to a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review, one of the common challenges when working from home is a lack of access to information. At Praecipio Consulting, we often see this challenge with many teams, especially they remotely. Here's how Jira can help:

Visualize current work with Kanban boards

A Kanban board (or a similar variant) can be a remote team’s best friend. Instead of emailing, Slacking, texting, or calling a coworker to find out the status of a particular work item, a team member can simply navigate to the Kanban board and find a wealth of information. A well-configured board is easy to read and quickly conveys a brief description of each item the team is currently working on, as well as the status, assignee, and any other team-specific information. This helps cut down on extraneous communications within your organization and provides remote workers with a quicker and easier way to access information.

Reduce the number of emails by commenting on issues

Not only is commenting on issues quicker than typing up an email, but comments also live in publicly visible space and are saved in the issue. This immediately creates two advantages over email. First, commenting makes it much easier for other coworkers to see the progress on the issue, preventing them from having to send an email to ask questions about the issue, who’s working on it, when was it last worked on, and what progress has been made in the past week. Second, users never have to wonder why somebody made a particular decision or repeatedly ask for information because the entire conversation is stored within the issue. Using @ mentions to tag a coworker or manager helps speed up this process and better organize the information, in addition to drawing specific users to the issue and providing context.

Benefit from linking Jira and Confluence together

When Jira and Confluence are linked together, one can simply enter a Jira issue key into a Confluence page, and it will automatically contain a link to the Jira issue. Similarly, it becomes possible to link a Confluence page to a Jira issue by just referencing the title of the page. A few common use cases include: linking a resolution document in Confluence to the incident issue in Jira, displaying the progress of related Jira issues on a requirements document in Confluence, and linking several helpful articles to a service request in Jira. This helps solve similar problems more quickly, reduces time spent searching for that one Confluence article, and eliminates the need for status emails.

Jira was created to help teammates access information, allowing them to visualize and organize complex and hard-to-see work; and that's why Jira is the perfect tool for a remote team.  

 

Struggling with remote work in this time of uncertainty? Praecipio Consulting provides a turnkey implementation of best practices in Jira with an Accelerator. Whether you're supporting SDLC, ITSM, or PPM, we can rapidly deploy Jira to support your team. Reach out to us to learn more about Jira and how it can facilitate remote work. 

Topics: jira blog teams tips collaboration atlassian-products work-from-home remote-work
2 min read

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

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

2020 Blogposts_DistanceLearningAndAtlassian copy

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

What is a stand-up meeting?

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

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

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

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

How to run a productive stand-up meeting

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

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

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

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

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

Five Ways to Make a Team Space in Confluence

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

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

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

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

5 Steps to a Collaborative Confluence Team Space

1. Create a landing page

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

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

2. Establish a hierarchy

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

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

3. Make it easy to find information

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

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

4. Restrict what you have to

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

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

5. Cut out unnecessary information

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

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

Still have questions? Let us know.

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

How ChatOps Can Connect Your Remote & Traveling Workers

By Praecipio Consulting on May 3, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Have you ever missed a deadline because your team couldn’t get aligned? Maybe a key team member was traveling, or you spent too much time discussing the plan instead of implementing it. Have you ever tried to “rally” through email? It starts out with good intentions; but 43 messages later, someone was left off the thread, and you’re trying to determine action items by sifting through a lengthy email chain.

Connecting the dots in email is one thing, but working with distributed teams adds to the complication. According to The State of the Remote Job Marketplace report, 3.9 million (2.9%) of the US workforce works remotely at least half the time. Historically, employers required workers to be local or work in the office 5 days a week. This requirement has shifted over time, as employers have taken advantage of new communication technologies to connect their workforce. But with a geographically dispersed team, how do you ensure they are working together effectively and efficiently? The answer is ChatOps!

So, what is ChatOps? And how can it help your organization collaborate effectively and efficiently?

ChatOps is a “collaboration model that connects people, tools, process, and automation into a transparent workflow.” Using a chat application like Atlassian’s Stride will centralize and streamline your discussions, planning, and action items; while improving the following areas:  

  1. Swarm on an Issue – Instantly connect with team members in chat rooms to discuss needs and action items. Include your traveling teammates in the discussion by using the Stride mobile app.
  2. Decide on a Clear Path Forward – Real-time decisions can be implemented and assigned in Stride using the Decisions and Actions functionality.
  3. Resolve Issues Faster – Centralizing your discussion in Stride will quickly determine objectives, cutting down on unnecessary cycles.
  4. Ensure transparency – Tasks (Actions) are tracked in Stride and visible to others. Team members can view what tasks are pending or completed, and how it impacts current workflows.

No matter where your teams are located, you can increase your productivity by embracing the ChatOps philosophy and using Stride. If for no other reason, do it for the Giphy App.

Interested in learning more about ChatOps? Contact us today.

Topics: stride blog implementation process-consulting teams collaboration remote-work
2 min read

It's About People...

By Amanda Babb on Apr 3, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Clients and potential clients ask us what sets us apart from other Atlassian Solution Partners. While I hate answering this question as I have good relationships with people from other Solutions Partners, I love the answer we have at Praecipio Consulting. 

We're people people. The relationship is the most important thing to our success. While we're working on the cutting edge of technology every day with every client, at the end of every day and every engagement, we're still focused on the people. The goal of every engagement is to make life just a little easier on the people through good process, well practiced. 

We're officially wrapping a nine-week engagement this week with a long-term client. This particular client has come back to us several times throughout my career here at Praecipio Consulting. The relationship and trust we've built with these folks have gone a long way to establishing both business and personal relationships around not only mutual interests but genuine caring about each other as people. 

This week, though, I was humbled by the other people I appreciate, but often overlook. When you stay at the same hotel for ~ two months, you get to know the staff as well. In particular, two employees stood out to me, not only for their excellent customer service, but their own openness and willingness to have conversations, debates, asking how the project team is doing, accommodating last minute changes, and making sure we were taken care of in whichever small ways they could. It's about the people and these two people showed us that what we drive with our clients is the right thing to do. 

Today was particularly poignant as this was my last night at this hotel. As a small gesture of my appreciation, I bought a simple bouquet and split it to give each of them a thank you for taking care of the project team. Not only taking care of the project team, but during a particularly arduous week, taking goofy pictures, discussing Netflix series, sharing their excitement of going to a Cavs game for the first time, or the excitement of the premiere of Black Panther. To put it plainly, they treated us like people...not consultants. 

At the end of the day, it's about people. It's about our day-to-day interactions with people that make what we do so amazing. Good days or bad days, people are people: interacting as a person and not as a title can bring great things to clients and friends. I, for one, am super proud to know these two amazing gentlemen and sincerely thank them for all they do!

Topics: praecipio-consulting blog teams human-resource
3 min read

Unifying Distributed Teams: A Conversation About Dog Treats, Tortilla Chips, and Atlassian

By Praecipio Consulting on Apr 20, 2016 11:00:00 AM

 

One of the things I love about my parents is that any time we get together, I can talk to them about work stuff. My brilliant parents are retired and – to be honest – bored with retirement, so it's an intellectual treat whenever I visit. Mom is a retired teacher with two master's degrees (cue awkward conversation about the whereabouts of my one master's degree), and Dad is a retired portfolio and project manager also with a master's degree (again, cue awkward conversation). During our talks, we have fun and insightful discussions about anything and everything- and we love using whatever's at hand to make a point. This time, the topic was disconnected teams, and the props at hand were dog treats and tortilla chips. Yes, you read that right: dog treats and tortilla chips. Stay with me.

We were munching on tortilla chips at the kitchen island and talking about how disconnected business organizations today could be. Mom brought up the point that it seems, for example, many c-level executives are removed from the day-to-day operations of their organizations. This is true... and necessary. Good leaders cultivate others into leaders, and c-level folks should be able to focus on delivering the mission and vision, while trusting that day-to-day operations are taken care of. The reality, however, is that this division of work usually leads to some disconnect between teams and executives.

This phenomenon is illustrated below using tortilla chips (sharp executives) and dog treats (trusted business teams). 

Note: There's no implication that one is better than the other. Both are in the same genre of deliciousness i.e. snack food. The difference is that their intended end users are different. 

Sure, both dog treats and tortilla chips are on the same countertop. In fact, they're actually only distributed across an area of two feet. But, even with a 12 megapixel camera, it's really hard to see the forest for the trees – see the granite countertop for the dog treats and tortilla chips. In other words, it's easy to get tunnel-vision into one's immediate team or project and forget about the rest of the organization. This disconnect makes it hard to get everyone on the same page... err, countertop.  

Using this groundbreaking analogy, I then proceeded to come up with one of the best explanations for what I do at Praecipio Consulting every day: getting teams on the same page

In this analogy, each of the dog treats and tortilla chips represents a team in an organization. Each of these teams may be in the same office, building, country, or, increasingly, anywhere in the world with a strong internet connection. The problem that most companies struggle with is bringing these disparate teams together – getting everyone on the same page, moving in the same direction, and towards collectively defined goals. In order to achieve this, most organizations embrace the colocated work model. They believe that, if everyone is in the same place, it's easier to get folks to collaborate and work together. Other organizations, especially technology companies, embrace the distributed work model, which allows teams to work remotely. 

The reality with collaborative work is that geography alone does not determine how effectively teams work together. Rather, the only surefire way to foster effective teams is through a clear understanding of the mission and vision and a clearly defined communication process. Instances of communication can take the form of a workflow, product requirements doc, or simply a quick conversation. Regardless of its form, communication is key, and all organizations are looking for a better way to communicate – from concept to launch. 

There's a reason Atlassian, our principal technology partner, chose TEAM as their stock ticker. They believe their products can bring teams together through improved communication regardless of location. At Praecipio Consulting, we help teams find ways to connect, plan, and execute better and support their efforts with software solutions. This is what I do day in and day out – helping companies come together to achieve more.

Mad props to Mom and Dad for bringing up the topic and prompting my creative juices. 

Note: No humans or animals were denied delicious snack food in the making of this blog post.  

 

About Amanda Babb

Amanda is Principal of Delivery at Praecipio Consulting where she brings her extensive project management and Atlassian expertise to some of our largest clients. When Amanda isn't delivering best-in-class business technology solutions, she can be found playing golf, working on cars, and spending time with her dogs, Leonard and Howard. 

Topics: atlassian blog teams
4 min read

The Praecipio Consulting Way

By Praecipio Consulting on Jul 3, 2014 11:00:00 AM

Whether we're finding new, innovative ways to bring the Atlassian suite to clients or challenging ourselves to live our healthiest lifestyle, Praecipio Consulting strives daily for good practices in all spheres of life. Our experts believe in pursuing greatness not only in technology service and support, but in our daily lives- from staying in great shape to having great times together. We're a curious and competitive bunch, which makes us leading Atlassian Platinum and Enterprise experts; it's also why you'll find amongst our team an assortment of outdoors-loving, musically-inclined, organic & sustainable cooking folks with a penchant for craft beer (We'll let Dave continue to believe Coors is a craft beer.) Praecipio Consulting understands that a happy, healthy team gives us a competitive edge, which is why we invest in our experts- mind, body and soul!

MIND

Praecipio Consulting's international reputation as a top Atlassian expert service provider is founded upon the collective experience, knowledge and innovative insight of our team. Enjoying an open work environment, both in our home office and through collaborative, transparent products like Confluence and Jira, our experts share visibility of information, allowing us to engage in discussion and dialogue that capitalizes on our various areas of expertise to provide the best solutions. Praecipio Consulting experts regularly weigh-in on projects, training and other issues to deliver the highest quality results to our clients every time. "This is the first job that's pushes me to be better," says Praecipio Consulting expert Hernan Montes. "I love being challenged to reach my fullest potential." Praecipio Consulting experts don't just provide great solutions to clients; they flex their technology prowess in Atlassian internal competitions and challenges such as the Tour de Confluence Questions (which our Charles Wells dominated!) and Atlassian's Dragon Slayer challenge. 

All we do is win!  Charles Wells repping for Praecipio Consulting in Atlassian's Tour de Confluence Questions

With twice weekly company "stand-up" meetings, our expert team shares their current projects and blockers to leverage our collective expert knowledge for the most thoughtful and efficient solutions to clients' most difficult issues. Beyond technology practices, Praecipio Consulting experts' outside interests keep their minds expanding. "We have a multi-lingual office, so you end up expanding your vocabulary without trying." says Marketing & Sales' Erin Davis. "Any given day, you might hear Spanish, French, German or Thai." Our experts love to learn and develop their creative abilities, from developing custom add-ons for clients to staying well read and informed in their downtime.   

Bryan and Isaac practice the Buddy System of code writing

BODY

Praecipio Consulting experts are an active bunch! When we're not rising to meet technology challenges, we're setting goals and making time to keep at our personal best. Each team member is provided a wireless bracelet that tracks and shares your daily activities, from how many steps you take to how long you sleep, allowing us to set internal goals and cheer each other on. "You won't meet a better team of people working to help each other improve professionally and personally." says solutions architect Brian Nye.  

Get on your feet for twice weekly Stand-Up meetings

With our home office in scenic Austin, Texas, our team capitalizes on the many outdoor amenities the city has to offer. Our weekly "Board Meetings" get our experts wakeboarding on the lake. The Praecipio Consulting team can often be found swimming at Barton Springs, hiking Enchanted Rock or joining a pick-up game of soccer at Zilker Park. When it comes to team get-aways, our company retreats allow for activity interspersed with productivity. We look forward to these opportunities to spend time together outside of the office- dreaming up some of our best plans whether in the mountains or on a ranch.

Some of the Praecipio Consulting team... at our 2014 Retreat in Roddy Tree, TX

SOUL

18th century poet Sir Thomas Moore once wrote "finding the right work... is like finding your soul in the world." At Praecipio Consulting, our souls find joy in our daily work through helping our clients achieve greatness- but it doesn't stop there! Our work environment considers our team's comfort and enjoyment. After all, who wants to work someplace they don't enjoy being? In between projects, Praecipio Consulting experts share downtime lounging in oversized bean bag chairs, or strumming on one of the guitars we keep on hand. (After all, Austin is the Live Music Capitol of the World!) Need a break from your desk? Try working away in our extra-large hammock (though if it lulls you to sleep, you will dream of Jira workflows). If we haven't mentioned it already, we enjoy a good beer. Carrying on the Atlassian tradition, Friday afternoon is Happy Hour at Praecipio Consulting- a great way to celebrate the week's successes and start making plans with co-workers for the weekend ahead. Yes, our team truly enjoys spending time together- even outside of work! "We're more than just a company- we're a family," says business development's Shayla Sander. Office manager and human resources' Robyn Lane concurs, "It's like working with your favorite brothers and sisters!" 

 

Praecipio Consulting's Shayla & Victor at the 2013 Austin Atlassian User Group SXSW Stash Bash

Praecipio Consulting believes that we do our best work when we're at our personal best! Mind, body and soul, our experts demand excellence of themselves to provide the highest quality client experience.  

Learn more about the Praecipio Consulting lifestyle by meeting our team and reading our blog. Want to join us? Check out careers  at Praecipio Consulting... and have a great day, y'all!

Topics: blog austin teams support
7 min read

Team Calendars 2.3 Released

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

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

Here’s a list of highlights for this release…

Upcoming Events View

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

 

Upcoming Events In Confluence Summary Email

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

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

 

Improved Confluence 4 Editor Experience

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

Quickly Switch Calendar Views

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

See Calendar Names

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

 
 

Other Improvements

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

Release Notices

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

Upgrading to Team Calendars 2.3

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

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

Issues Resolved in this Release

 

 

Type
Key
Summary
Assignee
Reporter
Priority
Status
Resolution
Created
Updated
Due

 

 

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

Team Calendars 1.8 Released - Subscribe from Google Calendar

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

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

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

Connect Team Calendars with Google Calendar

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

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

Consolidate Your Team and Personal Calendars

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

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

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

Using Outlook?

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

So many features, so little time

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

Have Confluence and Team Calendars?

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

Have Confluence, but not Team Calendars?

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

New to Confluence and Team Calendars?

Learn more about Confluence and Team Calendars now.

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

Best of 2011: Confluence Edition

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

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

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

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

Keeper – The Anchor

No. 1  – A Faster, Richer, Simpler Editor

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

 

 

Defense (4) – A Solid Foundation

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

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

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

 

No. 3 – Stronger Jira Integration

 

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

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

No. 4 – New Installer with Guided Upgrades

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

No. 5 – More Plugin Points for Developers

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

 

Midfield (3) – The Collaborative Engine

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

No. 6 – A New Way to Share

 

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

No. 7 – Autowatch Content You Care About

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

No. 8 – Familiarly Social @mentions

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

 

Strikers (3) – The Cutting-Edge

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

No. 9 – Autoformatting Magic

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

 

No. 10 – Professional Image Effects

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

 

No. 11 – Instant Autoconvert

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

 

Off the Bench – Awesome Additions

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

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

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

 

No. 13 – The SharePoint Connector Meets Confluence 4.0

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

No. 14 – Get Schooled at Atlassian University

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

 

No. 15 – Incredible Add-ons

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

What Will 2012 Hold?

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

 

 

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

An Awesome Confluence Calendar Add-On

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

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

 

Built for Your Specific Needs

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

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

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

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

Choose from Three Calendar Types

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

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

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

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

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

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

Share and Subscribe to Calendars

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

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

 

Works with Outlook, iCal, and Google Calendars

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


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

Available Today – 40% OFF for a Limited Time

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

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

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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