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Process Assessment for the U.S. Department of Energy Science Research

July 18, 2019


Being a Platinum Atlassian Solution Partner allows us to come in contact with a wide variety of clients from different industries and disciplines. Our client, the U.S. Department of Energy Science Research and Energy Laboratory Securities, was in search of a professional services provider to access their current Atlassian products and guide them on best practices for optimal configuration, as well as best practices for IT and SDLC processes. In addition, the client utilized the Atlassian Marketplace tool EazyBI for reporting purposes across their Jira Software platform.

We engaged with our client during the initial stages of their Exascale Computing Project (ECP) which was an effort to develop the world's next supercomputer. With a goal of 1 Teraflop, the ECP was on track to maintain the U.S.'s dominance in the world of supercomputers.

The ECP deployed EazyBI to aggregate the project data from three separate sources including Jira Software to understand whether or not they are meeting their goals of scope, schedule, and costs. Because of the ephemeral nature of the project, ECP needed to quickly understand if any improvements to the data structures in Jira could improve the performance of EazyBI and help them establish the baseline schedule by December of this year.

The Challenge

Because ECP has an end date and is distributed across National Labs, Universities, and outside vendors and contractors, it is difficult for them to reinforce standards as they relate to the Atlassian tools. In addition, the Application Development and Software Technology structures are attempting to work in an agile framework. However, this specific project was slated to follow a more traditional waterfall methodology in regards to project management.

Through interviews with users and administrators as well as deep-dives into Jira data and EazyBI Dashboards, we quickly realized the data structures in Jira Software as well as the additional applications were not configured to support best practices. This required a significant amount of additional processing power in EazyBI to create data cubes for reporting. In addition, an Excel workbook converted to CSV concatenates data from Primavera and the cost accounting system to the tune of 60,000 lines of additional data to report Earned Value and Actual Cost.

While the Jira instance is relatively small (<10,000 Issues), it is THE source of truth for work completion which relates back into two other systems. This then translates into performance metrics which are shared with the Department of Energy.

The Solution

To address these concerns and to advise our client on next steps, we proposed a two-week IT and SDLC process assessment. We took into consideration the Atlassian Stack, which the client utilized and owned, to determine a holistic approach. 

We provided a process assessment examining not only Jira Software, but Jira Service Management and Confluence as well as the additional data provided by other systems to help establish best practices. We presented recommendations that, if implemented, will improve ECP's reporting capabilities regarding progress and success.

We presented the final recommendations on day 9 of 10 to allow for feedback from ECP. Because of the complicated nature of the organization as well as the hard end-date of this specific effort, there are nuances we needed to incorporate from them to ensure we were making the correct recommendations to ECP.

The Results

After the assessment, our client was able to establish a clear path forward in evaluating the EasyBI tool and its capabilities to support their very distinct and somewhat complex business reporting and forecasting process.

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