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Like many, my first Jira system was on a box under my desk, but it wasn’t long before I moved it to Ubuntu JeOS on a VMWare ESXi host. That was in 2007, with Confluence to follow in 2008, and I’ve been working with the Atlassian tools ever since. I have helped startups, multinational companies, militaries, financial institutions, healthcare companies, and newspapers use Atlassian to work better together.
Between 2015 and 2017, I also helped Atlassian build and launch their certification program. I contributed to the blueprint design, wrote many of the questions and answers, wrote the study materials, and taught at several Atlassian Summit and AtlasCamp conferences to help people prepare for the exams. I currently hold 4 Atlassian certifications and 5 badges.
As a work management and communication system, Jira can increase a team’s productivity significantly, but only if it is set up right. If it’s not, then Jira becomes the work itself, people start avoiding it, and ticket status doesn’t reflect the work being done. Reports become useless and every problem that Jira was intended to solve has instead been exacerbated.
When done right, Jira can save a tremendous amount of time. Here are some examples of how I have helped companies in the past:
- An investment company’s digital marketing team was typically audited 1-2 times a year with each audit requiring 4 calendar days to pull together data from paper records. By moving them into Jira, teaching them how to enter data correctly, and building out their reporting, 4 days was reduced to 30 seconds. All told, that team reported a 60% increase in productivity thanks to Jira.
- A software development company never knew what was being done, by whom, or when it would be delivered. What was worse, the teams were only delivering about 50% of the value that executive leadership expected. By tying together Jira, Bitbucket, and Bamboo, and automating workflow transitions and data capture, I helped product managers get the data they needed to make better decisions, and I worked with the scrum masters to coach the teams and achieve a sprint fulfillment rate of 100% without the developers actually having to transition tickets manually.
- A gaming company’s various development teams had a single shared QA team, and that QA team was struggling with the influx of tickets coming from a dozen different projects. The result was high-priority work not getting done in time, code unexpectedly impacting other parts of the systems, and the QA team receiving some undeserved blame which impacted retention. I helped clean up their boards and dashboards and apply some logic to better prioritize their inbound work, and automated some of their reporting which saved them hours each sprint.
No matter the problem you are facing, there’s a good chance I’ve encountered it in the last 15 years and either already have a solution or know where to start looking.
With Confluence, you have a single authoritative source for information. By entering data once and then re-using it everywhere else through macros and integrations, you reduce your knowledge management burden while increasing confidence in the accuracy of information.
Good knowledge management helps speed up on-boarding and increase consistency of work. Here are some examples of how I have helped companies in the past:
- A large state university was implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and needed to train their staff on the new processes and applications that were replacing their financial aid, human resources, student registration, accounts, and other systems that had been built in-house over the previous 20 years. By setting up Confluence with an intuitive organization, styling it to look and feel like the university’s website, and training people on its use, I helped the implementation teams become self-sufficient–they were soon creating documentation and teaching other people in their departments how to use both the ERP and Confluence.
- A health insurance company wanted to improve customer satisfaction rating by ensuring that, when an agent answered the phone, they had all of the customer’s benefit plan information at hand. Because plans typically combine a bunch of different features and offerings, I built a modularized data set using multi-excerpt macros and several page templates. This let the insurance company update any piece of data on a single reference page, and then dozens of plan pages would be updated so that agents always had accurate information to share with customers.
- A hardware manufacturing company had a large team contributing to and tracking changes in their annual releases. They wanted people to collaborate and write about the changes on Confluence pages, then have key pieces data from each of those 1,200 pages per version reflected on a single page. I designed and built the page templates, labeling, and reports to accomplish this aim.
Compared to SharePoint, Confluence has a significantly lower total cost to own and operate. And other wikis lack the power to re-use data entered or manage knowledge that is provided by Confluence’s built-in macros and the apps available in the Atlassian Marketplace. If your team wants to improve knowledge management, I can help.
Trello is a simple list-making tool that can be used by individuals, teams, or organizations to track and manage work. It’s a lightweight alternative to Jira that can still be integrated into other systems, let you assign work and track status, and collaborate on the work to be delivered.
People generally find Trello to be intuitive, so Trello consultancy is often brief and focused on figuring out the right approach to the work, finding apps to make the work faster and easier, and creating standards and governance so that teams can better coordinate with each other.
Want to learn more and get some help with Trello?
When it comes to Atlassian training, I think it’s important not just to teach you what happens when you click a button. I have trained hundreds of people both in-person and over the internet to better understand when they should take an action and why they should take one approach over another to solve meet the needs at hand.
Let me share with you the lessons I have learned over the last 15 years of working with Atlassian software. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t and I can help you get up to speed faster and in the right way for your business and culture.