Atlassian Summit 2019 in Pictures

Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Mandalay Bay Convention Center

The 2019 Atlassian Summit user conference took place in the Mandalay Bay Conference Center. On April 9-11, over 5,000 customers, Solution Partners, and Atlassians descended on the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Continue reading “Atlassian Summit 2019 in Pictures”

Training Your Jira, Jira Service Desk & Confluence Users

The job of an Atlassian administrator is never done. Your list of responsibilities is endless. You’re making sure your applications are up and running so work can get done. You’re weighing the benefits and long-term impacts of customization and add-on requests. You’re assisting users with access, permissions, and restrictions. You’re helping teams get the most out of the applications. And some of you are doing all of this while performing other tasks or managing other software. With all the demands on an Atlassian administrator, where does user training fall on your to do list? If you’re like most admins, it’s probably at the very bottom.

Continue reading “Training Your Jira, Jira Service Desk & Confluence Users”

Photo Challenge at Atlassian Summit in Las Vegas, NV

Will you be at Atlassian Summit, in Las Vegas, from April 9-11, 2019?  Meet Rachel Wright and win her Jira Strategy Admin Workbook or one of her 30 minute, role or skill based, online training courses!

Summit Photo Challenge

Atlassian Summit Mobile App
I share the same first AND last name with the Director of Marketing at Appfire

Rachel is hosting a photo challenge in the Summit mobile app. Post a photo of the completed challenge and tag @Rachel Wright for a chance to win! The more challenges you complete the better your chances. Creative posts receive bonus points! Download the Summit mobile app from the Google Play or iOS Store.

Additionally, find Rachel and win in the following locations:

  • Tue, Apr 9 at 3:00 PM PST: First-Timer Welcome Reception (Mandalay Bay Shoreline Expo Hall)
  • Wed, Apr 10 at 3:30 PM PST: ThinkTilt (Booth 620)
  • Thu, Apr 11 at 10:00 AM PST: ServiceRocket (Booth 308)

Also spot Rachel and Chris Lutz walking the conference floor, in the Atlassian Community Lounge, attending sessions, and enjoying Summit!

First-Timer Welcome Reception

Is this your first Summit? This is my eighth! Attend the First-Timer Welcome Reception to hear survival tips from Summit alumni and Atlassian Community Champions Rachel Wright and Fabian Lopez. The reception is on Tue, Apr 9 at 3:00 PM in the Mandalay Bay Shoreline Expo Hall. First time in Las Vegas? See my Summit Travel Guide.

Not at Summit?  Use coupon code SUMMIT for 15% off your order in the Strategy for Jira store!

The Jira Strategy Admin Workbook is different – it’s not documentation. It’s over 150 recommendations that stem from years of cleaning up horrible Jira configurations.  This book includes 32 real life examples of what NOT to do, over 50 worksheets to get you organized, and templates, code snippets, and wording samples to help you establish and streamline processes.

Summit is the grand Atlassian event of the year.  With the palpable enthusiasm of the employees, the knowledge of the presenters, and the immense networking opportunities, this is the place to experience all that is Atlassian.  Add the next annual event to your calendar now.  Visit summit.atlassian.com for details.

Atlassian Summit Travel Guide – Vegas Edition

My two favorite things in life are Atlassian Summit and travel! Atlassian’s flagship event, the annual user conference, is in Las Vegas Nevada this April. This will be my eighth Summit and my fourth trip to Vegas! I took the Mandalay Bay photo above in 2006. By now I know a lot about both and am excited to share my conference travel tips.

Contents

  • Summit Information
  • Vegas Travel Tips
    • The Strip vs Downtown
    • Transportation
    • Walking
    • Casinos
    • Entertainment
    • Food
    • Money and Budget
    • Legal vs Illegal
    • Side Trips
  • Planning and Itinerary
    • Summit Mobile App
    • Safety
    • For US Citizens
    • For International Travelers
    • Flight and Airport
    • Luggage
  • Atlassian Summit Survival Guide

Summit Information

Date: April 9-11 in Las Vegas, NV
Location: Mandalay Bay South Convention Center
3950 South Las Vegas Boulevard Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
Read more: atlassian.com/company/events/summit

Closest Airport: McCarran International (LAS)
5757 Wayne Newton Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Directions to Conference (2.3 miles)

TIP
Make a checklist list of what you plan to accomplish and who you’re hoping to meet at Summit.  What do you want to learn from Atlassian?  Which Solution Partners will you seek out?   I always have a list of names, contact information, and where I might find each person or company.

Vegas Travel Tips

Las Vegas is a 24 hour city in the middle of the desert. It’s hot, dusty, expensive, exciting, thrilling, and like no other place I’ve been. Here are some tips to help you get around while you’re in town for the Atlassian conference.

The Strip vs Downtown

Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas

The conference is located in an area of Vegas known as “the Strip.” Most of the iconic pictures you’ve seen are probably of this area. The Strip is 4 miles (6.4 k) long and stretches from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere Tower. There’s also an area 10 miles (16 k) north known as “downtown”, “old Vegas”, or “Fremont Street”. I’ve stayed in both areas and love them for different reasons. Both have an abundance of casinos, glitz, food, and entertainment opportunities. When you’ve done everything you wanted to do on the Strip, head downtown for a different vibe.

Read: Faceoff: Downtown Vegas vs the Strip
Read: Head to Old Downtown Vegas for Fremont Street and Great Food

Transportation

If you’re staying on or near the Strip, there’s no need to rent a car. Parking is difficult and traffic is plentiful. Most casinos charge for parking and its never cheap. Instead, use a taxi or a ride-share service, like Uber or Lyft. Download and create an account in one of these mobile apps before you arrive. Taxis don’t stop on the Strip; catch one from a casino or hotel instead.

Walking

Bring good walking shoes and expect to walk a lot. Casino properties are huge and are further apart then they look. Your steps add up while you’re weaving between them and traversing pedestrian foot bridges. There’s a great map of all the major casinos here (.pdf format).

I know some of you have planned a pilgrimage to In-N-Out Burger (fast food hamburgers) on Dean Martin Dr. Please don’t attempt to walk there; it’s not as close as it appears. Also, there are plenty of other (cheap and expensive) hamburger options.

There’s an elevated, electric tram between the Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and the Excalibur casinos. Get on the free Mandalay Bay Tram from the north east corner of the conference casino, past Starlight Tattoo and the House of Blues Restaurant & Bar. Information on other casino trams is available here.

Whether you’re walking or driving, always be aware of your surroundings. There’s a lot of activity and a lot of distractions. The traffic lights operate differently here than in other states. If I remember correctly, the green left turn light fires after the straight light turns red. Always cross the street in marked locations or use pedestrian bridges. Be especially careful if you stop at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign. It is literally in the middle of a busy road. In 2008 they finally added 12 parking spaces which are accessible when heading away from the Strip.

Casinos

Mandalay Bay, our conference hotel, has table games and slots, 30 restaurants, a Starbucks, and loads of entertainment and nightlife options. It also features the Shark Reef Aquarium ($25 USD), a 1.6 million gallon wave pool with a quarter-mile-long lazy river (free for hotel guests, $20 for non-hotel guests Mon-Thurs), and shopping at Mandalay Place. If you’re in Vegas for additional non-conference days, I encourage you to venture out and explore the other casinos as well. Each one has a unique flavor and interesting things to see. I love the steam rising from manhole covers at New York New York, the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, and the canals of Venice at the Venetian. It’s not as amazing the real thing, but it’s still fun to see.

Entertainment

Many casinos and hotels have both free and paid attractions and shows. The most popular free attraction is the water, music, and light show called “Fountains of Bellagio” at the Bellagio. See other free attractions here.

Paid shows are numerous. My favorite is Le Rêve, a water, fire, swimming, and acrobatics show. I saw it on my very first Vegas trip and have tickets to go again this year. You can’t go wrong with a production show like Le
Rêve or a Cirque de Soleil show like “O“. They are also variety shows, magic shows, adult entertainment, comedy shows, concerts, and special interest performances like Zombie Burlesque!

When researching entertainment, the first place I look is the “Things to do” area of TripAdvisor. Also get ideas on sites like: lasvegasnevada.gov, vegas.com, and visitlasvegas.com.

Food

Atlassian feeds you well on conference days, so you won’t have to worry about food. But on other days, there’s no shortage of options or cuisines for every budget.

For an “all you can eat” or variety experience, the legendary Vegas buffets are the place to be. My top three favorites are: Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan, The Buffet at Wynn (especially their Friday and Saturday “seafood spectacular”), and Le Village Buffet at Paris. For similar food at a cheaper price, eat at lunch time instead.

This year, I’m excited to visit the Eataly Italian marketplace at MGM. Eataly is in 12 countries but the Vegas location just opened in Dec 2018.
If there’s time, I hope to check try dining in the dark at Blackout. I also promised Chris Lutz he could get his uni (sea urchin) fix at Nobu at the Hard Rock.

The air is very dry in this part of the United States. Avoid dehydration by drinking more water than normal.

Money and Budget

It’s easy to exceed your budget if you don’t limit your expenses. The sales tax in Las Vegas is 8.25%, so don’t forget to factor that in. Also, don’t forget about the daily resort fee that’s added to your hotel cost. At Mandalay Bay, the daily fee is $37 plus tax. Gratituties add up too. Here’s a guide to tipping in Vegas.

TIPS

  • If you need a common health or travel item, there’s a Walgreens (drugstore & household products) and a CVS Pharmacy 1.4 miles (2k) from the conference hotel.
  • Convention center rooms are often cold. If you forget your jacket, buy an Atlassian hoodie at the Summit swag store, or head to Marshalls (clothes, accessories, and shoe store), 1.3 miles (2k) away. Marshalls and the drugstores are near MGM and prices will be lower than casino shops.
  • Keep track of receipts so it’s easy to enter your expenses when you return home.
    • On each purchase receipt, record how you paid (credit card, local currency, home currency) to make filing expense reimbursement reports easier.
  • Provide your credit and debit card companies with your travel dates so they know to expect away from home charges.  Avoid a fraud alert or hold on your accounts.  

I once had a debit card and a credit card, from two different banks, declined at the same shop.  This was very inconvenient. Prevent it by taking action before your trip.

Legal vs Illegal

Las Vegas has a free-for-all reputation. But many things you may have heard are legal simply aren’t. I encourage you to do you own research and check out the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s website for official information.

Also, cameras are everywhere (even outside.) Don’t recreate the movie The Hangover!

Side Trips

Do you have extra time in Vegas? A few days under glittering casino lights may have you craving time outdoors. There are many neat places nearby to visit. You’ll need a rental car or to join one of the many tours that leave from Vegas. I recommend arranging tours online before you arrive.

I recommend:

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
A 13 mile scenic drive with stunning canyon views
Cost: $15 per vehicle
Distance from convention center: 21.5 miles
Notes: The route has tolls

Valley of Fire State Park
Bright red Aztec sandstone nestled in gray and tan limestone mountains
Cost: $10 per vehicle
Distance from convention center: 55.2 miles
Notes: Your last chance to stock up on fuel and water is at the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza at the corner of I-15 N and Valley of Fire Highway.

Hoover Dam
A concrete arch-gravity dam in the on the border between NV and AZ
Cost: $15 per person (tour)
Distance from convention center: 37 miles

This year I’m taking a side trip to Death Valley National Park. I love the national parks and this is one I’ve always wanted to visit.
Cost: $30 per vehicle
Distance from convention center: Over 100 miles

Planning and Itinerary

Truck and travel trailer
Long Term RV Trip

I’ve been on an RV road trip since May 2015.  I work from home, and “home” is wherever I park for the week, month, or quarter!  By the time Summit begins, I’ll be in my 54th city.  I track all my RV trip planning details in Confluence, but when there are flights involved, I track those trips in Tripit Pro.  I like this service because it monitors flights, alerts me when gates change, turns confirmation emails into travel entries, has both a web and mobile version, and keeps me organized.  There’s no wrong way to craft an itinerary, just make sure you have one, it works for you, and it’s easy to access when you need it.

TIP
I store my trip packing list in Confluence.  I print it out or check off items on my phone as they go into my travel bag.

Summit Mobile App

"Atlassian Events" Mobile App
“Atlassian Events” Mobile App

I also plan conference specific activities with the Summit mobile app. Look for it listed as “Atlassian Events” in the Google Play or iOS store. Use the agenda feature to plan sessions and activities, the map to help you find your way to a Solution Partner’s booth, and the messaging feature to connect with fellow attendees.

Many of us are still tagging each other and chatting away in the app long after the event has ended.

Safety

My “do’s and don’ts” to increase safety while traveling are:

DO

Top 10 Las Vegas
  • Familiarize yourself with information about Las Vegas and the United States.  I recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. See: Top 10 Las Vegas or Las Vegas (older but more in-depth)
  • Be aware of time zone changes.  Las Vegas Time Zone:  PDT (UTC/GMT -7)
  • Check the weather.  The season may be opposite from home. The historical average temperature in April is a high of 76°F (24.4 C) high and a low of 53°F (11.6 C).
  • Leave your itinerary and emergency contact information with a team member and a friend or family member.
  • Purchase travel insurance to get reimbursed for charges related to missed or delayed flights, lost luggage, medical and emergency issues, etc.  I buy insurance for all international trips and selected domestic trips.

In 2016, the date of Summit changed to the same week I was scheduled to be on vacation in Iceland.  I canceled my vacation, got reimbursed for my expenses, and attended the conference.  I’ve only had to use insurance once and I was sure glad to have it! Your credit card might include travel insurance.  Mine once allowed me to cancel a flight at the last minute with no penalty.

  • Take all the same safety precautions you’d take in any large city environment.
  • Always walk with a friend or fellow conference attendee.

  DON’T

  • Look like a tourist.  Walking around with your head buried in a map (or a phone) advertises don’t know where you are.
  • Join large crowds, gatherings or demonstrations.  Your presence can escalate into an international incident.

I once witnessed a demonstration in Buenos Aires.  My travel companions wanted to move closer and see what it was about!  Not smart.  I talked them out of it.

  • Count money in public, wear valuables, or be an easy target.
  • Advertise your travel plans.  It’s safer to post to social media after your trip.
  • Become a victim of theft, “mustard” scams, and other scams typical in major cities.

Scammers are everywhere tourists are. Beware of pick pockets, especially in busy areas where people are easily distracted. (Example: Fremont Street) Store your money in separate locations so if you lose some you don’t lose it all. Keep your passport locked in the the hotel safe. Finally, beware of people asking for financial help.

Last time I was in Vegas, a man followed me into the elevator and told me he just lost his wallet and needed my help. It was most certainly a scam.

Finally, don’t walk around town wearing your conference badge!
It shows you’re a tourist and probably don’t know your surroundings. But remember to bring your badge to get into conference events, like Summit Bash.

For US Citizens

  • If you’re a frequent traveler, become a member of the TSA Pre Check  program.  If you’re a frequent international traveler, join the US Customs Global Entry program (which includes TSA Pre Check.)  The convenience far outweighs the application process and cost. I’ve also heard you can shorten your wait in the Customs line using their (free) mobile app.
    • NOTE: Not every US airport has Pre Check.  Further, the Pre Check line may be closed during non-peak hours.  I learned both the hard way.
  • Have you filed your taxes yet? The deadline for submitting your 2018 income tax return is Monday, April 15, 2019. April 15 is also the last day to submit 2018 retirement contributions (IRA, Roth IRA, SEP, etc.) and the due date for paying Q1 2019 estimated taxes. I’m getting all this stuff out of the way before Summit!

For International Travelers

  • Read customs regulations, so you know what to expect when entering the United States and reentering your country. Read the US Customs and Border Protection’s “For International Visitors” pages.
  • Record the location of your nearest embassy or consulate.  You may need to go there in an emergency or if you lose your passport.
  • Research credit and debit card international transaction fees.  List any fees on your company expense report.  They may be reimbursable.
  • Download and print OANDA’s “Traveler’s Cheatsheet”, a wallet-sized currency converter.
  • Exchange a small amount of cash at home before you leave and then at a local bank once you arrive.  The worst exchange rate is at the airport.
  • Bring additional local and foreign cash for emergencies.  Keep it in a separate location.
  • Bring original purchase receipts for expensive technology items. One country attempted to tax one of my team members for his (not new) laptop on his return trip home.
  • Bring a power adapter.  The US uses “type A” (two flat parallel pins) and “type B” (two flat parallel pins and a round grounding pin) power plugs. The voltage is 120V and 60Hz.  Read more

Passport

Thankfully I only have recommendations and no passport-specific horror stories to share.

  TIPS

  • Research passport and visa requirements.
  • Make a color copy of your passport’s photo ID page.  Store a digital copy in your email and on your phone or laptop.  Bring a printed copy with you and store it in a different location than your physical passport.  If your passport is lost or stolen, alternate copies are vital.
  • Leave your physical passport locked in a hotel safe.  Don’t bring it sightseeing or to conference sessions.
  • If you lose your passport, report it to the nearest embassy or consulate.

Flight and Airport

Have you:  Been stuck on a plane?  Made an emergency landing in an unexpected city?  Been trapped in an airport for an extended time?  All have happened to me.  Always plan for the worst and hope for the best.

  TIPS

  • Never board a plane without water and a snack.

These came in handy while stuck on the tarmac in Costa Rica.  Supplies on my grounded plane dwindled quickly.

  • Always bring a blanket.  For long flights I bring a small pillow.

These provided welcome comfort on many cold flights and while I was stuck in South Carolina and Peru airports.  I use a sleeping bag liner from ALPS Mountaineering.  It’s warm, soft, and rolls up to fit in my backpack’s water bottle holder.  I’ve used it as a blanket, sleeping bag, pillow, towel, and a makeshift changing room. 

I’ve yet to discover the perfect travel pillow. This year I’m testing out the ComfoArray. The Nemo pillow I tried last trip is great for camping, but not for airplanes.

  • Always know what kind of airport you’re passing through.

I once took a flight from Brownsville International Airport in Texas. I thought “international” meant “large airport with lots of services”. I planned to check in early, get lunch, and maybe get a massage. Instead, I arrived at a one-gate airport where the security line didn’t open until just before the flight. There were no services or stores. There was a vending machine but I had no cash. I was 3 hours early for no reason. #fail

Luggage

I travel very light, bringing only the things I absolutely can’t live without. Consider what you packed on your last trip but didn’t use.  Leave those items at home.  Most things can be obtained or borrowed from a fellow conference attendee.

I truly believe there are only two types of luggage:  carry on and lost!

My bag was lost after an 18 hour flight.  When the airline finally found and delivered the bag, it was someone else’s!  After that experience, I always carry my own luggage.

Have you ever seen a family lugging a cart of bags around the airport?   How about someone with the entire set of nesting suitcases?  Don’t be that traveler!

High Sierra Access Backpack

I used to bring a backpack and a small roller bag until I noticed my boyfriend only carried a backpack.  Now I only bring one backpack and I make sure I can comfortably carry its weight. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars testing out suitcases and travel bags.  The very best is my $60 USD High Sierra Access Backpack.  I take it to every Summit and I’ll take it on a 200 mile walk I’m planning, on the Camino de Santiago, in Spain.

TIP
Make a game of packing.  Each trip, see how few items you can bring and how much weight you can reduce.  I try for a total weight of ~20 pounds (9 kg), regardless of trip duration. On long hikes, I try to stay under 10% of my body weight.

Other reasons not to over pack:  airlines charge for carry on luggage or heavy luggage, and you’ll want to be able to fit the new t-shirts you acquire at Summit!

Atlassian Summit Survival Guide

A small amount of planning and organization will help you get the most out of this super event.  Read my survival tips for things to do before, during, and after Summit to make this your best conference experience ever!

Have a great flight and I’ll see you at Summit!

Can’t attend this year? Start your campaign for next year with:  How to Get your Boss to Send you to the Atlassian Summit User Conference

7 Custom Fields Every Jira Application Needs

As a Jira administrator you should choose your custom fields carefully. Too many fields are a headache to maintain. In our custom field series, we’ve shared our tips for battling custom field bloat, auditing your fields list, and reducing your field count. Now we’d like to share some custom fields we recommend that you do create.

In Keeping It Clean: Containing Jira Custom Field Growth we recommended sharing custom fields with different teams across the organization. These 7 fields are intended to be used by many teams in many Jira projects.

Recommended Custom Fields

1. Requested

Custom Field Types
Custom Field Types

Field type: Date Picker

Create a “Date Picker” type field and name it “Requested.” Place this field on a project’s “Create” screen and use it to answer the question “When would you like this request completed by?

This field is different from the “Due Date” field, which signifies when the team can actually accommodate the request. The “Due Date” field should be populated after a request is reviewed for understanding and prioritized. In most cases, that field should not appear on the initial “Create” screen.

Requested vs Due Date Fields
Requested vs Due Date Fields

Consider this scenario: The Legal team needs an update to the terms and conditions page on the company web site. They create an issue for the Development team with a requested date of March 15. The Development team receives and considers the request. Since it’s of “Medium” priority, they slide the change into their next release, which is March 22. These two fields have easily helped convey urgency and communicate ability.

Recommendation
Always place the “Priority” field before a requested date field on a screen. Collecting the importance before a date is entered may help set realistic expectations.

2. Category

Field type: Select List (multiple choices)

The built-in “Components” field is a great way to categorize (and automatically assign) work. But what if you need a second categorization method? Create a “Select List (multiple choices)” field and name it “Category”. This generic name is important and ensures that the field can be used to cover many scenarios.

Custom Field Context
Custom Field Context

Custom Field Context

Next, use Jira’s “Contexts” feature to display different selection values in different projects. For example, the Legal team categorizes their work with selection values like: Contract, Service Agreement, Litigation, etc. The Security team
categorizes their work with options like: Denial of Service, Information Disclosure, and Injection. Using a custom field context allows you to use one field to support many scenarios.

Recommendation
Always add an “Other” selection to cover all potential non-listed responses.

3. Department

Field type: Select List (single choice)

Which department generates the most requests for your team? That’s useful information for reporting! Unfortunately, Jira doesn’t know information like a user’s department name, team name, manager’s name, or phone number. While it is possible to store these additional details in a user property, there’s no easy way to leverage that data without custom development.

Instead, create a “Select List (single choice)” field and name it “Department.” Create one selection value for each department in the company and ask the reporter to choose the appropriate one on the “Create” screen. Easy!

4. Team

Field type: Select List (single choice)

Same as above. Create a “Select List (single choice)” field and name it “Team.” You could also couple the concept of “Department” and “Team” in one field by using the “Select List (cascading)” type. First the user chooses a department and they choose their team from a sub-set of selections. Now you have an easy way to query who the work is for.

Select List (cascading) Field
Select List (cascading) Field

5. URLs

Field type: Text Field (multi-line)

It’s common that Jira issues are related to data from other websites and applications within and outside the company. For example, the Development team may need links to vendor documentation for their integration project. The Facilities team may need a link to the purchasing policy Google Doc for large equipment orders. The HR team may need to link to an employee’s record in a third-party employee resource application. When external applications are integrated with Jira, linking is easy. But what do you do for all those other applications that aren’t connected?

Create a “Text Field (multi-line)” field and name it “URLs.” Users can enter an unlimited number of links to other online areas without the need for one custom field per URL. Jira will even make the URLs clickable on an issue’s “View” screen, as shown in the screenshot.

Text Field (multi-line) Field with Links

Text Field (multi-line) Field with Links

6. IDs

Field type: Text Field (single line)

Sometimes you need to associate Jira issues with records in other offline or inaccessible applications. For example, a purchase order number from desktop accounting software, an ID in a vendor’s system, or a serial number on a piece of equipment. Just like the URLs field above, individual custom fields are often overkill. Instead, create a “Text Field (single line)” field and name it “IDs.” Users can enter ID numbers as comma separated values.

Text Field (single line) Field with Identification Numbers
Text Field (single line) Field with Identification Numbers

7. Notes

Field type: Text Field (multi-line)

Finally, sometimes users need to enter more information that doesn’t belong in the standard “Description” field. Create a “Text Field (multi-line)” field and name it “Notes.” This generally named field can be used in different ways in different projects. Use a Field Configuration scheme if you need to provide a project or issue-specific field description.

Now there’s no need for an “Information” custom text field, an “Instructions” field, or a “Business Justification” field. All those lovely details can go in a single field.

Recommendation
If you’re not planning to query for or report on a piece of information, don’t devote a custom field to it.

Conclusion

Carefully planning your custom fields makes Jira administration easier. Creating generic fields for use by multiple teams is an easy way to support the needs of your users and limit the custom field count at the same time.

Which custom fields do you use across multiple projects? What strategies help you reduce the need for custom fields? Share your tips and tricks in the “Comment” section below.

Teaming Up for Spanish Speakers

¿Hablas español? I don’t but I really wish I did! In fact, “Learn Spanish” is issue BUCKET-60 on my Jira bucket list. New languages aren’t easy for me however, so in the mean time, I’ve teamed up with DEISER, to translate some of my content to Spanish! Jira, Jira Service Desk, and Confluence are growing rapidly in Spain. We want to make more Atlassian information available to users there and in other Spanish speaking countries.

We started with my most popular article about studying for Jira admin certification. You can read the first translation: “Administradores de Jira: Las claves para preparar la certificación Atlassian ACP-100” on the Strategy for Jira website or on DEISER‘s website. More translations are on the way; you’ll find them all in the “Spanish” category.

About DEISER

DEISER Logo

As an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner DEISER provides 360° solutions for high-performance teams. They provide apps for Jira, implementation consultancy with an eye on quick results, and licensing management for all your Atlassian products.

About Rachel Wright

Strategy for Jira Logo

Rachel Wright is an entrepreneur, process engineer, and Atlassian Certified Jira Administrator.  She is the owner and founder of Industry Templates, LLC, which helps companies grow, get organized, and develop their processes.  Rachel also uses Atlassian tools in her personal life for accomplishing goals and tracking tasks.  Her first book, the “Jira Strategy Admin Workbook, was written in Confluence and progress was tracked in Jira!

Together, we look forward to helping even more users set up, clean up, and maintain Jira, Jira Service Desk, and Confluence.

Are You Ready for the New Jira?

Atlassian’s introduction of “Next-gen” projects in Jira Cloud represents a paradigm shift in the way they build and deliver features.  They are moving from a massive monolith of code to microservices structure.  In their recent webinar “The new Jira begins now” Atlassian shared that they operated from a single code base for almost a decade!  I used to work in an environment of large and aging software, so I know how challenging it can be.  Your team is ready with a new feature, but you can’t release it until all teams are ready to also ship their code.  Or, your team changes one variable and it breaks everything for all the other teams.  No fun!

It sounds like Atlassian is now able to build software the way I wish we could have back then.  They are leveraging “feature flags” to better control rollout and delivery.  For example, they can deploy code in an “off” state and turn it on later.  Additionally, they can turn code “on” for a subset of customers, or launch features in a controlled and measurable way.

Sounds great!  If I didn’t love Jira consulting so much, I might be tempted to get back into software development.

What does it mean?

So what does this shift get Atlassian?  It means the freedom to re-architect, try new things, and build a new project creation and management experience in Jira Cloud.  The Next-gen projects launched without expected features, like Epics, Sub-tasks, and required fields.  But with their new release capabilities, features like these are shipping quickly.

Atlassian has shared their development roadmap, which is a most welcome addition.  I always appreciate any insight I can get!

Do we want this?

Atlassian says we do!  They surveyed customers and learned that teams want flexibility and that centralized administration creates bottlenecks.  Waiting for your Jira admin to create your new project doesn’t scale.  I can understand that and I know users and customers have waited on me to perform an “admin only” task.

Atlassian also says admins have expressed the desire to delegate some of the more mundane tasks so they can focus on more important and impactful work.  I get that too.  There are some things I don’t love to do, like managing group membership, for example.  As long as there are no collisions,  impacts to other projects, or messes for admins to clean up, delegated administration could be very helpful.

Key Differences

Atlassian uses the word traditional to describe the original projects we’re more familiar with.  Traditional projects utilize configuration schemes.  The new Next-gen projects are “schemeless” and totally independent.  Atlassian says that future Next-gen projects will have template abilities.  I’m interested to see how that differs from the traditional project’s concept of “Software”, “Service Desk”, and “Business” project types.

Not only are Next-gen projects created by different users but the creation process differs too.  I have a very specific set up process for traditional projects and even a new project configuration checklist.  I’m careful to complete steps in a specific order to avoid extra clicks.

With Next-gen projects, the configuration order is different.  It is:

  1. Create the project and select permissions
  2. Create board columns
  3. Add users
  4. Create issue types
  5. Create custom fields
  6. Connect to other tools

It’s strange to me to configure a board before the workflow, but if the workflow is based on the board (not the other way around) then it makes sense.  Atlassian’s use of Jira is definitely more board-centric than my own.  I’m not a heavy board user; dashboards are more helpful to me.  But that could be because I used Jira before boards had today’s list of features.

The Next-gen boards continue to evolve and improve with new features like:

  • bulk issue update abilities,
  • column display limits,
  • background color changes for “flagged” issues,
  • rules – like auto assignment based on status change,
  • and visual integrations with dev tools.

Finally, Atlassian shared that the new project model improves performance, stability, and helps prepare them for the next decade of software development.

What will happen to “traditional” projects?

Will development for “traditional” Jira Cloud projects continue?  It’s uncertain.  It sounds like all these new cool features are only for Next-gen projects and won’t be back-ported.  That’s sad but understandable. Essentially they would have to develop the same feature twice, once for each code framework.  That doesn’t make a lot of sense to do – unless customers are clamoring for it.

How do Next-gen projects impact apps and app developers?

To answer this question, I asked ThinkTilt, the maker of ProForma, a forms and custom fields add-on for Jira Server and Jira Cloud.

ThinkTilt said that the Next-gen projects have quite an impact for them and other Marketplace app developers.  Atlassian is still working on supporting apps in the new projects.  Some screens, like the project configuration screens, didn’t appear until recently, meaning many apps didn’t work at all for the new project type.

The next step is for Atlassian to update their APIs so app developers can access the new features of Next-gen projects.  Today, apps can see what has been configured for a project, but there are no abilities yet for doing more, like adding or editing the configuration.  When all the Atlassian pieces are ready, app developers will need to update their apps to make them work well.

Expectations

What are your expectations of Atlassian and their new Jira Cloud experience?  What are the expectations of your Jira admin team or your users?  Share your opinions in the Comments section below.

Learn more about Next-gen projects at:  http://atlassian.com/get-next-gen

How to Audit Your Jira Custom Fields

How many custom fields do you have?  For most of us the answer is: too many!  With research and diligence, you can clean up your duplicate and unused custom fields and get your count down to a manageable number.

The first step in any clean up process an audit.  You need to understand what fields your application has and how much that differs from the default Jira set up.  Use the free Jira Clean Instance worksheet to compare your application to a default installation.  Use this to get a count of all your standard and custom fields.

There are a few ways to approach your audit.  You can do a manual examination, use an add-on from the Atlassian Marketplace, or use a combination of both.  For helpful add-ons, check out:  Cleaner for Jira, Custom Fields Usage for Jira (Server only), and Admin Tools for Jira (Server only).  Jira Data Center users can leverage the built-in Custom Fields Optimizer.

While these plugins can help tremendously with your research, only a human can determine the value of a specific custom field for your organization.

Examination

Next, make a list of all field names and types for examination.  Copy the all the fields on your Custom Fields admin page and paste them into Excel or Confluence.  Use the free Jira Custom Field Audit worksheet to enter your data, collect your research findings, and total the fields to remove.  Now that you have the list, start researching and classifying each field

First, flag the fields created by Jira.  These fields are likely needed, locked and can’t be removed.  Don’t spend time researching these.

Second, flag the fields created by an add-on or plugin.  When plugins are deactivated or uninstalled, their custom fields remain.  You’ll need to determine if data in those fields needs to be retained.

Finally, flag all the fields created by admins.  These will require the most research.

Research

It’s time to find out everything you can about each add-on or admin created custom field.  Start by determining which plugin created which field and add this information to your spreadsheet.  Look for clues in the following places:

  • Jira’s application audit log,
  • the add-on audit log,
  • the field’s description on the “Manage add-ons” admin page,
  • login as an end user, use the add-on, and see which fields are displayed,
  • or check the plugin’s documentation.

Next, research the remaining admin created fields.  Are there duplicates, misspellings, or poor naming choices?  Are any fields associated with unused projects?  How is each field used today?

Determine the scope of each field’s use by looking in the following places:

  • the Custom Fields admin page,
  • on screens,
  • in workflow behaviors (conditions, validators, and post functions),
  • and in user JQL queries.

TIP:  For each field, do a JQL query and note how many issue were found, how many issues are in unused projects, and the business value of the data returned.  Just because data is returned doesn’t mean it’s still useful!

Finally, check how many users have saved queries using the custom field.  If you have Jira Server or Data Center, and read-only access to the Jira database, you can get this information from the “reqcontent” column in the “searchrequest” table.

Next Steps

Now that you’ve uncovered some unneeded fields, it’s time to take action!  We’ll cover the clean up process in an additional article in this custom fields series.

Take the Jira Custom Fields & Clean Up Course!

Learn how custom fields work, how to determine when a new custom field is warranted, and how to clean up custom fields added by application admins and add-ons.
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