“Best Practices for Managing and Maintaining Your Jira Application” in Atlanta

The Strategy for Jira Tour continues! Our next presentation is a remote one in Atlanta, GA. Rachel will present “Best Practices for Managing and Maintaining Your Jira Application” at the next Atlanta Atlassian Community Event, on December 11, 2019.

Hear Rachel’s Jira best practices in Atlanta, Georgia

You know if you don’t maintain your Jira application that it can quickly grow out of control. But where do you start? How do you make small improvements without impacting daily business? What should you do if your application is already a bit of a mess?

In this presentation, we’ll address:

  • how to set standards so you don’t have more schemes to maintain than necessary,
  • how to clean up schemes and custom fields when you have too many,
  • how to archive old projects and unneeded issues,
  • and how to track changes and customization requests so you have a record and an audit trail.

Atlassian Community Events are where users meet, learn, network, and share best practices. User groups meet locally and all over the world.  Group members are newbies and veterans who like to “talk shop” about Atlassian software, Agile development, DevOps, software, and related business topics. Attend these events to network with your peers, share solutions, meet Atlassian Solution Partners, get special content from Atlassian, and maybe enjoy a beer or two.

Will you be in Atlanta on December 11?  Join us, join an Atlassian Community Event in your city, or start a community group!

Meet Rachel Wright in Palm Beach, FL

Fabian L and Rachel Wright
Fabian Lopez, Palm Beach Community Leader and Rachel Wright

The Strategy for Jira Tour continues! Meet Rachel Wright, author of the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook, in Palm Beach, Florida on December 3, 2019.

Rachel will present “Best Practices for Managing and Maintaining Your Jira Application” at the Palm Beach Atlassian Community year end social event. Come celebrate the end of 2019 with networking, Jira presentations, and cutting-edge interactive golf at Drive Shack.

About the Jira Presentation

You know if you don’t maintain your Jira application that it can quickly grow out of control. But where do you start? How do you make small improvements without impacting daily business? What should you do if your application is already a bit of a mess?

In this presentation, we’ll address:

  • setting standards so you don’t have more schemes to maintain than necessary,
  • cleaning up schemes and custom fields when you have too many,
  • archiving old projects and unneeded issues,
  • and tracking changes and customization requests so you have a record and an audit trail.

About Atlassian Community Events

Atlassian Community Events are where users meet, learn, network, and share best practices. User groups meet locally and all over the world.  Group members are newbies and veterans who like to “talk shop” about Atlassian software, Agile development, DevOps, software, and related business topics. Attend these events to network with your peers, share solutions, meet Atlassian Solution Partners, get special content from Atlassian, and maybe enjoy a beer or two.

Will you be in Palm Beach, FL on Dec 3?  Join us, join an Atlassian Community Event in your city, or start a community group!

How to Get your Boss to Send you to the Atlassian Summit User Conference

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.

Visit http://summit.atlassian.com for all the details about the upcoming event.

Business Justification

With all the tech conferences occurring every year, how do you convince your company to send you to Summit?

In your proposal, answer the following questions:

  • What do you hope to learn? Use specific examples of problems you can solve by attending. Example: “I’ll learn about the new Certification program you were asking about.” or “I’ll take your question about X straight to the Support Bar!” Use the “continuing education” or training angle. You need to learn something new this year right? This could be cheaper or the same cost as other training opportunities.
  • What valuable experiences will you have?
  • Who will you network with?
  • Add statistics to your pitch. Example: How big was last year’s event? How many people attended? How many sessions were there? Who were the speakers and sponsors?  This information is useful to compare against other events and communicate value.

Top 5 Justification Reasons

  1. Each year I leave with pages of “new ideas” to bring back to my company.
  2. You’ll get answers to your questions directly from Atlassian or from companies sharing similar problems.
  3. You’ll meet fellow users, Solution Partners (vendors, consultants), and Atlassian employees you wouldn’t normally have access to.  How useful would it be to have some Atlassian employee business cards in your pocket?
  4. You’ll gain an “insider’s view” into upcoming features and changes in the works.
  5. It’s a marketing opportunity for your company. You’ll hand out your business cards and wear your company logo shirt, right?

Budget

The flight and the conference hotel are likely expensive, so you need to prepare your supervisor for the sticker shock. Help soften the blow with a list of things your company won’t have to pay for. 

For example, you probably don’t need a rental car. Parking in a major city is challenging and cost prohibitive. If your hotel is close to or in the conference location, skip the rental car. You’ll save hundreds by taking a cab or public transportation between the airport and hotel. List a big, visual $0 next to that line item.

The “meals” line item can be listed as $0 or almost $0 as well. Atlassian feeds you well on conference days. You won’t be spending money on additional food.

Also see: Atlassian Summit Survival GuideAtlassian Summit Travel Guide, and Summit Through the YearsR

Translations: Read this in German

Better Form Design in Jira (Series)

In 2017, ThinkTilt and Rachel Wright teamed up with the goal of helping business teams get more out of Jira and conquer their “to do” lists. In 2018, we helped administrators effectively manage Jira and battle custom field bloat. Now, we’re collaborating again to help you create better screens and forms in Jira and Jira Service Desk.

In our upcoming series, we’ll help you understand how form design can help or hinder data collection. We’ll help you write good questions, choose the right custom fields, and create forms that users actually want to complete. We’ll explore the screen and form capabilities of Jira, Jira Service Desk, and ProForma. Finally, we’ll provide use cases for various teams and turn bad forms into good ones.

Our first article tackles the differences between screens in Jira and forms in Service Desk. It’s important to understand how screens, screen schemes, and issue type screen schemes work together. Then, you can map screens to issue types and leverage JSD and ProForma forms.

We hope you’ll check in regularly to see the upcoming installments:

  • Why Form Design in Jira Matters  –  How you design your forms will impact the quality of data you receive, and much more!
  • Layout and Flow: Creating User-Friendly Forms in Jira – Form layout affects completion rates and user frustration. We’ll discuss the right way to do it.
  • Writing Good Form Questions in Jira: Part 1 – How do you choose the right words, field types and validation levels? This article will dig into the nitty gritty of creating good form questions. 
  • Writing Good Form Questions in Jira: Part 2 – Choice questions are great for collecting structured data. We’ll look at the options for choice questions and discuss ways to influence, or mitigated influence on the user.
  • Things to think about when converting forms in Jira – Bringing a process into Jira for the first time? Don’t just copy forms straight across. This is a chance to make improvements.
  • Efficient Jira Screens and Jira Service Desk Request Forms – Jira screens and JSD request forms aren’t the same. Here’s how you can make each one work for its audience.
  • Tips for Creating good forms/screens in Jira – Learn how you can leverage Jira features like tabs, workflow transitions and icons to create better forms and screens.
  • Form Design Best Practices: What you can and can’t do in Jira – Now that we know what good form design means, we’ll hone in on which practices can be applied to Jira and Jira Service Desk
  • Use cases – We’ll also include a series of use cases illustrating how using forms expands what you can do in Jira.
  • Form audit – Finally, we’ll take a bad form and transform it to an awesome, user-friendly, data collecting machine.

About ThinkTilt

ProForma is the forms solution for Jira, making it easy for teams to build and deploy online forms, backed by Jira’s great workflow engine. Empower every team in your organization to take control of their processes and deliver first class request management. All the information you need, where you need it.

About Rachel Wright

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!

Easily Deliver Company-wide Atlassian Product Training

What is your Atlassian product training strategy? You know you need to train your Jira, Jira Service Desk and Confluence users, but organizing training can be daunting and finding a time that works for everyone’s busy schedule is a challenge. How will you educate everyone, encourage adoption, and deliver information on a continual basis? How will you train new users when they join the organization? Training could easily turn into a full time job for application admins and burden an already busy training department.

Many companies either don’t have product-specific training or want training but can’t implement it. Others gather everyone in a room for a marathon training session that doesn’t provide an optimal learning experience. The content is not tailored to different user roles and everyone forgets what the instructor said by the end of the day.  Employees who missed the “training day” don’t get the help they need and new hires won’t get a training opportunity for a long time.

When users don’t understand the software, or when admins don’t have enough experience, the applications won’t work as well as they should. As a result companies spend time and money cleaning up the mess caused by prior mistakes. I saw this first hand. With no training, I became an application administrator! I built things badly and eventually realized I’d copied the mistakes of others and added to the overall mess.

Let Us Handle Your Training

We know training departments don’t always have the time or expertise to create product-specific training. We do and we’re good at it. Let us deliver company-wide training though our efficient, 30-minute, online, skill or topic-based courses.

Our courses are self-paced and include video lessons, homework, and a quiz to test and reinforce understanding.  There’s even a course certificate for your employee’s portfolio or resume!  Users self-enroll and leadership can view enrollment, progress, and completion at any time.

Please complete the form or share it with your training coordinator so we can recommend courses, presentations, and materials.

How can we help with your training needs?

Role Based Jira, Jira Service Desk, and Confluence Training Strategy

When considering your Atlassian product training strategy, select content that’s specific to each user’s role and delivered in manageable pieces. Different types of users need different information, different levels of detail, and need it delivered at different times. It’s tempting to gather everyone in a big room for a marathon training class. But it’s much smarter to offer role-specific information in small, digestible, and progressive pieces.

Progressive, Role-based Training

Intro to Jira Cloud Agenda

In the beginning, a brand new user just needs to know the basics.  Answer questions like:  “What is this application?”, “How do I use it?”, and “How do I access it?” Take a look at the agenda in our 30 minute “Intro to Jira Cloud” online course, for example. It’s short and specifically designed not to overwhelm new users. The goal is to get them feeling comfortable in the application immediately. Consider that some employees may have used Atlassian applications before. Their previous experience, version, use, and expectations could differ from what’s expected in your organization.

As part of initial training, give new users a simple homework assignment. Here’s an example: (1) to log into the application, (2) bookmark it in the browser, and (3) create a Jira issue, a Confluence page, or a Jira Service Desk request. You can test whether their creation meets the needs of the organization. This is a great time to catch problems before they turn into bad habits. Look for future trouble like missing an important issue field, creating a page in the wrong global space, or providing vague request details.

Once the user understands the basics start adding additional content. Select new content based on user role, how they’ll use the software, and skills they’ll need to do their regular job. Time the content delivery so they can learn little by little without impacting their other work.

User Types and Roles

Here are some additional user types and content recommendations:

  • The regular or occasional user needs info about sharing and organizing their data, creating filter subscriptions, linking, and logging time.
  • The power user wants information about basic & advanced search, JQL, and bulk changes.
  • Team leads, project managers, and scrum masters want to know about views like dashboards, boards, and reports.
  • Service Desk Agents want to understand service level agreements (SLAs) and how to use JSD features to support their customers.
  • Application admins want information about configuration, performance, effective workflows, best practices, mistakes, and certification.

Delivering information progressively, and based on roles, lets you quickly and effectively train users. They can put the info into practice immediately and won’t forget everything they learned by the end of the day.

Let Us Handle Your Training

We know admins don’t always have the time or expertise to train users. We do and we’re good at it. Let us deliver your company-wide training though our efficient, 30-minute, online, skill or topic-based courses.

Please complete the form, or share it with your training coordinator, so we can recommend courses, presentations, and materials.

How can we help with your training needs?

“Jira Scary Stories” in Toronto

“Halloween Horror Stories” Atlassian Community Event in Toronto

It’s October and time for some Halloween fun! The Toronto Atlassian Community Event is featuring content from Rachel’s Wright’s “Jira Scary Stories” presentation, along with Confluence horror stories of their own. Join them for lunch on Oct. 30, 2019 to hear stories of spooky security, freakish custom fields, and the potential horrors of user-created projects and issue types.  These stories are based on the gruesome mistakes in the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook.

Atlassian Community Events are where users meet, learn, network, and share best practices. User groups meet locally and all over the world.  Group members are newbies and veterans who like to “talk shop” about Atlassian software, Agile development, DevOps, software, and related business topics. Attend these events to network with your peers, share solutions, meet Atlassian Solution Partners, get special content from Atlassian, and maybe enjoy a beer or two.

Will you be in Toronto, Canada on on October 30?  Attend, join an Atlassian Community Event in your city, or start a community group!

“Best Practices for Managing and Maintaining Your Jira Application” in Orange County

The Strategy for Jira Tour is back on the road! Our next presentation is a remote one in Anaheim, CA. Rachel will present “Best Practices for Managing and Maintaining Your Jira Application” at the next Orange County Atlassian Community Event, on October 22, 2019.

Speakers: Rachel Wright (Strategy for Jira®), Peter Toudjarski (Botron Software), and Michael March (Isos Technology)

You know if you don’t maintain your Jira application that it can quickly grow out of control. But where do you start? How do you make small improvements without impacting daily business? What should you do if your application is already a bit of a mess?

In this presentation, we’ll address:

  • how to set standards so you don’t have more schemes to maintain than necessary,
  • how to clean up schemes and custom fields when you have too many,
  • how to archive old projects and unneeded issues,
  • and how to track changes and customization requests so you have a record and an audit trail.

Atlassian Community Events are where users meet, learn, network, and share best practices. User groups meet locally and all over the world.  Group members are newbies and veterans who like to “talk shop” about Atlassian software, Agile development, DevOps, software, and related business topics. Attend these events to network with your peers, share solutions, meet Atlassian Solution Partners, get special content from Atlassian, and maybe enjoy a beer or two.

Will you be in Orange County on October 22?  Join us, join an Atlassian Community Event in your city, or start a community group!

Trekking with Trello

I frequently combine my love for travel with my love of Atlassian products. In my “Boondocking with Jira and Confluence” series, I used two Atlassian tools to plan our first “off-grid” camping experience. We’ve been touring the US in an RV since 2015, and have always used Jira and Confluence to plan trips. Now it’s time for my next adventure! This time, I’ll use Trello to plan a 200-mile walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain!

Frequently asked questions about Trello and my trip:

What is the Camino de Santiago?

The Camino de Santiago is a network of ancient pilgrim routes that lead to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. Each year, over 300,000 walkers, cyclists, and even a few horseback riders, travel many routes originating in Spain, Portugal, and France. This 4-minute video provides a good overview of the journey.

How far are you walking?

Trello "Due Date" function
Decision made and Trello card completed

Which route will I take?“, “Where will I start and end?“, and “When will I go?” were all early questions on my Trello board. I couldn’t plan any other travel details until I answered those questions. I read countless travel books and blogs to decide and once I had answers, I used Trello’s “Due Date” function to mark those cards complete and move on to other planning tasks.

My portion of the walk is approximately 200 miles or 313 kilometers. I’ll walk the most popular route, called the Camino Francés, and start in Leon, Spain. I’ve been to Barcelona twice, both for Atlassian Summit, so this time, I’m arriving in Madrid.

The full Camino Francés route starts from St. Jean Pied-de-Port in France. This route is approx 480 mi /775 km, requires a climb over the Pyrenees mountains, and takes 5 or more weeks to complete. That seemed a little daunting for my first long-distance hike! I’ll try this shorted version first and see how it goes.

While I’m “Trekking with Trello” enjoy $10 off your order at the Strategy for Jira Store
Code: TREKKING Shop Now
Valid: September 2019

Why are you walking?

To be completely honest, I don’t know yet. I’m hoping I’ll know when I arrive in Santiago. I’d heard of this walk a very long time ago but I can clearly remember the day I decided I wanted to attempt it. In the fall of 2017, our RV trip took us to Phoenix, Arizona. I saw an advertisement for a documentary film showing right down the street from our campground. “I’ll Push You“, is a film about a man who pushed his wheelchair-bound best friend the entire length of the Camino. Their inspiring story, and the desire to do something interesting with my vacation time, motivated my trip.

Others do the walk for a variety of reasons including spiritual, religious, adventure, tribute, remembrance, transition, celebration, etc. In another documentaty, a group used the experience to overcome addiction. I even read a story of walking the Camino as penance. The potential reasons and personal motivations are endless.

What type of terrain is the trail?

The trail is every material except sand and lava. (If you haven’t done a lava trek, add that to your bucket list. I highly recommend it!) The route leads through large cities, tiny villages, and vast countryside in between. I’m expecting a mix of rock, mud, grass, gravel, dirt, cobblestone, and asphalt.

There’s quite a debate on which type of footwear is best for the varied terrain. I’ve concluded boots vs. sneakers is a personal preference. I’ve selected a waterproof trekking sneaker and have tested them thoroughly. The first pair is worn out from many miles of testing. The middle pair is slightly too small. The last pair is just right and will accompany me on my trip.

How are you using Trello to plan the trip?

Trello lets you create lists and tasks in a flexible and highly visual way. It helps people and groups organize their “to do” lists and projects. Work teams can track projects like a new product launch, a social media schedule, or to prioritize a list of ideas. Families can track their kitchen remodel project, weekly chores, or shopping list. I’m using Trello to research, plan, and prepare for my long-distance walk.

Initial Trello board and lists
Initial Trello board with 5 planning lists

I started with a blank Trello board and added 5 lists to encompass my planning process. The “Resources” list includes all my research items, like books to read, videos to watch, and logistics, like time zone and currency differences. The “Decisions” list captures all the questions to answer before booking flights and making additional plans.

In the “Travel” column, I added the Skyscanner power-up to monitor the costs of flights to Madrid. A power-up is a way to extend Trello’s features and integrate it with other Atlassian and third-party apps. The Skyscanner tip is from Bridget Sauer on the Atlassian Community Team. Thanks Bridget!

The “Gear” column is for items carried on the trail. I used it to choose between a poncho and a rain suit, to test different types of socks, and to research whether hiking poles are permitted on an airplane. The result: I’ll take a poncho and rain pants, double layer Wrightsocks work really well, and hiking poles are only allowed in checked baggage.

Finally, the “Prep” list includes “to do” items like practice hikes, a reminder to purchase travel insurance, and my packing checklist. My packing list is normally stored in Confluence. I could have connected Confluence and Trello with a power-up, but decided to simply cut and paste. Select your Confluence task items, copy them, and paste them into a Trello checklist. Each item is automatically converted to a checklist item!

Trello board with planning cards
Trello board with beginning planning details and the Skyscanner power-up

When are you going?

I’m devoting the month of September 2019 to this adventure and to taking a break. I’ve worked since I was 15, started my first company at 18, and started my first post-college job a few months before I even graduated. This is my first extended break and I’ve earned it. Thank you Giles Knights from ClearHub who helped me realize this break is an accomplishment. I’m grateful for the ability to take this time off.

We have a special promotion for the month of September 2019. Use code “TREKKING” for $10 off your order at the Strategy for Jira Store.

If you need assistance while I’m away, please contact Chris Lutz at clutz@jirastategy.com.

What’s next with Trello?

The next post in this trekking series is about physically preparing to walk long distances. I used Trello to stay focused on my walking plan.

I’ll post additional content as I approach the trip and after I return.

Have a question about my trek or about using Atlassian products like Jira, Jira Service Desk, Confluence, or Trello? Ask questions in the comments section below.

“Jira Admin Mistakes” in Boise

Jira Admin Mistakes at Boise, ID Atlassian Community Event

The Strategy for Jira Tour is back on the road! Our next presentation is a remote one in Boise, Idaho. Rachel will present her top “Jira Admin Mistakes” at the next Boise Atlassian Community Event, on August 15, 2019.

The presentation is based on the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook and its goal is to keep you out of what Rachel calls the “Jira swamp.”  Already in the swamp? Let’s dig you out!

This presentation is different – it’s about strategy.  It’s recommendations from years of cleaning up horrible Jira configurations!  It’s about what you should do, what you shouldn’t do, and why.  Hear the mistakes Rachel made as a Jira administrator and real examples of problems to avoid.  Would you rather your application be an organized, tidy, and trimmed garden or a foggy, contaminated, overgrown swamp?

Atlassian Community Events are where users meet, learn, network, and share best practices. User groups meet locally and all over the world.  Group members are newbies and veterans who like to “talk shop” about Atlassian software, Agile development, DevOps, software, and related business topics. Attend these events to network with your peers, share solutions, meet Atlassian Solution Partners, get special content from Atlassian, and maybe enjoy a beer or two.

Will you be in Boise on Aug 15?  Join us, join an Atlassian Community Event in your city, or start a community group!