Boondocking with Jira and Confluence

Truck and Travel Trailer

Did you know I’ve worked from the road for over 3 years?  It’s a lot like working from home except when I look out the window of my home on wheels, the scenery is always different!  In May 2015, we got rid of most of our stuff, sold our cars, and hit the road in a travel trailer.

Strategy for Jira Tour

Our trip started in Virginia.  From there we traveled South through the Eastern states, explored the entire Florida coast, visited 8 Texas cities, stayed a while in Arizona and California, and then went North through Nevada, Utah, and Colorado.  This entire time I’ve worked as a Jira administrator, consultant, and speaker on the Strategy for Jira Tour.  The tour highlight was speaking at the Atlassian office in Austin, TX and at Summit!

Boondocking

After three years, we’ve decided to add a new element to our mobile lifestyle:  boondocking.  Boondocking is camping without hookups to city power, water, and sewer systems.  We’re used to bringing our own internet connection but until now, we’ve paid a campground to supply the other utilities.  It’s a bit limiting though;  it means we can only go where others have resources available for us.  I’d prefer the ability to go anywhere (anywhere with a usable cell signal, that is.)

So what does all this have to do with Jira and Confluence?  Plenty!  Throughout my trip, I’ve had to guarantee my access to power and wifi in order to work, support the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook, and participate in the Atlassian Community.  I need reliable access to Jira and Confluence for my consulting practice, for my volunteer work, and for my personal life.  Without Jira, I can’t access my “to do” list, help Jira administrators clean up too many custom fields, or prepare to merge multiple applications.  I track where we go in Jira and record the specific details of each location in Confluence.  Now, I’ll need to do all that without the convenience of “full hookups.”  We’ll need to bring our own water and store it – before and after we use it.  Most importantly, we’ll need to find a way to generate our own power.

Power Options

There are a few power generation options so I used Confluence to research and make the decision.  The travel trailer has its own 12 volt battery that’s responsible for the lights, water pump, fire and carbon monoxide detection systems.  It also generates the spark for propane appliances, like the fridge, stove, and oven.  The battery is constantly recharged when connected to city power but without it, it doesn’t last very long.  We need a way to recharge it and heavily researched all the methods including:  solar or wind power, gas or propane generator power,  disconnecting the battery altogether (not sustainable), and even sacrificing one or a series of $80 batteries (not smart).

We really love the idea of solar, and want to have it one day, but it’s not simple (or cheap) to set it up correctly.  And, it’s not fool-proof.  For example, what if it’s a cloudy day?  “Sorry, Jira, there’s no power to launch your URL today!”  🙁

For our first foray into boondocking, we purchased a small gas inverter generator.  Our $500 unit won’t provide luxury.  We won’t be able to use the microwave, air conditioning, or coffee maker.  But doesn’t a coffee press make better coffee better anyway?  It’s enough to periodically charge the 12 volt battery however so we can run a minimum amount of electronics.  We’ll limit ourselves to the really important things:  2 cell phones, 2 laptops, and one wireless internet router for WiFi.  We’ll open the windows if it’s hot, light a lantern if it’s dark, and generally try to live even more simply than before.  It will be less “glamping” and more “camping.”  I do hope we’ll have enough battery power to run a small fan though.  We’ll see.

We’ve been researching and learning about volts, amps and watts.  I estimate it takes 65 watts to access a local Jira instance and 71 watts (computer + router) for a Cloud instance.  I’m new to these calculations though and my estimates could be way off.  Time will tell!

Official Test

Starting July 8, we’re “cutting the RV cord”.  We’re going to the middle of a field in Pagosa Springs, CO to test our setup and spend a whole week “off the grid.”  If all goes as planned, I’ll be doing all my favorite Jira and Confluence activities like always.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have you boondocked, dry camped, or gone “off grid”?  Share your stories and tips in the Comments section below.

“JIRA Admin Mistakes” in Denver

In 2017 the Strategy for JIRA Tour delivered 20 “JIRA Mistakes” virtual and physical presentations as we rolled through Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.  In 2018, we’re tackling the west coast with planned stops in California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington!  See the tour schedule.

Denver Atlassian User Group

Our first 2018 presentation, is a virtual one in Colorado.  Rachel Wright is the featured speaker at the February 21 meeting of the Denver User Group.   She’ll present “Top JIRA Administration Mistakes” based on the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook. 

The goal of the “Top JIRA Administration Mistakes” presentation is to keep others out of what I call the “JIRA swamp.”  Or, if you’re already in it, help dig you out. This session 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 I 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 Users Groups are where users meet, learn, network, and share best practices. The groups meet locally, all over the world, on a quarterly or more frequent basis.  User Group members are newbies and veterans who like to “talk shop” about Atlassian software, about Agile development, and about related business topics.  At these events, you can network with your peers, share solutions, meet Expert Partners, get special content from Atlassian, and enjoy a beer.

Will you be in Denver on Feb 12?  Join us, join the User Group in your city, or start a group!

“JIRA Admin Mistakes” in Phoenix

The Strategy for JIRA Tour rolls on!  Rachel Wright is in Phoenix, Arizona to deliver her “Top JIRA Administration Mistakes” presentation on November 9, 2017.

Do you need help cleaning up your Jira application?  How about managing users, configurations, or multiple instances?  Join us and lets talk shop!

The goal of the “Top JIRA Administration Mistakes” presentation is to keep others out of what I call the “JIRA swamp.”  Or, if you’re already in it, help dig you out. This session 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 I 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 Users Groups are where users meet, learn, network, and share best practices. The groups meet locally, all over the world, on a quarterly or more frequent basis.  User Group members are newbies and veterans who like to “talk shop” about Atlassian software, about Agile development, and about related business topics.  At these events, you can network with your peers, share solutions, meet Expert Partners, get special content from Atlassian, and enjoy a beer.

Will you be in Phoenix on November 9?  Join us, join the User Group in your city, or start a group!

Atlassian Customer ShipIT Creates Dynamic Jira Map

Each quarter, Atlassian has a 24 hour hackathon, called ShipIt, where they stop all work duties to create something awesome.  It embodies their culture of innovation and demonstrates a sacred company value: “Be the change you seek.”

This week, 24 non-Atlassians participated in the first Atlassian User Group (AUG) Leader ShipIt.  Since we’re Atlassian customers, volunteers, and have work duties we can’t ignore, our hackathon lasted 3 weeks, instead of 24 hours.  We worked nights and weekends to bring our ideas to life and then submitted our finished products as a three minute video.

Project Planning at Atlassian Summit

We were one of 10 teams that accepted the ShipIt challenge.  Our team included six AUG Leaders from all over the country.  We named ourselves “Atlas”.  We wanted to solve a visibility issue that impacts the AUG program and we wanted to use Atlassian products to do it.

Problem Statement

As an Atlassian User Group Member, an AUG Leader, or member of the Atlassian Community Team, I’d like to:

  • See a visual representation of the active AUG locations around the world
  • Find the user groups near my location
  • View each group’s size, contact details, and the website URL
  • Encourage traveling users to connect with additional groups
  • Create a dynamic solution which will never be out of date or require manual maintenance
  • Encourage new membership by showing existing user groups
  • Encourage new group formation by showing location gaps
  • Use Atlassian tools to store the data and collaborate during the project

Our Solution

Jira Custom Fields

We built a dynamic map that pulls its data from Jira issues!  We started with a Jira project, where each user group is represented by an issue.  The project has custom fields, like “Map Location” and “Group Size”, to hold information about each group.  The project has custom workflow statuses, like “Active” and “Inactive”, to show the current state of each group.

We used Jira’s REST API to retrieve issue data for only user groups in certain statuses.  Next, we injected the JSON results into SQL 2016.  We then restructured the data for map use.  For example, we translated the plain text “Map Location” values into coordinates the Google Maps API would understand.  Finally, we created a script that automates the REST API calls and the Geocoding of the locations.  The script also generates an HTML file with all the user group data plotted.  The process of updating the HTML file on the server is automated too.  The file is uploaded to our Confluence instance and versioned through the REST API.  It is also published to an external website, demonstrating additional viewing abilities.

When a user group transitions to another status, or if any Jira issue data is updated, those changes are automatically reflected on the map!  This includes changes to the group’s name, estimated user counts, and group contact information.  The map requires no manual updates, which was a project goal.

Clicking a map pin displays city information, like the group size, the city contact email address, and a link to the group’s website.  The map also automatically centers to your current location and counts the total number of active user groups displayed.  The look and feel is fully customizable and results can be embedded on other websites, including Confluence and Jira.

Additionally, we used HipChat’s Botler service to create map entry point.  In HipChat, if an AUG Leader types “an AUG in” as in “Is there an AUG in Nebraska?” a link to the map will automatically appear.  See our creation in action with the three minute ShipIt video below.

You can also demo our proof of concept live!

Atlassian Products Used

We started collaborating in person at the Atlassian Summit user conference and used Atlassian tools to stay connected after returning home.  We used:

  • Trello to collect user stories, feature requests, and track progress,
  • Confluence to make decisions and document solution details,
  • HipChat for daily discussions and immediate feedback,
  • and Jira to store all user group location and status data.

Our Team

We’re very proud of what we built and had an awesome first Atlassian ShipIT experience!

  • Mark Livingstone, IT Director at Qualcomm and San Diego, CA AUG Leader
  • Marlon Palha, Head of Business Systems at ITHAKA and New York City AUG Leader
  • Stephen Sifers, Network Operations Center Manager at Sagiss and Dallas, TX AUG Leader
  • Jeff Tillett, Agile IT Operations Manager at AppDynamics and Dallas, TX AUG Leader
  • Justin Witz, Chief Technology Officer at FRA PlanTools LLC and Charlotte, NC AUG Leader
  • Rachel Wright, Author of the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook and member of the AUG Leader Council.

Q&A with JIRA Author Rachel Wright

Follow the Gator to the “Help & Learning” Area

Meet JIRA author Rachel Wright at Atlassian Summit in San Jose, CA!  After her Summit presentation, starting at 3:00 PM PDT, Rachel will host a book Q&A in the Atlassian Summit “Help & Learning” area.  Look for her in the Online Community section, across from the Tempo booth.

Meet the author, learn from her JIRA mistakes, and talk shop about JIRA strategy!

Not at Summit?  Use coupon code SUMMIT for 15% off the digital version.

The JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook is different – it’s not documentation. It’s over 150 recommendations 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.

JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook Summit Giveaway

Follow the Gator to Summit Room 210A

It’s time to make your way to Atlassian Summit conference room 201A!  At 2:20 PM PDT, Rachel Wright, author of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook and Atlassian’s Josephine Lee present Upgrades and Admin at Scale: How to Become a JIRA Admin Champion.  After the presentation, some lucky attendees will receive a print copy of the workbook!

Not at Summit?  Use coupon code SUMMIT for 15% off the digital version.

The JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook is different – it’s not documentation. It’s over 150 recommendations 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.

15% off JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook during Atlassian Summit!

In celebration of the excitement, learning, and camaraderie of Atlassian Summit, here’s 15% off the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook!  Use these codes during the week of Atlassian Summit.  Enjoy!

Atlassian Summit Sale!  15% off the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook
Print Version Code: N6R64W5D Shop Now
Digital Version Code: SUMMIT Shop Now
Valid: Sep 11, 2017 – Sep 15, 2017

 

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.

 

Read more about Strategy for JIRA coupons, discounts, and promo codes.

Meet the Author: Atlassian Summit in San Jose, CA

Will you be at Atlassian Summit 2017, in San Jose, California, the week of September 11, 2017?  On September 13, Rachel Wright, author of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook, is presenting “Upgrades and Admin at Scale: How to Become a JIRA Admin Champion” at 2:20 PM in room 210A.

Directly after she’ll host a Q&A in the Atlassian Online Community Lounge.  Meet the author, learn from her JIRA mistakes, and talk shop about JIRA strategy!

JIRA Strategy T-Shirt
Look for the white alligator – and stay out of the JIRA swamp!

Find Rachel in a green or brown JIRA Strategy t-shirt in the following locations:

  • Wed, Sep 13, 2:20 PM: Presentation in Room 210A
  • Wed, Sep 13, 3:00 PM: Q&A in the Atlassian Online Community Lounge
  • Walking the conference floor, attending sessions, and enjoying Summit!

Want to become a wiz at workflows, a master of maintenance, and unafraid of upgrades? Hear real use cases and examples from Rachel Wright, author of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook, and learn how to avoid common JIRA Admin mistakes to keep your application clean and uncluttered. Walk through top tips for the smoothest JIRA upgrades with Atlassian Product Manager Josephine Lee, and make sure you can take advantage of the newest features, fixes, and performance improvements of each release. Together, they’ll help make your admin life easier and instance healthier so you can become a JIRA Admin Champion.

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.

Featured Presenter at Atlassian Summit

A long time dream has come true; I’m a featured presenter at Atlassian Summit!  Summit is the grand Atlassian event of the year for users and admins of JIRA, Confluence, HipChat, and other DevOps tools.

Featured Summit Speakers

My presentation proposal was selected from hundreds of submissions.  Then, out of the hundred speakers, Atlassian chose to feature me!  How exciting! That’s me, directly under Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian Co-Founder & Co-CEO.  Between this, the “One of Us” Community Award, and publishing the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook, it’s been an amazing year!  I am so thankful.

The conference is September 12-14, 2017 in San Jose, California.  If you’re attending, please add my presentation to your agenda!

Presentation Details

Upgrades and Admin at Scale: How to Become a JIRA Admin Champion

Atlassian Summit – San Jose, California
September 13, 2017, 2:20 PM – 3:00 PM, Room 210A

Want to become a wiz at workflows, a master of maintenance, and unafraid of upgrades? Hear real use cases and examples from Rachel Wright, author of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook, and learn how to avoid common JIRA Admin mistakes to keep your application clean and uncluttered. Walk through top tips for the smoothest JIRA upgrades with Atlassian Product Manager Josephine Lee, and make sure you can take advantage of the newest features, fixes, and performance improvements of each release. Together, they’ll help make your admin life easier and instance healthier so you can become a JIRA Admin Champion.

Rachel Wright
Author, JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook

Josephine Lee
Product Manager, Atlassian

Read More

Upgrades and Admin at Scale: How to Become a JIRA Admin Champion

Rachel Wright’s “How to Become a JIRA Admin Champion” Summit presentation featured 8 of her JIRA Admin mistakes to avoid.  Download all 20 Top JIRA Administration Mistakes here!  Included are bonus tips, recommendations, and links to helpful resources.

Atlassian Summit – San Jose, California
September 13, 2017
2:20 PM – 3:00 PM
Room 210A

Want to become a wiz at workflows, a master of maintenance, and unafraid of upgrades? Hear real use cases and examples from Rachel Wright, author of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook, and learn how to avoid common JIRA Admin mistakes to keep your application clean and uncluttered. Walk through top tips for the smoothest JIRA upgrades with Atlassian Product Manager Josephine Lee, and make sure you can take advantage of the newest features, fixes, and performance improvements of each release. Together, they’ll help make your admin life easier and instance healthier so you can become a JIRA Admin Champion.

Rachel Wright
Author, JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook, Industry Templates, LLC

Josephine Lee
Graduate Product Manager, Atlassian

Read More