Welcome Chris Lutz

Hi, I’m Chris Lutz, the newest addition to Rachel Wright’s team of experts.  I’m a business development consultant who previously helped Rachel publish her first book, the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook.   The positive feedback on the book has been overwhelming and Rachel’s business is growing and expanding!

Rachel & Chris Working Together in 2009

My background in business development and sales, coupled with the fact that we travel in an RV together, made it a good time to officially join the business.  Additionally, we already know we work well together.  That’s us in the picture, circa 2009, hashing out design details for a business web project.

I’m a passionate entrepreneur and outdoorsman.  I take as much interest in new technology as I do in the oldest and most primitive outdoor skills.  I have a hardcore fishing addiction that I’ve fed while traveling throughout the United States.

I’ve worked with Rachel to produce exciting new offerings to help Atlassian Admins and Users.  New products include online course training packages, company-wide training, and consulting.  I have exclusive access to great information to help you with your Jira, Jira Service Desk, and Confluence applications.  Need to clean them up, get organized, or build smart workflow and custom field strategies?  We’re here to help you develop your administration strategy and follow best practices.  Email  me at clutz@jirastrategy.com or connect via LinkedIn for discounts only I have.

I’m looking forward to connecting and making more new friends in the Atlassian and Jira community!

 

Jira Scary Stories Poll Results

Poll results, from the opinion questions, for the “Jira Scary Stories” presentation.
View polls

Jump to Results:

  1. Security Horror
  2. Next-gen Project Poltergeist
  3. Password Fright
  4. Add-on Upgrade Scare
  5. Reporting Nightmare
  6. Backlog Burial

1. Security Horror

How would you solve the problem?
27%
(3 votes)
Reset passwords as needed
64%
(7 votes)
Connect Crowd to network credentials (Example: Active Directory, G Suite, etc.)
45%
(5 votes)
Train users to reset their password in Crowd
64%
(7 votes)
Ask users to contact the Help Desk instead of the CEO
45%
(5 votes)
Recommend a secure password management tool
0%
(0 votes)
Record passwords so you can remind users when they forget
73%
(8 votes)
Put the applications behind a firewall
82%
(9 votes)
Add SSL (Secure site certificate)
0%
(0 votes)
Other
Total Votes: 11

2. Next-gen Project Poltergeist

How would you handle independent projects?
0%
(0 votes)
Let all users create independent projects
50%
(7 votes)
Let a subset of users create independent projects
57%
(8 votes)
Turn off independent projects
0%
(0 votes)
Other
Total Votes: 14

3. Password Fright

How would you solve the problem?
83%
(10 votes)
Reset exposed passwords
75%
(9 votes)
Remind users not to share passwords
17%
(2 votes)
Remove passwords from Jira issues
0%
(0 votes)
Remove passwords from the Jira database
0%
(0 votes)
Other
Total Votes: 12

4. Add-on Upgrade Scare

What would you do?
46%
(6 votes)
Request funding for the plugin
38%
(5 votes)
Rollback the plugin version
23%
(3 votes)
Research alternative plugins
23%
(3 votes)
Would not have clicked "Buy Now"
8%
(1 vote)
Other
Total Votes: 13

5. Reporting Nightmare

What would you do?
75%
(9 votes)
Add the missing selections to the Components list
75%
(9 votes)
Explain the pros and cons of Components and Labels
0%
(0 votes)
Use Components and Labels together
0%
(0 votes)
Post label strategy to Confluence
0%
(0 votes)
Other
Total Votes: 12

6. Backlog Burial

How would you improve this situation?
45%
(5 votes)
Create a separate "ideas" Jira project
36%
(4 votes)
Store ideas in a separate Atlassian application (Ex: Confluence, Trello)
0%
(0 votes)
Store ideas in a separate non-Atlassian application
0%
(0 votes)
Install an add-on like Portfolio for Jira
91%
(10 votes)
Create a backlog grooming process
64%
(7 votes)
Create a prioritization and scheduling process
0%
(0 votes)
Other
Total Votes: 11

Jira Scary Stories

These are opinion questions for the “Jira Scary Stories” presentation.  There’s no one correct answer.  View results

1. Security Horror

2. Next-gen Project Poltergeist

3. Password Fright

4. Add-on Upgrade Scare

5. Reporting Nightmare

6. Backlog Burial

“Jira Admin Scary Stories” in Columbus and Palm Beach

Zombie Rachel Wright

In honor of Halloween, Rachel Wright will present scary Jira admin stories at the Columbus, Ohio Atlassian User Group on October 9, 2018 and the Palm Beach County, Florida Atlassian User Group on October 23,2018.  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 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 Columbus on October 9 or Palm Beach on Oct 23?  Join us, join the User Group in your city, or start a group!

Atlassian Summit Survival Guide

The grand Atlassian event of the year is approaching!  Use this guide to navigate Summit and make the most of your time at this year’s user conference.

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

Before Summit

  • Use the “Atlassian Events” Android or iOS mobile app to pre-plan which sessions you want to attend, but be flexible.  Continuing your conversation with that Expert partner or Atlassian employee may be more valuable than attending the next session.
  • Don’t be a slave to power!  Bring an extra battery or portable power source. Consider taking notes on paper.  You won’t want to fight for an outlet to recharge devices.  If you find yourself needing power, swing by the Atlassian Community or Certification lounges.
  • Be prepared to network!  Pack your business cards.  Don’t have work business cards?  See if your company has any “generic” ones you can write your info on.
  • Check the weather and the time zone in the conference city.  Bring a light jacket in case it’s chilly in the conference center.
  • Arrive the day before conference activities start.  Check in at the registration booth as soon as you arrive.  Avoid the long registration line on the first morning.
  • Walk the conference center, before it gets busy, to get a feel for where activities will take place.  If there’s a map, take a phone picture.

During Summit

  • Don’t try to work AND attend Summit at the same time. It is too hard to do both well.  Instead, turn on your “out of office” email autoresponder, set the expectation that you’ll be unavailable, and delegate your tasks to coworkers while you’re away.
  • Find the Atlassian User Group and Community lounge.  The user group leader from your city might be at Summit.  No user group in your area?  Find out how to start one!
  • Sessions fill up quick;  get there early.
  • At the event, login to a chat program so you can communicate in real time with your colleagues also at Summit.  Ex: “I’m going to the X session next.” or “Meet you at noon in the lobby!”
  • Write a quick note on the back of any business card you receive so you’ll remember how/if/why to follow-up later.
  • Pace yourself on day one and during Summit Bash!  It’s a long conference and you want to make it to the party.
  • Find Rachel and Her Summit Suspenders

    Atlassian feeds you a lot on conference days.  You won’t need to spend much money on food.

  • Meet Rachel Wright and win her Jira Strategy Admin Workbook or one of 5 new training courses!  See:  Find Rachel  She’ll be hard to miss with her custom-made Summit suspenders.

After Summit

  • Try to leave the day after Summit activities conclude.  It’s no fun leaving early to catch a flight.
  • After Summit, the major session recordings are available online.  Don’t worry if two sessions you want to attend happen at the same time.
  • Leave room in your luggage for the return trip.  You will acquire new goodies!  (At least a few new t-shirts.)  Some die hard collectors even bring an extra bag or plan to mail back items.
  • Share your notes and the most important information with team members who could not attend.
  • If eligible, submit your travel expense report.

Also see: How to Get your Boss to Send you to Atlassian Summit User ConferenceAtlassian Summit Travel Guide, and Summit Through the Years.

Rachel Wright is an consultant and an Atlassian Certified Jira Administrator.  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!  Follow her on Twitter at @rlw_www.

Meet the Author: Atlassian Summit in Barcelona, Spain

Find Rachel with her Summit suspenders

Will you be at Atlassian Summit, in Barcelona, the week of September 3, 2018?  Meet Rachel Wright and win her Jira Strategy Admin Workbook or one of 5 new training courses!

Rachel will be hard to miss with her custom-made Summit suspenders.

Find her and win in the following locations:

Also spot Rachel walking the conference floor, attending sessions, and enjoying Summit!

Find Rachel Wright at Summit
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.

Boondocking with Jira and Confluence

Menu:  Intro | Day 1-2 | Day 3-4 | Day 5-7 | Retrospective

We’re “Boondocking with Jira and Confluence“!
Enjoy $10 off your order at the Strategy for Jira Store

Code: BOONDOCKING Shop Now
Valid: July 8-15, 2018
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.