Jira Scary Stories Poll Results

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

1. Security Horror

How would you solve the problem?
0%
(0 votes)
Reset passwords as needed
57%
(4 votes)
Connect Crowd to network credentials (Example: Active Directory, G Suite, etc.)
43%
(3 votes)
Train users to reset their password in Crowd
57%
(4 votes)
Ask users to contact the Help Desk instead of the CEO
43%
(3 votes)
Recommend a secure password management tool
0%
(0 votes)
Record passwords so you can remind users when they forget
71%
(5 votes)
Put the applications behind a firewall
86%
(6 votes)
Add SSL (Secure site certificate)
0%
(0 votes)
Other
Total Votes: 7

2. Next-gen Project Poltergeist

How would you handle independent projects?
0%
(0 votes)
Let all users create independent projects
75%
(6 votes)
Let a subset of users create independent projects
38%
(3 votes)
Turn off independent projects
0%
(0 votes)
Other
Total Votes: 8

3. Password Fright

How would you solve the problem?
86%
(6 votes)
Reset exposed passwords
100%
(7 votes)
Remind users not to share passwords
0%
(0 votes)
Remove passwords from Jira issues
0%
(0 votes)
Remove passwords from the Jira database
0%
(0 votes)
Other
Total Votes: 7

4. Add-on Upgrade Scare

What would you do?
43%
(3 votes)
Request funding for the plugin
57%
(4 votes)
Rollback the plugin version
14%
(1 vote)
Research alternative plugins
0%
(0 votes)
Would not have clicked "Buy Now"
14%
(1 vote)
Other
Total Votes: 7

5. Reporting Nightmare

What would you do?
100%
(7 votes)
Add the missing selections to the Components list
71%
(5 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: 7

6. Backyard Burial

How would you improve this situation?
43%
(3 votes)
Create a separate "ideas" Jira project
43%
(3 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
86%
(6 votes)
Create a backlog grooming process
57%
(4 votes)
Create a prioritization and scheduling process
0%
(0 votes)
Other
Total Votes: 7

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

How to Make Atlassian Summit Suspenders

The Problem

Summit Flair

After attending every Atlassian Summit user conference since 2013, I’ve acquired a lot of buttons, or “Summit flair” as I call them.  I’ve run out of room for them on my conference lanyard however, and honestly, they were getting heavy!  So this year, I needed a different solution.  How could I display my flair?

The Solution

I thought for a while and came up with nothing.  Then, somehow, I thought of suspenders!  Now, being a girl, and never being a farmer, I’ve never worn this contraption.  But I asked my boyfriend where I could get them and we found some in the men’s section at Walmart.  $6.50 USD later and I had a craft project!  Follow along below to make your own.

How To

Step 1:  Configure suspenders
Realize you don’t know how to wear suspenders and watch many YouTube videos until you can successfully adjust the length.  Learn that women should wear thinner versions.  Ignore that tip; it won’t be the first time you’re not “on trend” in fashion.  PS – A wardrobe of only Atlassian t-shirts is always “on trend”!

Summit Materials

Step 2:  Gather Summit materials
Your Summit hording pays off!  You have 4 lanyards from previous Summits ready for a second life.  Realize you’ve collected far too many Atlassian pins though.  Choose your favorite ten, give the other twenty a hug, and put them away.

Step 3:  Gather craft materials
Realize that you travel full-time in an RV so craft materials are scarce.   This is the one time where a can of WD-40, a drill, and awning repair tape won’t fix it.

Look in the tool box and the office supply drawer.  Find a glue stick, a needle, less than a yard of thread, scissors, permanent markers, a seam ripper (why is this needed in an RV?), a label maker, safety pins, a putty knife, and something called “Super Weld.”  Put half of that stuff away because it won’t help this project.

Step 4:  Get crafty
Use the scissors to cut the lanyard fabric from its hardware.  It frays immediately.  Run back to the tool box and find the “Super Weld.”  Use it as super glue on all the lanyard ends.  Do it quick because it’s unraveling!  Try not to super weld fingers together.  Use the needle and scarce amount of thread to affix the lanyard to the suspenders.

Realize that you haven’t sewed anything since seventh grade home economics class.  Remember?  You attempted to make jean shorts.  Floral.  Denim.  Shorts.  Horrific!  How did you even pass that class?

Step 5:  Add finishing touches
With the pins and two pieces of lanyard on the front, it’s time to decorate the back.  People standing behind you need to know about your Atlassian devotion too!

Resist the urge to glue the remaining lanyard with the “Super Weld.”  Sew a few stitches with the remaining inches of thread.  Curse loudly as you struggle to knot the thread by the dim light of a lantern.  Only stab yourself with the needle once.  Impressive!  If this Jira consulting thing doesn’t work out, maybe you can be a seamstress?

Step 6:  Finish up
It’s way past your bed time but you have a completed an almost respectable attempt at custom suspenders.  Costs, injuries, and permanent damage to the RV is minimal.  Congratulations!  All that’s left now is to put them on and get yourself to Atlassian Summit!

Find Rachel and 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 in these locations.

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

Retrospective: Boondocking with Jira and Confluence

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

Retrospective in Confluence

In the software development world, each time you complete a project, you review what went well and what you could do better next time.  It’s called a “retrospective” or a “post-mortem.”

We did a retrospective on our boondocking adventure, using Confluence’s template.  These are the results.

What We Did Well

  • Excellent preparation, research, and pre-event testing
  • Used Jira and Confluence to plan and track the adventure
  • Didn’t ruin or damage any critical systems (except for the battery)
  • Bought the right equipment (generator, drill pump, water tank filler attachment)
  • Built a structure in truck bed to transport and store gas and water containers
  • First try was at a large event attended by experienced boondockers
  • Had fun and connected with new people
  • Stayed close to town in case other supplies were needed
  • Managed and conserved water well
  • Parked facing the best direction for temperature control
  • Planned for known cell reception issues
  • Have future plans for solar equipment

What We Should Have Done Better

  • Develop a use and charging schedule
    • Charge with generator more often
      • Took longer than expected
      • Requires us to remain onsite
      • Only possible during day hours
    • Recharge devices on AC (not inverter) power
    • Utilize existing USB and solar chargers
  • Understand the measurement for 50% battery draw (12.06 volts – see chart below)
    • Killed the battery
    • Battery may have already been weak from age (no good baseline stats)
    • Failed to maintain needed distilled water levels
  • Failed to realize cell booster requires constant electricity
    • Device is not generally reliable
    • If not attending an event, we would have switched locations
  • Neglected “day before” moving list
    • Was having fun and decided to do the “day before” tasks on the “day of”
    • Was rushing and made stupid mistakes
      • Closed slides out of order
      • Caused injuries:  Hit face with drill, cut leg on screen door (again!)
  • Remove hitch when driving on dirt roads (cleaning takes more time than removing)
  • Develop a better system for managing grey water levels
  • Spent more than normal on food and entertainment (due to social events)
    • Saved on camping costs however

Subsequent Mistake

Overall, we met our goals of living off the grid for one week.  By gaining boondocking skills and equipment we’ve enabled ourselves to camp in different types of locations.  City power, water, and sewer are no longer a limiting factor.  We also had fun networking with other full time campers.

We were so confident with our experience that we decided to try it again immediately.  We needed a one night stop between Pagosa Springs, CO and Santa Fe, NM.  We searched the online camping directories and decided on a free overnight spot, in a municipal park, near the half way point.  The location was excellent and we had the entire park to ourselves.   How could this go wrong?

We neglected to check the weather report.   RVs and travel trailers heat up very quickly, just like a vehicle does.   When it gets hot, you put our your awning, unfold your camping chair, and work outside until the sun goes down.  It’s not too bad if you also have a cold glass of iced tea to enjoy.

113° F (45° C) Temp

It’s Summer in the United States so we expected it to be hot – but not this hot!  The truck’s thermometer read 113° F (45° C) and the analog thermometer inside the RV read 106° F!  For the first time ever, the inside of the RV was just as hot as the outside.  There was no escape and no amount of iced tea provided a reprieve.  We had to sweat out the afternoon and night and learn a hard preparation lesson.  I always check the weather report for storms and high winds, but never for excessive heat.  The learning continues…

I hope you enjoyed following along on our adventure and alternate use of Jira and Confluence.  Atlassian tools can track anything!  I encourage you to experiment with alternate uses from both your work and personal life.  Happy Jira issue and Confluence page creating!

Day 5-7: 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

Day 5

When boondocking it’s easy to run out of water.  How many times you wash your hands in a day?  Simple things like this deplete the supply quickly.  Our 46 gallon fresh water tank won’t last forever, no matter how much we conserve.  We got lucky though;  there was an on site water hose we could use sparingly.  We filled our 5 gallon portable container, used a pump that attaches to a drill, and slowly pumped the water through a hose and into the travel trailer.  A few rounds of filling the tank really made a difference.

I always research our location before we arrive and knew cell service would be a challenge.  The previous post took 2 hours to actually publish.  It was quick to write, but each time I’d save or upload a photo, the connection would die and I’d have to get it back and then recover the content from the cache.  Luckily I officially took off work this week for the experience and the Convergence.   Had this been a normal working week however, we would have needed to move to a different location.

Pagosa Springs, CO

With the morning chores done we took off with our boondocking buddies on a 60 mile, dirt road, scenic tour.  We also floated in a tube down the San Juan River.  Pagosa Springs didn’t get the normal level of snow melt so the river was low.  It was still fun though.

Day 6

We killed our battery.   I can’t be sure if the battery was already close to end of life, if we killed it during our tests, or if it happened during the Convergence.  We bought a hydrometer, which measures liquid density in the 6 battery cells.  They measured “dead”, “really dead”, and “give up now”.  The generator will recharge it, but will only hold a charge for a few hours before we need to charge it again.  I’ll be buying a new battery soon and will try to figure out where we went wrong.

Rising Water from Tropical Storm Colin (2006)

I’m starting to compile my list of items for the final post:  the Confluence retrospective.  After major events, we always review what we did well and what we need to work on for the future.  For example, when we evacuated for a surprise flash flood in Florida, we compiled a retro and reworked our emergency plan.  When we evacuated for a Tornado in Texas, we used our improved plan and made small adjustments then too.  Documenting our mistakes and making improvements makes us more prepared for next time.

This day we attended a pot luck brunch, played miniature golf, and watched “We’re the Millers” (an RV themed movie) together under the stars.  A Convergence attendee provided popcorn for the movie.  They must have figured out how to power their microwave.

Day 7

We survived!  We learned a lot about batteries, solar, and met lots of great fellow full-time travelers.  The Convenience was a lot like Atlassian Summit:  you have something in common with everyone and are instant friends.

Normally I complete the first half of my Confluence move day checklist the day before, but we were having so much fun, we saved it all for the travel day.  (Not smart.)  Everything was completed, but some tasks were done out of the preferred order, and I made two stupid mistakes.

  • I hit myself in the face with the drill and almost broke my prized Atlassian sunglasses!  I was raising the stabilizer jacks with the drill, like I’ve done 300 times before.  Only today, something looked odd and as I bent over to take a closer look the still moving drill smacked me in the face.
  • I also cut my leg (for the second time in two weeks) on the corner of the screen door.  I’ll need to file that down or cover it with foam.  Or, I could just be more careful and do the “day before” work on the actual day before.

We packed up, said our goodbyes, and hit the road for our next camping destination in New Mexico.  At the next location, we’ll have full hookups (power, water, and sewer) for a whole week before we move on to the next adventure.  I hope you’ve enjoyed following the journey we planned in Jira.  The Confluence retrospective will be available soon.

Day 3-4: 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

Day 3

Lightning Strike Damage

In 2006, my stationary house was hit by lightning.  One strike sent electrical outlet face plates flying across the room and broke mirrored walls.  The fire department opened walls with their axes, checking for internal fire.  All the house’s appliances were fried.  No more fridge, no more hot water heater, etc.  The only electronics that survived were my computers, because they were connected to an APC battery backup and surge suppression system.  The APC took the lightning strike – not my devices.

From that experience, I don’t plug important devices directly into a wall outlet.  But how do you handle surge and voltage fluctuation when you live in a travel trailer?  The answer is you have to protect the entire dwelling.  Power pedestals at campgrounds are notoriously problematic.  They are wired incorrectly, deliver uneven current, shut off and on as they please, and frequently deliver too low voltage or too high voltage.  It’s really easy to ruin everything.  I will NEVER plug my travel trailer in without a Electrical Management System (EMS).  The best is made by Progressive Industries.  It is the one “must buy” thing for your RV!  It’s saved our travel trailer and the items inside it from disaster twice.  It’s worth every penny and more.

BUT you can’t use an EMS with a generator!  What???  We’re going to plug the trailer into something without my precious safety system?  Queue my anxiety.

Today was the big day where we’d use the new inverter generator for the first time.  On the previous day, we tried plugging in an old fan first, just to make sure everything was working as expected.  If the fan exploded, that would be alright but I wasn’t willing to take that chance with the entire travel trailer.  Luckily, there were no explosions.

In two days, our battery drained to 11.76 volts.  That’s probably lower than we should have let it go.  Time will tell if we’ve damaged it.  To recharge the battery to 12.45 volts (under 100%) we ran the generator for 1h 45m and used 0.5 gallons of gas.

After our morning generator fun, I joined the Convergence festivities.  There 32 people and 28 “rigs” attending this off grid get together.  “Rig” or “coach” is slang for your camping setup.  At the convergence, we have travel trailers (towed by a hitch on the bumper) like ours,  fifth wheels (towed by a hitch in the bed of a truck), and motorized RVs of all sizes and configurations.   The day’s activities started with a trip to the in hot springs which included a shower.  I was excited to use someone else’s shower and not waste our water!  Back at camp, we ate a “Taco Tuesday” pot luck dinner.

Day 4

It’s time to charge again.  Our travel trailer is wired for 30 amp, which is a different plug than a regular house outlet.  We have to use an adapter to connect to the generator.  The adapter cuts our amp possibilities down by half.  When connected to a normal power pedestal, we can run multiple things at a time as long as we don’t exceed 30 amps.  We can use the microwave with the lights on.  We can use the hot water with the radio on, etc.  But with the generator and only half our amperage capacity (15 amps), we have to limit what we use.  We did some tests and learned we can run the air conditioning, as long as we start the fan before the compressor and NOTHING else is running.  We cannot run the microwave using the generator however.

As shown in the picture, the generator has standard US wall outlets.  There are two – the left one is empty and the right is used by our yellow trailer plug and yellow adapter.  If you look closely, you can see we had to file down the adapter in two places to make it fit.  The outlet on the left has a red button that’s in the way and the one on the right has a grounding screw in the way.  Also pictured is where we had to file off the handle on the yellow trailer plug.  The plug is a replacement and was too big to store with the original handle.  This is typical of the RV lifestyle.  You buy something perfectly nice and intentionally ruin it to make it work.

I’m used to having my laptops plugged in all the time, so it’s pretty annoying to run out of power and have to wait until our next generator charge to be productive again.  Today I got a bit of work done but was up against the laptop battery deadline.  I stood up a new Jira instance but I was rushing and messed up the database part.  I created the database with the wrong table collation.  Jira requires “utf8_bin.”  When Jira started up, it notified me of the problem.  There are two options:  recreate the database or change all the tables and columns.  I opted for the latter.  The needed queries are documented and it didn’t take long to fix.  Some of the queries make the change and others generate a new set of queries to run.

Day 1-2: 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

As previously announced in Boondocking with Jira and Confluence, this week, we’re “off the grid” in our travel trailer.  We’re boondocking which means camping without hookups to city power, water, and sewer systems.  We’ll provide our own resources which includes enough power and internet to connect to Jira and Confluence – vital resources for our long-term RV trip.

We’re also attending a “convergence” which is like a conference with fellow digital nomads.  We’ve all parked together in the same place.  If we fail at boondocking, we’ll do it surrounded by experienced campers.

Week Before

The week before our trip, we further tested our preparations.  We were at a campground with full hookups, but instead of plugging in, we tested how long we’d last with conservative use of battery power and stored water.

I quickly discovered a problem recharging the computers.  My 12 volt inverter charger works perfectly in a (running, and therefore full battery) truck, but not so well on a dwindling trailer battery.  Its 75 watt output could handle the Chromebooks and phones but couldn’t recharge my HP laptop.  Also, it only has one outlet, which is inconvenient.  I immediately upgraded to a 2,000 watt device with 3 AC and 4 USB outlets.  Right now I only have a WiFi booster plugged in and its internal fan is running more often than I’d like.  We’ll see if it works long-term.

Week Before Test Results:

Item Measure Notes
Battery
  • Full battery:  13.09 volts
  • After 48 hours:  11.63 volts
We’ll need to charge our trailer battery every day or every other day, to sustain the 12 volt system and recharge electronics.
Electronics Battery time with heavy use:

  • HP laptop:  6 hours
  • Chromebooks:  8+ hours
  • Phone 1:  10+ hours
  • Phone 2:  5+ hours
  • WiFi 1 (Verizon):  Requires phone use, needs boosting
  • WiFi 2 (Sprint):  Lasts day however, unusable due to proximity to tower
  • WiFi 3 (Sky Roam):  4 hours, dupe of Verizon signal
While boondocking, we can only use the 12 volt system, which powers the lights, water pump, and fire and carbon monoxide detection systems.  It also generates the spark for propane appliances, like the fridge, stove, and oven.

We won’t be able to use luxuries like the microwave, coffee maker, or air conditioner.

When the trailer is briefly connected to the generator, we’ll be able to use the wall outlets to charge electronics.

Water & Sewer Tank capacity:

  • Fresh tank:  46 gallons (+6 gallons from hot water heater)
  • Grey tank: 33 gallons
  • Black tank: 33
Our fresh water lasted 4 days with moderate use and 4 showers.  We can easily extend that with conservation, including less dish washing and fewer showers.

Our grey water tank lasted only 3 days.  Storage of used water is an issue.  We can extend capabilities by limiting how much water goes down the drain.  Next week, we’ll need to use the outside shower and wash dishes outside to avoid storing excess water.

Our black tank is never an issue.  We can go a week or two without dumping it.

Day 1

RV Moving Day Confluence Checklist

We woke up, made a quick breakfast, and completed tasks from our Confluence “moving day” checklist.  There are 32 things I do the day before any move like:  verify our route, fuel the tow vehicle, and check the pressure on all tires.  (The correct pressure is CRITICAL for trailer tires!)  On moving day, there are another 52 items to complete like:  draining all tanks, turning off the electric and propane systems, and properly coupling the tow vehicle to the trailer.  My Confluence checklist is vital to the moving process.  Missing any item could put us, others, or our property in danger while rolling down the road.

We completed our standard checklist but this time one thing was different.  We filled our fresh water tank, otherwise, we’d have no water at our next destination.  We’ve never traveled with a full tank before.  Water is heavy and the extra 450 pounds means extra risk and even less gas mileage.  Luckily our off-grid destination was only 10 miles away.

Boondocking Parking Spot

We arrived and parking was much easier than usual.  Usually you have to line up very carefully, so all your connections reach and you fit in the spot.  But with boondocking, there are no connections to worry about.  We simply parked, drove up on leveling blocks, detached the tow vehicle, and opened our slides and awning.  Voila – we’re camping!

This night we met our fellow convergence attendees and cooked dinner together on many grills.  There’s a fire ban in this part of Colorado, so only propane grills are allowed.

Day 2

So far so good!  I’m able to launch Jira, Confluence, and other web apps, but only through my phone’s hotspot and only when the cell booster is on.  Both are a constant draw on the battery.  Our electronics are running low and we’ll need to charge the battery tomorrow.

We spent the morning re-reading the generator manual and filling it with gas, fuel stabilizer, and oil for the first time.  We only broke one plastic piece doing this.  We turned on the generator and tested it with a cheap appliance.  It worked as expected and the generator was quieter than anticipated.  Tomorrow we hook it up to our entire rig.

Today we took a group hike to Treasure Falls, saw part of the continental divide, and drove a dirt road up a mountain for a beautiful view of the area.  I’m looking forward to charging everything tomorrow and possibly a soak in the natural hot springs!

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.

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.

Mistakes Were Made

Rachel Wright with her Adaptavist shirt, Atlassian socks, and the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook

In April 2017, Rachel Wright joined Adaptavist’s Matthew Stublefield and Ryan Spilken to discuss JIRA administration, in the Mistakes Were Made episode, of the Adaptavist Atlassian Ecosystem Podcast.

In this episode we explore how we got our start as JIRA administrators, utilizing test environments, unintended consequences of cleaning up your application, and ways to learn about JIRA administration.

Listen Now
Length: 22 minutes
Release date: 17 April 2017

About the Podcast

The Adaptavist Live! podcast highlights topics and events within the Atlassian Ecosystem and at Adaptavist.  Matthew Stublefield and Ryan Spilken use their unique brand of humor to make technical topics interesting and understandable.

Adaptavist helps the world’s most complex Enterprises get more from Atlassian software through professional services, Add-Ons, training and managed services.

Catch the entire Adapatavist Live! series at: https://soundcloud.com/adaptavistlive