I’m so fortunate to be able to combine my two passions: travel and Jira administration. In 2015, Chris and I started a full-time travel adventure and we haven’t stopped yet. Working on the road is easier and more rewarding than you’d think! If you’re dreaming of a lifestyle change, don’t let work, kids, pets, or anything else deter you from trying it.
Join me and fellow Jira administrator, Łukasz Przybyłowicz from JiraForThePeople.com, as we discuss learning Jira the hard way, life on the road as a digital nomad, and staying out of the “Jira swamp”.
Balancing Chaos and Order
In the video, Łukasz shares his interesting perspective on my life of chaos and order. Łukasz says the Jira content, templates, and worksheets I produce provide order and organization and the constant travel supplies the chaos! (Yep – every time a tire explodes or we have to evacuate to avoid a hurricane there is disorder.) But Jira consulting and travel help balance the “known” and “unknown” aspects of our nomadic lifestyle.
I’ve never considered moving from place to place to be much of a risk, but change is often scary at first. Ultimately for us, the good experiences far outweigh the bad, and life on the road is nothing short of fantastic. Chris and I highly recommend it and encourage you to follow your dreams, no matter where they take you.
Good luck with your Jira journey and I’ll see you online…or on the road!
Hi, I’m Rachel Wright, Certified Jira administrator and author of the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook. I started using Atlassian products in 2011 and attended my first user conference in 2013. At that event, I learned about the Atlassian user group program and immediately signed up to be a community leader. The program has grown and changed a lot since then. Back then there were only 30 leaders (cities) and now there are hundreds! It’s great to see and be a part of it.
Atlassian recently revamped their recognition program, so I received 7 years worth of gifts and swag in one big shipment! It was like Atlassian Christmas in my RV.
I wanted to share the unboxing with you and show you some of
the cool items you’ll receive as you gain tenure, host local events, and
contribute to the online community.
I seem to be having some trouble with this box. Good thing I’m better at Jira administration
than box opening.
Here is the perk for year 7. It’s a light-weight suitcase, with packing organizers, and a enamel pin to commemorate the year. There are only two types of luggage in this world, carry on and lost. I’m excited to carry this on my flight to Vegas, next year, for Team 2022. I’ve already started packing.
Next, is a cap, business cards, and an enamel pin for year 2.
Early on in my Atlassian community journey, I founded the
Northern Virginia user group and hosted local events for users and admins. The perk for hosting 5-9 evens is this exclusive
Without an in-person conference this year, to restock my
Atlassian shirt supply, my wardrobe desperately needs some new threads.
The next item is this fantastic North Face down jacket. This packs down well and is really warm. Of course, there’s also a five-year pin.
The first-year items are a pin and an insulated thermos for hot or cold drinks. On top is a removeable cup that’s magnetic. This is perfect for chilly nights around the campfire.
The next item is an ACE-themed duffel bag and a pin.
The last item to unbox is a sweet pair of custom Vans shoes. Of course, there’s a pin for year number 3 as well.
With all my goodies unwrapped, I transform from Rachel
Wright to Atlassian-ified Rachel Wright. Oh, and don’t forget a view of the
Thanks, Atlassian and here’s to another 7 years! Being a community leader has so many benefits beyond trips and swag, but these perks sure make me feel appreciated.
In this post of the “Trekking with Trello” series, I’ll share how I used Trello software to prepare for my long distance walk on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I’m a planner and a researcher. I like data and hate unknowns. I want to know exactly what I’m getting myself into whether it be a new project, a new business, or a new personal adventure.
Planning this trip was no exception. I researched this topic to death and enjoyed every minute of it! I read 7 books, browsed countless websites, viewed every documentary I could find, and even watched two different people’s daily videos of their own experience. I’ve shared the most helpful books, websites, and movies in a public Trello board.
Copy this Trello Board
Planning your own hike on the Camino Francés route? Use my “Camino de Santiago Resources” board as a starting point! Trello makes it really easy to copy cards, checklists, and even entire boards. Here’s how:
Give the board a new name and click the “Create” button at the bottom
A copy of the board, complete with the cards and my recommendations, is created in your account to further customize to your liking.
This feature is an excellent way to quickly create new boards and share information. Use it for onboarding new team members, performing regular maintenance duties, or as a template for any repeatable set of tasks. To let everyone (including search engines) view a board, set its visibility to “Public”. The visibility setting is at the top of the page, to the right of the board’s name.
Also included in my resources board, is a decision checklist. The checklist is automatically copied to your new board along with the other cards. You can add one or more checklists to any Trello card by clicking the “Checklist” option, on the “Add to Card” menu, in the right sidebar.
This is the questions list I wish I’d had when I was researching. Answer the following to start planning your Camino journey.
Will you walk, cycle, or travel on horseback?
Will you travel alone, with a group, or join a tour?
What is your budget?
How many days will you spend on the trail?
Will you camp, sleep in albergues (hostels, shared accommodation), or stay in hotels?
Will you pre-book accommodations or choose where to stay along the way?
Which route will you travel?
Where will you start and end your journey?
Will you wear shoes or boots?
How will you stay cool in the heat or warm in the cold?
How will you stay dry in the rain?
When will you go?
Training & Exercise Plan
Part of my planning was training my body to walk long distances. I set some overall goals in Trello and tracked the details of my preparation walks.
As you can see, I marked the “Training & Exercise” card “complete” but didn’t actually check off all my goals. I didn’t make smart decisions on my 10 mile test hike, which you’ll see in the video below. I also didn’t complete any sizable back to back hikes.
For each official prep walk, I noted how far I went, the conditions that day, and the failure or success of the gear I was testing. If I wanted to report on or sum this data, more structure is needed and that’s a job for Jira. Since I only wanted to record the details for my own memories, a simple comment in Trello worked just fine.
Gear Tests and Practice Walks
Caring for your feet and preventing blisters is a high priority for any long distance walker. I spent a lot of time breaking in shoes and finding the right brand of socks. I walked into a river to verify my shoes were waterproof and tested all of the “smart” socks to learn which would work best for me. I took short practice walks to disqualify socks that were too hot or too thin. I took longer distance walks to make sure my body was up for the challenge. I learned what distance I could handle and made some silly mistakes along the way. This video shows some of my preparation:
What’s next with Trello?
In the next post in this trekking series, I’ll share more Trello tips, Camino advice, and photos from my trip.
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.
You’ve probably heard of the Hippocratic Oath or the phrase “first do no harm”. The Hippocratic Oath is a list of ethical statements for doctors. For us, we have the “Jiracratic Oath.” Think of it as the 10 commandments for Jira.
“Sign” the oath below to receive your PDF certificate.
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?
“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.
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!
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 email@example.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.
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?
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.
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”!
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 superweld 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!
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.