Top Quotes from Atlassian Team 2021

Atlassian Team 2021, formally known as Summit, is the annual user conference. This event brings Atlassians, customers, users, and partners together for a few magical days of announcements, demos, and discussions. This year Atlassian created the ultimate digital experience to discuss the evolution of modern work, building better teams, scaling innovation, and thriving in an increasingly digital and distributed world.

Here are my favorite quotes from the 2021 Atlassian user conference.

“Simply using Jira doesn’t mean you’re agile.”

– Claire Drumond, Atlassian Head of Product Marketing, Jira Software and Agile

Claire Drumond, Atlassian Head of Product Marketing, Jira Software and Agile

I audibly laughed at this statement during Claire Drumond’s session titled “Jira brings agile to all teams“. I’ve completed over a hundred consulting projects and I’ve yet to encounter a real agile team. Organizations hire consultants to “make them agile”, use tools and terminology to “become agile”, and sometimes simply declare they are “switching to agile” – tomorrow! The teams that say they’re agile, sure look more “wagile” (a mixture of “waterfall” and “agile”) to me.

What I love about Jira is that it can support any framework or methodology – including no methodology at all. You can configure Jira to match the way you work. Even so, one day, I hope to see a truly agile team in action. I’d love to personally experience the efficiencies gained from how agile is meant to work. Until then, I’ll keep observing and learning.

“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself let automation do it.”

– John McKiernan, Atlassian Product Marketing Manager, Jira Software

John McKiernan, Product Marketing Manager, Jira Software, Atlassian

As John McKiernan said in his “Make Jira work for you with automation” presentation, “this is the automation age.” For many of us, Jira is mission critical software and the single source of truth in our organizations. Because “Jira never sleeps”, you can use automation to make it your personal assistant. If you’re new to building automation rules in Jira Cloud, check out this demo to quickly get started. Automation is a fun topic but John’s terrific sense of humor and self-described “monotone Irish voice” makes this a useful and entertaining Team 2021 session.

Want to learn more about automation in Jira Cloud, Server, and Data Center? Join me and Tempo on May 12, 2021 for our webinar “How Automation Makes Us Unstoppable“. Register Free

Register free for the "How Automation Makes Us Unstoppable" webinar

“Include Jira issue keys in your development work and Jira will update itself!”

– Justine Davis, Atlassian Head of Product Marketing, DevOps

Meet Atlassian’s new Jira integration solution, Open DevOps. It’s “a pre-configured DevOps project that combines Atlassian products with partner offerings” you’re already using like GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, Slack, Jenkins, and more. Atlassian reduced the ~50 steps needed to connect all your tools together to just six! I’ve always encouraged users to include Jira issue keys in code commits, in notes in other tools, and in email subject lines. Now that good habit pays off even more. Issue keys link everything together, allowing Jira to update itself, inform stakeholders, and provide better project tracking and insight.

Justine Davis, Atlassian Head of Product Marketing, DevOps

Watch “How high-velocity Dev and Ops teams fuel digital transformation” or learn more at atlassian.com/solutions/devops.

“Team Central makes updates as easy as a Tweet.”

Claire Maynard, Atlassian Head of Product Marketing, New Products & Solutions

Atlassian Team Central

Jira and Confluence can surface progress data, but it’s still difficult to aggregate information, from all the individual tasks, to understand project status as a whole. Enter Team Central, Atlassian’s new solution to curate information and provide real-time status updates. I hope one day soon we can all cancel our status meetings and use the new views in Team Central instead.

I’m also really excited about the external collaboration feature coming to Confluence Premium and Enterprise.

Claire Maynard, Atlassian Head of Product Marketing, New Products & Solutions

Watch “Thrive like a hive: Elevate business team performance ” or read more at: atlassian.com/team-central

“The fundamental reality is we can’t bring [new Cloud features] to Data Center.”

– Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian Co-Founder and Co-CEO

Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian Co-Founder and Co-CEO

One of the coveted perks of being an Atlassian Community Leader, is the ability to periodically chat with Atlassian leadership. In an “ask me anything” session with Mike Cannon-Brookes, a fellow leader asked if there is any plan to bring some the awesome new Cloud features to Data Center. The answer is generally no, as Cloud and Data Center are built on different platforms, with different technologies, using different languages. Atlassian will continue to invest in both platforms but in different ways which means different paths and capabilities.

While that’s not what everyone wants to hear, its the honest truth, which I appreciate. The Cloud platform has additional abilities that simply aren’t suitable for or possible in Data Center. A huge benefit of the Cloud framework is that it allows Atlassian to bring new products to life much faster. For example, Atlassian announced Point A, a program “where good ideas become amazing products”. Point A includes five new products in various stages of availability.

The new products are:

  • Jira Work Management is a reimagined version of Jira Core that adds new ways of working for business teams. There are new timeline and calendar views and new features like form functionality.
  • Team Central helps you stay up to date without endless status meetings. It provides a custom information feed and statistics to take the pain out of progress reporting.
  • Compass is “mission control for distributed teams”. This digital dashboard helps you understand and track services across your entire organization. No more wondering who manages the VPN, who’s on call tonight, or where to report an email outage.
  • Jira Product Discovery helps product owners and project managers explore, prioritize, and schedule initiatives. Collaboration in Jira no longer starts at the development phase!
  • Halp is a communication engine for support teams. Quickly track, automate, and humanize conversations with internal or external customers.

Read more about these exciting new Cloud features at:
atlassian.com/point-a.

Work is Forever Changed

There’s no doubt that the way we work will never be the same. Here are some Team 2021 quotes that explore that common theme.

“Investing in the digital infrastructure that supports productivity and collaboration” allows you to “hire in more places” and take advantage of the “huge increase the available talent pool.”

– Stewart Butterfield, Slack CEO and Co-Founder

As someone who’s worked remotely for most of my career, it’s great to see organizations embrace this reality and trust employees to get work done outside of traditional hours and office walls. Except for time zone challenges, companies are no longer constrained to hiring locally. The world just got more competitive, and I think that’s a good thing.

A decade ago, I ran a team of developers split between three locations and two countries. I distinctly remember leadership assuming that employees who worked from home were probably watching TV and playing video games all day. I was told that team members who worked from home would be forgotten, passed over for promotions, and be seen as unnecessary. Nonsense! This opinion was based in fear and not on evidence. This year, more than any, has proven exactly the opposite. As long as people have the tools and support needed to be successful, they can be successful anywhere.

Mike Cannon-Brookes (Atlassian), Eric Yuan (Zoom), and Stewart Butterfield (Slack)

Watch “The evolution of modern work” to see how Atlassian, Slack, and Zoom have championed remote work for themselves and their customers.

“COVID-19 accelerated the role of agile transformations by a decade.”

– Sean Regan, Atlassian Head of Product Marketing, Software Teams

The global pandemic forced us to think differently and tackle challenges in new ways. Organizations achieved things quickly and accomplished things they didn’t think were even possible. Changes that would have previously taken months to plan were achieved in days.

It’s good to see existing technology become more mainstream and new technologies emerge. I’ve seen positive changes in other industries too. For example, my primary doctor pioneered telemedicine in 2003. He conducted his own experiment and learned that 66 percent of patients required no physical exam to address their problem. He could provide effective service for those customers over the phone or over email. I live on the road, so telemedicine isn’t just a “nice to have”, it’s vital service. But until recently, none of my other health care providers offered similar capabilities. Thankfully, more and more providers are now entertaining the idea. Next, we must convince the holdouts to ditch their antiquated fax machines and provide a modern (and more secure) way to share medical records.

Online learning and communication methods have become more robust and accessible too. Zoom started as a business tool but quickly became a verb. Even my retired mother, who once told me she “downloaded the cloud” knows exactly what Zoom is and how to use it to communicate with friends.

It’s interesting to see all the ways technology improves our lives both in and out of the office. It’s great to see companies like Atlassian evolving and experimenting. Their willingness to innovate and take risks trickles down to all of us who use and love their products.

Sean Regan, Atlassian Head of Product Marketing, Software Teams

Watch “Jira brings agile to all teams” to hear more about how agile has spread beyond software.

“Hybrid is here to stay.”

– Noah Wasmer, Atlassian Head of Tech Teams

In the near future, some will work in offices, some will continue to work remotely, and others will do both. Atlassian’s made a bold decision to become a remote and digital-first company.

For years I put on uncomfortable dress shoes and endured the dutiful commute to a physical office. It took 40 minutes to drive seven miles. I burned time and gas to work on a laptop, occupy space in a expensive building, and communicate with colleagues (in different offices) over chat and video. Why? Looking back it was a super waste of time and resources! Additionally, I got so much more done on the days when I didn’t go to the office. For many, a hybrid model makes a lot more sense, saves time and money, and boosts morale too. I’m glad that more employees will have additional environment opportunities going forward.

Archana Rao, Noah Wasmer, and Jenna Cline

Watch “Evolving Role of the CIO: Trusted Partner for Driving Value” for a panel discussion on IT transformation.

Looking Ahead

Each Atlassian user conference is different than the year before and each year I walk away with new ideas and a fresh new perspective to consider. This year I’m inspired to think differently when solving problems. How many opportunities do we miss because we take too long to decide or to act? Sometimes I’m too focused on perfection, so progress takes forever. What if we gave more consideration to solutions that aren’t constrained by what’s possible or available right now? If we think it’s not possible then it’s truly not possible! What if we don’t squander the acceleration we’ve gained? What if we made more decisions as if some invisible force was chasing us? Sure, sometime we’ll fail, but sometimes we’ll succeed as well. I have a lot to think about. In the mean time, I’ll try to find more ways to automate repeatable tasks in my work and personal life. And I’ll try to appreciate how incredibly far we’ve come during a very challenging time.

Even though I enjoyed this remote event, I really miss seeing my Atlassian ecosystem friends in person. My fingers are tightly crossed that next year’s user conference will be in-person. I need to catch up on all the missed hugs and my Atlassian wardrobe badly needs a refresh too. Mark your calendars for April 5-7, 2022 and let’s all hope for the best!

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

Summit is the grand Atlassian event of the year. With the palpable enthusiasm of the employees, the knowledge of the presenters, and the immense networking opportunities, this is the place to experience all that is Atlassian.

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

Business Justification

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

In your proposal, answer the following questions:

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

Top 5 Justification Reasons

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

Budget

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

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

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

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

Translations: Read this in German

Atlassian Summit 2019 in Pictures

Mandalay Bay Convention Center
Mandalay Bay Convention Center

The 2019 Atlassian Summit user conference took place in the Mandalay Bay Conference Center. On April 9-11, over 5,000 customers, Solution Partners, and Atlassians descended on the city of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Continue reading “Atlassian Summit 2019 in Pictures”

Photo Challenge at Atlassian Summit in Las Vegas, NV

Will you be at Atlassian Summit, in Las Vegas, from April 9-11, 2019?  Meet Rachel Wright and win her Jira Strategy Admin Workbook or one of her 30 minute, role or skill based, online training courses!

Summit Photo Challenge

Atlassian Summit Mobile App
I share the same first AND last name with the Director of Marketing at Appfire

Rachel is hosting a photo challenge in the Summit mobile app. Post a photo of the completed challenge and tag @Rachel Wright for a chance to win! The more challenges you complete the better your chances. Creative posts receive bonus points! Download the Summit mobile app from the Google Play or iOS Store.

Additionally, find Rachel and win in the following locations:

  • Tue, Apr 9 at 3:00 PM PST: First-Timer Welcome Reception (Mandalay Bay Shoreline Expo Hall)
  • Wed, Apr 10 at 3:30 PM PST: ThinkTilt (Booth 620)
  • Thu, Apr 11 at 10:00 AM PST: ServiceRocket (Booth 308)

Also spot Rachel and Chris Lutz walking the conference floor, in the Atlassian Community Lounge, attending sessions, and enjoying Summit!

First-Timer Welcome Reception

Is this your first Summit? This is my eighth! Attend the First-Timer Welcome Reception to hear survival tips from Summit alumni and Atlassian Community Champions Rachel Wright and Fabian Lopez. The reception is on Tue, Apr 9 at 3:00 PM in the Mandalay Bay Shoreline Expo Hall. First time in Las Vegas? See my Summit Travel Guide.

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.

Atlassian Summit Travel Guide – Vegas Edition

Announcement: The in-person Summit user conference in Las Vegas, is suspended for 2020. There will be an online, remote event instead. Please read Atlassian’s Summit 2020 FAQ.

Updated for Summit 2020!

My two favorite things in life are Atlassian Summit and travel! Atlassian’s flagship event, the annual user conference, is in Las Vegas Nevada this March. This will be my ninth Summit and my fifth trip to Vegas! By now I know a lot about both and am excited to share my conference travel tips.

Contents

  • Summit Information
    • The Convention Center
  • Vegas Travel Tips
    • The Strip vs Downtown
    • Transportation
    • Walking
    • Casinos
    • Entertainment
    • Food
    • Money and Budget
    • Legal vs Illegal
    • Side Trips
  • Planning and Itinerary
    • Summit Mobile App
    • Safety
    • For US Citizens
    • For International Travelers
    • Flight and Airport
    • Luggage
  • Atlassian Summit Survival Guide

Summit Information

Greetings from Summit 2019
Summit 2020 is back in Las Vegas, Nevada

Date: March 31 – April 2 in Las Vegas, NV
Location: Mandalay Bay South Convention Center
3950 South Las Vegas Boulevard Las Vegas, Nevada 89119
Read more: summit.atlassian.com

Closest Airport: McCarran International (LAS)
5757 Wayne Newton Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Driving Directions to Conference (2.3 miles)

The Convention Center

The Mandalay Bay Convention Center is connected to the Mandalay Bay hotel. You’ll be indoors, but it’s a long walk from the hotel elevators to the conference area. I recommend wearing good walking shoes and considering what you’ll carry with you. You won’t want to return to your room many times during the day.

Directions

From the front desk, walk past the guest elevators to the casino floor. Follow the pathway on left-hand side. Continue straight on the cobblestone walkway. You’ll see the pool and beach out the windows on your left. Continue past the Border Grill restaurant and the food court. The entrance to the Convention Center is straight ahead. Look for folks holding Atlassian Summit directional signs. See the property map here. (.pdf format)

The Delano hotel is also an indoors walk to the conference area.

TIP
Make a checklist list of what you plan to accomplish and who you’re hoping to meet at Summit.  What do you want to learn from Atlassian?  Which Solution Partners will you seek out?   I always have a list of names, contact information, and where I might find each person or company.

Vegas Travel Tips

Las Vegas is a 24 hour city in the middle of the desert. It’s hot, dusty, expensive, exciting, thrilling, and like no other place I’ve been. Here are some tips to help you get around while you’re in town for the Atlassian conference.

The Strip vs Downtown

Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas

The conference is located in an area of Vegas known as “the Strip.” Most of the iconic pictures you’ve seen are probably of this area. The Strip is 4 miles (6.4 k) long and stretches from Mandalay Bay to the Stratosphere Tower. There’s also an area 10 miles (16 k) north known as “downtown”, “old Vegas”, or “Fremont Street”. I’ve stayed in both areas and love them for different reasons. Both have an abundance of casinos, glitz, food, and entertainment opportunities. When you’ve done everything you wanted to do on the Strip, head downtown for a different vibe.

Read: Faceoff: Downtown Vegas vs the Strip
Read: Head to Old Downtown Vegas for Fremont Street and Great Food

Transportation

If you’re staying on or near the Strip, there’s no need to rent a car. Parking is difficult and traffic is plentiful. Most casinos charge for parking and its never cheap. Instead, use a taxi or a ride-share service, like Uber or Lyft. Download and create an account in one of these mobile apps before you arrive. Taxis don’t stop on the Strip; catch one from a casino or hotel instead.

Walking Around Vegas

Bring good walking shoes and expect to walk a lot. Casino properties are huge and are further apart then they look. Your steps add up while you’re weaving between them and traversing pedestrian foot bridges. There’s a great map of all the major casinos here (.pdf format).

I know some of you have planned a pilgrimage to In-N-Out Burger (fast food hamburgers) on Dean Martin Dr. Please don’t attempt to walk there; it’s not as close as it appears. Also, there are plenty of other (cheap and expensive) hamburger options.

There’s an elevated, electric tram between the Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and the Excalibur casinos. Get on the free Mandalay Bay Tram from the north east corner of the conference casino, past Starlight Tattoo and the House of Blues Restaurant & Bar. Information on other casino trams is available here.

Whether you’re walking or driving, always be aware of your surroundings. There’s a lot of activity and a lot of distractions. The traffic lights operate differently here than in other states. If I remember correctly, the green left turn light fires after the straight light turns red. Always cross the street in marked locations or use pedestrian bridges. Be especially careful if you stop at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign. It is literally in the middle of a busy road. In 2008 they added 12 parking spaces which are accessible when heading away from the Strip.

Casinos

Mandalay Bay, our conference hotel, has table games and slots, 30 restaurants, a Starbucks, and loads of entertainment and nightlife options. It also features the Shark Reef Aquarium ($25 USD), a 1.6 million gallon wave pool with a quarter-mile-long lazy river (free for hotel guests, $20 for non-hotel guests Mon-Thurs), and shopping at Mandalay Place. The property is huge! See the property map here. (.pdf format)

If you’re in Vegas for additional non-conference days, I encourage you to venture out and explore the other casinos as well. Each one has a unique flavor and interesting things to see. I love the steam rising from manhole covers at New York New York, the Eiffel Tower at Paris Las Vegas, and the canals of Venice at the Venetian. It’s not as amazing the real thing, but it’s still fun to see.

Entertainment

Many casinos and hotels have both free and paid attractions and shows. The most popular free attraction is the water, music, and light show called “Fountains of Bellagio” at the Bellagio. See other free attractions here.

Paid shows are numerous. My favorite is Le Rêve, a water, fire, swimming, and acrobatics show. I saw it on my very first Vegas trip and saw it again last year. You can’t go wrong with a production show like Le Rêve or a Cirque de Soleil show like “O“. They are also variety shows, magic shows, adult entertainment, comedy shows, concerts, and special interest performances like Zombie Burlesque!

When researching entertainment, the first place I look is the “Things to do” area of TripAdvisor. Also get ideas on sites like: lasvegasnevada.gov, vegas.com, and visitlasvegas.com.

Food

Atlassian feeds you well on conference days, so you won’t have to worry about food. But on other days, there’s no shortage of options or cuisines for every budget.

La Cave at Wynn
Tapas at La Cave at the Wynn Hotel

For an “all you can eat” or variety experience, the legendary Vegas buffets are the place to be. My top three favorites are: Wicked Spoon at The Cosmopolitan, The Buffet at Wynn (especially their Friday and Saturday “seafood spectacular”), and Le Village Buffet at Paris. For similar food at a cheaper price, eat at lunch time instead.

Last year I visited the Eataly Italian marketplace at MGM. Eataly is in 12 countries but the Vegas location just opened in Dec 2018. It is a foodie dream! This year, I’m excited to try dining in the dark at Blackout. Chris Lutz is also looking forward to getting he uni (sea urchin) fix at Nobu at the Hard Rock.

The air is very dry in this part of the United States. Avoid dehydration by drinking more water than normal.

Money and Budget

It’s easy to exceed your budget if you don’t limit your expenses. The sales tax in Las Vegas is 8.375%, so don’t forget to factor that in. Also, don’t forget about the daily resort fee that’s added to your hotel cost. At Mandalay Bay, the daily fee is $39 plus tax. Both of these rates increased slightly since Summit last year. Gratuities add up too. Here’s a guide to tipping in Vegas.

TIPS

  • If you need a common health or travel item, there’s a Walgreens (drugstore & household products) and a CVS Pharmacy 1.4 miles (2k) from the conference hotel.
  • Convention center rooms are often cold. If you forget your jacket, buy an Atlassian hoodie at the Summit swag store, or head to Marshalls (clothes, accessories, and shoe store), 1.3 miles (2k) away. Marshalls and the drugstores are near MGM and prices will be lower than casino shops.
  • Keep track of receipts so it’s easy to enter your expenses when you return home.
    • On each purchase receipt, record how you paid (credit card, local currency, home currency) to make filing expense reimbursement reports easier.
  • Provide your credit and debit card companies with your travel dates so they know to expect away from home charges.  Avoid a fraud alert or hold on your accounts.  

I once had a debit card and a credit card, from two different banks, declined at the same shop.  This was very inconvenient. Prevent it by taking action before your trip.

Legal vs Illegal

Las Vegas has a free-for-all reputation. But many things you may have heard are legal simply aren’t. I encourage you to do you own research and check out the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s website for official information.

Also, cameras are everywhere (even outside.) Don’t recreate the movie The Hangover!

Side Trips

Do you have extra time in Vegas? A few days under glittering casino lights may have you craving time outdoors. There are many neat places nearby to visit. You’ll need a rental car or to join one of the many tours that leave from Vegas. I recommend arranging tours online before you arrive.

I recommend:

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
A 13 mile scenic drive with stunning canyon views
Cost: $15 per vehicle
Distance from convention center: 21.5 miles
Notes: The route has tolls

Valley of Fire State Park

Valley of Fire State Park
Bright red Aztec sandstone nestled in gray and tan limestone mountains
Cost: $10 per vehicle
Distance from convention center: 55.2 miles
Notes: Your last chance to stock up on fuel and water is at the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza at the corner of I-15 N and Valley of Fire Highway.

Hoover Dam
A concrete arch-gravity dam in the on the border between NV and AZ
Cost: $15 per person (tour)
Distance from convention center: 37 miles

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park
Known for its ghost town, colorful rocks, sand dunes, and salt flats
Cost: $30 per vehicle
Distance from convention center: Over 100 miles

Planning and Itinerary

Truck and travel trailer
Long Term RV Trip

I’ve been on an RV road trip since May 2015.  I work from home, and “home” is wherever I park for the week, month, or quarter!  By the time Summit begins, I’ll be in my 58th city.  I track all my RV trip planning details in Confluence, but when there are flights involved, I track those trips in Tripit Pro.  I like this service because it monitors flights, alerts me when gates change, turns confirmation emails into travel entries, has both a web and mobile version, and keeps me organized.  There’s no wrong way to craft an itinerary, just make sure you have one, it works for you, and it’s easy to access when you need it.

TIP
I store my trip packing list in Confluence.  I print it out or check off items on my phone as they go into my travel bag. On my most recent trekking adventure in Spain, I used Trello, which worked well too.

Summit Mobile App

“Atlassian Events” Mobile App

I also plan conference specific activities with the Summit mobile app. Look for it listed as “Atlassian Events” in the Google Play or iOS store. Use the agenda feature to plan sessions and activities, the map to help you find your way to a Solution Partner’s booth, and the messaging feature to connect with fellow attendees.

Many of us are still tagging each other and chatting away in the app long after the event has ended.

Safety

My “do’s and don’ts” to increase safety while traveling are:

DO

Top 10 Las Vegas
  • Familiarize yourself with information about Las Vegas and the United States.  I recommend the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides. See: Top 10 Las Vegas or Las Vegas (older but more in-depth)
  • Be aware of time zone changes.  Las Vegas Time Zone:  PDT (UTC/GMT -7)
  • Check the weather.  The season may be opposite from home. The historical average temperature in April is a high of 76°F (24.4 C) high and a low of 53°F (11.6 C).
  • Leave your itinerary and emergency contact information with a team member and a friend or family member.
  • Purchase travel insurance to get reimbursed for charges related to missed or delayed flights, lost luggage, medical and emergency issues, etc.  I buy insurance for all international trips and selected domestic trips.

In 2016, the date of Summit changed to the same week I was scheduled to be on vacation in Iceland.  I canceled my vacation, got reimbursed for my expenses, and attended the conference.  I’ve only had to use insurance once and I was sure glad to have it! Your credit card might include travel insurance.  Mine once allowed me to cancel a flight at the last minute with no penalty.

  • Take all the same safety precautions you’d take in any large city environment.
  • Always walk with a friend or fellow conference attendee.

  DON’T

  • Look like a tourist.  Walking around with your head buried in a map (or a phone) advertises don’t know where you are.
  • Join large crowds, gatherings or demonstrations.  Your presence can escalate into an international incident.

I once witnessed a demonstration in Buenos Aires.  My travel companions wanted to move closer and see what it was about!  Not smart.  I talked them out of it.

  • Count money in public, wear valuables, or be an easy target.
  • Advertise your travel plans.  It’s safer to post to social media after your trip.
  • Become a victim of theft, “mustard” scams, and other scams typical in major cities.

Scammers are everywhere tourists are. Beware of pick pockets, especially in busy areas where people are easily distracted. (Example: Fremont Street) Store your money in separate locations so if you lose some you don’t lose it all. Keep your passport locked in the the hotel safe. Finally, beware of people asking for financial help.

One time I was in Vegas, a man followed me into the elevator and told me he just lost his wallet and needed my help. It was most certainly a scam.

Finally, don’t walk around town wearing your conference badge!
It shows you’re a tourist and probably don’t know your surroundings. But remember to bring your badge to get into conference events, like Summit Bash.

For US Citizens

  • If you’re a frequent traveler, become a member of the TSA Pre Check  program.  If you’re a frequent international traveler, join the US Customs Global Entry program (which includes TSA Pre Check.)  The convenience far outweighs the application process and cost. I’ve also heard you can shorten your wait in the Customs line using their (free) mobile app.
    • NOTE: Not every US airport has Pre Check.  Further, the Pre Check line may be closed during non-peak hours.  I learned both the hard way.
  • Have you filed your taxes yet? The deadline for submitting your 2019 income tax return is Wednesday, April 15, 2020. April 15 is also the last day to submit 2019 retirement contributions (IRA, Roth IRA, SEP, etc.) and the due date for paying Q1 2020 estimated taxes. I’m getting all this stuff out of the way before Summit!

For International Travelers

  • Read customs regulations, so you know what to expect when entering the United States and reentering your country. Read the US Customs and Border Protection’s “For International Visitors” pages.
  • Record the location of your nearest embassy or consulate.  You may need to go there in an emergency or if you lose your passport.
  • Research credit and debit card international transaction fees.  List any fees on your company expense report.  They may be reimbursable.
  • Download and print OANDA’s “Traveler’s Cheatsheet”, a wallet-sized currency converter.
  • Exchange a small amount of cash at home before you leave and then at a local bank once you arrive.  The worst exchange rate is at the airport.
  • Bring additional local and foreign cash for emergencies.  Keep it in a separate location.
  • Bring original purchase receipts for expensive technology items. One country attempted to tax one of my team members for his (not new) laptop on his return trip home.
  • Bring a power adapter.  The US uses “type A” (two flat parallel pins) and “type B” (two flat parallel pins and a round grounding pin) power plugs. The voltage is 120V and 60Hz.  Read more

Passport

Thankfully I only have recommendations and no passport-specific horror stories to share.

  TIPS

  • Research passport and visa requirements.
  • Make a color copy of your passport’s photo ID page.  Store a digital copy in your email and on your phone or laptop.  Bring a printed copy with you and store it in a different location than your physical passport.  If your passport is lost or stolen, alternate copies are vital.
  • Leave your physical passport locked in a hotel safe.  Don’t bring it sightseeing or to conference sessions.
  • If you lose your passport, report it to the nearest embassy or consulate.

Flight and Airport

Have you:  Been stuck on a plane?  Made an emergency landing in an unexpected city?  Been trapped in an airport for an extended time?  All have happened to me.  Always plan for the worst and hope for the best.

  TIPS

  • Never board a plane without water and a snack.

These came in handy while stuck on the tarmac in Costa Rica.  Supplies on my grounded plane dwindled quickly.

  • Always bring a blanket.  For long flights I bring a small pillow.

These provided welcome comfort on many cold flights and while I was stuck in South Carolina and Peru airports.  I use a sleeping bag liner from ALPS Mountaineering.  It’s warm, soft, and rolls up to fit in my backpack’s water bottle holder.  I’ve used it as a blanket, sleeping bag, pillow, towel, and a makeshift changing room. 

I’ve yet to discover the perfect travel pillow. Last year I tested out the ComfoArray but decided it wasn’t for me. The Nemo pillow I tried the trip before is great for camping, but not for airplanes. The search continues…

  • Always know what kind of airport you’re passing through.

I once took a flight from Brownsville International Airport in Texas. I thought “international” meant “large airport with lots of services”. I planned to check in early, get lunch, and maybe get a massage. Instead, I arrived at a one-gate airport where the security line didn’t open until just before the flight. There were no services or stores. There was a vending machine but I had no cash. I was 3 hours early for no reason. #fail

Luggage

I travel very light, bringing only the things I absolutely can’t live without. Consider what you packed on your last trip but didn’t use.  Leave those items at home.  Most things can be obtained or borrowed from a fellow conference attendee.

I truly believe there are only two types of luggage:  carry on and lost!

My bag was lost after an 18 hour flight.  When the airline finally found and delivered the bag, it was someone else’s!  After that experience, I always carry my own luggage.

Have you ever seen a family lugging a cart of bags around the airport?   How about someone with the entire set of nesting suitcases?  Don’t be that traveler!

High Sierra Access Backpack

I used to bring a backpack and a small roller bag until I noticed my boyfriend only carried a backpack.  Now I only bring one backpack and I make sure I can comfortably carry its weight. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars testing out suitcases and travel bags.  The very best is my $60 USD High Sierra Access Backpack.  I take it to every Summit and every adventure like my 100 mile walk on the Camino de Santiago, in Spain.

TIP
Make a game of packing.  Each trip, see how few items you can bring and how much weight you can reduce.  I try for a total weight of ~20 pounds (9 kg), regardless of trip duration. On long hikes, I try to stay under 10% of my body weight.

Other reasons not to over pack:  airlines charge for carry on luggage or heavy luggage, and you’ll want to be able to fit the new t-shirts you acquire at Summit!

Atlassian Summit Survival Guide

A small amount of planning and organization will help you get the most out of this super event.  Read my survival tips for things to do before, during, and after Summit to make this your best conference experience ever!

Have a great flight and I’ll see you at Summit!

Also see: Atlassian Summit 2019 in Pictures

Can’t attend this year? Start your campaign for next year with:  How to Get your Boss to Send you to the Atlassian Summit User Conference

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!

Atlassian Summit Survival Guide

The grand Atlassian event of the year is approaching!  Use this guide to navigate Atlassian 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.  Check the Summit mobile app for useful “point A to point B” directions feature.

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

After Summit

  • Try to leave the day after Summit activities conclude.  It’s no fun leaving early to catch a flight.
  • After Summit, the keynotes and selected 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 items home.
  • Share your notes and the most important information with team members who could not attend.
  • Record your expenses for reimbursement or deduction.

Will you be at Atlassian Summit, in Las Vegas, from April 9-11, 2019?  Attend the First-Timer Welcome Reception to hear survival tips from Summit alumni and Atlassian Community Champions Rachel Wright and Fabian Lopez.

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.

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 or your order in the Strategy for Jira store!  Use this code during the week of Atlassian Summit.  Enjoy!

Atlassian Summit Sale!  15% off your order
Code: SUMMIT Shop Now
Valid: Mar 30, 2020 – April 5, 2020

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.