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