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Meet Curtis McDonald, the official unofficial DevOps master

@Curtis McDonald is the epitome of an eternal evangelist of Atlassian products within his company. Read on to learn how his onboarding skills span many products and multiple departments make him the most official unofficial DevOps guy around. 

It seems like you are quite the Atlassian advocate within your org - what’s your actual job title and role aside from that?

My title is IT Consultant. I think I fall in a DevOps-like position. We don't have any DevOps initiative or anything in the office, but I follow the news a bit and am making pushes towards a lot of those ideas, but I can only do so much. As of now, I am managing our Jira, Confluence, Bitbucket, and Bamboo instances, along with numerous other tools to help support our QA and development groups.

My time at Meemic started with me bringing in Confluence, to help beef up and organize our group documentation. That went so well that eCommerce and IT also game on board to use it. Meanwhile, our QA group was looking to add some automation. Once we had some projects, we needed a way to store and execute those projects, so I setup Bitbucket and Bamboo so that we could automate them. Soon after, the eCommerce group liked what they saw, and moved all of their code over to Bitbucket and we brought up an instance of Jira for them as they were looking for something to handle their move to do projects in Agile.

What were some of the shortcoming of ManageEngine ServiceDesk Plus that led your team to seek other solutions?

The product had no flexibility or workflow capability and its interface was not always the most intuitive. We consistently found issues when looking to expand its use cases. In looking to build out new services for users to submit, the forms were easy to build but quickly became long and bloated since there was no option for tabs or some other form to help organize the fields.

We also ran into limitations with the API. It basically only worked with Incidents/Requests. The CMDB/Assets were all off limits. The system could make calls to run scripts or a Java class, which could then do tasks to help add new features, but we found those were limited as to what data they could access.

How do your eCommerce and IS groups currently manage incoming issues?

Most of the requests come in through email. The rest come in through phone calls.

What kind of onboarding challenges do you foresee with getting your Agent Support group and Foundation groups onto JSD?

Foundation currently receives all their incoming requests via email from a web form. These will be routed to go into Jira to be able to be assigned and tracked. What is uncertain and will need to be worked out is the notifications then from Jira back to the requesters, and determining upon what times those emails should be sent and how each should look.

Our Agent Support group currently handles most everything via a dedicated email account that the group shares. As you can imagine, it becomes difficult to keep track of which issues are where. The biggest challenge here will be meeting their needs. With the current setup, Agent support likes it as they feel it gives the Agent a personal feeling versus it just being routed into some application to be handled by some support group. The key will be finding some middle ground keeping that personal touch while bringing the requests into Jira where they can be more easily tracked and managed.

How do you plan to use Jira to manage HR on-boarding?

Our current planned flow will have the hiring managers submit a request through the Jira portal which will then go to HR. HR will have it proceed once they receive acceptance of the offer. When HR moves it ahead, Issues will be generated for all parties that have tasks for new employees, like Facilities, IT and IS. These Issues will all be linked back to the HR ticket so HR can easily see the progress of which items are completed.

What are some of the biggest differences in the ways that your IS, Its and eCommerce teams use Confluence?

Honestly, this one is hard to answer. I have not seen much of the Spaces used by IT or eCommerce. IS has a mix of documentation to help others in IS if they needed some answers on certain topics. There are also guides on installing, upgrading and configuring many of the different applications and environments used by the developers. IS also has a fair amount of documentation made public for the users of our systems. These documents cover a lot of the common tasks they do in the systems.

Thanks, Curtis! 

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