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🚀🌔🪐An agile app launch worthy of NASA - Not Another Standup App👩🏽‍🚀👨🏿‍🚀🧑🏻‍🚀

Unfortunately when you're doing rocket science you never quite know when an experimental launch will be successful -- and this year we missed Apptoberfest! But hopefully you'll enjoy the video below, precisely because it's not just another demo 😉

“For the first time in the planet’s history, our species has the technology to prevent endless standup meetings”.

That is, in essence, the mission of the new app we have just launched into the Atlassian Marketspace. But don’t take it from me – take it from Björn Döhler, the resolution Co-CEO and acting President of the USA.

 

 

The existential threat of inefficient standup meetings

Every agile team has built daily standups into their routine… but a high percentage of them is very inefficient!

There’s not a single reason for this, although one story seems to resonate very often when I discuss the issue. Once daily scrums start creeping into hour-long project management sessions, participants disconnect, start showing up unprepared, and lose sight of what’s really important: aligning with colleagues to reach the sprint goal, identifying blockers early on, and addressing them at the speed of light.

More often than not, daily Scrums are conducted in a Zoom screenshare of the project board in Jira. And while we all love Jira here, we also know that issues are, for good or for bad, only a part of what’s going on. 

It’s a balancing act we all know. It’s key to focus on the work that has been committed for the sprint, but the details shouldn't hide the bigger picture. Because if they do, the threat can be existential. There is no excuse in today’s business universe for shipping poor quality software… and being late to the designated  time of launch.

A new communication vehicle for agile teams

NASA’s Forge-based engine has been designed to fix dysfunctional communication conditions.

Unstructured & Irrelevant Feedback

With NASA, Scrum Masters have way more options for creating focus for their team, facilitating their interventions, and moderating team interactions:

 meeting questions.png

 

  • Meeting configuration. Defining the exact questions the team will be going through is a great way to avoid improvised updates and ad hoc discussions. Additionally, Scrum Masters can define how often the meeting should happen, and which Jira issues should be shown to users as suggestions for their updates.
  • Timed interventions. Every participant’s update is timed, as is the overall duration of the meeting. In our test, this alone decreases enormously meeting overruns.
  • Flagged issues. Instead of jumping into a troubleshooting session, blockers and problems can be flagged for follow-up. The app documents them so that they can be addressed straight away!

Accessibility

 NASA_Features_150dpi_The facilitation app for Scrum Masters (2).png

 

Remote, hybrid, and distributed teams have their own challenges with standup meetings. The app provides a solid workflow for updates that combine a visual with a written element, driving engagement from remote team members and increasing participation.

  • Async Preparation mode. The update can be prepared any time in between standups. Some users find it very useful to prepare it at the end of each working day, as it helps to plan for the day after. 
  • Live meeting. Anybody who can attend the meeting will go into the Live meeting mode, where updates from absent colleagues can also be discussed.

Memory Loss

 Team Journal.png

 

Standups contain significant information, yet they are poorly documented (if at all). NASA provides a paper trail that allows to easily go back to previous discussion points and constitutes the best possible bridge between sync and async interactions.

  • Team Journal captures up to 30 meetings, together with team performance statistics, and issues flagged for follow-up.
  • Personal Overview tracks all recent activity from the user, allowing to quickly catch-up to speed for preparing an update. 

How your feedback can help

In the next versions, we will be shipping a number of improvements that can further contribute to making team communication seamless. 

  • Integrations. Besides the deep integration with Jira, the app will soon surface work from Confluence, Bitbucket, and GitHub, making it way easier to bring every phase of agile planning under the same hood – from development and testing, up to reviewing code and preparing documentation. 
  • An app for Slack will make it easier to prepare rich standup updates without leaving your favorite chat. We know that’s the one application that is always open on your secondary monitor!

Besides that, there are many possible evolutions. There will be a second and a third generation of NASA communication vehicles, but what they look likely highly depends on you. We particularly welcome your feedback on some aspects:

  • Followups. Flagging issues for follow up is a key time-winner in our aircraft. However, we haven’t yet defined any in-app actions for activating followups after the live meeting. What would be a helpful workflow for you? A meeting scheduler? A Confluence page from a template? Anything else?
  • Suggested issues. Do you like the existing options that the app has for suggesting issues? Is a JQL filter enough, or is there any angle that you’re failing to capture? We’re working on a library of useful JQLs, so also happy if you want to share your own!
  • Additional Use Cases. While NASA is fine-tuned for speeding up daily standups, it can also take your crew to the next level for organizing and documenting Sprint retros, or simply for periodically gathering feedback. As you test it for this kind of external use cases, we welcome your opinion on what aspects are currently missing to fully optimize your workflow.

Share your comments right here, or raise a ticket with our support team if there is any very specific request that you’d like to share with us!

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