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What we learned from our AMA featuring LaunchDarkly and Turnitin

Two weeks ago, we hosted a unique “Ask Me Anything” event in Community, featuring Team Central power users from LaunchDarkly and Turnitin. We received 10 questions, 90 likes and upvotes, and over 5,900 views.

A round of applause and a big thank you to everyone who posted such great questions and contributed to our discussion with Jonathan, Kim and Leah! There were fascinating topics in our session on what it takes to run Product and Engineering teams with agility and how Atlas (fka as Team Central) can improve cross-team communication.

Here are our three main takeaways that you can bring back to your teams.

Status meetings are boring…but sharing updates doesn’t have to be

"It’s the most boring thing in the world to sit in a room where a bunch of people go around the room to report status on a bunch of unrelated projects."

—Jonathan Nolen, SVP of Engineering & Product at LaunchDarkly

Well said, Jonathan. Haven’t we all been in (too many) meetings where we wondered, was this really the best use of our time? What helps is for teams to share what’s happening with their projects in a way that is —as Jonathan articulated during the AMA— “maximally useful and minimally burdensome.”

The weekly cadence of sharing project updates in Atlas helps the teams at LaunchDarkly and Turnitin get the alignment they need to move forward with their work. With the ability to use images, embed videos and graphs, Atlas enables many ways for you to craft compelling updates people will read.

As Jonathan attests, the character limit for sharing updates actually helps you write updates that others will read.

“I am one of the primary consumers of the updates, and I find the two-sentence explanation to be the perfect length 95% of the time. The other 5% I can use the links to read the spec, or our issue tracker, or just ask a follow up question right there.”

With Atlas, your stakeholders can follow a project and get updates delivered to them—so they don’t have to ask you “Hey, what’s happening with Project X?” any more.

Changing team behaviors is hard, so bottoms up adoption is key

Several of you asked questions about when to use Atlas versus other tools, like Confluence or Jira, as well as for tips on spreading Atlas adoption. At the root of these two questions is understanding what is the unique combination of tools that each team needs to run smoothly. In other words, how do you put together a work “tech stack” that works best for your individual teams?

For Turnitin, the tools they use include Slack for all teams, Jira and Atlas for its Engineering and Product Teams, Asana for Marketing and Salesforce for Sales.

“In terms of other teams adopting Team Central, we’re seeing it spread from the ground up (not top-down mandated). Once the CTO was able to get structured updates from some of his teams (ie, customer impacting teams had adopted Team Central but Infrastructure, AI teams had not), the other teams began to ask about Team Central.”

—Leah Picone, Principal Product Operations Manager at Turnitin

What’s unique about Atlas is that any team, regardless of function, can use it to complement their work tech stack for better cross-team communication and alignment. Atlas works well with any combination of work tools, both within and outside of the Atlassian platform, including Slack and now MS Teams.

Of course, there are great synergies using Atlas with Jira, Confluence and Trello . Plus, we have a special article dedicated to tips on using Atlas with Confluence. We are working on building out our Jira integration later this year too!

Running Agile teams is 100% a team sport

Finally, we received a couple questions around what it means to run Agile teams, which got us thinking about “Agile” as more of a communal state of mind and less so a strict set of rules to follow.

“One of the biggest things that comes to mind when I think of agile is that it is 100% a team sport. And by that I mean that engineering/technology can't do it alone—you have to bring product team and other business teams along.

One of the ways to do this is to Plan Big and Implement Small.

Make sure you cast the vision of what you want to deliver to your stakeholders and then show them the value of developing in an agile manner through quick wins (implement small). Be sure you aren't just talking about the benefits of agile but are actually showing the benefits to your stakeholders...”

—Kim Hanson, VP of Product Engineering at Turnitin

By sharing your quick wins, you’ll give your teams a sense of concrete progress. That can turn into a virtuous flywheel, which encourages teams to continue iterating and sharing their learnings.

We hope you enjoyed learning from our good friends Jonathan, Kim and Leah as much as we had fun hosting this AMA. To read all of their excellent answers, check out this link.

What is your favorite takeaway from this AMA? Keep this conversation going by commenting below!



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