Customer Q and A with Atlassian's President, Jay Simons Edited

In April, Jay Simons talked with over 600 user group members in person and via live stream at user group events across North America. Below are the questions customers asked during the events, along with Jay's answers.

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Q. 1. I have multiple cloud and well as one server instance. Between the two deployments, who is the leader and who is the follower? I'm seeing lots of different feature sets in both and trying to decide which to go with. 

Answer: 

Broadly, we are committed to both. We provide products in a deployment vehicle that works for your company. The broad secular trend is in the cloud. If you look at all new customers that join Atlassian, three quarters are in the cloud. The cloud gives us the ability to ship features faster. You'll see more feature momentum earlier in cloud than server, because to ship a release in Server is a much longer process. Even if the features in Server lag a little bit compared to Cloud, the release cadence will be more graceful in the past (big feature releases every year instead of quarter). Don't believe you want feature releases every quarter, so the benefit is by the time features get to you, they're more refined in Server. Learning from Cloud and take learnings to Server.

 

Q. 2.  My company recently moved from Cloud to Server because they really wanted LDAP and to have a customized HR workflow. However, we really loved Cloud. Do you have a plan for LDAP integration and customized workflow for Cloud in the future?

Answer:

We do have a plan for LDAP integration in the future. This is currently a big Identity project with active directory and LDAP.

 

Q. 3. Many Cloud customers have a challenge with limited number of plugins with Cloud. Are there plans to extend with CloudConnect?

Answer:

In part we are dependent on plugin and add on vendors, but there is lots of energy and people who are deeply commented to moving there quickly. We are invested energy in Connect Week(s).

 

Q. 4. When will you enable over 2,000 users in Cloud? When will you start releasing stuff for Cloud in server again, like "the good old days." It is frustrating with all exciting announcements in Cloud but I can't use it because I'm in Server and unable to move to Cloud because I have 6,000 users.

Answer:

We’re working on this currently so stay tuned.

In terms of releases, we want to try our best to take as much as we can where it makes sense as quickly as we can. Cloud allows us to build faster and differently. Ex: mobile for Cloud is relatively easy. You have your handful of mobile operating system (phone), your carrier provides internet service and we provide the thing the device and internet are connecting to.

In Server there is a fourth variable: your infrastructure and your firewalls, and that is different for tens of thousands of companies. That makes it way trickier. For server, there is a different feature set we are committed to enhancing that take a lot of time and effort. Ex: archiving, geo-clustering (things in Cloud you don't need but do need in Server).

 

Q. 5.  I'm pushing the use of Atlassian tools (JIRA and Confluence) on business side to bridge the gap between technology and business teams for more transparency. The first challenge for non-technical users is onboarding and where to go to get onboarding information. What are plans for any initiative to help non technical users adopt the tools.

Answer:

There is a big initiative around simplicity and refinement specific to onboarding.

 

Q. 6. A lot of Atlassian tools are focused on software development. There's an enormous market out there for people who don't do software development. Can you speak to that?

Answer: 

At a high level, we don't discriminate between teams. The problems we solve are universal. We started around complex problems related to teams and software development and as we refine the products, we retain the power and use the simplicity, the problems are still universal. Teams need to solve for communication, work across teams and sites, etc.

 

Q. 7. I work in a highly regulated industry. Is there more information to expand on Enterprise and DataCenter (also want high availability and geographic bailover)? I've dealt with lots of weird bugs and stability issues and it is hard to feel it is an Enterprise ready product.

Answer:

DataCenter product line is putting in a lot of investment to improve product deployment and scale.

 

Q. 8. Can you describe culture aspects of Atlassian that bleed through into your products?

Answer:

Fun! Trello has done a great job with this as well. Moments of delight where the product can engage and connect with you, and for end users it can make a difference in the experience. Our culture is fun, fun place and we hope it bleeds through project. We want you to have fun running projects and sprints! The company focused on iterative and constant improvement. The versions of JIRA and Confluence today are radically different than they were in past years.

 

Q. 9. Are there are plans to expand Partner/marketing presence beyond where Atlassian is known.

Answer: 

We have the Atlassian Solution Partner network which is a vital part of how we go to market. If people need additional TLC to know what products can do, there is an interface we provide those partners, (Solution Partner Managers) who help enable, learn opportunities, know of opportunities Atlassian isn't aware about, etc.

 

Q. 10. We've voted for issues and enhancements we've liked to see. Some are still on waiting list, and I've seen lots of unsavory messages on some in the past few weeks. Some in particular have workarounds via addons (which aren't always free). Many comments agree that these add ons provide basic functionality that should be in JIRA. How can something be on the roadmap for 10 years? Do you think as a company, "well, if a customer spends an extra $500-2,000 they can get it, so let's keep this feature off of our roadmap"?

Answer:

Being self reflective and looking on jira.atlassian.com (JAC), we aren't happy. Expect to see improvements in the way we respond to things we know we are going to do, know we aren't going to do, or if there is a practical work around that can address the issue.Actions will speak louder than words, but we are not happy with current the problem in JAC that you described. I will say how we think about the things we do and don't do, we try to go through JAC and look through every product and say "what are the ones we can pick off". Often the ones that have been around a while are super hard and super hard to do well. Now with 70k customers, the way to deploy is a different set of considerations. How much in JAC can we fix and add things that people really want while also saving room for "paper cut work" and new innovations that people aren't asking for that we test? We try to take a big block of things that we can address and do just that, while still saving room for the other stuff. The thing we don't do a good job of is communicating, which we are looking to fix.

 

Q. 11. Is there a free version of Trello for cloud?

Answer:

Yes, Trello is free and in the cloud. We have no plans to change the payment structure.

 

Q. 12. Are there timelines for Trello integrations with other Atlassian products? Is there going to be a Trello server version anytime soon? 

Answer:

Integrations are available now called Atlassian Power-Ups. We have no immediate plans to create a server version of Trello.

 

Q. 13. Are there differences between free and paid Trello plans, specifically regarding security?

Answer: 

Business and enterprise plans offer additional admin control around permissioning, auditing and data access. Paid also provides two factor authentication  

 

Q. 14. I'm a JIRA person and recently started to explore Trello. In terms of integration, are there plans to open up Trello to integration with products that are not Atlassian?

Answer: 

Yes, Trello already has integration framework that allows for that. 

 

Q. 15. Can you connect Trello to server? For those teams using Trello now, they know that they have robust infrastructure and want to link all of every card with every issue. If I have all this information in Trello, how do I push all information in JIRA and get these teams to use JIRA instead?

Answer:

You cannot connect Trello to server yet. Integration exists between both products in the cloud, so you could consider that if possible. Card linkage is one thing the integration provides.

 

Q. 16. JIRA has thriving developer marketplace. What are plans to expand into Trello?

Answer:

The marketplace is already there and we have plans to help it flourish more than it currently is. One example is AtlasCamp 2017 where there was a great deal of focus on Trello to help equip developers who know about Atlassian but not a ton about Trello. We have a great deal of energy and rich ecosystem of developers.

 

Q. 17. Are you planning to integrate Crowd with Trello? 

Answer:

No.

 

Q. 18. I use JIRA at work and Trello for nonprofit and personal. I want to hear more about the JIRA and Trello integration. What is the use case for maintaining a JIRA board and Trello?

Answer:

You may just want to selectively identify a particular item inside of Trello to make a JIRA card that gets assigned to different people withinin a JIRA system. A project you can assign work to on a different team- create a JIRA issue that gets linked, then JIRA can take over assignment, prioritizing, notifications, changing status, workflow. You can reflect JIRA stages back in the Trello card. For example, four people on team don't use JIRA at all. They can use Trello for ideation and then use the integration to assign the physical work for another team in a JIRA system.

 

Q. 19. I love JIRA and Trello and use them both. I'm not technical and they are still too complex. Looking to Portfolio, how can it help us get a more high level view of what is going on? Also, what are you looking for in our next acquisition? 

Answer:  

Encourage you to give Portfolio a try. The simplest way to describe it is when a group wants visibility to do thematic planning/roadmapping across many projects, Portfolio fulfills that need. It's free to try, so try it!We care deeply about changing how people work and looking for new and innovating ways that we can build or add things to the family that improve how people work. Trello is a great culture fit, good fit with the way we operate. Anything in the future will be comparable.

 

Q. 20. I'm a JIRA Cloud user. I come into the office and find a lot of things have changed in the product and I was not notified in advance. Is there a better way of being notified of changes? 

Answer:

We are committed to doing a better job informing people before a change ships.

 

Q. 21. People reach for the tool that is easiest/glossiest for them. Appreciate rollout of iOS apps for JIRA on Cloud. Can you speak to the vision of mobile and how it fits, how it becomes easier for our users to use the products?

Answer:

Lot of energy in mobile, started in the cloud. The goal is not to provide a companion app, but to rethink how people who want to use JIRA and Confluence on a daily basis and how would they need to best interact with it.

 

Q. 22. When Service Desk was first introduced, the price was every single user in JIRA, then they realized they needed to licensed differently. Is Portfolio going to go the same way? As of now that is the one thing keeping us from wanting to purchase it. It is only our project managers that need it, not every single JIRA user. Right now it is priced out our range.

Answer:

We roughly think of add-ons to JIRA, rightly or wrongly, as a percentage of the JIRA products. That is partially where it gets the price wrong. If we were to price it per product managers, the per user price for Portfolio (bc we still think of it as a product that is going to cost 50-75% of the price of JIRA once we triangulate), PMs would cry foul at that per user price. Something we've talked about, but yet to find the best way to license it as it pertains to what it does within a JIRA instance. Currently no pending change other than we've heard the feedback.

 

Q. 23. Are there plans to provide JIRA archiving solutions?

Answer: 

Not any ready to commit to. Along with plans to investigate geographic deployments in DataCenter, archiving is also an area we’re investigating.

 

Q. 24. Moved from project to product focused. One struggle with JIRA is product roadmaps. End up integrating things with Aha to be product focused and tie the roadmap to JIRA. Can you share any insight on the roadmap with JIRA and if it is going to be product focused?

Answer: 

Road mapping is a dimension thinking carefully about for Portfolio. Look to enhancements with Portfolio and check out the marketplace.

 

Q. 25. Is there a plan for support for other languages in JIRA and Confluence? I've been consulting in Mexico and used JIRA for business project management. There is translation configuration and a beta tag, but translations are not all there.

Answer:

We announced during Summit Europe that translation has been completed in 13 new languages, making Atlassian tools available in a total of 22 languages. 

 

Q. 26. JIRA supporting MariaDB on the backend. Atlassian does not support it at all. Is it in the roadmap to support in the near future?

Answer: 

Not currently, but will flag it with the JIRA server PMs. Try to be careful about deployment support matrix- everything we add then adds complexity.

 

Q. 27. Curious whether there are any more moves to handling SAFE and other scaled agile approaches directly in the platform.

Answer: 

Just wait for Portfolio version 3.

 

Q. 28. People have been jumping to get their projects made in JIRA and some of the notifications are confusing and they aren't getting notified and getting pissed. Is there a way to explain notifications? Notification helper says they should be getting notified via email but they are not. 

Answer: 

Great question for support. Go to support.atlassian.com. If you already have an are not getting a response, be sure to email Jay.

 

Q. 29. I understand the pricing model with add-ons and license fees. Is there any consideration about being able to mask functionality for individual projects (not disabling or restricting)? Two examples are Tempo or Structure- struggle with going onto a new model when I wasn't even aware it was being deployed.

Answer: 

Masking add-on functionality is on a project level. It is up to add-on devs to do it. In Structure you can limit which projects have the add-on. The best bet is to speak with the people who built the add-on.

 

Q. 30. Do you plan to have conference scheduling capability in HipChat video to schedule conferences with your team?

Answer: 

We do! We are working on better integration to calendaring, with a lot of thinking around using HipChat video to run meetings. There is a lot of energy not only to integrate with calendar, but how can it be a better experience.

 

Q. 31. I'm a HipChat user. Why does it keep the notification in email when I am away. Most people don't check emails, and when I come back to my desktop, I expect notifications to be there, but they are not. Is it possible to turn off the email notifications?

Answer:

Yes, the configuration at the user level. You can do it.

 

Q. 32. StatusPage was't mentioned in the presentation. Where is it in terms of product portfolio and enterprise offerings? It is treated as an independent product? Where does HipChat sit in the marketplace against Slack with customers at the 20k user size enterprise? How do you plan on addressing that challenge, generally speaking?

Answer: 

We are working on enhancements to the communication part on the actual StatusPage itself.

We think HipChat is far head of market in terms of scale. User limitation was only behind firewall (5,000 users). Lots of customers in cloud that use it for more than 20,000 people so we have a head start in terms of cloud scale. Messaging is a wide open market and we are deeply philosophically committed to making sure the experience that your teams have moving across our products is a good one.

 

Q. 33. Is there a plan going forward for Fisheye and Crucible? It seems like anything going on with those products is coming out slowly and sliding off into maintenance mode. What is the plan going forward?

Answer: 

Still adding capability to them. It is a relatively small team and going to be a capacity question, but they are not going into maintenance mode. The team will do a good job paying attention to things in jira.atlassian.com. We are more oriented around Bitbucket because there is far more demand for it. Part of what we are responding to is market dynamic aka git.

 

6 comments

This is a really interesting and useful interview with Jay. Feedback for community team - difficult readability - a bit of text formatting would help a lot here.

Monique van den Berg Community Manager Monday

Thanks for the feedback, George -- I italicized the questions, so hopefully that helps with readability a bit. 

Agree with George, even with the italicized it is a bit hard to read.  Content is good and I can't wait to share this out with my AUG.

 

Monique van den Berg Community Manager Thursday

Maybe a bold "Question" in front of the questions to match "Answer"? I will suggest it :)

is it possible to build whitelabel solution on top of JIRA ? use JIRA as back-end

Nikolay, that's a good question to ask in a new post 

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