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Valerie Blanchette, #1 most outdoorsy Atlassian admin, on why you should to go to Summit Europe 2018

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For fun, @Valerie rides bicycles, motorcycles, runs, hikes, and skis. She also manages thousands of Jira tasks and processes for Jira and Confluence. In this interview, you will discover that there's simply no challenge Valerie can't conquer. Enjoy!

What are some of your day-to-day responsibilities as Manager of Corporate Planning at Genova Diagnostics

As Manager of Corporate Planning, I track the portfolio of our corporate projects and priorities, key metrics, perform key business analysis, and run special projects.  My daily responsibilities can vary from day to day including tracking projects, managing projects, designing and leading analysis, and ensuring teams are informed of our top priorities and projects. 

What is the first time you used an Atlassian product? What did you think?

I used Jira and Confluence together for the first time on the same day. We use Confluence as our corporate intranet and Jira to manage many different processes and tasks here at Genova. I was aware of Jira (for Jira Service Desk) prior to that as mainly Helpdesk software that past companies and clients used. My first thoughts were that these tools were great to track tasks and publish information to keep teams informed and collaborating. I also saw the potential to use these tools in more ways throughout the company to help manage our thousands of tasks and processes.

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As a respite from tackling thousands of tasks and projects, Valerie loves to go mountain biking with her pup. 

What were some of the main takeaways from your first Summit? What would you say to those deciding whether or not to go for their first time?

I would definitely say to anyone deciding whether or not to go to Summit to definitely go to Summit. I learned so much about best practices and how others are using Confluence software to improve and enhance their business. I really liked learning about the Team Playbook––what a great resource to project teams. I especially loved the user group for the specific Industry Life Sciences that I am in. The whole experience was great and learning about the incredible culture at Atlassian made the experience even better.

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What is your experience getting multiple teams on board with Jira + Confluence adoption? 

My experience with getting multiple teams on board with Jira and Confluence was to help model the way and show the potential of the tools, I found “power users” that understood the potential of the tools and we provided group training and best practices discussions. Teams got on board with Jira for tracking their time and their tasks as it was an easy way to show the work that goes into processes and projects and help keep everyone informed, we use Jira for approval workflows and many key non-technical business processes. For cross-functional project management, I created templates in Confluence to share information and link to Jira tasks related to the project and to keep project team notes. The project pages serve as a hub for information about key milestones and due dates, notes, documents, and information.   The key to adoption is helping teams see the value and creating a central place for information and knowledge and collaboration.   

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 And if two types of bikes weren't enough...here's Valerie cruising on her road bike! 

Which departments use Confluence + Jira and for what? 

Almost all of our teams use Confluence and Jira in some way. Confluence is our corporate intranet. Team and departments have created spaces in which to collaborate and stay informed. For example, we have our Center of Operational Excellence Space on Confluence that contains all our LEAN and DMAIC (Six Sigma Projects), along with all product related projects and key cross-functional projects. This space has the project pages for all these projects. Teams use Jira to store and share operating procedures, frequently asked questions, campaign lists, training materials, reporting queries, and key information. 

We use Jira for many key business processes including IT Helpdesk, tracking project tasks, product development, collaborating between our laboratory sample receipt teams and client services, software development, tracking analysis tasks, tracking client requests that come in from e-mail, etc. We are incredibly heavy Jira users. One great example, we have a Jira project to track when there is an issue with an order that comes in the door so that client services can act on it or JIRA works through our client portal to send an automated e-mail to the client to take a specific action to complete their order. I keep a project of “projects” in JIRA to track the status of all our key corporate projects and priorities and track what is not yet prioritized and awaiting discussion by our Leadership Team. 

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What do you do outside of work for fun?  

For fun, I enjoy spending my time outside riding bicycles, motorcycling, running or hiking or skiing. I basically love anything active outdoors, especially with my two dogs. I live in the beautiful Appalachian mountains so getting outside to enjoy the trails, countryside, rivers, lakes, and woods is very easy and accessible.

Thanks, Valerie! Community: If you have questions for Valerie, please leave them in the comments section below. If you're interested in learning more or taking advantage of early bird Summit Europe tickets, click here!

5 comments

Monique vdB Community Manager Apr 16, 2018

Love that pic of you and your pup, @Valerie Blanchette!!

Wow @Valerie Blanchette - you have energy to burn! I guess what Tony Robbins says is true, movement brings energy! You can tell by your photos you are embracing life - good for you! I love your examples on how you get teams onboard, modeling the way and showing the potential :)

Thanks @Jodi LeBlanc and @Monique vdB!   I love the outdoors and have made it a priority in my life.  I created a vision for how I wanted to live and that is how this city girl ended up in a mountain town.  My house may not be the cleanest, yet I sure do have fun.

Thanks to @Bridget for featuring my story.  I just love how Atlassian products can help teams work more efficiently and effictively and create a culture of shared knowledge.

Wow @Valerie Blanchette you are a go-getter! I also enjoy the multiple ways your company has used both JIRA and Confluence - very creative. 

Thanks a bunch for sharing!

Thanks @LeKisha Boswell.  JIRA and Confluence can be used in so many great ways to track processes and tasks and keep everyone informed.  The hard part is learning to manage and keep up with all the great content teams can produce and make sure it all stays relevant.

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