At Atlassian, we take great pride in the software we ship, and even greater pride in the success our customers achieve when they use our products. #JiraHeroes is our new monthly spotlight series where we ask customers to share their success stories with Jira Software. We hope that customers will find inspiration on how to overcome their own challenges by hearing how our #JiraHeroes overcame theirs.
This month, we’re featuring @Jose Luis Gaitan , a Scrum Master, Agile Coach and Consultant at Indra, who leveraged Jira Software to help an international non-profit organization manage its projects across the globe.
My name is Jose Luis Gaitan! I was a Scrum Master and Agile Coach at Entelgy, a large Spanish IT Company. Actually I work as a Consultant at Indra, a Spanish multinational company that lead consulting services on transport, defense, energy, telecommunications, financial services; as well as services to the public sector.
I work with clients to help them implement agile methodologies across their organizations, leveraging Jira Software and Trello as the “day-by-day” tools to help them achieve their objectives. I help my clients use these tools more efficiently by sharing my personal expertise and best practices.
Some years ago, I worked with one of the most important non-profit organizations in Spain. I have collaborated with many non-profit organizations in the past (I’m an activist for some of them!), so I was really excited to lead this project.
This particular non-profit needed our help to optimize several workflows, such as organizing projects in other countries and internal business processes. It was clear from my first day that this was going to be a challenge -- the non-profit didn’t have a coordinated way of working. Everyone worked in silos and didn’t collaborate on common subtasks. There were hundreds of disjointed word documents and spreadsheets. They didn’t use any tools or platforms to organize their work. Together, this often led to bottlenecks and ultimately failed projects.
Before making any strategic recommendations, my team and I met with various individuals across the organization to get a better understanding of the current structure and ways of working, thus allowing us to minimize waste and maximize the value of our resources. These conversations made it clear that what this organization needed was a way to have a “bird’s eye” view into all the work that’s being done -- status of all projects, reports from employees working on-site in different countries, etc.
… and the Jira journey began!
Why did we decide to implement Jira? This non-profit needed a flexible tool that would not only offer the “bird’s eye” view for top executives but also provide day-to-day granularity for those working on the ground. There were a lot of different people who needed to do different things with the same information, and Jira, when configured correctly, is a powerful tool that this non-profit needed to be an agile organization.
My team leaned heavily on the non-profit leaders and employees during the installation and configuration of Jira Software. We wanted to learn as much as we could about the organization so that we could translate their day-by-day work into Jira Software. We worked regularly with their teams to define the organizational hierarchy, which translated into the groups and project roles in Jira. We also collaborated with the non-profit leaders and employees to understand how they take various pieces of work through to completion, which translated into the workflows.
Through these conversations, we were able to bucket project roles into the following categories:
Technical – those in charge of creating infrastructures such as wells, medical centers, etc.
Media – those in charge of publicity in mass media
Human resources – those in charge of HR operations at the non-profit
Membership – those in charge of new members
Board – those in leadership positions at the non-profit organization
Government – those involved in negotiations with governments and directors in other countries
Economy – those people in charge on public or private subsidies
Projects – those in charge of specific projects (e.g. searching for needs in other countries, assigning people to projects, controlling budget, etc.)
Volunteers – those responsible for getting volunteers needed to join local projects
Understanding the various types of work helped us determine if teams should have Kanban or Scrum projects. Since Economy, Government, and Project people are used to working in cycles, we determined that they should be using Scrum projects. Others would use Kanban.
We tried to simplify and standardize workflows as much as possible, using the same statuses across all teams. Some statuses include:
Waiting for approval
Waiting for assignment
Blocked in destiny
Blocked in transporting
“May day” (Yes, it was a curious name, but here’s the meaning – while we were there, a project was being developed in a risky, war-torn country.)
Creating the Jira instance in a way that reflected the organization's workflows was not the most challenging part -- there were a lot of non-technical folks (psychologists, doctors, construction workers, etc.) that needed to be educated on how to use Jira Software effectively. To illustrate this point, there were many folks who were still making calculations by hand using a calculator! We held many basic training sessions to help them get up to speed. Additionally, we prepared some courses as it relates to a larger Agile theme such as: how to work with Kanban, the seven wastes of Lean, the Toyota way of working, and more.
In a few weeks, the non-profit started to reap the benefits of our work. They had access to all information for any project with one or two mouse clicks. We automated mailing when a state was achieved or a problem was blocking something. The onboarding process for new people was simpler and more efficient than ever before. Ultimately, Jira Software enabled this non-profit organization to access a continuous flow of information because there was greater transparency and visibility into all the work that was happening throughout this organization. Not only did Jira Software make work management that much easier, it helped employees feel more connected to the organization -- as part of a big machine, cooperating, and enjoying their jobs.
When we arrived, we found a zombie apocalypse. When we left, we created a really oiled machine operated by a group of people ready to change the world.
Align business requirements with your users’ wants and needs. It’s just as important to create a Jira instance that supports business goals as much as it is to have a platform that your users want to use.
Try to be as simple as possible. The easiest solution is always the best. Jira is a powerful tool with a lot of functionality, meaning that it can support teams of different sizes and functions. It does not mean you need to use all the features and overcomplicate. Use only what you need.
Jira is the most powerful tool I’ve ever worked with, and it can be intimidating. Just know that you are not alone. Wherever you are, you can ask the Atlassian Community almost anything. There are also really useful (and free!) courses on Atlassian University.
And remember -- be simple, be effective… be Atlassian :)
Thank you for this opportunity you gave me and I hope to be useful to other people. Please connect with me on LinkedIn!
Thank you so much for sharing your insights, Jose! 🎊
#JiraHeroes have extensive knowledge of Jira, and share their thoughtful and tactical content with the Community! Are you inspired by Jose’s story, or have a story of your own to share? Check out our call for submissions, and let us know you’re interested in the comments below to be featured and also receive our coveted Jira Hero Community badge! 🙌🏻