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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 @Jimmy Seddon, an R&D Tools Administrator at a cyber security company, who shares how he researched, audited, configured, and implemented Jira Software and Confluence to standardize teams and provide stakeholder visibility for his organization's R&D department.
Hello Community! My name is Jimmy Seddon, and I work for Arctic Wolf, a cyber security company that provides SaaS-based cyber security solutions. I’m the Tools Administrator on the R&D Labs team within the R&D organization which supports all of our developers with tool and infrastructure needs. Specifically, I’m responsible for managing our development teams’ Atlassian products (mainly Jira Software and Confluence Cloud Premium). When I'm not working, I'm spending time with my wonderful wife, 4 year old son, and two dogs. You can also find me streaming video games for charity supporting Sick Kids Hospital.
Our R&D and Product organizations didn't have a cohesive software release process, which made it challenging for stakeholders to understand when and how releases would be deployed.
What we needed was a single tool for organizational visibility, consistent processes that all teams could follow, and clear documentation of all functions.
We began by meeting with the R&D and Product leaders (our stakeholders) to 1) discover how their teams used Jira Software and Confluence and 2) extract common ways of working. We discovered that teams used different tools that didn't integrate smoothly or have proper ownership. They also followed different processes with limited and mostly outdated documentation.
For the tool, we audited features and functionality out-of-the-box with Jira Software (such as multiple levels of parent/child issues) along with their Premium offerings (such as Advanced Roadmaps) to determine the best offering for what our stakeholders wanted and needed for cross-organizational visibility.
As we designed the new process and how it would look in Jira, we leveraged feedback from a focus group with select product team members acting as our "beta testing group". Once product teams and developer leadership agreed on standardized processes (like how sprint planning should look in Jira), we implemented Jira for the rest of teams within R&D and Product.
After completing our audit and meeting with the right stakeholders, we improved our release process by:
Consolidating all work in Jira Software and deprecating all other product planning tools. Teams were using Jira Software to execute most of our release process. Because other tools weren't used consistently, they were causing a discontinuity in workflows. We decided to go with Jira Software so that we could focus our efforts on pleasing our end users in a single tool for all releases instead of having to setup and configure multiple tools.
Creating a new project for our Product Management team in Jira Software. Since we decided to deprecate all other tools, we had to bring all current and future work into Jira Software. This was a phased process.
There were some development teams who had projects that were “live” and active development was already happening within Jira Software. We didn’t want to disrupt their workflows, so we made a couple of minor workflow changes (we added two new statuses and removed one) that aligned with the new process we developed.
For the team that was starting anew in Jira Software, we built a brand new project for them. We leveraged Advanced Roadmaps (which we had access to as a part of our Cloud Premium subscription) for high-level oversight of parent/child relationships between issue types in the project maintained by our Product Management team. By using Advanced Roadmaps, we were able to create a single source of truth, which allowed our Product team to accurately report on the status/process of work items to our executives. This also gave them a clear line of sight into the development work attached to their higher-level initiatives so they could more easily see what work they needed to follow up on.
Documenting this new process in its entirety in Confluence. We decided with our stakeholders that everything would be documented in Confluence. On Confluence pages, we included proper links to Jira Software issues, which show updated statuses of issues because of their integration. This allowed anyone viewing the page to have the most relevant information at any given point in the release process.
Anything that can be automated, should be automated. Have Jira do as much as it can for your users so that they can spend more time doing awesome work.
Please note that this doesn't just mean automation rules. It means making full use of advanced workflow settings like Conditions, Validators, Post Functions, and Default Values for Custom Fields. We have created a few conditions that will prevent transitions from being made by anyone except specific users in a custom field. This lets us provide audit controls around who updates a field or approves a change while having the flexibility to not be bottlenecked by requiring a specific user to make that change.
Having a fully documented process gives you something to point to in order to educate people. Do you have people ask why a field is mandatory? Do others ask how they are supposed to fill out a bug report? All of these questions take you away from the awesome work that YOU do. Having every process documented and kept up to date allows users to self-serve. It also ensures they aren’t blocked by your availability to provide information that should be documented somewhere (probably Confluence 😉).
Set up a test project. Use that project to explore all of the features that Jira has available. Some of the more recent additions are things like Jira Software project insights which can help teams predict the outcome of future sprints based on past performance. Jira is extremely powerful and customizable, and the more you understand about what features are available to solve the business challenges of your company, you will become a Jira Hero as well in no time!
Thank you for taking the time to read my story! Let me know in the comments below if you did something similar at your company, or if you have tips and tricks of your own to share!
Thank you so much for sharing your incredibly insightful story, Jimmy!
Are you inspired by Jimmy’s story? Do you have a story of your own that you’d like to share? Check out our call for submissions, and let us know you’re interested in the comments below! 🙌🏼