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Summit Through the Years - Part 3

This article is part of a multi-part series.  Also see:

US Summit 2017

Sept 12-14 - San Jose, CA

Atlassian US Summit 2017

Focus: Unleash the potential of every team

Attendees:  3,600 from 42 countries, 936 companies, 380 Atlassians

Content: 128 sessions delivered by 150 speakers

Major Announcements:   Atlassian announced new branding, new product logos, and the app formally known as "JIRA" is now "Jira".  Stride, a HipChat replacement launches.  A new user interface is coming to Cloud-based tools.  There are new integrations between Trello and Bitbucket.  Microsoft Azure is now supported.  Atlassian has over 90,000 customers and millions of users.  The are over 3,000 apps in the marketplace.

Rachel with new logo"Summit flair" collection growsBash at City National Civic

Observations:  Atlassian is maturing as a company and growing in every area.  In addition to teamwork, there's a corporate focus on fostering diversity.  Summit is getting bigger and bigger each year.

This year, I was one of the lucky applicants chosen to deliver a talk.  I teamed up with Atlassian's Josephine Lee to deliver Upgrades and Admin at Scale: How to Become a Jira Admin Champion.  Atlassian also listed me as a featured speaker on the Summit website!

Just when I think Summit couldn't possibly get any better, Atlassian's Leslie Lee surprised me with a personal mention in the keynote!

Atlassian recreates their "ShipIt" hackathon at Summit but this year, they held a special customer version.  My team of 6 user group leaders chose to solve a visibility problem.  There was no visual map of user group locations around the world.  We devised a solution to dynamically plot locations on a Google map, using Jira to store map coordinates.   My team won the contest and Atlassian sent us some nice whisky to toast our victory.

Takeaway:   This is the only time to personally connect with so many other users, Atlassians, and Solution Partners all in the same place.  Divide your time between attending sessions and connecting with others.  Don't discount the value of a good one-on-one conversation.

Travel: No time for sightseeing this year!  I flew to Summit from Tuscon, AZ and got to work right away.  My speaking partner, booked a conference room in the Atlassian Mountain View office for us to rehearse our presentation.  I was happy to add that location to the San Francisco and Austin offices I've also visited.  Maybe a visit to the Sydney office is next?

Summit 2018

Sept 3-5 - Barcelona Spain

Focus: "Unleash the potential of every team" plus "openness" and "empathy"

Content:  Over 60 sessions in the following categories:  Atlassian Admin, Scaling Atlassian, Custom-fit, DevOps & Tools, Plan & Track, Service & Support, Collab & Tools, and Teams & Culture

Major Announcements:  Users can create their own projects in Jira Cloud.  The ability represents a shift in the way Atlassian builds and delivers features.  The user limit for Jira and Confluence Cloud is raised to 5,000.  Jira and Confluence performance is improved.  Jira Software 8 is announced.  Atlassian acquires OpsGenie and announces Jira Ops for managing incidents.  HipChat and Stride are sunsetted and a strategic partnership is formed with Slack.

Donut wallExpo hall meditation areaRe-engineered glasses at Bash

Observations:  Atlassian is investing in their tools, in integrations, and in IT.  There's a heavy focus on Cloud and migrating Server customers to Atlassian hosted products.

By now my Summit flair collection had grown so large that I need a different display strategy.  I pretend to be crafty and make Summit suspenders, which were only partly successful.  I published an appearance schedule so fellow attendees could find me and say hello.  ThinkTilt, ServiceRocket, and Rozdoum invited me to their booths and hosted giveaways for my Jira Strategy Admin Workbook.

Takeaway:  Use the Summit mobile app to create your agenda, find your way around the expo floor, and connect with fellow attendees.  Many of us are still tagging each other and chatting long after the event has ended.

Travel: I've been on the road for over 4 years now.  I love my long term RV trip and life on the road but I always worry that something will prevent me from traveling for Summit.  This year, it almost happened!  As we were backing into our camping spot in Nashville, TN, we heard a pop.  I looked under our travel trailer and one tire's radial belt had snapped.  If this had happened at high speeds it could have been catastrophic.  If this had happened a few days later, it might have affected my Summit trip.  Luckily, we had enough time to replace the tire before my Summit flight.  We replaced all the other trailer tires too to avoid future similar incidents.

After Summit I crossed the final item off my Barcelona visit list:  Park Güell.  It's a famous park and garden, designed by Antoni Gaudí, an architect from Catalonia.  On the trip back I took advantage of a long layover in Brussles, Belgium.  I took a city tour, tasted their chocolate and beer, but missed their waffles.  That's on my list for next time.

Summit 2019

Apr 9-11 - Las Vegas, NV

Focus: "Unleash the potential of every team" plus "openness" and "the future of work"

Attendees:  5,000 from 46 countries.  60% are first-time attendees.

Content: Over 80 sessions in the following categories:  Agile, Atlassian Admin, Beyond Tech Teams Use Cases, DevOps, People Processes Culture, Personal Work Productivity, Planning Collaboration & Tracking, and Scaling Atlassian.

Major Announcements:  A premium version of Jira and Confluence Cloud, with premium support and enhanced features is available.  AgileCraft was acquired and rebranded to Jira Align, a portfolio management tool.  85% of new customers choose Cloud products.  Confluence cloud is reimagined with 15 new features.  Jira Server customers are eligible for a free version of Jira Cloud.  There are significant board, reindex, and JQL performance improvements in Jira 8.0.  You can now connect your AWS Service Catalog to Jira Service Desk.  Mirror farms increase speed for Bitbucket Data Center.  25,000 developers and 500 partners build their business on top of the Atlassian platform.  Atlassian commits to 100% renewable energy by 2025.  It's the 10th year of Summit.  Coming soon:  A 10,000 user capability for Jira and Confluence Cloud.  Customers will soon be able to rename their Cloud site (sub domain URL).  Jira Software iOS and Android mobile apps are in beta.

Observations:  Summit was massive!  With over 5,000 attendees, there was excitement, activity, and opportunity in every direction.  I was worried that so many attendees would impact the feel of the conference and I wouldn't be able to see all my buddies.  But that didn't happen.  The only difference I noticed was a lot of walking between areas.  My Fitbit step counter was put to the test.  Atlassian proved they can execute Summit at scale.  ;)    

This was my eighth Summit and I was thrilled when Atlassian asked me to share frequent attendee tips and tricks.  I delivered a "Summit Survival Guide" presentation at the first-timer welcome reception. 

Chris Lutz &Rachel Wright

Chris Lutz & Rachel Wright

Speaking of first-timers, I was able to bring Chris Lutz along for his first Summit experience!  Chris is helping with sales and business development and was so excited to meet all the people I talk about constantly between conferences.  

The highlight of Summit is seeing all the wonderful attendees, partners, and colleagues who recognize and support me year after year.  I always set conference goals, make a list of people to seek out, and of course, I plan it all in Confluence.  My "to visit" list was very long this year (over 75 people!) but I was able to catch up with almost all of them. 

Rachel Wright, author of the Jira Strategy Admin Workbook and Rachel Wright, Director of Marketing at Appfire

One of my favorite meet up stories is with Holly Wright, the Director of Marketing at Appfire.  Since both of our legal names are "Rachel Wright" there's bound to be some confusion.  In 2017, Summit staff gave her my access badge by mistake, which lead to us meeting and sharing a funny story.  This year, she tried to check in at the conference hotel, only to be told her reservation didn't start until the next day.  (They were looking at my reservation!)  She almost ended up with my room and a hefty bill for "arriving early."  I love our continuing name saga and look forward to connecting again next year.  Any other Rachel Wright's out there in the Atlassian Community?  I know of at least one more...

I also hosted a photo challenge in the Summit mobile app and was invited to appear at the ThinkTilt and ServiceRocket booths again.  They gave out copies of my Jira book to happy recipients.  

Takeaway:  There are so many opportunities for you at Summit.  Try to do a little of everything.  Go to sessions you normally wouldn't attend.  Visit booths you don't normally frequent.  Start conversations and talk to strangers in the hall, in the coffee line, and at Bash.

Travel:  Since this was my fourth trip to Las Vegas, I wrote the Atlassian Summit Travel Guide – Vegas Edition to help attendees find their way around.  With our travel trailer parked in Lake Okeechobee, Florida, we detached the truck, drove two hours north to the Orlando airport, and flew from there.  We arrived a few days early so we could explore downtown ("old Vegas") and visit Death Valley National Park.  Then we transferred to the conference hotel for Summit.  

Also see: Atlassian Summit 2019 in Pictures

Summit 2020

March 30–April 2 - Las Vegas, NV

Save the date!  Atlassian Summit is headed back to Mandalay Bay on March 30, 2020.  Start your campaign now to get your boss to send you to Summit!

I'm busy thinking about what city we'll be in a year from now and what airport we'll fly from.  Prediction:  Miami, FL.

This article is part of a multi-part series.  Also see:



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