Summit Through the Years - Part 2

This is part 2 of "Summit Through the Years." Read part 1.

Summit 2016

Oct 10-13, 2016 – San Jose, CA

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Focus:  Team Up

Attendees:  3,200 from 35 countries.  350 Atlassians attended.

Content:  75 sessions in 7 content tracks:  Team & Culture, Build & Deploy, Plan & Track, Extend & Scale, Service & Ops, Platform & APIs, and Improve & Innovate.

Major Announcements:  JIRA and Confluence available on Android.  JIRA got inline editing and a Kanban backlog.  Bitbucket supports large file sizes. Confluence pages load 3 times faster and live editing ships soon. Automation added to JIRA Service Desk.  HipChat supports video and screenshare for up to 20 people.  Native Data Center support added for Amazon’s Web Services (AWS).  The developer ecosystem grew to 10,000 developers and 2,000 marketplace add-ons.  Atlassian acquired StatusPage.s2016.pngObservations:  I tried something different this year.  I stepped away from my notebook and instead, talked to real people.  What a concept!  I said hello to strangers, I started discussions with fellow users at my lunch table, and I visited all the vendor booths.  As a result, I ended up with very few recap notes and instead with a huge list of contacts.  My focus shifted from learning only through sessions to learning from talking to others.  A balance of both was just what I needed.

This year was a special one for me;  I was a customer representative on the Summit session selection committee!  I reviewed 188 individual session proposals.  Summit continued to grow in size and scope.  There were new things like a screen print shop for custom conference t-shirts, live demos of the Team Playbook, and a booth for the new Certification program.  I passed the JIRA Admin Certification exam early that year, so I hung around the booth to answer questions.  I also attended a founding member lunch to discuss plans for the new Online Community.  Atlassian reserved San Pedro Square in downtown San Jose for Bash.  The entertainment highlight was karaoke with a live band.  It was much more fun than you’d think karaoke could ever be.

This year we had a full day AUG Leader workshop, watched the opening keynote from reserved seats, and attended our annual appreciation dinner. I introduced co-founder and co-CEO, Mike Cannon-Brookes at dinner.  In my introduction, I described how the AUG program had changed since I joined and how there’d been an enormous increase in support, investment, and reach. While I was at Summit, my book, the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook was in pre-order status.  Most of my editing team was at Summit so I brought them “Stay out of the JIRA Swamp” t-shirts.  I gave t-shirts to the founders too.  A month later, they sent me a photo wearing my shirt!

Takeaway:  Be ready to network!  Pack your business cards.  Don’t have work business cards?  See if your company has any “generic” ones you can write your info on.  Write a quick note on the back of any business card you receive so you’ll remember how/if/why to follow-up later.

Travel:  The conference was moved up a week for when I was supposed to be on a group trip in Iceland.  Since I love Summit, I cancelled my trip. Luckily, travel insurance covered it.  I never book an international trip without it! Instead, I flew into Los Angeles and slowly made my way up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Jose.  It’s only a 7 hour drive, but I stretched it out into 10 days of sightseeing!  I took an architecture tour of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in LA, visited vineyards and stayed on an olive farm, toured Hearst Castle and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and drove the famous Pebble Beach “17 Mile Drive.”  It was beautiful and not utterly terrifying like the coastal drive on Route 1.

Euro Summit 2017

May 2-4 – Barcelona, Spain

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Focus:  Team

Attendees:  1,769 from 54 countries and 600 companies

Content:  Sessions in 5 content tracks:  Build & Deploy, Plan & Track, Service & Ops, Teams & Innovation, and Scale & Extend

Major Announcements:  JIRA and Confluence available in 22 languages. Cloud performance and latency improvements coming in Europe.  HipChat and Crowd available for Data Center.   A new UI, called “Simply powerful” is planned for JIRA and Confluence Cloud.  An upcoming product, called “Atlassian Home” helps find information across applications.  Atlassian acquired Trello.s2017.pngObservations:  Everything about this Summit was a little different – but that’s expected at an international event!  It kicked off with a festive light show.  An enjoyable beer crawl was added to the festivities in the expo hall.  Iberico Ham was carved live as we visited with partners and vendors. There was a “blender bike” where fast peddling was rewarded with a smoothie.  I was surprised by the large amount of Cloud users and JIRA Administrators I met.  Staying in touch on Summit app was challenging without international cell service, but the Skyroam Mobile Hotspot I mentioned in my “Atlassian Summit Travel Guide” article kept me connected.   I met my “name twin” – the other Rachel Wright. We certainly confused the registration staff!

The highlight was the “One of Us” Atlassian Community Award I received at the AUG Leader dinner.  I became a user group leader simply to learn more about JIRA. Four years later I’m a Certified JIRA Administrator, a Community Champion, and a published author!  I’m very proud that Atlassian considers me an extension of their team.  I love being part of this group of amazing Atlassian employees and fellow volunteers.  At dinner I sat with co-founder and co-CEO Scott Farquhar and had an engaging conversation with the new CMO.  It will be hard to top this experience.

Takeaways:  Arrive the day before conference activities start.  Check in at the registration booth as soon as you arrive.  Avoid the long registration line on the first morning.  Pace yourself on day one and at Bash!  It’s a long day and you want to make it to the party.  Try to leave the day after Summit activities end. It’s no fun leaving early to catch a flight.

Travel:  This time I left from Galveston, Texas.  I was on day 710 of my RV trip. It was a long flight to Spain, so I was determined to make the most of my sightseeing opportunities.  In Barcelona I visited a castle at Parc de Montjuc, admired the architecture of La Pedrera and the Sagrada Familia, took a day trip to Montserrat, and took a bus tour with fellow AUG Leaders.  After Summit, I boarded a Western Mediterranean cruise to Naples, Rome, Pisa, Cannes, Palma de Mallorca, and back to Barcelona. Between delayed flights and the drive from the airport it took 25 hours to get home.  It was totally worth it though!

US Summit 2017

Sept 12-14 – San Jose, CA

US Summit 17 is approaching and I think it will be best one yet!  I’m expecting over 100 sessions and 100 speakers.  And guess what?  I’m one of the speakers!

My session is in the “Scale Atlassian” track:

Upgrades and Admin at Scale: How to Become a JIRA Admin Champion
Rachel Wright, Author, JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook
Josephine Lee, Graduate Product Manager, Atlassian

Want to become a wiz at workflows, a master of maintenance, and unafraid of upgrades? Hear real use cases and examples from Rachel Wright, author of the JIRA Strategy Admin Workbook, and learn how to avoid common JIRA Admin mistakes to keep your application clean and uncluttered. Walk through top tips for the smoothest JIRA upgrades with Atlassian Product Manager Josephine Lee, and make sure you can take advantage of the newest features, fixes, and performance improvements of each release. Together, they’ll help make your admin life easier and instance healthier so you can become a JIRA Admin Champion.

Takeaways:  Arrive early to make sure you get a seat!

Atlassian Summit remains the highlight of my year.  I can’t wait for the next one!  See you there.

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8 comments

Leslie Lee Atlassian Team Aug 09, 2017

This is amazing. Nothing more to say... 

@Rachel Wright, great job with this two part post! For those who don't know much about Summit or Atlassian User Groups (Users or Leaders), you've provided some compelling information for them to consider both.

I can't wait to read your blog post on how one gets to travel through the US for 2+ years in a RV and handle all the business like you do - you are working on that post, right?

Can't stop, don't stop @Rachel Wright :)

As I read these, I get more and more excited for Summit! Thank you for sharing your expertise, spirit, and knowledge with the Community.

Every. Single. Time. Rachel, you captured it perfectly. Thank you for always going above and beyond to support others. You truly exemplify our values. 

Incredible, Rachel - you never cease to amaze us!

Mirek Community Champion Mar 07, 2018

@Rachel Wright- Keep up the good work :)

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