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Introduction to Team Central: Webinar and Q&A

Hi everyone!

Thanks so much for joining us last week at our first ever Team Central webinar! For those that missed the live experience (and the opportunity to laugh at/with all our corny jokes), you’re in luck. @Mary Raleigh never forgets to set her DVR when the Bachelor is on and that habit has finally paid off, because she also recorded the whole webinar for everyone!

The overview

We heard a lot of great questions in the live Q+A, last week, that we thought would be worth answering here for our on-demand viewers.

Questions

Q: So we have an existing process that the team loves. It’s in confluence and it is very similar to what you’ve shown - how do we get the team to "jump" to the new process in Team Central?

A: We had the same evolution within Atlassian! We tracked status in Confluence tables and that eventually broke (too messy, updates were too long, effort was not worth insights) which is a main catalyst for us building Team Central. We selfishly wanted, neigh needed, to solve team-to-team communications for ourselves if we were going to continue on our growth trajectory.

Our program managers did an amazing job helping teams transition from Confluence into Team Central through two main tactics:

  • 1. We all use Project Posters in Confluence to kick-off any body of work greater than 2 weeks and 2 people. In the “Status” cell we used to use the “/status” Macro. Now we tell team to link their Team Central ticket and it will automatically update the project’s status, no need to keep updating the Macro in Confluence. Time saved? I think so!
    Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 6.10.21 PM.png

  • 2. We use Meeting Notes in Confluence to organize our cross team status meetings. We used to have to update a gnarly table in the agenda doc before every meeting, but now instead, all we have to do is add a label to the project in Team Central and the meeting organizer, just links to that label view, right clicks and selects, “Display as embed” and voila! every project’s update with that label is displayed and updated live.
    Here is a demo for how to do this.

 

Q: How do these practices and tools relate to Agile? My team already practices agile and my company is in the middle of an Agile transformation.

A: I love this question because it means (I hope!) Agile has gone mainstream and I’m all for agile teams everywhere. Having said that, what I am NOT for, is shoehorning every single team’s workflow into the same tools just because you’re all practicing agile rituals within each team. We believe each team should be empowered to choose the tools and practices that work best for their personalities and work flow. So, Team Central acts as a lightweight aggregation layer for team of teams to stay loosely coupled, tightly aligned, no matter what work management tool each team is using.

Said another way, we believe the Loop and Team Central is the perfect compliment for teams practicing Agile in Jira Software, Trello or any tool. The Loop offers rituals that will improve the efficiency of your communication across teams, while Agile focuses on rituals that improve effectiveness within your team.

 

Q: Are the projects here existing JIRA software projects with their workflows or are these different "Team Central" projects?

Man, we knew we’d get this question when we named them “Projects” in Team Central, because we’re all so used to the term “Project” in the context of a Jira Software Project which is represents your collection of issues that typically represents development work for a product, project, or service. Within Atlassian a Team Central Project is more like an Epic in Jira Software. My teammate, @Rachel Lin , wrote an epic write-up, pun intended, explaining the relationship between Jira and Team Central. Check it out here to dive a bit deeper.

I’m making it sound like you HAVE to map epics in Jira to projects in Team Central, or that you have to know what an epic is to use Team Central. Trust me, you don’t! This explanation is to help us conceptualize what size of work should/could be reflected as a Project in Team Central, but we encourage all organizations to define a hierarchy that works best for them!

 

Q: What happens if you miss your due date to submit your project update?

A: Phew, finally a softball question. If you do not update your project before 12 am Monday morning, the system will automatically generate a "no update" update for you. It appears in the system and the digest email like so: 

Screen Shot 2021-05-27 at 6.58.22 PM.png

No big deal, right? The beauty is, there’s still time and value in updating it on Monday or Tuesday as your update will still appear in followers' Updates Feed (after you post it) and on your project’s Timeline.

Q: Is there a way to change the day for updates?

A: The short answer is that right now, no, there is no way to change the dates from the built-in Friday- Monday cadence. We are hearing from our global customers that not everyone’s work week ends on Friday or starts on Monday so we are looking into making this a customizable setting. Stay tuned!

 

Q: Is the Team of Teams status reporting dependent upon projects being managed via Jira boards?

A: Nope, Team Central is built to be agnostic of the tool each team uses to manage their work. Said another way, if your Brand team is using Trello, your Web Development team is using Jira Software and your recruiting team is all about Notion; Team Central can act as the unifying aggregation layer that helps all those teams stay up-to-date across each other’s related work.

 

Q: Are we waiting for the webinar to start?

A: Yeah, hope you enjoyed the hold music. ;-) 

 

Q: Is there any way of tagging / classifying project by criticality? Due to product launch or any other critical paths?

A: We recommend using Team Central’s labels feature to represent project criticality (or anything really, labels are about as versatile as vanilla ice cream). Within Atlassian we’ve setup a tiered label system for our goals so that company level goals are represented with the “Level 1” label. Then when I click that label I get a view of all the projects and goals (yes both!) that are “Level 1”.

 

Q: Where you have multiple application / cross functional teams that form part of a single project - is there a mechanism to trigger each app team within a project to provide their updates to the main PM before the main PM then triggers the consolidated "publicized" update?

A: We don't have this at the moment, but this scenario can be easily modelled by creating a Project Central project for the over-arching program and linking it to each project with their own updates. If you label them all with the same label, you can create one consolidated view of all updates for that group of work.

 

Q: Is there a way for stakeholders to obtain project updates as well as an export digest maybe in pdf or do you have links through to Sharepoint or other platforms (eg Confluence)?

A: We don’t currently have an exporting feature. That’s partly intentional, because we believe status spreadsheets, even tables in Confluence are a bit of a dumpster fire. We hope that the experience in Team Central offers a superior overall experience for project owners and their stakeholders but acknowledge there’s a time and place where we all just want to get the data in a pivot table and dig deep into trends. We’ll let you know as we evolve our thinking on this and welcome your input into how you might use and exported report to supplement the Team Central experience.

 

Q: Where do we add the people allocation?

The “contributors” section of your project’s homepage is where you can reflect who is working on the project.

By adding a label to your project, you can summarize people allocation across all projects with that label when you click into the label view. Here is a demo.

 

Q: Will there be extension points for apps, with the most obvious candidate being Forge macros to further enrich status updates?

Yes, we will be looking into adding this as we come out of Beta. If you had any specific use cases in mind, would love to hear from you directly - let me know so we can consider this as we commence exploring this bit of work. 

 

Q: How is the team in Jira Advanced Roadmap connected to the team in Team Central?

If you are using Advanced Roadmaps in Jira, Team Central is likely the perfect compliment to your work. Advanced Roadmaps is central source of truth that aggregates your teams' work. It’s an input into the outward communication of status to stakeholders. Team Central is a way to communicate the status of your work outside of your team. It is a communication layer that gives context to the project and task-level data that lives in your central source of truth. Dig deeper in this article and let us know what your wishes are for the future of Jira and Team Central!

 

Q: LOL. It's vicious at Atlassian! Can I work with you? ;)

A: Yes, we are hiring!

 

---

Thanks to everyone who joined us live! While we can’t wait until we’re back doing these sessions in-person, your enthusiasm and questions are what keeps us motivated to keep building and improving what we know will be the end of painful status reporting. Keep the questions coming! We love hearing from you.

Sherif & Mary

  

1 comment

Andrew Kendris Community Leader Jun 02, 2021

This is great webinar and Q&A and just what my team needed to supplement our Team '21 recap to onboard Team Central 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

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