Unleashing the power of Collaboration to overcome the Sadness of 22 - Part 1

I hope you can join me on this journey of friendship, happiness and hope. To tell the whole story, I am planning to do a series of related blogposts. In this first one I will explain the overall concept, and then on subsequent posts I will enter into more technical details. As we learn how to unleash the power of collaboration we will learn more about what is behind of just the number “22” and how we can work as community to address that. This journey will be about technology, collaboration and war veteran’s assistance.

Let’s do some flashbacks first so I can set the scenario. As you probably have experienced, attending an Atlassian Summit is outstanding, however, the best place to be the day before the event is at the Atlassian User Group (AUG) Leaders Workshop (of course you need to be an active Atlassian User Group leader to participate but that is easy, just join us and apply to be the next AUG leader in your area). After the workshop, we usually have an appreciation dinner with the Atlassian Team that includes the founders of the company as well as other members of the community and executive team.

During the Summit 2016 AUG Dinner I found the spark that launched this project responsible for bringing together the Atlassian Community and our War Veterans. That night while we recognized a couple of AUG leaders, both Veterans (Billy Poggy and Justin Witz) I had the idea of conveying our Atlassian expertise to assist catastrophically injured veterans, specifically one organization from Temecula California that I was assisting (and still doing it) :  www.warfightermade.org.


The spark I previously mentioned was:  “what happens if we, AUG leaders and Atlassian community, build an Atlassian environment for Warfighter Made with the Atlassian products (like Confluence and JIRA), involving also some products from the ecosystem?”. Believe me… it was just the beginning of a journey where I am really enjoying each little piece of it. It begun small but rapidly grew as I started seeing the connections and the potential of the project.

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Here are the two aspects of the idea that combined, generate a unique synergy among those that participate. The first aspect involves Collaboration the other revolves around the number “22”.


The importance of Fostering Collaboration

In 2009 I was tasked by my employer (DSS, Inc.), to find a collaboration platform to support our Electronic Healthcare Record Open Source efforts. I was researching and finding collaboration tools in the market, most of them heavily technically oriented and mostly for software developers. However, my target audience was physicians and nurses and EHR end users, not a good fit for a non-user friendly or technical look and feel environment. Suddenly, I found Atlassian with an interesting business approach and adaptable set of products, they were offering free licenses to support open source projects and nonprofit organizations. It was the tipping point and I decided to give Confluence and Jira a try. I was able to build The VistA Extension Hub (www.thevxhub.org) and nurture global collaboration and participation. I was so pleased by the company attitude and the talented team behind the name, that I decided to look for a way of giving back, and that was throughout the participation on the Atlassian User Group (AUG) program. I joined to the team and I was allowed to start some AUG in Orange County, CA, Buenos Aires and Cordoba in Argentina, Temecula, CA and Palm Beach, FL. (currently running the last two).

In every opportunity while interacting with the Atlassian team and the ecosystem, I was able to find new ideas in how to foster collaboration to help others and to see the importance and synergy of team work, from the Atlas Camp to the Summit, every minute spent was an investment too. With this project, I finally have the chance to share some knowledge for a very compelling cause; assist those that are close to the veterans.

Nurturing collaboration will bring out the best of each individual that is involved, and it will engage more participants as we progress and as we transfer our experience helping veterans to develop new skills, and who knows, it could become another way of helping them move to the next stage in their life.


Why overcoming the sadness of 22? Because 22, in this context, it is not just a number…

I am not sure if you are aware, but sadly the statistics currently show that 22 war veterans are taking their own life every day by committing suicide. It is difficult to hear these statistics, and it was to me the first time I heard them in one of the Warfighter Made events from the CEO Robert Blanton. He said “Remember why we are doing this… 22 is too many…”. As I learned more about this and had the opportunity to interact more with the veterans including Robert Blanton (CEO), Jesse Williamson (double amputee, Dirt Bike Racer) and Ben Faler (director of communications), I realized that I need to find a way to help. I do not have any military background but I understand the sadness of a family that needs to deal with a suicide. There is a significant importance in human being interaction, team participation, skills development and passion for collaboration.

So, with both elements in mind I decided that it was time to move to the next level and time to start a journey to assist veterans by building a collaboration platform and by teaching new skills based on Atlassian products.


Getting ready

We are almost there and we will do a pre-release on December 2nd during their Open House at their shop in Temecula (RSVP) and I am glad that Atlassian, Dss, Inc., Isos Technology, Blended Perspective, Balsamiq, Praecipio, Contegix and RefinedWiki are sponsoring not only the AUG team during the event in Temecula but also the end of the year event in Palm Beach, Florida (RSVP) on December 6th where we will share the outcome of the Open House event. Meanwhile I will be preparing the second part of this post as well as the remaining technical posts. And if you want to learn about the latest project with Warfigther Made, Toyota, Monster Supercross, please check the 16 episodes in You Tube. This is the type of projects that we will be soon tracking with Jira. I will be back soon with more, this is just the beginning. Below just a sneak peek of the new Warfighter Made Jira Service Desk powerd by Jira Service Desk and RefinedWiki. Thanks for being part of the Atlassian Community.

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More about this project

The goal is to share on this series of blog-posts how we are building the new collaboration platform for Warfighter Made. See below the list of completed and planned blog posts.


Celina Zamora November 20, 2017

Thank you for sharing this, Fabian! You’ve been such an amazing example of leadership and compassion. Using your knowledge and expertise around Atlassian products to help Warfighter Made’s overall mission, is truly amazing! 

Ashley Elder
Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 20, 2017

Thank you for sharing, Fabian!

Karen_Mustain November 20, 2017

This is awesome!

Atlassian Team
Atlassian Team members are employees working across the company in a wide variety of roles.
November 20, 2017

Beautiful story, thank you for telling us about it!

Evan Golden
Rising Star
Rising Star
Rising Stars are recognized for providing high-quality answers to other users. Rising Stars receive a certificate of achievement and are on the path to becoming Community Leaders.
January 3, 2018

Love the story Fabian, and great work!  I have been doing the 22 for 22 days for my fellow veterans.  Really thankful for the work you are doing.

AUG Leaders

Atlassian Community Events