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What are good strategies to ignite a beginner Atlassian team to a rock-star level?

Suppose for a second, you know nothing about new tech trends, you still battle with handling workflows with Excel workbooks and Outlook.... Then someone tells you: "Jira can solve all your problems"

How could you "shepherd" them effectively?

Have you ever introduced Meetup groups, enforce some kind of book-reading challenge or, maybe, contact an alien planet to shoot out neurological rewiring laser to induce "ah-ha!" moments?

You can be as creative as you may want to be on this one since it's a "off-topic" yet learning environment :) 



i will do as my boss do, take jira, play with it (but don't read the documentation), break it and when you need answer go to the atlassian community and look for a guy named Nic. 

And to finish the job, i send you to a client with a minimum of experience, you will learn with him. 

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Good to start with indeed. However, I would recommend jumping into some of the doc pages after playing a bit, and before breaking things too much ;) 

Good page to catch up on the structure configurations take in Jira and why :)

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There are a couple of different aspects to this question. I'll start with the apparent focus of the question; an Atlassian admin team.

I am in a spot where I am currently the only Atlassian admin which does, as the old bromide states, keep me busier than a one armed paper hanger. As such, I don't really have anyone in that aspect to inspire. What I turn to is speaking at various events and answers in the Community which tend to focus on using Jira and Confluence outside the usual IT/Dev environment. At my shop, I've grown the usage to where almost nothing moves that doesn't have a Jira issue associated with it including such groups as Legal, Marketing, Human Resources, Payroll, Office Support, and Social Media.

With this, I try to present that one merely needs the imagination to make the tools do this. Jira, for example, I now think of and present as a giant process engine. If someone has a process (or needs one) I can help them operate it. Period.

The above admin-ish implementation thoughts bring me to the other aspect I see here: "How do you ignite a beginner Atlassian user community".

When I joined this company, I inherited an Atlassian environment that was a dumpster fire with extra hobos. People used them only under mandate/orders and generally hated Jira mostly and Confluence to a lesser extent. I spent huge effort getting it working right at status quo. They got to where they didn't necessarily like it but at least they didn't hate it.

After that festival, I spent the time picking a team that I could see needed the help (noticing who always had a spreadsheet open with tasks in it and had emails with 10+ names in the CC box). The effort there was to get inside their head and not "retrofit" existing fields, statuses, etc but make it speak their language. Yes, one ends up with semantically similar fields, statuses, etc but it makes the project built for a given group feel like "home". Each team assimilated into the Borg left me ready to move onto the next one.

Another tactic has been to give brown bag lunch sessions where one presents such riveting topics like "Beginner JQL", "Filter creation and sharing", "Confluence page layout", and "Confluence macros are your friend". At first I thought a handful of humans might partake but I found that we regularly maxed out Google Meet participant counts.

The bit that keeps me ignited are comments from my user base that include:

"You gave me my lunch hour back"

"I couldn't be successful in my job without you and your tools"

"I just want to thank you for your time and patience teaching me Jira stuff. You've helped me think more in terms of process which makes me better at my job and a more valuable asset to the company as a whole"

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I've helped at least a few dozen people over the last 15 years to become Atlassian experts. Some things I've encouraged include:

1. Play with it. Install your own local instance, Get comfortable with how it expects to be used. Find all those odd features. If you break it, throw that one away and start again.

2. Really understand schemes at a deep level

3. Same for workflows. They are a fiddly part of Jira but have great power.

4. Don't use installers unless you can work out exactly what they did. Unpack and know what needs configuring

5. Don't do what customers/colleagues simply ask you to do. Ask them what their goals are and then explain to them how you think Jira can help them reach those goals.

6. Work closely with the vendor of any tool. Respect their support responses and gently guide them when they make mistakes.

7. Explaining the complex parts of Atlassian tools to other people in blog post means you have to really understand the details yourself. So write things up for other people. You may even get paid to do this as a consultant one day.

8. Don't get too defensive when people say "I hate Jira". Understand why, and ask them for examples of tools that do it better. 

9. Enjoy the times that you do something that really helps other people do their jobs. It's the reason why many people like working with tools such as Atlassian

10. Er, that's it.

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Mike Rathwell Community Leader Jan 10, 2020

Well stated @Matt Doar__ LinkedIn While all points are good a couple leap out to me:

#8 is an especially important one. If someone hates Jira, it's usually not Jira's fault. It will either be something I didn't know about or something I didn't do well. 

#1 Yes. Do that. I have a mechanism to take my latest snapshot and automagically clone it off to a test instance. It's a perfect place to try bold and potentially destructive things without consequence. Changes "OMG what am I going to do now" events to mere "Well that was unfortunate". 

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1. Play with it. Install your own local instance, Get comfortable with how it expects to be used. Find all those odd features. If you break it, throw that one away and start again.

It is exactly how I learned Jira, and it was the subject of the first article I wrote for the Community. When I'm working with people that are new to Jira I start them off by doing the same; I assign a test project to them, ask them about a process they know by heart, and have them turn it into epics, stories, tasks, etc. 


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Hey! This is a great discussion, thanks for bringing this up. 

I am JIRA Admin for more than 13 years ( really, is that long??!) and I started as you all say - playing with it. But that takes you tooo long, and will not avoid common mistakes. 

Every time a new team member joins our team, he can follow a path of learning, that includes: 

- Atlassian University Trainings

- Videos from Atlassian Summit like this one ( JIRA Black Belt Tips) -

- Some articles that were written by the community like - from @Rachel Wright 

- Challenges ( exercises)  that we all had to face and that helps you understand how you can "unleash the team". 


And @Matt Doar__ LinkedIn ,

"9. Enjoy the times that you do something that really helps other people do their jobs. It's the reason why many people like working with tools such as Atlassian"

I definitely agree with you, and that is why I have been working with Atlassian tools for so long... it really helps teams being greater! And I love to help :)

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Some additional points probably to consider :

  • understand the team's problems. It may not be about the tool but about their Way of Working
  • not all Atlassian experts should develop technical expertise, some Atlassian accreditations can be a quick-win to already make a difference
  • guided exploration: playing alone is OK, but I think being mentored gives better results, quickly


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