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How do you think the Atlassian suite make a difference to how work gets done in teams?

James Dellow Community Leader Jun 17, 2020

Today I'm posting not as a community member, but with my independent consultant hat on in the hope that you might be able to share some insights into how you are using the Atlassian suite of tools to work differently.

I'm researching the concept of "collaborative work management". If you haven't heard of it, don't worry. I'm learning about how products like those found in the Atlassian suite are helping teams of people to work in a way that is better than old command and control ways of working or are better suited to distributed teams. Some people are also talking about the idea of tools like this being your work operating system or "Work OS".

I'm particularly interested in cases where the Atlassian suite is being used widely across a business and not just by developers or IT.

If you want to know more about why am I doing this, I have posted something recently about this here https://chieftech.com.au/post/lets-talk-about-collaboration-workmanagement/

I would like to know more about how you think the Atlassian suite of tools - particularly JIRA, Trello, and also Confluence - makes a difference in how work gets done in teams.

  • Do you feel the Atlassian suite helps your team or the teams in your business to operate differently from those that don't use tools like Atlassian?
  • Thinking not about the features of the tools, but how you work using them, do you think that way of working can be applied to teams in any type or size organization or business?
  • Have you noticed the way teams are using the Atlassian suite is different now because of Covid-19?

All feedback is appreciated!

2 comments

Hi @James Dellow 

 

Thanks for putting such wonderful topic into discussion .

You can ignore my comments if you feel its irrelevant :( .

Coming to you first question --

  1. Do you feel the Atlassian suite helps your team or the teams in your business to operate differently from those that don't use tools like Atlassian?

Yes Completely .Atlassian Suite helps team to make there devops environment easy . They do not want to carry things and everything can be in one tool and all helping tool can be integrated as well .

I would rather say in nutshell that everything is available with JUST ONCLICK  .

Easy and reliable. 

2.Thinking not about the features of the tools, but how you work using them, do you think that way of working can be applied to teams in any type or size organization or business?

 

Yes , Size of the organization doesn't matter for Atlassian Suite , with the experience so far i have .

BUT another major issue and obstacle i noticed is the performance .

Performance is relatively is not as expected in larger environment .

 

Hasna

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James Dellow Community Leader Jun 18, 2020

Thanks @Hasna - it sounds like you are talking from a DevOps perspective, which is an important area that Atlassian is focused on, but your feedback is appreciated.

I'm interested that you highlight integration and automation. It does appear to me that it's not enough to have a great tool for a team to use if it can only be used in isolation. I think that applies both to DevOps and other use cases.

I wonder if the performance issue is something that probably reflective of the hidden complexity in all the modern tools we use, as there are many moving parts that we need and expect to work well?

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Wow, James. I read your article and the work you're doing on this is so interesting.

I'm taking several IT management courses as part of my MBA and we're touching on similar topics. That being said, I'm coming at this from more of a business/marketing side of things rather than a development point of view.

I think that when we first made a shift to working fully remotely, it was a little bit of a free-for-all in terms of who was using what tools and levels of understanding of those tools varied person-by-person. So in terms of how our team uses tools, I think it's absolutely changed because people have needed to actually dig in and learn more of the features. And, because of that higher level of understanding, I could see these tools being a more integral part of how our company works even when we go back to the office.

There also is sort of a balance between mandating that your teams use a certain set of tools and simply letting your employees find ways to solve a problem themselves. From a short-term "let's just get through this" perspective, letting people use whatever tool they can seems to make sense. If we weren't using Confluence, Jira, and Trello, I'm sure we'd find a way to make work still work! But because everyone at least had their foot in the door with these products, it seemed natural that a lot of the solutions to our new challenges would be figured out in those.

I don't mean to point fingers at anyone for being a luddite, but I think it's safe to say that working through a pandemic has forced people and teams to modernize in a way that will permanently impact how they work, whether they're distributed or not. In many cases, I think these practices would have been beneficial long before COVID-19, but getting a full organization to change or re-align around a new process or practice is just hard. 

Will you be continuing to post about this here or should I keep an eye on the blog you linked to? I'd love to keep up with your work!

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James Dellow Community Leader Jun 22, 2020

Thanks @Samie Kaufman_ Gliffy 

I'll reply a bit later with some more comments, but if you would like to keep in touch about this research project, I can add you to my list of people interested?

Yes, please! 

My University of Minnesota email is kaufm367@umn.edu. Is there any other info you'd want to have on hand? :)

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James Dellow Community Leader Jun 23, 2020

Thanks again for your feedback. I'm interested in different perspectives, so definitely want to hear from people that have a business or marketing background.

I like your suggestion that necessity has forced people to learn more about the tools, and that this may make the more integral even if people eventually return to their offices. However, your last point about "getting a full organization to change or re-align around a new process or practice is just hard." is something I'm thinking a lot about - is the pandemic enough of a catalyst for widespread change?

In terms of the tools themselves, there is so much choice, and most offer integrations. Some are free, some not, some better than others, etc. But I do see two schools of thought: One is to be everything (the "work operating system"), while the other is to be part of the ecosystem of choice. Atlassian has the potential to be used either way, but it sounds like for you the idea of having a suite of tools available does sound better than a free for all?

Happy to elaborate!

Re: organizational change...
Just thinking through the barriers to implementing change, you have elements like a lack of commitment from leadership to see the change through, a belief that what the org is already doing works fine/there's no better alternative, resistance to learning at a working level, etc.

I've seen companies take differing approaches to this pandemic; some of my peers and classmates had their offices essentially closed for the rest of the year as early as April. Others (including my company) have monitored the situation and reassessed every few weeks. For those companies that made a long-term commitment up front, wouldn't it make sense that the changes (including tools & tech) they make are "stickier"? By committing to go fully-remote for several quarters — though I understand major changes can take years to roll out and solidify — these companies are making a more credible commitment to a new way of working, breaking down resistance among employees, and thrown into a situation where the "way we do things" clearly doesn't cut it anymore. That is, unless they're already a very modern, distributed company.

For those companies that are evaluating their plans for remote work more frequently, change will probably be less sticky or smaller scale. What I'm seeing at my org is an alignment around the tools we use and wider discussions about how we're using them. We used WebEx for video conferencing prior to going fully remote and I don't think anyone seemed to love it, but it got the job done for the occasional calls where we couldn't use slack. Within a month of our office closing, though, the amount of employees asking for a different tool (namely Zoom) led our org to get set up with a different tool. Other than that, I think this way of working is relatively normal for younger millennials/gen z, but now everyone in the org is building the skillset to work more flexibly. 

As for the Work OS vs. free-for-all dilemma, I also think that should depend on the organization (and personally would probably most enjoy working in a hybrid between the two). For companies who are taking this pandemic month-by-month, the "free for all" model is probably okay! Employees are out of their comfort zone and doing their best, so just let them use whatever is comfortable and maybe provide recommendations on what to use to solve common challenges (ie: large file sharing). For companies who have made a higher commitment to working differently/more remotely even after the pandemic, there's a greater opportunity to invest the time and resources to get everyone aligned more firmly in one tool.

I'd also add that I don't really think those decisions need to be made at an organizational level. Different tools might fit the needs of different teams — some teams want a slack channel, others want a confluence space. I think having an entire organization on a set of tools that meet core needs at the enterprise level is a good idea (again, like file sharing) — but then maybe let project teams choose their own project management software. The features they want may be included in that enterprise software (great!) but trying to force everyone into an end-all-be-all might ultimately slow people down. I guess you'd just have to cross your fingers that there are enough supported integrations to make moving between these tools manageable. ;) 

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James Dellow Community Leader Jul 01, 2020

Thanks again for your comments!

I've been working on another blogpost for this project, based on an interview with an expert who specialises in developing high performing teams, so I think you might find that interesting once I publish it (hopefully before the end of the week or early next week). However, during the interview I was pointed at this https://ma.tt/2020/04/five-levels-of-autonomy/

I suppose in relation to Work OS vs. free-for-all, it could be a strategic technical architecture choice? A few years ago, some companies did start to change from a completely prescriptive model to a portfolio approach. But these still often have a core toolset, which IMHO are grounded somewhat in the previous generation of thinking where you sort tools into functional groupings, like productivity, messaging, videoconferencing - but the next generation of tools just don't fit into boxes like that anymore!

However, to your point: "I guess you'd just have to cross your fingers that there are enough supported integrations to make moving between these tools manageable."

Yes, most tools integrate with each other, which is great, but the quality, cost, or suitability of those integrations or automations do vary!

James Dellow Community Leader Jul 09, 2020

BTW here is the blogpost I mentioned, published yesterday:

https://chieftech.com.au/post/hiam-sakakini-interview/

It is an interview with Hiam Sakakini about high performing teams and collaborative work management. Hiam is very qualified to talk about this topic, as she spent nine years working at Google to help develop the skills and capabilities of their people, teams, and managers.

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