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Using Atlassian as an MBA student

Ray Cornwall August 20, 2023

Hi! I'm Ray. In my day job, I'm a Senior Product Owner for a hospital system in Jacksonville, FL. I use Atlassian products to write tasks, use cases, and epics to make sure our developers are in alignment with our business needs for our websites. I also use Confluence to document our procedures and meetings.

I've recently been accepted into the University of Florida's Executive MBA program at the Warrington School of Business. One thing that concerned me going in was trying to keep abreast of everything I'd need to succeed in school- taking notes, hitting deadlines, etc. I'm one of the older students in my cohort, and it's been mumblety-mumble years since my bachelor's degree. I looked at a number of tools- OneNote, Notion, etc.- but everything felt like too much work for too little progress.

And then I thought- I use Jira and Confluence every day. Why not use them for this?

I signed up for a personal account (hey, they're free!). I set up a space for myself in Confluence- nothing fancy, but functional for my purposes.

Screenshot 2023-08-20 051022.jpg


And then for each of the classes, I set up a subspace to track grades, lecture notes, book notes, files, and whatnot. I used a Page Tree to keep a simple list of contents.

Screenshot 2023-08-20 051324.jpg

Right now, I'm just using a simple table to track assignments, but as things get more complicated, I know I can set up a Kanban board in either Jira or Trello to track my work. 

So far it's working- I've gotten A's on my assignments, and now I can just focus on the readings and the work. It's been a fantastic experience so far.

I know Atlassian has offered its Classroom Cloud product to teachers, but has anyone else used Atlassian products in their personal lives like this?



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Kalin U
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August 20, 2023

Hey, @Ray Cornwall Your post is a fantastic insight into how people can use Atlassian's tools outside software development and IT service management. I'm interested in other people's experience too.

I used Trello (but not Jira nor Confluence) to organize events from my personal life: studying for an exam, finding real estate, tracking job applications...

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Ray Cornwall August 29, 2023

Interesting idea! I really need to integrate Trello more into my life.

Tomislav Tobijas
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August 20, 2023

It's really cool to hear how people use Atlassian tools in their personal lives.
The one story that stuck in my mind was how a couple used to plan for their first baby 😄

I personally use JSW, JWM, Confluence and JPD on my personal instance. Started pretty much like everyone - had chaos on my local storage, then on SharePoint/OneDrive and then I decided to use Confluence to write pretty much everything down. I even onboarded my family on how to use it as we created a Confluence page for planning our last trip - everything from initial ideas, then to accommodation, and plane tickets... It actually looks pretty cool in the end despite the fact others used Confluence for the first time 😅

Regarding JSW, I kinda use it for some of my personal things. For example, in one project I have automations set that create some scheduled tasks (e.g., 🩸blood donation) every couple of months and these act like reminders as I get notifications on email + I can track some progress on those tasks later on.

I started using JWM recently as I'm currently working on a 'house' project and this was more to see if it would be easier to use Work Management project rather than Software for this kind of stuff. In the end, for me, it's kinda the same as I need regular issues with start/due dates + few custom fields where I can track everything.

Lastly, Jira Product Discovery is something that I've been using extensively for the last couple of months. I love the tool's flexibility, but more than that, the extension for Google Chrome. As mentioned earlier, currently I'm preparing to move into a new house. With that, I need to buy a lot of things + finish a few stuff inside + outside. As I got a LOT of ideas, I usually check Pinterest and then try to browse for those items on webshops. Whenever I find something I like, I can easily create an idea in JPD where then I just enter a few details in custom fields I've created - e.g., which room, how much this particular item cost, my personal 'rating' of it, etc. As there's a lot of stuff from which you can choose, JPD helped me much to narrow it down. I even write serial numbers/store item codes for items and then I just open the JPD in the store and ask them to show me only those items I've already found (if I couldn't decide earlier).

I've been thinking to write an article (or two) about how I use all of this (with some examples and screenshots), but just didn't manage to find the time yet. Hopefully, I'll be able to scribble something down when I 'settle down' 🙂

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jrm August 20, 2023

What a great idea!  I'm toying with the thought of going back to school myself but was a little concerned about how to keep up with it all so the timing is perfect! 

I have used Trello in the past and loved it. I think it is simpler than Jira so depending on your needs, check that out too. 

Thanks for sharing! 


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Samie Kaufman - Your Gal at Gliffy
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August 21, 2023

@Ray Cornwall !! Great use case!! I used Atlassian products (Confluence and Trello) through my MBA as well. 

The thing that actually helped me most was that Trello automations were either released or significantly improved during this time — can't really remember timing-wise. 

What I would do at the beginning of each semester is work through each syllabus and get everything expected of me into Trello. (Do this early in the semester before the homework kicks in!!) I structured it like this:

  • Board for the whole semester
  • List for each class (I usually had 3-4) as well as a "Due" and a "Done" list
  • Card for each task
    • Due dates, attachments, links, and notes that would make completing each task as easy as possible (ie: I would go get all the case studies I'd need at the very beginning of the semester and add them to the board, find the links for all the discussion boards, etc)
    • Subtasks if necessary, but most were pretty straightforward ie: "Take Online Quiz #4"
  • Additionally, a tag for each class. 
  • Automation to move items into the "Due" list 1 week prior to their due date. 
    • You could obviously change your preferences here, but because of how much I was juggling, I really appreciated an automated list with a longer term view because of how much I needed to work ahead on weekends in order to stay on top of everything. 
    • I might have also set up an automation to add a high priority flag or something to things due within 2-3 days? Can't remember.

I think if I were doing it now, I would have leveraged the integrations between Confluence and Trello a bit more — I kept them pretty disconnected. I wish I'd used Confluence more effectively for note-taking as well; I think I got a little lazy and started combining handwritten (I love annotating PDFs like case studies on my ipad) and google docs in addition to Confluence.

I have also tried using Notion and agree that it would have taken a LOT more time + effort to start using it effectively for this use case. 

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Ray Cornwall August 29, 2023

I'm going to have to try this approach. This is a really well-outlined approach. Thank you!

maria lopez
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March 18, 2024

Using Atlassian as an MBA student has been great! It's like having a very useful set of tools for all my school projects. I can easily track assignments, share files, and collaborate with my classmates and teachers. Best of all, it's very easy to use! I can organize everything clearly and this helps me keep track of my work. Whether I'm working on group tasks or managing my ncedcloud, Atlassian makes everything easier. It has definitely become one of my favorite tools for staying organized and getting things done efficiently while studying for my MBA.

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