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20.04.2022

Let's break the Vegas rule

Our Scrum Master GO shares her insights and main take-aways from the Atlassian Team ´22.

written by Orsolya Gyulai (GO)

Today I would like to share a secret with you. Yes, sometimes we break the rule… also the Vegas rule. If you are not familiar with it, here is a hint: what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

But what happened in Vegas?

Insights from the Atlassian Team ´22 event

In this blog article, I would like to share my experience and some top-secret notes about the Atlassian Team ´22 event. It was a hybrid event, meaning both in-person and online (with live streams of the keynotes and pre-recorded demos and presentations), which I attended online, as I did not take the time to fly to Las Vegas.

I was pretty excited, because first of all, the topics of most keynotes and talks are pretty important for me in my scrum master role, using Atlassian products in my work for better collaboration with my teams.

Second of all, the last Atlassian event I attended (in person in Vienna) was organised in 2019. The keynotes and workshops back then made a great impact on me and since then I am using Atlassian products in my daily work (Trello I use since 2017 but back then it was not yet part of the Atlassian family). I was very curious about what Atlassian will deliver this time.

GO at Atlassian Open 2019; Picture by GO

Beware, I am passionate about expanding my knowledge and experience using these collaboration tools and supporting my teams to unleash their full potential. Disclaimer: I am not a salesperson of Atlassian.

The program

Secret number 1: I did not manage to watch everything

The whole program was organised around presenting new tools and features of course but in a very professional way. You knew from the very beginning they are going to pitch products, but always highlighting the customer (our) needs, spiced up with sponsored content, user experiences, and tool presentations. The whole program was very colourful, for all user levels (beginners to professionals), and a lot of content to go through in two days.

Secret number 2: we are in the Cloud

I was happy to skip for example ​⁠all the videos related to Cloud Migration because migration to the Cloud is already behind us. How proud and content I felt – big thanks to our Process Lead Matt at AURENA Tech. It seemed that many companies and organisations are struggling with that. They really need to plan it in this year, as support will end in 2024.

Secret number 3: not everything is about delivery

The on-demand videos were grouped into these categories:

  • Agile/DevOps
  • ITSM (IT service management)
  • Open Work Development
  • Teamwork Culture (last but definitely not least!)

We are not only delivering new products and completing projects, we have many other things to consider as a team, as an organisation, too. Also the keynote from Jay Shetty supported this idea around work-life balance and taking decisions. We need to balance many things at the same time, but how?

Secret number 4: everybody wants to be free

Most content supported these two main needs of (software) teams in 2022. It seems somebody did their homework on finding out basic customer needs (customer = like us, Atlassian users):

Autonomy and alignment

  • Autonomy meaning to have the freedom to work self-organised, self-managed yet with an impact (not as a silo)
  • Alignment meaning being on the same page with everyone in the team / organisation, being informed, updated, and also sharing transparently.

And even though it was not highlighted so much, you could sense it in the air, I would add one more important ingredient for more freedom:

Distributed or remote work

At least for me, this is an essential part of freedom, and Atlassian seems to understand and support this basic need of us all: Autonomy and alignment even working remotely

Secret number 5: Work differently, together!

Their quote which was repeated in every keynote was: Work differently, together!

It means actually that Atlassian does not create standardised products and also does not wish to provide one solution for all. The teams and individuals using the tools have very different needs and ways of working, so they provide a lot of opportunities with their 3rd party integrations to choose from.

For example, for us at AURENA Tech, Jira and Confluence are the single source of truth for all the work-related issues (work management and documentation), and all the integrations providing all information are supporting this idea of getting aligned.

We use these options as well, adding Apps like Calendar to synch with iCalendar or Xray for test management or Slack integration for more automated and transparent communication. I believe this is a great approach to improve our collaboration, continuously.

New Atlassian products

In his keynote, Scott the co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian presented two new tools, dedicated to multiple teams coming together to clear the what, why, how, and who of the work they have (pretty general but catching).

Atlas

A new teamwork directory for

  • individuals
  • teams with goals, OKRs (objectives and key results)
  • project reporting

What and Why? – all projects get their own homepage to inform stakeholders better.

How? – Minimising meeting times

Status meetings do not scale, they waste time – do you sometimes ask yourself: why I am here?

You can set reminders for yourself:

  • weekly for projects
  • monthly for goals

to GSD – Get Sh!t Done

Who? – introducing team management

  • What team are you on?
  • Who is working on what?
  • Who owns this work?

Compass

For distributed teams and their complex architecture (I feel we could have great benefits from this one).

Teams are responsible for the maintenance and uptime of components, and:

  • Security and compliance
  • Performance and reliability
  • Monitoring and incident response

Software teams do not just write code, they have new needs like:

  • Accessibility
  • Compliance
  • Liability

Mission control for your distributed software architecture

  • Navigate through complex architecture (services, libraries, APIs, apps, websites, data pipelines, ML models, docs, repositories, people, teams, metadata, deployments, incidents, …)
  • Understand dependencies
  • Improve component health
  • Customise developer experience

How many tools do we use for collaboration?

In general, teams use 25 (!) different collaboration tools. Crazy! Counting our tools at AURENA Tech, we use around 10 tools, 7 of them are integrated into Atlassian somehow.

  • Devs needed agile collaboration tools
  • Code collaboration emerged (git)
  • Evolution from monolith to microservices
  • emails, Slack, Zoom, Teams…

With lot more tools, it is hard to keep track of work. What information is where?

JIRA invited 3rd parties to become integrated and share information.

New challenges

  • Code collaborations
  • How software components come together
  • Modern software is assembled

In Atlassian they manage 1500 microservices for Cloud

  • How to track architecture at this scale?
  • How to collaborate on ownership, dependencies, and components?

Three things to support:

  • Component list, catalog for all teams
  • DevOps health tool
  • Extensibility engine

These are the foundation for Compass, the new product. Might be interesting for us, too.

Software delivery life cycle

I really liked that Atlassian simplified the whole SDLC to only three phases: discovery, delivery, and operations. That is a KISS – Keep It Short and Simple.

Discovery: customer research, design, prototyping, visioning, brainstorming, …

  • This phase tries to answer the “why” of work.
  • Connecting teams better with Figma, Confluence pages, Miro, etc. Creating and communicating goals, which we are already proudly and successfully using.

Delivery: release, deployment, pull requests, merge requests, security, QA testing, commit, flag, …

This phase is mainly about how to improve team performance, for example by

  • sprint commitment and progress card (a pop-up window showing details)
  • cycle time
  • showing biggest bottlenecks

For these features we might check out the Atlassian Product Analytics as well, should we want to dive into more details.

Operations: components, incidents, change, alerts, monitoring …

Automation in Jira/Confluence is something I would personally like to experiment more with, to improve workflow:

  • When work begins, the status of a Jira ticket gets automatically in progress
  • Feature flag changes status
  • A branch is created automatically
  • in done: release note page is created automatically in Confluence and is feature-flagged
  • A retro page is created

Imagine that the ticket statuses got updated automatically before the daily standup.

To sum up

The content of the event provided again a good starting point for further discussions and research work for me. I plan to dive into the content they provide about Atlas, Compass, and further integration methods and compare these with our needs. The fact that they published all the event videos on their YouTube channels, so we can still watch everything, is one more thing I am grateful for.

In general, I am very happy they are pro-actively thinking about and innovating in the direction of remote, cross-functional collaborations, not only for software teams – and involving their customers (us) in the process.

Should you be interested in joining us on our journey at AURENA Tech, check out our job openings!

Article by
Orsolya Gyulai (GO)

GO is Scrum Master at AURENA Tech. “Joy is the best measure of success”. With this in mind, she serves the team to reach their highest potential of being and working agile.

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