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  • Atlassian

    46 blog articles in this category

      Price increase - but why the obfuscation Atlassian?

      Atlassian are raising the prices for their cloud services on October 12th, which is perfectly ok. What is a bit strange though is that they for some reason seem to purposely try to hide just how much they are raising the prices. It does not say in the email, and the link takes you to the FAQ rather than the price list. A price list that only have the new prices and not the old for comparison. It is a bit odd.
      This seems to become a norm for Atlassian lately, to hide information and prevent comparison. I don't like it and I don't like the direction Atlassian is taking in terms of communication and information in the last few years. Atlassian used to be good and open about their prices, but lately it feels that they are doing everything they can to obfuscate and hide information purposely.
      I am not sure if that is because they have a strategy to adopt dark patterns in their UX to prevent a clear view into the actual costs (like airlines do), or if it is just some bad practice on their part implemented by someone who don't understand the customers.
      For example, why not include the new pricing in the email you send out to the customers? You know what products the customer own as it is part of your database, so it is not rocket science to add customized templates based on product ownership. If people could do that 15 years ago when sending out printed catalogs that had your car and your color on the front page, then I am sure that Atlassian can set up a simple database that can send targeted content to product segments.
      Even if you can't because you have not done the work, or your master data is crap, you can still send the entire pricing table, or at least link to it!  Instead, you send out a letter that say nothing with a link to a page that does not have the pricing information I am looking for.
      Not even the FAQ landing page that Atlassian link to have a link in the text or any form of directional que to the single most important question clients will have when landing here: What are the new prices. Sure, there is a link component to the left, but nothing that indicate that these are related to the new pricing structure. It's just sloppy and poor UX in my opinion.

      Once you click in to see the pricing tables, you would expect to see the new prices and the old one for comparison, right? Nope. Atlassian shows only the new prices. If you are anything like me, then you never really pay attention to the actual price per tier, you know your monthly cost, right? So it would be nice with a place to see your new cost based on the new prices... but nope. You just have to wait for the next bill to see what the new price might be.

      As you can see, the start plans are going to be shafted once more. So if you have one, hold on to it because it looks like they will increase the price on that tier with 750%.
      Now, it is not very difficult to present the information on the increase in a more useful way. Just add the information on both the old and new price, along with the changes in both value and percentage. This is what Jira Cloud Standard looks like, for example, if you spend 2 minutes on it:

      I think this could be a problem because the person in charge of the INFORMATION is a designer used to work with PRESENTATION. Having tables that look good is one thing, answering the questions of the people looking for answers is another. If you present new prices that will affect people's decision to remain a client or not, then you better do better than this Atlassian.
      This was not good, so step it up.

      Insight free with JSM Premium - Jira Service Management just got a lot better!

      Yesterday I got a mail announcing that Insight, the powerful CMDB tool from Mindville that was recently acquired by Atlassian is going to be included in the Jira Service Management Premium & Enterprise plans. This is a huge announcement and I very much look forward to seeing this rolled out in the coming weeks.
      If you don't know what Mindville Insight is then you can check it out here. In short, it is a tool that allow you to manage all your assets and configuration items in an easy to overview database. With the connection to Jira Service Management and Jira Software Insight give you all the information you need in one overview.
      We will write more about Insight later to show you it's many features.

      Jira Work Management - What is it and why do you want it?

      Atlassian recently announced a reboot of their Jira Core, which was practically unused by everyone due to its lack of unique features. The reboot comes with a new name, Jira Work Management, and a new setup focused on business teams. This is a great change and it will make Jira a bit more interesting for business teams in the future.
      Four views to rule them all
      Jira Work Management focuses around three main views: Board, List View, Timeline and Calendar. There are of course other features as well, such as a form builder experience as in Jira Service Management and the ability to pick a background color. The focus is on these four views however and they will determine how the business teams will react to this reboot.
      The List View

      The list view will appeal to anyone who spend a lot of time in Excel, or if you use something like Asana or Tasks in Teams. Inline editing and individual settings for the visual changes are big selling points, even if I foresee a bit of confusion when the views differ from user to user.
      Timeline View

      The timeline view is pretty much a slightly watered down version of the Roadmaps feature in Jira Software. It will work well for team level, just like Roadmaps in Jira Software, but not much more.
      Calendar view

      The Calendar view is nice, even though I am not so sure how useful it actually is. if we could tie it to our tasks in Outlook, then maybe the calendar would be more useful, but for now I think it will be more of a glance tool, just like the list and timeline views. I could be wrong though and I would need to try it out to test it out for real.
      Board View

      The board view is the only view that existed in Jira Core as well and it looks pretty much the same. This is very similar to Trello and it will be a nice alternative to Teams that are used quite a lot for this kind of view for many business projects.
      The four views will pretty much satisfy most need from a business team, but my question is how these boards will tie in with the steering products Advanced Roadmaps and Align? I see this as a common theme with Atlassian lately with the same concern for Next-Gen projects and so on. It's something I will bring up in another article though.
      Introducing Forms

      It is interesting to see that forms are moving out from Jira Service Management as a way to create input and display forms. I think this will probably show up in Next-gen projects down the road as well. It is a good change and I think it makes perfect sense to make input and output presentation in this way.
      Background color

      Adding a background color to your project will not make or break the customers' appreciation of it, but it is a nice icing on the cake. I don't see what the point is to restrict to standard colors when you could just add a color option to the surrounding text as well and let users add whatever color they want. I foresee images coming soon as well, just as for Trello.
      So why do you want this?
      Adding business teams into Jira are a good thing. Earlier it has been a bit difficult to convince them to join, but I think that the List View will be a big selling point to be honest. Maybe even the Calendar, even if I am not seeing it at the moment.
      Having the business teams in Jira means that you can bring in a lot of processes that currently live outside of Jira. This will allow easy management of early project/program planning, procurement processes, staffing, legal and security management and not to mention brick and mortar projects such as store building.
      This is of course the first release of Jira Work Management and it will very likely evolve quite a bit in the coming year or so. For now, it is also free for all Jira owners, so once you get access to it, I suggest you take some time to check it out and see what it can do for you and your organization.
      You can sign up on the waiting list here:

      Advanced Roadmaps - Adding a portfolio workflow to Jira Software

      Regardless if you work in a continuous delivery flow like Kanban, a sequential delivery flow like waterfall or an iterative delivery flow like Scrum, you will benefit greatly from having portfolio management. Having a dedicated funnel ensures that you get a proper overlook of your incoming request. In this article we will discuss how that can be done by creating a process for it in Jira Software.
      Advanced Roadmaps is a very useful tool because it allows us to get the big picture. It also allows us to scale the hierarchies in Jira for issue types. This is important because the standard hierarchies are designed for teams, so they do not scale well. While you can work around this using the sideways approach where you have the higher hierarchies in a separate project and link between them, that is not really a hierarchy. This also works poorly when you wish to display things in Advanced Roadmap.
      The first thing we need to do for a proper hierarchy view in Advanced Roadmaps is to define the portfolio levels. We need to accommodate for multiple scenarios as requests, or demands, often come in different forms. The most common types are projects or even programs, or new features. We also want to make sure we can work with the different frameworks out there, so we add a collaboration level as well as defined in SAFe.
      To avoid a lot of confusion between different frameworks and other tools, we rename the Epic issue type in Jira Software to Feature. It will not be perfect, but it will have to do until we get the ability to rename it properly when Atlassian makes that change in the future.  We do this by going to Issues -> Issue Types and edit the Epic issue type. We also add two new issue types for Initiative and Capability.
      Next we go to Plans -> Settings -> Advanced Roadmaps hierarchy configuration. There we add two new levels called Initiative and Capability and map them with our newly created issue types with the same names. Finally, we rename the Epic to Feature, and we should have our first hierarchy defined. We can go back and adjust this later if we want. The setup should now look like this:

      We can now add this to our projects by adding the issue types to our Issue Type Schemas. Depending on your setup you may want the new issue types for Initiative and Capability to exist in a separate Issue Type Schema, or you will add them to the standard schema. Either way we still need to give the new issue type a workflow that match their purpose. So we head over to Issues -> Workflows and create a new workflow.
      Again we want to consider what the purpose of these issue types is and who will actually work with them. Initiative, Capability and Feature are all used by management and requirement analysts to provide information on how to realize demands. That means that we do not have the same transfer of responsibility as for User Stories. Instead, we need to consider what we actually do in the portfolio and what we need to track in terms of activities.
      SAFe have a pretty good example of this for their Portfolio Kanban. Their first step is Funnel and for us that is pretty much everything that comes into our workflow, and we define this as new. Anything that comes in to the portfolio needs to be reviewed to see what we should focus on next. Since we will not review everything we add two steps for the review process: Ready for Review and In Review. This allows us to only pick things that we want to review by moving them from new to Ready for Review, and then we have an active status to indicate that we are working on this.
      We do the same for Analysis, which is the step where we involve Business Analysts and Requirement Analysts to define the need in more detail. For this we add Ready for Analysis for when the Review process lead to us spending time to break down the need in a requirement process. We also add the In Analysis to indicate that it has entered the Requirement process.
      Before we close this workflow we add the Implementation process as well. Ready for Implementation indicate that the requirement process has led to a decision to implement and In Implementation indicate that the need is being fulfilled. We do not fracture this further as we can easily drill down to individual tasks in Advanced Roadmaps, and it is not really useful to have for example test and release part of this workflow. That is because each issue type will have many issue types below it, and you can only transition on the last sub-task, making it misleading and feeling stagnant.
      Finally, we add a status for Blocked/Pending to allow us to track when things are preventing this activity from being fulfilled. This can be external or internal dependencies or financial reasons for example.
      As always we go for an open workflow to allow for free transitions. We add a close screen to the Close status to set a resolution and then add a post function to remove resolution on all other statuses. This workflow should now look like this:

      The final step is now to go to our workflow scheme and add this new workflow. We do this by going to Issues -> Workflow Schemes and click edit on the workflows scheme we have Initiative, Capability and Feature added to. We click add Workflow and add the new workflow we just created. Then we select that this workflow will be applied to Initiative, Capability and Feature before hitting save.
      This should now allow you to work inside Advanced Roadmaps using Initiatives, Capabilities and Features in a proper portfolio management process that allow for larger projects and programs as well as manage smaller feature or even user stories.
      I hope you found this useful and as always, if you have any questions just write a comment and I will do my best to help you.

      4 new feature for DevOps in Jira provide more visibility and better insights

      One of the biggest cause for complicated workflows and custom fields is the fact that Jira has never been a deployment tool, but the teams need the visibility of deploys. With this latest update to Jira Software Cloud we see improvements in this field with no less than four new features. DevOps teams or not, this will make life easier for everyone.
      While there are several add-ons for Jira Software Cloud that will tie together repositories with Jira, this is now a standard feature in Jira. That means that it can be used with no additional cost (except for the Premium features if you don't have Premium of course), which lowers the entry point substantially. Hopefully this will mean the end of operations based statuses in the workflow and custom fields to hold release data.
      Code in Jira
      This feature allows you to connect your repo to Jira so you can visually see the repos in a new tab in your project called Code. Doing so if fairly easy, especially if you use Bitbucket, but adding Github for example takes only a few minutes. The biggest benefit of this feature for me however is that you will see the repo information in the Jira issue itself. This provide a lot of information to the viewer on where this issue has been committed.

      Deployments in Jira
      This is where things get interesting.  With Code in Jira above you can see where your code packages are and their status. With Deployments, you can see where those packages also have been delivered to. This provides a very nice overview of where your code currently is available, which is what most people want to know when they try to build this into their workflows or work views.
      Premium Features
      The last two features are only available for the Premium version of Jira Software Cloud. Normally I don't like to have features split between a standard and a more expensive version, but these two features are all about measuring which I think is fine to have as a bonus if you need the more expensive version.
      Deployment Frequency

      Cycle Time

      My Thoughts
      This is a very good addition to Jira Software Cloud that have been needed for a long time. While I think the Premium features is mostly for numbers people and not really for the daily work I think this still is a solid addition. I would like to see the deployment information on the issues and it needs a connection with Insight, so I can connect deploys to my assets.
      There is a lot of potential here and I look forward to seeing this taking further in the future.
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