Connecting the Technical and the Functional in Software Creation: Atlassian’s Confluence Platform

It’s 9 AM Monday and the office is in the inevitable week-reorientation uproar as usual. As you prepare for your weekly stand up meeting with your boss at 10am, do you know exactly what the development status is for the products you manage?

While this may sound like a spin on a cheesy, fear-inducing tagline from your local evening news, truthfully, many business teams don’t have a strong understanding of their software development team’s progress week over week. While chasing down an analyst or a project manager might give you the information you need before your meeting, it is a rough way to spend every Monday morning. Luckily, the time for your Monday morning scramble has passed.

According to Forbes in 2016, organizations are finding themselves operating significantly more as cohesive teams with 92% of businesses siting “redesigning the way they work” as a top, if not the most important, initiative for their business. As we now find ourselves in the latter part of 2018, this metamorphosis has only proliferated as workforces are spread farther apart and are expected to collaborate at a high level.

Even from the earliest period of mankind, the ability to work in teams and create a commonality are cited as the two main reason for our continued existence as a species. By putting our heads together, we were much better equipped to face the challenges of the danger-fraught environment. In essence, collaboration is in our DNA, but it is only over the last couple decades where we have truly embraced this as an effective modus operandi for business.

Within the current enterprise culture shift happening over the last decade or two, it is not surprising that today’s millennials prefer a highly collaborative model to the more old-fashioned, functionally organized structure. For years the mindset was to silo workers and keep them focused on the task at hand, seeing over communication as the enemy to productivity. In transitioning to a team-based approach, companies are struggling to find ways to help employees operate, share information, and work together efficiently. Especially when it comes to the technical and functional teams understanding each other’s goals and status, a software that translates the language between between these two effectively, in real time is priceless.

Tech companies are leading the charge with this team-based operational model. They quickly realized that this transition was not only a smart move for their development teams, but also stimulated a fundamental change in the way all teams create as well as innovate, providing ample returns from their decision. The team structure allows tech companies to keep pace with faster product transitions while keeping employees engaged and empowered in the overall mission of the product and company.

A key aspect to having a collaborative and successful team is transparency, and there are a few reasons as to why.

The first is that transparency promotes accountability. By showing team members what is expected of them and how they can better support each other when backlogs stack up in a certain area, the end product gets more focus and refinement where needed most. Each team member knows if lack of progress in a certain area is impeding other parts of the development, giving team leaders the ability to task further resources on the issue.

The second reason is transparency reduces the number of surprises from and within the development team. Project managers and team members can easily identify and report on any issues or features that might affect the project’s progress, which allows the whole team to understand what actions can be taken to expedite the patch. Members have continuous access to what their individual and team goals are, ensuring each individual can be responsible for making sure those goals are being met in a timely manner.

The third reason is that transparency enhances teamwork and collaboration. Transparency prevents members from working within a vacuum. In interdisciplinary teams, members may not know when they are falling behind, when they need to ask for help, or what their team member can do to help them overcome a hurdle. Good communication is an impetus to a transparent development process. Continuous engagement is imperative to identifying and fixing problems before they affect the overall project.

How can your lines of business achieve transparency and gain insight into how your teams are operating?

Through techno functional collaboration software like Atlassian’s Confluence platform, your team, department, and entire company can have a place where both your team members and leaders can give feedback, post new insights, and help better define high level requirements through a simple to use interface. Confluence can make this information accessible through both a web and mobile application interfaces so that everyone has real time data on the SDLC as well as evolving business-requirement information. Most importantly, there is no need for micromanaging, your team can have its autonomy without reducing management’s ability to supervise.

A Confluence planning page can become a engineering’s single source of information for the rest of the business’ inputs on their product. This works vice versa for the business units monitoring the creation and release of software by the engineers and developers. When Atlassian’s Confluence platform is integrated into their JIRA Project Management tool, each group can work in the software they are most adept at, but still have all access to information from both platforms. Your team won’t need persistent emails, babysitting, or repetitive phone calls to know what needs to be done and when the product is slated to be released. Your team can instead use their time to remain focused on the task at hand for their specific sprint.

So let’s go back to the office, its 9am Monday once again (sorry to bring you back here but I had to) and you are in need of that same report. With these Atlassian collaboration tools, pulling a detailed report on your developer’s progress takes a few clicks. The need to coral another individual’s time to get the information you require is gone. In reality, with their software, you could have already done it in from your smartphone yesterday while in line at the store. The Monday dash has been tamed and you can thank the hard working individuals at Atlassian as you sip your coffee in peace at 9:30am, prepping for your meeting like your supposed to have time for.

As an Atlassian Solution provider we can assist you in implementing these and other Atlassian products seamlessly into your team’s workflow. Please reach out if you are interested in exploring your companies utilization or expansion of their suite of collaboration products.