Moving with Global Agility: Atlassian’s JIRA Project Management Tool Closes the Gap

Agile development is a compelling approach to project management for the modern DevOps and software teams. According to the ‘Agile Manifesto’, there are four core values along with 12 principles to the Agile Method. The values include putting people over tools, streamlining documentation in favor of development, enabling customer collaboration, and believing that change always improves a product.

The 12 principles of Agile are as follows:

  1. Customer satisfaction through early and continuous software delivery
  2. Accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process
  3. Frequent delivery of working software
  4. Collaboration between the business stakeholders and developers throughout the project
  5. Support, trust, and motivate the people involved
  6. Enable face-to-face interactions
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress
  8. Agile processes to support a consistent development pace
  9. Attention to technical detail and design enhances agility
  10. Simplicity
  11. Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements, and designs
  12. Regular reflections on how to become more effective

The objective of Agile is to bridge the gap between development and business teams, allowing all teams to contribute throughout the development process. Not only is Agile adoption on an upward trajectory, but for many millennials, the Agile culture represents the ideal collaborative work environment of the new era. So what could keep a progressive company, looking to lure young and talented workers with technical backgrounds, from switching to an Agile development model?

For enterprise companies, possessing teams that are spread across different time zones and countries can make the frequency of the Agile meeting cadence seem daunting, if not impossible. Increased daily and weekly meetings can seem redundant or bothersome to those used to working in the Waterfall method. However, after the initial growing pains have subsided, the benefits from this iterative process become glaringly obvious. The first time the QA teams provides feedback on a integral function that isn’t working as described and thus must be altered mid-way or the business groups changing the software’s focus a few weeks or months into the process, the value is apparent. Development teams and leadership will be glad they don’t have to scrap days, weeks, or months of work. Taking 15 minutes daily to hold an ‘all lines of business stand up’ meeting can mean the difference between hours of wasted high-value resources and an intuitively designed software product, contributed to by each stakeholder group, with significant staying power coming in on time and on budget.

Companies with worldwide software teams may find switching to the Agile processes difficult for other reasons as well. Agile was originally designed for teams physically located together in the same office, which is simply no longer a reality for most mid to large sized organizations. A main issue that these companies face is communication, because distributed teams have fewer options for real time communication channels. They could meet rather easily via speakerphone stand-up meetings at varying hours, but this leaves them disadvantaged, given that 93% of communication is nonverbal. Even with greater utilization of video conferencing platforms adding the non-verbal elements, this type of technology will not be enough to fully placate the issues of large distances when working at a granular, code-writing level. However, these gaps in communication, especially for a technical hand off between developers and teams, can be easily managed through advanced software that is designed to mitigate DevOps and Development created communication issues, such as Atlassian’s JIRA Software and Confluence product.

To site a specific example, the company DocuSign has been flourishing under their decision to adopt the Agile methodology a few years back. As the company expanded globally, greater process control tools had to be implemented for oversight and management. DocuSign implemented Agile in 2014. Between 2014 and 2016 they grew at an exponential rate. In that time frame they , added up to 30 teams distributed across multiple locations and time zones. Working in Agile can be difficult if another team is just a block over, let alone a few states or countries over. Without the right project planning and communication tools in place each team is left guessing what others are doing creating large gaps in the process.

DocuSign knew they needed a software to support this growth, so they turned to Atlassian’s Suite of products. With the help of a solution partner, Atlassian was able to implemented JIRA for project management, Confluence for collaboration and reporting, and Hipchat for team discussion and notifications. These individual solutions are highly integrated with each other out of the box, which helps the teams stay agile by enabling them to incorporate design specs, agile development, and release management into one iterative process. DocuSign teams can now collaborate from separate locations, and still understand process, priorities, and team communiques to respond effectively to changes in requirements. DocuSign’s adoption of Atlassian software enabled their engineering team to increase their project delivery rate by 1/3 from 53% in 2014 to 86% in 2016.

While adopting the Agile methodology may be initially overwhelming for larger companies with worldwide footprints, the process can be easily mitigated through the right planning and collaboration software tools, just as DocuSign found with Atlassian. With significant out of the box integration capabilities and easily configurable platforms to meet a plethora of business needs, Atlassian makes this transition significantly more intuitive. As a Solution Partner, Clovity is able to effectively integrate and configure Atlassian products into all facets of an organization and make Agile over distance seamless. What can Atlassian and the right solutions partner do for your business this year?