Research and provide strategic recommendations for a finance company to transition work into the Atlassian product suite
Client: TBS Factoring | Services: Process Consulting | The Deli Team: Meredith | Date: 2017
Meredith and another contractor, Stacie Alldritt, were hired to help TBS factoring with some process changes at a large finance organization. The company had recently experienced a lot of growth and wanted to get some efficient processes in place. One of the major goals of the project was to customize Atlassian Jira Software, Jira Core, Jira Service Desk, and Confluence to fit needs of the company. Additionally, the company was growing a software team for the first time and was looking for guidance on implementing agile development processes.
To fully understand how this suite of products would work best for the company, we needed to get to know the company. The first step was a series of interviews with key stakeholders. The key takeaway from the interviews was a list of current processes and where they fall on a scale in terms of efficiency and necessity. During the interviews we also collected interviewees ideas of what they hope the new software and processes will be able to do for their teams.
"Departments are solving their own problems with project management, creating confusion with cross-functional processes and information silos."
Next, we created a survey that was sent to a larger group of employees. We asked several questions about how work gets done at the company. After pinpointing some areas of concern, we discussed the results with the stakeholder team and offered insights into how the Atlassian products could alleviate these pain points.
"We really don't. We just expect it to be done."
"Email or Jabber."
"We track it in our IT database, which is a mess."
"We have a binder sitting at the end of the hallway where we check things off - with a pen!"
Strong capabilities, stronger complexity
The project stakeholders decided to use the above Atlassian products before hiring us as consultants. These products are very capable of handling the needs of the company, but only when they are highly customized. Each one requires a great deal of planning and administrative tweaking in order to deliver on the project goals. For one of their employees to make these customizations, many training workshops with Atlassian would be required. That's where Meredith and Stacie were able to save time for the team, by creating a custom plan and modifying the software to match the plan. After we made the customizations, we trained employees on how the system is organized, and how to make changes in the future.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Model
The client's teams had very different needs and workflows. During the workflow workshops we asked teams to map out a particular process. Later we would migrate those detailed steps to Jira for them. However, when a team is asked to map a workflow it is not always apparent what we mean. We created a universally simple example to help explain the high level concepts. The Peanut Butter and Jelly Workflow was mapped in note cards, added to all systems as a sandbox area for teams to learn, and was referenced in all training materials.
Once teams saw the Peanut Butter and Jelly workflow, they were able to easily follow the steps to creating a workflow. We deliberately left out the vocabulary used within the software during the workshops in order to help the teams focus only on the steps in their process. We discussed what should happen, known as "the happy path", and what sometimes happens "the less happy path". These talks were extremely useful to capture all edge cases and make a plan for the issues to be resolved back to a happy path. The teams were able to agree on best practices for common tasks that they complete regularly. During these workshops the teams also had a chance to create a mind map together of the types of content that they would like to see in their Confluence space.
Confluence Space Architecture
For Confluence we built an overall framework that is built for growth. After all, Confluence is a collaborative platform for sharing information. This means that the majority of the content would be added by all employees. The structure includes spaces for each team and knowledge-base spaces for cross-team information that needed to be shared.
Next, we translated the discussions from workshops into actual workflows within Jira Software and Jira Service Desk.
Admin Training + Employee On-boarding
As Jira System Administrator and Confluence Administrator we worked diligently to tweak every behind -the-scenes customization within these systems to provide the right experience for the client. Taking care of these initial set-ups meant that the eventual system administrator on the IT team didn't need to take time away to learn Atlassian. We provided individual training to certain high level administrators to show them exactly how to make the changes that they would need in the future.
For non-admins, our documentation for how to use both Jira and Confluence were left as guides within Confluence. We provided video tutorials, on-boarding challenges, thorough documentation of our processes in Confluence and Jira, and of course loads of Peanut Butter and Jelly references.