Guest Contributor: Isaac Sacolick, President | CIO, StarCIO
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In Part 1 of this series on consolidating Jira Instances, I outlined Best Practices 1-3. I discussed why it's essential to develop an inventory of what Atlassian tools your various stakeholders and teams are using in your organization. I also covered why your business should articulate a vision that defines the value and benefits of consolidating, and why you should consider developing a reference scrum and service desk configuration. In the next installment of this blog series, I'll cover four more best practices for consolidating Atlassian instances in your organization.
4. Cleanse Before Migrating and Archive Data for Compliance
A follow up from the previous best practice is to audit usage and identify projects, service desks, users, and other configurations that admins should filter out of the primary consolidation. If compliance requires storing the data, other options are to archive the data or create an archival instance. Avoid polluting the primary instance with historical artifacts that make finding information harder and more confusing.
Large organizations should also use this opportunity to define a governance model covering some basics. For example, in Jira Software, a model should prescribe when projects should be created and archived, how project leaders should assign roles, and the decision process for creating new issue types.
5. Centralize Documentation on the Configuration
Confluence is a superb tool for collaborating and sharing information across teams. While it’s common for teams to use Confluence to share project information, documenting the team’s processes and tool configurations is often an afterthought. Here are some recommendations
- Create a data dictionary on issue types and fields, and capture issue workflows so that teammates understand how to use Jira properly
- Document the installed marketplace plug-ins are and which groups use them so that new teams can leverage and consult with experts
- Centralize information on integrations, automations, and API usage to aid the migration and ongoing Jira administration
- Disclose how agile teams are estimating, conventions around using versions, and story writing standards to better partner with agile product owners
- Share with employees details on ITSM request types, services, and services levels so that they fully leverage existing capabilities
6. Test automation and integrations before cutting over
The last thing you want in a migration is to get users excited over the upgrade, invest all the time mapping data and configurations into the centralized instances, and then mess up the cutover because automations and integrations weren’t properly tested.
Development and IT teams are versed in testing functionality and integrations on business applications. The unfortunate reality is that there’s often not enough time to apply similar disciplines when upgrading IT tools. But leaving out testing may be shortsighted.
Service management workflows to support incidents, requests, and changes are critical to help employees working remotely and organizations relying on IT applications that support mission-critical business processes. And more businesses rely on application development teams to deliver frequent application releases. Outages from failed automations and integrations that disrupt IT also interrupt the business, so leaders overseeing Jira consolidations should schedule testing in their project plans.
7. Strategize the Migration’s Timing, Sequencing, and Roadmap
Finding an agile approach to managing a Jira consolidation is an important best practice, especially when there are multiple instances used by many people. Lift and shifting strategies or trying to rush through a migration leads to poor experiences and other business impacts.
An agile approach is to roadmap consolidations starting with the areas of greatest business value and least risk. For example, beginning a consolidation project with a small agile development team working on new applications can provide significant productivity with minimal risk, while migrating a service desk project used by hundreds of employees requires appropriate planning. Also, migration leaders should consider defining a prioritized capabilities roadmap so that teams prescribe and validate more standardized configurations.
Another consideration is if you’re migrating projects and teams off other tools and onto Jira. In addition to transitioning the project data, configurations, and workflows, these migrations require training people and coaching teams on using new tools.
Lastly, also consider the organization’s business priorities. Migrating teams while they’re in the midst of a time-sensitive project is not advised.
Hold to the Vision to Manage Effective Migrations
Use your vision to guide the implementation. There are always tradeoffs and implementation speed bumps, so going back to the vision is key to driving prudent decision-making.
These best practices are a lot to consider, so consider seeking advice and implementation assistance from experts for large migrations. It’s not like your organization needs to make Jira consolidations a core competency.