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Good Intentions

Atlassian, Jira, SAFe

We’ve all been there. We’ve outgrown the processes we are familiar with, but we still need to grow. And look, what’s that over there? It’s a newer way to do things that will (on paper) fix all of our problems. So we roll up your sleeves, get trained up and rush headlong into better days.

...okay, maybe not that last bit.

While leaving the familiar behind in the pursuit of progress is natural, it is also perilous. Despite training and good intentions, there are a host of ways that you can fail along the way. I’m not going to talk about all the ways you can fail, and more importantly I’m not trying to stop you from trying. I just want to talk to you quickly about one of the areas where I often see people stumble: tooling.

Drastic process changes are often an opportunity to pick up a new set of tools. Fortunately, in the modern age we are surrounded by gifted toolmakers who have created robust, customizable solutions for most business problems. The two features that are often at the forefront when businesses are choosing new tools are flexibility and cost… which are often directly related. No one wants to invest in a tool that will become obsolete in a year or two, once again hindering growth.

The problem with tools that are highly flexible is that it is easy to go down the wrong implementation path. This may become obvious quickly, or more frequently down the road. By this point, correcting course is often expensive and time consuming. When setting out with a new tool, it is important to start slowly and in a planned fashion, making sure to use the tool in the right way.

As someone who loves metaphor and simile, allow me to present the shovel. This is one of the most useful tools in the history of the world. If you want to dig a hole, this is the tool you want. (Of course if you want to dig a really big hole, you can use a backhoe… which is really just an enterprise level shovel.) So you go out, grab your shovel and begin to dig. Really, how difficult is that?

Well, is the earth you are digging into full of rocks? You might need to bring along a pickaxe.

Are you digging in the Arizona summer? Make sure you have enough water.

How about gloves? Oh, you didn’t think about blisters.

And how long are you going to dig? If you aren’t careful, you will be sore tomorrow.

Also, are you sure there aren’t any buried utility lines where you will be digging? You should probably check that out (call 811 before you dig - it can save you a lot of headaches).

Okay, enough talk about shovels. I think I’ve made my point, and this was a simple example. When you are doing a business transformation, tool planning is much more complex.

Jira is a prime example of this flexibility. As a tool that was originally created for developers, flexibility was a mandate. Different individuals and teams work differently, and the tool had to adapt accordingly. Since those early days, Jira has pushed beyond the boundaries of the developer sandbox. It can now be found in all parts of organizations, customizable to present and future needs.

Just as with our lowly (though some would argue magnificent) shovel, setting out with Jira also requires you to plan ahead carefully. If you do, you can meet a broad range of requirements, helping to guarantee success.

...and if not, you may find yourself standing knee deep in a muddy hole rapidly filling from a broken water line, gripping your shovel and blistered hands and realizing there’s not enough Aleve in the world to deal with the aches and pains of tomorrow.

TAGS: Atlassian, Jira, SAFe

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