The first month of the next decade has already come and gone, but it's not too late to revel in the possibilities of what lies ahead this year. Personally I'm looking forward to what 2020 will bring, not only for my family and my adventurous spirit but also for my career and fan-nerd life in the Atlassian ecosystem. Join me in my reverie as I present my top 5 Atlassian fan-nerd things to look forward to in 2020.
1. Automation for Jira
This hot little ditty was acquired by Atlassian back in October of 2019, and although it still remains to be seen what will come of it all, the news was not entirely surprising. I mean, A4J would seriously knock out Atlassian, first round, no contest in any I-can-out-automate-you-boxing match.
Plain and simple, I can't wait to see how the dudes and dudettes at Code Barrell, former Atlassian employees nonetheless, pull off a reintroduction into the family... gloves off? hat in hand? And us customers are all the better for it?
2. Next-Gen, Schnecks-Gen?
Next-Gen, Schnecks-Gen or will it be time to jump on the bandwagon? What a hot topic of discussion these days. To be honest with you, and usually I am, on the outside I'm a fan of the Classic project and on the inside I'm cheering on the Next-Gen project underdog.
I get asked questions about the two often and although Next-Gen is clearly making strides in functionality and ease of use with workflow automation and custom field configuration at your fingertips, Classic is Classic is Classic. So 9 out of 10 times after reviewing the pros and cons with my clients, they end up going with Classic. Sigh. It's just part of the innovation process, right? Newer, better, faster... stronger, um eventually, but when? Following the Next-Gen roadmap is one way to stay in the know or check out this YouTube playlist, developed and made known to me by my Atlassian friend Chelsey Cowley.
Make no mistake here, newer and faster is exactly what Next-Gen is all about. Yes, Atlassian has been paying attention. I mean, with Classic it's a common grumble <<insert slightly inappropriate, stereotypical millennial whiney tone>> "Um, why is this so complicated? How come I need to know all this config stuff? It should just work. Like, I just want this new field and new status and I want to name it what I want to name it."
Next-Gen features focus on speed by getting teams up and running quickly with little configuration and no administrator required. Sheesh anyone can create a Next-Gen project in Jira! Then there's the roadmapping functionality which looks oddly familiar, got me scratching my head like "Portfolio for Jira, how'd you get in here?". There is a ton of potential for the future of Next-Gen and now with the recent addition of approval functionality for the Next-Gen Jira Service Desk projects, Atlassian is closing the functionality gap. With this trend, I don't think it will be too long before Classic projects are starting to look more and more like
yesterday's last decade's news.
3. Jira Align - To Be or Not To Be?
Ok, I can't be the only one pondering the ultimate Atlassian-fan-nerd question! I can't be, right? (that's not the question, wait for it). It's been almost a year since the announcement of the acquisition of Agile Craft and this question has been on my mind ever since.
How is Atlassian going to position this Enterprise Project Management at Scale product when all that it stands for flies in the face of what Atlassian has built its legacy on? Think about it, the Atlassian mission, their motto, their al'round beer chugging cheer is all about unleashing the potential in every team. This has traditionally translated into their products via team autonomy, collaboration and making work visible. Catch that? AUTONOMY. Autonomy doesn't scale, friends.
Jira Align takes on a much more prescriptive approach to managing work across teams, for scaling purposes, obvi. And when I say "much more prescriptive", what I really mean is that I've got a list of directions on how to configure Jira if you're going to use Jira Align. Plain and simple, there's a recipe to follow. This. Is. So. Totally. Not. Autonomous. In fact, it's the opposite of Next-Gen. Is Atlassian building in contention with their products, or covering all their bases? TBD.
I'm as stoked as any other scaling agile professional or enthusiast to have Jira Align in the Atlassian family, don't get me wrong. In fact I'm proud to have been invited to the first of its kind, early access Jira Align Partner training at the Atlassian corporate offices this past summer where Enterprise Solutions Architect, Matt Magee shoved some serious Jira Align knowledge in our faces.... for 10 days! (Pictured here with me, Right to Left, Matt Magee who needs a wardrobe update, Chelsea Cowley, Portfolio for Jira and Next-Gen ninja out of Atlassian's Austin offices and Larry Cummings, fellow Atlassian Consultant extraordinaire at Isos)
Nonetheless, I yearn (yes, I'm that much of a nerd) to experience the unfolding of Jira Align and all its comparatively rigid rules for configuration... errr um, I mean success for scaling agility across the enterprise into the Altassian products, brand, culture and good ol' beery cheer of an ecosystem.
4. Change/Release Management Automation
Dang, it seems like each time I work with a team around Change Management, I find that it means something a bit different to everyone, so take this section with a grain of salt. Regardless of what your organization is calling it, or the fine details of the processes, the same general need presents itself and Jira doesn't have a great out of the box solution for it, not yet anyway.
What are the needs? Teams want to make changes to Production or QA or Staging or UAT or whatever environment you wish. AND they need permission, approvals, reviews AND it needs to be documented for auditors. Some level of sophistication is needed in the tool to support a process that prevents changes from getting shoved out the door without proper review and documentation. Currently we can configure Jira to support this process, but it's a bit painful.
Could there be some improvement, nay a marrying of sorts between Jira Software and Jira Service Desk in a new and improved way? One that will facilitate how devops, stakeholders and developers work together to streamline their release management processes? I have it on good terms (I do not reveal my sources here cause I want to keep my job) that we should see some developments here this year.
5. Atlassian University
You may or may not have seen the latest from Atlassian University? Yes? No? Well, if you've ever needed to get users up to speed and efficient.... CHECK IT OUT! The fine folks at Atlassian University (AU) are very purposeful in curating learning content that moves you into a deeper understanding of the tools so you can get the most out of them for your organization and teams. Totally worth the investment of your day or half-day.
Need a more flexible schedule for training? AU has got a plethora of learning delivery options for you to choose from, including new in 2019 the Training App for Jira in the Atlassian Marketplace. This makes learning super easy with pre-recorded, short and sweet videos that you can dabble through at your own pace.
Lastly, teaching the Atlassian University courses is one of the favorite things I get to do as part of my jobby-job here at Isos so I can't end this blog without making mention two things I'm stoked about for 2020:
- Isos is an official Atlassian Training Partner and we will gladly help you with any training needs (custom or otherwise) you may have. Just let us know!
- Larry Cummings and I will be teaching courses on behalf of Atlassian University at Summit 2020. Hope to see you there!
Atlassian University swag is all smiles from Summit 2019 with Realizing the Power of Jira Reporting and Dashboards learning happening in the background.
2020 is Looking Good to Me, but What do You Think?
So there you have it, some of the fan-nerdy things that keep me energized and excited about working with Atlassian products and clients near and far. What are some of the things you're most looking forward to in 2020? I'd love to know.