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clean-1Atlassian tools like Jira Software, Jira Service Management, and Confluence are mission-critical, so they need to be working optimally at all times. The challenge is, that over time, they tend to accumulate clutter–old projects, workflows, and custom fields–that negatively affect both the user experience, team productivity, and system performance. To keep this from happening, it’s important to establish governance and put a plan of action in place for how and when to do cleanup-related tasks. 

Following are five best practices to help you maintain a clean Atlassian instance.


1. Create a Maintenance Plan of Action

Two key ways of prioritizing cleanup-related activities are to establish metrics that reinforce their business value relative to their impact on work, and to develop a schedule and checklist for what needs to be done and when. 

  • Establish Metrics

    Metrics are a data-driven way to help determine what to tackle and when to tackle it, in terms of maintenance. They might include things like the number of projects that haven’t been used in a given time. Look at ratios such as the number of projects to people, workflows to projects, and/ or fields to screens. When you hit certain numbers, that’s your cue to clean up.
  • Develop a Schedule

    Schedule maintenance in a way that works for the size of your organization and instance, whether that’s quarterly, semiannually, or annually. Make a checklist of what needs to be evaluated and when, and make sure to assign resources and time for it.


2. Establish Governance or Guidelines for Using the Tools 

Governance is simply about setting ground rules for how to use your Atlassian tools. There should be an overarching organizational structure and consistent nomenclature that guides decision-making, as well as guidelines for why and when to deviate from the standards. 

  • Create a Governance Board or Community of Practice

    At Isos Technology, we encourage the notion of a governance community of practice—a group that represents domain expertise and teams across the company who work together to develop organizational guidelines for tool usage. They should meet frequently to evaluate requests and develop solutions for enabling teams to work in ways that serve them best within the overarching structure.

  • Maintain a Balance between Structure and Flexibility

    Atlassian tools are designed to be flexible and support autonomy among teams, but they’re also intended to support cross-functional collaboration, transparency, and reporting. Because of this, governance is all about maintaining a balance between structure and flexibility.


3. Limit Administrator Access (While Respecting User Needs)

One of the most straightforward ways to keep your Atlassian instance from getting unwieldy is to limit who has administrator access and can make configuration changes. Still, there is a balance to be achieved—Atlassian tools are designed to be flexible and they need to meet the needs of the teams using them. The best admins are skilled enough to understand organizational strategy around governance while being responsive to team and user needs. They can evaluate requests, think critically about if and how those requests can be standardized, and come up with innovative solutions to meet user needs. 


4. Turn Your Users into Advocates with Training

The people who work with your Atlassian tools every day have a vested interest in their success. After all, it’s their work that is affected if the tools are not working optimally. Once governance and ground rules have been established for how the tools should work, engage your user base in regular training, so they understand the why behind the choices, and how they benefit the larger organization. 


5. Engage Experts

At Isos Technology, we have seen many organizations successfully clean up their Atlassian instances on their own, but some companies benefit from bringing in an expert. This is particularly true if there are multiple instances, the instance is particularly large, or even if the organization is simply struggling to find the time.

An Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner like Isos can help companies build a long-term strategy for how best to use their instances based on business goals, structure their tools so that they can scale effectively without becoming unmanageable, and target the actions that will deliver the greatest return on investment. In addition, Isos brings best practices and know-how around the fastest, most efficient way to get the job done.

To learn more, download our whitepaper, Practical Recommendations for Cleaning and Organizing Jira, JSM, and Confluence.

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