A JIRA Admin’s New Years Resolutions 2021

Well, that was a year. Honestly, I don’t know what to make of 2020 as a whole. But that’s because, on the whole, I have been very fortunate. For one thing, there are these handy little charts I’ve been ignoring until now.

So, I’ve done a little over three times the post in 2020 when compared to 2019. This figure makes sense as I was only actively posting in 2019 for a third of the year. But those posts have garnered about 15 times the page views. Honestly, there were points this year where we came close to getting our 2019 total in just a week.  

And while COVID-19 is a tragedy I hoped I’d never witness in my lifetime, there is finally hope now that the vaccines are being deployed. Just a matter of being patient and making sure those who need it get it first. I was a work-from-home even before COVID, so I’m happy to wait for my proper turn.

However, let’s look at the resolutions I proposed last year, see how they faired over the year, and then look at some new Resolutions for 2021.

The Year that was

2020 Resolutions

No Config Changes without Notification

Not going to lie; I still struggle with this. It is still just so tempting to quickly push out a change, especially if I know users won’t notice it. But as I said at the start of 2020:

Giving yourself a chance to pause to explain what you are doing and why you are doing it will give both you and your users some perspective.

The Jira Guy, Jan 2020

I still feel this holds true even now. If this is something you’ve struggled with, it’s still a perfectly valid Resolution for 2021.

Clean Up custom Fields

So my views on this have become a bit more…nuanced in 2020. While cleaning up custom fields is very important and is still a good goal, I now think it is helpful to look at which processes allowed you to get to this point and address those.  

Do you rubber-stamp new field requests, or do people have the ability to make a custom field who shouldn’t? What sort of checks and balances can you put in place to prevent useless or redundant fields from being created?  

The reason for this change in thinking is this: If you don’t change the underlying cause, you’ll just be back here next year making the same resolution. So, if you are going to commit to this resolution in 2021, you might want to pair it with the next one I covered in 2020.

Gain/Regain control over my instance

This resolution is still vitally important if you are to get anywhere with any cleanup or maintenance. If you don’t have this nailed down, any work you do towards any other goal can (and likely will) be undone behind your back. No, I’ve witnessed this in real-time over the past year. So, yes, this very much still is a valid Resolution for 2021.

Make me as much of a priority as my systems.

This resolution was something I committed to in 2020, and it was massively put to the test early in the year. And while I passed, it was is still very much a struggle. So, it’s something I’ll keep working towards in 2021 as well.  

2020 Surprises!

So, something needs to be said here. Twenty-twenty gave us plenty of surprises, so if you struggled with completing some of your resolutions, don’t be so hard on yourself. Between having to convert to supporting remote teams due to the COVID-19 response, changing travel plans last minute because Summit went remote, and the scramble we all did as Atlassian announced it’s Server products EOL, we’ve all had plenty to do. 

And that doesn’t include the people looking for work due to the Global economic downturn resulting from COVID-19. Everyone’s hurting right now, so if you didn’t make your goals for the year, don’t worry about it. Just dust off, stand up, and let’s aim for a better 2021.

A JIRA Guy’s New Years Resolutions v.2021

I resolve to lead my teams through the changes to Atlassian Products.

Someone once told me that the term “May you live in interesting times” was an old curse. I have no idea if that is true, but now that I’m living through interesting times, I tend to believe it. However, your organizations depend on you to be an expert. Now that so much is changing in the Atlassian offerings, that is even more true now. It will be up to you to lead them through these changes if they are to continue to be successful on the platform. 

Now, this isn’t a small ask. It will require research into the options, some thinking about what matters to the teams you support, and what works best to match those needs. But, in the coming year, that will be on you, so you might as well start the process right away. 

I resolve to remain flexible as I support a changing situation.

I see many posts, articles, and musing that work has somehow fundamentally changed due to COVID-19. And in the short term, I’d agree with that. However, this isn’t the world’s first pandemic, and I haven’t seen too much proof that the Information Age has fundamentally changed humans that much. It may take a few years, but I see people returning to their old patterns in time.  

However, until then, you will have to remain agile to respond to changing circumstances. Having a fully remote team means that you have to work that much harder to make yourself available to hear ideas and consult with users. Training becomes much more difficult because you can’t corral everyone into a conference room. Supporting teams does change when you aren’t physically there, so keep that in mind and be flexible on approaching both people and problems. 

I resolve to make myself as much of a priority as my systems.

As I stated above, I still struggle with this. But I think Jan. 2020 Rodney put it best:

I get it. Your teams and users depend on you to keep the system running and updated. Do you know what makes it easier to depend on you? Not burning out.

I’ll see it on Reddit from time to time where a Sysadmin has passed away from a heart attack or otherwise burned out and is switching careers. They are always the type who hardly ever took a vacation, never took personal days, and felt like the company’s weight is on their shoulders. I’m telling you now – don’t be that guy. I mean, I play around with these systems for fun in my spare time, and I still have to unplug every once and a while!

So if this sounds like you, just relax. And if you are at a company that would fire you for taking a few days off now and again, you’re at the wrong company! Every company should be concerned about burnout, and if they aren’t, that isn’t a healthy environment, and you should start looking now for a better year ahead.

And that’s a wrap on 2020!  

But seriously all, as far as the Blog goes, this past year has been an incredible validation. From all the fan letters to the opportunities this Blog has afforded me, I am beyond humbled. Considering my initial goals were somewhat selfish (I just wanted a job!), what keeps me going through every post is the number of people who appreciate what I do here. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading.

I am making some changes in the back end to make sure that the Blog can continue to grow in 2021. Nothing I’m ready to announce yet, but I am hoping to find ways to bring you even more content moving forward. These do include sponsored posts where it makes sense, but I’m considering finding ways to bring you content on Confluence, Bitbucket, and Bamboo as well. These would likely be in addition to the Jira content you already enjoy. I’m excited about the coming year for the Blog, and I hope to have you with me as we move forward.

In speaking of moving forward, don’t forget about Innovalog’s “Stump the Expert” challenge! It’s a chance to support FIRST, an organization that has had a tremendous impact on many children’s lives, including my own! The challenge will be live until Jan 31, so take some time to see if any look like you can tackle them! 

Don’t forget you can find us on many social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Be sure to comment, like, and share the post with your friends and colleagues. To get posts directly in your inbox, you can also sign up below to subscribe to the blog. But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your Jira issues today?”


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