Atlassian Community AMA with Cameron Deatsch, Part 2

So – last week was a lot to take in. From revelations about Data Center and Cloud to talk of the following Team event, Cameron gave us a lot of information. And as I said when I closed out last week – that is less than half of the content from this one session. So I won’t drag this out – let’s dive back into the AMA and see what else Cameron had to say.


How do you determine what is part of the Core Jira Platform, and what goes to specific Jira Products?

Erica Moss: We have another question from Walter here – and I love this one because you touched on it a bit earlier. He starts with, “There was a day when Jira was just well Jira. Today there’s Jira Software. Jira Service Management, and Jira Work Management.” He continues, “I understand their target market-specific needs that are better addressed with targeted products, and we can see the value there. However, are you considering exchanging more of that work and functionality between the different products and teams? And along the same lines, are you regularly considering reviewing what core functionality has its place in the common Jira platform across all products.”

Cameron Deatsch: Oh yes, I remember back in the day when it was just Jira and Confluence, and that’s all going to deal with, and we Fisheye and Crucible and Bamboo and Crowd. So we always like making out lives more complicated. So yes, in addition to the three different Jiras, we also have four different editions: Free, Standard, Premium, and Enterprise, so you got that layer on top of that. And not let’s not forget our Server, Data Center, and Cloud changes. So yeah, Jira has become…robust.

Let’s go back.. and I see someone mentioned Greenhopper here. Yes! You know, anyone who still has a green hopper T-shirt, that thing is like “frame it” – that is worth money.

Anyways, let’s go through the whole approach here. Everyone understands the big background. Originally, it was just Jira, right. And Jira was issues, projects, and workflows. That’s all Jira was. Then we bought Greenhopper because it provided those issues in the board view. And all of a sudden, Jira became an agile product, and that thing took off. Largely between Starter licenses in 2008 and the Greenhopper acquisition made Atlassian what it is today. That is where Atlassian just truly inflected those to things back 12 or 13 years ago. 

Then we had the marketplace where we continued to add more and more capabilities on top of Jira. So you have this Jira product and then an infinite amount of modules, plugins, or Apps – you know we’d call them 17 different things over the years – but they’re all Apps now. And customers were customizing the hell out of it. We were quickly getting feedback that customers wanted and more guidance. I know all of you are very experienced community leaders who know all our products’ ins and outs. We have 20,000 new customers coming in every single quarter that aren’t as sophisticated.

Right, so they want more guidance of “Exactly what do I need to use? Don’t make me have infinite configuration. Don’t make me customize. Just tell me.” For example, we’d get, “Hey, I’m a software development team; how do I use Jira properly?”

So that’s what we really tried to do when we changed it from “Jira plus add-ons” to “Jira Software,” “Jira Service Desk” – now Jira Service Management, and “Jira Core” – now Jira Work Management. So there will also be another Jira in the pipeline – Jira Product Discovery. And I generally believe we’ll probably have more Jira-related products.

And the idea of that is to go after different potential market opportunities. As people are coming in the door with Jira Software and realize that it is not exactly what they want. It has the issues and workflows, but it’s not for the use case I want.

So, who’s in charge of all that? The good news is that a guy named Joff Redfern, our Chief Product Officer, is working behind all that stuff. There is a core Jira platform team that basically supports all the individual Jira product teams. Sadly, I’d say their job should be in the end to dictate what is common across all Jira experiences and what is unique to individual products. But, I’ll be perfectly honest. The bulk of their energy has been over the last year to year and a half has been working on performance and scale to ensure that migrations work for people who want to go from Server to Cloud. So, but most of the time is ensuring we can get to 40,000 or 50,000 users on Jira Software, and that the common Jira platform is powerful.

And the other thing, so that you know, if Mike Cannon-Brooks were here, he would talk less about the Jira Platform and more about the Atlassian Platform. And that’s the unique thing is that you have multiple Jiras out there, but all of our cloud products are increasingly powered by consonant Atlassian platform capabilities that are more than just Infrastructure. So like obviously Infrastructure, identity, commerce, security – that’s all part of the core Atlassian platform, but we also have Atlassian shared experiences things like search, things like the APP switcher, things like “@” mentions. And hopefully, eventually level the whole common “team” concept that’s powered across all Atlassian products: including Jira, but also Confluence, and so on. So you get more common Atlassian platform capabilities across these products.

I’ll be perfectly honest; it’s not crystal clear yet what capabilities we want common across all the Jira products and what will make common across all the Atlassian products this. This Atlassian Platform vs Jira Platform is both a strategic challenge and opportunity that we’re continually pushing back on where that balance is. I know that we continue to over-invest in the Atlassian Platform to make all of this work. 

My last piece here is the “interoperability of capabilities across the multiple Jira products” is top of mind. And the reason for that is, if you look at what we’re actually trying to do, most of those Jira products are an expansion from the Jira Software customer base. So most people start with Jira Software with a software development team. Then Jira Service Management comes in when people say, “Hey are you tired getting all your feedback from customers and end-users in one system and then having to plug it into Jira? Why don’t we have it all on the same product with your Service Management where you ingest requests, thendo all the work in Jira Software to close the loop.” So there’s much more work to ensure that that loop continues to close and link between the two – beyond issue-linking that we have today. So lots of work there. Increasingly, as Jira Work Management gets more and more adoption, you’ll see that as well.

So the idea is that as we’re trying to go after these new market opportunities, we want to ensure that in general, everyone wants that tied back to the work in Jira Software, and how do we make that sophisticated. I can’t commit to “here’s the roadmap behind all that,” but it is part of the strategy that you can track work items across multiple Jiras and the multiple teams working on top of Jira. The only thing I’ll add on top of that is now let’s extend that out to Opsgenie, and let’s extend that out to Confluence. Like it’s beyond just the Jira world that we’re thinking. We’re thinking all of your work is managed across Atlassian products powered by the Atlassian platform, and how do we make sure that work is tracked outside of Jira as well.


What would you consider the best practices when working with Sales Ops and Customer Success Ops?

Erica Moss: So we have reached the end of our pre-submitted questions. I would love to toss it over to Jimmy to see if anyone in the chat has any burning questions for Cameron.

Jimmy Seddon: Cameron, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today; I really appreciate it. I know you and I chatted a bit a year ago, and I always enjoyed that. So we have a couple of questions that have come in through the chatroom. First, Vivek asked If you have any guidance or best practices about consolidating Sales OPS and CS OPS.

Cameron Deatsch: I guess it’s an internal go-to-market conversation. That’s our Sales Operations team and our Customer Success Operations team. Those are two different organizations with Atlassian today – we largely focuse on Sales Operations. Really, supporting our enterprise sellers and our channel more than anything. And their job is largely lead generation, pipeline generation, ensuring that new business comes in, and managing all the various expansion paths of our enterprise customers.

Customer success is largely once those customers have adopted a product or decided to purchase a product, are we making sure that they’re adding more users and getting the guidance they need. For those of you who have engaged with our tam team, I use that as like the biggest Northstar of “how do we take the technical account managers, which are going in providing guidance to our biggest customers as a paid service, and how do we do that at scale for all of our customers through people and customer success managers, as well as self-service on the website?”

Now there’s overlap – our sales teams are continually engaging inside our customer accounts, and so are the customer success teams, but we try to make sure their ownership is clear. You know sales is all about ensuring customers are aware of new innovations from Atlassian and making sure customers are handling the objections to choose. Customer success is making sure that they’re successful when the products when they do that. I do treat them as separate operations teams. Mainly there are different sets of tasks there and the biggest thing we have to resolve, there is “who owns the customer engagement.” And we could probably get a little more detail from any of you who are just handling internal customers. But much of that comes down to the type of people you hire and less of your operational reporting. You want to ensure that people, in general, are always collaborative and always looking out for the customer’s best interest. As long as we’re over-communicating around the status of engagements with our customers, you know the operations stuffs take care of themselves. 

Total left turn question, by the way, so if you want to talk about sales and marketing customers, I’ll talk to your ear off because that’s my day-to-day.


Will we see a return of an in-person Team in the EU in 2022?

Jimmy Seddon: I’ve seen it mentioned multiple times and chat now, I’m going to just jump ahead and ask this now. Are there plans for an in-person event in the EU in 2022?

Cameron Deatsch: I would love it but not yet. But just expect a whole bunch more from the Atlassian event strategy. I wish I could commit to that right now, but no, we don’t have a place. Believe me, I’m pushing not just EU but worldwide. I want to go more to where our customers are, I want to be in Nigeria. And maybe just two years to sit in on zoom not traveling at all that is making me want to go everywhere. So I’ll continue to push for it, but I can’t make a commitment.

As all of you know, the in-person world is still a little bit, uh, you know, hazy and, in general, Atlassian is extremely conservative and will watch out for the health of our employees and our customers.


Will there still be a Data Center option in 5 years?

Jimmy Seddon: So this one might be a sticky point but chat has asked, “There are still no plans to end data Center within five years, right?”

Cameron Deatsch: There are no plans to end data Center within five years, right. But honestly, we have very, very, very big government customers operating Atlassian products in bunker’s that will never touch the Internet. That said, maybe there’s one day out there where that part of our business is so small that we don’t need to support it, but the reality is that will not be in the next five years.

Hopefully, each and every one of you will keep looking at the new stuff we release in the Cloud and go, “Oh, that’s pretty interesting.” And it doesn’t all have to be “lift and shift.” Just try the new stuff. From a “Technical Blocker” perspective, we’ve unblocked 60% of our on Prem customers today. You know you got Fedramp moderate coming out, you have HIPAA, you have SSI coming out, you’ll BYOK encryption coming out, you have data residency in like four or five more countries in the next 12 months. You know that pus us on par with 90% of the top SAAS vendors out there when it comes to handling all the compliance objections. 

The next big blocker that all of you will tell me about after compliance objections and scale is extensibility. We have to have 2700 on Prem Apps and 1400 cloud Apps; costumers say they need every one of their Apps and have also built a bunch of custom Apps. This is where you can see us and investing a ton in Forge to allow you all to build customizations on top of the Alaskan platform in our infrastructure as well as on our marketplace do that. That’s obviously going to be a journey as well, it’s one of those places where plenty of investment to ensure that you get all the extensibility customization you need in the Cloud.

Sorry, that’s always the trail on after everyone asked about the future of Data Center.


Is there any streamlining planned for Templates in Jira Cloud?

Jimmy Seddon: Chat has said that there’s a lot of good changes in project templates and Cloud. However, there still continues to be confusion about which one to choose. Is there any work in plan to simplify this?

Cameron Deatsch: You know, get Megan on the horn here.

Yes there’s plenty of conversation here, but in general, I was in the Atlassian way, we tend to provide more choice than less choice. Which leads to more confusion and customization at the expense of more flexibility. I can’t speak of the Roadmap of things, but I completely understand that “Okay, we keep dumping more functionality. What do I use when, and more importantly, how do I tell the end-users and my team members which templates to use for what.


What’s Atlassian’s threshold for asking on user requests for functionality?

Jimmy Seddon: Chat has asked, “What’s Atlassian’s threshold for asking on user requests for functionality?”

Cameron Deatsch: Just keep voting on tickets in https://jira.atlassian.com (JAC). 

The threshold. Okay, being a product manager, there is no threshold. It’s not like, “Okay, once it gets 1132 votes, we’re going to build that feature.” All of you have been around long enough to realize that’s not how we do product management at Atlassian. Which is why JAC, where it’s like, “here’s our public roadmap and here’s our public issue request,” is this great double-edged sword. There have been huge internal arguments and debates about it. JAC has a great ability for customers to get us feedback on what’s most important, but it’s also the greatest tool for our customers to get really angry when they say, “That JAC tickets been open for 15 years, why haven’t you done it yet.”

The reality is, as all of you know, we will get more feature submission requests than we will ever be able to deliver. That’s an inherent nature of having an open forum – whether it’s powered by Jira or something else – any ideation forum will basically make it so that we inevitably set our customers up for disappointment because will always get more requests than we’ll be able to go actually solve. When product managers make decisions, you can think of it like this. Being a PM is a rough job at Atlassian – and most of you who work for technology companies can understand this. The Product Manager has a strategic direction for the product. For example, “I want to make Jira Service Management, the best IT service management product in the industry – across all SMB and Enterprise customers.” So that’s the direction they are taking the product. 

Second, is, I need to make my customers happy. My customer happiness comes from CSAT – in-person service, feature requests – JAC, Customer Support from my Team. So customer happiness is a bit ticket. “Make my existing customers Happy.” 

Then I have Atlassian Platform capabilities, or what Atlassia-wide corporate strategy thinks that are pushed out. So cloud migrations, Ecosystem, Atlassian Platform (Provide common search). So the PM’s have a number of Atlassian Roadmap Items effectively forced upon them, like Atlassian ID and commerce, that also requires Development work to ensure that it is aligning with the rest of Atlassian and Corporate Strategy.

Okay, so it’s basically that trifecta – existing customers, Market Direction Strategy, and Atlassian – that product managers are constantly balancing internally to define their roadmaps and deliver new features. This inevitably comes down to them not delivering every JAC feature or because of strategic direction, that JAC issue that has 3785 votes up and it’s been around for 14 years doesn’t match the strategic direction of where they’re taking that product. But that’s largely how they do that, and we try and empower product managers to make those decisions. It’s not an algorithm – if it was an algorithm, we wouldn’t need product managers, we would just shove it all on a spreadsheet.

I think, also getting Joff, our Chief Product Officer on the horn here and other product leaders to discuss the whole art around this. We call the product management a “craft” because it is a craft. so it’s an art and science to ensure that we are prioritizing things correctly.

But the threshold is 1400 votes on JAC tickets, then you get that feature.


What is the most “Amazeballs” moment you’ve had at Atlassian?

Bridget Sauer (Atlassian): We’re running out of time. So I’m going to jump in to call on “Fun Man” Andy. His question has been approved after being audited by me, but go to the last question.

FUN MAN ANDY: Yeah, Cameron, a nice fun question. I even change my background for it because it’s super relevant with the background. ((Note from Rodney, he really did!)) Looking back on the long career at Atlassian, what was the most “Amazeballz!” moment?

Cameron Deatsch: (Laughs) That’s great. There’s a bunch of them that I give. So there’s not going be one answer on that. So internally, Atlassian has transformed the lives of literally thousands of people. I feel I am one of the luckiest people on the planet, and most of you work in technology, it’s like you know to be part of just being in the tech industry over the last 10 years we’re naturally just very, very lucky. It’s just been an “up and to the right” place to be in the world. To be able to do that at a company like Atlassian that has grown to be one of the most successful software companies in the world – with $100 billion market CAP two weeks ago – that’s just such a rare thing. 

And then the last piece on that is to do that at a company – and I know we’re not perfect, Okay – but at a company that has the two founders, who were just two Dudes who didn’t want to wear suits to work. Who gets up at 5am every day to do one-on-ones with me, who are still so entrenched in this business and just care. And they’re not perfect, but they truly care about their employees, teams, and customers. It is absolutely amazing, and I’ve just seen people in this own company continue to grow, like myself. And I’ve seen his company open up doors for massive careers outside the business where people just wanting their lives have been transformed, and like that is always that was one thing, but as long as like man I look back those last 10 years ago, while we’ve changed, you know a lot of lives.

My external one is like I really loved it; it was a Tea..well, the Summit. Must have been Summit 2018 or 2019 when we launched Jira 8.0, back when I was in the product organization and got to launch products. I remember doing that launch. We put so much in that launch it was like two years’ worth of innovation into 8.0. We finally had our Data Center performance and scale was done, and we had a bunch of new features to launch. And I remember Launch Night on stage, and the crowd was Crazy Happy. And then we had a big Community event – Didn’t we have a whiskey tasting? I sort of remember it. For those of you who are there, I was just like everyone was just in such a great mood. Like we had launched a ton of innovation, I just remember that the customers were happy, and you just felt the energy. So that was one of my most exciting things.


And that’s it!

Wow, this was a lot to edit. I want to once again thank the Atlassian team for providing the video, transcript, and permission to post this. Especially for the transcript – it dramatically sped up the process versus hand-transcribing, even if it was…interesting to edit. I love being able to do events like this with Atlassian – because it gives me (and by extension, you) a view of what’s happening there.  

As a reminder, you can find all of my social media links on Linktree. Be sure to follow me to get the latest updates on the Blog and Atlassian, as well as anything I find interesting. If you found this post helpful, please do me a favor and give it a like and comment on Social Media. This helps the algorithm know this is content worth sharing, and it really does make a massive difference. Don’t forget you can also get this post directly to your inbox! Just sign up using the form below. But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your Jira issues today?”


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