Dragon Slayer Part 2: The Revamp

Well, I’ve finished the revamp! It took me a little longer than expected, but here we are.

Of course, you guys enjoyed last week’s article on Automation for JIRA. While I would not like it to be the sole focus of the blog, if you guys bring me good ideas for potential Automations, I would love to do more of those kinds of pieces. But that’s not why we are here today.

So in total, I reworked all nine pages, each about as long as a typical blog post. Today I’d like to go into some thoughts, tricks, and pitfalls to be aware of if you try to do it from my instructions.

Time is not on your side.

So, to be clear, the last five modules all depend on a Mercurial Repo hosted on Bitbucket Cloud. It’s something that works well in this situation – except for the following complication. 

Atlassian has announced they are ending support in Bitbucket Cloud for Mercurial, with all existing Mercurial Repos disappearing on July 1st, which leaves the Dragon Slayer Challenge in a bit of a pickle.

As of right now, I intend to monitor it to see if they update their instructions with a git repository. If that does not happen, I’ll be taking down my instructions on July 1st as well. It only seems right, honestly. I would not like to be answering comments for the next few years that everything past Stage 5 isn’t working.

So if you are looking to try this yourself – do it now!

Fish eye gadgets are still…off.

So, I spent half a day debugging this – only to get nowhere. There are a few answers out there for the problem, but they are six years old. To further complicate things, my testing proved that their problem back then was not my problem today.

What problem is that? Simple, I could not get a Fisheye Gadget to return a valid Repository no matter what I tried. Every time I’d get the same, “The specified FishEye repository is not configured” – which was malarkey. The Repositories would work correctly within the JIRA Development Panel – just not the gadgets. Upping the logging on the FishEye plugin revealed nothing of usefulness in the logs either.

At a certain point, I just had to decide I wasn’t the one to fix this issue. However, if you do have a fix, please PLEASE let me know!

A few last notes

I tried to go through and click every link, touch every instruction, and redo every screenshot. But there may be parts I missed. If you notice something that isn’t working, please let me know so I can update it!

There are points where things weren’t working as described, and I had to find out why and fix it. Every time this did happen, though, I did go back to the appropriate place and update the instructions. I feel this is an improvement on the old instructions from Atlassian and is something I am happy to put out.

That being said, this is Atlassian’s work originally. If they ask that I take it down, I will do so without warning to you guys. I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me. I honestly don’t think it will come to that, but I figured I’d give you fair warning.

So, Get on with it!

You can find the start of the journey here. If you’ve never messed with the system side of running the Atlassian Stack yourself, it’s a great place to get started.

I’ve spent a good bit of time on this update, so if you appreciate it, please give it a like and cI’ve spent a good bit of time on this update, so if you appreciate it, please give it a like or comment on LinkedIn or a retweet on Twitter. That’s all it takes to help others discover this blog! You can also subscribe to the blog using the form below to get new posts directly to your inbox. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @theJIRAguy.

Also, a discussion at work got me curious. How do you spell it: Subtask or Sub-task? Answer below!

But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking “Have you updated your JIRA issues today?”

Automation for JIRA

So, I can already hear you, readers. You’re saying, “Aren’t we supposed to have a part 2 to the Dragonslayer post where you modernize the instructions?” And you are correct. However, that turns out to be a more significant task than I first imagined. 

However, I want you to have something to read this week. That was when I had a request from a client this week. Upon reviewing the solution to the request, I felt it would be perfect for posting about this week.

Automation for JIRA

One question users always ask me is how they can automate actions in JIRA. For example, when they move a story into the sprint, how can they automatically have the subtasks moved too. And for the longest time, I didn’t have a useful answer.  

Sure, you can make it work in Scriptrunner, but the amount of work it would take would make it not worth it. Then I discovered Automation for JIRA. This one allows me to tailor automations to specific projects, and so so using no programming. 

So for this post, I thought I’d go into the request I was given and how I approached solving it using Automation for JIRA. Let us begin.

The Request

So, my first recommendation is to understand the request entirely. Figure out not only what the users are asking you to do but also why they are asking it in the first place. 

In this case, the client asked me if there was a way to automatically create sub-tasks on an issue based on what components are on the parent issue. That’s great, but that doesn’t solve the “why.” However, I was fortunate that the client already explained their thinking here.

It turns out that the client has the components in their project broken down by functional teams, and for each task, they want to add Components to the issue based on who has an active role in it. They then want to create a sub-task for each component so that the individual teams involved can track their work.

The reason for the requests tells me a good bit about the request that the initial ask did not. For example, Components may not only be added at issue creation but at any time during the Issue’s lifecycle. This fact comes into play soon. It also tells me that I need to be able to support any combination of components. This requirement can make things tricky, but I don’t think impossible.

Getting started

The Trigger

The first thing I think about when I start building an automation is, well, the starting point. What kicks it off. Let me explain. For every automation rule you have, you need some event to kick it off. Some marble that is falling to set off your Rube-Goldberg machine.

In Automation for JIRA, this is called the Trigger. There are a number of these available within the tool.

That is quite the list, no? While it may be something to go through, I think it’s a natural choice here. Remember when I mentioned that we discerned from the request that we would need this to happen at any point during the Issue’s active life cycle? That means we can rule out anything that doesn’t have to do with the Issue. We can also rule out anything that takes place during specific events of the lifecycle, such as a transition or creation.

Furthermore, we have a trigger that can focus specifically on when a field is changed.

So when we select this option, we are presented with several settings. Because we are focusing on the Components, we choose that for the field setting, and leave the “For” setting to it’d default “All issue operations.” Once done, we click “Save.”

Conditions

So, now we need to think about when we don’t want this rule to run. We can specify when an automation rule runs by using “Conditions.” Here is a view of what our rule looks like after saving the Trigger.

We know we only want this rule to run when the parent issue is active. So lets put a condition on here to check that the Resolution field is empty.

Having this immediately after the Trigger keeps it from executing when this condition isn’t true (in our example, when the Issue is resolved). There are many conditions available, and we can use a few of them here in a moment.

The “Component Block” – More Conditions and Actions

Now comes the tricky part. We need to be able to split off actions based on the components. We also need to check – per Component – that it’s appropriate sub-task doesn’t already exist. This requirement stumped me for a second until I settled on the “If/Else” block. Using this condition creates a situation where you can have actions run if the condition is true, but if it’s false, it won’t stop the entire chain from running.

Here we have the If block with two conditions. The first checks for a specific Component – in this case, “Ducks.” The second checks all sub-tasks to make sure we don’t already have the one we want. If any have the summary “Test Ducks,” this Trigger fails, and any actions we have on this branch don’t run.

What do I mean by branch? I mean this If block, once saved, creates a branch in our rule flow.

Here is where we will add our actions. In this case, we will want to create an issue within the current project with issue type “Sub-Task”. This will allow us to specify the responsible user, description, and most importantly summary. For this to work properly, you need to make sure you summary you are creating matches the check you have in the If Statement.

Click Save, and that’s the block done for this Component. Rinse and Repeat for each Component you desire to automate, and you should be good to go.

Branches

So, we didn’t end up using them for this request, but I still wanted to touch on Branches. We used the If/Else Block for some rudimentary branches, but what happens when you want to run an Automation Rule against all the Issue’s Sub-Tasks?

In this situation, you want to use a Branch rule. This rule allows you to execute a set of actions on issues based on their relation to the Issue that triggered the rule.

Something handy to keep in mind, but as I’ve stated, not always something you need.

And that’s it!

I am sorry for not having the second Dragonslayer post – but I do hope to have that available for next week. But this request struck me as an interesting problem and a great example of how to develop and use an Automation Rule. 

If you like the content you find here, don’t hesitate to sign up below to receive emails when I post new content. And you can also check me out on twitter at this link. But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking “Have you updated your JIRA Issue today?”

Dragon Slayer 2020 – Pt. 1

What’s up, everyone? It’s been a busy week for me. However, in the “excellent things” department, I passed my exam!

So shiny…

That means I’m exactly one Cert away from Atlassian Certified Master status. And I think we all know that my next certification exam is the ACP-200.

Revenge is needed….

However, that is going to have to wait. I am not losing to that exam, so study time is needed. No, this week is going to be a bit of a throw-back. I’m going to be attempting the Atlassian Dragon Slayer challenge to see how it holds up. This challenge is to set up a fully integrated development suite using JIRA, Confluence, Fisheye, Crucible, and Bamboo. Considering I already have a test JIRA instance, I’m going to follow the directions linked.

Next week for part 2, I’m going to re-write it with modern JIRA, Confluence, Bamboo, and Bitbucket in mind so that if you want to follow this old quest with modern tools, you can. So, let’s not dally any longer.

Dragons with JIRA Stage 1 – Set Up Environment and JIRA

As my JIRA Instance is already running and relatively up to date, I can skip steps 1-4 and go directly to Step 5.

Anyone else remember when Atlassian version numbers would get that high? Needless to say, I think we’re over the required version.

All told, Step 5 is mostly setting up users and groups for the other system. Step 6 is setting up the project and Dashboard. The only question I ran into here is the project type. The instructions ask for a “Software Development’ Project,” however, this was before JIRA 7, where JIRA Agile became JIRA Software (with three different types of Software Projects). I opted considering the criteria to go with a “Basic software development” project – as I felt that most closely followed the instructions so far. That may come to bite me in a moment, as it’s time to move onto the next Stage.

Dragons Stage 2 – JIRA Add-Ons

Well, that whole JIRA Agile/Software thing ended up not being a problem, as the first step on the next page asks me to set up a new project and board. That is one thing I’ll give Atlassian – this kind of deal is A LOT easier than it used to be. The instructions have you create the project, then the board. You can now do this all in one go in JIRA Software. So, create the Scrum project, create the bugs they specify, create/start a sprint, and I get this.

The next section for this Stage involves setting up Capture for JIRA by Zephyr Smartbear. This App lets you capture screenshots of web pages (among other things). This tool is great for capturing more information on bugs, which is how the challenge has us use it

Dragons Stage 3 – Install Confluence

So, Stage 3 is installing Confluence. And well…

…I already have a Confluence.

I still needed to do some basic configuration and setup work here. I added JIRA as a directory in Confluence (honestly, it’s easier than the OpenLDAP config I had going), and created the DRA Space and started modifying its home page. And this was where I ran into trouble.

This…this innocuous looking line from my Apache config cost me 2 hours worth of time to fThis innocuous-looking line from my Apache config cost me 2 hours worth of time to figure out. This setting would unset the authentication every time Confluence tried to talk to JIRA, which meant the JIRA Issues/Filters Gadget would not work. The most infuriating part – there was no error in either Confluence’s or JIRA’s log. I only figured it out as I happened upon the right KB Article on it…

However, with that fixed, I finally got everything up and running normally, and was able to finish Stage 3.

Dragons Stage 4 – Install Team Calendars in Confluence

Team Calendars – now this one I know just works. I install it per the usual method (I am certainly burning through the free trials today). Honestly, this one just worked pretty straight forward – follow the instructions here.

Dragons Stage 5 – Install FishEye and Crucible

Stage 5 is installing Fisheye – and honestly, this has not been something I’ve done since early in my Atlassian Administrator career. However, the instructions included seemed a bit dated. So I instead popped over to the Atlassian KB and found this article on Installing Fisheye on Linux and Mac. You have to love it when you find the article you need. Then it was a matter of connecting my internal bitbucket server instance (for thoroughness), as well as the remote Bitbucket repo mentioned in the Stage 5 instructions, and we’re off to the races!

Dragons Stage 6 – Get JIRA and FishEye Talking

So Step one is setting the link between the Repo from Stage 5 and the DRA project in JIRA. It’s relatively simple to set up. It was at this point that I had to figure out why the “Source” tab they mentioned wasn’t showing up. Then I remembered that JIRA had moved this to the Development Panel some time ago.

“It’s fantastic when stuff just works,” is what I’d be saying if not for Step 3. No matter what I did, I could not get the gadget to work. The gadget would keep saying, “The Repo was not configured.” I knew the Repo had been configured properly. Other Fisheye Gadgets worked with the Repo, just not this one. I need to move on with this one.

Dragons Stage 7 – Get JIRA and Crucible Talking

This one was fairly straight forward. I linked a Crucible Project to the DRA JIRA Project and went through the process of creating a review, finding a defect, creating a JIRA issue from it, and resolving it. The only problem I had was when I couldn’t find the “Create Issue” link – but that one was purely an ID-10T error on my part. Another one down!


Dragons Stage 8 – Install Bamboo

I can see the light at the end of the tunnel – but this one is another install challenge. I I can see the light at the end of the tunnel – but this one is another install challenge. I overbuilt the Fisheye server also to host Bamboo as both are temporary in my setup. This one also needed some updating, so I followed the more up-to-date KB Article Installing Bamboo on Linux. Afterward, I set up Bamboo to use JIRA for Authentication and double-checked that the groups were set up. 

Now it was time to get all the application links in place. With five applications now, this process is getting a bit long, but not painful.

Now it was time to configure the actual build. This one took me a second as I had to figure out where the tools directory was on the host system ( /usr/share/maven/ if you are wondering), but I got it set up, debugged, and a successful build, which completed the next to the last Stage!

Dragons Stage 9 – Bamboo Gadgets and JIRA Victory

So last stage – looks like it’s more gadgets time. And…there’s a problem. When I go to add So last Stage – looks like it’s more gadgets time. And there’s a problem. When I go to add the gadgets they request, I can see and add them to the Dashboard. But then they don’t load their settings panel at all.

It turns out – it was my browser. Because I’m not bothering to put these behind an SSL proxy, Firefox did not like that. Disable the protection (temporarily), and they work!

Final thoughts

So, here’s the deal. These guides were last updated in 2017, and based on the repo data, written much earlier. May and June may be our last chance to run this for a bit, as Atlassian is removing Mercurial Ropes from Bitbucket Cloud.

However, this was a fun little run-through of all the various bits of the Atlassian Development Stack. I got to touch several products that I haven’t looked at in years and got some practical experience in installing them from scratch. It’d be interesting to do a speed run of these to see how long it would take.

So now comes the fun part – updating this with new instructions and getting it all working on the modern versions of the tools! If you want to check that out, be sure to sign up to receive emails from the blog. You can also follow me on Twitter at @theJIRAguy. But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your JIRA Issues today?”

What is a Consultant?

Well, here we are, another month down. At let me say, you guys killed it last month!

We got well over 1,000 views last month! That almost doubles the previous month and is easily the biggest month the blog has had to date. Thank you all for commenting, liking, and sharing the blog with your friends and colleagues! You guys are what makes this all possible!

Today’s topic is a bit different. This item was suggested to me by a colleague. In a nutshell, he wanted me to look at the difference between being an Atlassian Admin and an Atlassian Consultant.

As you may now, I was a JIRA Admin before starting my current job. But seeing as I have only been a consultant for six months, I decided to call in some help. So welcome to the blog David Higdon, Olena McMurtrey, and Neil Taylor. They will be lending their thoughts onto the topic and answering some questions I posed to them!

How did you get started with Atlassian Components?

Neil: So, the first job I had out of college – they were running a helpdesk – and this was before JIRA Service Desk was around. But they were like, “Hey, We’re using this new product called JIRA.” And that was when JIRA was on version 4. So I got to adapt that to run a Service Desk for about ten thousand Dialysis Facilities. It was an interesting use case for the product, and I don’t know if they chose the right product for that, but it got me in the door with working on Atlassian.


Olena: Coyote Creek had both Microsoft and Atlassian teams; I started in the Microsoft division, and with time transferred to Atlassian team. I got passionate about Atlassian  products, and enjoy helping clients to tune their systems with best practice approach.


David:

So, one of my good friends leaves the company I’m working for and joins a software company. And their Engineering Team at this software company was looking for somebody to help manage their middleware space from a Unix SysAdmin perspective. At the time, I had 27 years of experience as a Systems Administrator – of which I had spent six managing the middleware space, and they felt I would be a great addition to their team.

As this company was coming out of the startup phase, they were looking to get a little more structure in place and a bit more formality in their processes, and for someone to help them standardize and automate things of that nature. And being an Engineering Department, they are big on Atlassian Products. They had two instances of JIRA – one external for Professional Services and their Customers, and then an internal system for their Software Developers. They were using two instances of Fisheye/Crucible. The Professional Services instance looking at SVN and Engineering instance was looking at GIT.

So, my first day on the job, they sat me down, and they said, “Here you go, here are two instances of JIRA and Fisheye, and here are the hostnames.” I had to learn Jira ASAP and prepare to upgrade the system. So, I’ve never heard of Atlassian at that time, so this is how I got introduced to Atlassian – literally diving into the deep end.


Rodney: I was working as a consultant for First Responder Dispatch systems at the time – that being the systems the operator is typing into when you dial the emergency number.  

However, that job required a lot of travel, which was not a good situation. Looking around my company, I noticed an open position for a Linux Administrator. Now this company prided itself on being a Microsoft shop – so of course, I was the one dumb enough to raise my hand and say, “Yes, I know Linux!” I applied and interviewed, and was honest about my experience, and got the position of managing some Linux based development systems.  

So day one, I go in, and I’m getting the grand tour. We go over my server closet, the perforce server, our backup process, and finally, JIRA and Confluence. I’m given admin rights to the systems and told, “Congratulations. You have a day before you start getting tickets, and by the way, we want to upgrade the systems this quarter.” At that point, nothing left to do but start learning one ticket and google search at a time.

How did you become a consultant?

Neil: So, I put JIRA on my LinkedIn, and a consultant company contacted me and said, “Hey, we want you to come be an Atlassian consultant for us,” because they had a client that was using Atlassian products. I interviewed for the position, and they offered me a job, and I thought, “Well, hey, let’s give this a try and see some other Atlassian environments out there.”

I have to admit that Atlassian wasn’t on my radar when I was in college. I also didn’t see my career going from Atlassian Admin to Atlassian Consultant, but I’m happy with the way it worked out.


David: Over my years, I had quite a few opportunities presented to me before I joined Coyote Creek. I had offers for Backend Sales or Consulting but never took the opportunities. Before I joined Coyote Creek, however, I had two separate Engagements with them and enjoyed the experience and the expertise they provided. It was a combination of being a little older in my career. After twenty years of being on the front line supporting mission-critical applications, I was ready for a new role.

My introduction to I.T was as a Computer Operator working graveyard at Oracle. And about a year into the job, I met some Senior SysAdmins that worked in the Development Datacenter, and they had all the latest cool toys. As I built a relationship with these guys, and they told me more about what they did day today, there was one aspect of their job that stood out. There were never on call. I quickly discovered that being an Engineer for Developers and supporting their systems was the dream scenario. You get all the cool toys, do the same kind of work, but nobody cares if a system is down Saturday at 10 PM.

That job at the software company was my first opportunity for that kind of work – only supporting Engineers and Developers, and there is nothing mission-critical about code deploys because it was all about the next release. So that was my first dip into that situation I always wanted since starting I.T. Consulting is kind of a natural progression there, so when the opportunity came up, I made a move.


Rodney: Honestly, I avoided becoming an Atlassian Consultant for a long while. My previous experience with it left a bad taste in my mouth, and I worried about a repeat of that experience. However, when I was in the job market last year, it got the point where I had multiple offers. I was clear during the interview with Coyote Creek that I didn’t want to return to a scenario where I was traveling more than 25% in any given month ever again. They agreed, and all told they had the better offer, so I signed on with them. And it has been a much better experience than with my previous time as a consultant.

What do you feel is the biggest difference between being an Admin and a Consultant?

Neil:  I think the most significant difference is that the consultant has the space to look at the bigger picture and to make the recommendations towards best practices. When you’re an admin in the trenches, you get so busy with the day-to-day “Hey, I need this workflow” and “I need this project” that you can lose sight of that. That’s where a consultant can come in and lead you away from some nasty rabbit holes.


David: You do not own the system or application. For where I am at in my career now, I am not looking to support environments 7x24x356, so this works out great. It can be challenging, though, if you want to make updates or correct areas you were not requested. That is still the old Admin in me. However, I still really enjoy Architecting solutions and problem-solving. I spent many years in the service industry, so it’s also the customer service aspect, and being able to provide solutions to people is what drives me today. 


Rodney: That when we come in, we are there to solve problems. If these were easy problems to solve, the company wouldn’t have hired us. But, it’s not a “You vs. Us” kind of deal. We are ultimately there to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and figure out what’s going on. After all, when everyone is on the same page, it will lead to a better outcome.

What do you wish more Admins knew about being a Consultant?

Neil: That our role is to make everyone’s lives easier – including yours. We’re not there to try and complicate anything, but instead to make everything easier. And a lot of times that includes making the Admin’s lives easier, because we don’t want the interface to be messy and there to be a bunch of overhead either. 

At times I feel admins think, “Oh, they’re bringing in a consultant, they are going to try to to over-complicate this project.” But that’s not the case, we want to make everything easy too.


Olena: I think a lot of Admins don’t know how exciting it can be, how there is this non-stop race to learn new technology. It takes a very hungry approach where you want to learn new things and take on new problems all the time.


David: You do not come right out of school into a consulting role – spend time as an Admin or an Engineer to develop the technical skills to take on such a role. Additionally, develop the soft skills for communicating with your clients.


Rodney: That when we come in, we are there to solve problems. If these were easy problems to solve, the company wouldn’t have hired us. But, it’s never a “You vs. Us” kind of deal. We are ultimately there to help you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and figure out what’s going on. After all, when everyone is on the same page, it will lead to a better outcome.

Final Thoughts

Neil: Being a consultant is unique because you are jumping from one thing to another. At times, it can be fast-paced and intense, but it keeps you from getting stuck in a rut. You are always learning something new, so you never feel you are getting stale.
Also, no one’s setup is the same, everyone is doing a slightly different thing, so it’s always an adventure.


Olena: To be a good consultant, you have to be a good Admin first, as you have to learn first-hand the pain-points of someone using the products daily. It’s like learning colors before you start the whole painting. It provides a background on how better to support clients to close the gap between the business and technical sides.


David: The best and worst aspect of JIRA is you can do anything 10,000 different ways, and as a consultant, you have to peel that back. It may or may not be the best way. But there have also been times I’ve discovered that the way I did it wasn’t the best, and the way that someone else implemented it was better than mine, so I can learn from that way.

Someone told me this a long time ago, “There is nothing more permanent than temporary!”. After all my years supporting everything from mission-critical environments to lab systems, I found this to be true. Countless times someone told me they would need access for X amount of time, or they rack some computer here for a week or need root for the day or need to run their app on my system until the budget is approved to buy new hardware.


Rodney: I feel that being a Consultant and being an Admin are two sides of the same coin. Each one emphasizes different skill sets, but you both build off of the same necessary base skills. But at the end of the day, it’s still up to all of us to learn and grow.

And that’s it for this week!

So, I’m trying something new with this interview format here – and honestly, I’m nervous about how it will play out. So if you enjoyed this post, please do take the time to like it and leave a comment!  

Don’t forget you can also subscribe below to the blog to get it delivered each week directly to your inbox. You can also follow theJIRAguy on Twitter!

But until next week, this is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your JIRA issues today?”

Acing your ACP Exam

So, this is a reader requested topic, but considering I have my exam scheduled for the end of next week, it’s somewhat topical. I’m not going to lie to you – the ACP exams are challenging – some of the most challenging exams you can take. But the benefits of being Atlassian certified are well worth the price of entry. Plus, we have jackets!

Image Courtesy Neil Taylor

Also, if you get four of the first five in the series, you also get a fancy shirt and title too. My goal is to be an Atlassian Certified Master by year’s end!

I want one! Image Courtesy Neil Taylor

So, to be clear, I’m not going to be giving you any answers in this blog. My goal here is to provide you with some strategies for both preparation and during the test to help you maximize your chances. Let’s get into this.

Prep Work

So, let’s begin with this. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. That’s it for this week. Until next time, my name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your JIRA issues this week?”

Okay, for real this time. You do need to prepare yourself for the exam. Even if you have managed these tools for years, the ACP Exam will question you on EVERY part of the relevant topics. What this means that if you are not as strong in any area – it will show.

Give yourself a Sandbox

So my first recommendation is to own a test instance to study. Since the Atlassian exams are updated regularly to test against the latest Enterprise Release of JIRA and Confluence, a cloud instance won’t suffice for studying. However, you can use VirtualBox to set up a VM on your workstation. I’ve already given you instructions on how to setup JIRA on a VM! Confluence isn’t that different, so you can also use the guide to help you with that install.

The goal here is to allow you to play with anything in Confluence or JIRA without impacting any users or coworkers. So take advantage of it!

Review the Exam Topics

Here’s the scoop – Atlassian will tell you precisely what is on each Exam. No, I am serious! On the page for every Exam – under the Exam Details – you can find a link to the Exam Topics, which is a breakdown of all topics covered.

The Exam Topics document is your detailed guide to passing the Exam. I like to print out this document and use it as a checklist of topics to study. As I find details on each item and read through it, I’ll check it off the guide, so I know what I have reviewed and what’s left. That way, I can be sure I’ve studied everything before walking into the Exam.

Exam Topic Documents

Time to take a test

So, you’ve studied all the topics, and you feel you are ready for this thing. How do you make sure you maximize your chances while taking the Exam? That is what we are going to look at now!

Question Structure

Atlassian loves a particular type of question, and they are devilishly tricky. What they will ask is for you to give the “Most Correct” response to a problem. Then they will have the following answers:

  • One that is Entirely correct
  • Two that are almost correct, save for one minor error
  • One or two that is entirely wrong

So you have to figure out what answer is entirely correct. Not easy when the details are so close. However, one trick is to read each answer in its entirety. Cross out mentally which ones you know to be wrong. If it comes down to two you think are the right answer, you have at least increased your odds from one-in-five to one-in-two.

Also, be wary of questions that ask you for two or three correct answers. These complicate things to a higher degree, but I usually end up taking a similar approach. Reach each answer thoroughly and markdown which ones you think are correct and which ones you think are wrong. Whittle down the list until you get the appropriate number you feel are correct, then double-check them for any details. This method has been the only way I’ve found to deal with these questions successfully.

Time Management

The ACP Exam is a timed test, so you must keep an eye on the clock. One strategy I take is to read the question first. If it is a question I’m confident with, I will put down my answer and move on. If it’s one I’m unsure of, mark it and move on. This way, I don’t spend so much time on questions I might get right that I miss the chance to answer questions I will get right. I will then go back and answer any question I had marked, paying particular attention to the answers to give myself the best chance. 

Occasionally, the Test will help you!

So, this doesn’t happen with every question or even every ACP Exam. But occasionally, Atlassian will like to reuse a chart, query, or some part of a problem in a later issue. When this happens, you can use the new problem to get clues to help you answer the earlier one.

It’s difficult to explain what I mean here without actually giving away an answer, though, so you will have to bear with me on that. I just wanted you to be aware that if you are lucky enough, this is a possibility.

Don’t Panic

So, I cannot stress this one enough. Don’t panic. If you stress out while taking a test, it does impact how well you do. The whole point of studying the Exam topics so to make sure that no matter what they ask for, you’ve at least read something on the subject.

And let us be honest with ourselves, what is the worst that can happen, you fail the Exam? That does suck. Trust me, the ACP-200 has a reckoning coming.

Probably the biggest reason I’m not the “Confluence Guy”

Yep, I’ve failed an ACP before. It was only by a few points (and fun fact, I’d have passed using the current standard), but that did not end my career. Atlassian will even let you know what areas you did well on and what you need to study, so you know what to focus on for your retake, which, for my next attempt at the ACP-200, is pretty much everything!

There you have it. It is an important test, and even I will get nervous going into it. I won’t even go into the panic attack you have when you click that final submit. But I know that no matter what happens, it will be alright, so I don’t panic.

And Now you are Ready!

Do you have an ACP Exam coming up? Which one would you like to take? I’m not quite ready for my next Exam, but the whole point of going ahead and scheduling it is to give me the incentive to finish up my studies. I’ll be taking the ACP-300 on Friday, May 8th.

What to be the first to find out how I did? Follow the JIRA Guy on twitter at https://twitter.com/theJIRAguy. You can also subscribe to the blog to get new posts delivered directly to your inbox! Just use the form below!

So for real this time: My name is Rodney, asking, “Have you updated your JIRA Issues today?”

JQL – How have we not talked about this already?

Hello everyone! How has your week been going? This week we are going to talk about JQL – and honestly, I’m not entirely sure how this hasn’t come up already. I know I’ve provided a few queries here and there to help you in other topics, but today I’ll be talking about some of my favorite tips and tricks to get the most out of your queries. So without any more delays, let’s get into it.

Always about the Docs

So it’s been a while since I’ve included this section – but I feel this subject could be helped with some further reading. So for this, I am referencing two documents:

I should note that the function reference is for JIRA Cloud – so it does have some new functions that have not made it to server. However, the options I’m covering here will work for JIRA Cloud, JIRA Server, and JIRA Data Center.

Currentuser()

So, this first trick is one of my favorites, as it allows you to customize a query to be specific for whoever is viewing it. In your query, you can set a user field equal to currentuser(), and the function will return whoever is logged in and viewing the query. For example, let’s take the query:

assignee = currentuser()

And let us take a look at what that looks like when running from the Admin account, and my account:

Each one returns whatever is assigned to the specific user. What’s more, this would carry over to any dashboard that uses this query – allowing you to customize a single dashboard to whoever views it.

This also works with any user field: reporter, assignee, watcher – and even custom fields. This is a handy trick to have if you don’t like to spend your day making queries and dashboards…I mean, who would enjoy that, am I right…

Working with time

So, when I’m giving some training for JQL, the most common problem people have is working with time. “How do I search for stuff in the past?” “How do I work with time?”…it seems to be a challenge.

Here’s a trick that’s always helped me. Most databases store time in the Unix Epoch time format – which is simply counting the seconds between midnight of 1 Jan 1970 and today. This means that any time in the past will be less than the current time, and any time greater than now will be in the future. Same for JQL. The past is “less than” the timestamp you are looking at, and the future is “greater than”.

However, JIRA also gives us some handy functions so we are not having to spell out particular date. First off is now(), which simply returns the current timestamp whenever it’s run. Handy when just trying to find out what’s past due, such as in this example (courtesy Atlassian):

duedate < now() and status not in (closed, resolved)

In the above query, duedate < now() returns everything that has a duedate in the past, and status not in (closed, resolved) returns everything that is currently open – giving you an idea what is past-due.

DayWeekMonthYear
startingstartOfDay()startofWeek()startaOfMonth()startOfYear()
endingendOfDay()endOfWeek()endOfMonth()endOfYear()

These are great for establishing a time frame. The really powerful thing about the functions on this table is they take parameters, meaning you can adjust them forward and backward – to say find all the issues resolved last month:

resolutiondate > startOfMonth(-1)  AND resolutiondate < endOfMonth(-1) 

In this query, we shift both startOfMonth() and endOfMonth() by -1. The minus (-) tells us it’s a previous time, and the one (1) tells us to shift one whole month, meaning both of these times return values for the previous calendar month. This gives us a handy time-box for our queries – which is great for a report.

Sprints and Versions

So, this section is for my JIRA Software teams out there.

When I’m a part of Agile teams, I like to have a dashboard we can all view that tells us what’s going on in the current sprint. For this, we can use the opensprints() function. I like to pair this with a project key query so that I only get the open sprint for my project, such as:

Project = "Project Name" and Sprint in openSprints()
Pardon the blur…I actually don’t have any open Sprints in my test instance, so I had to use my work instance.

A note on openSprints() is that it only supports the operators IN and NOT IN. Using an equal sign will cause the query to return an error.

There is also the operators futureSprints() and closedSprints(). However, these return ALL future and closed sprints, respectively, so further filtering will be needed to focus on any particular sprint (such as Sprint = “Name”)

So, let us say you are in a situation where you care more about what has and hasn’t been released than what is in any particular sprint. Then you’ll be interested in the functions latestReleasedVersions() and earliestUnreleasedVersions(). These operate on the fields AffectedVersion, FixVersion, as well as any custom fields with type Version. Let’s say you want to know what bug-fixes have gone out the door:

issuetype = Bug and fixVersion = latestReleasedVersion()

The neat trick about this query is that it will automatically update if your team releases a new version, meaning if you use it in a dashboard, it will always show the bugs fixed in the last released version.

Filtering out sub-tasks

So this one comes up often. A manager wants a dashboard, but they don’t want to get bogged down in the minutia of the sub-tasks. This a handy trick I use to filter out all sub-tasks from a query. I simply and the existing query with this clause:

issuetype not in subtaskIssueTypes()

It’s a simple thing to add but is an easy way to filter out all sub-tasks. Because of how it works, if you add any new sub-task types to the project in the future, the filter will still work without needing to be updated.

Cleaning up watched issues

So, JIRA in its current form sends out A LOT of emails.

Just a *few* emails…

Atlassian has heard our cries, and they are working on it, but in the meantime – this is where we are. And as an Admin, you will be touching a lot of issues – which will put you on their watchers list automatically. So I find it helpful to run this JQL and clean things up every few months.

watcher = currentuser() and project not in ("Home Project A", "Home Project B", ...)

This gives me a list of all issues I’m watching on an instance that is outside of what I consider to be my “Home Projects” I use to organize my work. From there you can run a bulk change on the list, and on Step 2, choose the “Stop Watching Issues” operation. I don’t know if this honestly counts as a JQL trick, but it has helped keep me sane many a time.

And that’s all for this time!

Did you learn anything new? What are some of your favorite JQL tricks that I didn’t cover? If I get enough I’ll do a part 2 to this!

So it’s been a busy time for me. I decided to take advantage of the current time I have to study for my next ACP exam. It’s scheduled for May 8th, which doesn’t give me too much study time left. But hopefully, I’ll be sending out good news the following week!

My Wife and I also have been working on 3D printing face-shields for first responders – you can read about our efforts (okay, mostly her efforts) on her blog here: https://cadstories.com/2020/04/17/engineering-and-covid-19/

I also have a twitter account for the blog now! If that’s your preferred source of Social Media, give me a follow! I’ll be posting blog posts there, as well as anything else Atlassian related I find interesting! https://twitter.com/theJIRAguy You can also sign up here to get an email every time I publish a new blog post! Simply use the sign-up form at the bottom of this post!

Until next time though, this is Rodney, asking “Have you updated your JIRA Issues today?”

App Review: VisualScript for JIRA

Hey everyone! Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy this week. I normally work from home, so it’s been mostly business as normal for me. The only change is now my wife is also working from home. However, Animal Crossing has been doing a lot to help us keep busy. In speaking of which, I did catch this:

Even in game, it’s all about that Atlassian life…

So this week we have another App Review. You guys seemed to like the last App Review I did, so I figured I’d look at another. Fortunately, the time is right for looking at new Apps. Traditionally Summit is where various Atlassian Partners would be putting out their Apps for review and testing. I was fortunate enough to connect with Evan Golden with SmartDraw, who gave me the grand tour.

Now, I always feel it’s important you know where my motivations are. As such, this is not a paid sponsorship. This is a review done on my own volition, because I feel it does solve a problem.

The Problem

It is my believe that every App you add into JIRA should solve some problem that JIRA Alone cannot solve. Otherwise, why are you wasting the money, time, and resources to run it? So, lets imagine this:

You are in a meeting with a VP who wants to bring some process into JIRA “to improve visibility”. He has no interest in learning to query JIRA or setup a dashboard himself, so he’s unfamiliar with what you can put onto a dashboard. However, he wants a bunch of metrics that JIRA simply don’t have gadgets to do on a dashboard in vanilla JIRA.

You can go out and purchase a bunch of add-ons to do what he wants, but at one add-on per gadget, that can add up quickly – in terms of cost and resources. Not an ideal solution. If only there was one App that could give you any gadget you want with minimal effort…

The Solution

As I hinted to, I don’t like it when an App only adds one dashboard gadget. You can get a tool that does only one thing, and sometimes that is unavoidable, but wherever possible you should get a tool that can be used in a multitude of situations.

That gets us to VisualScript for JIRA. What this App does is allow you to setup custom gadgets (called Reports) powered by JavaScript. This allows you to offload the processing to generate the tables, charts, and figures to your user’s browser, meaning you can get some fancy affects without too much of a hit on performance.

All that’s great and all, but you (like me), probably don’t know java script, nor do you have the time and energy to learn it from scratch. Correct?

That’s where I think this App really shines. It comes with a number of built in reports that you can import and use out of the box, or even modify to suite your needs. These reports span both ITSM and SAFe Agile practices.

ITSM

Most of these appear to not be in the release I have for VisualScript, but they were so compelling for ITSM that I felt I should share them. The version Evan demonstrated for me was a per-release version, and he kindly send me some of the slides to include in the review for me to show to you.

This first report is something I REALLY like. It is simply a report showing the timeline of a problem – from initial incident to Dev story resolution. This is similar to what Atlassian is rolling out for JIRA Service Desk and Opsgenie in the cloud, but you can get this in your JIRA Server/DC instance today!

Another ITSM gadget I really like is these SLA Gauges. I love the visual appearance of a gauge, and feel it can tell you a good bit of information intuitively. Unfortunately, there is no such gadget within JIRA out of the box, and I’ve never been comfortable with one-shot Apps that add them, so seeing this in the demo was pure 😍.

In speaking of SLA’s, getting aggregations of that data can be troublesome. Yeah, you can see which ones have breached, but how is your team doing as a whole. There was a report for that too:

SAFe

As I’ve tried to be clear with everyone, I don’t know everything. While I am traditional agile trained, I’ve never taken it the step further to learning SAFe. I know the general idea, but not the details. That being said, I know what JIRA can do and can’t do, and know some of these next few reports are sorely lacking in JIRA. Disclaimer out of the way, lets dig in.

The first report I thought was interesting was the PI Planning Board.

This gives you a great way of seeing how the stories (and more importantly the dependencies) map across multiple teams across your entire PI. I know this type of view is not really possible in vanilla JIRA, so I can see how if you are practicing SAFe methodology, this can absolutely be needed.

Another great view into your SAFe methodology was the Program Velocity Report. I thought this was a great way to view the entire organization’s velocity to make sure you are meeting your goals.

And yet another view on how your doing is the Epic Dependency Report. This one rather than looking at an org or a group, looks at an individual Epic, and how each of the issues under it are interdependent. This is great for trying to find the critical path of that epic.

And more!

As I said, the built-in scripts are crazy powerful, and WELL worth the price of admission. But I still feel the ability to create your own reports for dashboards is what takes it to the next level. Especially if you have someone who knows JavaScript on staff already.

But even if you don’t, It looks like there is a community where people can share Reports and scripts they have created. This is something I’m most definitely going to keep an eye on in the future, as I’d like to see what people create using this tool.

So, what do you think?

I’m always on the lookout for interesting Add-ons and Apps to share with you. What are some of your favorite Apps for JIRA or Confluence? Let me know some of your favorites here, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter, and if I see something I find interesting, I might cover it!

I’m also always willing to take on reader requested topics, so if you have something you want me to cover, let me know and I’ll look into it!

As I stated last week, I’ve created a twitter account for the blog! If that’s your social media of choice, give us a follow at https://twitter.com/theJIRAguy

But until next time, my name is Rodney, asking “Have you updated your JIRA Issue today?”

Seven JIRA Gotchas

So, let me start with the fact it’s good to be back on a normal schedule. I love writing for you guys, but last week reminded me why I only do so once a week. But…worth it. I heard from so many of you about how much you appreciated the recap. Also – this happened.

Yeah – we got noticed!

So between your enthusiasm, likes and comments on LinkedIn and Twitter, Atlassian’s tweet, and word of mouth spreading, we have overtwo-thirds many views in the first week of April than we had in the entire month of March.

Today’s topic was actually recommended by a team-mate and colleague at Coyote Creek, Olena McMurtrey. The thought is, what are the gotchas you need to look out for when doing various tasks. I’ve outlined seven that even after all my years, I’ll still occasionally trip over. Where possible, I’ll explain how to prevent falling into the traps, and how to fix it if you’ve already fell for them.

1. Internal Directory User Required

So, your IT organization is making some changes to Active Directory, and this will require you to adjust some settings. You go into JIRA with your System Administrator account, navigate to User Directories, and find….

There are no options to edit the AD Directory (or LDAP in my case…still). This is because you have just fallen for our first Gotcha. JIRA does not allow you to modify a directory if the account you are logged in with is a part of that directory. This is to prevent a situation where you modify a directory and manage to lock yourself and your entire company out of JIRA.

For this reason it is often considered best practice to maintain at least one system administrator level account within the JIRA Internal Directory – and to use that when making these changes.

So lets say you didn’t do that. Well, it’s an easy enough fix. Go to User management > Users, then click “Create User” in the upper-right hand corner.

From here, create yourself a user within the JIRA internal Directory, then add it to the jira-administrators group to give it permissions. Log into this account and use that to change the settings.

2. Did you update the field context?

So, you have a team request a new field. Looking into JIRA, you see that field already exists on another project in your instance. Sweet! Less work for you, right? You just slap that bad boy onto the requesting team’s screens and call it a day…

That is until you get an email saying that field is still not showing up for them. You have just fallen for our second gotcha. All fields have a Field Context that you can use to limit what projects that field is allowed to be used on.

To test if this was a case, go to the project, then click “Create” (YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE PROJECT FIRST). Once your create screen is up, click “Configure Fields” then “Where is my field?”

From here, type in your field name and click on it from the drop-down, and you’ll get a quick diagnostic on what’s preventing it from showing up.

As you can see, the bottom one is the offending item – which is your field context. However, this screen will even give you the link to where you need to go to adjust it. To fix this, click that link, then on the next page click “Edit Configuration”

From here, make sure your issue types and project context are appropriately set, then click Modify. You will need to reindex after this, but the field should now be accessible!

3. Updating your URL

So, for whatever reason you need to adjust your URL to JIRA. You do all the work on cut-over day. You have updated the base URL, DNS entries, and even setup Apache to redirect from your old URL to your new one. You get done, run one last test load of JIRA when you see….

Yep. That’s our third gotcha. Any time you change JIRA’s URL, you will need to change the proxy settings in conf/server.xml and restart JIRA. Specifically, the setting “proxyName” listed here:

Additionally, if you are changing the directory you access it from (lets stay from /jira to just /), you will need to update this path setting too.

Do that, restart JIRA and that error message should disappear!

4. App Compatibility

So, picture this. You’ve just completed a massive JIRA Upgrade, and everything appears to be running smoothly. However, come the next work day, you get reports that some features appear to be outright missing. Investigating, you look at your apps to find the following messages.

Image courtesy Atlassian.

Congratulations, you just fell for another gotcha. Your apps are not guaranteed to work version to version, so you need to check each time you plan an upgrade. If you are fortunate, the vendor has already released an updated version that works with your new version of JIRA, and you can just update it straight away.

However, sometimes (like in the case of the “Copy Space Plugin” here), there is no updated version available. You have few choices here.

  • First, you can try to request an update. Not every app is still supported though, so you may not get your update.
  • Second, you can try to find another app in the Marketplace that replaces the functionality. Again, this may also be a dead end.
  • Third, just decide that functionality was a nice to have, but not important, and go on with your life. Your users may disagree though – so be warned.

I suppose there is another option here if you know how to program, but I don’t expect all JIRA Admins to become Java Developers to, so this probably won’t be everyone.

5. Role based Permissions

So, you get a ticket in saying a user can’t work inside a project. No problem, you add them to the Developers role and call it done. Then the user reopens the ticket saying that they still can’t do everything they need to do.

Congratulations, you’ve just fallen for a classic gotcha. Depending on the permission scheme, the Project Roles may map out differently than in an unmodified JIRA. That’s why it’s always important to know what kind of permissions your users need and how they map to the project roles.

Seriously, I’ve used this exact scenario in interviews for JIRA Admins before. You’d be surprised how many fall for it.

6. Did you set a resolution?

So, you get another ticket from one of your Service Desk teams. No matter what they do, they can’t get a ticket to clear out of their queue. You look, and all the tickets appear closed, but there they are, still in the queue.

You’ll find this in teams that have customized their workflow. They forgot to do one of two things: Either auto-set a resolution or put a screen up to allow the user to select a resolution. JIRA Does not consider any issue truly done until that field is set. And that’s for both Software and Service Desk. But you will see this more from Service Desk teams, as it impacts them to a greater degree.

The main takeaway here is to always double check you are giving a user a way to set the resolution in every workflow you make for them.

7. Auto-assignment Roulette

So our last gotcha may not be your fault, but your users. Lets imagine this scenario:

You get an email from a project lead. They are actively using components in their project, with the components having their default assignee be their component lead.

However, they like to add multiple components per story, and no matter what they do they can’t seem to make the components auto-assign in a consistent way.

As you may have guessed, they have just fallen for the for the last gotcha. When using multiple components on a story, JIRA Will use the default assignment of the first component added to the list. So, if your teams are adding them in a different order every time, they will get a seemingly random default assignee every time. This one is easy enough to fix – just instruct your users of this fact and tell them to get a consistent result, order matters.

And those are some Gotchas to watch out for!

Is one of these surprise you? Do you have a gotcha that I didn’t cover? Leave it in a comment!

This topic was recommended by a colleague, but I’m always looking for reader requests for posts. If you have a topic you’d like me to cover, let me know!

Job Seeker Profile

So, as you know, I really started posting to this blog regularly when I myself was in the job market. So every now and again I like to feature those JIRA Admins who find themselves in a similar situation. And I have another one for you to look at.

His name is Akuthota Venkatesh, and he is based out of Hyderabad, Telangana, India. He has been a JIRA Admin in one form or another since June 2011. However, he has recently lost his job due to the world-wide slowdown brought on by the Corona Virus.

Some of the projects he’s worked on include integrating JIRA to Rally and Salesforce, migrating data to and from JIRA, as well as the normal spread of Application upgrades and dealing with stakeholders.

If you are looking for a JIRA Admin and think you might be able to help him, please download his CV and reach out to him!

And in other news

So, I was caught a bit off guard last week. As part of Atlassian posting about the blog, they asked if I had a twitter handle they could @mention. Well, I do, but it was mostly used for sweepstakes entries – not the impression I wanted to make. So since then, I have fixed that. You can find The JIRA Guy on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/theJIRAguy

I intend to post new articles and posts to twitter about our Atlassian powered lives that I find interesting, as well as new posts from the blog! So be sure to give it a follow. You can also subscribe directly to the blog to get new posts directly to your inbox! To do so, just use the form at the bottom of the post.

So, I’ve got some interesting posts planned over the next few weeks – even some that are not JIRA related! *gasp* So I hope you will check back in to see what we’ve got. But until then, my name is Rodney, asking “Have you updated your JIRA issues today?”

Atlassian Remote Summit Day 2

Well, well, well. Here we find ourselves again. Today we’ll see the second keynote and find out what else Atlassian has planned for the day. But first, do address a comment from yesterday’s post:

Maxim is correct, they certainly were cloud heavy yesterday. This is likely because most features start out in cloud and eventually make their way into Server and Data Center. That being said, you know we love your self-hosted systems here, so I’m hoping to hear what they have planned for those today. (Future Rodney here: it’s still mostly Cloud. Sorry! But we do get some Data Center and Server info today!)

Otherwise you all loved yesterday’s recap, so lets get on with an encore!

And we begin again!

Mike Cannon-Brookes does the introduction this time. He features a chrome extension that lets people watch Netflix together as a way to show how the world is already adapting to the current situation.

And he also mentioned Summit next year. I can tell you I’m already planning to go, so hopefully I’ll see you there!

Scaling the future of Cloud[…again.]

So they don’t announce it now, but it looks like there is a new cloud tier on the horizon…”Enterprise.” Hope it’s not the spaceship

Again, Finally. If I had users complain about anything with JIRA, it was about the amount of email it sends them. Atlassian claims their new method of sending digests instead of distinct emails reduces the mail spam by 30%! If true, I cannot wait!

So – this should allow Apps (plugins) within Atlassian cloud to do more. I’m excited that maybe we’ll get some of the functionality us self-hosted people enjoy into the cloud!

And it looks like they added the Premium tier for JIRA Service Desk. Seems like it should have happened sooner, honestly.

So you will soon be able to whitelist which IP’s can access your site. I can think of a few customers this would be handy for.

It looks like they also plan to bring Archiving in JIRA Software Premium some point soon. I thought new features were supposed to come to Cloud first, not Data Center 😛

Based on Automation for JIRA…I see what you did there. But seriously, I love me some Automation for JIRA, and glad to see it being incorporated.

JIRA Align is getting the ability to manage OKR’s. Being honest, no clue what they are. Sounds like a research topic to review later. But if you know – I can imagine you’re excited.

And Trello is being integrated into JIRA Align. Because you need ALL THE DATA!

So, they are adding an ability to bridge unlimited 10K instances of Atlassian Cloud Applications to support companies’ growth…

As a part of a new access Tier. Called it!

Sounds like you get some pretty big benefits from Cloud Enterprise though…

Like one place to manage all the chaos of multiple instances

Single place for user directory management, check.

Unified Billing, Check

And those sweet sweet statistics, check.

Looks like they are bringing Data Residency to their Enterprise Tier too – which could be big for government requirements.

This one is big. Rather than just getting new features whenever they are pushed, you can now delay a release for up to two weeks, and bundle them up. The ability to give our users warning will be very VERY nice.

Now I will say this. A sandbox is something Salesforce has always done better (That’s right, I’m also a salesforce admin. Bet you didn’t see that!). So it’s nice to see Atlassian start to do something for us here.

Wooo! Partners! But seriously, I’ve worked with the Atlassian TAMS and Premier support, and they know their stuff. Between them and, well, partners like me, you are in good hands.

Looks like they are making it easier to go to the cloud. That should help a lot of folks out there!

Building for change and scale (aka Data Center)

So Finally, Data Center…what have they got going on…

So – stuff they’ve done recently….I mean I’m happy for all of these features, but still….

And finally, the new things! So it looks like they are tweaking things here to improve performance in JIRA And Confluence Data Center – but the biggest one is that you can have more than four nodes in the applications. Finally!

Fun fact. A company I worked for asked for this three years ago. Glad to see it finally come!

Adding OpenID Connect as an identity provider!

Soon you will have the ability to have multiple identity providers.

And also just in time User Provisioning is coming to Data Center soon.

My Workspace One peeps back at VMware should love this.

Auditing in Atlassian apps have always been…..lacking. Glad they agree.

You can now audit user actions, not just admin actions. And it looks like this is across multiple areas of the application.

You can export these as a file log to send to ELK, Splunk, etc.

You can also delegate users to access the audit log – very much a “not my problem” move.

YES. SO MUCH YES! I’ve been wanting them to update Confluence Permissions FOREVER!

You can audit permissions for users or spaces to see who can see and do what.

This one is for server and data center. Looks like they intend to make it easier to access for those with certain impairments. I am definitely excited to see them make this move.

So moving on to new features for Agile teams…

Looks like you will soon be able to create multiple sprints quickly – while specifying dates. As a person who has had to bulk create sprints before, this is big.

Another data point for JIRA Align. Seems they are working on all the connectors!

The first thing I do in any company is figure out and document their language. Will be nice to do this in-app. And Release management love is long overdue…

Portfolio for JIRA is getting some updates to capacity planning too…

…and a Confluence Macro. This will make it soooo much easier to share a roadmap.

They already mentioned this, but it looks like they are sharing more details on the JIRA Align <> Trello connector.

And a connector for BI systems too.

I hate buzzwords, and AI is one of the worse offenders. But I promise not to judge it until I can actually see what it does…

So onto my I.T. Brethren…

I think we saw some of this in yesterday’s Cloud presentation, but it’s nice to see it come to Server and Data Center too!

You can search for incidents in OpsGenie directly in Service Desk….Nice!

As well as see a list of all present and past incidents.

Agent Queues are getting some love.

Including improved sorting, the ability to favorite queues, and bulk edits in queue. That will definitely come in handy.

This seems obvious in hindsight…if you support people who speak multiple languages, maybe come to them in their own language.

And finally, some news for developers

Looks like they are making some information about build available in Bitbucket. The real surprise here is that it’s from both Bamboo and Jenkins!

You will also be able to set build configurations per branch – which will be great for experimenting!

Looks like they are adding some more context highlighting in the diff page

As well as letting you add a comment anywhere in the diff, not only on what’s different.

And last but not least, you can search for specific files from within the pull request. Should make it so much simpler to get to what you need.

And done!

That was the end of the keynote. I’m not remembering why I only do one post a week. But it’s been great seeing what’s new. Things maybe crazy now, but it’s always important to remember there is a tomorrow, and to plan for it.

Which reminds me, you should totally check out our Discord chat. I’d be happy to hear what new features you are excited for! https://discord.gg/mXuRsVu

If you’ve enjoyed the Keynote Recaps from the past few days, check out some of my other posts! I try to post on a wide range of topics affecting JIRA Administration, and am always up for a reader suggested topic! Also, subscribe to get new posts directly in your inbox! Sign-up form will be at the bottom of the post!

Until next time, my name is Rodney, asking “Have you updated your JIRA Issues?” I’ll check you next time!

Atlassian Remote Summit Day 1

I am so sorry for the delay…I tried to get word out that today’s post was going to be a bit late. But given when this event is, there wasn’t much choice. However, it’s an exciting day! Today we’ll start to learn about all the new things Atlassian plans for the next year.

In speaking of exciting, last month was another amazing month for the blog. And that’s with having to miss a post! Thank you all so much! Considering the events of last month, it is most definitely appreciated!

That being said, the event is starting, so lets get into it.

And we’re “live”?

Its’ a prerecorded event, but still exciting! Honestly, I’d prerecord too. No need leaving things up to chance when you don’t have to.

Try Any Atlassian Product for Free!

So, a lot of teams are having to try remote work for the first time. Given that, Atlassian has made ALL their products free for up to 10 users. So what are you waiting for! If you’ve been wanting to try JIRA, Confluence, or any other of their tools, now’s your time!

Trello Business for Educators!

Additionally, teachers are having to teach classes from afar – most of which this is there first time doing so. To support our educators, Atlassian is giving them a year free of Trello Business Class. Share this with a teacher in your life.

Today’s Agenda

Just a quick view of what to expect today – and honestly, it doesn’t tell me much. Guess I’m going to have to sit in for the full time…

St. Jude’s use of Atlassian Tools

So considering I started with Atlassian tools within a software company, it still amazes me how many companies now adopt the tool set as their default. St. Jude’s Children hospital is on that list.

Okay – had to add this slide in. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Software and IT Team updates! (This is my jam!)

Looks like we are finally getting into what new things to expect. If this follows normal trends, we can expect the “new, shiny” features in Cloud first, and eventually they’ll make it to either Server and/or Data Center. But still, it’s nice to know what to be excited about!

Users can customize Notification settings!

This one is big. If I had one complaint I’ve heard everywhere from users, is that JIRA sends out WAAAAY too many emails. It looks like Atlassian heard this, and are planning to allow a user level notification scheme, so each user can define the notifications they want. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a good slide or mock-up of this, so this feature may not be ready to come out just yet….but at least our woes have been heard!

Your work Dashboard (Bitbucket)

So, you know that situation where you have to jump on JIRA to figure out what issues are assigned to you, then onto bitbucket to pull the repo, then back and forth? Well, Atlassian wants to do something about it. Bitbucket will have a new dashboard that will show you all the relevant information at one go – no more context switching.

Live Status (Automation for JIRA)

So, it looks like Atlassian has some plans to make some in-place automation leveraging automation for JIRA. This will help move issues along a track based off of what’s happening to a given repo.

Here you can see an issue move through the workflow when actions are taken within Visual Studio.

While we’ve had some triggers to do something like this for a while, that was always on a pull request creation or other such event. To do it from Visual Studio by changing code – that might be big.

Code Insights in Bitbucket Cloud

So, how do you build new products without exposing yourself and your customers to potential vulnerabilities? Well, Bitbucket is building in some reviews from top vendors that will look at your code and alert you to possible vulnerabilities right away. This could be big in helping bad code not be released.

Automating Change Requests

So, JIRA Service Desk is getting some love too! Now when you have a successful test build in your build tool of choice, you can have it automatically generate a change request in JIRA Service Desk.

There is even some logic to allow a low-risk change automatically to go through, or to hold it up for a human to review.

If it’s a high risk change (as judged by the rules), it will flag it for your team to review.

And then give you all the information you need to make a decision – all in one place.

Fix Fast

So, this is about OpsGenie. However, one of the major new features is now you can now bulk-link incoming support requests to a given problem. This can save time as you don’t have to go to each one and do it. Nice!

The Incident Investigation platform seems like it will bring together information from a variety of places, allowing you to see the exact change that caused the problem, as well as who submitted it and what was changed. For some outages this can be big.

You can also do your after-action report within OpsGenie to have details about what went wrong, what you learned from it, and how it can be prevented again.

AND THEN you can export it into Confluence to share out with your team. Nice!

Roadmaps in JIRA

They’ve also added the ability to view the full hierarchy from a sub-task all the way to the epic.

And all was going well when suddenly….

The video site when down!

Kind of funny huh? The video just went down…hard. This is what one of my colleagues had to say about it.

This wouldn’t be as funny, but Atlassian was just talking about Incident response.

And we are back! So…Roadmaps?

They have added progress bars to your roadmap, so you can see how much work is actually left on different items.

This didn’t show up on the image I got, but you can also drag-and-drop dependencies on each other, so you can track what is waiting on what task to be done.

And what use is a roadmap if you can’t share it? Yes, another Confluence Macro to bring that into Confluence, then let it update in real-time!

Some more features!

So, they’ve also been getting some feedback on Roadmaps for those who have been using them.

Solution one: Add Roadmaps to Classic Projects. Seems obvious in hindsight, doesn’t it?

They are also adding the ability to create Multi Project roadmaps for those with a Premium license.

Here you can plan out across multiple teams and keep track of time frame, dependencies, and capacity.


However….you might notice this looks familiar….almost like Portfolio for JIRA. That is no mistake, this is meant to take some of the best features of Portfolio and bring it into the Roadmap.

Unify Work across all teams with Atlassian

So we are onto the final section – wonder what we’ll have here!

So we are all familiar with Confluence Templates? It looks like they want to bring that concept to more apps, including Trello and JIRA Service Desk.

For JIRA Service Desk, they will have templates for HR, Legal and Facilities. This should make bringing these teams into JIRA is now that much faster.

Finally! A template gallery so you as an admin doesn’t have to make one for scratch for a team you may not be familiar with!

New Tech? Okay, lets see where this goes…

Butler for Trello becomes a core feature one very Trello Board….and comes to JIRA and Slack!

Butler can now automatically create JIRA Issues for you when you make a Trello Card.

You can also get Butler to post a message to any slack channel! Get the word out about a new card that much faster.

Automation for JIRA

This is being brought into JIRA Cloud as we speak, bringing a native automation engine for your Projects. Which honestly, JIRA has needed for some time…

New (?) Navigation in the Cloud products

Well, they are finally revamping how the cloud products look. Atlassian won’t admit it’s the old style, and technically they are right, but looks enough like the old style that I’m happy.

Atlassian has revamped Confluence’s home page, and honestly I love this design. It’s fresh, but still has all the needed pieces within reach.

New Fun Trello Features

So, how do you add “fun” into a project management tool?

Well, you can add an image to a card’s cover so it looks more visually appealing. Having spent years looking at JIRA Boards, I can’t say I dislike this feature.

Also partnering with Giphy to add stickers doesn’t hurt. Considering the number of Gifs I use on the blog, I bet you can imagine how I feel about being able to use more of them…

Page Analytics (Confluence Cloud)

I am very much a statistics fan, so I love that we can get some analytics around Confluence page views. I really hope they move this to Confluence Server!

This has been available in Confluence Premium, but you can now access it at the standard tier now.

Confluence Editor

There are some minor changes to how links appear and how to expand sections in Confluence Cloud, but the change that has me the most excited:

That’s right, a new macro browser. The one in Confluence Server is passable, but not good, and they managed to make it worse in Cloud by throwing in JIRA Gadgets. Nice to see they put some love into this! BTW: If you are not using macros in Confluence, what are you even doing?

Inline comments in Edit mode

Just one word here: Finally.

And that’s it for day one!

So, what features are you excited about? Honestly some of the automation around Change Requests look exciting to me. Leave a comment with what you are looking forward to.

Today was very cloud heavy, so I’m hoping tomorrow we can learn more about Atlassian’s plan for Server and Data Center. In speaking of tomorrow, we’ll be back here with another post about what they announce in Tomorrow’s Keynote. Again, don’t expect it at Noon Eastern – it will likely be some time a 5-6 PM Eastern.

Until then, my name is Rodney, asking “Have you updated your JIRA Issues today?” I’ll see you all tomorrow!