The Risks of Cloud Migration and How to Overcome Them

Cloud Migration

The Risks of Cloud Migration and How to Overcome Them

Migrating to the Cloud has been proven to improve productivity, and has enabled even the smallest business to become truly global.


And yet, there are still organisations that haven’t gone all-in, relying on legacy hardware and software to get critical work done. The problem is – it won’t be long until in-house server rooms and legacy software are all but dead.


Hardware becomes obsolete fast, and maintaining even the simplest server setup is expensive. With rising energy costs, and workforces needing more money to cope with the cost of living, that’s only going to get worse.

Cloud solutions can put an end to all of that. Even in the most complex of computing ecosystems. Private Clouds can be built bespoke in data centres around the world, to achieve practically anything a self-hosted solution can do.

They can do this while being more resilient, more secure, and more collaborative. With a dedicated Private Cloud solution running on next-generation switching, performance can be even faster than a self-hosted solution; with latencies as low as ~1ms at flagship data centres.


While Cloud solutions might lack the immediate access and bespokeness of self-hosted solutions, and can cost slightly more over their lifetime, there is simply
no way that a business can exceed what Cloud platforms can offer – unless they are prepared to build their own world-class infrastructure.


Having said all of this, migrating to the Cloud has to be handled with extreme care: especially with sensitive, operations-critical data. These are the common risks of migrating to the Cloud – and how to overcome them.

Common Cloud migration risks

Incompatibility

If the complexity of your current architecture poses a challenge, this can slow the Cloud migration progress down to a halt. To prepare your IT architecture for Cloud migration, you first need to audit your legacy architecture


During this audit, you should find and resolve technical debt, establish which parts of the system are dependent on each other to function, and create extremely detailed documentation – including a roadmap to the goal.


You may find during this phase that you’ll need to adopt a Hybrid Cloud solution – with elements of Private, Public and in-house infrastructure, which facilitate the migration.

Data residency

One of the biggest challenges with Cloud migration is data residency. Some states, including those under GDPR, are strict on where sensitive data can be stored. It might be the case that your data must be stored locally: within the country, continent, or geopolitical region.


Public Cloud solutions are globally distributed, with no single physical location. Data can be moved as the Cloud provider sees fit. This, naturally, is at odds with data residency.

To overcome this, a Private Cloud should be prescribed. This is where you own physical hardware, installed at a data centre of your choice. This keeps all data local, and keeps your business compliant with the law.

Data loss

Moving data always carries a risk of loss. Human error, a poor connection, timeouts, lossy formatting – any number of things can go wrong. At the end of a large-scale data migration, some of your files may be missing, incomplete, or corrupted. 


But this can be overcome with good planning and preparation.

An expert-led Cloud migration will counter this with meticulous data backup, restoration, and disaster recovery. Backups will be Cloud-based, on physical media, and reproduced to a high level of redundancy, to ensure that even if the worst happens, your data can be restored with minimal downtime.


The upload and monitoring of data should also be phased, not carried out in bulk – and data connections should have fallbacks in place to allow for continued transfer if one connection is interrupted.

Security

This is a major concern for companies looking to migrate to the Cloud. But it’s not as risky as it seems.


Popular Cloud providers like Azure and AWS provide security as a service – but let’s be real. Security is frankly a non-issue 
provided that you trust your Cloud partner, and have access and permissions under strict control and monitoring.


Public and Private data centres are extremely secure environments, physically and virtually. If you get the configuration right, your data security will be second to none.

Latency

Cloud migration can introduce high latency times. For most people, this goes unnoticed – but for critical operations or consumer apps, a few seconds of delay can be extremely damaging.


A fleet of Private Cloud installations at local data centres can significantly reduce transfer times – but this can be a costly solution, depending on the scale of your operations. But a Cloud architecture expert can help you design a hybrid solution that fuses the locality of Private Cloud with the cost-effectiveness of a Public Cloud solution.


And that brings us onto costs…

Spiralling costs

As much as 70% of Cloud costs are wasted.


Companies navigating the Cloud alone often fail to establish true needs, and this results in wasted opportunity and mounting costs. Cloud is complex, and fear of loss is often wildly overcompensated for.


But Cloud is also highly scalable, agile, and cost-effective
when done right

A well designed architecture that maximises efficiency can perform exceptionally at minimal cost. It just requires an expert hand – someone who knows how to build reliable, scalable Cloud solutions.

Overcoming Cloud migration risks

Slow adoption and a phased Cloud migration are key to success, and the long-term outcomes for Cloud-based businesses are positive in every way, if it’s done right.


But going slow doesn’t mean putting it off; Atlassian Server is now at end of life, with
support ending in February 2024. To phase in and manage your Cloud migration effectively, the time to act is now.

Migrating to the Cloud requires strategy, planning and expert knowledge to overcome the risks associated with it. The best way to reduce the risks of a Cloud migration is to find a trusted Cloud Migration Consultant who has the experience and knowledge to facilitate your move into the Cloud.


That’s always been the case, and always will be. And if you need someone on your side to help – we’re here for you.

Bring a Cloud Migration Consultant into your company

Need someone to help you realise your Cloud vision – with zero downtime, and the lowest possible risk?


Hire a world-class
Cloud Migration Consultant through ClearHub, to audit and roadmap your way to success. Everyone in the ClearHub network is vetted, skills-checked and ready to go from day one.

We support all our clients and their Cloud Migration Consultants while they’re on the job, too. Your Cloud Migration expert will have access to our support team, a global network of the tech world’s brightest talent, and a comprehensive knowledge-base.

With ClearHub on your side, there’s no Cloud migration challenge you can’t tackle. Get in touch today:

UK contact: Aaron Rowsell

Global Contractor Manager

Email: arowsell@clearhub.tech 

Call: +44 2381 157 811

US contact: David Runyon

Global Contractor Manager

Email: drunyon@clearhub.tech

Call +1 858 304 1215

 

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How ClearHub Finds the Right Atlassian Contractor

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How ClearHub Finds the Right Atlassian Contractor

Finding the right candidate or contractor for an Atlassian project is a lot harder than just matching a set of skills to a job description. It requires analysing the job description, knowing the hard skills and the soft skills of the job – and picking up on the subtle nuances of what our customer is trying to tell us they really need.

ClearHub sources Atlassian contractors for some of the world’s largest organisations, as well as SMBs and startups. Our success rate is a whopping 90% on the first candidate – thanks to a diligent process, and decades of experience on both sides of the recruitment fence.

Join our ​​Technical Resourcer, Nick Williamson, as he takes a deep-dive into our process. Find out why companies who hire through ClearHub get the right person for the job – and not just the right skills.

Reviewing the Project

Hi, I’m Nick – Technical Resourcer at ClearHub. Let me run you through how I get the ideal candidates for our customers, from the top of the process.

The very first step is to get a job description with as much detail as possible. After that, I’ll carry out a discovery call, with the customer’s assigned Account Manager.

At this point, I ask myself a few questions:

  • Does the job description line up with what the customer is saying?
  • What’s the real problem they are trying to fix?
  • What was mentioned or talked about multiple times in conversation?

To get the answers, I’ll have a discussion with the Account Manager (who was on the call with the customer), to piece things together. We’ll get a feel for what the customer was focused on in the call – and go beyond the paperwork.

There have been times when a skill or task was only mentioned once in the job description, or was put down as a “nice to have” – but it was actually crucial to the project.

As an example, a client had jotted “can train staff on Jira” at the bottom of a job description. It turned out that training employees to use Jira was the first thing one of our contractors was tasked to do – and by having the discovery call, we were able to get the right person to fulfil that role.

Understanding the project, and the true needs of the customer, are the first (and arguably most important) steps to landing the perfect contractor. And once we know exactly what skills and persona we’re looking for, it’s time to go to our network.

Luckily for us, we’ve got access to one of the biggest tech talent pools in the world – our famous ClearHub Network.

The Network

Now that we truly understand the customer’s needs, we consult the network.

The talent pool we’ve created is rather unique, because of the niche market we operate in. We built this network ourselves, extensively, and over time. It’s mostly made up of skilled Atlassian professionals who have, at one time or another, been a consultant at an Atlassian partner.

It’s also common to find former in-house employees of organisations, who have taken their in-demand skills into contracting or freelancing.

Going out to our network is very different from the way a generic IT recruitment agency does it.

Some agencies will take on a job, quickly realise they do not have the talent within their database, and go to market instead. What this means is that they take the job description you have provided, and post on multiple job websites to get candidates.

We don’t do that.

Our network is built on relationships. Because we’re Atlassian specialists, the best of the best come to us. We nurture relationships with them, get to know their strengths and abilities, and assign roles based on who they are and what they do better than anyone else.

This means that our candidates don’t just have the technical skills and experience needed for the role – but the soft skills, too.

From our discussions, we ask ourselves:

  • Does the customer want someone who can get on with tasks?
  • Or do they want someone who can give advice to teams and stakeholders?

We’ll build a profile of what we are looking for in our ideal candidate, and start selecting our top picks – weighing up their strengths and weaknesses in different areas. 

Next, we reach out to our selected candidates, to find out their availability and gauge their interest in a new project. We create a longlist of candidates, who are interested and available, and then start the process of refining it down to a shortlist. 

Sometimes, it’s an extremely quick process. If we know the contractor well and they’re currently available to work, or are about to end a contract in a couple of weeks, then we can get them onto the next job almost immediately.

Our current record is a 48 hour turnaround, from job order to placement. And transition of contractors between roles can happen overnight. 

But more often, we’ll go through a longer process.

Vetting and Assessment 

We’ll always check to see if the candidates in the shortlist have been suitability assessed and vetted by a consultant recently, to ensure they’re proficient.

This is discovered through a technical test, conducted by an Atlassian Certified Professional. It’s a review of the candidate’s ability – not just with Atlassian tools, but any DevOps tools, or agile methodologies they may be familiar with.

If they’ve already been vetted recently, I go through the report to assess the candidate’s strengths, and possibly where they are lacking. For instance, maybe they have excellent technical ability, but aren’t very articulate in their explanations.

Using this information, we create a final shortlist, and have further in-depth discussions with each candidate on it.

This call usually lasts around 30-45 minutes. Its main purpose is to give the candidate as much information as we can about the project, to discuss challenges they have faced in the past – and find how they overcame them.

Throughout this whole process, we’re also silently assessing their reliability:

  • Do they respond to emails quickly?
  • Do they answer the phone, or call back?
  • Are they professional and presentable when on a call?

If a candidate has not had an assessment recently, we’ll organise one with a consultant, analyse the report, and go through the same process.

Submission

This part is where I need to pull the trigger – and put a candidate in front of the customer.

It’s a big moment. Our selection sets the bar for how the customer judges our ability to deliver on their requirements: if we’ve interpreted them correctly in their view, and if they will have confidence in us moving forward.

All the steps up until this point were taken to mitigate any challenges the customer may have with our selection – and it was for us, too. We need to be able to put our faith in the candidate, to present and interview well. 

But people are people. And sometimes, they do strange things like:

  • Not turn up for the scheduled interview with the customer
  • Ghost us or the customer completely
  • Take a video interview in a loud coffee shop
  • Send a totally different person to the interview pretending to be them
  • Start a video call without a top on

We’ve even had a customer not show up for an interview.

Thankfully, these cases are extremely rare – but people can still surprise you!

Ultimately, it’s up to the customer to decide if we’ve done a good job, and found the right person for them.

With a 90% hit rate on our first selection, we think it’s safe to say we are.

If you think ClearHub can help you with your talent search let us know.

The best contractors come to ClearHub. You should, too.

Find the right person for your Atlassian project – with ClearHub.

Our team pairs businesses with Atlassian, Cloud, DevOps and ITSM experts. Everyone in the ClearHub network is vetted, skills-checked and ready to go from day one. We support all our clients and their chosen experts while they’re on the job, too; so you’ll never have to worry about choosing the right candidate again.

UK contact: Aaron Rowsell

Global Contractor Manager

Email: arowsell@clearhub.tech 

Call: +44 2381 157 811​

US contact: David Runyon

Recruitment Consultant

Email: drunyon@clearhub.tech

Call +1 858 304 1215

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The State of Play: Is Atlassian Still a Safe Bet?

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The State of Play: Is Atlassian Still a Safe Bet?

Atlassian’s deeply integrated ecosystem of tools is now an essential part of thousands of companies. In fact, the company claims to have over 200,000 customers.

And it’s no wonder; Jira, Confluence, Trello – and everything else in the full Atlassian suite – offer incredible power and flexibility. These tools are so well connected that using any combination is seamless, once setup is complete. It’s everything that businesses need to operate efficiently and productively – regardless of department.

But is it dangerous to put all of your eggs in one, Atlassian-shaped basket? What if there’s an outage, and all online or cloud services go down? What if there’s a high-level security breach, or a cyber attack focused on Atlassian?

After all, these events are a daily occurrence for some digital firms, who hold highly sensitive data.

Is Atlassian reliable? Well…

Atlassian outages

Atlassian has suffered outages – just like Google, Facebook et al. One of the biggest events happened in April 2022, when Atlassian services were down for two weeks. This was due to a rogue script, run by the company itself as part of scheduled maintenance.

The script was intended to target and delete legacy data, but spiralled out of control and deleted everything. Thankfully, Atlassian’s backups are global and complete, meaning the bare minimum of data loss occurred.

Even though it took two weeks to recover, there are few companies in the world that could recover from such an event any faster, and 35% of businesses had their data fully restored within days.

This is an extremely rare event, for any company. And while it’s pretty embarrassing, it’s a tiny blip when compared to Atlassian’s financially-backed SLA of 99.95% uptime for Jira and Confluence Cloud Enterprise plans.

But what about vulnerability from attacks – is Altassian secure?

Attacks on Atlassian security

Any software or digital service – regardless of how useful, benign, or robust it is – will be prone to attack. All it has to do is exist, and armies of crackers, hackers, and even hobbyists will begin to look for back doors and vulnerabilities to exploit.

Nothing is immune.

Even Apple, a tech company that practically brands itself on security (and has famously denied the FBI access to their customer’s encrypted data) regularly patches its operating systems and applications against exploits and vulnerabilities.

It’s no surprise that Atlassian is a target for attacks, too.

At the end of May, Atlassian issued a patch for Confluence Server, as attempts to exploit a zero-day vulnerability spiked. Bad actors were attempting to maliciously hijack servers through gaps in Confluence, for the purposes of mining cryptocurrency and delivering ransomware.

A security event was also patched for Jira in 2021.

The risks of moving to Atlassian

As you can see, these events are rare, and almost always dealt with swiftly. Atlassian is, compared with other platforms and suites, highly reliable and incredibly secure, with a near-perfect operational history.

Moving to any new platform carries risks, and Atlassian is no different. But a properly managed Cloud migration (with a Cloud migration expert on your team) will be close to risk-free, if a phased approach with multiple backups is adopted.

Atlassian is still, absolutely, a safe bet. Even if all your tools, company knowledge, and workflows seem to be in one basket.

That’s because, as the outage in April is testament to, the company is fanatical about backups. And not just single, or off-site, or physical, or cloud backups.

Atlassian’s cloud redundancy is second to none, with data duplication over multiple sites – with physical and digital reproduction constantly happening. Even in a worst-case scenario, like April’s incident, there’s always a way back.

Can your business do that with an on-site server room?

The risks of staying with legacy tools

If you run an ageing server rack or small data centre for your business, its days are numbered. Quite literally.

Hardware either fails, or software outpaces it. Architectures change – like the shift to ARM over x86. Eventually though, the entire ecosystem you’ve built will cease to operate. And if you’re still doing manual backups, or using physical media, your operation costs and efficiency are going to suffer.

Critical ops from custom implementations need custom solutions.

Businesses should be looking to private Cloud and hybrid systems, making moves to enhance their internal data security and disaster recovery procedures – or seeking solutions like Atlassian.

The benefits of moving to Atlassian Cloud

  • Peace of mind
  • Improved security
  • Lower costs
  • Data residency
  • Best practices for redundancy and resilience
  • Freed IT teams – no more manual data centre maintenance

Atlassian conducted a survey of their clients, which showed that 84% of CTOs saw the benefits of their cloud migration in less than 6 months. So, even with some blips over the years – going all-in on Atlassian (and joining the some-200,000 happy customers on the platform) is definitely a safe bet.

In fact, staying put on your legacy servers could be the riskiest option.

Ready to go to the Cloud? Let’s help you migrate your systems over, with an expert on your team.

Atlassian Cloud Migration Experts

ClearHub specialises in finding the best Atlassian Cloud migration, pairing businesses with the most talented cloud engineers and contractors in the world. Everyone in the ClearHub network is vetted, skills-checked and ready to go.


To get started, call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech..

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TOP 5 TIPS: Write Jira tickets that save time and energy

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TOP 5 TIPS: Write Jira tickets that save time and energy

Jira has a massive problem. And it’s not even Jira’s fault.

Does any of this sound familiar?

  • Tickets often have to be rewritten
  • Problems slip through to staging or production
  • Constant back and forth, just to get clarity

This is all because of Jira tickets; not how Atlassian has created the platform – but how we, as users, are writing them.

Jira tickets, when written badly, can destroy productivity, cause friction, and lead vocal members of your team to demand a switch to a different platform. To avoid this, it’s important to know how to write Jira tickets effectively from the get-go.

Here are five ways to write better Jira tickets.

1 – Use precise language

Always be clear, concise, and avoid any chance of ambiguity. If you’re worried about the ticket sounding rude, don’t. Wasting time with a super-long, ambiguous ticket is rude – giving the person the exact information they need is far kinder.

Assign exact names to features and user interface elements, and stick to them. Give actions rather than a laundry list of problems

Most importantly of all, write a good title.

Use verbs (doing or action words) to prompt the action. For instance, do not simply write the feature you want – ask for the feature to be implemented.

The clearer your ticket can be from the start, the more likely it will be done without back and forth.

2 – Use markdown and keyboard shortcuts

Format your tickets clearly, with bold text, italics, and clickable text links. Using markdown for specific text types can greatly improve the speed of writing Jira tickets – but you can achieve the same result with keyboard shortcuts.

Learn Jira’s markdown features and keyboard shortcuts.

Messy tickets take longer to read and longer to action – so make sure you clarify at the start with clean formatting.

3 – Illustrate with screenshots and gifs

A picture is worth a thousand words. So show, don’t tell.

Adding screenshots to a ticket, or a gif if the issue is time-based, will clearly show the recipient what the problem is, without you needing to explain much.

Before you start, your Jira admin must enable specific user permissions so that you can add attachments and screenshots – You need the “create attachments” permission.

Once you have it, you can drag and drop images, gifs, and other files into your Jira tickets. You can also browse your files by navigating to More > Attach files within Jira, while writing your ticket.

4 – Focus your acceptance criteria

Make it as simple as possible – because often, things get complex when you’re trying to figure out if you’ve done what was needed.

At its most basic, your acceptance criteria should be a checklist; done or pending, true or false. In more detail, this includes your Definition of Done: a clear and concise description of what qualifies a task as complete.

So, focus on the reason for the ticket, and the outcome. Give it a clear list of qualifiers for being done. Make the language precise, free of ambiguity. And if possible, simplify it to true/false statements – so there’s absolutely no question of what “done” is.

5 – Make use of plugins

You could write your Jira tickets in Word or Google Docs, to get spell checking and grammar fixes on the fly – or you could use a browser extension plugin like Grammarly, to fix it in-situ. Much faster!

Speaking of plugins, the Atlassian Marketplace is full of powerful add-ons to make Jira tickets more effective: like the Bitbucket plugin.

The Bitbucket plugin adds to the already seamless Jira and Bitbucket experience, by allowing the two tools to talk to each other. Simply include a Jira ticket number in a commit or pull request, and the Bitbucket activity will be tracked alongside the ticket.

Or how about the Slack plugin, which gives you chat notifications for any relevant ticket activity.

Jira can be customised so deeply, from the template level to plugins – so use it! Make the most of your tools, and get the best results.

And if you need support making Jira work exactly as you need it, we’re here to support you – with the brightest talent in the industry.

Need help with Jira? Hire freelance Jira Experts

ClearHub specialises in finding freelance Jira experts – vetted, skills-checked and ready to work. To get started, call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

Atlassian alternatives: tools that (kind of) work the same

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Atlassian alternatives: tools that (kind of) work the same

The tech-first world we live in might never have been, were it not for Atlassian.

Atlassian’s product family includes some of the most advanced productivity platforms and software tooling systems, all intimately linked. Every tool works together seamlessly, facilitating everything from DevOps to Payroll, and from support tickets to marketing plans.

But Atlassian isn’t the only player in the game. There are alternative platforms outside of the Atlassian stack. So, what Atlassian alternatives are there – and should you be using them?

Alternatives to Atlassian tools

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction” – Newton’s third law.

This happens in software all the time, too. For instance, Microsoft’s local email client, Outlook, was turned into Hotmail – a browser-based email platform. Then Google came along and dominated the market with Gmail by simply zigging where Microsoft had zagged: Google chose simplicity over Microsoft’s complexity.

Everyone got into the email game, with different spins on the same channel: enhanced privacy, or enhanced personalisation. Platforms evolved and diverged down their own paths – and whichever one you adopted early became the one you stuck with.

Now, there’s more choice than ever – and the lines between functionality are becoming blurred. No matter which platform you choose, you’re likely going to get a great product.

And this goes for Atlassian’s rivals, too. The Atlassian stack has so many advantages (which we’ll cover shortly), but it doesn’t exist in isolation.

Read more: The Atlassian Stack: All the tools – and how to use them

So, what alternative tools are there to Atlassian’s offering?

Jira alternatives

Jira is a workflow management tool – it lets you track tasks from start to finish. Tasks can be assigned to users with a due date, and given a custom status like pending, in progress, or on hold. Jira comes in a variety of flavours suited to software development or service management, but each variant is flexible and adaptable.

Basecamp

If you work in tech, you’ve probably used this platform before. Basecamp is a do-anything project management platform, with simple tasks and to-do lists, messaging, file sharing, and task assignment. It falls far short of Jira’s personalisation and integrations – but for most non-development focused, or multidisciplinary organisations, it’s more than enough.

Asana

Asana facilitates communication and collaboration across the entire project management team, and has many similarities to Jira. It is growing in adoption, and supports agile project management through boards. It has an activity feed, allows user permissions, and works as a calendar. Asana has an internal messaging platform, and it’s likely that email reliant businesses will bounce between their email client and Asana, as it doesn’t easily integrate with email.

Notion

Notion is a super-basic but refreshingly useful all-in-one platform. Notion lets users create documents, manage projects, create tasks, and practise the kanban method – all from one place. Templates are simple, but powerful, meaning projects can be set up and run in a few clicks. Simplicity is also its biggest weakness, and power users accustomed to Jira’s flexibility and app integrations might struggle. For generalists, though, Notion is a huge productivity booster.

Monday.com

A well-marketed and powerful project management and productivity powerhouse, Monday.com promises users the simplest GUI – and it delivers. For general project management and single-minded focus Monday.com is almost unbeatable; but it’s far less flexible. And, while it can integrate with Jira, the cost alone could make Monday.com out of reach for most smaller organisations.

Confluence alternatives

Confluence is a collaborative team workspace. It’s a knowledge collection and sharing hub, where all documentation can be stored. It’s like Wikipedia, but just for your organisation. Of course, this isn’t a unique offering, and the competition in this space is pretty fierce.

Google Docs

This has become the de facto file creation and sharing platform of the decade. It is infinitely flexible: it translates Word documents to Google Docs and vice versa, outputs to the most popular document formats, and integrates well with almost any platform you can imagine. It has excellent permissions and sharing features – and it’s completely free to use, up to 15GB of data. But anyone who has collaborated in Google Docs will know how messy it can get, and live updates are ropey-looking at best. Useful, but not very slick.

Slack

One of the greatest unicorn stories in history, Slack is what other workspace platforms aspire to be. The UI is as perfect as we’ve ever seen. It comes ready to integrate with any other productivity tool and document creation platform, and it is deeply customisable without ever being intimidating. Global internal comms have never been easier to manage. It “just works”. But it’s essentially a chat platform, with extra features. It relies entirely on other tools to be useful for more than simple comms, and won’t be the all-in-one that other tools can offer.

Basecamp, Monday.com, and Asana

All three have Confluence-like features built-in to them, and seem to be geared towards marketing and sales more than, say, software development or DevOps – but they can be templated and tweaked.

Pros and cons of using Atlassian over other alternative tools

Atlassian stack pros

Atlassian’s tools are market-leading, industry-leading, award-winning and ubiquitous. Jira is the best-in-class platform for software development. Above all, Atlassian tools all communicate with each other perfectly, out of the box; no fuss, no code.

Adopting the Atlassian stack is cheaper than building a custom stack, but no less customisable. The marketplace is filled with apps that enhance functionality to new heights, and organisations can develop custom solutions within the Atlassian ecosystem. 

In terms of versatility and integration options, Atlassian is widely regarded as one of the best in the industry. And the update cycle is relentless – the best version of your tools is always being worked on.

Cons

There are, of course, drawbacks. Going all in on one toolstack means all your eggs are in one basket. If that basket were to break – well, there go your eggs. And you may find that your team prefers to use different platforms that require some level of custom integration. For example, if your dev team works best in GitLab, moving them over to Atlassian’s Bitbucket and stalling productivity doesn’t make sense.

The good news is that Atlassian’s tools are pick and mix, and they all integrate well with other best-in-class tools through plugins or apps. And if you need someone to help you get the performance you need from a custom Atlassian setup, we’ve got the world’s top Atlassian experts ready to go.

Hire World-class Atlassian Talent

Let’s help you get the most out of your productivity tools. ClearHub specialises in finding the best Atlassian contractors in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to go. To get started, call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

The Atlassian Stack: All the tools – and how to use them

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The Atlassian Stack: All the tools – and how to use them

An introduction to all Atlassian tools

This is an exhaustive list of each Atlassian product family – and what each one is for.

What is Jira?

Basically, Jira is a workflow management tool – it lets you track tasks from start to finish. Tasks (or issues, as they’re called) can be assigned to users with a due date, and given a custom status (like pending, in progress, on hold etc.).

Jira comes in many forms, each suited to different types of work or working styles.

What is Jira Software?

Jira Software is ideal for development teams who want to build software quickly. It comes with templates for Scrum, Kanban, Bug tracking, and DevOps workflows, and can be deeply customised with additional tools.

What is Jira Service Management?

JSM, as it’s known, is a version of Jira optimised for service management. It can be used as an IT support desk, risk and compliance – or any other department within an organisation that regularly receives requests for work. JSM strealines workflows and offers total accountability.

What is Jira Work Management?

Jira Work Management is a general workflow management platform. It can be used to plan and track marketing campaigns, for HR processes, sales lead tracking, legal and finance – and much more. It can be accessed in a calendar view, as a to-do list, a timeline – or a drag and drop board.

Read more –  How to use Jira for project management

Jira Align

Jira Align connects teams to business. It’s an Enterprise Agile Planning platform that brings all that data together real-time, for informed reporting across an organisation. It solves business agility challenges by connecting strategy to execution, and measuring outcomes.

Find out more about Jira in Atlassian’s tutorial series.

What is Confluence?

Confluence is a remote-focused collaborative team workspace. It’s a knowledge collection and sharing hub for organisations, where all documentation can be stored.

Think if it like a WikiPedia, just for your organisation; it’s where all your process maps, onboarding docs, compliance and regulatory information lives – as well as company announcements and employee feedback.

Confluence can be used as a sketchpad for ideas, or the bedrock of your business processes. It integrates with all other tools in the Atlassian stack – and can be used to give Jira issues more context, or to provide a process map for how to do a task within company policy.

Access levels are totally customisable, so contractors and freelancers can be given everything they need without divulging any unwanted information. They can even have their own workspace created within the platform, for the lifetime of their project.

It’s an extremely useful, flexible, and secure collaborative workspace – trusted by over 75,000 customers globally.

Learn how to use Confluence, with tutorials from Atlassian

What is Trello?

At its most basic, Trello is a to-do list. But it’s deceptively advanced.

It’s a productivity tool that allows for easy collaboration, with integrations for multiple platforms. Documents, links and images can be uploaded to Trello cards anywhere in the workflow. It allows due dates to be set, task assignment, and the addition of any stage you can imagine to a workflow.

It has a calendar function, and very simple (but powerful) automation features. Common actions, like moving lists, can be tasked to a bot – and ongoing tasks can be scheduled and pushed to a team. Custom buttons can be made that build an entire process out in a single click.

Think of Trello like a superpowered to-do list that helps you and your team get more done.

What is Bitbucket?

Bitbucket is a Git-based source code repository hosting service and a CI/CD tool, optimised for Jira.

Bitbucket keeps everything in one place: it controls the workflow throughout the CI/CD pipeline, and allows admins to restrict access to source code to specific users. Users can make merge requests, with in-line commenting for collaboration on code review.

Bitbucket offers unparalleled Jira integration, for full development traceability and accountability – and its REST API allows you to build custom workflow features.

Other Atlassian tools

The above are arguably the most famous and used tools in the Atlassian stack. Still, there are other lesser known, but equally powerful solutions in Atlassian’s toolkit.

Opsgenie

When things go wrong, Opsgenie gets the right person on the job to fix it. It’s an incident alerting and on-call scheduling app, with powerful integrations to keep downtime at a minimum.

Statuspage

Statuspage gives real-time status of your service to your users.

Halp

Halp is a lightweight help desk, built for Slack and Microsoft Teams users.

Sourcetree

Sourcetree is a free Git client for Windows and Mac which simplifies how you interact with your Git repositories.

Bamboo

Bamboo is a continuous delivery pipeline that offers resilience, reliability, and scalability for teams of any size.

Fisheye

Fisheye makes it easy to search, track and compare code changes.

Crucible

Crucible is a collaborative code review platform that helps you find bugs and improve code quality.

Atlassian Access

Enhanced data security and governance for Atlassian cloud products.

Crowd

A single sign-on and identity management tool.

Need help using these tools? Find a freelance Atlassian expert

When you need to get the very best out of your investment in the Atlassian stack, you need an Atlassian expert on your team.

That’s where ClearHub comes in. We’re connected to the best freelance Atlassian experts in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to go.

So, whether you need to create a custom Jira workflow that makes your business run like clockwork, or to migrate your source code over to Bitbucket – we’ll place an expert on your team to make it happen.

And you won’t just get a technical solution; the rest of your team will get the knowledge and experience they need to carry your success forward.

To get started, call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

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How to use Jira for project management

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How to use Jira for project management

Atlassian’s flagship products include the mighty Jira – born as a tool designed to track the status and progress of issues and bugs in software development.

But Jira has come a long way since its first release in 2002. Today, Jira can be deeply customised, and integrated with the whole Atlassian stack. It has evolved into an incredibly powerful tool – and not just for development.

What is Jira used for?

Jira is a complete workflow management system. It was originally designed to track bugs and issues in software development.

So, if it’s a dev tool, why use Jira for project management?

Over time – and with apps and add-ons – Jira has become more versatile and flexible. It can now be used to set, monitor, and complete tasks in virtually any department of a business.

Detailed reporting and analytics allow users to access workflow data, for performance insights.

It’s highly secure, and promotes accountability, good communication, and trust. This all makes it a potent tool for project management outside of development – but to get the most out of it, you need some background on how it works.

Understanding how Jira works

Units of work in Jira are called “issues”, harking back to the platform’s IT and development roots. Issues can be created, categorised, and prioritised into workflows.

Jira’s project management capabilities rely on these workflows, which control the rules used to transition each unit of work to a different workflow stage.

As an example, an issue could be created, and immediately be labelled as “pending” in the workflow. Once a team member starts working on it, the label changes to “in progress”. When it’s finished, it can move out of the workflow and into a “completed” list.

These stages, and any others, can be added to the workflow in Jira.

Workflows can be customised to any application, with multiple checkpoints – like in editorial work, where additional review stages and final sign-off are required, or in graphic design where client approval is needed. Jira can even be used to move candidates through the recruitment process.

But let’s get into what we’re here for – and find out how to use Jira for project management.

Configuring your project

First, choose a Jira template to set up your project.

Templates are a quick way to configure your project – and Jira comes with lots of built-in workflows. Users can also download readymade workflows from the Atlassian Marketplace.

You might find that the preset templates are perfect for your needs, but you can customise the defaults further, to get exactly what you need. Templates can be saved for future projects, and can easily be tweaked as your workflow evolves.

The planning stage

Every project needs goals. And to achieve goals you need a plan.

Read more – how to write SMART goals

Jira lets you set out project plans for on-off projects, and for ongoing, monthly or weekly work. Each goal can be broken down into a series of issues, which appear in Jira as a digital card, containing the requirements for completion.

To start building out your project, create issues. Label each issue clearly with the task at hand, and set its due date. Add any documents, images, or videos to the issue, to give further clarity on what needs to be done.

You can set each issue with a priority, independent of the due date – and break up larger blocks of work into smaller subtasks within the issue.

From here, you can assign each issue to a member of the team, or bank it for a later date.

Jira also lets you create different versions of a project, which is useful for modelling and projection, or course changes within a project.

Setting up your team

Everyone involved in the project will need access to Jira – but not necessarily the same level of access. The majority of users will just need to track and complete issues in the workflow. Jira allows multi-level permissions, from unlimited access down to view-only for specific issues. This is useful if you hire Jira contractors or have other users outside of your company – to limit what they can access and see.

Once everyone’s set up, you can assign issues to them, and track their progress.

Tracking project progress

You can track your project in multiple ways – down to the time each issue takes to complete. The Atlassian Marketplace is full of apps and add-ons that can make project tracking more tailored to your business. 

Jira’s built-in reporting is powerful, and allows project managers to clearly see outstanding work, bottlenecks, productivity – and if deadlines are going to be missed.

All of this can be viewed in Jira’s dashboard, which can be customised to show key project information. The dashboard shows an overview of progress – but can can drill down to a granular level, allowing you to see the work assigned to each team member. You can change the dashboard to show the most important information to you.

Once the project is completed, it can be archived – and you and your team can celebrate a job well done!

Looking for a Jira expert?

Want to set up a custom Jira workflow for your next project? ClearHub specialises in finding the best freelance Jira experts in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to go. To get started, call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

The fastest way to level up in Jira? Hire an expert

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The fastest way to level up in Jira? Hire an expert

Atlassian first released Jira in 2002. Twenty years ago. It’s unbelievable to think it’s been that long.

Back then, Jira was purely for software development. 

But now, it has evolved into a tasking, listing and accountability tool that’s used in a variety of industries and teams, from Legal and HR, to Marketing.

It’s not just a dev tool anymore.

It looks different. The functionality has changed. It has evolved into a complete workflow management system that’s as competent in bug and issue tracking as it is in assigning payroll duties.

And with apps and add-ons, the Jira ecosystem has become infinitely more versatile and flexible.

And complicated.

All this change means skills can lag behind new functions – and your once cutting-edge tool can be relegated to a glorified “to do” list.

When it comes to levelling up in Jira and maximising your investment in the tool, you have two choices: you can train your team – or you can hire an expert to show you how it’s done, while they’re on the job.

Option 1. Training your team

Jira training is a long-term investment, but it happens reasonably fast.

Jira training sessions empower your team with the knowledge to use Jira to the full extent of its capabilities. Advanced Jira training courses can level up an entire company, across all departments, and add value that extends for years.

Every single project and department can benefit from Jira training.

But – it’s not always the best move to make at any given time, especially in smaller teams already under heavy crunch.

Don’t get us wrong; Jira training is a great thing to undertake, and it doesn’t really have any downsides at all.

But timing is crucial.

Any training course that adds real value can run over multiple sessions. In a small team already pushed for capacity, taking time out from a working day to go to a training session can just add to their stress. The lessons won’t really stick, as their minds will be on looming deadlines.

It can be a recipe for burnout, and wasted training budget.

It can turn a well-meaning growth opportunity into an ordeal – and it simply is not the right choice at certain points in a company’s growth.

In fact, when you need an extra set of hands, the last thing you need to do is take your star players out of the game. If anything, you need more of them out on the field.

That’s where hiring a freelance Jira expert could be the fastest and most beneficial way to level up your team.

Option 2. Hiring in a freelance Jira expert

Freelance Jira experts come into your team as readymade, fully-fledged practitioners, with the skills to mould Jira to any use case. You can task them with optimising workflow, or overhauling processes – and give your team a front row seat to them in action.

Having an expert in your ranks merans their experience will rub off on your team; they’ll answer your team’s questions, show them how to work more fluidly, and solve their day-to-day productivity bottlenecks.

And within that, you can achieve your specific project goals, with another set of hands on deck.

The long-term benefit to productivity (and mimisining crunch) is undeniable – and for small to medium teams looking to boost capacity and gain new knowledge, it’s a huge short-term boost.

Bringing in the external knowledge of a freelance Jira expert has many positive ripple effects beyond simply ticking the work off the list.

What are the cons of using Jira freelancers?

As the name suggests, freelancers are free to do as they wish – go where the wind takes them, pursue new opportunities, and change specialisms entirely. Even if you have the best working chemistry, offer amazing day rates and build a connection, you can never guarantee they’ll stick around.

But on the other hand, the same is true for full-time employees, who are free to go on to pastures new.

Of course, there’a also a risk that they won’t work out, or fit with the team – but with ClearHub, you’ll have a specialist skill sourcing partner on your side.

Hire freelance Jira experts

ClearHub specialises in finding the best freelance Jira experts in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to level your business up.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the ClearHub team today. Call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

Everything that happened at Atlassian TEAM 2022

team members event
team members event

Everything that happened at Atlassian TEAM 2022

TEAM ‘22 Highlights

  • Atlas launched – the ultimate teamwork directory
  • Compass unveiled, for distributed architecture
  • Atlassian Data Lake introduced
  • Atlassian Analytics Hub introduced
  • Security updates and new integrations announced

We’re back! After what feels like so many years of travel restrictions, uncertainty and covid-related chaos, the ClearHub team is so excited to be back in Las Vegas for Atlassian’s flagship conference event.

TEAM ‘22 is our 13th Atlassian conference, and our first in-person conference since 2019, so it’s safe to say we’ve all been pretty excited about it.

Aaron, our Global Contractor Support Manager, took his spot representing ClearHub at Stand 9 – talking to would-be and existing customers, excitement building as the event progressed…

And what an event it has been.

After buzzing around, saying our hellos and settling into the electric atmosphere of TEAM ‘22, the event kicked off properly. We were there for the opening keynote, delivered by Atlassian Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Scott Farquhar, and COO, Anu Bharadwaj.

Here’s what happened…

Atlassian launches Atlas, to connect all apps and keep projects on track

Atlas is a cross-platform project management tool, with a difference. It promises to be a robust solution for remote working teams: keeping track of who is working on what, deliverables, when they’re due – and crucially, the importance and value of their work.

It gives teams accountability (and stakeholders regular progress updates) by prompting weekly updates on work – limited to 280 characters, to stop reporting taking over their real jobs. Atlas creates a personalised digest for every user, every week – giving them updates on the projects that they follow.

Notion, Google apps, Monday.com – Atlas integrates with everything, including Microsoft Teams and Slack, bridging gaps and keeping work moving in the right direction.

Atlassian calls it a “teamwork directory”. And that’s fitting. Atlassian has recognised that teamwork happens in multiple platforms, but communicating status between them has been way too complicated.

Atlas is completely free to use, company-wide.

Get Atlas for free.

Atlassian introduces Compass (in Alpha) for distributed architecture

Compass is a developer experience platform that helps teams navigate their distributed architecture, bringing disconnected information about engineering output and the teams collaborating on them together in a central, searchable location.

Learn more about Compass.

Atlassian introduces Data Lake

Atlassian tools are critical in many companies, and generate huge firehoses of data – on workflow, productivity, performance and ROI. This data is produced over the entire stack of Atlassian tools, and until now, there hasn’t been a simple way to collect and make sense of it all. But that’s changing.

Companies can now gather and interpret cross-product and cross-instance data, for easy analysis. Atlassian Data Lake currently includes data from Jira Software and Jira Service Management, and will eventually work across all tools.

Atlassian Analytics Hub

Atlassian knows that data without context is nothing. Getting insights from Atlassian Data Lake requires a partner application – and Analytics Hub is just that. It can create custom reports and visualisations, to make sense of data and offer insights into everything your company is doing with its tools.

Eventually, Analytics Hub will be able to connect with other business intelligence tools, blending data from other sources and building a complete picture of company performance, within a single platform. 

Find out more.

New features, integrations and security updates

Confluence can now automatically create charts out of data, and change the chart type with one simple click – available in web and mobile editor. Confluence Cloud can now be integrated with Microsoft Teams.

  • All products will inherit the editing capability
  • More security in Atlassian Access

Taking a stand – at Stand 9

Stand 9 was our own little patch at TEAM ‘22, so we decided to use it for good. The ClearHub and Clearvision teams dedicated Stand 9 to supporting Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine is a personal matter for us. We have Ukrainian teammates and friends – and we can’t just stand idly by while our own people are put in danger.

So, we set up fundraising and Amazon gifting links – as well as a donations box at our stand. And the people of Atlassian TEAM ‘22 have not disappointed.

Your generosity will be distributed between authoritative, accountable British and Ukrainian charities, to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainians.

We want to help in any way we can to ease the suffering of innocent Ukranians caught in the conflict – and we’re extremely grateful to everyone who has contributed so far.

Get an Atlassian expert on your team

ClearHub specialises in finding the best Atlassian experts in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to fill your Atlassian skills shortage.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the ClearHub team today. Call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.