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

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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What will software development look like in 2030?

What will software development look like in 2030?

Cast your mind back, if you will, to 2010.

Do you remember what the biggest leaps in consumer and business technology were back then?

It was the year that Instagram launched. The first iPad was introduced. Cloud computing went mainstream, with Microsoft Azure going up against AWS.

Major disruptors had yet to even enter the market. Uber? Not a thing until 2011. Same goes for Snapchat and Minecraft.

The most powerful games consoles in 2010 were the PS3 and XBox 360.

In the years since, technology has snowballed in its importance and its power. Tesla has made electric cars attainable, consumer drones have transformed content creation, and social media has evolved into a world-changing force.

But technology, and the software that enables it, has only just begun to explode.

What will the landscape look like in 2030?

Computing trends: so much power, still untapped 

Computing hardware is still mainly driven by Apple, Intel, AMD and Nvidia; and while they all depend on the same subcontractors, supply chains, and outsourced industrial processes – they are all independently racing towards new architectures.

Intel is famed for resting on its laurels, after establishing itself as the de facto chipmaker of the 1990s and 2000s. After that period, it was all AMD – but there was a push/pull relationship between the two silicon giants for the best part of the 2010s.

AMD eventually leapfrogged Intel for innovation and raw processing power in 2019, with the Zen architecture and its Threadripper series, effectively doubling the performance that Intel could offer, at any level.

And in 2020, Apple moved from Intel to processors designed in-house, with the M1 architecture; an entire system on a chip (SoC). This combines CPU, graphics and RAM into a single piece of hardware – one chip instead of many. While not the most powerful chips in the world, they remain, watt for watt, the most efficient desktop class processors in the world.

And it’s scalable. Shortly after M1 came M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra; all use the same die, chopped, left whole or stuck together, for whatever level of power is required.

This started a chain-reaction of chipmakers developing their own SoCs to compete – and the race to become the most powerful, most efficient is now in full swing.

This means that consumers will have more power in their devices than ever before. Businesses will have faster machines, with less power consumption. Creators and the people behind the content we love will be able to make more compelling, beautiful, amazing experiences for us.

But all that power needs software to be able to utilise it effectively.

Otherwise, it’s a little like trying to drive an F1 car to the shops.

How will software change to use this new power?

Apple’s choice to transition from the established x86 architecture for desktops and into the ARM architecture (more traditionally seen on mobile devices) has caused some upset. Even two years after M1, and a full three since Apple announced the move, there are many flagship pieces of software that do not run natively on the architecture.

And this is just how it goes for new tech; devs and programmers have a lot of work to do in order to adapt. Making them from scratch is comparatively much easier – ARM has been around since 1990. But translating entire codebases to ARM is not as simple as it seems.

But it looks like this is where computing is going – and over the next five years, we expect developers and programmers to be focused on transitioning, because the software itself will have opportunities to become more powerful as a result of the improved power density that ARM offers.

This new power might bring new capabilities; like truly lifelike VR. Games could become more like simulations, and the much-touted metaverse could actually be realised in a way we can’t currently imagine.

Enhancing software to use the full potential of future hardware could make processes that currently take minutes or hours – like rendering large CAD or video files – instantaneous. 

Even for those of us who simply use tech to consume the content that we love, more power means more to be entertained by.

And the next revolutionary leap in tech won’t be hardware; it’ll be software.

Self-driving cars are physically possible with today’s hardware. We just don’t have the software to match. By 2030, we could have made that leap. We could have also given up our healthcare to technology over humans, our legal system, our educational institutions… 

And if that all sounds a little bit scary, well – it is. But we’re not here to discuss the pitfalls of a world run by AI this time around.

Except that is, if AI is making the software.

Will we even need devs by 2030?

Self-building software and AI-powered tools are going to explode.

Take DeepCoder, introduced in 2017. It’s a machine learning system that writes its own code, in much the same way humans do:

It takes existing snippets of code from other sources (in repos or from Stack Overflow and the like), and stitches them together. After it combines them, it tries to fill in the gaps – effectively determining which pieces of code are useful, and getting the desired outcome from chopping and changing.

Right now, it’s not very good. Humans are still better. But it’s learning – and ML, like humans, gets better as it does more work.

Unlike humans, ML never gets tired, and can continue improving at a geometric rate.

We will absolutely need developers and programmers in 2030. But by 2050? Machines could be doing all the work themselves.

Until then, we predict that the 2030s in software development will probably look like this:

  • A full adoption of Cloud Computing and centralised infrastructure
  • AI assisted software development, overseen by humans
  • Low code and no code building environments will enable more people to make software
  • New programming languages will emerge to utilise the latest tech
  • Artificial Intelligence will become far more advanced

Looking for a freelance DevOps expert?

ClearHub specialises in finding the best freelance DevOps 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.

How to use Jira for project management

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.

Is there a skills shortage – or are you just looking in the wrong places?

Is there a skills shortage – or are you just looking in the wrong places?

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.