Connect dev, ops and service

Having spent a few days with the Atlassian team, their customers and their partners, it was clear that the Atlassian mission to “unleash the potential of every team” was being embraced.

Teams from all different parts of their customers were in attendance. The big theme I came away with from the week was that Atlassian wants to bring the teams together. This included announcements that bridge the gap between developers, product management, customer success and the lines of business.

Build ‘teams of teams’ in the Atlassian cloud

There was a clear message to customers that Atlassian is a cloud-first product company. All the enhancements that were discussed are either in beta, preview or general availability in the Atlassian cloud-based product. It was clear that the amount of effort going from a standard on-premises license into a cloud deployment is not done lightly.

There was a booth location that said “cloud migration,” which I thought was a new product helping with the redesign of monolithic applications for the cloud. But instead, it was a place to discuss migrations from on-premises Jira Align to the cloud version. The good thing is that there are several partners that can help you do it.

The announcement of certifications, such as BaFin, EBA and HIPAA, with the roadmap for FedRAMP and bring-your-own-key encryption, certainly helps customers in regulated industries — BaFin ensures that German markets for securities and derivatives remain in accordance with the Securities Trading Act. Also, the addition of four more regions coming to the cloud will help, as they are claiming a 99.95% service-level agreement. I am sure the outage this week during the conference was not helpful in convincing customers still on premises to move to the cloud, but it underscores the need for tools that Atlassian is building.

In the first day’s keynotes, Scott Farquhar, Atlassian co-founder and co-CEO, and Anu Bharadwaj, Atlassian COO, set the table with the high-level announcements of which I found Atlas, Compass and Analytics in the Atlassian platform super interesting. Anu’s discussion on collaboration through embedding data and information from other applications was interesting. This seemed like a layer of abstraction, currently across Jira Software and Service Management, to provide teams with a more enhanced “wiki” that could be a somewhat living record of their work.

Scott Farquhar presents a keynote session at the Atlassian Team ’22 conference.

With the announcement of Atlassian Atlas, Joff Redfern, the chief product officer, went a bit deeper about the service that will help customers define success, connect goals to what is being developed and provide updates asynchronously in 280 characters or less. The feed is a way to get away from status meetings. Some key features I found interesting in Atlas are the use of “fuzzy dates” and team directory. Goals with fuzzy dates allow for a rough target to be alight to objectives and key results and corporate timelines. Team directory allows for organic or structured teams and is integrated with identity services such as Okta to stay in sync. This provides Team Profile, built on the Atlassian Profile, across Jira and Confluence today. The goal of Atlas is to answer what, why, who and how work is being done by connecting information across three product segments, Agile and DevOps, IT service management and work management. Atlas is free to use for an entire organization right now, but obviously the value only happens when you are using the integrated products.

The next big announcement that I thought was interesting was Compass, which they proclaimed to be mission control for distributed architecture. One thing that everyone agrees with is that software isn’t built in monolithic diatribes of code anymore. It is built on any number of components that have subcomponents. Each component and subcomponent is written in its own “developer pod” or squad. In our ESG research, we have seen that 63% of organizations use multiple IaaS or PaaS cloud service providers, with applications hosted in more than one CSP. It points to the use of containers and microservices. The proliferation of “two-pizza teams” leads to many more components as part of a larger application and the need for coordination.

Image of Anu Bharadwaj on stage with a presentation on a large screen
Anu Bharadwaj speaking at the Atlassian Team ’22 conference.

In this model, the concept of “you build it, you run it” that has been popular with cloud-native applications can put a lot of stress on organizations that don’t fully embrace this with on-call, leveraging IT ops, SRE and DevOps in addition to on-call devs. How do you know who to call? Compass is a service that provides a component catalog and DevOps health dashboards, and allows for extensibility and the plugging in of third-party ISV applications. Justine Davis, head of marketing, Agile and DevOps solutions, and Tiffany To, head of product, Agile and DevOps, made the case for an “open [software] relationship” with autonomy and alignment using Compass.

This was very powerful, given that Atlassian tracks some 1,500 microservices for their cloud platform components. They rolled out Compass, which is composed of a component catalog, a DevOps health dashboard and an extensibility engine.

Think of the component catalog as a place to see all the teams, their microservices and how they have been assembled, as seen through other Atlassian and integrated toolchain products. The second piece is a DevOps health dashboard that provides visibility into each of the known components and their pre- and post-deployment health. It remains to be seen how early the detection would be seen or what KPIs can be baselined and measured. The third part of Compass is an extensibility framework, powered by the Atlassian Forge app development platform. The extensibility engine enables teams to build fully customized workflows for their pods. Together, these three pieces are a strong start to gaining visibility and alignment over the autonomous development teams, assuming you are using their stack or one of the 40 partners.

Although there were many other very interesting announcements at Team ’22, the Atlassian platform’s Analytics offering intrigued me. Maybe it is the data-driven geek in me, but I wanted to dig into this Analytics offering a bit deeper. This is built upon the technology from the acquisition of Chart.io. While it is early days and the details are a bit scarce today, the idea of ​​the Atlassian Data Lake with Analytics and more on top makes sense to me. Ultimately, it will help developers, DevOps, IT ops and Service Management customers grasp trends in their areas of responsibility, while providing the 10,000-foot-level views that Joff talked about in his keynote. The analytics will open the door to helping organizations tie their development cycles to things such as customer satisfaction and more. It provides insight into Jira Software and Service Management at launch, but provides a nice view into the future direction for Analytics.

Ultimately, Atlassian follows its open roadmap, so there is little doubt about what is next. How Atlassian solves customer use cases with those features in the products can surprise them in the breadth and depth of resolution. Many of the products, services and features rolled out last week are intended to help autonomy and alignment of teams consisting of other teams. Some of the announcements are a good next step in the direction of bringing the seven or so different codebases beyond a combined UI landing page. Atlassian wants to solve the customer journey in a couple of different workflows and products. This is where Atlassian will need to focus on the customer tool they need and not the next new capability or feature. Team ’22 was a step in that direction.

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