Thoughts on Atlassian Summit13 Keynote

So, a lot was said by Atlassian founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes as well as Atlassian President Jay Simons in the keynote earlier today. I’m going to try to sum up my thoughts on the key things that jumped out at me.
  1. Tighter integrations – I’m hearing that a lot of effort has been put into extending the integrations between all of Atlassian products, especially Confluence and JIRA, but also just throughout the entire product stack. They emphasized some of the nice product requirement building features they are supporting (or will be by next Christmas, it sounds like), including:
    • using the new Confluence blueprints features to standardize your requirements gathering process
    • highlighted text will offer a context menu with the ability to create a JIRA
    • being able to create JIRAs from a requirements table as a batch.
  2. Encouraging Git Branching – Stash and JIRA will offer features to make branching easier on developers. Scott, knowing his audience, noted that developers sometimes know the best way to do something, but take the easy way. These latest branching features are aimed at making it so that “the best way is the easy way”, as he put it. One thing I was intrigued by: I liked that their branching creation tool had an understanding of branch types: Bugfix vs feature vs hotfix, etc. I’m not yet completely clear on exactly how these branch types are different. I gathered that default settings might be setup differently? My experience with git branching is that the reason you’re branching has real implications for how you choose to setup, treat, use, and merge your branch. So, it sounds like this feature has a good chance of being very useful to git users.
  3. Quality Code through Peer Review – I think the big feature reveal here is that Stash JIRA integration features will make it easier for developers to comment directly on the source repository in Stash and just generally utiltize Stash in a peer review process. I love the idea of a peer review process, but rarely see it put into effective action, I think because it seems like too much overhead. This sounds like it might be a way to help a team that’s already using Stash get over that initial hurdle and get talking about the code.
  4. Hipchat Announcements – Several announcements here with obvious utility to organizations with a heavy chat focused environment
    • Hipchat Server – have hipchat behind the firewall
    • Hipchat Video – they had a great live demo of a video conversation between a mobile interface and a web interface.
  5. Confluence Questions – a new product (plugin? like Team Calendars?) designed to provide Q&A features. Answers to questions, while looking like comments, will have the now industry standard crowd sourcing UI, allowing other users to +1 or -1 answers so that the best answers are highlighted.
  6. JIRA Service Desk – a new product (plugin? like Greenhopper?) designed to provide a better experience for both support desk staff and their customers. Lots of exciting features described for this:
    • A queue system that can use JQL to intelligently prioritize incoming and older support requests
    • SLA support – hooks into time spent on the issue, and provides visible feedback to the support desk staff regarding how much time has been spent on the issue in comparison to the SLA requirements for that type of issue. The SLA fields are also used by the queue system to up the priority on issues that are hitting deadlines. Really impressive!
    • Highly simplified interface for the customer to streamline support requests and keep them up to date only on the info about their issue that really matters to them. This seems like an obvious win for everybody.
    • Tight integration with Confluence Knowledge Base to make it easier for customers to get their answers without even needing to complete the request.
One other thing I wanted to note: Since I wasn’t able to make it out to San Francisco this year, I took advantage of the livestream Atlassian was offering. Gotta give their video team a quick thumbs up on how that was handled. Basically, the livestream link was announced on their twitter. And I went to the site at the right time, and it loaded like its supposed to. It wasn’t perfect: about a dozen or so hiccups throughout the course of the event (like a record player skipping. Tell me other people can relate to that, right?) and buffering interruptions, but they were usually over quickly and didn’t really interfere. I thought the video team did a great job of managing the many cameras and providing the right visuals at the right time. Generally, I thought it was really well done, and it was great to be able to see the announcements as they came out, even if I couldn’t be there in person, so: Thanks, Video Team!

I’m going to be continuing to keep an eye on the #summit13 twitter feed. It’s a good place to see people’s reactions to key announcements as they come flying by.
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