Confluence QuestionsATLASSIAN CONFLUENCE 6.1 with new Confluence Blueprints was announced during the Keynote Speach at Atlassian Summit. Of note is the new Knowledgebase & Team Space Blueprints. While the new team space is self explanatory, this doesn’t make it any less useful. The knowledge base is also going to be a great application of Confluence for knowledge collection and sharing. I have already implemented it here atisos and have received numerous pats on the back and impromptu rounds of applause. This is to say I got some positive feedback from our developers.

Next was the announcement of the Confluence Questions AddOn. This is a new plugin from Atlassian that creates a question and answer forum similar to StackOverflow. Another really exciting product for knowledge sharing within an organization.

Jira Service Desk

The star of the show was the new add on for Jira – the aptly named Jira Service Desk. They have added a simple plugin that expands Jira’s functionality for project tracking to better support tech support teams.

Rather than over complicated Kanban boards in Jira Agile, Service Desk has a simple queue that is prioritized by customizable Service Level Agreements (SLAs). This functional back end is paired with a slick front end for the user. The user has a simple html page where they click which type of service request they need so that they only see the fields necessary for them to create a support request. All the other fields can be configured so that the SLA and queue function properly without the user having to bother with all the other fields in Jira. Service Desk also ties in with Confluence Knowledge Base so that it can have a self-service function for common and known issues.

Last is Jira Service Desk’s new Smart Notifications. Notifications such as comments between developers won’t be emailed to the customer if you don’t want them to be. There is a lot to this new product and I highly recommend you watch the recorded session from Summit that was dedicated to Jira Service Desk.

I intended to tell you about all the places we ate at as well as the great people I met at summit like the vendors from Brikit and K15t as well as fellow Atlassian users from companies like Logitech, Autodesk and JP Morgan Chase, but I have taken up to much of your time already.

To wrap up my experience I have to tell you about the session “Atlassian In Space“ by David Mittman from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. For me he truly showed what is possible when you pair the Agile Methodology with the Atlassian Tools. NASA has 10,000+ Atlassian users working on dozens of projects. I loved it because it was not all sunshine and rainbows. NASA’s failed Mars rovers led to refined Agile practices that fostered the success of two rovers that ran years after the project was supposed to end, as well as the current Mars rover Curiosity. Mr. Mittman heavily reinforced the lessons learned from failure and how they lead to vast improvements in testing. But the best part was at the end when he showed us current mission plans to Saturn’s moon Titan. If you are a science nerd like I am, this 45 min session is absolutely worth watching.