It may seem overly evangelical for an Atlassian Solution Partner to write such a pandering piece titled “How I came to love Atlassian”, but bear with me, I promise this isn’t a puff piece.
A brief history
My name is Scott, and I’m the Digital Marketing Manager for BDQ. But I wasn’t always. In my almost 25 years working for a living, I have had a range of jobs that mostly fall in the “unskilled/manual labour” area. And while those jobs would likely not have directly benefited from Atlassian products, the trickle-down effect of better project management, better collaboration and more accountability when things (inevitably) go wrong, would have made a world of difference for those of us on the factory floor.
But before starting at BDQ, I had my first job working in an office as an administrator. This is where Atlassian products like Confluence and Jira could have made a huge difference. The company used accounting software for project/customer management, spreadsheets as databases, email chains for collaboration, and virtually every cliché in the book. And when I look back now, it genuinely makes me shudder to think how much better off the employees and customers of that company would be, if they had used Atlassian products like Confluence and Jira.
A big change in direction
Just like the majority of the planet, my life went through big changes in 2020. Covid-19 had an immediate effect on the industry I worked in and, after a 4 month furlough, I was made redundant from that company. A friend told me of a job opportunity that he thought I would be good at and I was fortunate enough to get the Junior Digital Marketing Manager position with BDQ soon after. Although I had no official experience in Marketing (beyond the consumer aspect that everyone has) I’d offered my opinions and assistance on Marketing issues during a previous employment but was always promptly told to get back in my (Administrator) box! I have a passion for art and design but my digital design work was just a hobby enjoyed in my spare time. But BDQ took a chance on me and I’m so glad they did.
The main hurdle was - I had no experience working in a SaaS business, with digital transformation, IT, coding or programming. Plus, I had never even heard of Atlassian before let alone used their products. This meant that the early days of my new career were a raft of training and onboarding in entirely new ways of working. Not only did I have to learn how to make a start in Marketing, learn what the company does and about the products they sell so that I can market them effectively, I was simultaneously learning how to use those same products in order to integrate with the rest of the team.
I consider myself a competent learner, but the sheer amount of new information was exhausting. And then suddenly, one day, it just clicked. Confluence and Jira became second nature and I saw the endless benefits of using the products every day. Obviously, my user experience was surface level when compared to the Atlassian Experts I work with, but the difference was astonishing, even for a newbie like me. Being able to plan, track and execute projects, seeing where a particular project is and if it’s waiting on you or someone else, having my own space as well as the team/department spaces for content creation and collaboration, having a huge array of apps and add-ons in the Atlassian Marketplace that you can draw on for something specific to you or your industry. And as someone with a passion for design, I love the ability to change up the formatting on the pages, from the layouts to adding header images to templates for repeated use.
All of the projects that I get asked to do are logged as new or sub tasks in our Marketing Jira Board and most are assigned to me, but we have custom workflows to make sure that everything goes through review before being actioned. All new webpages, social media posts/campaigns, marketing emails and blog posts (such as this one) are written in my company Confluence space so that reviewers can access the content easily. It’s just so easy to make sure that everyone who needs it, has access to the information they need and the processes I need to make sure work stays on schedule.
Reaching out for answers
I also have to mention the Atlassian Community at large. Yes, I work with Atlassian Experts that could easily answer any questions I may have, whether relating to my internal use or marketing the products themselves, but they have their own jobs to do. That’s where Atlassian Support, the Atlassian University and the Atlassian Community are invaluable. The level of support is unrivalled, and reaching out for assistance almost always leads to an answer (not always the answer you want, but that’s life!)
Honestly, these instances are few and far between and mostly stem from my surface level use of the products. But it’s always nice to know that options and answers are there when you need them. And my understanding of Confluence and Jira deepens on a daily basis, just by using them. I wouldn’t want to lead a customer demo on either of the products, but I’d say that I have a good base understanding of the products. And it’s all thanks to the level of support available online.
In fact, I love using Confluence so much that I have my own personal, free instance that I use in my everyday life. Like most people, I occasionally need the use of word processing, spreadsheet/tables and other ways of recording data, either just for my use or making available for others to view. And like many, I’m happy to use the free trials that you get of the more “traditional” offerings but what do I do when they run out? Atlassian’s Jira and Confluence have free versions (up to 10 users) that will more than happily fill the void left by ending trials. Or you could even consider cancelling your other subscriptions and use these amazing free products instead!
I love baking with my kids and having recipes on hand, whether on my laptop or through the mobile app, is a convenient way of keeping information at hand. I’m also a bit of a collector, so again having a place to keep my collection of collections (yes, I collect collections - don’t get me started) in check, affords me the luxury of knowing whether or not a need an item BEFORE buying it, not after! I even use the tables and checkbox features to keep track of Birthday and Christmas presents. If you’re wondering why I don’t use Jira in my personal life, it’s because I don’t like being told what to do and when to do it, unless I’m being paid for it! However, I did recently help out a friend who manages his (and his whole families) to-do tasks in Jira and I still found it useful, again because of the ability to assign tasks and know who or where a task was at.
Items from my Confluence page - a sweet potato pie I baked from a recipe saved in Confluence, a small selection from my library that I keep track of with Confluence and my premium Marvel action figure display, also tracked through Confluence. Yup, I'm that guy.
If I have to sum up the point of this blog post (and I do, because this is the summary of my blog post), it’s that you don’t have to have experience or knowledge of IT, coding or programming in order to use, enjoy and feel the benefit from fantastic Atlassian products like Jira and Confluence. These products can be a huge boon to you either in business or in your personal life. And if you are thinking of using these or other Atlassian products, and want to make sure that you are getting the absolute best out of them… I know some guys.
JIRA as a personal task manager?
I saw an interesting retweet the other day:
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