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7 April 2020
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What software should you choose to work remotely?

At a time of the coronavirus threat, the ability to work from home is no longer a privilege, but a necessity. The employees at Transition Technologies PSC have successfully switched to this model of working thanks to, among others, the Atlassian tools that ensure the efficient information flow from anywhere in the world. The text presents several proven programs that allow remote work to be performed without the downtime and without interfering with the implementation of projects. Among them, you can find brand flagship systems, such as Jira and Confluence.

 Jira — an ideal system for remote work

Access to ongoing projects

The transfer of business processes to the Jira system brings a lot of tangible benefits, among which the possibility of working in the so-called “home office” is rarely mentioned. The most important features are usually: monitoring work progress and time devoted to tasks, transparent information flow, division of processes into stages according to the specificity of company operations, and providing teams with a tool that will enable them to work together. A very important advantage of the system is also the fact that a company using Jira software can switch to a remote work model overnight. This is especially important when, for safety reasons, employees need to be sent home almost immediately, as has happened in recent days.

Remote work indeed has its limitations, but currently, we are carrying out so many activities with the help of IT solutions that we are no longer afraid of a decrease in the efficiency of our teams. Jira and Confluence provide us with constant access to all projects and the possibility to comfortably continue our tasks. Of course, we also use instant messaging, e-mails, phone calls, and other solutions. We are in close contact. The only thing we’re missing is face-to-face conversation, simply because we like each other. Unfortunately, we have to accept this for the time being. — Konrad Dróżka, Chief Revenue Officer at Transition Technologies PSC.

Communication and resource database 

Jira allows users to create tasks for themselves or selected people in the team, observe the tasks of other employees, and comment on them — for example, to inform about the latest arrangements. The system allows you to add attachments or edit content and it sends notifications about status changes and updates. Any person involved in a project can monitor changes being introduced, refer to them and add information about their progress.

For those who value direct contact, Jira may seem unfriendly and bring to mind “corporate” habits, however, when you want to switch to remote work, or simply when you are delegated and have to rely on your systems, access to a toolkit that allows you to reach all the necessary information turns out to be priceless. Jira gives us, among others, the ability to return to previous tasks, find a long-forgotten thread, or get access to necessary files. Confluence also allows you to store and share, for example, documentation or other resources. I can’t imagine working only with files stored on a local disk and information from e-mails. — adds Piotr Tokarski, Business Unit Manager at Transition Technologies PSC, Atlassian department.

Jira and other Atlassian tools Transtition Technologies PSC

 

Benefits of transferring processes to the Jira system:

  • A complete overview of projects and activities undertaken in the company.
  • The possibility to reliably evaluate the time requirements of individual tasks.
  • Reports and statistics of ongoing projects.
  • An ability to work from anywhere in the world.
  • Automation to improve business processes.
  • Advanced configuration capabilities — the software is suitable for almost any industry.
  • The ability to expand the system according to the growing needs of the company.
  • Enhancing teamwork. Providing employees with software that organizes their work and facilitates communication (by calling, following, commenting, or sharing the task content).

Additional advantages:

  • The developer constantly updates the software.
  • The solution has been used by thousands of users around the world.
  • The system is scalable and flexible — you can expand its functionality with numerous add-ons from the Atlassian Marketplace.
  • The TTPSC team offers a full range of services related to configuration, implementation, and maintenance of the Atlassian environment.

Jira is available in different versions, to satisfy all needs

When talking about “Jira”, we don’t point to a particular version of the software, although Atlassian distinguishes several variations of this system. Why? The answer is quite simple: each of them is highly customizable and can be tailored to different business needs. For a basis, we choose the version that is closest to the functionalities desired by the customer, and we customize it according to the requirements. Nevertheless, it is worth to be aware of how the developer differentiates the Jira system:

Jira Core

Jira Core can be described as the most basic version of the system, dedicated to the broadly understood “businesses”, i.e. any company that needs a tool to manage work. Jira Core allows you to transfer business tasks and processes to the IT environment. This version, together with the suitable add-ons, will easily satisfy the needs of sales teams, marketing teams or an HR department… anyone who needs space to create tasks, monitor progress, share feedback or learn from carried out activities on the basis of real data stored in the system.

Key functionalities: project and task management; prioritization; status tracking; ability to add attachments and comment on tasks; ability to create exactly the fields the company needs in the task template; task hierarchy through subtasks; graphical display of connections between tasks (this add-on Issue Links Viewer allows us to show the relationship between tasks using simple charts), various types of automation facilitating daily work. And above all: the flexibility of configuration makes it possible to customize the system in line with company needs.

Jira Software

Jira Software has been equipped with options needed by the development teams. This version of the system allows to implement extensive development projects using cascade or agile methodology; it has suitable boards, thanks to which work is carried out in a structured and transparent manner throughout all the departments involved. Jira Software works well with other Atlassian tools designed to work with code, which is further described in section “Atlassian solutions for DevOps Teams”.

Key functionalities: Jira Core functionalities + features typical of development teams that allow you to work with code.

Jira Service Desk

Jira Service Desk is a solution dedicated to companies dealing with external clients, as well as to any company that requires the cooperation of IT department employees and administration employees or needs a solution to manage, for example, resources, assets, warehouses, etc., or other fixed assets. (*We have also experience in implementing Jira Service Desk to handle contracts with CRM-related functionalities; the software performs very well in such roles and there are no obstacles to use it this way. There are suitable add-ons available on the market to enable such configurations and we will happily tell you all about them — contact us!). Jira Service Desk can be described as an advanced helpdesk, which was created according to the best practices found in the ITIL library, which is confirmed by a certificate.

Key functionalities: Jira Core functionalities + measurement and ability to stop SLA (time elapsed from the moment of notification to the time of resolving the problem/request), Customer Portal, ticket queuing, knowledge base integration (which allows the introduction of the “self-service” for customers), incident and problem management, and much more. We encourage you to read our texts:

Customer Portal in Jira Service Desk, Transition Technologies PSC

ITSM for business with ITIL certifacate, Transition Technologies PSC

Jira Align

The Jira Align version of the system covers the functionality of Project Management for the largest organizations, with very extensive and multi-level project management. It allows agile approach management in all areas of enterprise activity. PMO functionalities can also be covered by, for example, the Big Picture add-on, which we successfully implement at our clients’. We have certified trainers providing training on the use of this application in the Atlassian environment.

Jira and Big Picture training, Transition Technologies PSC

Key features: Jira Core functionalities + PMO-type features, work progress monitoring, accurate analyses, and reports. A rich environment for the biggest players on the market.

How can the Jira system be implemented in a company?

Does the amount of information provided so far seem overwhelming? Did your initial will to implement the system in the company fade away? Don’t worry! We don’t expect from our clients professional knowledge of Atlassian tools. We just need you to describe the real needs of your company related to the course of activities that will be transferred to the Jira environment supported by additional (suitable) add-ons.

We treat the implementation of the Jira system in the company as a HOLISTIC process. This means that we work closely with the client at the preparatory stage; we conduct an initial consultation followed by a series of conversations and a business analysis to collect detailed requirements that will provide us with the necessary guidelines for further work. When it comes to the installation, configuration, and maintenance, the customer has nothing to worry about, because we provide a full range of services. We take care to provide fully functional solutions following the expectations and needs of our clients. We meet client expectations and share recommendations backed by extensive experience. We also provide comprehensive technical support (upgrade, update, migration, troubleshooting).

On our website, you can find a full description of the way we work, divided into the steps as well as an explanation of the course of work. Visit us:

Implementation Jira step by step, Transition Technologies PSC

 Confluence — a common space you can always return to

Shared knowledge base

Confluence is a system that works like a company Intranet. We often refer to this program as a “shared knowledge base”, because it most suitably reflects the character of the software. Confluence allows you to create and edit content in a way similar to word processing software, and grant access to it for all company employees or only selected people (by imposing appropriate restrictions on created page). Confluence can also be used as a “set” of files displayed directly in the program or attached as a short link with downloadable content. As a result, employees don’t have to rely solely on the content of their disks — they can always go back to the content they need. They can also find files added to Confluence by other users, share individual pages with the team, store, suitably describe and archive necessary data.

Shared space for employees

Very often Confluence is used as storage space for documents, instructions, contract templates, graphic templates, photos and content related to, for example, HR and employer branding, i.e.: announcements concerning activities and corporate events, employee regulations, descriptions of benefits, or even whole onboarding processes. The way Confluence will be used depends mainly on user needs. The basic functions of the tool, combined with a touch of creativity, can result in really interesting solutions.

Confluence has been widely used in our company and is used daily by various teams. These mainly include non-technical departments that need a platform to share information, knowledge, and ideas. In employer branding activities, Confluence allows you to quickly reach all employees and collect feedback from them, e.g. by adding a link to a survey. Thanks to the integration with Linchpin, we also use this tool to create events such as training. In Confluence, we keep, among others, a description of the business structure, a calendar of events in which employees would like to participate or information about recruitment of specialists. In Confluence, we collect useful files, which, in a situation like remote work, become an extremely important convenience. — Anna Michalska, Marketing Specialist at Transition Technologies PSC.

Confluence reviews and functionalities by users, Transition Technologies PSC

We are an IT company, so most of our teams are technical specialists who use the Confluence system every day. In the development team, we use Confluence in daily work to manage internal documents as well as to communicate with clients. This way we have a central location for their storage and management. A big advantage is the possibility of parallel editing and versioning — nothing is lost, you can trace the full life cycle of the document and introduced changes, as well as edit documents, notes, and instructions at the same time by many people. Moreover, by giving up traditional means of communication (such as e-mails) in favour of Confluence, we gain transparency — all important notes and documents are not lost locally on disks or e-mail accounts — they are available online at any time and for everyone (depending on user rights). Ready-to-use page templates (such as a retrospective after a completed sprint, a list of project requirements, a swot analysis, and many others) are also a great convenience — thanks to them we save time by eliminating reproductive work, while focusing on the most important matter — content. The aforementioned communication with customers is also improved by using Confluence — we maintain all project documentation in spaces publicly shared from our server — using the entire range of services provided by Confluence while creating it (we should also mention blog posts — as a convenient way to communicate about new products). Add this to the tight connection of Confluence with the Jira system (e.g. by displaying linked requests or charts) and the flexibility of add-on and macro configuration (for example, we also use the Staffing Timeline macro we developed) — and we get a flexible and convenient tool to work on documents (and not only!) — Confluence. – Michał Dubel, Development Team Manager at Transition Technologies PSC.

The most important advantages of implementing Confluence are: 

  • Having a shared knowledge base for employees in the company.
  • Permanent access to files, resources, documentation — employees don’t need to have them on their disks to access them. Files just need to be uploaded to the system.
  • The ability to create content directly in Confluence.
  • The ability to restrict the view to a selected group of people (restrictions).
  • The ability to create separate spaces for individual departments and structure the content.
  • Functionalities typical for the Intranet.
  • Many additional options, thanks to the configuration capabilities.
  • Ability to work remotely with access to all necessary data.

Additional advantages:

  • Confluence can be used as a company-wide communication channel.
  • The system is integrated with other tools of the Atlassian brand.
  • The Atlassian Marketplace offers add-ons to expand functionalities.
  • The TTPSC team offers a full range of services related to configuration, implementation, and maintenance of the Atlassian environment.

Atlassian brand solutions = a coherent ecosystem

Security and efficiency

Atlassian solutions are fully integrated, and what’s more — their functionality can be expanded with dedicated applications. It is the flexibility of Atlassian solutions and advanced configuration capabilities that enable every industry, department or team to use them efficiently. Transferring company activities to an ecosystem built with Jira and other tools from the Australian developer is an investment in more efficient business operations and, as it turns out, in providing employees with a system that works well in emergencies.

Companies that decide to transfer activities to IT systems usually don’t regret this, even if initially the cost seems high. Thanks to this move, the company gains control over its projects, sets the work in order, acquires access to all undertaken tasks and an ability to collect data which can later be used to create reports and analyses, and can access the system from anywhere in the world without interrupting the operation, with full access to important information.

Business solutions embeded in Atlassian systems, Transition Technologies PSC

The threat of coronavirus has put companies in a difficult situation. Fortunately, those who can conduct activities remotely, without having to work physically, have an opportunity to provide their employees with conditions for long-term work from home, without contact with one another. We recommend every company to stock up with tools that will ensure comfortable data access and efficient communication in similar situations. — summarises Tomasz Pabich, Project Manager at Transition Technologies PSC, Atlassian department.

Benefits for businesses

Jira and Confluence are systems designed to combine teamwork and organize their activities. Implementation of Atlassian software brings benefits to the company that result in more efficient work and transparent information flow.

How can Jira and Confluence be implemented in a company?

  1. Meet TTPSC certified specialists.
  2. Describe your business needs.
  3. Let us conduct an analytical workshop, which will enable us to evaluate the scope of activities and prepare an offer.
  4. Our experts will carry out the implementation. We also provide support and a full range of other services such as training, creation of functionalities on request, migration or hosting.
  5. We are happy to recommend additional solutions that optimize the flow of processes in the Jira system and support the entire instance so that the customer has nothing to worry about.

Atlassian products can be customized to the needs of almost any industry — if you can describe what processes occur in your company and want to transfer them to the IT environment, you should learn about what the Australian developer has to offer and apply to the official brand partner. In this case, specialists will consult you about the details, conduct business analysis and offer suitable solutions and modifications to cover all desired functionalities.

Atlassian solutions for DevOps Teams

For every team involved in application development

There is an industry for which Atlassian has ready-made sets of products that meet its specific needs — development teams. For them, Jira Software was created, together with tools such as BitbucketBambooCrucible, and Fisheye. Each of them makes it easy to work with code: store it, view, correct, test, optimize and perform CI/CD.

All these tools are meant to improve software development at every stage of the project. They are designed for all teams involved in the process. The whole group is referred to as “tools that perfectly meet the idea of DevOps” (development and operations) because they combine work of different specialists by creating a single, coherent environment that minimizes the risk of long-term downtime caused by e.g. lack of communication/waiting for information regarding the progress of work/lack of knowledge of the status of the tasks.

Devops from trend to standard, Transition Technologies PSC

In addition to the functionality associated with project management, Atlassian tools improve individual time-consuming activities, for example, finding errors in code, improving individual lines, tracking changes and their history or carrying out tests.

Remote work is no challenge at all for a team of developers. Communication with other departments may prove more challenging — if in the whole company only the software development department works in the IT system, only this department can efficiently and completely switch to “home office”. Other teams and industries should follow the example of good practice of development teams and learn to rely on IT environments for project management and data storage. This is the only way the company can continue its operations in situations similar to what we are currently facing — adds Piotr Tokarski, Business Unit Manager at Transition Technologies PSC.

Investment in quality

  • Jira Software — run projects using waterfall or agile methodology, depending on the way you work. Use transparent boards, monitor team progress and react quickly to downtime. Jira Software is a great tool to combine the work of developers.
  • Bitbucket — effectively manage code in the Git repository.
  • Bitbucket — streamline code compilation and integration processes even in the most extensive projects.
  • Crucible — browse, catch bugs and correct code in known repositories.
  • Fisheye — take a closer look at lines of code and catch bugs faster.

Trello — basic options for small teams and teachers

If you are looking for a solution that does not require long-term preparations, business analysis or complex implementation, choose Trello. This application allows you to create a shared board of tasks — each of them can be described and moved to any place in the queue. You can also group all of them into columns that you can freely name, for example, “to do”, “in progress”, “ready”. Trello does not support business processes and you cannot treat it as a comprehensive business solution or use it to transfer business activities to the IT system. Trello does not offer capabilities similar to the Jira system. It is a very simple application and a perfect solution to schedule classes for students, teachers, and pupils, or for small teams, which can use it, for example, to create a schedule of publications in social media.

Trello — free, Business Call and Premium

Trello is available in three versions. The first is a free option, which allows you to create an unlimited number of private boards but has a limit of 10 boards for a team. Attachments added to tasks cannot be larger than 10 MB. This will not work for a large project group but will be perfect for private purposes or for sharing simple tasks and information across small teams. Trello will also be of great help for teachers and lecturers who are looking for a tool to conduct online classes efficiently. Trello allows them to assign tasks to students and watch their progress.

Business Class offers ready-made board templates that can be quickly and easily used. Also, it does not limit the number of boards for teams, and the provider ensures e-mail support in case of problems or questions. This option allows a single attachment of up to 250 MB, and tabs (tasks) have custom fields that give you more possibilities to organize and update content with details. Users can visualize a work schedule by enabling a calendar view with tasks assigned to dates, mark the location or integrate the board with other applications (such as Dropbox). Trello Business Class offers also built-in automation mechanisms for simple actions such as setting rules related to sending commands to users and e-mail notifications.

Trello Premium is addressed to teams consisting of 100 people or more. In addition to the functionalities available in Business Class, it has more administrative and data security options. Administrators are given more permissions and more control over the application. For example, they can change the visibility of public boards and manage organization-wide permissions.

Advantages of Trello for business:

  • Employees can create task boards for themselves and the whole team.
  • Tasks can be grouped into columns to help distinguish between, for example, what has already been done, tasks in progress and “to do’s”.
  • Users can make use of board templates (*Business Class and Premium versions).
  • Using Trello is very simple and does not require training. The application has an intuitive interface.
  • Trello can be described as “post-in notes”, which makes it easy to organize tasks and communicate.

Disadvantages of Trello for business:

  • Limited possibilities for task management.
  • No possibility to expand the system to support full business processes.
  • The tool does not offer development possibilities. It is a supplementary software for applications that make work easier. It cannot be treated as an “IT system”.
  • It will not satisfy the needs of teams that are looking for professional and advanced project management solutions.
  • It has no kanban or scrum boards, no “workflow” options, and actions are “one-dimensional”.

Trello for teachers

Can Trello be compared to the Jira system? No such comparison is possible. Trello is a simple application, Jira is an extensive system for handling business processes. Trello groups tasks very illustratively, but this can also be done in the Jira system. I would recommend Trello only to very small businesses, which, when in need of switching to remote work, look for a quick solution to create a common space for employees and a place where tasks will be visible. The application will also support employees of educational institutions during the closure of schools and universities. In all other cases, it is better to switch to a system that allows adapting to the needs of a particular company, offers automation and development potential”, says Magdalena Kwaczyńska, Business Analyst at Transition Technologies PSC.

Trello for business — licenses

As Atlassian Platinum Partner, we have licenses for all brand solutions — including Trello. If you are interested in this application or have additional questions — feel free to contact us!

Trello license, Transition Technologies PSC

What else makes remote work easier?

So far, remote work was considered to be a privilege — it enabled people to work from any location, allowing long trips or changing residence without having to change the workplace. At the time of coronavirus threat, working from home became an absolute necessity and ceased to be equated with convenience. The situation has changed so dramatically that companies which haven’t offered remote work before need to adapt to new conditions. Below are popular solutions, which are worth mentioning in the current situation:

VPN

Virtual Private Network, which is simply a secure Internet connection for employees of a given company. VPN allows access to resources such as Intranet. Companies that offered remote work, as well as those operating in different countries (with frequent delegations), certainly have a configured VPN network. The rest will probably quickly make up for its lack.

Messengers

True communication salvation! Slack, Skype, Microsoft Teams, Messenger, WhatsApp — these are just examples of the most popular instant messengers that make it easier for us to operate every day. Our company tool is Microsoft Teams, which allows us to organize teleconferences even in large groups. Conversations with camera view positively affect the well-being of employees who are accustomed to working in the office every day.

The marketing team at TT PSC is a mix of different personalities and competences, united under one common feature — we like a direct contact and working from the office. Our team meets in full twice a week to discuss the status of ongoing projects. When one of us has a problem, they usually ask for a meeting, because such issues are best solved in a face-to-face (or faces-to-faces) conversation. Every day we often go out for short walks, because this allows us to discuss bothering issues in a pleasant way. In the long run, remote work is a challenge even for us! It causes a lot of limitations and forces us to adapt to the current situation — even if we work for an IT company. With Microsoft Teams, not only can we see each other, but also discuss current activities and simply, typically of people, tell a joke, speak about personal matters and feel a substitute for the atmosphere that usually accompanies us in the office. For us, this is very important, because remote work strongly limits human relations, so we must try to take care of them remotely — Sonia Dynarska, Marketing Team Lead at Transition Technologies PSC.

Jira for marketing team, Transition Technologies PSC

The messenger is also used to contact customers for whom we conduct activities. Thanks to the Internet connection, we can continue the earlier actions and quickly respond to new queries, without interruptions.

Remote work does not in any way block projects that we have already been implementing. Now, all communications take place “online”, but this is nothing new for us. We are already experienced in such activities as conducting online training and discussing projects with customers during regular teleconferences. The team of administrators work in the Atlassian environment of our clients — they do it equally efficiently from the office as well as from home because they are provided with the necessary access. Once again, I would like to emphasize that transferring processes to the IT environment is a better and more efficient solution than traditional document flow or distribution into many different applications— adds Tomasz Pabich, Project Manager at Transition Technologies PSC.

Team Viewer

The TTPSC Atlassian team has so far carried out many different integrations between applications and the Atlassian environment, including Jira Service Desk integration with Team Viewer, which allows remote access to another person’s desktop. This type of program is a great solution for IT technicians — enabling them to remotely help users who have problems, for example, with logging into the application or with a system error. This integration of Team Viewer into Jira Service Desk is one of such additional conveniences for IT support.

*Team Viewer allows an IT specialist to access the desktop of the person who reports the problem. Of course, the user must enter a correct, one-time password. The program is equipped with appropriate security measures so that nobody can get access to a location they are not authorized to get to.

*Integrating the Atlassian environment with other applications is no problem for us. TTPSC Atlassian specialists comprehensively deal with the configuration of brand systems in such a way that they fully meet the customer needs. We have certificates confirming our competence, experience supported by letters of recommendation and teams of specialists that will cope with any challenge: from business analysis, through implementation and administration to custom development.

Do you want to know more? Go to the website: https://ttpsc.com/pl/atlassian/ and contact us!

See also:

Transition Technologies PSC has a wide portfolio of products, services, and platforms related to modern technologies that improve the functioning of enterprises with different business profiles. One of the examples worth mentioning is the IoT ThingWorx platform, which allows continuous production even during the quarantine. Sounds intriguing? Read our text and learn how we can minimize production losses during the epidemic:

Coronavirus and production continuity, Transition Technologies PSC

 

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