Adaptavist ShipIt 2015 takes on Atlassian Connect

Phew, what a couple of days we had at Adaptavist ShipIt 2015. Over the 20th and 21st of August the Engineering and Product teams built 4 products from scratch and shipped them to private marketplace listings. The focus was on developing add-ons for Atlassian Connect and this is what happened.

Getting ready

Before the start of ShipIt 2015, shipment orders had been submitted capturing what each team intended to build. Discussions had been going on in the weeks before ShipIt about what to build and teams were built around ideas the ideas that resonated the most. All teams were cross-functional you can't build a product without a combination of many skills and shipping something at ShipIt is no different.

Planning and researching

On Thursday morning 18 members of Engineering and Product battled road and rail to arrive at the Leamington Spa office and planning commenced. A variety of planning techniques were practiced mostly revolving around a whiteboard, Post-It notes or index cards. Teams then set about researching, designing and coding. Lunch came and went most people didn't really stop.

Working with Atlassian Connect

We had planned to hold a discussion session around how Atlassian Connect add-ons would be hosted. However it became apparent that each team had differing requirements and either had complex hosting needs that had already been solved or had side-stepped the problem by building client-side only add-ons, needing only static hosting.

Different perspectives

As well as input from Product and Engineering, we had input from the commercial side of the organisation. It was really valuable to include discussions about value proposition and the market for the various add-ons as part of ShipIt. It was also good for Sales to see what were up to and what could be done in a short period of time.

The afternoon flew by, much too quickly and, as we explored the boundaries, Connect became something of a challenge. The power and scalability of a cloud solution offers both Adaptavist and our customers real benefits. However, we feel there are some opportunities to improve the framework in terms of securely storing data within the application and protecting the platform from poorly-performing add-ons.

Pizza and beer

Dinner was pizza and beer. Discussions were had and early demos shown. After dinner a group of us who were sick of being cooped up all day went for a walk to sample the spa water and the nearby Jephson Gardens. Then back at the code again until about 9pm when exhaustion kicked in and the pub was calling.

Getting ready to ShipIt

On the second morning it was discovered that Leamington Spa doesn’t rise early as nowhere was open for breakfast at 6am (you'll have to ask Mark Gibson, pictured, why he was up at that time). The rest of the teams re-assembled and frantic hacking ensued to get code shipped. All of the teams waited until the final morning to start deploying and pushing to Marketplace. It was at this point that it became apparent that the process benefits greatly from a DevOps approach.

Show and tell

As the deadline approached, features were cut, credentials were hard coded and hacks and workarounds abounded. Lunch was a quiet affair as teams switched to creating presentations and testing demos. The Visualisations for JIRA team kept hacking, even pushing fixes during the demos.

We're all winners

And then it was demo time. We took over the usual weekly Adaptavist Show'n'Tell session so the teams could pitch their shipments to the whole company. With colleagues dialling in from Chicago, Munich, Dusseldorf, Boston, Toronto, Glossop and Springfield, the teams got a chance to show-off their work and deal with a typical Adaptavist grilling. Voting was tight but eventually Team ScriptRunner for Cloud were crowned the winners of the first Adaptavist ShipIt. We finished up the day with a retrospective (and drinks) focussed on two areas, Atlassian Connect and the event.


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