26 min read

Transcript: The Atlassian Ecosystem Podcast Ep. 117 - From Point A to U (Talking Point A and Updates)

Adaptavist Live Podcast Banner

Show Notes

On this post #AtlassianTeam21 episode, Matthew and Ryan interview Atlassian's Distinguished Product Manager, Sherif Mansour, and have an in-depth discussion around Point-A, Team Central, and Atlassian's product philosophy.

They also cover news, including:

Atlassian Cloud, 19 April - 12 May:

https://confluence.atlassian.com/cloud/blog/2021/04/atlassian-cloud-changes-apr-19-to-apr-26-2021

https://confluence.atlassian.com/cloud/blog/2021/05/atlassian-cloud-changes-apr-26-to-may-3-2021

https://confluence.atlassian.com/cloud/blog/2021/05/atlassian-cloud-changes-may-3-to-may-10-2021

The Register on Jira Work Management:

https://www.theregister.com/2021/04/28/jira_work_management/

Bitbucket Cloud Performance Issues Blog:

https://bitbucket.org/blog/extinguishing-our-performance-fires-and-rebuilding-for-the-future

Transcript

Ryan Spilken:

Hello and welcome to Adaptavist Live, the Atlassian Ecosystem podcast. This is Episode 117 from Point A to U, we're talking Point A and updates. I'm your host Ryan Spilken and joining me today is Matthew Stublefield. Hey Matthew, what's happening?

Matthew Stublefield:

Good to see you Ryan and happy to be here.

Ryan Spilken:

Oh man, well we're starting at Point A, and then we're going to the X marks the spot, and then we'll do a U-turn and maybe-

Matthew Stublefield:

Hopefully, end up somewhere with sushi.

Ryan Spilken:

That sounds really good. Well, that was so good I can't actually... I have no good way to tell-

Matthew Stublefield:

I got no segment up. My brain has no room for anything but boats and sushi.

Ryan Spilken:

Now I'm just thinking about delicious flavorful salmon, damn it.

Matthew Stublefield:

You know where I bet they have good fish, Ryan?

Ryan Spilken:

Where?

Matthew Stublefield:

Australia.

Ryan Spilken:

Yeah. Oh, you're totally right off the coast? Oh, forget about it.

Matthew Stublefield:

You know what else is in Australia? Yeah.

Ryan Spilken:

I do. The Atlassian team, and they have made it abundantly clear the cloud is where it's at, so much so that after they launched Jira Work Management, The Register picked up on it and said, not only that Atlassian is blowing up, but they are going to send Jira to places that only Excel there is to tread. Are you scared yet?

Matthew Stublefield:

We've talked about work management a little bit in the past and it is taking sort of the Cell or table approach. Providing a list, it's actually kind of similar. We highlighted this to Trello's move a couple months ago of taking some different views and making them kind of the core product and whatnot. But I actually have to issue a correction to our viewers at home. Something that I'd said in a previous podcast, we were looking at Work Management and going, this looks kind of like a new thing for Jira, but it's not just Jira Core. Specifically, when you buy Jira Software right now, you get Jira Core. Core is included with your Service Desk or now Jira Service Management, it's like the underline layer. It appeared that Jira Work Management was going to be something totally separate and unique. But in today's cloud update notes that we're reporting on, it's very explicit Jira Work Management is a rebrand. It is the "next generation of Jira Core". Thank God they did not call it Jira Next Generation.

Ryan Spilken:

Because then next-generation projects, okay.

Matthew Stublefield:

Yeah. We've rebranded from Jira Core to Jira Work Management. Stay tuned for updates and more documentation, exciting new features. This is interesting because Jira Work Management is part of Point A, which we're going to talk more about. It had appeared to be a separate thing, now they're saying it's rebrand Jira Core, which suggests if you have Jira Software on Cloud in the future or if you get Jira Service Management, you will have Work Management, presumably.

Ryan Spilken:

Well, this is what I was saying and exactly why I'm so excited about using Jira Work Management, because it takes some of the features that are in service management and in software, and strips out some of the more software-focused things, puts everything together in a graphic interface that business project managers are really used to. For my colleagues in marketing, this is going to be like... they're going to get excited, I just feel it coming.

Matthew Stublefield:

I'm excited for the List View and being able to modify these fields inline, like we talked about in weeks past. I'm seeing my teams use calendars more, and not just like we're heavy user Google calendars, but they want to have their sprints, and they want to have their stories and their other things in the calendar alongside when people are going to be on leave and having all that information in one place. So, I think this is going to be just sweet, especially when you add in things like pro forma and being able to modify your fields and build all kinds of really cool stuff.

Ryan Spilken:

Just the fact that they're putting a simple front-end portal for business teams to get other teams connected to them is just huge. So much stuff that I'm excited about here. There are more updates to the cloud platform.

Matthew Stublefield:

There are, yeah. Particularly in Jira looking at... We've actually got three weeks of cloud changes to report on, I'll start with Jira platform stuffs. First advanced roadmaps for Jira, new dependency features. Something that I have wanted for a long time, the ability to click and drag and draw a line between stories to set a dependency. This is just a super nice quality of life improvement, makes it so fast and easy. It should be noted when you do this, you are creating an issue link between the issues, defaults to the block, link type. You're saying that when an issue is blocked by the other, that's how you indicate dependencies. And for those who are more traditional project managers, this is a finish-to-start relationship. When you're drawing dependencies and you can't do anything fancy like a start to start, finish to finish type of relationship, you're really just creating a block link.

Matthew Stublefield:

But it will visualize that, you can draw it between multiple stories and whatnot. But very nice improvement for advanced roadmaps on the cloud, there again, just in the cloud. We've talked about the Work Management rebrand in the new issue view, which for those of you on cloud, you know this has become a default view. You almost can't even call it the new issue view anymore, it's just your issue view. You can now add web links to images, so when you've got an image in, you can create a link to it to point somewhere else, set a URL for that, yeah that's nice. Jira software, time estimation is on the way. It's new this week, it's in the process of rolling out and there will be more features for time estimation in the future. I think what's particularly notable about this, you can add the original estimate field through a drag and drop in your project settings, get it on your screen pretty easily, and then you could estimate the time that work will take and do JQL queries to find specifics related to time.

Matthew Stublefield:

Extending cloud's JQL to do time is what the new thing is here as well. A feature that we've had on Server for a long time, creating an association between Confluence and a Jira Project. Between the space, being able to set like, here's the project for the space, comes to cloud and then making it easy for users to join Confluence from the project pages. Connecting Jira and Confluence to the project page improvements, all of that is in the process of rolling out. Last but not least, the Jira Platform. You can save time configuring multiple projects by copying field layouts. This is not associating fields to screens through, what we think of as server DC as a screen scheme, where you create the screen scheme, and then you associate that with the issue type screen scheme and put that in the project [inaudible 00:08:01], it's like 20 clicks. It's a bit more streamlined than that, and it's something we've been waiting to see from Atlassian for a long time.

Matthew Stublefield:

We've had this assumption for years, that cloud is doing away with schemes and it's going to have an easier way to manage projects at scale. We've been seeing these types of features over the last year, nice to see the ability to copy the field layouts to additional projects. If you haven't given a try before, get into the interface and see how it goes particularly in Jira Software Cloud, taking that issue layout and copying it to other projects that use the same screen. In Jira Service Management Cloud, a request types layout can be copied to other request types, including those in other projects that use the same screen.

Ryan Spilken:

Over in Confluence Cloud, there are several really pretty nice UX quality of life improvements for users, including hovering over a page in the sidebar to see more info. The title is never enough. You hover over the link, you see the picture, you click on the link you see, you go to the page. I think that's a delightful way to look around in a space. They've also made editing content faster, so when you see pages and blogs and your recent menu in the confluence navigation or on the homepage, you can jump directly into editing that content. There is just going to be an edit icon next to the name of the page, this is slick, man. All right, you're also able to see pages in your space differently. You can now disable the page tree by using the three-dot menu next to page or the ellipses menu in the pages in the space sidebar. You can remove that view and look at it by date or by alphabetical order, and the choice that you make is going to be persistent.

Ryan Spilken:

People listed in page restrictions will now be displayed alphabetically, which I think is just kind of a nice common sense touch. It makes it easier to find who you've kicked out of your content, and then welcome them back in. We've discussed this one before, but it's rolling out completely. New spaces are now assigned a random icon, so it's a little faster and easier to visually distinguish spaces from each other. Also, the act of content creation is getting a whole lot simpler, because you can jump in and start a new page with just one click inside of your space. No more template selection, no more blank, you just hit create, and you can then just start on a blank page. Or if you feel like it, choose your template from the editor itself, put it directly in my veins. Finally, not so much a UX thing but still a handy functionality, you're able now to transform any page into a blog in your Confluence space.

Ryan Spilken:

There are several reasons why as a user, you might not want to have a bit of content exist as a blog just yet. Maybe you're working on a draft, maybe you're trying to get some stakeholders signed off on ideas, et cetera.

Matthew Stublefield:

Maybe you're like me, and you accidentally created it as a page.

Ryan Spilken:

Be like Matthew and turn it into a blog now in Confluence Cloud. You could just use the... This is actually, I think the mechanism by which you use this feature is pretty nice. In the more actions menu right next to publish, you can choose it to be saved as a draft or convert to a blog right from there. Finally in Confluence Cloud, the advanced roadmaps for Jira Plan Macro is available. This will let you deposit a representation of your Jira Plan Roadmap onto a Confluence page with grace and ease, and give you some interactive abilities right there on your Confluence page. If you're a Confluence user and you're getting some enjoyment out of these changes, connect with us on social. Let us know what you think.

Matthew Stublefield:

Last in our cloud platform updates, we have BitBucket with improvements and updates to webhooks. If you use webhooks and Bitbucket, the history has been extended from 12 hours to one week. There have been improvements in the overall delivery of webhooks, but also an end of support and feature removal. Webhooks that are larger than 256k, no longer supported. If you have any larger webhooks, I don't even know if... I'm not that familiar with webhooks. I don't even know if that's a ridiculously large webhook. 256K is one of those... Back in the day no one will ever need 256K of memory, and now we all have computers with 16 gb or 32 gb of memory. I don't know if that's... My assumption is a 512K webhook is ridiculously large. Anyway, they're not supported any more, probaby for product or performance reasons. Then resend request button has been removed, so you can't just spam that.

Matthew Stublefield:

Setting IP addresses for valid outgoing connections. You can set that and they've got some Atlassian cloud IP ranges to domains and their pages you can use. We're also linked to an article on the BitBucket Blog titled, Extinguishing our performance fires and rebuilding for the future. This is all about some performance incidents in BitBucket Cloud. It's really identified Atlassian's committed to transparency and communication, goes through some of the challenges they've faced. Shares some of the graphs, some of the things they did to their underlying file system, to their caching, to improve performance, make things better. If this is the type of thing that's of interest to you, we'll link to it in the show notes. Go out and give it a read. I think for me, I was talking with one of our developers this morning. One of my teams is doing kind of a proof of concept of migrating.

Matthew Stublefield:

We’re not really migrating a lot of content, but migrated our process from what used to be stash and is now called BitBucket Server as well as Bamboo Server. We've been using both of those, and moving that to Bitbucket Cloud and Pipelines. It's not like we're migrating our Bamboo plan, we're just building it afresh. Building a new thing in BitBucket Pipelines, a new way of doing it. I loved his comment on it this morning, he said using Stash and Bamboo, it's kind of dark. It's heavy, it's a little obtuse. He didn't use the word obtuse, but he was trying to communicate the feelings he got out of using it, and trying to make it work. We've run into a lot of performance issues with Bamboo, we've run into a bunch of flaky tests and things failing inexplicably and having to rerun them. Setting up Bamboo plans can kind of be frustrating, sometimes it's really time-consuming and in comparison, BitBucket Cloud and Pipeline, it's like he's got everything loaded in and he's building out the Pipeline.

Matthew Stublefield:

He said, "It's like 15 lines of code." It was just so light and easy and my impression is powerful. Because we're achieving the same thing, but so much faster and easier and with more reliability in the cloud, it's sort of counterintuitive, I think for me because I tend to assume the systems we run locally are going to be better. But we talked on the podcast before, Bamboo has not seen a lot of updates last couple of years. I don't know if that's a contributing factor, but I do know BitBucket Pipelines, pretty slick. I've been excited about it since I first saw it a few years ago. You can read this article on performance if you want, or if you've got access to BitBucket Cloud, go give it a try, check out Pipelines. If you've been using Bamboo for a while, you might be pleasantly surprised because you can build your plans and your deployments out there pretty darn quick and easy.

Ryan Spilken:

Step into the light of BitBucket Cloud. Finally, on this episode of the podcast, Matthew and I had the extreme pleasure of sitting down for an interview with Atlassian's Distinguished Product Manager Sherif Mansour. Let's take a listen to that interview now. Now joining us on the podcast for a very special Team 21 follow-up is Sherif. What's your title? What do I introduce you as?

Sherif Mansour:

I have the fanciest title that my team makes fun of me for having. It's called a Distinguished Product Manager, and I'm supposed to stroke a mustache as I say it, but I don't really have one. But let's pretend I am, for your listeners.

Ryan Spilken:

Well, Distinguished Product Manager himself, Sherif Mansour. Sherif, thank you so much for joining us today.

Sherif Mansour:

Thank you for having me, Ryan and Matthew, and thank you for this lovely podcast. I have been a longtime listener, subscribed to the Adaptavist podcast for a while so-

Matthew Stublefield:

Oh, no.

Sherif Mansour:

Yeah.

Ryan Spilken:

Yeah, I know not embarrassing. Well, it's wonderful to have you and it is so great because when we saw Point A, right before Team 21, we kind of geeked out. Before we recorded Brenda, Matthew and I were just like, "Oh, this looks so cool. But well, they got to tell us more." Team, it's just around the corner. This seems like a really different approach to a rollout than we've ever seen. You're offering betas of several tools, but you're bundling them together under these names. What tell us, why is it coming out like this?

Sherif Mansour:

To be clear for the listeners, the products it's not like an all-in-one package. It's more of a... the backstory is, we have had quite a few product ideas at Atlassian that we've been sitting on for a long time, and we've never been able to justify working on them. There's always something else to do in Jira, or in Confluence or in Trello and I think all product teams will suffer from this stack rank prioritization, focus on your top things and whatever. Over some time, we've made the call that we need to start solving some of these problems that our customers have been asking for. It all started really organically. One of the Point A products is called Team Central and a bunch of people, including myself started working on this without telling our managers on the side.

Sherif Mansour:

A day in a week, we would get in a room and work on something quietly, it's a lot of fun. We got caught one day and then over time, this has also been brewing, us all been trying to allocate a set of people and teams to work on these new products that are if you like untouchable. As in, we're not going to put them into the global prioritization pool, and so with that, we created what we call Point A. It's mainly a reference term to reference all the incubator-style products and ideas, that are being explored under Atlassian's banner. They're not necessarily related to each, other than they're all early phase products that we want customer feedback on, so they're not... Some of them are related, but they're not necessarily... all of the products in the Point A program are for one customer.

Matthew Stublefield:

At least in the circles that I'm in, they're generating a lot of excitement. For something that was under the radar, 10, 20% time hack thing, we're really keen on them and I was curious, from your perspective as the Distinguished Product Manager, is your vision that these would become core features built into Jira? Or do you see them more as plugins delivered through the marketplace? Do you know yet where they're going to go?

Sherif Mansour:

Great question, Matthew. They're a mix, but I think it's fair to say if we suspect something is going to end up to be a feature of another product or on top of something else's platform, we try to make those calls early. If it's a feature another product, it'll end up exiting the program and going into the product’s roadmap. If it's an app on top of Jira or an app thatstand-alonee, those are the kinds of things we want to nurture through this program and create an environment for them to grow. The ones that have made the public limelight if you like are the ones that are likely to either to be an app of Jira or a stand-alone app. Or maybe one day, we'll have some that come app of Confluence or an app for Trello or something else. But there's been a few that haven't made it through the program and we've learned and adapted, and shifted and they've either ended up on product roadmaps or in platform roadmaps or whatever it is.

Ryan Spilken:

Point A makes it very deliberate, that you want to invite people in for feedback, you want to bring them in on the innovation journey. How are you intending to incorporate that feedback that you're calling for? What's the plan for taking in user's responses?

Sherif Mansour:

Yeah, good question. It's a mix. Look, generally speaking, we know we have a lot of people there that are our champions and are excited about our products and we're so thankful for that. Point A was trying to give them one lens to come through to say, show me all the new products that are happening so that I don't have to go. There's a team doing this over here and there's another team doing this over there. They can, atlassian.com/Point-A is the landing page where they come in and say, "All right, here's the new product Atlassian is exploring with." We hoped that, that's a long-term thing, there will always be stuff coming through the Pipeline. Right now there's four products we're exploring in this area, and if they go in there and some products are available immediately to try and they can attach them to their cloud sites or attach them to their Jira or whatever it is they're already using.

Sherif Mansour:

Some products have whitelists and the whitelists, you can sign up to them as well. If you sign up to the existing products, there's in-app ways to get feedback, as well as usually people like me reach out to you and hassle you and say, "Hey, do you have time to give to help us shape this product?" We do it that way. We've been really fortunate with some of our actually older Point A products. We've effectively shaped them with a handful of customers that we're much more higher touch with than we normally are. For example, I've worked most of my time on Team Central, and we have been building that product with a bunch of customers and with an internal Atlassian customers at the same time. They're people that sort of took some bets with us and jumped in early and tried to help us shape the product as we went, so we're really thankful for those folks. It's in beta now, and we're still shaping it based on a lot of customer feedback. I think it'll be in beta for a while as we continue to evolve it.

Matthew Stublefield:

Let's talk a little bit more about design philosophy and communication philosophy, like how you approach these products. You've already kind of touched on this, you've preempted one of my questions a little bit. But we talked about it in the podcast in the past, and Ryan and I talked about this for years, that we perceive a difference in sort of target audience and the philosophy of Jira Server and Data Center and Jira Cloud. Server and Data Center much more of that, kind of like a command and control style of project management. You've got constrained workflows and fields, permission schemes, it's much more controlled top-down. All about the work management to facilitate reporting at scale, because you got to have clean data, you've got to be able to scale this up to an enterprise. Where Jira Cloud has always felt more about the communication collaboration.

Matthew Stublefield:

It's about getting started quickly, it's about the team focus, as opposed to the company-wide focus and you can do some of those wider enterprise things. But anybody can create a board and a project, and then create statuses, which means that if you're trying to do company-wide status reporting, it's going to be all over the place and it just feels like a different philosophy. To extend this to some newer initiatives, we've observed that Jira Align, which is a cloud-first product actually has a philosophy that's much more like Server in DC. If you're doing a lot of customization, that kind of breaks down the reporting and it doesn't work, and so you need more of that controlled standardized approach. The other end of the spectrum, we have Team Central which very deliberately avoids tying with automation, and automated reporting, and roll up of stories and things like that.

Matthew Stublefield:

It kind of feels to me like Team Central and some of the Point tools are thematically or philosophically kind of like the opposite end of the spectrum from Align. The question that this raises for me, that I'd love to hear your thoughts on. I know that Team Central being more like humans posting to each other, instead of a computer display of work in progress, this comparison of quantitative and qualitative control and collaboration it's not either-or you need both of these. But, I was curious if sort of when it comes to this philosophy of work management and design, if it's something you think about, and is it part of Atlassian's internal strategy discussions, or is this something these teams Align, Team Central, Cloud, Server, Jira, BitBucket, Bamboo, et cetera, are they all just totally disassociated and working independently? You sort of said, when Team Central started, this is just like a Fridays in a room together.

Matthew Stublefield:

But I'm curious from your perspective at Atlassian, is there a guiding strategy? Are these conversations happening? What is the future of work kind of look like to you?

Sherif Mansour:

Yeah, totally. A lot of stuff in there, Matthew just unpacking a bit. The first topic of Jira in Cloud being a bit more I feel like, liberated than Jira in Server and Data Center. That is certainly, I guess by design, but it's also I think where all our server customers, our Central Administration Champions are trying to delegate as much as they can, but still retain global reporting and global control of standardization so by no means is that, we're going to create two solutions for that. I think we're now trying to liberate a lot of the Jira Administration bottoms up for the mundane tasks, where really an administrator doesn't add a lot of value, adding new field types and permission schemes, whatever. But still retain their cross project reporting, and consistency, and views and that kind of stuff.

Sherif Mansour:

I think what you're seeing is just, we're in the middle of a continuous evolution of making Jira more accessible to people, but at the same time changing a lot of the constraints that we initially had in the older versions of Jira. Don't forget it's a Jira Cloud versus Jira Server and Data Center are now different products, and so they've got slightly different roadmaps and different prioritization goals. We do have the nice migration path between the two, which is getting better every day, so that's been good to help customers transition over. I think Jira Cloud will give more of that, and ease getting more of the top-end enterprise features as it simplifies as well, so it's kind of attacking it from both ends. I think you're just seeing more of an evolution here of Jira holistically, rather than a... Jira Cloud is going to be a completely simple version of Jira and Jira Server and Data Center will be more for the sophisticated customers.

Sherif Mansour:

No, that's not the case at all, I think we're saying that we want them to be one, but there'll be a way to remove all the mundane tasks that administrators have to do and liberate that, but still let them override things if they need to, et cetera, that's sort of the Jira staff. The Team Central Align staff is an interesting one. They come out a similar problem from different perspectives but also are targeted at companies with quite different cultures. If I define culture as how work gets done, we know that looks really different between company and company, and even more so different between team and team. Jira Align specifically is targeted towards the Fortune 200 type of customers that havehigh-endd, sophisticated needs on how they would like to trace reporting all the way from the top level, all the way down to the work. Team Central is coming at this from a quite a different angle.

Sherif Mansour:

An angle where it's trying to allow anyone to broadcast their work in an organization. Neither is better than the other, I think it's just really what is your company's culture, and how can Atlassian help you scale and foster that culture more successfully? Team Central is focused on communication, if you like more of a bottoms-up approach. We are looking at how we can bridge the two simply by having common goals and objectives. It doesn't matter what tool you want to use to communicate your work, they can all ladder up to common goals across the organization. That's sort of the perspective there. I think you'll find the customers that use... I'm finding already, the customer use Team Central and the people that are interested in, are vastly different sets of problems and different set of needs actually to the Align customers.

Sherif Mansour:

Team Central is coming in usually at the head of a department, like a manager in an engineering department or a marketing department, that is got probably 20 or 30 sub-teams that are all trying to communicate between each other, and the problem they're trying to solve is, "Hey, look. We know that every team effectively is going to use the tool of their choice to collaborate within their team." That's a trend we're seeing in industry, we are makers of Jira at Atlassian. I don't think most of us believe Jira is the standard for every single team. That's why we have Trello. We know teams have sophisticated needs, and teams have simple needs, and teams have somewhere in the middle too, so we're trying to meet the customer where they're at, rather than try to build one tool that can go all the way from a simple Kanban board, to sophisticated reporting. If we start with that assumption that we want to liberate every team to choose the tool they want, then how do we communicate at scale?

Sherif Mansour:

It's not by telling them, "Hey, everyone get on Jira." It's telling them, use the tool that you want and what we'll do is, we'll standardize how you communicate between teams. Let's align on common vocabulary between teams, and that's Team Central's approach there. Jira Align, the full stack is Jira, all the way from objectives, all the way to the task is for Jira, and that works for some organizations that are 100% on Jira, or most of them are on Jira, or focused mainly on the IT department for example, or engineering. Sorry, long way of saying similar problems, but different ends of the sophistication spectrum. Trying to find an analogy that works, it's almost like you kind of go to the supermarket and there's multiple products from the same company, there's a high-end product and as a product that's more accessible to more customers. It's sort of like that, an analogy of what's going on in my head. I don't know if that's working or not, or confusing you even more.

Ryan Spilken:

No, I hear you.

Matthew Stublefield:

That totally answers my fourth question, so good job you.

Sherif Mansour:

I think the important thing for us as a company is to build bridges between these islands now. Because we know everyone will use a different tool, and so the important thing is to make sure the vocabulary and communication between them is there, and as you growing your needs you can graduate, so a bridge between Trello and Jira, a bridge between Jira Work Manager... Maybe some customers using Jira Software that shouldn't be, they should probably be using Trello, they're finding it too sophisticated for their needs. That's totally fine, each tool has a different strength and it's not a one size fits all.

Matthew Stublefield:

One of the things that I find really intriguing in Team Central is some of the thought that goes in behind it, like the length of status updates, and you limited the 280 characters and it's controversial [crosstalk 00:32:49]. But the thing is, we know and we've known for a good 50, 60 years now, that the majority of time lost in projects is at the inter-team communication level. It's trying to communicate between teams, because you don't have that day-to-day experience with each other to develop the shared vocabulary, to understand the work that the other teams are doing, but you still have to interface with them. Team Central, trying to facilitate that but also forcing the communicators to do it in a succinct way, I think is really interesting. At the same time, enabling them to embed views of things, through iFrames through really smart embedding. I've been like, Ryan said, we've been geeking out about it. I'm really excited for Team Central as well as Compass and Product Discovery.

Ryan Spilken:

But if I were to say to you, social media for Atlassian would you say, yep or would you go, no?

Sherif Mansour:

Team Central?

Ryan Spilken:

Yeah.

Sherif Mansour:

This is the funny thing about Team Central. I think what challenge we'll have with that product and I'm excited about this challenge it's why I'm on it, is I think we're trying to create a communication tool between teams. And that's a difficult problem to solve, because everyone their little pet thing is the most important thing. The challenge is, communication tools that exist in this space today are effectively like [EMS 00:34:35] and the microblogging tools, maybe you could argue Slack. But at the end of the day, that those tools even Jira, they were designed for collaboration within a team. If you drop into another team's room, the signal to noise is ridiculous, there's so much noise. As an outsider, you really don't want 90% of this information. I used to work on Confluence for seven years, my answer to stakeholders or anyone interested or dependent teams would say follow my space and you can stay updated.

Sherif Mansour:

And you're like, "They don't want to get 50 billion page updates. Maybe my immediate team does, because there are five of us. But I don't think an outsider does." So that's challenging. I think social media in terms of communication potentially, we clearly got inspiration from Twitter's character limit on this. It's fascinating the character limit line, because the hypothesis we had is, we'll help people become more effective writers. I think we've achieved that, but we haven't solved the problem of the friction that the project lead has. We're trying to change people's communication behaviors here, so it's not easy. The initial reaction for most project leads is like, this character limits driving me nuts and they go through this phase. It's quite fascinating, this frustration. Which we need to find a way to ease them into it because it's clearly that's not acceptable I think.

Sherif Mansour:

But then to like, all right, okay I'm now getting the hang of this. I'm using linking for detail, I'm embedding media, et cetera. You'd see the old classic status report where someone's written in line 50 like, if you're reading this, buy me a coffee and no one's read it. Once we're trying to do things like give the project creator read receipts, and is anyone reading your stuff? By the way, we still have a way for you to attach a lot of detail if you'd like, and we'll be working on a feature to empower the particulars to say, they don't even click on your details. We want to save everyone time, we don't want to create busy work for you, so this a perception, I need to write every single risk, every single decision, every single whatever. What we've said is, just start with the highlights and then you can go into the detail later. Chances are, most people don't even go to the detail, so effective communication is hard.

Sherif Mansour:

We're doing it today, just with projects, that's Team Central today, so production and goals. How do we communicate between teams project and goals. Our vision with Team Central is to help teams communicate on... as you know, Atlassian does project teams tooling, we also have Jira and Trello, et cetera. We have tools that help teams that provide help for other teams, so there's the organization such as Jira Service Desk or help. If you like, let's call them service teams for now. Communication between service teams is also pretty hard, so the same trend we're seeing in project teams, which is, I'm going use Trello. I'm going to use Monday, I'm going to use a spreadsheet, I'm going to use Asana, every team uses their own thing. The same thing is happening in the help space between teams, so it's like I'm going to use a shared email, mailbox, email my team if you need help.

Sherif Mansour:

I'm going to use Zendesk, I'm going to use JSM, I'm going to use help, whatever it is and so we're now starting to explore this communication problem, but for service teams as well, not just project teams. The sum of all of it combined if you like Ryan, just connecting back to your question is, it does feel a bit social media-ish in terms of like, it's effectively maybe a modern tech on an old market. The internets back in the day centrally command controlled, one person sort of controls the comms, maybe this is changing. We think the markets changing so that everyone broadcasts their work, or broadcasts it not in a way where anyone can post the status update on anything, that's a bit like microblogging style, but posting it from a lens of work that makes sense. Whether it'd be a help, a help item, a project or a goal.

Sherif Mansour:

Those are the kinds of the things that most organizations have to move forward, projects and teams that help each other, and they're all aligned to some broader objectives. We're trying to create these contexts where people can share their updates and frame it from an organizational construct if you like, don't know if that made sense.

Ryan Spilken:

Absolutely, fantastic.

Sherif Mansour:

We just talked about Team Central, I forgot the other products.

Matthew Stublefield:

Well, the thing is we haven't been able to get our hands on the other products as much.

Sherif Mansour:

Of course.

Matthew Stublefield:

Because work management is limited right now to get it free for team use and really keen to see Compass and Product Discovery. We're hoping, maybe you can confirm some wild speculation here.

Ryan Spilken:

Yeah, we would like that.

Matthew Stublefield:

We're hoping that, we would love our wild speculation here on the Adaptavist Side Podcast. As a Point A Distinguished Product Manager, maybe tell us a little bit what we can expect from Product Discovery? Here's what we're hoping from the one-sentence we have on the Point A page, what little we heard during the keynote. Are we going to get some customer-facing and interactive product roadmapping tooling out of Point A? Is that the direction you're headed, where we can have some really nice roadmapping tools for customers to interact with and share their thoughts and input and submit things to us? Was that on the-

Sherif Mansour:

Yeah, very good question. I'm lucky enough, I've been using Polaris a lot to help us build Team Central inside Atlassian, so that's kind of been really nice to... The Polaris team is using Team Central to communicate. But anyway, Polaris is really helping product teams, especially the product managers. But you realize it's not just the product managers, it's engineering leaders and the designers to just build the right product and it tries to do that through a few key pillars. The main thing that it starts with, is this capture story. You've got a ton of inputs from a wide variety of sources, issue collectors, feedback forms, whatever it is and you want to centralize them in one place.

Sherif Mansour:

That's one of my favorite things that I'm using with it right now. Lets you capture a wide variety of qualitative and quantitative sources, and connect them to central problems and ideas that your team might have, so that you can pull up this vague idea, for example in Team Central, a lot of customers are asking us for automation. I'm like, "Okay, what does that mean in the world of Team Central?" I can go in there and I can see there are 50 references of this across our service desk, across our help portal, across our community, et cetera. It helps me capture that stuff so that I can prioritize, if that makes sense. I can capture a bunch of qualitative resources and see the trends evolving now from these qualitative resources. Then I can start to engage the rest of my team and possibly my customers.

Sherif Mansour:

They're not there, but they've explored a few ideas here, to help our team and customers decide on what is the best way to get input from them, on now that we have these 20 things we could do, how do we work out what the most effective thing is to do here. They may do things like, play a $10 game together and they can say, all right if you're $10 to spend, where would you spend it? That kind of stuff to help teams with sort of frameworks and techniques to move from lots of things to action, and then how to transition that into delivery. I think that's where Polaris magic comes in. Currently thinking, Polaris will be a Jira app on top of Jira and so it's transitioning between idea and problem to backlog will be seamless and you'll often realize actually the other way around, [inaudible 00:42:06] on your backlog, start exploring it and it's not what you thought it was, you can send it back sort of thing.

Sherif Mansour:

It's trying to solve that problem, capture, engage your team and your customers, prioritize the work and then take it to delivery.

Ryan Spilken:

You've used the name Polaris a few times, which I'm guessing is an internal name. Is that internal-

Sherif Mansour:

Oh, sorry. This is back to the code names. Sorry, everything I just said for Polaris is Jira Product Discovery.

Matthew Stublefield:

Cool.

Sherif Mansour:

We're just having a cool discussion before the podcast on our internal code names and how it's confusing everyone. Team Central has a bunch of different names. Yes, Jira Product Discovery is what I'm referring to.

Ryan Spilken:

I do like Polaris by the way, it's kind of like the North Star sort of thing.

Matthew Stublefield:

I saw it, though as you were describing I was like, wait but Polaris star, is that correlated to Compass?

Sherif Mansour:

No, that's another one.

Matthew Stublefield:

It's also about the direction.

Sherif Mansour:

We'll have to do another podcast for that one.

Ryan Spilken:

Sirius, Orion, or the Pleiades, I'm not sure. All right, Sherif we will certainly point our listeners to the Point A homepage on our show notes. But is there a roadmap that people can publicly access? Where else can people keep an eye on what you're up to?

Sherif Mansour:

Yeah, if you jump into the atlassian.com/Point-A to try stuff, that's the best thing to try stuff yourself on the waitlist. If you'd love to start discussing and seeing what's coming up next, and all that stuff, jump on to the Atlassian community, there is a Point A group and in there you'll see your Jira Work Management, Team Central, Polaris, Jira Product Discovery, I did it again there and Compass is there as well. Jump in and engage with other customers in the community, help shape the future of these products because really if you're an early customer and it is a big ask, but the advantage that you get is that you really do help shape the future of the product. We're lucky enough to have an amazing customer base that's happy to do that, so thank you folks for that you've done that so far and jump in.

Ryan Spilken:

Sherif Mansour most noble and highly Distinguished Product Manager at Atlassian. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Sherif Mansour:

Thank you, Ryan. Thank you, Matthew, for having me.

Matthew Stublefield:

Ryan, when you introduced that segment you didn't twist your mustache enough. You really have to, Distinguished Product Manager. We would get to get our monocle and get to twist the mustache a little bit more. You got to get some wax on there.

Ryan Spilken:

My monocle is at the shop. Well, listeners that is it for this episode of Adaptavist Live. Thank you so much for joining us today, we always appreciate it. Make sure that you connect with us on social at Adaptavist, until next time for Matthew Stublefield. I'm Ryan Spilken and we'll catch you later on Adaptavist Live.