Work still sucks for too many people. Whether they’re isolated, disconnected, uninspired, burned out, or simply struggling to achieve the impact they initially hoped to, work seems to be getting more complicated.
And while the future of work probably includes AI, multiple generations in the workplace, tech disruption, and virtual reality (you name it!) the future of work is actually all about teams. The industry has been so focused on optimizing efficiency, productivity, and workflows that they’ve forgotten the key ingredient for creating successful outcomes: humans.
There’s been so much discussion about where work should be happening. If you want to achieve great things with your team, it’s time to focus on the who, how, and why of the work.
Atlassian is equipping teams with not just tools, but also the practices needed to succeed in the new world of work. Our products help teams collaborate all over the world. But a product alone doesn’t unleash the potential of teams. Unleashing your team’s potential is activated by how the products are used and how the work gets done. And it’s our job to solve these pain points before our customers run into them.
With our Ways of Working offering, we’re codifying and shipping the lessons we’ve learned about modern teamwork to peers, customers, and business leaders. No other company pairs their products and practices to improve the way teams work quite like Atlassian does. And not many companies make their “secret sauce” available for free and accessible to every team in the world.
Rethinking how we work at Atlassian: an origin story
For Atlassian, the mission to unleash teams’ potential starts at home. We thrive in experimental environments and just like our products – we are in a state of continuous improvement. So when the pandemic struck, we saw an opportunity to lean into change and level up our expertise. Suddenly – and still today – our teams are working all over the place. Some teams are in the office, some are hybrid, and some are fully remote. Our Team Anywhere policy allows Atlassians to live anywhere within the countries where we operate.
We’ve grown massively as a globally distributed team over the last few years – in fact, nearly 40% of our staff is considered “remote” and lives 2+ hours from the closest office – so we’ve had to be purposeful about staying one step ahead of effective teamwork.
Having a distributed workforce allows us to take this experimentation to the next level by practicing new processes and innovating new ways of working before releasing them into the wild for customer adaptation.
Has our journey to creating and evolving these ways of working been perfect? Of course not. Do we have all the answers? Heck no! But we are offering tried-and-tested methods that can help your teams improve, even if only by a degree or two.
You’ll never get through by simply throwing collaboration tools at teams. When we took a pulse on the market through our State of Teams research, we heard time and time again that people were struggling with how they worked in teams. Along with technology, leaders must also implement and nurture modern ways of working that encourage alignment, cohesion, psychological safety, and potential for innovation. That’s where Atlassian and our stellar team of Modern Work Coaches come in.
Shipping our practices to customers
Today at Team ’23, we are unveiling our Ways of Working offering to help teams be more effective. These are not resources that wax poetic about the virtues of sound collaboration and the ideals of a high-performing team. These are practical, step-by-step guides to tackle some of the most common teamwork challenges that you can access and use today.
So how do we do it?
It all starts with our Modern Work Coaches who are rolling up their sleeves and diving into our customers’ ways of working muck and grim. They seek to understand the root of collaboration pain points and then run custom-designed plays in-person or virtually to help them improve their ways of working.
The plays our Modern Work Coaches run with customers address a variety of use cases: from evaluating and prioritizing work rituals to improving team meetings to establishing a team vision and goals. They can be found in the Atlassian Team Playbook, and each play is paired with product templates (think Confluence, Jira, Trello) to make running the play easy-breezy. All of the plays were created and tested by Atlassian teams first to improve our ways of working before being published in the playbook. We’re constantly updating them based on feedback we receive from Atlassian and customer teams alike.
These aren’t policy and procedure documents designed for compliance. They’re designed to be adapted to virtually any situation. Our goal is to empower and guide teams based on what we’ve learned ourselves. But we know every team is different and great leaders need to unlock and strengthen the specific needs of their own teams.
Our Modern Work Coaches have also curated free Atlassian University courses like Async Collaboration for Distributed Teams, Running Effective Meetings, and Team Shaping that provide step-by-step instructions.
Finally, customers can join the Teamwork Lab space on Atlassian Community where we discuss, debate, and share our practices. Teams can hear from others in similar industries how they’ve activated these new ways of working in their organizations. We love learning from you, too!
No two organizations have the same structure, culture, or rituals. That’s why our Ways of Working resources are highly customizable.
Customer spotlight: DISH Network
DISH Network was one of our first customers to work with a Modern Work Coach. DISH is building a first-of-its-kind 5G network in the U.S. and all teams must operate a peak efficiency to achieve this endeavor. One of the first teams to go under the microscope was the TechDev team – the group responsible for the underlying architecture of DISH’s future 5G network infrastructure (kind of a big deal!).
While the majority of the team works together either on-site in Herndon, VA, or Denver, CO, it also includes many external contractors who use different tools and platforms, making the team an ideal candidate for our program. Atlassian Modern Work Coach Mark Cruth led the DISH TechDev team through a Team Shaping workshop designed to help new or existing teams define their purpose, learn how team members prefer to work, and chart a path forward to better teamwork.
Since their Ways of Working session, the team observed marked improvements in collaboration including increased adoption of common collaboration tools, a reduction of non-essential meetings, and more meaningful asynchronous collaboration. In fact, the improvements drove DISH to set up a new function to bring these practices to the rest of the company. This team has challenged themselves to run 50 plays this year with teams across the company – technical and non-technical, on-site and distributed. Great practices are contagious!
You can hear more about DISH’s experience in this on-demand replay of an Atlassian Presents: Work Life ’22 session.
Don’t know where to start? We do!
Now, we know your team might be experiencing a host of challenges, especially if you’re in a distributed environment. We’re here to help, starting with one issue that keeps bubbling to the surface: shared understanding. What is my team working on? And why are we working on that?
And these problem areas have been further heightened in a distributed work environment, resulting in low productivity, low innovation, and a hit to a team’s ability to achieve its goals. To overcome this, we recommend tackling shared understanding first to help teams drive clarity around what exactly it takes to work effectively and deliver on their goals.
To work toward shared understanding, run these self-guided plays with your team. You’ll just need 60 minutes to get started and we can promise you this will be a better use of an hour than all of the standing status meetings you sit in on each week.
- Team Poster: understand what your team is trying to achieve and identify the best way forward.
- Roles & Responsibilities: clarifying individual responsibilities and identifying gaps that need to be filled.
- Network of Teams: map out your stakeholders and adjacent teams to achieve your goals.
- Working Agreements: collaboratively set the social contract for your team.
If you want a little guidance, check out this Atlassian University course to walk through each of these plays with an Atlassian Modern Work Coach.
The only way out of complexity is to work through it
This is just one solution to one problem. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a big one. But our Ways of Working team is just getting started when it comes to helping teams with step-by-step guidance to tackle the gnarliest team challenges.
The benefits of getting modern work right are too great for employees and employers to take half-measures or walk away entirely. At Atlassian, we believe great people with powerful tools and intuitive ways of working, make formidable teams that can really reach for the world’s most complex problems.
Invest a small amount of time in your biggest asset, and start the journey to unleash your team’s potential.
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