summit2013Logo4Why Summit is a critical investment

Before coming to Atlassian, I spent over three years at Netflix as a Jira, Confluence, and Crowd admin. I saw the flyers about Summit, Atlassian’s annual user conference, and decided to go after having a year and a half of “Atlassian Admin” under my belt. I signed up thinking it would just be a great chance for me to meet the engineers behind the products I spent my days supporting. Boy, was I in for a pleasant surprise. Summit is much more than a Q&A with Atlassian engineers; it’s three days packed full of best practices, product announcements, and mind-expanding dialogue on how to make the world of software development a better place.

One particular session that stood out to me at my first Summit was on how the Jira team builds Jira. As an Atlassian admin it was a direct look into how Atlassian uses Jira to build Jira.  What better team to learn from on best practices around Jira?  I took away a lot of tips to help my team get not only get more out of Jira but Confluence and the development tools as well.  I’m pleased to announce that this year at Summit, we will have an equally amazing session on how the Jira team fosters an innovative engineering culture through the use of ShipIt days and 20% time. Nick Menere, a engineering manager who has been on the Jira team since 2005, will lead the session full of tips and tales that will help you make innovation time work for your company.

Fostering Organic Innovation

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As Atlassian grew rapidly over the years, our founders wanted to ensure that the engineering team retained the innovative culture of a startup. In 2005,Atlassian started a program called ShipIt days. The idea was simple; engineers had 24 hours to build and demonstrate an idea that would be relevant to the product as well as the customer. ShipIt days empower individual engineers to implement their own ideas with the elegance and power of working code, which helps them to be more innovative and motivated during their normal work weeks. ShipIt days are featured in Dan Pink’s excellent talk about motivation, given at the RSA and TED.

ShipIt days were a huge success, but we wanted to further encourage innovation throughout Atlassian. In 2008, we bet $1,000,000 on an idea called 20% time. Engineers have 20% of their time to build something related to our products that would deliver unique value to the customer. 20% time was a deeper investment in the same idea as ShipIt days; keeping the innovation culture of a small startup alive as the company grows.

It’s great to talk about ShipIt days and 20% time in theory. But what have we as a company delivered to customers that came from this method of development? Lots- including Bonfire, the agile feedback and testing tool for Jira. Not every ShipIt project or 20% project makes it out to customers, and that’s okay. The important thing is keeping the collaborative innovation cycle healthy. Nick’s presentation will go into detail about what he has learned over the past eight years of fostering innovation at Atlassian, and how you can apply it to your company.

Ready to bring a more creative culture to your organization? Sign-up for Atlassian Summit today!

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