We say that Confluence Team Calendars is your team’s single source of truth for managing team leave, tracking JIRA projects, and planning events. The introduction of event types in Team Calendars 4.0 made this easier than ever – see exactly what you want, and hide what you don’t. In this post, I’ll share how Team Calendars helps the collaboration marketing team align our team, projects, and events.
1. Aligning our team
One of the perks of working for Atlassian in San Francisco is our new Vacay your way policy whereby staff in San Francisco no longer accrue vacation or sick leave, but rather can take as much leave as they like (as negotiated with their manager). This means we no longer use a formal HR tool to track leave; but as a manager of a team of five, I still needed a way to track and visualize my team’s vacation and travel plans against our planned marketing activities. Enter Team Calendars.
Tracking team leave
Once I approve leave, it is added to our team’s calendar using the Leave event type. Seeing everyone’s planned leave in a single view is especially useful for me as a manager as I can ensure I don’t grant vacation to everyone at the same time.
Share scheduled travel
As a globally distributed company with offices in San Francisco, Sydney, Amsterdam, and Tokyo there’s usually always someone traveling to another office to spend some valuable face-to-face time with other cross-functional teams like product management and development. Additionally, we sponsor and exhibit at a number of conferences and events around the world. Thanks to team calendars it’s easy for us to know who’s where, and when.
Approving leave and travel
Since we no longer accrue time off, there’s no need to use a formal HR system to track leave and vacation. All we need is a way for staff to request approval for time off from their managers – that’s where JIRA Service Desk comes in.
In addition to being a powerful and intuitive solution for your internal service desk needs, JIRA Service Desk is flexible enough to handle any type of request. Our Experience Team created their own service desk to handle employee kudos requests, and now managers are starting to use it to handle leave requests.
We’re in the middle of rolling out this process, and once it’s fully implemented we’ll be able to completely automate the display of our team’s leave and travel. Team Calendars’ support for displaying JIRA issues on a team calendar based on any date field, including displaying issues by date range, makes this possible.
2. Aligning our projects with Team Calendars and JIRA Agile
For my team, a project is usually in the form of a marketing campaign, product launch, event sponsorship, or webinar. Whether it’s the launch of a major product release like Confluence 5.4 or a campaign like the currently running Do Agile Right webinar series, we track all our team’s projects in JIRA and communicate when they’re happening to the rest of the business in Confluence using Team Calendars.
Tracking product launches, campaigns, and webinars
For every one of our projects we have a corresponding issue in JIRA (bigger projects are created as epics in JIRA Agile). We use Team Calendars to visualize when each project is due using the JIRA Issue Dates event type which allows you to display issues on a calendar based on their due date field in JIRA. This is both our single source, and the rest of the businesses’, single source of truth for when a launch, webinar, or campaign is scheduled to be announced or take place.
Display exactly what you want with JQL
With multiple types of projects – launches, campaigns, webinars, event sponsorship, etc. – and two products that make up Atlassian’s collaboration portfolio – Confluence and HipChat – we needed a way to distinguish between each type of project, by each product. Since we use a single JIRA project across all of Atlassian’s marketing department, and we didn’t want to create new issue types to represent each type of project, we used a combination of JIRA components:
Components for products
- Confluence Marketing
- HipChat Marketing
Components for project types
- Event Sponsorship
Below is a JIRA issue we are using to track one of the webinars in our Do Agile Right webinar series – notice its components.
Using JIRA Query Language, we’re then able to create a JIRA Issue Dates event type in Team Calendars for each project type, for each product – for example, Confluence Webinars:
The JQL being used to create this event type is as follows:
[cc lang=’sql’ line_numbers=’false’]project=”Marketing” AND component=”Confluence Marketing” AND component=”Webinar”[/cc]
Scheduling outgoing emails and managing your blogging calendar
Like most marketing teams, we write a lot of blog posts and use email as a primary means of communicating with our customers. With Atlassian’s portfolio of products continuing to grow, so are the number of blog posts we publish, and emails we send. Thankfully, we’re able to use Team Calendars to schedule all outgoing emails and blog posts to make sure we’re not doing too much at once and bombarding our customers with messages.
Since we have dedicated teams who manage our email communications and public blog we make use of JIRA issue types so that both outgoing emails and blog posts can each go through their own custom JIRA workflow. For example, below is the JIRA workflow that blog posts go through before they are eventually published on our site.
Just like our marketing projects, we make use of the JIRA Issue Dates event type in Team Calendars and use JQL to create specific Team Calendars event types for each of the following:
- Confluence Blogs
- HipChat Blogs
- Confluence Emails
- HipChat Emails
The JQL being used to create this event type is as follows:
[cc lang=’sql’ line_numbers=’false’]project=”Marketing” AND issuetype=”Blog Idea” AND “Main subject”=”Confluence Family”[/cc]
Bringing it all together
The beauty of Team Calendars is that you can view your team’s planned leave and vacation, alongside your scheduled marketing projects, blogs, and emails in one single view. If there’s a conflict (perhaps someone is on vacation when they are supposed to write a blog post) or a product launch date slips (the development team hits a blocker), it’s easy to identify them in advance before they become an issue and reschedule using drag and drop. It’s that easy.
Make Team Calendars your team’s single source of truth today
Join us online to learn more
If you’re interested in learning more about how my team uses Confluence, JIRA Agile, and Team Calendars, join us for our live webinar, Do Agile Right: Lessons learned from an Atlassian marketing manager, on Tuesday February 25th at 8AM PST.