Atlassian has a very prolific blogging schedule, which includes 12 different blog categories with unique owners, and dozens of authors scattered throughout the company. Today we’ll take a look at how the content manager uses Jira and Jira Agile to stay on top of everything.
Keeping pace with the blogging schedule is all about flow. The content team has a few key goals when releasing content to Atlassian Blogs:
- Keep a steady flow of content rolling out to the readers
- Ensure each blog gets reviewed for quality by the content team
- Schedule content for each blog to maximize readership
Many software development teams rely on Jira Agile to help them manage their workload, but the content team has slightly different scheduling needs as the work is very date driven. It’s important that atlassianblog.wpengine.com gets new content on a consistent schedule to keep readers coming back for more. With several blogs and even more authors, Jira Agile helps keep the chaos in order.
Kanban: The art of flow
The content team needs to keep a steady stream of blog articles in all states so there is a consistent set of posts going out on schedule. If any particular state is starved for work, then the posting schedule is in jeopardy of falling behind. Jira Agile’s kanban boards help set the content team up for success. Let’s look at three ways the content team uses Jira Agile to manage the flow of content.
1. Scheduling with swimlanes
The content team needs to see work scheduled out by week. This helps them understand how related content fits together during any particular week. Swimlanes in Jira Agile easily group work items together by using flexible JQL queries. Let’s take a look at the swimlane configuration:
We can use the endofweek() function to tier work using swim lanes.
Note, the swimlanes above use slightly different verbiage. I did so so it was clearer to see how the end of week function relates to the tiers. The meaning in both boards is the same.
2. Managing risk with card colors
Jira Agile has three main facilities to filter data: swimlanes, card colors, and quick filters. I often strongly recommend that people use Jira Agile’s filtering mechanisms on different attributes so that viewers get maximum flexibility with their data. However, in this case, scheduling is so important to the team that we’re also going to use card colors to track time. The card color will represent how close a ticket is to its publish date.
Each ticket in Jira represents a blog idea. The team has set up a custom field called “Publish date/time” to track when then blog article should go live on atlassianblog.wpengine.com. As an article gets closer to the publish date, we need to raise visibility for that particular issues. Thus, the card color “warms” as it gets nearer to its publish date. If issues are orange or red on the left side of the board – which houses blog ideas that are not even started yet, much less ready to be edited or scheduled – those issues are likely not going to make their publish date.
Jira Agile evaluates card colors first to last. The card color that evaluates to true first will become that card’s color. We’ll start with blog articles that are late and then work back in phases until we no longer want to color cards. Here’s how the team configures its card colors:
In Jira Agile you can specify colors by two different means: using the UI, or via Hex color codes. To make it easy, I’ve listed a set of HTML color codes below that gives six tiers to organize your issues.
Remember, always start from high priority to low priority as in the example above.
|Tier 1: #FF0000||Tier 4: #FFFF00|
|Tier 2: #FF9900||Tier 5: #33CC33|
|Tier 3: #FFCC00||Tier 6: #006600|
You can fill in the above color codes in Jira Agile using the highlighted screen below.
3. Organizing content with quick filters
Atlassian maintains twelve different blogs so readers can subscribe to their favorite content. Quick filters help us filter content so that it’s easy to see what’s coming up for Jira, Confluence, Dev Tools, as well as things like general Atlassian news.
JQL knowledge is valuable because we can figure quick filters the same way as swimlanes and card colors. We have a custom field called “main subject” to track the focus of each blog entry.
Bringing it all together
What does this lead up to? The content team now has an easy to use agile board that shows them what’s important in their world. Let’s take a look at the completed agile board. I took this screenshot a couple of weeks ago so that I could show you “our view” as most of this content has already been published.
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