Atlassian’s growing fast. New hires enter one of our offices daily, and it ain’t easy meeting the needs of all these new folks, and keeping offices across the globe connected with a click.

We could never do what we do without our IT team.

I decided to ask three of Atlassian’s brightest IT minds – Major Payne himself, Adrian Mason, Dan Horsfall, and Aaron Broughton – to share some insights on what processes they rely on and what they do to ensure everything goes to plan.

In honor of #SysAdminDay, check out these 6 help desk success tips:

1. We stick to SLAs

When it comes to running an IT team, updating all instances matter. The Atlassian IT team runs on SLAs because they allow them to prioritize their work, and allow for better reporting and visibility.  By sticking to SLAs management has a clear picture of what the team is working on and what get’s prioritized. Since there’s real stakes at hand, the goals are met with respect to time.

By prioritizing their work, the IT team can focus on the bigger issues instead of spending time on the minor ones such as a printer or getting someone batteries.

Bonus observation: by keeping track of SLAs, your IT team will stay aware if there’s a need to increase headcount due to escalation of work. If your team is exploding with growth, you’re going to need more agents to answer those tickets.

2. We track assets

Like any tech company, there are a lot of laptops, monitors (sometimes one person can have up to three), HDMI cables, mice, and whatever else folks need to do their job. But, when you’ve got this much stuff, you need a system to keep track of what’s coming in, going out and what the team could potentially need next. It’s crucial to track everything. Equipment needs to be accounted for with invoices because the cost of all of those Macbooks adds up.

When it comes to new hires, Atlassian is growing. And fast. We need to keep a stack of laptops available and at the ready. Instead of waiting for things to come in for a new hire, the IT team is ready on the first day with a machine set up and tailored to the person’s position.

We use Jira and Jira Service Desk to keep track of every laptop. This way, not only do we know what’s where, but we can keep up on how long someone’s had a machine and stay proactive on if the machine’s received regular updates and maintenance.

3. We treat our employees like our customers

We have another company rule we stand by, “Don’t f*%k the customer.” The IT team sets tickets in way, so that the customer can be in charge of the conversation. Instead of just closing a ticket and saying it’s done, all internal Atlassian IT tickets finally close when the person who’s filed it has stopped commenting. So, if there’s more to be said, it’s all based on the satisfaction of the customer, not the IT team.


Adrian Mason

4. We foster a culture of self-service

If you stop by the Atlassian help desk, you’ll notice there aren’t any phones. You can’t call IT. Our teams rely on Hipchat, email, Confluence and Jira Service Desk to help get work done. When someone needs help resetting a password, or can’t get the printer to work, they’re directed to a knowledge base article.

We automate first because 95% solve their own problem by reading the knowledge base article. But, when the knowledge base just won’t do – the IT team is always at the ready to help.

5. We sweat the small stuff

One of the coolest things the Atlassian IT team does is what they call “hygiene checklists.” Around the offices, we take a lot of meetings. In doing so, there are a lot of meeting rooms. But, those meeting rooms need to work every time we step inside them, ready to jump on a video conferencing call with colleagues around the world. Every Monday, a series of Jira tickets auto populate with SLAs to be closed on Friday.

The purpose? To check each room to make sure the connections work, supplies are stocked, and there’s nothing wrong with the space. As each ticket closes, the team knows what issues are afoot after testing video connection, or even if the wifi signal is carrying.


Dan Horsfall

6. We think ahead

One of Atlassian’s core values is “Open company, no bullshit.” Team collaboration is the cornerstone of how we work. IT is no different. When it comes to how we work – collaboration is essential. When a ticket is being worked on, other support agents take a look, offer a solution, or just give feedback.

Designate a “Champion” who makes it their priority to check tickets and make sure work moves forward each week. The Champion offers support and helps close tickets as needed. By being transparent, you’re minimizing risk and downtime.

If this article got you thinking about enterprise service management, you might enjoy “IT Unplugged” for everything on ITSM, ITIL, and more.

Check out IT Unplugged

Atlassian sys-admins offer 6 help desk success tips