Successfully launching a new product is a complicated process – multiple teams are involved and each have a multitude of tasks to accomplish. Such a feat requires the help of two teams to work in sync. Software teams to develop the product and marketing teams to generate awareness, demand, and adoption.
Traditionally, however, software and marketing teams have worked in different manners. Many software teams work in agile environments with defined sprints and tasks rated on velocity, while marketing teams often work in a more ad-hoc manner. Not to mention the fact that sometimes these two teams are in different locations all around the world, and might speak different work lingo!
How can these two teams stay up to date when they have different processes, exist in different locations, and differ in communication styles?
Breaking down walls between teams
First off, I need to have a word with you global admins out there, because you’re the evangelist that plays a critical role in joining these two teams. You can help both teams work in the same environment and speak a common language. And if you’re not a global admin, don’t fret. This article’s for you, too. You can use these ideas and pass them along to your admin. (Plus, he or she will think you’re super savvy.)
At Atlassian, we strive to bridge the gap between software and marketing by using the same tools: JIRA Software and JIRA Core. That is, both teams collaborate in the same JIRA instance so our marketing team is aware of what the software team is up to, and vice versa.
Let’s go through an example to show how global admins can help a marketing team and software team collaborate and stay in sync.
Meet Warren, he’s the global administrator – the one who sets up JIRA Core
Here’s Daniel, a product manager and a JIRA Software licensed user
And June, a marketing manager
There’s a product launch next month, so June is prepping her marketing materials. Daniel is working hard to get the new features in the product ready and shipped. In a software agile environment, the product scope and status can change, so June needs up-to-date information about the product. And in the past, June would need to send emails to Daniel or set up countless status meetings for updates – an often painful and inefficient way to work. Plus, what happens if signals get crossed, an email gets buried or a meeting gets cancelled and Daniel can’t tell her something’s delayed?
Enter Warren, the JIRA global admin. (Daniel or June can find him and say, Help!) Warren will see that these two teams need to get a product launched but aren’t coordinating or communicating efficiently. He knows that by setting up JIRA Core marketing will get in sync, because he can configure the team’s workflow and issues so that the team can track their work similar to how a software team tracks work in JIRA Software. Yeah, Warren! Now, with both teams using the same JIRA instance and tracking work in similar ways, they can start speaking the same language – JIRA.
4 tips for a global admin – how to put it in motion
Here’s more about how a global admin can help these two teams. Let’s continue with our folks from above and say Daniel’s software task is to create a new feature. And it’s June’s task to write a press release about that feature and its benefits. For June’s part to be successful, she needs to know that this feature is included in the product release. Using JIRA Core, June can stay connected with Daniel and work with his team in a new and more efficient way.
1. Configure JIRA Core/Software dashboards
When users first log into JIRA Software or JIRA Core, the first thing they see is a dashboard with statistics and graphics of the status of their projects. Both marketing and software teams can utilize a dashboard to get a peek into the other team’s progress. (A global admin can configure this so both teams have access, or teams can create dashboards for themselves. Read JIRA Core dashboard: your project status at a glance for guidance on how to configure a dashboard.) Now, June and Daniel have visibility into the progress of the other’s team.
2. Show users how to link a marketing task to a software issue
Marketing teams and software teams work in separate JIRA projects but their daily tasks are defined by their issues. Marketing refers to theirs as tasks or sub-tasks, and software refers to theirs as epics, stories, and tasks. While it’s not possible to connect two projects together, users can connect two issues in separate projects. (Aside to global admin: many users may not know about this feature, so be sure to tell them.) In this example, June’s task of a press release is linked to Daniel’s task to build a new feature. June can link these two tasks together so she’ll always know the status of the feature and adjust her work and timeframe accordingly. She can choose from multiple options to link these two tasks by clicking on “Link” under the “More” menu and choose the option which best describes how the tasks are related. Here, June has chosen “blocks,” since she can’t launch the product without this particular feature included. When June updates her press release task details, she’ll also see the status of the software feature task.
3. Add a link in the sidebar under Project Shortcuts
As a global admin, you can add links (URLs) to the sidebar so that everyone on the team who has access to the project can see it. You can add a software project link in the marketing projects sidebar and a marketing project link to the software projects sidebar. Now both teams can quickly view and explore each other’s respective projects (and dashboards).
4. Educate users and tell them to be a watcher
As a global admin, it’s a good bet you know most of the JIRA Core and JIRA Software features. But other users probably aren’t familiar with some concepts. In this case, “watcher.” That is, if there are certain issues that the software team is working on that marketing tasks are dependent on, then a marketing person should “watch” those issues. In other words, if June is waiting for a software issue to be included in a release, she can watch that particular issue and get an alert every time the issue is updated. Also, if Daniel is interested in reading a draft of the press release to make sure the product information is correct, he can “watch” that particular marketing task to know when it’s ready for a peek.
By “watching” issues, there’s no need to bug each other every 3 hours for status updates.
Get all your teams in sync
Using JIRA Core and JIRA Software together can help marketing and software teams get in sync and ensure successful product launches. Marketing teams know if a product is on time or delayed, and software teams can provide updates while staying focused on their work. And remember: other teams can use this methodology, too.
By breaking down the walls between teams, everyone stays informed and in sync.
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