If the workplace had supervillains, one of them would probably be named “Silos” for their ability to wreak havoc on company productivity and collaboration. Silos appear when companies decide to use too many disconnected tools to get work done, taking teams hours to get on the same page about anything. This barrier to communication and collaboration causes work to slip through the cracks. 

The superhero stepping up to defeat this evil foe is a unified work management system. Tools that enable all work to get done in one connected place are the best weapon to break down silos between teams. A work management system is the use of tools and working techniques to manage time, resources, teams, and tasks. It aligns companies on a clear and strategic path to improve team collaboration, communication, and connection. 

Below, we’ll cover these Atlassian tools and features: Jira (for project management), Confluence (for a connected knowledge hub), Jira Product Discovery (for ideation and prioritization), and Goals in Atlassian Home (for instant updates across teams, projects, and tasks). Let’s dive into how you can use these four superpower tools to defeat the villainous force of silos. 

Atlassian Work Management solutions drive big impact for all teams

1. Get real-time visibility on work across teams

See work any way you want with Jira. People across your organization can visualize and track work progress in a way that works best for them.

Jira board and list view

Let’s say you’re a marketing manager running a meeting with all of the teams that are involved in a project. Start with the board or list view and filter that view with the “group by” feature to review aspects like: 

  • Status updates: to see what pieces are ready for review
  • Assignees: to run through what everyone is working on across the team 
  • Priority level: to cover the most important tasks and action items first

Jira timeline view

Another helpful Jira feature is the timeline view, which works much like a Gantt chart. In this view, you’ll see the list of tasks and subtasks organized by date, which you can extend or take down as you update the progress. 

You can also create dependencies in this view that will automatically adjust the start and end dates on the timeline accordingly, ensuring one task doesn’t start until another is finished. This helps team members stay on top of their work and deadlines while allowing you, as the manager, to make sure tasks are completed in the right order and without overloading team bandwidth. 

Jira calendar view

The calendar view in Jira allows you to easily see all task deadlines both within and across teams, saving time and avoiding unnecessary meetings. 

For example, the Jira calendar allows you to pull in a calendar from a different team, say the “Platform Development” calendar. Now, you can see the release date and how they’re tracking toward it, leading to enhanced collaboration with the software team.  

Plus, if you want to double-check that all tasks are covered, organize the calendar view by “unscheduled” and find any tasks without a due date. Then, assign someone to the task who has the bandwidth to get it done. That team member will then get notified about the new assignment and can reach out to you async if they have any questions. 

Jira summary view

The Jira summary view provides an overview of your project in the form of a progress dashboard. It’s an easy way to get a big-picture view of the progress that has been made on your project all in one place. In the summary view, you’ll see: 

  • A snapshot of task status, such as “To do,” “In review,” or “Complete,” to determine where there might be either bottlenecks or causes for celebration
  • A priority breakdown to understand which tasks take precedence over others and ensure it’s an accurate distinction
  • The types of work involved in the project to evaluate whether to enlist additional team members with unique functions
  • The overall workload to help you see the bandwidth of team members, ensuring no one gets burnt out 

2. Manage cross-functional work requests with forms 

Forms are a straightforward and effective way to improve cross-functional team communication and information exchange. In Jira, the forms feature enables teams across the organization to request a task, story, or asset or collect other information. 

With Jira forms, you can: 

  • Help people outside of your immediate team send work or task requests to your project team. 
  • Collect the right information from other teams and stakeholders, helping you streamline dependencies within a repeated workstream. 
  • Organize forms by type, ensuring that requests are categorically clear so they’re assigned to the right people. 

For example, say your company is launching a new product. As a marketing team lead, you need additional context from other departments to do your job well. In Jira, create an asset form and share it with product managers, designers, and engineers. For the designers and engineers, add specific instructions requesting images and screenshots. For the product managers, request key talking points and product features to highlight in the marketing materials. 

Each form has the option to include other key fields that will keep everyone on the same page and on track. From due dates to priority levels, keeping your forms consistent with the same key information filled out will help you maintain effective communication and collaboration across teams. 

3. Offer org-wide updates to keep everyone in the loop

Add org-wide updates to a centralized source of truth where everyone can get on the same page and drive business impact. In Confluence, the space to post updates is in the Home page. Home is like a virtual hub where teams can get a quick pulse on what’s going on in the company or jump straight back into recent work. 

From Home, you can view recent articles or tasks left to do, navigate to the various spaces you’re working in, or create a new Confluence page using a template or starting from scratch. 

For example, say you’re a program manager who needs to put together an All-Hands meeting summary doc. You can create a new Confluence page and use a meeting template. This includes updates on what each team has accomplished so far and what still needs to be worked on. Highlight the problems to solve, and leave an empty section to discuss ideas on building the new product, as well as action items for next steps. 

Remember, this is a living document that can be updated and organized even after the meeting is over. Tag relevant stakeholders where necessary to get their input or request follow-ups. 

Back on the Home page, everyone in the company will be able to refer to the page to learn more about how the meeting went and easily see how projects are moving along.  

Confluence smart links are another convenient feature that helps break down silos between teams. Smart links allow users to embed relevant work from other Atlassian tools in any Confluence page. This enables teams to share various dynamic project views and calendars so that others are immediately informed of changes from within the same central doc in Confluence. In other words, you’re never losing context and are always up to date, even when changes are made in other tools or pages. 

When a smart link is added, you can either preview the linked page by hovering over the link or insert it as an embedded view. Moreover, you can edit that embedded page directly from within the Confluence page.  

For instance, say your design team is working on a Design Sprint page in Confluence. Within the page, they can copy and paste a link to a calendar from Jira so everyone can see all the due dates and tasks from within the Design Sprint page. Any changes you or any other team member make to the calendar will automatically reflect in both the embedded calendar and the corresponding one in Jira. 

Another option is to add a roadmap smart link from Jira Product Discovery into the Confluence page to show how this Design Sprint fits into the broader roadmap of all product ideas currently in the works. 

5. Brainstorm and vote on product ideas from a central location 

Part of improved collaboration between teams involves coming to a consensus on an idea in a transparent and efficient manner. The ideas feature of Jira Product Discovery helps you do just that. 

When you add an idea to Jira Product Discovery, it’s important to provide context to other team members. This might include links to relevant documents of a previous Design Sprint or a roadmap so stakeholders can see how the project would fit in your timeline. Those stakeholders can then add their own insights, leave comments, or debate the viability of your idea. Product team members and stakeholders can also rate the impact and effort it will take to make those ideas a reality. 

Let’s say a marketer adds an idea for a loyalty program that they’d like to see applied to your company’s product. The goal of the idea, in this case, is to “delight customers.” This gives others a clear understanding of the purpose of the suggested idea. If there is research to back up the suggestion, they can leave that link in the comments or add their own insights to bolster their support of the idea.   

Team members from the product and engineer teams can then vote on whether they like the idea or not and include their reasons why they’re voting for it. The product manager makes the final decision if it has enough upvotes, is feasible, and is worth working on. They can then add an epic in Jira and connect it to their Platform development team. This adds it to the queue for software engineers to begin working on, once again showing the seamless connections between Atlassian tools and the cross-functional teams that use them. 

6. Set and track team goals across your organization

Goals in Atlassian Home is a great way for teams to be transparent about meeting organization-wide objectives. With Atlassian Goals, managers and executives can view the incremental progress made toward a goal. 

Let’s say you determine during an annual planning meeting that your main goal is to adopt AI technology across departments. Each department needs to add and organize milestones to reach that goal. 

Atlassian Goals are mapped to work, visible to everyone and updated regularly, so everyone is in sync and up-to-date on how it’s going, and it’s easy to drill down into the details – who, what, and when with a few clicks. Team- and organization-wide objectives are no longer a “set it and forget it” motion – they get updated on a monthly cadence. Atlassian Goals now live on the new personalized Atlassian Home available to every leader and teammate.

Don’t let silos hold your org back

Silos are the kryptonite of any organization. But just because they harbor the evil power to cripple the success of your workforce doesn’t mean that you are powerless against them. As we’ve covered today, with the right Atlassian tools and processes in place, you can do away with the evil forces of silos. 

Learn more about Jira, Confluence, and other Atlassian tools for work management.  

How to use Atlassian work management tools to break down silos and boost collaboration