Workflow and Efficiency

Making your organization more efficient can be challenging if your products don’t have the right capabilities. Thankfully, Data Center’s got you covered.


3. Standardizing your way of work

Often, organizations operated in silos - each team independent of each other. However, as an organization grows, siloed ways of work don’t allow teams to collaborate and deliver on your organization’s business objectives.

As you scale, the reality is that maintaining siloed ways of work isn’t sustainable for you or your IT team. It’s one thing when you’re supporting 50 products, but when you’re supporting upwards of 400 products, it’s a full time job.

And while your teams may be using some of these products in similar ways, they’ve created their own nuanced workflows to support the needs of their team. This adds a level of complexity in administering your products. 

On top of that, you’re probably supporting multiple instances of your mission-critical products. With teams independently adopting products, they’ve each created their own instance. Additionally, to support geo-distributed teams, your IT team may have create geo-specific instances. Adding yet another layer of complexity. 

Without knowing exactly what your teams needed or having the foresight to know how your organization was going to scale, developing best practices and implementing them across the organization wasn’t possible. However, inconsistent use of your organization’s supported products hinders your team’s ability to effectively collaborate and makes it difficult to align your organization as a whole. 

All of these areas contribute to a scenario this is not optimal for you or your teams.  

Workflow illustration

Driving change at scale

Look, standardizing workflows at scale is hard. When you’re supporting multiple products - even multiple instances of your products - it can be difficult to know where to start or to even find the time to clean up your instances without disrupting your teams productivity. 

Even as you try to clean up your instances, you’re quickly faced with a problem: you can’t delete any workflow or component without potentially making your product unusable. Because of default context setting and a lack of visibility, some components created for one are used in other workflows, so you run the risk of bringing down your mission-critical products by trying to clean up.

And without a solution in place, consolidating your instances can pose just as big of a risk, as you don’t want to disrupt your team’s access to their products or hinder their performance.

To really drive change at scale, you need to find enterprise products that can support the needs of your teams, used widely across the organization, and are capable of supporting changes in the organization as you scale. We’ve highlighted some Data Center capabilities that can help you standardize your workflows.

How to start standardizing your workflows

When it comes to standardizing your workflows, there are four questions that you’ll want to ask yourself:

Setting notes

What products should I use?

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How can I align my workflows?

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Why does alignment matter?

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How do I implement standard workflows?


What products should I use?

There are multiple products that your IT team is supporting that serve a similar purpose, but not all products are equal in terms of capabilities. Some products may only support the needs of some teams, while other products may only meet the needs of your IT department. Your organization needs products that can do both to enable collaboration across the organization. 

To understand if your products meet these needs, work with your IT team and document all the products you own, their use cases, and the capabilities that each of the products offer. Once you’ve done that, you can quickly identify what products are duplicates and which products better suit your business needs. 

You will also want to look at the number of instances that you have running of each of your products and  identify if there is an opportunity to consolidate and help streamline process across your organization. 

Pro Tip

As you’re identifying capabilities in each of your products, tag them as admin or team. This will help you identify if your products solve for all of your organization’s needs.  


How can I align my workflows?

To align your workflows, you will need to understand what your teams actually need. Because your teams aren’t familiar with every product capability, they’re often unaware of which products might work better for their needs or are being used by other teams. To get this information, you can interview representatives from each of your teams and ask the following questions: 

  • What products does your team currently use?
  • Are your teams happy with their products?
  • Can you describe how you use your products?
  • What would you want your workflow to be like?
  • Do you wish your products could do more?
  • Does your product perform the way you need it to?

You will quickly notice that the overall workflow of your teams is going to be pretty similar. Take this example of comparable workflows:

Development workflow

Create

QA

Fix

Commit


Documentation workflow

Create

Review

Update

Build

While the words are different and align with the terms used in their respective BUs, the actions behind them are the same. Both streams of work plan, create content, send it for review, make fixes when needed, and push their changes to production. So, the products that you standardize on need to be customizable. For example, Jira Software Data Center, typically used by developers to track their dev work, can be customized to support the documentation workflow. 


Why does alignment matter?

When you don’t have products that align with the needs of your teams and your IT department, you will have to continue providing support for all of these products. As your organization scales and your tasked with breaking down silos and empowering teams to collaborate, all of these products become a huge barrier, which is why having products that work together is so important. 

Data Center products work together to create an end-to-end experience. Take these examples of comparable workflow:

DEVELOPMENT WORKFLOW EXAMPLE

Teresa is a developer and she has been assigned a ticket in Jira Software Data Center to fix a bug. The ticket includes all the relevant information she needs to start working, including the due date, operating system, and affected version. She’ll then need to get access to a virtual machine (VM) that is configured with the specific requirements that were listed in her ticket to make sure that her fix works correctly. So, she’ll submit an IT request using Jira Service Management Data Center. 

Once she has her VM, she can start working on the bug fix. All of her code is stored in Bitbucket Data Center, which is integrated with Jira Software so that different stakeholders, such as PMs or other developers on her team, have visibility into the branches she’s committing her code to. 

Throughout the process, Teresa is updating her ticket and moving it through the appropriate statuses. After she’s finished fixing the code and it’s been approved, she can close the ticket. 

DOCUMENTATION WORKFLOW EXAMPLE

Don is a content writer creating documentation for a new features that’s going to be released. To start work on the project, he gets assigned a ticket in Jira Software Data Center. Just like Teresa, Don has all the information that he needs in the ticket to start working on it.

He’ll then use Confluence Data Center to write his content. In Confluence, he can refer back to different versions and his reviewers have the flexibility to comment on his work in real-time. Once he has all of his content reviewed, he can close out his ticket.

Building out workflows using a standard set of products makes it easier for your IT team to support the needs of the organization, which making it easier to collaborate across the organization.


How to I implement standard workflows?

When it comes to implementing your workflows across the organization, these are the steps you want to take:

1.   Picking your products and defining your workflows
2.   Consolidating your instances
3.   Optimizing your instance’s performance


1Picking your products and defining your workflows

With all the information you gathered during you product exploration phase, pick the products you want to focus on implementing across the organization. It’s important that you start with your mission-critical products first, as they’re going to get the most use. 

Then, decide what workflows are going to be best for your teams holistically. For example, the documentation specific workflow maybe isn’t helpful across the entire organization, but you could maybe leverage some of the developer workflows. Then, optimize the customizations, such as custom fields, to support any particular needs that may not be reflected in those workflows.


2Consolidate your instances

Next, you need to decide if you want to consolidate your instances. If so, you need to standardize your setup across all of them. 

Take a moment and review your apps. Are they helpful? Are they driving integration between your products? Additionally, it’s important to review, modify, and communicate any changes in user permissions and privileges to your teams. 

If you choose to consolidate, understand what options are available to you. For example, if you created an instance to support your geo-distributed teams, do you have a solution that ensures your teams don’t experience performance problems. You’ll want to look for features such as support for content delivery networks (CDN). You’ll also want to understand if there are any platform capabilities that your products have that can support your teams, such as a clustered deployment architecture.


3Optimizing your instance

Once you’ve carried out these changes, you will need a way to clean up the unused items in your instance. To do so, you need cleanup features to help make it easier on you. Cleaning up your instance isn’t just valuable to the experience of your teams. It’s actually good for your overall instance performance

To do this, leverage features, such as project and issue archiving, Custom Field Optimizer, and space archiving in Data Center, to clean up your space more efficiently.

By cleaning up your unused data, you set yourself up with a clean slate, where you can continue to build out workflows that make sense for your organization, better user management practices, and consolidate some of your tech stack. Additionally, you can reduce the amount of data that is taking up space in your index, which can help with your infrastructure costs.  

Check out how AppDynamics standardized their workflows and some tips and tricks to help you toward better enterprise efficiency.