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Atlassian Team Playbook

At Atlassian, great work is built on teamwork

We found that hiring great talent and using the right tools wasn’t enough. How we worked together, as a team, made the difference.

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Our story

Work got done, but it wasn’t always easy

When something went wrong—missed deadlines, disagreements—it went really wrong. It seemed the only solution was for a coach to parachute in and fix the problems.

We needed a common resource

So, we pooled together the team practices that were working best. We blended elements of agile, lean, Design thinking, and our own in-house methodologies to create workshops called Plays, and built a self-serve resource accessible to all teams at Atlassian.

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The Team Playbook is a workshop resource built for teams, by teams

We're sharing this resource with all teams so you can focus more on getting work done and less on inventing ways of working

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The Health Monitor Play gave us a useful, structured way for our team in the Phillippines to share feedback with our team in the UK.

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Aaron Batterby
Director, Delivery DevOps & QA

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Healthy teams are happier and more productive. It pays to invest in the teams not just the product.

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Cliff Obrecht
COO

Team Playbook is rooted in science

Plays are centered around practices that are proven to help foster team connection and improve performance

Improved Performance

Improved performance

Debriefs (like the Retrospective, 4 L’s Retrospective, or the Health Monitor Plays) lead to 25% better team performance.

Better Outcomes

Better team outcomes

Team-building activities (like Plays) that focus on goal-setting, interpersonal relationships, role clarification, and problem solving help teams improve outcomes.

Greater Satisfaction

Greater team satisfaction

Establishing ground rules (like the Working Agreements Play) and clarifying expectations (like the Project Poster Play) help teams feel more satisfied and perform better.

The research continues

Keep track of how Atlassian is putting our Plays to the test, and stay up to date on our latest experiments and findings—right to your inbox.

Thanks!

FAQs

How did Team Playbook come about?

Atlassian is a global company with over 4,000 employees on five continents. We’re no strangers to the messiness of teamwork.

One of our company values is Be the change you seek. And when teamwork issues came up, we rolled up our sleeves and took matters into our own hands.

Over the course of two years, one of our teams compiled a set of team exercises that help solve common problems, like delivering high-volume, high-quality service, or alignment on project goals. Thus, Plays were born.

Plays help teams of all types manage and execute work, assess strengths and weaknesses, monitor progress, and empower Atlassians of all experience levels to lead change on their teams.

They remove the naturally-occurring friction teams face, and provide a single resource for teams across the company. Now, we’re sharing that same resource with you.

The Team Playbook has been, and will always be, free for any team to use. And we encourage any and all feedback to help improve and update Plays, so that we can continue to our mission to unleash the potential of every team.

Why does the Team Playbook focus on teams and not individuals?

We found there’s already a lot of great resources that focus on individual contributions to a team. Teams, as a whole, is the hardest to solve for, and the least understood.

We believe teams move the world forward, but can get messy when different priorities, personalities, and geographies have to come together. Compounding logistical challenges is the diversity paradox. A variety of skills, ages, and backgrounds make for higher-performing, healthier teams, while simultaneously making interpersonal dynamics more challenging. Navigating different personalities and problem solving styles is often necessary to make sure your project is successful.

Tools alone can’t solve these issues, and teams need the right people and practices in place. But the hardest part is being able to take a hard look in the mirror and acknowledge the faults and cracks.

If you want to help your team, but don’t know how to get started, you’re in the right place.

Is the Team Playbook really used by Atlassian teams?

Yep! Our teams use Plays every day. Our depth of knowledge on teamwork doesn't come simply from research and theories, but from actually putting these methods into practice and seeing results first-hand.

Some Plays are Atlassian originals, and some are ideas borrowed from other experts in this space that we’ve adapted to fit our unique needs.

We've blended elements of agile, lean, and Design thinking in developing Plays, to make them a good fit for teams with diverse goals, skills, and personalities.

Our team is really busy. How do we make time to add another meeting to our calendars?

We believe Plays are worth the time spent because they end up saving time by reducing spin, extra meetings, and confusion.

Plays also save your teams time and energy in the end because they are a common language and way of working. They allow teams to spend their mental fuel on the task at hand instead of wasting it on bespoke ways to approach the task.

We encourage teams who feel overwhelmed to try one of our Plays from the “Debriefing” category such as a Health Monitor, Retrospective or 4Ls Retrospective to reflect back on where things are going well and what needs improving.

If you’re still feeling stuck, email us with any specific questions at teamplaybook@atlassian.com.