Interview with Atlassian Platinum and Enterprise Expert – ISOS Technology

By on January 24, 2017

1. As an Atlassian Expert, please elaborate on some of the core services of Isos Technology.

Isos Technology is an Atlassian Platinum and Enterprise expert. Isos provides full stack Atlassian services. Our service offerings include installation, migration, training, support, custom development and third party integrations.

2. How is JIRA as a tool for a companies that practice Agile methodology? What is its impact on Project Management?

JIRA was created with a focus on agile development at its core. As features have been added over the years, its evolution has been guided by agile needs. Because of this “agile first” approach, it is an invaluable tool for companies that adhere to the agile methodology. When used properly, it greatly improves the efficiency of managing agile projects.

3. How about for companies that don’t practice Agile methodology?

Despite its agile-centric nature, JIRA can be a powerful tool for organizations that don’t practice the agile methodology. It provides excellent tools for task tracking and workflow management, which are useful regardless of methodology. The biggest hurdle can be getting a handle on terminology that may be agile-leaning, but any tool is going to require learning new terminology.

4. What are the potential benefits and/or pitfalls of JIRA?

JIRA is highly flexible and customizable. This can be both a benefit and a pitfall. Most of what users want to do can be done, but the danger of over-customization and over-engineering is always present. Without fully understanding the features available, users may overcomplicate solutions instead of using built in functionality properly. This may leave a bad taste in a user’s mouth without proper shepherding.

JIRA is excellent at promoting transparency and accountability at both the project and organization level. This can expose weaknesses in corporate processes during the search for the sweet spot between process and tooling. Care needs to be taken here to avoid bad decisions that may cause problems down the road.

5. How do you think add-ons from the Atlassian marketplace are changing the landscape?

JIRA is highly extensible through add-ons. As the tool has matured, so has the range of available add-ons. Out of the box, JIRA has a very rich toolset. The danger of a large marketplace combined with potential deep lack of tool knowledge is that it may lead users to search for add-ons when they may not be needed. Before looking into the marketplace, users should define the use cases they are trying to solve. Then they should determine if there is an actual gap versus something that just needs to be tweaked.

One of the inevitable issues that arises with a mature marketplace is the sheer volume of add-ons. Where it was a simple matter to find an add-on that addressed a specific use case in the past, the number of add-ons now available means multiple add-ons may address the same use case. This can make the decision making process more difficult. However, this also means that the competition to provide good add-ons enriches the tooling as different providers offer up increasing better solutions.

6. What do you think of continuous feedback/performance reviews/OKRs in JIRA? How would they help these companies?

JIRA is a useful tool for these domains, particularly around measurements, but historically it should definitely be used in conjunction with Confluence. At the end of the day, Confluence is where domain documents should live. Given the similarities in these domains, they all follow patterns. These patterns lend themselves to template mapping in Confluence. These templates can be used to enforce organizational patterns and standards. JIRA’s role here is to drive processes and maintain transparency. By using JIRA for the process portions, you will always be able to tell what is happening with the content.

The challenge with this approach appears in earnest at scale. Thousands of Confluence documents 4-5 times a year can become a huge issue. Adding UpRaise both moves the problem to JIRA and eliminates the need for a linked page, while also introducing the same templating solution I mentioned above. The notion of linking in issues automatically is also very appealing, I can’t wait for an opportunity to try this out!


Kevin Allen of Isos Technology has almost twenty years of experience leading high performance teams up to 275 members in size. His experience spans a wide range of industries, including higher education, technology, and internal and external customer service.

Kevin has experience in both building teams from the ground up and optimizing existing teams and organizations. He has been directly responsible for implementing and guiding process improvements and projects for multi-million dollar initiatives. Most recently, he has merged automation support and platforms into a large Agile development team leveraging the full Atlassian stack.

Kevin Allen’s extensive background in optimizing high performance teams and managing multi-million dollar initiatives brings a unique perspective to Isos Technology customer engagements. This, combined with his practical enterprise Atlassian experience, makes him a valuable addition to the Isos Technology team.

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