Intro to Jira

Hi Marketing Team,

As many of you have heard by now we are transitioning to Jira in the coming weeks. Jira will replace fogbugz as our project management tool here in marketing. As we transition I will keep you all updated on which teams will be transition when so you can start diving in and utilizing Jira.

You will find login instructions below and here is a link to the user guide.

Please take the time to read the below information regarding the transition.

To give you a little more information and to answer a few questions that have come up in the last couple of weeks.

  1. Is Marketing the only department switching to Jira? We as a company are transitioning to using Jira. Eventually fogbugz will be replaced all together and we will no longer be using it.
  2. How will this effect working with other departments? As we have transitioned to more of a line of business model here at Faithlife there will be more opportunities to work on projects with other departments. Jira will be a great tool in which we can work on cross department projects with other teams.
  3. Are we required to use Jira? What if we like what we are doing? As much as possible we ask that each team and individual use Jira for all of their projects and tasks.
    1. Why, you might ask? A few great benefits of Jira:

i.     Everything for your project is in one place. You will no longer have to add everything to the wiki, asana, google docs. (This doesn’t mean that we won’t use these tools anymore, but the amount of duplication and where you need to add information will become less repetitive.)

ii.     Management will be able to pull reports from Jira, decreasing the number of reports you will need to turn in or fill out on a weekly basis, giving you more time to work on your projects.

iii.     Time Tracking will become a lot easier!! We will be switching to a monthly time tracking system with time tracking by project for LARGE projects.

iv.     Jira is more user friendly than fogbugz.

How does this affect you now?

  1. You will want to set aside sometime over the next few weeks to get familiar with Jira, go through the user manual and attend the training that you are scheduled for.
  2. Any projects you have in fogbugz will be migrated over to Jira in the next 6 weeks at which point you will be working solely out of Jira.
  3. You will need to work in both Fogbugz and Jira until all teams has been transitioned. As much as possible we ask that once a team is transitioned you enter any new requests in Jira rather than fogbugz.
  4. Any projects that are not in Jira will need to be put in manually by you.
  5. As teams transition over you will need to start submitting your request in Jira (even if your team is still working in fogbugz and hasn’t been transitioned over).

A few terms to familiarize yourself with:

  1. Issue: An issue is equivalent to a parent case in fogbugz
  2. Project: A project is equivalent to a project in fogbugz (For example our current projects in fogbugz are: Marketing Projects: Logos, Marketing Projects: Ecommerce, Marketing Technology Team, etc.)
  3. Task or Sub-Task: A task or sub-task are equivalent to a child case in fogbugz

 

How to Login:

You all currently should have access to Jira. If you are unable to login please let me know.

To login, follow these instructions:

Go here:  https://faithlife.atlassian.net/login (you may want to bookmark this)

  1. Your username is everything in front of the @ on your faithlife email address.
  2. If you don’t have a password, click unable to access your account, and you will be prompted to create a password.

As you start exploring the tool, know that we are still making changes and these changes will continue to take place over the next 6 weeks as we get everyone transitioned over. Please be patient and ask lots of questions. If you aren’t sure how to do something connect with your team lead first, if they don’t know the answer then feel free to reach out to me.

Please let me know if there are any questions or concerns.

Thanks!

 

Kirsten

Meetings: agenda example, pointers on leading, and more

Hi Marketing,

In an effort to maximize the time we spend in meetings this year. I wanted to follow up in regards to an email Krista sent at the beginning of the year regarding maximizing your time in meetings.  Here are a few pointers on how you can make the most of your meetings.

Also Phil recommended a great book to read and I highly recommend it.  Shay (Phil’s assistant) has a couple copies that are available to check out.

How to lead an awesome meeting:

  1. Come prepared
  2. Provide all information upfront before the meeting occurs. (Everyone should know why they were invited to the meeting.)
  3. Know which decision makers need to be in the meeting and when

A great meeting invite agenda includes:

  1. A brief summary of the purpose of the meeting
  2. An agenda for the meeting
  3. Any documentation/information that needs to be communicated or discussed in the meeting
  4. Your action items/plan
  5. Your goals for the meeting
  6. Decisions that will need to be made in this meeting

Pointers on managing meetings:

    1. Opening – Open your meeting with a brief summary of the purpose of this meeting, your agenda, and goals.
    2. Facilitating
      1. Come prepared to lead
      2. When facilitating a meeting it is your responsibility to make sure that the meeting stays on track
      3. Follow the agenda you set for your meeting.
      4. Does everyone need to be there for the entire meeting? If not, make sure to communicate the time duration with each individual on when they will be needed for that meeting.
    3. Closing –Close your meeting with a brief recap of the meeting, action items to take away from the meeting, who is responsible for what action steps to move the project/idea forward, decisions that were made.
    4. Following up –Send a follow up email to everyone who was included in the meeting invite (even if they didn’t come) with a recap, action items, and timeline for completion.

How to be a great participate in a meeting:

      1. Come prepared
        1. Know what the purpose of the meeting is about
        2. Read through the agenda and materials required for the meeting ahead of time
        3. Come to participate
          1. Bring your thoughts and ideas to the meeting.
          2. If you do not think you have anything to contribute to the meeting, determine if it is really necessary for you to participate in the meeting.

I hope that these pointers can help you as you plan meetings this year and throughout your career.

Have any questions, concerns or comments? Connect with your manager (Phil, Nick, Glenn, Franklin, Josh or Krista).

Thanks! I love that I get to work with such an awesome team!

Kirsten

Kirsten Radke | Marketing Operations Specialist

Reflections on Project Roles & Communication

This content was originally sent in an email rolling out some changes to the project roles. It was updated on 9/6/13 to better reflect how the department is currently managing projects.

Below are some thoughts and comments on responsibility and communication between project team members.

Reflections on each role

I’ve come to expect that Project Stakeholders will not be thinking about the details of what the team members will actually have to do to make a project happen. This freaks me out sometimes. But I’m learning that this is a GOOD thing. They shouldn’t be caught up in those details because their concern is whether we should be doing it at all and, if we do it, whether the proposed strategy will actually work. They are the people team members go to when they hit roadblocks they can’t get around.

The Project Manager is responsible for suggesting ideas, but even more importantly absorbing all the ideas and feedback from everyone involved. Their role is to consolidate everything they’ve received, shift through it and paint the clearest picture of where we’re going and what success looks like so that others involved in the project know what they need to know to actually make it happen.

Project Managers are both responsible for

  • Asking probing questions; seeking to understand the underlying reasons for others’ suggestions
  • Listening actively to what others are saying and asking probing questions to get to the underlying assumptions, beliefs and philosophies.
  • Returning focus to the customer’s experience whenever that topic gets lost.
  • Identifying and suggesting possible solutions, ensuring that the managers and executive’s concerns are addressed
  • Modifying solutions until consensus is reached.
  • Documenting where the discuss landed
  • Recapping discussions. Then following-up to confirm that this is in fact where the team wants to go.
  • Getting answers that other team members need.

Lost in Translation

During the transition from idea to actual project strategizing, it’s easy to have information become “lost in translation’. Sometimes this creates tension between the person that had the idea and the person who will execute on the idea. To combat this tension, I think the most effective tool in a Project Managers “tool box” is listening followed by probing questions.

What does this look like? I suggest starting with an in-person conversation where you ask questions like:

  • Did any other managers or executives express concerns that I need to factor into the plan I’m putting together?
  • What ideas were suggested and then abandoned already ? What was the reason behind deciding against it?
  • How important is this? Is this really more important than project X or Y that I’m already working on?
  • Who has been involved in the conversations to-date? (You can ask them clarifying questions as well to get a clearer picture of discussions that have already occurred.)
  • Should this include… a landing page? a video…?

Then during the answers, listen for indications that there’s more underlying information. Then ask questions like:

  • Can you explain a little more what you mean when you say…?
  • Can you define…”
  • When you say X do you really mean Y?

There may be questions that come to mind that you want to avoid asking because you’re afraid of the answer. Don’t give into the fear. Ask the question now. It’s better to know, and deal, with it now instead of later.

When you start to wrap up the discussion, recap what you’ve heard. Often when you give your recap they’ll realize that they missed a pivotal piece of information or that there is a hole somewhere in the strategy. There’s something really powerful about hearing someone else recap what you’ve said.

The goal at this point is get as clear a picture as possible of what you need to achieve. Push back in areas you don’t think are clear or that don’t make sense. Think of this as one more place where either details can get lost or where the strategy can be even better refined.

Closing Comments

If you’ve made it this far: thanks for reading! I really love this topic and I would love to dialog with you if you have questions, concerns, or just want to chat.

NEW: Project Status & Priority Levels

Hi Marketing Team,

We have a massive amount of work flowing through our department at any given time and the priorities change rapidly. Phil and Nathan have asked the marketing leads to make sure they are aware of every project that we’re working on. On a weekly basis the leadership team will be looking at all projects that have come into our department and will set priorities for them to make sure we’re all working on the most important projects.

This means that the Wiki is becoming even more important because it is the only place where we can see every project that is going on.

1)      Every project needs to have a Wiki page. Nathan has asked Design and MarTech to push back if there isn’t a Wiki associated with a project*

2)      We’re making some changes to the way we use the project status field on the Wiki

  1. Triage: every new project needs the status set to triage. Management will determine whether we need to do it now or later. The templates should all be set to triage. Please do not change this.
  2. Pending: once a project has been triaged, if Phil and Nathan want it to be worked on now, we’ll changed the status to pending, assign it to someone to own and assign a priority level.
  3. Active: once you start working on a project that has been assigned to you, you’ll need to change the status to Active. All active projects should have a priority level assigned to them.
  4. d.      OnHold: we will no longer be using this status
  5. Backlog: Backlog projects are ones that we have decided not to work on at this time. We will be changing these Wiki pages so that they are not assigned to owners, but are instead assigned to areas of ownership. When a backlogged project is ready to be worked on  it will move to pending (if no work has been done yet) or to active (if some work was done on it before it was backlogged).

3)      We’re adding priority level to every Active project on the Wiki: [[projectPriority::]]

1: On Fire

2: Do now

3: Do later

*We still differentiate between a task and a project.

  • Tasks: A task is something that needs to get done that is isolated to a single individual or a single “thing”. If something requires more than one individual to be involved, or has multiple steps, then it is not a task it is a project. Tasks can exist outside of projects. These do NOT require a Wiki.
  • Projects: A project is a collection of tasks. These require a Wiki.
  • Bugs: Things that are broken on websites, landing pages, in software, etc. These do NOT require a Wiki.

For webpage updates: If it is changing the design or structure of a page it is a project. If it is content it is a task.

Product Team: This change does not apply to sku Projects and Sermon Archive Projects.