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Agile testing

What I learned from Atlassian’s Remote Summit

I had planned to go to Las Vegas

Last week, I attended Atlassian’s Remote Summit 2020. While my home office isn’t exactly as exciting as Las Vegas, the event was a worthwhile experience, with many sessions and speakers who proved that the software community is here to uplift and engage professional teams around the world — no matter the circumstances.

I was able to take a whole lot away from this conference, and I’m excited to put some of it into practice in my own work. For those of you who couldn’t attend, I’ve put together some key takeaways from my two days “at” Atlassian Summit this year.


Stroll up in slippers

I was 45 minutes away from streaming my first Atlassian Virtual Summit Keynote. As I huddled around my computer in my flannel, sweatpants and beanie, I realized something: I’m wearing a flannel, sweatpants and a beanie…to a conference! The only “person” in the room to judge my conference attire was my dog, and it turns out he wasn’t wearing any clothes. Clearly, I was free and clear of any outfit judgment.

Turns out, when conferences go virtual, your audience is easily able to access the same great content at their complete and total leisure. Atlassian earned bonus points in my book simply for this.

At this point, I realized I could go even farther: food! I made myself a nice mid-day omelet and coffee, put my slippered-feet up (who isn’t wearing slippers to conferences these days?), and then started streaming the conference from my home-office with notepad in hand. (Pro tip: You can also attend Accelerate Virtual later this month in your slippers.)

Atlassian Summit, here I come!

Tools, tools, tools — keep them talking

Day one’s Keynote compilation featured many great speakers, all of whom had very pertinent presentations. I found myself especially interested in what Sean Regan, Head of Product Marketing for Software teams, had to say about Agile and DevOps toolchains:

“…no single vendor will ever deliver all of the tools and solutions necessary for modern developers, DevOps teams, or ITSM teams. Our industry moves too quickly; the tools move too fast. A modern toolchain at an Agile company will be comprised of best of breed products that work better together to help workflow for your company.”

Often times, as work has become more difficult and complex, I think that we’ve started to look for that fix-all, silver bullet solution. With Agile and DevOps, that would look like one tool that could offer EVERY single capability necessary to keep software developed, tested and delivered rapidly. But that tool does not exist. And, as Sean Regan reminds us, success looks like a bunch of teams using the best tools possible. For me, this hammered home the importance of integrative capability when it comes to your Agile and DevOps tooling. There are a lot of tools out there, and while many of them can help you perform certain tasks, it’s incredibly important to see how those tools can work together to keep the rest of your teams, and tools, connected.

Radical change: It’s happened, it’s here, and it’s coming

On day two, Sasan Goodarzi, the CEO of Intuit, spoke about the organization’s journey through digital transformation. While there were many interesting points made during this session, like Intuit’s evolution from a desktop-product focus to a mobile-friendly cloud offering and a complete re-shaping of the company’s values, the one thing that stuck out most was the endless nature of their transformation. There was no story about Intuit having come out the other end of transformation a bigger and better company, and now being able to rest on their laurels.

Instead, the point was made that there was so much more to come.

Even though Intuit had successfully made the jump from a company selling discs for desktops to one that has mobile apps and cloud-based tax filing solutions, the transformation is still underway. Intuit’s “Breaking down of monolithic code structures…” would be just the beginning for Intuit.

And the same can be said for any other enterprise. Goodarzi spoke excitedly about how the move to cloud and mobile made room for “smaller-end” disruptors, and this means that large enterprises with huge infrastructures, while already undergoing change, will have to stay swift on their feet. The change is here, it’s coming, and it won’t stop for those who wish to compete.

Collaborate: Keeping the conversation going

As Atlassian Summit came to a close, I spent some time reflecting and looking over my notes. I realized that — through pretty much all of the sessions I was able to attend — there was a common thread woven through each: the hopeful message around collaboration. As many of the keynote speakers mentioned, we are living and working through an unprecedented set of circumstances.

Teams and individuals that were sitting next to each other, swapping stories and progress updates over break-room coffee are now more distributed than ever. Many of our coworkers are now set up in home offices, and we all have to put our minds together to figure out the best way to keep collaborating.

There is no doubt that the oddness of this situation can leave us feeling uncomfortable and uncertain about the future of our ability to work. However, seeing what Atlassian was able to accomplish in such a short time, and learning more about the collaborative options available to teams everywhere, I feel very hopeful for what the future holds. As we all adjust and settle into this new normal, we do have the tools available to keep the collaboration going. We can all continue to work towards that digital transformation that Sasan Goodarzi spoke so highly of — and we can do it from our homes.

To end with a positive, hope-filled message, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes of the conference, from Atlassian CEO Scott Farquhar:

“Now we’re living in unprecedented times. None of us have lived through anything like this before. It can be scary and unsettling, but one thing it does show us is how connected we all are. Something that affects one of us, affects all of us. And, I’m hopeful that in this time of crisis, we will come together as a collective community, and that we’ll each help each other to become stronger, and that this will be an opportunity for a new beginning.”