So you’ve got a great service desk system like Jira Service Desk in place, but customers are still sending emails directly to you for password resets or new hardware purchases. While adoption has gone well for some customers, others still want that personal interaction to allay their fears of choosing the wrong software license type or ensuring an employee gets onboarded within the week. How can we continue to deliver great personalized customer service while also promoting comfort and ease-of-use around your new Jira Service Desk? Here are some ideas:
- Name your Service Desk: Sometimes having a system with a name and a mascot help to personalize a system so that users feel more comfortable using it. For example, you could name your system “SANDY” and create logo character based on one of your brands as a mascot. Your customer can think of it as asking SANDY a question rather than just typing a question into the Confluence knowledge base.
- Give Thanks for the Heads Up: Did one of your customers report a possible problem early that saved a system from going down? Perhaps they suggested a fix that helped an agent close a ticket. Find a way to recognize those who help put out fires before they start. It’s a great way to encourage other departments to look for proactive ways to prevent issues from cropping up.
- Customer Training: Maybe a customer is unsure of how to use the service desk and is still walking up to your desk or calling in issues? Be proactive, provide training and easily accessible videos to walk customers through the ticketing process so they are assured that you have received and are working on their request / issue. This could be a way to see from the customer’s perspective some ideas to improve your service desk processes, layout, and policies so that customers are more comfortable with the system.
- Customer Usage Feedback: Too many fields for a user in the customer portal? Too many request or issue types? Simplify. It’s important for the user experience to have straight forward forms and easy to understand questions.
- Create Meaningful Satisfaction Surveys: Provide users the ability to submit satisfaction surveys and make them easily accessible. For instance, after a ticket is resolved / closed, send an email to the customer asking to complete a customer survey. Make sure you also leave room for suggestions so that feedback can be used to create a better experience.
Interested in learning more about Jira Service Desk, Confluence, or the Atlassian Tool Suite? Contact us today!
After years of utilizing the Rational Suite extensively across programs and projects, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is looking at other options for their DevOps and project management capabilities. Increasing collaboration across teams within OIT, and enabling the ability for teams to quickly adopt to change is key for DevOps to be successful within the VA and OIT. How can the VA do this? DevOps is not a quick implementation or a “quick fix” to challenges encountered across multiple organizations. Instead, it requires three components working together in order for a successful DevOps strategy to be implemented across an agency: policy & life cycle updates, cultural adaption, and tools to ensure enablement.
Policy & Life Cycle
The VA Veterans Integration Process (VIP) software development methodology was implemented in the summer of 2016 replacing PMAS. VIP was an attempt to establish an agile process environment that unfortunately continued to require the Rational process. The most positive aspect of VIP is allowing enhancement Release the freedom from Rational compliance. Post go-live release, e.g. Releases 1.1, 2.0, 3.0, 4.1, can use Agile, SCRUM, and modern tools. Now, whichever tools and approach the respective vendors have internally within their respective development environments is acceptable for VA project enhancement releases.
Within the VA, there are innovators such as Bill James, the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, who support a swift transition away from the Rational suite and the adoption of modern tools to help transform their DevOps and project management capabilities. Most projects supported by the various T4NG vendors, are performing Agile with modern tools for Agile development, e.g. Epics, User Stories, Test Cases, Defects, Backlogs re: the SCRUM process. The new world of DevOps will likely be dependent on the adoption, implementation and administration of automated testing, deployment and monitoring tools. The administration of the Department’s Tools and Workflow is the opportunity to seize upon. Such as a Center of Excellence (COE) established and supported by the vendors for the VA.
Tools for Enablement
With the establishment of new policies around lifecycles and culture, comes the adoption of new tools that enable DevOps capabilities across the VA. The ideal tool for the VA would include integration capabilities with the current software tool suite utilized by the VA (i.e. Rational), along with the ability to support the entire DevOps process. Integration with the current toolset is key, as many tasks, stories, requirements and configurations will need to be translated from one tool to another. The DevOps tool suite will need to be customized to include stage gate reviews and processes as required by the VIP. Fields, configurations, permissions and notifications will be standardized across all of the projects, with only minor customizations added if required by the program or project manager. The tool should also require minimum training for users, most users should after only one or two training sessions, be able to begin utilizing the tool for their teams.
Next Steps for the VA
Implementing a new lifecycle policy, culture, and tools at the VA will ensure a consistent and repeatable approach to DevOps is taken within the agency. One tool with an extensive suite of capabilities utilized across multiple agencies is the Atlassian Tool Suite, Jira / Confluence / Bitbucket / Bamboo. Combining these tools provides users with a powerful, DevOps and Project Management focused tool suite highly customizable and flexible enough to meet the constantly changing needs of the VA. What do you think about enabling agencies to adopt DevOps practices?
Co-Authored – Michael Brown & Cavin Clayton of Ascend and Carahsoft
References / Links:
Office of Information and Technology Executive Biography: https://www.afcea.org/event/sites/default/files/files/VA-OIT-Bill%20James-Bio-2018May08%20-.pdf
Government CIO: https://governmentciomedia.com/vas-agile-shift-toward-efficiency
Last week, Ascend Integrated accompanied Atlassian and Carahsoft and attended the AFCEA West 2019 event in San Diego, CA. The conference is an excellent event to attend, whether you are an IT professional or working in some way with the United States Military / Department of Defense. The conference was attended by many ranking officers, leaders, and program / project managers.
Vice Admiral Mathias “Mat” Winter, Director of the Joint Strike Fighter Program, emphasized the importance of being agile, and its applicability across the DoD. With new equipment coming online utilizing a combination of IT systems and the implementation of Open System Architecture (OSA), the necessity to “Adapt or Die” to changing political and military climates has never been more important. Bug fixes, new features / capabilities, and maintenance must be tracked and managed in a centralized and secure repository.
While attending, Atlassian (and specifically Jira / Confluence) were referenced repeatedly by multiple programs in speeches and working sessions, including Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) and members of the United States Air Force (USAF). Many enjoyed using the tool for project and requirements management, but spoke directly to us regarding ways they would like to see it improved, adapted, and implemented across multiple teams.
Ascend Integrated reviewed this feedback and determined three ways we can best adopt the Atlassian Tool Suite to supporting our Warfighters.
1. Interoperability: Enforce Widespread Adaption & Consistency
Interoperability is a key objective of many of the military programs. This extends not only to the systems being implemented through these programs, but also the supporting systems and DevOps implementations, such as the Atlassian Tool Suite. With Jira and Confluence containing the majority of the project management components, other tools utilized for testing and deployment should integrate directly with the suite at both a system and process level. If you’re looking for integrations, try reviewing the Marketplace or REST API capabilities. Keep all your data centralized, secure, consistent and easily accessible for your team.
2. Lean Governance & Continuous Improvement
We all know, governance may add bureaucracy, but it’s important when implementing large scale implementations of any tool. Jira and Confluence have multiple ways of implementing lean governance to support continuous improvement and enhancements to the tool. One simple way of implementing lean governance and continuous improvement, is creating a specific Jira project to track, plan, and implement enhancements to the Atlassian Tool Suite based on feedback received by your users.
For any software tool, training is key. Users will learn how to consistently administer, develop, or track / manage their projects and programs. Ensure your users are trained, using consistent training at both the administration and project levels. This can be completed by using a combination of Atlassian University courses and enlisting the help of Certified Training Partners.
Ascend Integrated is a U.S., DC based Atlassian Solution Partner providing support services to multiple branches of the DoD for Atlassian, FedRAMP and Security support. How would you suggest supporting the Agile Warfighter? Contact Us Today!