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GLiNTECH and Atlassian: an eventful week

In recognition of our focus on enterprise software services, GLiNTECH have been awarded the status of an Atlassian Enterprise Expert. That makes us one of only a handful in the Asia-Pacific region to hold such a badge. We’ve been working with Atlassian since 2004 and every member of our team is well-versed in the product set, from developers through to admin staff.

To mark the start of our Enterprise Expert status, the folks at Atlassian were open to us using their new Sydney offices to host a breakfast event. What’s more, it turned out that they’d never held a breakfast event in 10 years of business so it was a bit of a trip into the unknown.

We settled on an overriding theme of Business Transformations with Software, the idea being to discuss how enterprise managers could use current software concepts and tools to shape different parts of the business. On the back of this, we were able to assemble an excellent lineup of presenters.

Limited to 40 guests, we invited senior business and IT staff from enterprises throughout Australia - CEOs, CIOs, Development Managers, Team Leads, Business Unit Executives and developers were all in attendance. Over breakfast, they discussed things like how agile concepts can be used in operational scenarios. Over coffee (from the on-site barista) they talked about how JIRA can be used as an onboarding tool for new staff.

GLiNTECH’s Managing Director, Dimitri Spyridopoulos - acknowledging that the room was a mix of business people and IT - opened proceedings with a bit of a practical agile guide and talked about how the way IT teams work is changing. He then highlighted how these concepts are adaptable to all business units, briefly describing how he changed the sales process at GLiNTECH by adapting scrum concepts to suit his team’s timeframes and needs.

Michael Rembach, the Applications Development Manager for Transport for NSW, gave a wonderful case study about how his development team had been transformed through the use of agile. His presentation was, as he put it, “the good news story”, taking the audience through various successes he and his team have achieved having adopted an agile approach (which you can read more of here courtesy of a journalist present at the event). There was a buzz of acknowledgement in the room when he mentioned that if he could do it all again, he’d organise for the contributing team from the business to also become trained on Scrum concepts right from the start.

Scott Farquhar, co-founder and CEO of Atlassian (recently touted as the coolest company in Australia) kindly offered to come along and give some thoughts on the idea that ‘every company is a software company’.

Some interesting examples were used to prove that point, like how the rise of new hardware like the iPhone helped grow an entire class of software applications that didn’t exist 5-10 years ago but now has over half a million applications. He went on to suggest how that sort of evolution causes change in the way businesses operate - for example Nike changing from spending marketing budgets on banner advertising to getting software developers to build out social applications. He even cited his own personal experience buying a car to emphasise how many of the most important purchasing decisions - safety, satellite navigation, fuel efficiency, etc - are driven by software. The point of his examples were to show that even ‘traditional’ companies are now embracing software to change the way they work.

The next presentation was by Jean-Michel Lemieux, VP of Engineering for Atlassian, who spoke generally of the way Atlassian - itself now a substantial enterprise - adapts to scale without sacrificing their core values. From his perspective, there was an emphasis on addressing the question of ‘what’s getting in the way of being able to do things quicker?’, stressing the importance of removing checkpoints and reducing backlogs so things flow faster and innovation rot doesn’t set in. Other interesting points raised surrounded the need to be tough on yourself (“doing the hard things more often”) as a type of training regiment. He also commented on the need to understand that even when you think you’re agile, there are always things that can be done better.

The final presenter was respected technology author and coach John Ferguson Smart who went into some finer detail about agile development practices and automated testing. His was a presentation geared more towards a technical audience and helped ensure the overall event struck a balance between conceptual and technical talks. With an audience made up of people from all parts of development, from general managers to the developers themselves, we felt it important to cover a wider spectrum.

We were, and are, extremely grateful that the overall feedback was positive across the board and that everyone indicated they’d be keen to attend another event. Thank you to everyone that came along, to all the presenters and also to Atlassian for letting us take over their office for a morning.  

If you’d like to be notified of the next software event GLiNTECH is running, please email a quick message with your details through to info@glintech.com and we’ll put you on our list.

To view photos of the event, head to the GLiNTECH Facebook page.