It has nothing to do with the tools, all with the people

That's quite the message for an IT conference! In the first week of May '17, Wunderkraut went to Barcelona to be part of the first ever Atlassian EU Summit. This sold-out 4-day event teased our passion for good collaboration and team-work, fueled by the great Atlassian product stack. We learned about the Human Operating system and the way it influences our (co-)work(ing).

Dieter Beheydt
Dieter Beheydt

Hurray Europeans: from now on Atlassian is also coming to Europe with an annual Atlassian Summit. After multiple summits in San Jose, we are now gathering in Barcelona with the Atlassian-family to get to know everything about their products, new releases and tips & tricks on how to use them every day.

As a long time Confluence fan, I went to the Summit and attended most of the Team & Collaboration track sessions. Despite the confirmation bias, these sessions were very very nice : all were funny from time to time, some confirming, some bringing new insights and new lessons learned which we can now try to implement in our use of Confluence and Jira in Wunderkraut and which we will consult our clients to implement in their organisation too.

Facts and figures

  • 54 nationalities were present on the Summit.

  • In total, 1796 people attended.

  • This blogpost is based on a 18.784 character-count internal Confluence page I created as notes during the conference.


Atlassian Summit indoor view during Shipit Live
Atlassian Summit indoor view during Shipit Live


But let's focus on the Break out sessions: Tips, tricks and best practices in working better as a team : 

Can you work good as a team when some people work remotely?

Session Video : Don't be Left Out: Tips for Working in a Remote Team. 

  • Communicate often (if you say something 7 times, half your team will say they heard it for the 1st time)
  • Write well 
  • Don't e-mail (hurray!) but update the status in your shared environment
  • Use chat, mentions and comments to catch peoples' attention


Can we check the health of our team and work on it?

Session Video : The Team Playbook: A Recipe for Healthy Teams

Atlassian did huge research on the way teams work today, what motivates people, what do people fear in their job, ... 

  • "Bureaucracy is kryptonite to productivity"
  • Why is team-work so difficult today?
    • Scaling: Customers know more than you about you and your product, customers have low switching costs, competitors come from everywhere, ...
    • Time: How do you prioritise in a team? How do you decide what you want to do and what you don't want to do 
    • Multiplier: Everybody in a team is a leader. As a leader you are expected to multiply your peoples' input
    • Perfection: This is a killer for motivation: it doesn't allow you to fail, it doesn't allow you to value progress as much as the result.
  • Motivation 
    • 50 % of people are motivated by team
    • 27 % of people are motivated by company
    • 23% of people are motivated by individual


Great teams = right tools + right people + right practices


The result of these studies is here for you to consume and use: check out the Atlassian Playbook for teams with loads of plays on how to pinpoint issues, discuss them and resolve them.


Atlassian Playbook for teams


We are all humans, hardwired like this

Session Video : The Key to Great Teams: Understanding the Human Operating System 

You should definitely watch this video. All of it is interesting in getting more insight in how and why people react the way they do, how that influences working in teams, what we aim for in our work and how that goes back to the time of the Neanderthalers.

A lot of philosophers are talked about in this presentation, all telling their story on the Human Operating System and how it drives our actions.

Some key highlights:

  • People are biased: confirmation bias and conservation bias 
  • People are afraid of change. People by nature are afraid. 
  • The two shared behaviours in Great teams: Conversational turn taking & Empathy
  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast: Change your culture first before you want to introduce a new strategy. E.g. you can't be an agile company when your culture hasn't changed before. You need to nudge the company and live by example. 

Awesome talk!

Building a great company culture 

Session video : 10 Atlassian Tool Hacks to Improve Team Culture

As Atlassian focuses so much on teams and team collaboration, they have a range of tips on how you can improve the team culture with the Atlassian tools. 

This talk shows a lot of easy tips and tricks you could apply in your company too (even without the Atlassian tools. Whoops, I didn't say that).


10 Atlassian tool tips for corporate culture


And now, how do I get my team to collaborate and use Confluence?

Session video : How to drive Confluence adoption

After a session on how kill the amount of meetings in your agenda and how to prepare good meetings yourself (video), I very much looked forward to a short lightning talk where some tips would be shared on how to get my colleagues to work in Confluence more and to also make it their digital workplace.

Seeing it is believing it, but change is hard. So here are some tips:

  • Make it relevant:
    • Give it the look and feel of your organisation. Uploading your logo already does a part of the work as major colours are picked from your logo automatically
    • Give people a reason to go there by putting the key info there. Mostly that's HR related info (daily lunch menus, vacation rules, ...)
  • Make it fun:  
    • Ask new colleagues to write an intro blog (as part of their 90 day plan)
    • Get Execs on board. Let them post this on Confluence: company announcements, strategic decisions
  • Make it a habit:
    • Replace meetings with pages (weekly status meetings , FYI meetings (with info section and list of @at-mentions) and send out the page via share button, not via e-mail!
    • Good meetings via a good meeting preparation (in Confluence)

Case studies

In the break out sessions, I also witnessed some talks by Atlassian customers who testified how they use Confluence in their organisation : 


Need more? Watch more videos (+100 !) on Youtube of the Atlassian Europe Summit 2017 and Atlascamp 2017 


Oh, there was also a Keynote, with a great section on Simply Powerful (around 1:00:39) , the design approach Atlassian uses in their latest and upcoming releases.

And remember kids : It has nothing to do with the tools, all with the people. (although the Atlassian product stack is awesome).

Fira convention center in Barcelona with Atlassian banners