As any AUG where the users present (as opposed to us Experts) this one was quite well attended. As Atlassian Expert in Wellington we are planning to combine our forces with Catch Limited to run the next meeting.
We got on the boat with 150+ Atlassian customers, experts and Atlassians and sailed out into Sydney harbor on Atlassian Road Trip.
The presentation from Jean-Michel Lemieux, Atlassian VP of Engineering gave some insights at how cutting edge Atlassian is, how the team thinks and does things and perhaps what really drives the products in the directions we see.
We're participating in the first ever Meet The Buyer event in Wellington and we need to get our thoughts together to prepare for our meetings with prospective customer from various government agencies.
We went through the exercise of asking ourselves (yes, weird) questions that a potential client might ask. So below is a start to our one-day-it-will-be-perfect elevator pitch.
What problems do you solve?
We are helping organisations slash costs while improving efficiency and responsiveness, create and support interconnected web-based business process, compliance and information management applications, meet ever tougher standards for auditability, uptime and security.
Our customers are able to reduce the sheer number of different applications that must be developed, licensed and supported to cover the business needs of their often large organisations through consolidation on as single platform.
Overview - your product and service offering?
We develop and deploy applications without coding and train our customers to do so too.
We use EnterpriseWizard platform, a proven and compelling solution - companies such as EMC, Chevron, government agencies and banks use it for a range of fully tailored applications. These were built in a matter of weeks, using just a browser, without writing a line of code and can run as a cloud service or inside your network.
By defining custom data models (the tables, fields, business rules and workflows specific to the application) that automatically inherit all the other core enterprise functionality like database connectivity, permissions, email integration, search, graphical and statistical reports, data export/import and integration APIs, EnterpriseWizard extensible rapid-development BPM platform makes creation of custom business applications possible without reinventing the wheel while reducing software, development, support, and consulting costs.
Is there a specific new product/service or innovation you want to tell us about?
TechTime Initiative Group, an Atlassian Partner has been providing a solution to do NTLM authentication (a.k.a auto-login or SSO in Windows environment) in Confluence and Jira for over 2 years. We have customers successfully using this solution in New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland, Germany and USA both in NTLMv1 and NTLMv2 environments.
The NTLM Authenticator is delivered as a jar file and instructions how to deploy it to Atlassian Jira and/or Confluence to work in conjunction with IOPlex Jespa to perform NLTM authentication in Windows environment.
The cost is one-off NZ$150 (plus fees for Jespa license payable to IOPlex).
If you need it, talk to us, the email address is at the top of this website.
The trial version is available from our TurningRight website.
1. What version(s) of Atlassian application(s) are you running now?
2. What version(s) do you want to migrate to?
3. What DB is currently used? Who is in charge of DB related questions ie access, running SQL statements if required? Are you planning to continue using this database?
4. Java version: What java version is being used at this time?
5. How much data do you have? What is the size of the latest backup file? How big is in the attachments directory?
6. What kind of user management/integration is in place (embedded, external Atlassian Crowd, LDAP/ActiveDirectory integration, NTLM SSO)?
7. What platform is in use: OS, distributive and version. Is running on a physical host or a VM?
8. Who is looking after this host/VM? What if we need something changed? For example we might need to have more memory allocated because running latest version of the app may require more RAM than before. From experience 2Gb of RAM is a regular requirement nowadays for good performance. We need to ensure your server has enough available RAM to cover this.
9. We strongly recommend to have a test environment and perform upgrade there first using your production data restored from a backup, to see how long the upgrade will take for your dataset and hardware configuration and eliminate possible incompatibilities with plugins and custom add-ons. Do you already have one or should we include building one in our estimates? Will there be a physical box/VM available for these purposes? Would a temporary cloud instance in Amazon EC2 be acceptable (i.e. how sensitive is data)?
10. If the test environment is in-house, after successful test will we have to update the prod environment or can we simply switch DNS to point to the test one?
11. Are the any specific plugins that are considered crucial for your business operation?
12. Are there any configurations that will have to be re-applied (email integration, color schemes, custom icons, custom workflows, issue types, etc.)
13. Are there any custom components/integration in place with 3rd party software that will need to be migrated?
14. Are backups up to date and where can they be found?
15. Will this be an on-site job or can it be done remotely?
16. If working on-site, will we have internet access from the application's environment (to download plugins)?
17. What downtime/outage procedures are observed, who has to be notified/updated on progress?
18. How much time will we have?
19. When approximately is this upgrade expected to be performed?
20. What time will be best suitable for the test run?
21. What time will be best suitable for the prod upgrade?
22. Have you bought a license for new application version already? As AtlassianPartners we can assist with buying/renewing the license and include the price of the license in our final invoice. We are able to offer 10% discount comparing to Atlassian list prices. The amount for the license will be in NZ$ and include GST.
23. Who will be supporting the installation after the upgrade?
24. Are there any documents/agreements that we need to sign? Are there any security checks/requirements we need to fulfill before we can take on this project?
Finally we had time to compile all the questions we ever had to ask our client prior taking on a design job. I also added some of the questions that have been circulating around the internet for ages, some of them were pretty crucial as we ended up asking them anyway but in much later stage, and it was, um, stressful!
So there you go, the Questionnaire for a Web Designer, feel free to use it for your projects or fill it and sent it to us if you want us to do some work with you:
Project Questionnaire: Web design and branding
To help us to create an accurate response to your enquiry, please complete this project sheet. Don't be put off. It's not that long, but asks some important questions, so we can get an idea of what it is you need.
Once you're done, be sure to email it to email@example.com.
Answer each of the questions as best you can, and skip any that are not relevant.
What is the name of your company, your website and the current/intended URL web address?
Describe your company and the concept, product or service your site will provide.
Who are the main contacts for this project? Who has the final approval?
(Please list names, email addresses and phone numbers)
When do you expect the project to start and when does it need to be completed? Are there specific reasons for these dates? (tradeshow, product launch, end of year budget)
Your budget dictates how much time we can devote to your website. What is the budget for this project?
Design and Branding
Please fill in and send back to us with any current logos or examples of your current branding along with other new images or photos that will be used later.
Do you have a slogan or tagline that clearly describes what you offer in terms of benefits or features?
Who are your target audience?
What is there about you and your background that sets you apart for a special (niche) group of potential customers? If any.
What design services are you after (logo, business cards, letter head, envelops. Calendar, posters, promotion booklets)
What adjectives could best describe your intended logo?
Where will your logo be used primarily ?
Are there any 3d party logos that appeal to you and why?
Do you currently have any corporate colours?
Do you have any other colours in mind for the design?
Please list a few websites that you like the look of and explain why.
Please comment on what you like/dislike about some of your competitors websites.
On your website homepage, what do you feel is most important for the customer to notice first?
Are there any particular parts of the website that you would like to draw customers to?
What are the key things you would like to achieve with your website design? (higher sales, better brand image, easily navigational information etc.)
How much time will you be able to spend online, responding to inquiries that come in via your website? Once a day? Several hours a day?
Do you need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system? If so, can you list the kind of features you will need? (updatable news, clients database, automatic newsletters)
Do you need integration with any of the social network application? (Facebook, Twitter etc)
What features should be used on your website (contact form, pictures, video, etc.)?
What do you NOT want on your site in terms of text, content, color, graphic elements?
Who will be responsible for maintaining the website and how much time he or she would have for it?
If you were using a search engine, what words or phrases would you use to find your site? Which of these words or phrases is most important? Second? Third?
Other than what search engines will produce, what methods do you have in mind to spread the word about your website?
We've tried to keep this questionnaire as general as possible, but every project is unique. Here is your chance to add any extra information you think will be helpful.
TechTime Initiative Group is a small Kiwi business - a busy little company-that-can, people in perpetual motion, robots who never sleep, with an endless cycle of ideas turning into initiatives turning into innovation.
Besides working with local and overseas customers for the last 5 years, we have been involved with local community and volunteer-run organizations. We have seen these work through their day to day routine and have noticed several common and relatively simple problems that we think can be solved better with the use of some intelligent software.
This year Ed Letifov, one of the founders, have applied for AMP "Do You Thing!" Scholarship in the Business/Entrepreneurial category for Wellington/Manawatu region hoping to secure funding for this cause.
If Ed gets the scholarship he plans to devote his time to making a software package that will genuinely simplify the everyday tasks for volunteer-driven and community-driven non-for-profit organizations.
Many components of the final solution have already been developed and tested with our existing non-profit and commercial customers. The final stretch of bringing these together and packaging as an intuitive product remains.
The ultimate goal is to make it affordable and, while funding allows, distribute to non-profits at no charge at all.
AMP has a panel of judges that will select the finalists by October 2010.
In parallel the People's Choice Award runs up until 31st of July 2010.
If you think it is a worthy goal, you can help Ed by casting your vote here:
See how Blog Theme can be customized with CSS "skins" IN ACTION
Full list of new features includes:
1. Ability to specify an alternative theme banner as logo.* file attached to the space home page
2. Ability to specify custom theme Footer
3. Integration with TechTime EasySEO Plugin
4. Integration with TechTime CSS Switcher Plugin
5. Ability to override layout via CSS
If you are using Blog Theme and have suggestions and feature requests - TELL US!
We have just made (the long awaited) Blog Theme Release 0.9.38 available for download
This release targets Confluence 3.x and includes German localization.
We will include localization for French in the next release.
Thus we will have both languages that Confluence supports out of the box supported by the theme.
Numerous fixes to be compatible with Confluence 3.x
Proper localization for all theme-related texts
German localization. Use German titles for special pages the theme relies on: About - Über dieses Blog, Featured Articles - Ausgewählte Artikel, Side Panel - Seitenleiste, Side Panel Part One .. Side Panel Part Nine - Seitenleiste Teil Eins .. Seitenleiste Teil Neun.
Added the server side redirect to news on home page access (available Confluence 2.8+)
If you are developing in Java on Mac OS X you have probably already stumbled on a problem of choosing the correct Java version to run your programs.
The net is full of conflicting advise involving use of Java Preferences app in /Applications/Utilities vs. changing the symlinks to the CurrentJDK in /System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions
I have to say I've used both, but one last problem remained - the sudo user seem to get a different version of Java despite symlinks pointing to 1.6 or Java Preferences listing 1.6 at the top.
The problem can be solved by changing the "Current" symlink in the same directory normally pointing to (some mysterios) directory "A" to point to "1.6" too. However some applications don't like this at all - NeoOffice doesn't start for example.
I have been fighting with this problem several times already, but somehow would always end up with changing symlinks back and forth. Now thanks to Ambient Ideasthe answer is here.
So I turned to harness the wisdom of one of the really smart guys (that uses a Mac) I'm privileged to hang out with in Denver, Fred Jean. Fred said, "Try adding the 1.6 java explicitly to the front of your path rather than letting Java Preferences pane be the sole controller." I opened up ~/.bash_profile (alternatively you could edit ~/.bash_rc)and slammed in the following:
Strangely, to the developers of intelligent control interfaces, these interfaces appear to work perfectly well. Moreover, when the developers demo these interfaces, the demo comes off without a hitch - and is often quite impressive. This is not the normal result of broken software. This "demo illusion" convinces the developers that the product is ready to ship, although it is not and will never be ready to ship.
Demo illusion is caused, I think, by the same compensation mechanism that allows users to grit their teeth and use a hubristic UI. Again, the user who has no choice but to use such a monster develops her own internal mental model of its algorithm. If you are forced to use a Newton, you can, and this is what you do.
For example, the Newton user may note that when she writes a T with the bar sloping up, it is recognized as a T, whereas when the bar slopes down it has an ugly tendency to come out as a lambda. So she trains herself to slope her Ts upwards, or to always enter "one cup of flour" rather than "two cups of flour" and double the Nutrition Facts herself, or to jump through any other trivial and unnecessary hoop in order to placate the angry god inside the "intelligent" UI. By slow painful effort, she constructs a crude subset of the system's functionality which happens to work for her, and sticks to it thereafter.
But for the actual developers, this compensation mechanism is far more effective. The actual developers (a) have enormous experience with the hubristic UI, (b) have enormous patience with its flaws, and (c) most important, know how it actually works. So their internal model can be, and typically is, orders of magnitude better than that of any naive user. So the product actually seems to work for them, and does. Unfortunately, it's hard to make money by selling a product to yourself.