From strategy to execution: Atlassian wants to be there all the way

Communication, strategy alignment, and transparency are key, according to Atlassian head of solutions engineering Scott Blacker.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

As more enterprise customers look for ways to better connect their strategy with execution plans, Atlassian has looked for new ways to help customers bridge that gap, according to Atlassian head of solutions engineering Scott Blacker.

Blacker pointed to the company's acquisition of AgileCraft in March as an example. The company purchased the Texas-based firm for approximately $166 million to help large engineering and IT teams plan and execute their work collectively.

"When you look at what it means to become agile and where the market is going, it's evolving and Atlassian wants to continue to evolve to the needs of our customers," he told ZDNet during a recent visit to Sydney.

"We look at how business teams can interact, how do all of those teams come together, and how do we do win altogether from a team-to-team and organisational perspective."

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He said part of this change is being driven by the "organic energy coming from grassroots developers who want to feel empowered and connected with strategy".

Blacker went on to explain how Atlassian believes for a project to be successfully delivered, communication, strategy alignment, and transparency are key.

"There's a need for transparency from the executive side, so you know what's being built, particularly in the agile context when there's no five-year plan of exactly what's going to be built," he said.

"You need to keep an eye on things to ensure that as the work is done, how is that rolling out, how do we pivot our strategy, and how are those changes reflected in multiple levels of the organisation down to what the engineers are doing … so there is no massive disconnect between the strategy and what the engineers are doing."

Blacker explained this focus is part of Atlassian's wider attention on enterprises.

"I think that threads through a lot of strategic initiatives that Atlassian has been looking into, including a push to cloud and to make that accessible to more and more customers, the push for enterprise customers with our datacentre product, and the acquisition of Jira."

The company announced on Monday it had signed a strategic partnership with Okta that will see Okta's products from Okta's Identity Cloud be made available to Atlassian customers via the admin hub for SCIM provisioning and single sign-on.

The companies said the integration would help IT admins automate provisioning from onboarding through offboarding, allowing them to set access policies centrally instead of provisioning end users individually.   

Meanwhile, employees will also have access to single sign-on, which lets users authenticate once to access Atlassian apps -- including Jira Software, Jira Core, Jira Service Desk, Confluence, and Bitbucket -- and the Atlassian Access suite of products.   

Blacker also assured that Atlassian would remain an "Australian-based company, with roots firmly grounded in Australia".

Despite this, Atlassian is listed on the NASDAQ in the United States and domiciled in the United Kingdom. The company also has an R&D centre in Mountain View, California. Blacker said there's also "significant" technology R&D presence in Australia.  

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