This use case will explain how a large multinational communications and advertising holding company uses Jira and different apps to manage and administrate projects, in the shape of advertising campaigns around the world.
It's the world's largest communications and advertising holding company, it comprises more than 3.500 different individual businesses distributed worldwide, and it's evolving every day.
Let's give you an idea of how significant this company is:
UHUB is the team within WPP that integrates a set of industry-leading products (based around the Atlassian family of products -Jira software, Jira Service Management, Confluence, and more...) into a single WPP-wide platform, supported by and for agency staff.
They're a worldwide team of Atlassian experts working 24/5, providing a continuous service, following the sun around the world. There're nine dedicated full-time specialists and four ancillary staff supporting the entire environment, including business analysis. In short, it's an Atlassian set of software products as a service.
As the diagram shows, the number of collaborations occurring inside WPP it's monstrous. It's possible to appreciate the number of collaborations between WPP's business units that happen within a unit of time, where the outside ring comprises some of the business units from a particular region of the world, and each of the individual lines represents a line of collaboration between two business units happening daily. Each line might represent:
“Organizations which design systems ... are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.”
UHUB's primary role is to host the Atlassian set of products and apps at its Data Center tier in a massive multi-tenant environment and help them leverage through software the agency streams of information around the world. This labor has taken them to mitigate Conway's Law as a mission; this law states that organizations will produce systems that mirror their communication structures.
In this situation, the role of UHUB is to align these organizational structures through this smart software stack supported majorly by Atlassian products and apps.
UHUB needs to align the different organizational structures and the communications between the different roles implied by implementing the Atlassian software stack, supported by Atlassian Marketplace apps.
E.g., A Campaign Program Manager has sent a client's brief for a big campaign, and three creative teams are working on that brief to produce an advertising campaign. One of those teams didn't have the same direction, given the creative brief's information didn't have all the data aligned, resulting in a waste of time for the creative team and a large client, unhappy.
During the collaboration process, different key roles come into play when working in large campaigns for large clients within WPP. Those are:
UHUB realized that the main source of information, where all the workflow of collaborations starts, it's with the Campaign Program Managers. They represent the main knowledge foundations about each campaign/project and authority when setting a campaign direction; that's why UHUB chooses to treat them as a single source of program truth.
They're in charge of organizing, controlling, tracking, and distributing the project (campaigns) information to people, providing the means to input the data.
The main challenge UHUB was facing was how to help the Campaign Program Managers to reduce the risk of providing wrong inputs and avoiding polluting other projects or processes in motion with inaccurate information.
It was a complex collaboration process where different Atlassian tools and apps came into play to work it out right:
They have used Jira as a base and the main motor to centralize their information, powering up the tool by using three apps:
This app for Jira allows to get external data sources and leverage them during the project or issue creation in Jira. Here, Elements provided UHUB for:
This situation is still a blocker because this raw data is now spread across thousands of tasks and projects, entangled in messy data branches. Realizing that having this information pulled out of their systems outside Jira isn't enough, they choose to integrate another app into the formula:
Initially, UHUB implemented this app with various custom scripts to automate issues transition from the project creation process, augmenting usability, and it evolved consequently using it to:
At this point, UHUB already has covered the individual data points for Campaign Program Managers administer, allowing them to replicate this information on a large-scale basis.
With these two apps, UHUB already had covered the individual data points, which are incredibly valuable for those Campaign Managers and can replicate those on a large-scale basis.
Now the challenge missing was to help Campaign Program Managers to distribute these individual data points to other collaborators, which is already organized and automated with Elements Connect and ScriptRunner.
The third Atlassian app that will help UHUB to shape this enormous worldwide flow of information across different stakeholders and teams, is Projectrak:
It's an app meant to track projects using Jira and help users organize data at the project level. In this context, it will allow stakeholders to act on their work and make decisions based on the data provided by the Campaign Program Managers. Specifically, this app helps UHUB to:
The Layouts are the primary reference to overseen Jira project fields, and it's the standard view for all team members when checking campaign details. E.g., if a new creative join a campaign, the Layout provides project data such as job codes, the briefing, project overview, who's the Project Manager, essential dates, teams implied, budget, etc.
This information it's displayed by means of the Layouts. The Campaign Program Managers are the unique source of truth, and they input the project data. The information is implemented with ScriptRunner to automatically cascade -here's where Elements Connects plays its role, allowing the creation of many campaign projects for different stakeholders across different teams distributed worldwide.
Jira's first focus is on software development, naturally, basing the work around tasks rather than projects. However, the considerable advantage of this tool is that it can be adapted to work across many ways and industries.
As software development has the recurrent task of watching bugs, Jira intends to primarily open bug tickets containing information about it (this is the issue or task), with additional data like versions, fixed versions, and allowing to group those bug fixes into releases. And basically, that was everything Jira does.
Jira's tasks focus has difficulty grouping, processing, and delivering groups of work for the ways agencies work. Agencies works are distributed from a macro perspective: project/campaign based. By default, the information contained there must be attached to tasks, which applied to a standard context of Jira, it results in errors, data duplication, and data bloating.
Picture this: Different Creative Directors are working on a big project for a large clothing manufacturer. This project is destined to be placed into a wide range of markets, which among other actions, it requires translations, product teams, and all sorts of placements for different channels. The teams working on this project will align around standard metadata such as image standards, like applying CMYK to a particular picture, creating dynamic assets, and other standard variables assigned to different global teams. This information needs to be tracked by the Campaign Program Managers, and the Projectrak Layouts allows it.
When any team member joins a campaign, refers directly to Projectrak's Layouts information, which is the main center of knowledge, displaying information about the campaign, providing enough data to get their hands onto the collaboration process.
As new deliverables keep arriving from those clients with high volumes of work, Projectrak allows Project Managers to upload further information accurately for ongoing campaigns into the correspondent workspaces, displaying an updated visualization of the campaign in Jira containing the requirements specified on the client's brief.
What's a Workspace? A workspace is what UHUB has internally defined as a Jira project, a Confluence space, a Bitbucket project, an Opsgenie team, and a Statuspage.
Besides serving as a project central and a source of campaign information, based on the primary source of knowledge, the Program Campaign Managers and their representation in software, Projectrak for Jira, and the project data from its Layouts. It provides different backstage dynamics, mainly by feeding it with information from other organization areas.
Introducing a timesheeting system with data extracted from Finance, HR, or Resourcing, this metadata is leveraged into the campaign information we already have, providing:
This workflow occurs without support, centralizing and creating as many projects as required, as needed, from small to very large campaigns.
Projectrak allows a shift in paradigm for Jira, which has resulted handy for management using project-based data in Jira.
Most of the time this situation ends with happy customers.
To keep the whole process running tight and seamless, the Campaign Program Managers have special needs, on specific campaigns, other Atlassian products fulfill; in those situations, going beyond Jira have been needed using:
UHUB is always looking to improve its systems. After rolling out any system to production, there's the imperative drive to improve it further. In the case explained here, they have detected with user feedback help that they should focus on templating features.
Currently, they're exploring a way that allows the Campaign Program Manager to facilitate the creation of deliverables they've done in the past, which Project Managers frequently ask. They're evaluating resourcing systems, team-based systems, or even a test management suite. Demonstrating that way, UHUB is a team of passionate Atlassian experts dedicated to improving WPP's processes and helping their teams to succeed at work through software.