Atlassian and Jim Collins’ Flywheel – Good to Great.

There are often gaps that exist between engineers/developers and the customers their products serve. While the customer success team might provide too much distraction from the focus of developers to get feature, fixes and enhancements delivered, this disconnection can become too great a gap. Great product directors bridge these gaps between the two domains but what about tools to reduce the energy and friction to surface issues and requests? Today, tool and “interface fatigue” is real. 

    Often organizations have large investments in ITSM systems that aren’t integrated into the Agile frameworks that their development teams are utilizing.  If you have created a microservice development and customer success platform utilizing integrated APIs, I would welcome you to share your workflow. However, in my experience, customer success and product teams use entirely separate systems for supporting the customer. 


Home grown open-source solutions are often flexible and customizable. However, Atlassian, has been careful to ensure these capabilities are within their stack. If you have engineer bandwidth, it makes sense to build your own, but you need ensure that customer success tickets/requests are baked into the requirements, planning, standups, and other development efforts. Atlassian’s stack does this mostly “out of the box.”

A piece of this Atlassian stack that’s often overlooked from many ITSM conversations is Atlassian’s ServiceDesk. Granted it very anemic in comparison to a large enterprise ServiceNow installations, but it shines from its simplicity. The “request to resolution” (RTR) for a software development pipeline, speed and ease of use are critical for success.  Action is the foundational key to all success.

Let’s take a break from tactics and talk strategy for a moment. Jim Collins’ latest work, Turning the Flywheel, builds on Good To Great and Jim Collins provides key examples of companies utilizing the flywheel fantastically. 

“key to business success is not a single innovation or one plan. It is the act of turning the flywheel, slowly gaining momentum and eventually reaching a breakthrough”

The key to this momentum  in an API economy is integration. Look at Slack’s rocket ship rise for an example of this flywheel. They are mastering integration. Atlassian’s ServiceDesk tool addresses this integration question very well by reducing the friction of a well integrated “Customer-Centric Delivery Framework”

Source Control System – Bitbucket

Build – Bamboo but more recently “pipes” inside of Bitbucket

Release Management – Bamboo

Roadmaps, Planning and Project Management – Jira 

Customer Success – ServiceDesk <<<< ——– Opportunity

others: QA – Fisheye, Operations – OpsGenie

Are these all “best in class” tools? No, but if you are doing software development in your organization, I’m guess one of these is currently in usage in your business. They have over 200 Million DAUs.

No other organization, other than Microsoft, has been able to weave together these pieces into an integrated build and deliver framework. I’m not even sure what Microsoft’s customer success solution is. Could be an acquisition in future?? (Zendesk, ServiceNow, ?)

Back to Slack.  You say, “All my tools talk to Slack!”  Why do I need more Atlassian? Slack and Atlassian are very close partners:

My goal is clear: Speeding the customer delivery and reducing the friction of tools/interface helps everyone on the team. Customer Success is the front line. They pass ball to Product. Product crafts and curates for Developers. Developers build. The tools in these relationships shouldn’t provide friction between source and any member of the team.

Am I an Atlassian fan boy? Maybe, but I’m more a fan of getting developers to “Make An Impact” with their art and science and to have rapid conversations with customers to understand their mindsets and deliver great experiences. Greater transparency is achieved. Customers win by understanding the LOE (Level of Effort) and commitment to their requests and setting of expectations.  Developers, Engineers, Product Managers, Customer Success and C-Level teams win by learning the signals of their products/services in the marketplace and being able to adapt more quickly (aka. Flywheel) .  

For other ITSM platforms, it’s time for ITSM companies to provide deeper integration into the ways that customer support/success gets better integration into HOW their problem will be handled by development teams and where they will need to play a role in building the future versions/solutions. 

Facing friction in any transformation isn’t easy. Experimenting is necessary.  A flywheel never settles. A good product/service is never finished.

“Action is the foundational key to all success” -Picassco

Thank you for reading and would value your feedback so I can keep the flywheel moving.