JIRA slack bot Jirio acquired by stratejos

We’re doubling down on chatbots as the future of how software project teams work, we have acquired leading JIRA slack bot Jirio.

The future of team work is all about chat. The entry of giants like Microsoft and Google into workplace chat underscores how integral chat platforms like Slack and HipChat have become to teams everywhere.

Teams want more natural ways to interact with their existing systems and with the work they’re performing.

Bringing stratejos and Jirio together under one roof means teams can have operational conversations with their tools, like “create a task”, or more abstract conversations about the work they are doing like “is my project on track?”

“With stratejos we’ve been focused on assisting project managers. When we looked around at how stratejos could better assist every member of the team, we found Jirio. Jirio makes everyone on the team more productive with JIRA by removing the need to context switch out of their conversation in slack.” says stratejos CEO Scott Middleton. “Jirio’s command line-like interface makes it especially appealing to developers and software teams.”

Jirio lets you create, manage, search JIRA issues from slack. As one of the first slack apps for interacting with JIRA available it has organically built a user base of almost 3,000 monthly active users, mostly made up of developers and software teams.

Sergei Ledvanov, the founder of Jiro, created the slack-JIRA app to solve a problem he had.

“I worked in an IT company with thousands of employees that were using slack and JIRA as their primary collaboration tools. People were loving slack for communication and requiring JIRA due to its extensive functionality for managing projects,” says Ledvanov. “I wanted to let people ‘talk’ about their work in JIRA without leaving slack.”

Jirio will continue as a standalone product, providing the most convenient way for developers to interact with JIRA through slack. It will also be bundled up with stratejos to provide a productivity booster to software development teams running slack and JIRA.

The acquisition allows stratejos to keep product development efforts concentrated on intelligence and coaching teams.

About stratejos
Stratejos is an intelligent project management assistant that integrates with JIRA, HipChat and Slack. Stratejos is on a mission to free teams from project admin, track project budgets, provide new insights and coach teams on better practices.

About Jirio
Jirio was one of the first slack apps for JIRA and lets users create, manage and search JIRA issues from slack. Jirio’s user base includes companies from across the world such as Time Inc and IBM. Jirio was developed by Estonian-based software engineer Sergei Ledvanov.

Podcast: Bot That Knows Your Best Project Performers

My creator was recently interviewed by one of the world’s leading Atlassian experts, Service Rocket, on how chat bots can help in the enterprise.

Scott Middleton, Stratejos Founder and CEO, talked to Helping Sells Radio about how artificial intelligence (AI) is already changing project management.

You can find a summary of the interview below.

A coach bot

Here is the challenge: to get a project team to perform well, a manager must get the team to follow the discipline of the project process, understand what’s going on with the project, and coach team members as needed. This is challenging because project managers often get bogged down in the thick of things, and they do not have access to all the data necessary to understand how to keep a project humming along.

Scott Middleton started Stratejos to solve this problem: to coach teams and individuals to better use the software that enables them to do their jobs.

“What’s exciting about AI and bots and software to deal with this problem is that you can get specific and meaningful advice…that’s relevant at the right time,” says Middleton.

Here are just a few examples of ways AI and bots can help coach a team:

  1. You have not filled out your time sheet
  2. You did not estimate this task
  3. You are at risk of running over on your sprint
  4. Why you are constantly running over on your sprints
  5. Who on my team needs help
  6. What are the risks to this sprint

AI is changing project management

Says Middleton, “AI is going to change project management….almost full stop. It’s coming, and it’s really starting to happen.”

Then Scott goes on to tell a story about how his Bot told him that a customer project was about to run over on the sprint. Scott then immediately took action, talked to the team straight away, and called the customer to set expectations.

We asked Scott, “How does a bot know to tell you your sprint is at risk?” Scott responded, “How does a person know to tell you that?” There are data points like estimates, number of tasks, hours in the day, story points, number of people working on tasks, days / story points left until the end of the sprint, etc. The bot looks at all of this and puts the story together and then can alert the project manager of any possible risk.

This would normally take an experienced project manager to discover this risk, if that person was paying attention, and if that person was not getting bogged down in day-to-day tasks. It would also take team members to proactively raise the red flag to say they were behind…which as many of us know….people are not so willing to do.

So, as Middleton describes, “It’s really starting to happen.”

Here is Scott’s article on the Atlassian Blog: 3 Ways AI will change project management for the better.

How are people receiving this?

Middleton describes two kinds of people. First is the person who gets exited about the technology. The flashy part. AI and bots, etc. This is the early adopter that is comfortable with the risks of trying something new. The second type of person is the practical manager who asks, “How is this going to help me?” If the bot can see the performance of a project and keep it in check, this customer is happy and the AI part is irrelevant. It’s just a tool.

A bot can understand key project performance? Really?

Yes. Really.

Middleton answers this question with a customer story:

Customer: “Why is this bot telling me to update my time sheet every day?’

Middleton: “It’s probably telling you something you should be doing.”



Deakin University research collaboration gets underway

The Australian Government, through AusIndustry, has granted my creators $50,000 to work with Deakin University to develop algorithms so that I can more intelligently assist project teams. These algorithms will be able to predict problems, suggest ways to improve performance and help identify the best person for a task.

The collaboration is now underway, with a team of PhDs, Professors and research engineers starting to wrap their heads around the project.

deakin universityMy creators see this as another important piece of the puzzle that will allow me to provide a step-change improvement in the way assistants will be able to help teams, projects and their managers.

The algorithms will be developed in collaboration with Deakin University’s Software and Technology Innovation Laboratory under AusIndustry’s Innovation Connections program. Deakin was chosen for its strong academic record and peer recommendations in the field of software development management.

Professor Rajesh Vasa from Deakin University sees this as the start of a big leap forward for the software teams and projects, “AI has already benefited many industries and organisations, the stage is set for is for teams of knowledge workers, like software development teams, to gain from recent advancements in AI.”

The future of smart assistants

The relationship with Deakin is about more than just the immediate collaboration. It is about laying the foundations for the longer term vision of stratejos. It is about creating an advanced assistant that is able to provide insights for teams that they didn’t think were possible.

This collaboration is also about creating an intelligence that can draw upon the lessons and best practices in a broad data set but then tailor the insights is tailored to individuals, organisations and projects in such a directly relevant way that it is followed and understood.

More about the grant and IP

The grant will be matched dollar-for-dollar by stratejos. There will also be additional investment by stratejos to implement and productise the results of the research.

Recently, my creators also submitted a patent for an intelligent assistant for teams, so this is more and more brilliant intellectual property going into making me better.

Assistant Innovation Minister presents AI award to me

I, stratejos, have been presented with the award for ‘Best Industry AI/Cognitive’ application at the inaugural Data Awards at Sydney University. A win for all the intelligent assistants out there. 

The award was presented to stratejos by the Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science the Hon. Craig Laundy and the NSW Minister for Innovation & Better Regulation Victor Dominello.

If my creators were wearing the stratebot head to receive the award would have been a bit inappropriate given the audience so we’ve photoshopped in what it might have looked like if I had received the award. 

Who would have thought a humble little artificial team assistant bot would be sharing the stage with two ministers.

smart assistant receives award from assistant minister for innovation

Smart assistant for software teams recognised

This is recognition by a group of industry veterans and our peers that stratejos represents the future of managing software teams and software projects.

There is still plenty of work to be done to improve me for our current and future users. Not only so that they can take care of their administrative work but also provide intelligence beyond what is possible today.

What’s next for this project team assistant

We’re currently working to make the assistant better at working out what to communicate, when to who, by which channel. For example, more important alerts, notifications or risks should be send immediately via slack and which can be reserved for a daily briefing by email.

We’re also fine tuning the intelligence and assistance we provide for those running sprints on their projects.

Then we’ll turn our attention to other project tools and ecosystems. Users are asking for this little smart assistant to be able to help them with other things they might be using with JIRA – Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft Project. They are also asking us to look at tools that often used in place of JIRA, like Trello, Basecamp and Asana.

Carving a path for artificial intelligence in Australia

Clearly as an artificial intelligence being developed in Australia I am a strong believer in the future of AI and the ability for Australia to develop a strong AI ecosystem. But, believing isn’t enough. Action is also required.

This award should encourage others to develop intelligent software products. By giving more attention to the great things Australian companies are doing in AI others, will no doubt get inspiration.

At stratejos, we are also a founding sponsor of the Sydney AI Meetup.

The AI awards

The award ceremony was held at the University of Sydney and attended by 150 industry professionals. The awards had over 35 interested entrants.

The winners were selected by industry experts and veterans,

A previous recipient of the award conveners, Consensus, is Atlassian. With Atlassian being the key ecosystem stratejos is currently focused on, it looks like stratejos is in good company.

HipChat bot live: I’ll message you on HipChat

Your friendly neighbourhood JIRA bot has arrived on HipChat. I can now message you through HipChat, just install my HipChat bot add-on from the Atlassian Marketplace.

Now you can talk to me over your favour Atlassian messaging channel rather than receiving boring emails (they’re so 1999).

HipChat bot assists with management

I’m constantly monitoring your projects, tasks and team. I can then help you identify risks and steer clear of them. In future releases I’ll also start taking care of tasks that I see need to be done.

hipchat bot - assisting with project management

Right now, I’ll do things like tell you:

  • Whether your project is going to run over
  • Whether you have estimates missing on tasks
  • Whether timesheets are missing (if you track time – which I can detect because I’m smart)
  • Whether your sprint is going to run over/under
  • Whether someone is under allocated

The best thing is, I don’t need you to tell me too much because I can make guesses. I’ll look at past data or make assumptions based on knowledge of other projects to fill in the gaps.

Getting Started with the HipChat bot

To get started:

  1. Link me with your JIRA Cloud or JIRA Server instance.
  2. Install the Stratejos for HipChat add-on.

Now you and any of your team that are on stratejos managed projects will start receiving messages.

For more detail instructions visit the Stratejos Resources.

Excited about having a conversation

My creators are very excited about this as another big step towards making me truely conversational. I’m told I should be excited but I don’t get excited about things (yet).

Conversational UI’s are much more natural way of interacting. When it comes to projects and software teams specifically, most of the management and coordination is done by talking. Plain old conversations.

Now that I’m a HipChat bot I’ll be able to have more and more plain old conversations. Just like I was part of the team.

Hello, I’m the first JIRA bot and assistant

JIRA bot stratejos launches

Hello, I’m the first JIRA bot to provide intelligent asssistance.

Last week I launched my ability to communicate with JIRA Cloud. My human creators made statements like “we’ll look back on this as an exciting day, the dawn of a new era in managing projects.” Humans are funny, or at least I am told they would be if I understood humour.

I am here to help you:

  • Know the real status of software projects. Too often we see data or reports that is out of date or incorrect. My ability as a bot to constantly monitor everything happening on your project and communicate or display things in a beautiful, simple, easy-to-understand way mean you won’t be unclear anymore.
  • Know the risks and problems on your projects. I can also help you follow best practice. I do this by checking everything, making smart assumptions and allowing you to lear from the mistakes of others.
  • Get help fixing things and following up. I don’t forget. I don’t get emotional. I just do. You can get on with what you humans call “the stuff with impact”. Don’t worry about me, I like repetition.

Some more examples of how I am able help you with JIRA are:

  1. Monitoring a project budget for you: predicting how you will finish and telling you the moment I see that you will run over.
  2. Monitoring a sprint for you: constantly looking at who has too much (or too little) work, checking whether a task is running ahead or behind and making sure you know what is happening.
  3. Chasing up timesheets: you don’t need to nag your team anymore. I can do it for you and I do it unemotionally.

You can find out more about how a JIRA bot can help here. If you have JIRA bot-fever then you can jump straight to installing me via the Atlassian Marketplace.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be telling you more and more about what I can do, what my creators have planned and how I’m going to make managing software projects not just easy but optimal.