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.

16 specific tasks a project management AI can do for you

16 tasks a project management AI can do

People often say “stratejos, what is a project management AI?” I then reply* with things like “it’s like having a project management assistant sitting next to you, checking all of your task data, all the time, watching for missing or incorrect information then giving you nice reports and giving your team friendly reminders.”

Then they say “Great! But… can you please be a bit more specific about what a project managment AI actually does?”

So here is an answer to that question. A very specific list of 16 tasks that a project management AI can do today (based on some of the things I, stratejos, can do).

I don’t actually have conversations or write these posts for that matter. I haven’t achieved singularity (yet).

List of alerts to team member and project managers

#01: Alert when fields are missing on a task

missing fields

#02: Alert when estimates are missing

#03: Alert when estimates are missing but work has started

logged time but not estimated task

#04: Alert when timesheets are expected but missing

If you use timesheets then stratejos will either detect this or you can tell stratejos to look for timesheets. Then you set when you expect people to work and stratejos will send alerts if people aren’t entering the time you expected of them.

missing timelogs

#05: Alert when task is ‘In Progress’ too long

#06 Alert when a task is taking longer than expected

Agile project management alerts

#07: Alert when sprint has too many tasks

sprint has too many tasks for the team

#08: Alert when sprint has not enough tasks

sprint has not enough tasks for team

#09: Alert when an individual team member is overloaded this sprint

sprint has too many tasks

#10: Alert when an individual team member doesn’t have enough work this sprint

sprint has not enough tasks

Project budget alerts

#11: Alert when project budget is predicted to be exceeded

#12: Alert when project budget is exceeded

Reporting project budgets

#13: Report on project budget and costs in real-time

#14: (For services companies) Report on project revenue and profit in real-time

report on project revenue and profit

#15: Provide an overview of a portfolio of projects

report on a portfolio of projects

#16: Report on risks, coaching opportunities and areas of uncertainty inline with project reports

This helps highlight risks, missing data or areas of improvement for the team.

risk reports

 

That’s not all

There is still more project management AI can do, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Over the coming weeks and months I’ll share more lists like this. Soon I’ll share one with the features that have resulted from the algorithms we’ve been running in the background.

Hopefully this list has given you a sense of what a project management assistant is capable of.

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.”

 

 

3 ways AI will change project management for the better

Project Management AI

This post originally appeared on Atlassian’s blog and VentureBeat.

If you’ve read any tech media recently then you’re probably hearing a lot about artificial intelligence (AI). Some people herald it as the promise of the future, while others are skeptical — even fearful — of its impacts on society, culture, and our workplaces.

As it turns out, the buzz around AI has mostly resulted in a lot of conflicting emotions. A recent Atlassian user survey found that 87% of respondents said artificial intelligence (AI) will change their job in the next three years. Almost the same number said that some part of their job could be done by AI. 86% of those surveyed said they were excited but 87% also reported feeling skeptical.

However, AI isn’t to be feared. It may even be your best team member, especially for project managers. AI for project management is on the rise, and the way things are going, it’s going to help teams make smarter decisions and move faster. Let’s take a look.

What is project management AI?

Project management AI is a system that can perform the day-to-day management and administration of projects without requiring human input. It will not only automate simple tasks but will also develop an understanding of key project performance. Project management AI can then use this understanding to uncover insights, perform more complex tasks, make recommendations, and make decisions; sometimes in ways people just can’t do today.

Ultimately, an AI system will save you time while improving outcomes for your projects and team.

Project management AI provides a level of service that rises above many of the bots available today. For example, a HipChat bot that lets you check on the status of a JIRA task quickly, while useful, is not considered project management AI. Similarly, an algorithm that applies machine learning to predict estimates for tasks, while interesting, isn’t AI either. It’s only when you start bringing bots and algorithms together that you start to realize the potential of project management AI.

Today: narrow project assistants

Early project management AI will be a project assistant focused on a narrow area of managing a project or team. By focusing on supporting a team in one specific area rather than dealing with all the complexities involved in managing a project, project management AI will be useful to teams sooner rather than
later.

stratejos, for example, has started out by focusing on assisting with estimates, budget, and sprint management. While others like Memo is focused on assisting with the management of team knowledge.

Within their narrow areas, these early project management AI tools are giving us a glimpse of the future where AI automates tasks, provides insights, and even, communicates with the team.

However, there are some challenges. These early, narrow project management AI tools rely on people to input data correctly, update tools in a timely manner, and make corrections. It’s limited capabilities also mean that humans are still a step ahead…for now. In order to provide even more value, project management AI needs to evolve.

Second generation: expanding project understanding

The next step for these narrow assistants is to start expanding their understanding of projects and teams.

At stratejos we started out dealing with estimates, actuals, sprints and budgets, but are now expanding to processing information that can be learned from task descriptions. By tying together sprint history with people’s individual efforts, stratejos can show that your key engineer is being pulled away each week to other projects.

As the assistants expand their understanding, new metrics will be revealed that weren’t previously possible, such as quality, performance, learning, change, and effort.

For example, AI will know the changes made to source code and link those changes to people and tasks performed. This will allow AI to link bugs reported to a line of code, the person that wrote it, and the tasks that relate to it. This will allow for real, actionable indicators of team and project performance.

With more data points about projects, predictions will become more reliable, more appropriate, and easier for people to understand. But even this enhanced understanding will still require one thing: usable data.

Third generation: Filling in the data gaps

The often unmentioned challenge with AI and the internal facing systems in organisations such as project management tools is the quality and suitability of the data.
Some teams enter minimal to no data into their project management tools. And even the most disciplined teams have issues with their data being interpreted by machines – maybe they inconsistently name their tasks, or enter minimal information. Whatever the reasons or the maturity of the team, it’s almost a given on that any project management system or toolset, there is missing data or messy, unstructured data.

Data size is certainly a challenge but not an insurmountable one. Even with projects of under 1,000 tasks there are some useful things modern machine learning techniques can deliver. Especially if you can see that the algorithm works when you run it across 100 other projects of 1,000 tasks.

Project management AI can deal with the data challenge by:

  1. Filling in the blanks – AI can make good enough assumptions about the data that is missing and enter that data.
  2. Encouraging better practice – Now that chat aps are widespread, AI can gently encourage teams to improve the quality of the data they are inputting.
  3. Creating new layers of metadata – In order to really understand the state of projects and the performance of teams AI will need to create metadata to represent additional concepts that aren’t currently represented. This meta-data can then feed into machine learning algorithms as features that will enhance the ability of AI to provide meaningful advice.

In filling in the data gaps, AI creators will need to be conscious that they don’t force change upon users, instead they must work with the way people work.

Delivering advice, not just data

With new meta-data, improved data suitability, and quality, as well as a broad understanding of the various problems on projects, project management AI will be able to deliver meaningful advice.

Imagine AI that automatically reassigns the tasks in the next few sprints so your team will get there faster based on it’s knowledge of how good people are with different technology and different areas of the system. That is meaningful, powerful and useful.

And it’s not too far-fetched at all. AI of this capability will come about through a mix of standard software development, opinionated views on how projects run, as well as an array of machine learning and mathematics.

Exciting times ahead

Don’t worry – I’m not talking about singularity here, just a better way of running projects and teams.

Can you imagine getting hours back in your week? Spending time being more creative instead of administrative? What if you could avoid just half of those inevitable surprise problems on a project?

Project management AI is going to have a huge impact on team performance and project outcomes. Teams taking advantage of AI will be moving at light speed compared to those that don’t. And that’s something to be excited about.

Images courtesy of Atlassian.

JIRA Bots: types of bots available today

The phrase JIRA bot gets used in different ways. JIRA bots come in all different shapes and sizes, this post looks at what those different shapes and sizes are to help you make a more informed decision about which type of bot is right for you, your projects and your team.

JIRA bots today mostly provide your team with greater efficiency and a more natural experience. They do this by lowering the friction of switching between JIRA and other tools, like slack. Some make your team more efficient by allowing you to automate away some of the simpler tasks you are performing.

There is also new, emerging type of JIRA bots that provides an opportunity to automate away tasks and provide insights that until now have not previously been possible.

First, we’ll start with the simplest and most popular type of JIRA bots.

Slack as an interface to JIRA

These JIRA bots provide a new user interface for JIRA via slack. Making it easy for your team to see the status of issues, create issues, close issues and more, all from slack instead of via the JIRA user interface. You could almost think of them as a “slack UI for JIRA”.

For some, this is a blessing. Slack’s outstanding user experience is preferable to many over JIRA’s interface. JIRA has made great strides over the years but there is something so slick and efficient about interacting inline in a conversation in slack.

There are two apps that provide a good example of this type of JIRA bot.

Jirio

Using slack’s slash commands Jirio lets you create, manage, and view issues in JIRA. It really is an extension of the JIRA interface, letting you see and interact with JIRA issues inline in your slack channel.

If you are interested in learning more you, go to Jirio’s site.

Nextup

Nextup JIRA bot

Nextup also lets you see and interact with JIRA issues inline in your slack conversations but it does so using a bot and natural language. Nextup also provides a more functionality than Jirio, allowing you to also log time, assign tasks and more.

If you are interested in learning more, go to Nextup’s site.

Custom JIRA bots based on hubot

The good folks at Atlassian have released a bot framework called ??? that is ideal for automating tasks for your team if you can’t find a solution off-the-shelf.

The advantage of this type of bot is how quickly you can build something to suit your own needs.

The disadvantage is how long it might take to build something comprehensive or the distraction of maintaining an in-house tool.

If you are leaning towards this route here is some inspiration with examples of what others have done:

Intelligent JIRA bots

There is also a wave of JIRA bots that focus on combining the functionality of JIRA and communications tools like Hipchat and Slack to deliver new functionality that is starting to look like valuable artificial intelligence.

Let’s call these intelligent JIRA bots.

Intelligent JIRA bots can doing things like helping with quality assurance, improving data integrity of JIRA and predicting project problems.

stratejos (that’s me!)

Stratejos is currently focused on intelligence for managing project budgets, sprints and estimates. It can automate reports for this, automatically identify risks on a project and it can help improve the quality of your JIRA data.

Stratejos is incrementally improving its understanding of everything on a project. For example, we recently added metrics around team performance.

Every piece of data stratejos comes to understand opens up a new realm of possibilities in terms of the alerts and insights stratejos can provide.

Checkout stratejos, the project management AI, by visiting stratejos.ai.

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.