At Atlassian Team 2021, powerhouse speakers like bestselling authors Malcolm Gladwell (Talking to Strangers, Blink, The Tipping Point), Daniel Pink (Drive, When, To Sell is Human), and many others lit up solitary computer screens around the world with their ideas and presentations. In addition to two 3-hour marathon live broadcasts, participants were invited to “choose their own adventure” and schedule on-demand sessions at their convenience.
There were no big stages. There were no big crowds. There was just a panoply of pandemic-era digital content, with something for everyone.
In a thought-provoking discussion A conversation on modern work and teams with Dominic Price, Atlassian’s Work Futurist, Pink presented concrete take-aways that touched on procrastination, the Pomodoro technique, lifelong learning, reverse mentorships, and YouTube, among other topics.
“Am I more productive if I write two mediocre books rather than one good book?” he asked, and proceeded to underline the importance of effectiveness over productivity. Pink also highlighted the need for knowledge workers to be healthy, which came as a relief in a relentlessly results-driven work culture.
“For knowledge work, for creative work, people having a sense of physical and psychological well-being is key. It's not a tradeoff to their output. It is central to their output,” he said.
There were more big names in store at Team ‘21, including Stewart Butterfield, CEO of Slack, and Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom. They had a virtual sit-down with Mike Cannon-Brookes, co-CEO of Atlassian, to talk about where modern work is headed – and how their organizations are adapting to fundamental changes. They also discussed some amusing and embarrassing Zoom moments, just because.
Then there was Atlassian’s approach to a post-pandemic workplace, which discussed Atlassian’s program Team Anywhere that allows its 5,700 global staff to work from any location in the world - with a few constraints in place to make sure they are aligned with the rest of their team, for example by time zone.
“The new reality at Atlassian really became our future,” said Jenna Cline, Head of IT Strategy and Planning at Atlassian, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We saw the advantages that having and being a remote workforce would bring to Atlassian and because of that so we took an early and bold stance of defining what a remote workforce would mean for Atlassian.”
The close of the second day’s live broadcast saw Gladwell solo in front of the camera giving an illuminating presentation entitled Next Generation Leadership. He compared recent political movements - Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring - with the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and concluded that the mechanisms of change are very different than they once were. He discussed bottom-up networks versus top-down hierarchy, and went on to compare the nature of teams in games like “weak-link” soccer and “strong-link” basketball.
“We’ve trained people to compete in a hierarchical world, but we’re now in a networked world,” he argued.
The on-demand sessions were wide-ranging, from product tours to how-to’s. 5 common pitfalls to avoid when migrating to Atlassian Cloud, Data-driven decisions for your team in Jira Software, Make Jira work for you with automation: these made up just a fraction of the presentations. Tempo featured a demo of our new time tracking automation, which alleviates the burden of remembering how one has spent their time each day.
There were also announcements from Atlassian, including the release of 5 new products: Jira Work Management, Jira Product Discovery, Team Central, Compass, and Halp. Jira Work Management enables non-technical teams including marketing, HR, finance, and design to seamlessly connect with their technical counterparts and collaborate.
“Work as we know it has changed in the past year. There’s no going back,” said Cannon-Brookes at the opening of the event. Change is certainly the only constant, and exactly how the post-pandemic workforce plays out remains to be seen. With the right tools from companies like Atlassian (and Tempo!), the transition will hopefully be that much easier.
For even more interesting content, check out our latest eBook, written by vendors and partners across the Atlassian ecosystem, which lays out 10 habits to make 2021 a successful year.