Tag Archive for: Jama Support Community

The Jama Support Community is a forum for Jama Software users to interact and collaborate with other users and with Jama support engineers. It’s full of resources for everyone from novices to masters, including tutorials and webinarshelp guides and FAQsfeature requests and announcements and a robust knowledge base. For today’s post, we spoke with one of our Jama Support Community power users — frequent contributors with great questions and powerful insights into using Jama — about how their organization uses Jama and the value they’ve seen from the Support Community.

Srilatha Kolla works on the DevOps team at at Hill-Rom Cary in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. Hill-Rom’s Clinical Workflow Solutions team develops medical devices that protect patients by anticipating the care they will need and communicating that information to their healthcare providers.

The process of developing these Class II and Class III medical devices is heavily regulated by the FDA, and Kolla’s team needed to achieve full traceability in order to satisfy these requirements. Hill-Rom was using IBM Rational DOORS for their requirements and test case management prior to 2012, but it didn’t meet their traceability needs, among other shortcomings.

Kolla, who started her career as a developer at IBM, was on the Quality Engineering team at Hill-Rom when they began looking for a superior solution. Her QE team evaluated several options before choosing Jama Connect™ in 2012.

Since then, Kolla has moved to the DevOps team, where she’s responsible for deploying and managing processes to help development, requirements and quality engineering teams build, test and release products that are safer and more reliable. Her team is closely involved from the requirements stage to coding, testing and verification of the product, and she’s responsible for managing the solutions, including Jama Connect, that her team depends on.

Kolla’s DevOps team serves as the Jama administrator at Hill-Rom, but the development, requirements and quality engineering teams, she says, also “live in Jama Connect day in and day out.” Among the organization-specific best practices her team has developed is a multi-project structure, which works better for them than a single, more complex project structure.

As an FDA-regulated company, Kolla says, Hill-Rom values Jama Connect for its traceable requirements and test case management: “That’s what we depend on highly.” She’s also a fan of the Review Center in Jama Connect. The Review Center enables teams to collaborate without hunkering down in the same room or emailing a Word document back and forth. Stakeholders can also review and sign off on requirements within the Review Center, which comes in handy when you need to reach consensus between team members quickly.

Kolla began using the Jama Support Community to get her questions answered. She wanted to see how other people were using Jama to address the same product development challenges her team was facing. As Kolla says, “We’re definitely not the only ones using this platform.” ­­

Like many Jama customers, Kolla’s team uses Jama Connect in conjunction with Jira, so she turns to the Support Community to ask relevant questions about Jama’s functionality and interconnectivity with Jira, Microsoft Office and other tool suites. Given her team’s focus on traceability, Kolla has often sought Jama-related input from other users on things like item management, defects, Test Center, Trace View, Coverage Explorer, Reuse and Filters.

Stay tuned for more posts on how Jama users are leveraging the Jama Support Community to get the most out of the platform. In the meantime, connect with Sri and other fellow Jama users on the Jama Support Community

The Jama Support Community is a forum for Jama Software users to interact and collaborate with other users and with Jama support engineers. It’s full of resources for everyone from novices to masters, including tutorials and webinars, help guides and FAQs, feature requests and announcements and a robust knowledge base. For today’s post, we spoke with one of our Jama Support Community power users — frequent contributors with great questions and powerful insights into using Jama — about how their organization uses Jama and the value they’ve seen from the Support Community.

Harald Hotz-Behofsits is a product owner at Frequentis AG, an Austrian tech company with staff in 50 countries. Its core business is mission-critical software for the air traffic management sector, but Frequentis also builds voice communications and information systems for defense, public safety, public transportation and the maritime market. After graduating from university, Hotz-Behofsits worked in the Austrian office of Scientific Games until joining the team at Frequentis in 2001.

As a product owner, Hotz-Behofsits works on an agile software team tasked with developing mission-critical software in accordance with international standards. His team needs a product development platform that generates documentation to support traceability from requirements to design to test cases to test results.

Frequentis relied on IBM Rational RequisitePro until 2012, when the team grew “quite unhappy” with its drawbacks, says Hotz-Behofsits, and began looking for alternatives. Jama Software popped up on the company’s radar early on, and in June 2013, Hotz-Behofsits became Frequentis’s first Jama Connect user. Five years later, Frequentis has about 400 projects in Jama Connect.

Hotz-Behofsits cites Jama Connect’s “intuitive user interface” as one of the things he likes most about the platform: “It’s easy to get new people on board,” he says. Hotz-Behofsits’s team uses Jama’s REST API and Jira integrations and makes heavy use of Velocity reports. The team also exports data into Office templates. Jama Connect’s Review Center, Hotz-Behofsits says, gets “daily use,” with what he estimates are 5,000 to 6,000 reviews. Review Center gives teams context and visibility by illuminating the relationship between stories and activities. In addition, Review Center helps teams achieve traceability by demonstrating what happened and why throughout the product development process. Hotz-Behofsits also relies on Review Center to understand how defects have been detected and addressed during the development process.

Hotz-Behofsits uses the Jama Support Community for “inspiration and innovation.” “By sharing solutions,” he says, “everybody gains.” Questions asked by other users, he says, can spark new ideas. When users share their insights or workarounds on the Support Community, everyone has the opportunity to experiment with and even improve upon others’ solutions. Just as the Jama Connect platform empowers collaboration between stakeholders and across teams, the Support Community allows users working in different roles at different organizations to collaborate on how best to leverage Jama for success.

As a seasoned Jama Connect user and a regular presence in the Support Community, Hotz-Behofsits recommends that new users of the Jama Support Community start by querying the existing content, since the chances are that at least some of their questions have already been answered.

Hotz-Behofsits would recommend Jama to a colleague who needed to manage requirements, test cases, test activities, traceability and – “of course” – the review process. For Frequentis, Jama Connect has become a crucial platform for achieving traceability across requirements, clarifying work order (i.e., why something was changed when), and reporting and addressing defects.

Connect with Harald and other fellow Jama users on the Jama Support Community.

As the leader of Jama’s Customer Care department, I work with the team to cultivate relationships with our customers. Each relationship is highly dependent on the customer’s specific needs in a given situation. When our customers file tickets, we need to be the Problem Solver. When they comment on the Community, we need to be the Moderator. Sometimes we are the Trainer, the Messenger and the Writer. In all of these roles we consider ourselves a partner in our customers’ success. However, we’ve always felt there was something missing. In brainstorming with the team, we uncovered a desire to be an Advocate. Advocacy is not something formally included in any of the roles we assume currently. As such, we’ve identified the need for a new, premium support offering which provides strategic technical planning and additional technical guidance from a dedicated Customer Care team member, and today we are excited to announce the new Technical Account Manager (TAM) role.

Technical Account Managers For Product Delivery

Designed to serve enterprises relying on Jama for mission critical product delivery, TAMs provide high-touch technical guidance, technical planning, education, and business management.

As a dedicated partner, TAMs will expedite time-to-value for customers providing the following:

Technical Guidance: Your TAM will deeply understand your current Jama environment, overseeing all of your support tickets and acting as the escalation lead should anything critical arise. The TAM will ensure that the right resources are assigned to your work.

Technical Planning: Your TAM will help you scope and plan for the technical future of Jama in your organization. Through this program you will have access to the latest advancements in our deployment model.

Education: Each year we will conduct an education assessment for your users and design a program to close the gaps with the major themes.

Business Management: Your TAM will partner with your Customer Success Manager to delivery quarterly business reviews that encompass your business strategy and technical landscape.

In addition to having a named TAM, there are a number of other features included in the Premium Support Offering, you can check them all out here. If you have any questions about this offering, let your Jama Customer Success Manager know.

My absolute favorite feature of Jama is the Review Center: I love the ability for teams to collaborate on work without sitting in a room or emailing around a Word doc. We posit the Review Center as a place for requirements to be reviewed and signed off on by stakeholders, but it can be used any time consensus is needed between one or more people. The Support team uses the Review Center for crafting internal knowledge base articles and processes, as well as Community articles. I have seen a few customers and prospects ask if Jama can be used for documentation, so I thought I should share how my team uses it. Let me know if you have any questions.

Why does Support review articles this way? Can’t someone just write it and call it good? Nah! Here are the reasons why we use Review Center.

  1. We tend to have strong opinions but want to get on the same page.
  2. We want to create readable articles for our customers (and ourselves!), and peer feedback is the best way to ensure our writing will make sense to a broad audience.
  3. It is easy to forget a step in a tutorial—or maybe the writer doesn’t know the most efficient way to do something—and peer review helps us write thorough documentation.
  4. I used to be an English teacher, so I have a special place in my heart for peer reviewing and editing and how it strengthens both the writer and the reviewer’s communication abilities. (And to be honest, I miss using a red pen.)

Here’s a high level overview of our process:

  1. Designate a project or component for documentation work. All of Jama’s departments have their own project, but we also share cross-functional projects. Support has a project that we use for documentation work and tracking work we share with other teams. We keep the documentation in a component called Support Knowledge Base, which we further break out into Internal and External. This helps us keep track of the intended purpose of an article while reviewing it; we apply the same content and style standards regardless of its final home. Review Center
  2. Track article tasks and ideas somewhere. You could readily use Jama for this—as various colleagues have article ideas or tasks, they could briefly outline it in a Task item type in Jama (we do this for the Help Guide). In Support we enter article ideas in JIRA because that’s where we track all of our non-ticket work. As support engineers solve tickets, they select Yes or No on an Is Community Post or Internal Document Needed? drop-down. Our scrum master then enters these tasks into our backlog, and these get assigned during sprints depending on what other work we have.
  3. Draft the article in Jama. We have been focusing effort in recent years on quality, useful content. This includes examples, workflows and lots of screen captures. For consistency’s sake, we abide by a style guide that relies on various technical writing tenets AND the belief that our customers are smart and capable. Once the article is coherent and covers the requirements outlined in the task, the writer prepares for review.
  4. Start a Review. We start the review by inviting pertinent stakeholders—realistically we don’t need everyone on the team to review every article. We ask the question “Who is affected by this article?” If it’s an internal process doc, we invite only those support engineers it affects. If it’s a community article, we invite those on the team who would know most about the topic. For this initial review cycle, we start with a four-day window for new article reviews and a three-day window for article update reviews. At this point we do not highlight grammar and style errors—it’s important to get the content nailed down first.
  5. Evaluate the feedback provided and respond to it. If you don’t agree with a suggestion, reply to the feedback within the review explaining why. If you do agree, make sure to select Agree or Acknowledge when you make the change. Reviewing articles can be time-consuming, so it is as much about respecting the time someone spent looking at the article as it is ensuring no feedback is missed.Review Center
  6. Apply the first round of feedback and create a new revision. Edit the article, applying all accepted changes. Submit a new revision to the stakeholders until they all approve the content. We don’t have a cap on the number of revisions an article can go through—some of our community articles have had one hundred comments and eight revisions.
  7. Send your article to final style and grammar review. This round is typically shorter, as it is mostly grammar and style. We have a couple of grammar fiends on the team and a well-defined style guide to follow, so this round is really about making sure we are putting our best (and consistent) foot forward. Like the content round of revisions, this round will include as many revisions as needed until the final reviewer provides an approval.
  8. Publish your article! This can be the most frustrating part of the process, as web-based rich text editors notoriously play terribly together. If you’re lucky, you can copy the article or source HTML from Jama and paste it into your destination’s editor. If you are incredibly unlucky, you might have to plain-text paste into the destination editor and go through the formatting rounds again.

If you’re new to Jama reviews, I recommend watching our Ask Jama session which covered the functional aspects of Review Center. If you want to try something new in Review Center, I recommend the Ask Jama session about Rolling Reviews. Don’t forget that you can sync up with other customers (and me!) in our Support Community if you want to ask questions or trade tips! There are other Jama features to consider as well when establishing a process like this, such as Workflow and exporting to a printable format.