issue tracker customer
HQ: Alexandria, VA
Employees: 700
Founded: 1940
Offices: 58 locations around the USA
Product: JIRA

I was recently contacted by Atlassian partner, Siteworx, who was eager to share a case study. Siteworx specializes in interactive design and application development. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) contracted Siteworx to build out their website http://www.diabetes.org/.

I am always happy to learn how Atlassian software helps such a large breadth of business types and sectors. From technology to non-profit, health care to government, and everything in-between, our software truly makes a difference. The American Diabetes Association’s sole purpose is to fight the deadly consequences of diabetes and to help those affected by diabetes. In 2008 alone there were about 24 million people with diabetes in the United States which cost $132 billion for that year. It’s no surprise that with so many people affected, the ADA wanted to develop a top notch website which provides information and awareness regarding the deadly epidemic.

This case study highlights how Siteworx helped build the ADA’s webite, diabetes.org, using Atlassian’s issue tracker, JIRA. For specific JIRA stats, I spoke with Gage Short, VP of Technology, at Siteworx. He provided the following:

There is a single instance of JIRA used for working with all Siteworx clients. Most clients use a single project, but some use more. There are currently over 100 projects with thousands of issues. Siteworx likes to keep a streamlined instance with up-to-date versions and plugins. The current instance has a few security customizations and custom workflows running on version 4.0.1. An upgrade to the latest version should take place in the next month or so. It is used mostly for task and issue tracking between Siteworx and the clients, but it is also used internally for help desk, recruitment, marketing and proposal management.

Below is the conversation I had with the ADA’s David Nickelson, Director of the Internet, Strategy and Operations Department, Robert Gluck, Associate Director of Web Content and Production, and Bethany Bauman, Associate Director of ECRM in the Internet, Strategy, and Operations Department.

How did JIRA make its way into the American Diabetes Association (ADA)?

The firm that helped us make our flagship website (www.diabetes.org) is Siteworx out of Reston, VA. They did research, user experience architecture, CSS and HTML builds of the recent version of diabetes.org which went live in Nov 2009. In essence, they engineered the website. Siteworx was using JIRA internally and also used it as their client outreach collaboration tool. After using JIRA internally to manage bug fixes and some other activities, they suggested for us to use their instance of JIRA too. It made its way to us by Siteworx suggesting we all collectively have a collaboration tool that is focused on our website building. We still share JIRA with Siteworx at this point but are interested in bringing it in-house.

How was JIRA used?

Siteworx brought us into their instance of JIRA at the end of July, 2009. We were in the midst of a major redesign of diabetes.org. The main purpose of that was for posting problems with the development of the site which included access to another vendor, Convio (non-profit CRM provider), helping with the development of the site. What it allowed us to do was when we noted a problem with something, we’d open a ticket and could identify what sort of problem it was—JIRA was set up to automatically alert the project manager for both companies, and then the ticket would be processed from there.

We basically had 3 work-teams (ADA, Siteworx & Convio) who were constantly trying to problem solve across different approaches and platforms. We were able, in one place, to see everything that Siteworx was doing, everything that Convio was doing, and my team could also add their $.02 and their contributions to the work all at one time. It was tracked in a clean and easy-to-follow way; it was not hard to talk as a group about all the different sets of tickets or different patterns of tickets that affected one or various parts of the build.

Are people using JIRA in ways you hadn’t expected?

It did the job we expected it do which gave us a centralized location to report problems, to comment on them and to problem solve. It served that function which is what we expected. Once we were set up, it turned more into a client-facing maintenance portal. It’s functioning as a service ticket system. When we need to work on additional redesign tasks, we can easily exchange design assets with others. We’ve found that to be really helpful.

Can you comment on future of collaboration tools at the ADA?

Our intranet does not function well as a collaboration tool, so my team currently uses an installation of Basecamp. At this point in our development, it is a reasonably useful tool. I can see better collaboration software needed in the future for our whole organization. We continue to do more and more of this virtual team work where we have numerous vendors collectively working on a project. With this kind of collaboration space needed and with all of the functions built into Atlassian tools, I think it’s an easy choice. I also think your price-point is pretty reasonable. Confluence in particular has come up numerous times between my IT guys and others in the company.

What advice would you give another company considering using JIRA?

JIRA forces conversations about workflows and processes that don’t typically get discussed. In other words, it helps an organization become more efficient because the organization comes face to face with the ways workflows happen throughout.

Thanks to the American Diabetes Association and Siteworx! As a reminder, non-profit and charity organizations can get free Atlassian software with the quick completion of a short form.