When I joined the marketing team at Atlassian, I was tasked with ramping up our email program. If your company sends emails to market your product/solution, and you use Atlassian’s JIRA, read no further and download the free ‘Outgoing Email Workflow’ for JIRA now.

The problem

Atlassian sends a lot of email to its 25,000+ customers. In fact, in the last 12 months we’ve sent about six million emails ranging in content from our monthly newsletterJIRA tipsConfluence tips, product announcements, event emails, evaluation tips, offers and promotions, and beyond.

Our email program is very complex with API triggered sends, daily batch sends, dynamic content, and numerous automated programs. We use ExactTarget, but regardless of which email service provider you use, every one has the same challenge. Namely, it’s hard to coordinate, manage, and produce emails in a collaborative manner. When you get to Atlassian’s size – and send the volume of emails we do – there needs to be a solid workflow that includes content drafts, design elements, collaboration, approvals, edits, tests, tracking, archives, and so on.

Email Team

Atlassian email team – Kevin, Morgan and Mike

Using our own products for this task was a no-brainer, but the standard issue type in our internal JIRA marketing project wasn’t fine-grained enough. The workflow didn’t have the level of detail we required to track every piece of the process, and the lack of custom fields meant we weren’t capturing all the necessary requirements when an email ticket was opened. Because our teams are distributed across multiple offices in multiple time zones, capturing the specific requirements for each send is essential.

The solution

JIRA is used extensively across our entire company. So, we created a more suitable workflow and added custom fields that required users to include more detailed requirements. For example, to send an email about a product update, we require the sender to describe their ‘Hypothesis for testing’ such as “this announcement will get new users to register to use our products.” By knowing this, the email team can tailor the emails to test the hypothesis. We also added additional statuses to the workflow to help us track the email better through every stage of development. The workflow now lives as an issue type within the marketing project of our internal JIRA instance.

The JIRA workflow for our email program has been instrumental in helping us wrangle all the disparate parts and lifecycle of email production. Email on this scale needs a strong workflow engine, otherwise so much detail gets lost. See the workflow and required custom fields below:

Workflow

Simplified Email Workflow

Create Issue

Create Issue Screen

So far, it’s been working great for us, and we figured we’d share the love! Head on over to the Atlassian Marketplace, and start using the exact workflow that our email team uses internally everyday to send Atlassian’s outgoing email communications. Go here for documentation on ‘Importing from Atlassian Marketplace.’

Outgoing Email Workflow

The email team also uses our agile project management software, GreenHopper, to easily manage the massive volume of email tickets in the queue, but we’ll save that for a later blog post.

Win a shirt

Let us know how your company currently manages your email workflow in the comments below. If you share your story, we’ll pull someone at random to win a shirt from Atlassian Swag.