A big part of Atlassian’s focus at the Atlassian Unleash event in Amsterdam this year was developer experience. At the keynote, SVP Matt Schvimmer said that developer experience was “the right thing to focus on.” Atlassian aims to provide developers with generative AI capabilities to prevent distraction from “continuous delivery flow” and end the need for ad hoc tools to access project information. We’re not sure that developers ever enter flow when maintaining Jira tickets, but AI is certainly going to help them with the toil of their noncoding activities.

Atlassian has partnered with DX (the company) and has enthusiastically adopted its DevEx framework, which aims to increase flow, speed up feedback, and reduce cognitive load; DX’s CTO Laura Tacho was even a guest speaker. This focus on developer experience is a good thing for developers. Atlassian’s partnership with DX extends to hosting developer experience surveys — collecting valuable insight that organizations today often lack.

Compass’ Needle Is Swinging

Atlassian is a big organization with a lot of offerings, but it is eager to align them with its AI-led developer experience framework. For cognitive load, Atlassian is positioning Compass — its combination of component catalog, service health scorecard, and golden path templates — as a solution. Although the catalog is available for free to all Atlassian customers, that’s not true of the scorecard or templates. That offer seems underwhelming when enterprises consider the open source Backstage, with its larger (albeit more ungainly) plugin ecosystem. The promise of AI integration, though, might be enough to keep enterprises in the Atlassian ecosystem.

Atlassian Plays Catch-Up With AI

At Atlassian Team ’23 in Las Vegas, Atlassian said that it would double down on infusing its offerings with generative AI. Meeting those promises in Amsterdam, it announced general availability of Atlassian Intelligence, an integrated chat interface backed by OpenAI technology.

Atlassian Intelligence works as an analysis/planning TuringBot (an AI-enabled development aid). It supplies feedback for code reviews, answers questions about planning tasks, and offers a chat interface to its JQL query language. Behind the scenes, the TuringBot suggests actions to correct misbehaviors it detects during the course of the project. Atlassian is infusing the Intelligence platform capabilities into Compass and incrementally everywhere.

Beyond its partnership with OpenAI, Atlassian is experimenting with open source large language models and fine-tuning techniques based on indexing and vector embedding with retrieval augmented generation. The aim: to better capture the knowledge and context of the platform.

Get Onto My Cloud

The new features are mostly limited to Atlassian Cloud. At the session “Boost developer experience by migrating to Atlassian Cloud,” a poll of hands showed that roughly 25% of attendees were on the Atlassian Cloud. Another 50% had started migration planning. The remaining quarter surprised us but maybe not Atlassian. The ominous slide, “65 days until Server end of support,” was already in the deck. Today, that’s even closer. For those not on Atlassian Cloud or Atlassian Data Center, February 15, 2024, looms.

Atlassian Is Headed In The Right Direction

If you’re a developer, you’ll appreciate the spotlight that Atlassian is providing. An increased focus on developer experience helps the industry. Atlassian may be further ahead than it thinks — at a developer experience birds-of-a-feather, the attendance was in single digits — but there are worse problems to have.

However, the industry is running fast when it comes to adopting the latest advances in AI and generative AI. TuringBots can automate the entire SLDC in all of its stages, from analysis to deployment. Atlassian has a big opportunity to fill in the gaps. Today, the industry is mostly excited about code generation, but that’s only 20% of a developer’s day!

Atlassian has a gold mine: data and metadata stored in Jira. That encodes tremendous experience about what makes teams, projects, and products successful. The insights in its knowledge graph could turn Atlassian’s suite of tools into a fully infused smart AI and genAI platform, with multiple TuringBots helping all stakeholders collaborate. It’s on the roadmap — now, Atlassian must execute effectively.