By Dick Stark
This past Tuesday through Thursday, RightStar exhibited at the virtual Atlassian Government Symposium. Also known as Team Tour: Government, the conference focused on, “how Atlassian is shifting its R&D investments and building new agile solutions to help government agencies address the rapid and dramatic changes the world is undergoing.” Here is a short summary.
Mike Massimino, Keynote Speaker, and former NASA Astronaut, and Professor, Columbia University gave arguably the best presentation of the conference. Who wouldn’t want to be an astronaut? Mike got the bug when he was six while watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon and he never gave up on his dream. Most of us would have “thrown in the towel” especially after three NASA rejections, the last one due to a medical disqualification for non-perfect vision. Instead Mike worked with a child optometrist and trained his eyes and brain to see better–normally a procedure that only succeeds with children. It was enough to improve his vision to qualify for the NASA program.
Mike holds the record for the most spacewalking time by successfully completing a complicated repair of the Hubble Space Telescope. Mike explained that “failure was not an option,” after he stripped a screw that prevented him from removing a handrail that was blocking access to the repair. His solution? He ripped the handrail off with his “bare hands” to successfully complete the repair—again showing his determination and calm demeanor under pressure.
In the question and answer session later that day, hosted by the Northern Virginia Atlassian Community group, I asked when NASA will return to Mars. His answer: the moon by the end of the decade, and Mars, ten years later—something for all of us to look forward to.
Transformation in a dynamic environment, was the topic of Atlassian’s conference opener. Led by Anu Bharadwaj, Head of Atlassian’s Cloud Platform. Anu began with a brief history of the world, from hunter-gathers to the industrial revolution to the Internet to the Cloud, and finally to the Pandemic, where the world changed faster than ever before in just a matter of months. Anu asked, “How do you manage this rapid dynamic change?” Her answer: by unleashing the potential of individual teams. She went on to show how government agencies at the team, program and enterprise level can reach their full potential, especially with Atlassian toolsets, and specifically those in the cloud.
Anu summed it up this way, “Atlassian is now a cloud first company. We know that we can serve our customers better with no hassle upgrades and migrations with no worries and the best possible experience.”