Putting Jira in the Spotlight – TIFF Planning Part 3

August 31, 2018

I’m a terrible client.

For this final entry before I take off for a week and see 30 films at TIFF I will let you know this is the stage that I most dreaded when I started this experiment. Up to this point I happily used Jira for early list curation and grooming and Jira along with Better Excel to make my list for film selection day but for the final output I was very resistant to changing my approach.

In my role as client my requirements were the worst. I wanted the final output to look exactly like this:

Every year once my picks are confirmed I manually create this spreadsheet with a list of my films with the date, time, duration, location and hyperlink to the TIFF.net listing page for the film.

As you can see there are quite a few instances when I may have less than 30 minutes to travel between the different theatres. Because I subscribe to the Wittertainment code of conduct as a filmgoer I TURN OFF MY PHONE when I watch a movie, especially at TIFF. So the precious seconds it would take to spool up the FTL on the phone I often need for things like water, bodily functions or the time it will take to run up the stairs in the very special theatre that has an evil escalator that breaks every September.

I need all the data points so I can know just by looking at the paper – and yes I go to a printing house so I can get thick paper stock that will last the week of being folded and unfolded hastily in the dark –  to see where I need to head next. The colours come from the site / program book and also let me know at a glance if the next film I’m heading to is a Gala, Documentary, and so on. It’s a long week and honestly by halfway through I often don’t know what’s next on my schedule.

I want the output to have all the things and look exactly the same and if I may say so, I’m being a bit difficult.

So in my role as my own project manager and solution consultant working once again under the direction of Cathy Rivard I have to deal with this client that is not happy with the MVP that took all of a minute to create using Team Calendars in Confluence and the Jira project with my selected films.

This beta test was created so quickly that consultant me almost wept with joy. However as a client I was quick to point out that if I printed this view I would still not be able to see the most important bits – notably the where and the when.

Also no pretty colours.

So with a very tight deadline we explored other options – and finally landed on Google Calendar as the out of the box import capabilities allowed for all the pertinent information to appear.

The added benefit here also being that I could then share the TIFF18 Google Calendar that I created from the Better Excel csv export with my personal gmail and it would be accessible on my phone as well for those longer breaks. I can also ensure that I get notifications and take advantage of all the other basic features that exist in a meeting invitation like notifications before they start and sharing with other friends that attend the festival.

After the successful test of uploading two films to verify they appeared as expected I once again pointed out that if I created all of my films in one Google Calendar then the events would be the same colour.

I did mention that my client persona is a bit of a handful, did I not?

So for the final view I created a different Google Calendar for every program, by using a saved filter in Jira and modifying the Epic Link for each export to separate my csv files by program.

I then created my calendars – plural – and used the custom colour feature to use the same hex codes I used on my spreadsheet.

And finally the end result is fairly close to perfect. There is a bit of weirdness with the way the Midnight Madness movies split across the days, but even my client persona was satisfied with the result.

Naturally I failed to offer myself a bonus for working overtime and left muttering about the need to manually merge the two weeks of the calendar view in order to get it on one page, but I’m sure by the time next year rolls around I will hire myself again for TIFF19.