How we come up with new app ideas – 3 tested prompts for Jira Cloud app developers

There are over 4000 apps and integrations on the Atlassian Marketplace. You may think that all the best ideas are already taken, but somehow the platform is constantly being filled with new applications that come up to gain multitudes of users. But how to find this one in a million idea that will turn into a successful app? We’ve reached our development teams and asked them what inspires them and how do they come up with new concepts – sometimes for brand new apps, sometimes for new features. Let’s find out how Jira app development works behind the scenes.

Hit on ideas during hackathons

We love to create new apps that help our clients, but sometimes we also like to challenge ourselves – that’s why we organize our internal hackathons and also try our hand in external events.

"The main idea that Krzysztof Skoropada, head of Atlassian Apps, came up with, was to go beyond development teams and apps owners that handle applications on a daily basis, and collect concepts from all Deviniti employees. We wanted to give others a chance to share their ideas about improvements that they lack in their everyday work. This way, we could look at our products from a different angle, and we're sure that some of the ideas will come to light and help others improve their work."

This year, Pimp your Cloud gathered 18 participants from different departments (Atlassian Apps, Atlassian Services, Applications Development, and Marketing) with 15 projects. Teams and individual employees submitted ideas including: simplifying the process of searching for a given task in Jira using bookmarks, mapping issues in Jira, and gathering all the necessary information concerning a project in one place in Jira.

The jury found 3 concepts especially interesting:

  • Jigma – Jira and Confluence add-on allowing for browsing, adding, and editing comments in Figma from the Jira and Confluence level,
  • Public Roadmap – Jira add-on enabling for sharing a public roadmap with the customers, and therefore, helping them stay up-to-date with our products development stages,
  • Smart Profiles – this app can be a real game-changer because of the usage of SLAs and allowing for connecting a task to the assignee based just on an employee’s competencies.

All of the hackathon’s participants received feedback from the jury, including the pros and cons of their ideas and prompts that can help to improve the idea and possibly put it on the market.

Check the two-day agenda i one PDF

Improve the tools that we work with

CoJi – Confluence Pages for Jira

In Deviniti, the majority of employees skillfully maneuver between Confluence and Jira – the two applications we probably use the most. This doesn’t mean we don’t like integrations that would make our lives easier, and when the right situation occurs, we go for it.

Our sales department cooperates with the technical consultants, who deal with the implementation of services: more specifically, they conduct the implementation of Jira in organizations. The cooperation is very close: in order for the sales department to be able to send the full offer to the client, they need information from consultants. Both departments use Confluence to complete the pricing template – part of the template is completed by the consultants, and part by the sales department. Then, after the technical consultant completes the template, the sales team creates an offer. 

Each subsequent valuation generates a mechanical work:

1. Finding a template,

2. Creating a new page based on a template,

3. Complementing the content.

The need to automate this process and speed up the work of both teams was obvious to us, hence the idea for the new application emerged out of pure need. The team started working on the new application: CoJi.

The connected Confluence page previews are marked with red.

At first, the app allowed to display the template and automatically created a new Confluence page in the previously defined Space, where sales specialists copied the template and completed it. After the team, led by Agnieszka Cichocka, expanded the app’s functionalities, we received the possibility to create a Page with the template with automatically completed data from the ticket. Both sales and consultants teams, while working on one ticket, don’t have to create a Page or look for a template manually.

Here’s how the process runs after implementing CoJi:

  1. The ticket, that the Sales team is working on, goes forward to the “To be priced” status
  2. A new Confluence Page is generated in a specified space with a template prepared for the pricing, supplemented with some of the template fields
  3. When a ticket receives the “To be priced” status, the technical consultants team can begin working on it.

What distinguishes this Jira application from others? Agnieszka Cichocka, CoJi Product Owner says:

"The application differs from the other, at first glance, similar applications, in that it is the only one that allows displaying the content of Confluence Pages in the application view. What's more, it doesn't require any additional actions from the user, because pages are displayed and created automatically. The option of creating pages is quite advanced (and we still develop it) - it allows us to create a page from a template and its automatic completion with selected data from the application."

Find inspiration in our customers’ voices

Our customer support team is a real repository of ideas for new apps. We also use our customers’ questions and tips to develop our products. That was the case with Requirements & Test Management for Jira – our testing app. The application’s owner and the team use several places to collect feedback and ideas from users.

One of them is Trello, where the team created a roadmap for the authors and clients to exchange ideas. The roadmap shows the progress of individual features and helps users stay up to date with the progress that they’re interested in. The board is divided into several columns: About the Roadmap, Ideas, Next, In progress, Released, and Future consideration. In the Ideas section, we collect new concepts that are under discussion within the team. Users can vote and comment on the features they find useful and which they’d like to enjoy in the next app releases. This way, the app’s users can be actively engaged in its development. The other columns on the roadmap present consecutive stages of features’ development on which users can also comment and leave likes.

The roadmap includes all the creative steps.
The Trello roadmap for RTM

What RTM’s product owner, Jarosław Solecki, says about this type of collecting feedback?

Our Trello roadmap is a great medium because here we collect a different type of feedback than we receive in our customer support team. Support specialists often deal with clients' current issues - rather than discussing with them new ideas. The roadmap gave us the possibility to gain a wider take on the app's future. Users share their ideas and vote for them. Thanks to this, we can see the development of which functionalities is most desired by customers."

Support tickets

Support tickets are still the main source of feedback in the RTM team. Clients leave tickets usually concerning bugs or issues that users can’t manage on their own, but they also write about improvements that can be made inside the application. We either support them and solve their problems in the Customer Support team or give the ticket over to a developer. Support tickets help us stay on our toes and gather current issues from our users.

Demo sessions

Demo sessions are executed mostly by our Customer Support team and are sometimes attended also by the app owner. During these sessions, our specialists show every nook and cranny of the app – they go through each interesting feature with an existing or future client. Apart from discussing how the application work, it often happens that our team receives several questions concerning the app’s possibilities. Sometimes, they can firmly say: “Yes, you can do that in the app!”. But other times these questions become great ideas for improvement and further development. These 1:1 conversations often are a great source of inspiration for the future and a unique opportunity to look for new usability improvements.

Inside the application

But that’s not the end of gathering feedback – also Hotjar turned out to be helpful in this area. For this purpose, we collect direct, short surveys from our clients. This space has its own character, as it serves as the first point of contact with our support team. Here, if a small error has slipped through the production phase, we get to know about it in a second. Although this is usually not a source of ideas for developing the app, the surveys are also a great place to collect clients’ suggestions for minor improvements and their opinions on functionalities they would like to see in the next releases.

Key takeaway

While we can draw inspirations for new apps from our daily work and support inquiries, we also found challenging ourselves extremely helpful in this area. What’s the secret to an idea that will end with a real product? We feel that combining our intuition and market awareness with solid research and a great dose of creativity is the perfect mix.