5 ways your company can think like Atlassian

Atlassian’s Dominic Price shares the approaches and thinking that have been critical to the enterprise software company’s success.

When it comes to remarkable business stories, Atlassian's is right up there. It has experienced hyper-growth on limited budgets to establish itself as a real global player. Dominic Price, Atlassian's Head of Product Development, R&D and Work Futurist, explains how Atlassian has done it.

1. Your product is your star

“Atlassian has no sales team,” Price says. “We believe great products sell themselves. When something transforms your work for the better, you use it, you share it, you take it with you to your next company.”

Of course, achieving the pinnacle of product is no mean feat. But it doesn’t happen by accident. Atlassian has cultivated a culture of true innovation.

Every quarter, Atlassian runs a 24-hour hackathon called ShipIt, where people from diverse departments and offices get in teams to identify and solve problems by creating new projects. According to Price, one of the fastest growing products in Atlassian's history, JIRA Service Desk, was born out of ShipIt.

2. Test, test and test some more

Mistakes are inevitable. But to fail "successfully" you need to have people focused on trialling and testing, which will improve your product or campaign much faster. Price says Atlassian "runs on quite a short-term roadmap", giving the company the ability to conduct development according to trial and error, which allows it to grow much quicker than constant "analysis".

In marketing as well as software development, A/B testing is the key to this fast development. By trying two versions of the product or elements of a marketing campaign, you can quickly see which one gives better results and is best to grow your business.

3. Don’t forget the WHY and the WHO

“This is a mantra that we keep very high on our radar at Atlassian,” Price says. “The ‘why’ means we all have the right to ask why we’re doing something, to understand the purpose, vision and intended impact.

“The ‘who’ is important for us to get out of our immediate frame of reference and world, and think about the others who might be impacted. When we think ‘who’, we don’t just think internally, but also externally – customers, competitors, tech trends, ecosystem and partners.”

4. Stay focused on core values

For any organisation, but especially those that experience fast growth, it's fundamental to keep strong values and ethical foundations throughout that expansion.

“One of our values is ‘Don’t f**k the customer’. Not ‘customer first’ or ‘think about the customer’. ‘Don’t f**k the customer’,” Price says. “It really helps build empathy and enables us to walk in the shoes of the customer – internal or external – before we make a change.”

Combining these core values and keeping in mind the “who” will allow your innovations to have a further impact and consequently enable significant growth.

5. Don’t let data dictate to you

It goes without saying that data is essential. But, as Price says, "it's easy to get locked into the past or swayed by the data". That's why Atlassian works on a philosophy of being data-informed, not data-driven.

"Data-informed essentially asks you as a person to consume a variety of data points (history, data analysis, opinions, precedents etc) and combine them with your knowledge and wisdom to make an informed decision. If the data always decides and is always right, you don't need to hire smart people anymore."

Dominic Price spoke at the B2B Marketing Leaders Forum APAC 2017.

Further information: An edited version of Price’s talk at the B2B Marketing Leaders Forum APAC.