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Atlassian champions the customer at a global scale with Dovetail

Industry
Software
Headquarters
Sydney, Australia
Company size
7,000+
Website
atlassian.com

Atlassian’s world-class research teams set the standard when it comes to customer closeness. Here’s how Dovetail helps

More than 250,000 organizations use Atlassian tools to empower more agile, connected, and efficient teams. Being customer-obsessed is in Atlassian’s DNA. Since it was founded in 2002, the company has put the customer front and center of every product they’ve built. To support this obsession, everyone at Atlassian is encouraged to get closer to their customers. With the Atlassian research teams leading from the front, everyone can use Dovetail to do customer research at scale. A single research hub helps connect global teams and makes it easier for everyone at Atlassian to make better decisions for their customers.

We spoke to five Atlassian researchers across different areas of the business about their approach to research. They shared how they continuously innovate their processes to stay at the leading edge of customer research, and how Dovetail plays a part.

“Simply put, Dovetail enables collaborative work. It also gives us the opportunity to use, analyze, and re-use data to pull together stories, which is time-saving and really valuable.

Natalie, Lead Researcher, Sydney

Global teams championing customer closeness

It’s a challenge for any large, globally distributed team to prioritize getting closer to their customers. But Atlassian researchers make it look easy. Every day, from Australia to America, India to the Netherlands, and everywhere in between, Atlassian researchers carve out time with their customers—jumping on calls and hearing their feedback first-hand. To store their data, make sense of it, and pull out findings that can add value time and time again, they use Dovetail.

Researchers like Joyce, Cara, Natalie, and Sarah are constantly juggling multiple projects at once. They don’t just collect customer data—they uncover insights that empower different teams within Atlassian to understand their customers at a deeper level, with the ultimate goal being more-informed product decisions. Atlassian trusts Dovetail to support a wide range of research data, meaning qualitative and quantitative data can be stored, organized, and examined. This works for Atlassian, where research is diverse and in-depth, and draws on multiple different frameworks and approaches inspired by, among others, Jared Spool’s Exposure Hours, the grounded theory approach, and BJ Fogg’s Behavior Change Framework.

“Dovetail gives me the flexibility to engage people in research with varying degrees of depth, whether it’s an insight ‘snack’ or a full-blown report and presentation. Everyone has differing amounts of time they’re willing and able to give to research, and Dovetail enables me to meet people where they are.”

Joyce, Senior UX Researcher, San Francisco

Aside from accommodating a range of approaches and philosophies, Dovetail also meets researchers where they are. This means they can stay high-level or go as granular as they like when it comes to exploring research. Atlassian researchers like Joyce find a lot of value in this flexibility. In the past, she and her team would often ask colleagues to join hour-long sessions when only ten or fifteen minutes would be directly relevant to what they were working on. With Dovetail, Joyce can easily share the key takeaways from her customer interviews without taking up unnecessary time. They can also watch recordings and highlight reels if they aren’t able to join live because of their time zone or schedules. This has helped streamline their continuous and collaborative research approach, where no one misses out on the opportunity to understand their customer better, regardless of their location.

“Before using Dovetail, our teams lacked a central place to view, share, and make sense of their research data. In the past, researchers at Atlassian managed and tracked their own data independently. This meant that certain teams were missing out on invaluable insights to help us get closer to their research and, ultimately, our customers.”

Natalie, Lead Researcher, Sydney

One place for Atlassian research teams to stay close to— and make sense of— their data

Atlassian practices a “team anywhere” approach, meaning their 8,000+ employees are empowered to work wherever they do their best work. Since their teams are scattered around the globe, staying connected to their team is essential.

A single platform to house research data and customer insights is the ideal solution for distributed teams like those at Atlassian. Regardless of which product or project an Atlassian team member is working on, they can jump into Dovetail to catch up on previous research, understand key themes, and draw connections across different data points. Rather than jumping around a patchwork of tools to find customer data, the team at Atlassian knows that it all exists in Dovetail, whether it be customer feedback from five years ago, five months ago, or five minutes ago.

Atlassian researchers have created a highly sophisticated and data-rich approach to research. It often involves cross-disciplinary collaboration, which enables different skill sets to combine and come to a more powerful conclusion. Having a platform like Dovetail that supports their complex research goals rather than slowing them down is a game-changer. As Natalie explains, research is like a team sport since it can be highly collaborative. It helps to keep everyone involved with the research as it’s happening, but it can also be reviewed and revisited time and time again.

“Research as a sport means that you’re building this knowledge together, with other researchers, which has endurance and resilience. It takes discipline on the researcher's part to keep connected to this knowledge and apply it accordingly.”

Natalie, Lead Researcher, Sydney

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Dovetail features like highlighting and tagging make it easy for the Atlassian team to identify and track patterns that emerge across their research data. According to Cara, insights are also used regularly to collaborate with teammates and provide a holistic view of important findings. “They help us understand the impact of our research, hosting evidence directly all within a digestible, engaging report.”

Making better product decisions through democratized research

It’s not just researchers who get to speak to customers. Everyone at Atlassian is encouraged to spend a few hours each week diving into raw customer research and insights within Dovetail. This initiative, known internally as Exposure Hours, gives everyone the chance to build more context and gain a deeper understanding of exactly who they’re building products for. Exposure Hours not only gives every team member the opportunity to hear customer feedback firsthand, but it's also a powerful onboarding tool for someone doing research for the first time at Atlassian— or ever. Natalie explains, “regardless of experience, a new Atlassian researcher has access to a wide range of research data from seasoned pros who have been conducting customer interviews for years, to highly specialized researchers for specific findings.”

“Whenever I share customer videos, I inevitably hear back from a designer or engineer saying how illuminating it is, or how much more something makes sense to them. I love that I can easily extract a reel of customer interviews on the same theme to share with the team or create a collection of highlights in a story for stakeholders to self-serve.”

Sarah, Lead Researcher, Melbourne

Atlassian’s Exposure Hours are attended by a good mix of engineers, designers, and product managers, according to Sarah, a Lead Researcher based in Melbourne. While certain data is protected, the right people can access the “full picture”. Natalie explains that research is often distilled into recommendations, but if someone wants to understand the ‘why’ behind them, they can jump into Dovetail and gain context by watching a few interviews. Since everyone can access Dovetail, research has greater visibility and can influence more decisions and drive more value across the organization.

There's nothing like actually seeing how someone uses your product to get an understanding of what it is that they're trying to do, what troubles they might be having.”

Natalie, Lead Researcher, Sydney

As innovators in the research space, Atlassian is ahead of the curve by already having an established culture of continuous research and customer closeness. According to Maze’s Trends to Watch Research report in 2023, user insights are the leading driver of innovation. Looking ahead to the future of research at Atlassian, the company has no intention of slowing down.

“I’m pretty jazzed about some new segmentation work the quant team has started working on. I’ll be looking forward to bringing those findings into the architecture of our repository in Dovetail so we can more closely inspect data through that lens.”

Sarah, Lead Researcher, Melbourne

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