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April 12, 2021

Flo improves well-being through better collaboration with Atlassian’s cloud products

By bringing together diverse departments onto one integrated, cloud-based Atlassian platform, our  teams here at Flo can collaborate seamlessly, track performance, and optimize their workflows. 

Now, we’re seeing results within our organization and for our users. Internal teams have improved deployment velocity by over 900 percent, cycle time by 88 percent, and mean time to resolution by 99 percent. And, backed by that quick delivery and service, Flo’s #1-rated app is helping over 165 million people around the world understand their bodies better.

Building an effective health insights app that helps people better understand and care for their bodies requires bridging the gap between often-opposing forces: science and emotion, automation and the human touch, and security and candor. Our medical experts and technology specialists have blended these ingredients beautifully – and the outcomes prove it.

In just five years, Flo has grown from a brand new period and ovulation tracker to a comprehensive, top-rated health app. Over 165 million people now use our app to proactively monitor their health, get in touch with their body’s signals, switch modes to find the most relevant insights based on their focus (cycle tracking, pregnancy, or post-pregnancy), and get personal support from others in a secure space. Our team has facilitated each step of this evolution with Atlassian. 

Adopting a complete, integrated suite of Atlassian’s cloud products has helped our employees better serve each other and our customers. By building one central platform where diverse departments can collaborate, track their performance, and optimize their workflows, our internal teams have improved deployment velocity by over 900 percent, cycle time by 88 percent, and mean time to resolution by 99 percent, while helping their external customers understand their bodies better.

A catalyst for collaboration

From the beginning, we have faced a number of complex challenges. Some are unique to our line of work, such as puzzling through how to combine machine learning technology with health information from real professionals, and balancing privacy with community building. Other struggles our team has experienced are common among fast-growing companies in any industry, like embracing modern practices to increase speed and success, scaling quickly while staying connected and maintaining quality, and working remotely across global locations. For every challenge, our team has leveraged Atlassian’s cloud products to devise a solution. 

Our decision to work on the cloud stemmed from our dedication to innovation and security. Atlassian’s ISO/IEC 27001 certificate gave us confidence that the solution would help with data protection and risk management. “We did deep due diligence and made sure that Atlassian security, privacy practices, operations met our compliance needs. We saw the Atlassian cloud as a reliable, mature solution that’s trusted by other companies. Being on the cloud means we can focus on our platform rather than on tooling or maintenance,” says CTO Roman Bugaev. “The cloud is also more secure and compliant, with features like audit logs. When we work with Atlassian, we know for sure our system is properly managed. To produce that same environment internally would take a lot of time and resources. Better to spend them on our own product.”

“Being on the cloud means we can focus on our platform rather than on tooling or maintenance. The cloud is also more secure and compliant, with features like audit logs.”

In the beginning, Engineering adopted Bitbucket Cloud for code management, Confluence Cloud for storing knowledge, and Jira Software Cloud – with add-ons like Jira Misc Workflow Extensions – for efficient, agile product development. Thanks to organic exposure and internal champions, the whole company embraced Atlassian solutions over time, making it much easier to share work and information between teams and with customers. Now, everyone from engineers and content writers to medical experts and customer service representatives leverage a variety of Atlassian products on a daily basis.

Building a service culture with distributed teams

Between technical and non-technical roles, on-site and remote collaborators, teams across Flo are creating a service culture throughout the organization, with Atlassian as the backbone supporting their efficiency and effectiveness.

For example, on the non-technical side, Legal and Compliance turns to Jira Service Management for guidance on what tasks need to be completed any time an employee joins the company, leaves, or assumes a new role. Communications Manager Daria Grishechkina shares that her team also uses a number of Atlassian products to collaborate with key stakeholders throughout the organization on content creation. She says, “Each piece of content has to go through so many proofreading and editing rounds with Legal, Medical, Product Management, and more to make sure we deliver evidence-based, trustworthy information. We use Atlassian for every step, from creation, to review, to distribution.” 

Our technical teams also leverage their integrated Atlassian platform to partner with other departments and power every aspect of their work. In addition to day-to-day product management and agile development, Engineering uses Jira Service Management to quickly manage service requests, monitor alerts, and coordinate on-call schedules, which gets tricky with so many distributed teams in different time zones. “We had monitoring, but when you receive an email, it’s difficult to react when you aren’t at your desk,” says Roman. “It was a really good decision to start using Opsgenie incident response capabilities in Jira Service Management. Now all Product Development teams have service desks and rotation schedules that dictate when they receive notifications. It helps us react faster when things go wrong.”

Having a connected, structured service management and alerting system has helped us reduce mean time to resolution by 99 percent, as well as decrease mental load, which have both improved employee morale. “Before, everyone had to jump into Slack [to address issues]. Now, the organized workflows and integrations between Jira Service Management and other products make it much easier for engineers. They’re less tired and enjoy the work more,” Roman says. 

“Having Atlassian tools and very organized, strict processes also frees up our minds from thinking about how to do tasks so we can focus on the value we’re delivering to users.”

Roman adds that integrations between Jira Service Management, Jira Software, Bitbucket, Confluence, and other critical tools in their workflow (including Slack, Snyk, and SonarQube) facilitate Flo’s DevOps and ITSM practices. Marketplace apps like Dynamic Forms and Extensions for Jira Service Management lend even more context and customization options, which save time and help employees make more informed decisions.

For instance, IT, Development, and Security collaborate through Atlassian to resolve issues, identify root causes, and prevent problems in the future. “It’s easier to see what caused the issue because we have CI/CD pipelines where we see all deployments, which are linked to Jira tickets, which are also linked to Confluence, Bitbucket, and Slack,” Roman explains. “Bitbucket is integrated with Slack so we can see when a pipeline is added. And when an incident happens, it’s easy to create a Slack channel and work to address it together. Then in Opsgenie, we have all the incidents on our screen so we can see trends, determine whether to schedule post mortems, and link incidents to Slack conversations to see the history.” 

Whether it’s engineers coming together to swarm issues or medical experts, product developers, and content creators joining forces to communicate health insights, Atlassian is the primary service channel that flows information between teams and users. “Atlassian brings all of those teams together,” Roman says. “The user-friendly UI and integrations make it easy for our medical experts to get onboarded and start working quickly.” The faster they can get to work, the faster they can make a difference for their company and customers.

Putting people first – period

Flo has evolved from a basic period tracker to an advanced health and well-being app, and our Atlassian cloud products have evolved along with us. As the team has further expanded and integrated our Atlassian solutions, we have seen the results of our hard work, internally and in the service we’re able to provide. 

“We’re working in a very competitive market, so it’s very important for us to be as efficient as possible. We do a lot of automation and optimization with Atlassian, which helps us improve bottlenecks in our process and achieve our goals faster,” Roman explains. “For example, we’ve gone from one big-bang release every month to 10-20 production deployments per day. We also reduced the average development cycle time from 5.8 days to 2.9 days and the standard deviation from 19.8 days to 3.5 days.”

“We’ve gone from one big-bang release every month to 10-20 production deployments per day.”

Harnessing that efficiency has not only helped our team work faster, but also freed up our time and energy to focus on what matters most. Roman says, “Our big, ambitious goal is to empower women to access the knowledge needed to prioritize their health and put themselves first. Having all of our tools integrated into one seamless workspace means we can focus on this mission and product goals instead of thinking about how to organize workflows or what to do next.”

We are already well on our way to achieving this mission, and our success so far fuels our motivation to keep going. By connecting more with each other, the Flo app could be the key that helps billions of people around the world unlock a stronger connection with their bodies and their health.

Source: Atlassian Customers