When you find the right app, it can truly elevate the way you use Jira and Confluence.
Here’s the sticking point, though. How do you know which apps will really deliver the features and benefits you need? This is where Atlassian’s free evaluation period comes in handy for Marketplace Apps.
What is an evaluation period – and how long do you get it for?
The evaluation (also known as a trial) period is the time during which you can try Atlassian Marketplace apps for free.
Depending on the type of environment you are using (Cloud or Data Center), there are set time periods for these trials:
- Cloud apps: A free evaluation for up to 30 days
- Data Center apps: A free evaluation for 30 days at a time. You can extend this period up to five times, resulting in a total free trial time of six months
During this time, your key goal should be to pressure test the app and analyze it from all angles.
We recommend treating your evaluation period as a project in itself. Allocate sufficient resources and time across your team to thoroughly test the app and the value it brings.
With this approach, you’ll be able to truly understand the value an app can bring to your business and when the time comes to decide whether to purchase or not, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision.
It’s not all about the app…
Your evaluation period also means you can engage with the app’s creators (the app vendor) and this is almost as important as finding the right app itself.
Bold statement, we know.
But they’ll be the ones supporting you day-to-day when you’re using the app. If you run into any challenges, need to raise an issue, or have feedback, you need to have confidence the app vendor will be responsive.
Use your trial period to get a feel for their support, knowledge, and communication. We’d recommend focusing on these areas:
- Openness to feedback
- Onboarding experience
- Available documentation or guides
- Level of customer service
Let’s explore these in a bit more detail.
Openness to feedback
The most reputable app vendors know that the most valuable feedback always comes from their customers and you need to be willing to receive that feedback. After all, no app is perfect!
Once you have started your trial, ask yourself, has the app vendor reached out to you to understand more about your needs? Have they asked if there are any areas you need support with or improvements you would like to see made to the product?
When they ask you for feedback, it’s usually a sign they want to provide you with the best experience possible.
But one ask from us (as app vendors ourselves), when the vendor reaches out, please engage with them! By providing your feedback, you can help them improve their app and, ultimately, you’ll benefit by gaining access to an even better solutions as it’s evolves over time.
A good onboarding experience can help you and your team get off to a flying start when using an app from the Atlassian Marketplace.
Some apps can be complex and feature-rich, so you’ll need instant access to the right information to get up to speed quickly.
Look for resources like a range of ‘How to’ videos that walk you through the core features of an app, or an email newsletter full of recommendations and top tips on how to use the app best.
In many cases, the onboarding experience can separate a good vendor from a great vendor so it’s really important to pay close attention to the support they provide in the early stages of your trial.
Although apps are built to be intuitive and simple to use (like ours, of course!), there will undoubtedly be times when you need more guidance about a specific feature or a use case.
Your first stop? Documentation or user guides.
If done well, these should provide a great source of information for you and your team – whenever you need it.
Great customer service
During your Atlassian Marketplace trial period, you really want to gauge the quality of an app vendor’s customer service.
Some good signs to look out for: Does the vendor offer multiple ways to get in touch with them? Are they responsive when they contact you? And do they ask for feedback after a support issue? These signs all indicate a proactive vendor who is continually seeking ways to improve their support offering.
It’s also worth noting how a vendor responds to reviews – particularly those that highlight potential problems or include suggestions for future enhancements. If the app vendor acknowledges and thanks a user for their feedback, it’s usually a sign that you are in good hands.
How can you make the most of your trial period?
Now it’s time to focus on the trial itself.
Based on our experience, there are six ‘must-do’ tips for using your trial period as effectively as possible. After all, the trial is only for a limited time amount of time so you don’t want to waste.
These tips are:
- Take time to learn about the app
- Book a demo
- Dedicate time to the trial
- Get hands-on experience
- Define success
- Include your wider team
Learn about the app
The best way to start your research is to identify the problem(s) you are trying to solve with an Atlassian Marketplace app.
After you have identified these needs, there are plenty of resources available to help you find the right app. Start with the Atlassian Marketplace and vendor websites, and then explore events and/or webinars that are run within the Atlassian community.
Video content is another great way to get acquainted with an app. Vendors will often have several videos that illustrate different features and use cases. These can also be useful for colleagues who are using or testing the app, so make sure you share these with them.
Last, on our list for this section – seek out independent reviews on the Atlassian Marketplace app listing. These can provide you with an unbiased opinion from other customers.
Even though trial periods do not cost money, they do take time and energy. So, we think it’s essential to be prepared and knowledgeable before you hit that ‘Try it free’ button.
Book a demonstration
Many vendors will offer you a demo call where you can talk through your use case and learn more about how the app can solve your specific problems or challenges.
This also enables you to see the app ‘in action’ before you start evaluating it during your free trial. Starting your trial already familiar with how the app looks and feels can, again, save you valuable time during your evaluation period.
Make time in your schedule and test it out properly
Once you have chosen the app you want to trial, you need to set aside a good amount of time to test it out thoroughly.
As we mentioned earlier, treat your app free trial as a project – complete with a comprehensive plan, dedicated resources and sufficient time.
We’d also recommend you involve other stakeholders across your organization who would be using the app in their daily work. This will ensure you benefit from a range of opinions and perspectives, enabling you to make a more informed decision when the evaluation period is over.
Get a hands-on experience
This is probably the most important phase of the evaluation period.
You need to get a thorough understanding of how the app will support your daily work and whether it can solve the problem(s) you had.
The best way to try out an app is to test it for your specific use case. If you need it to support project work, we’d suggest that you integrate it as part of the project and see if it complements how you are currently working. If it does then this is a great sign.
We’ve found that often people evaluate apps by using them on a development instance or sandbox. Our recommendation would be to trial it in an environment that gives you a realistic view of how the app can contribute to your team and business.
(Ultimately though, of course, where you install and trial the app is up to you!)
Define what success looks like for you
To find the right solution for your team and business, you need to understand whether the Atlassian app addresses the challenges you are facing.
It can be valuable to draw up metrics that you can use to measure success. These could include things like key performance indicators (KPIs).
Reviewing these metrics can enable you make a more informed decision at the end of your evaluation period. Clear evidence of success can also help you to enthuse your team and, crucially, gain buy-in from key stakeholders.
A few examples of metrics and criteria:
- Ease of use: Does the app require intensive training?
- Functionality: Does the app provide the features you need?
- Adoption: Can your teams begin using the app from the get-go?
Involve your teammates in the decision-making process
In most cases, you will not be the only person using the Atlassian app – so it’s essential that you gather feedback from other stakeholders during your trial period for a well-rounded evaluation.
The more people involved, the more you’ll be able to make an informed decision backed up by multiple perspectives from throughout your organization.
You are also indirectly building a group of power users who will be able to support the rollout of the app across different teams in the future.
Dedication from you and your teammates is key to getting the most out of your Atlassian Marketplace App evaluation period. It’s a great moment when you realise that a new app can totally enhance your use of Jira or Confluence. Hopefully the tips we’ve shared from our team in today’s post will help you complete your evaluation period and get to that moment a little more smoothly.
Before we wrap up, we should touch on price as a factor, as it is is undoubtedly a key consideration for many organizations. While price is an important factor, just remember the most expensive software is the one that is either used or adds no real value to the team, so always approach your decision making with that in mind.
By thoroughly evaluating the app, you really are increasing the chance of it delivering tangible value to your teams and the wider business.
Here at AppFox, we have a range of Atlassian apps available on the Marketplace to extend the functionality of Jira, Confluence, and Trello.
From Approvals for Confluence, to Jira Optimizer, you can try all of them for free today. Or, why not book a call with us and we’ll be happy to answer any and all of your questions (seriously – we love talking all things apps!).