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Jay Simons on Acquisition of Trello

| by Rui Miguel Ferreira Follow 3 Followers on Feb 28, 2017. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

As announced by Atlassian, a solutions provider for team collaboration and productivity, on January 9th, 2017, the company has reached an agreement to acquire Trello, a visualization tool that makes use of boards to help teams and people manage their projects and tasks.

Both organizations have built a strong presence influencing the way teams work and helping them to improve. Trello has more than 19 million registered users and it has been adopted in more than 100 countries. Atlassian’s products are used by more than 65.000 organizations in 170 countries.

InfoQ spoke to Jay Simons, Atlassian’s President, to get further insights on how the two platforms will continue to leverage team work around the world after this move.

InfoQ: Amongst several competitors, why Trello?

Jay Simons: Trello does something new and different from what our products do. And we've been admirers of Trello for a while. The company has built a breakout product with 19 million registered users across more than 100 countries around the world. We've talked over the years and run into each other at conferences. Naturally, our companies are focused on improving how teams work, and Trello is complementary to our product suite and extends Atlassian's leadership in the team collaboration space. We share the same audacious goal of having 100 million active users of our products. We were like-minded and recognized that we have similar cultures and a deep investment in people so it made sense to join forces in pursuit of that mission.

InfoQ: Do you see this move more focused on providing additional services to existing Atlassian’s customers (typically on the software development industry), or on having the company embrace other business / non-technical areas?

Simons: Atlassian tools unleash the potential of all teams, and we've been building the foundation where all work is started and completed more efficiently. Trello will help us reach more business teams (such as Marketing, Legal and HR) and more knowledge workers of all stripes. The work business teams do is especially dynamic. Advertising campaigns, charitable giving drives, event planning... you name it. Trello gives these teams an easy way to organize work and share ideas. That said, Trello also complements our offerings for technical teams. Although these teams often thrive on structured processes, their work is necessarily dynamic in the early phases of a project. For example, an IT team can set up and quickly reconfigure a Trello board to reflect rapid iterations on a new process. Or a software team may start a project by brainstorming and grouping ideas together – perfect for a Trello board. Once projects move into methodical planning and execution cycles, the team can set up workflows in JIRA Software to manage its work.

InfoQ: There is some overlap between Trello and JIRA Software. What could a user expect from an integration between both applications?

Simons: We will be announcing a bunch of integrations between Trello and the Atlassian product suite, including JIRA. Work can and should move between products naturally, and we're excited about the integrated relationship for teams that use them together.

InfoQ: Do you think Trello’s simplicity and ease of use could lead to changes in the UI of existing Atlassian’s products?

Simons: Trello has built a delightfully simple and powerful product. Truthfully, balancing simplicity and power is a really hard thing to do in software and they have done that really well as evidenced by the growth in their user base. One of the examples that we draw to is Excel. All of us have used Excel. The beauty of Excel is that it is a piece of tech that can be applied to a financial planning model of a Fortune 100 company and your Christmas shopping list and everything in between. Trello has a lot of the same characteristics that speaks to that flexibility and simplicity. We have a lot to learn from them there.

InfoQ: Is there any target for 2017 regarding the number of users and organizations using some of the Atlassian’s products (including Trello)?

Simons: Please find here our Shareholder Letter from the second quarter of our current fiscal year, which includes guidance on how to think about financial performance with the addition of Trello to the Atlassian ecosystem.

InfoQ: Today, one can start use Trello for free. Shall Trello users expect some changes on the licensing model?

Simons: Trello has built an incredible product, and will continue to operate as a standalone service and we don't intend to change pricing.

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