18. May 2020 EEA s.r.o.

How Atlassian tools can help cities in calm and turbulent times

Many years of operation as well as current close cooperation with public administration show that Atlassian tools and experts on these products can help even outside of specialized IT fields or large corporations.

In recent months, the entire world has faced one of the greatest challenges in modern history. During this test, it became clear that the state administration alone is not enough for everything, and that everyone who can do a little bit needs to get involved.

We have all seen the wave of solidarity that has risen. Spontaneous actions, initiated by individuals, the private sector and civil society, filled the necessary white spaces. However, this activity always extinguished only acute fires, and had very little opportunity to influence the functioning of state and local government in the future. With the passing of the current pandemic, this activity will disappear and the setting up of processes for the functioning of the state will push everything back to the old ways.

However, it has been shown that coalitions between an engaged civil society and the private sector can emerge, which may be a way to become more involved in governance in the near future. EEA entered this area of participation eleven years ago.

At the beginning of participatory processes in Slovakia was the civic association Utopia, co-founded by Gabriel Lachmann and Erich Šašinka. These founders of our company used EEA’s knowledge and skills and offered IT support for participatory processes under the umbrella of Utopia.


The first participatory budgets in Slovakia, which Utopia started in Bratislava in 2011, used the open-source portal Liferay for the creation of interactive websites and discussion platforms and the Atlassian tool Confluence for the work processes of organizational teams. Liferay was used in Ružomberok, Banská Bystrica and Trnava, Confluence in Trnava and Prievidza. Both of these software tools are still part of the participatory processes in the Bratislava district of Nové Město, where the informal cooperation between the EEA and the local government has been in place since 2014.

In recent years, the Participation Department of Nové Mesto has been using Atlassian’s Jira product, specifically the GeoData application. It allows different ways to associate a GPS location with Jira tasks, then display these on a map and filter as needed.

Specific use of Geodata in the Bratislava – Nové Mesto district:

  • Map of participatory projects.
  • Localization of citizen initiatives.
  • Localizing damage to pavements.

The staff of the department records citizen suggestions in Jira and with the help of GeoData clearly displays selected data on the map. These can also be published as open data via REST interface with GeoJSON and displayed on the map in other systems.

Project “I will help”

The current highlight of the EEA’s long-term cooperation with the Municipality of Nové Mesto is the I will help” project, which involves the competent departments and offices of the local government headed by the mayor and a network of volunteers consisting of more than 300 people. These volunteers give their time and services to people in need. All this is done in cooperation with other entities such as the Red Cross, academia and private donors.

Organizing, recording and addressing the needs and problems of people in distress and interacting with volunteers would be very complicated and challenging without functional databases. Using Jira Service Desk portals, Confluence and Insight CMDB database to store metadata, a database of volunteers and people in need was created. It allows for more precise and flexible setup of processes and the possibility of more targeted help to people who really need it.

What Jira enables:

  • Easily search for volunteers by type of help, home address, time they can help, and can also work with geolocation.
  • Visualize volunteers on a map.
  • Create tasks to address people in need and assign tasks to volunteers based on previous database searches.
  • Setting up workflows and tracking the status of tasks.

Dashboard of registered people in need and tasks created based on their specific needs.

Tasks displayed on the map can be filtered through defined datasets that contain attributes for further filtering. A standard list of tasks with JQL search is also available.

It works!

Many years of operation as well as current close cooperation with public administration show that Atlassian tools and experts on these products can help even outside of specialized IT fields or large corporations. This collaboration results in more sophisticated and innovative solutions that help to improve the quality of life for all citizens.

Aligning participatory processes with open-source technologies will greatly facilitate the organization of people and the recording of suggestions. However, a shift in the relationship between people and public administration, conditioned among other things by the active participation of citizens in public affairs, remains a prerequisite for success.

Peter Nedoroščík, Martina Belanová, Andrej Ďumbala

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