Introducing Enterprise Collaboration
This chapter provides a brief introduction to Atlassian and Confluence. You will also find an overview of the core concepts of enterprise collaboration and, more specifically, remote collaboration. You’ll learn how Confluence supports organizations in simplifying remote collaboration by providing a robust yet flexible platform. We aim to set a solid background before proceeding to the practical sides of this book.
Knowing Atlassian will help you better understand Confluence and get the most out of it. You will learn the company values that guide Atlassian in building, maintaining, and improving all the company’s products, including Confluence. This knowledge will help you understand the philosophy of Confluence thoroughly. All these benefits are critical when trying to master your company’s primary collaboration tool.
The primary concepts of enterprise collaboration will help you focus on the most critical problems of modern collaboration, where people work from different places within different time zones. These concepts will help you prepare for the complexities you’ll have (or you already have) while designing and maintaining a collaboration platform for your company.
Having basic knowledge of Confluence, Atlassian, which produces and develops this product, enterprise collaboration concepts, and corporate cooperation will enable you to get much more effective results with the techniques you will learn in the following sections.
After reading this chapter, you’ll come away with the following knowledge:
- The basics of Confluence (and Atlassian, the company behind it)
- The key terms related to modern collaboration
- Which types of teams and companies can benefit from Confluence
- How exactly Confluence can simplify remote collaboration
- How to build a team that will develop your Confluence site and maintain it
Introducing Confluence and Atlassian as a company
We will divide our tour of Atlassian and Confluence into eight parts:
- Introducing Atlassian
- Introducing Confluence
- Exploring the competitors of Confluence
- Discovering the different hosting options of Confluence – Cloud and Data Center
- Discovering the different Confluence Cloud plans – Free, Standard, Premium, and Enterprise
- Accessing the official documentation of Confluence Cloud
- Accessing the service availability information and reports for Confluence Cloud
- Anticipating and preparing for changes with Atlassian’s Cloud Roadmap
Introduction to Atlassian
- Atlassian was founded in 2002 by Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar. They were inspired by the Greek titan when naming the company.
- Their mission is to help teams around the world unleash their potential.
- Atlassian created Confluence Server in 2003 and Confluence Cloud in 2011.
- Atlassian, which went public in 2015, has recently invested heavily in the cloud, and has powerful tools for teamwork technologies in its product portfolio.
- Atlassian is one of the world’s most staunch advocates of open work and distributed working, where information is only hidden if specifically needed. They have published much content based on scientific data on this subject.
Table 1.1: Atlassian offices around the world
As shown in the preceding table, the company has offices in different parts of the world. Additionally, Atlassian has allowed employees to work from (almost) anywhere since 2020. Being a 20-year-old company with more than 8,000 team members, Atlassian has more than 260,000 customers worldwide.
Table 1.2: Products by Atlassian
Let’s talk about Atlassian’s Point A, an innovative program that’s more than just a buzzword. Point A is Atlassian’s incubator for new ideas, where collaboration with customers and partners takes center stage. By focusing on real-world challenges and iterative design, Point A reflects a bold new direction in product development. It’s about building tools that people like you really need.
Why should you care about Point A? Because it’s shaping Atlassian’s future of collaboration tools. Point A isn’t just an abstract concept; it’s a tangible path to new solutions that could become vital to your daily work. By following Point A, you’re not just watching innovation unfold; you’re potentially influencing products that may become integral to your workflow. It’s a glimpse into the future of teamwork tools, and it offers you the opportunity to be part of something groundbreaking. So far, Point A has given us some incredible success stories such as Jira Work Management, Jira Product Discovery, Atlas, Compass, Beacon, and Confluence Whiteboards. You can find more information about Point A via this link: https://www.atlassian.com/point-a.
To understand Atlassian, it’s beneficial to understand its values. Atlassian has five core values. These values significantly guide the way Atlassian conducts business, develops products, and builds its brand. The company is constantly evolving and changing; however, these five values remain constant. They are as follows:
- Open company, no bullshit
- Build with heart and balance
- Don’t #@!% the customer
- Play, as a team
- Be the change you seek
We highly recommend looking into the Atlassian values here: https://www.atlassian.com/company/values.
Introduction to Confluence
Confluence emerged in 2003 and is a system used by teams to store, share, and work as teams. At its core is the ethos of combining knowledge and teamwork. It allows collaboration within a single unit and between different departments in small or large companies (marketing, HR, IT, etc.). Users can combine all company-scale projects and teams.
Texts, references, images, and any content can be stored, shared, and edited simultaneously through Confluence. Because all this happens in the cloud, labor is saved and doesn’t require much extra effort. It creates an open, easy-to-use, secure platform that allows teams to brainstorm, interact, discuss, and disseminate knowledge. It helps to carry individual studies to the culture of team spirit and transforms monologue into dialogue. Planning, goal setting, executing, and learning come together in one place in an organized and user friendly manner.
Teams working from the office, remotely, or hybrid benefit from Confluence.
According to Atlassian, Confluence has four essential functions:
- Break down team silos
- Turn conversations into action
- Organize everything in one place
- Build a culture of open teamwork
Exploring the competitors of Confluence
- SharePoint by Microsoft
- Docs and Drive by Google
- Notion by Notion
- Coda by Coda
- Quip by Salesforce
Discovering the different hosting options of Confluence – Cloud and Data Center
- Data Center
Atlassian recommends the Cloud version, but the Data Center option better suits you if you have a business requirement preventing you from hosting your data in the cloud. Many companies want to strictly control who has access to data held in Atlassian products such as Confluence or Jira. These companies often choose Data Center over Cloud. Additionally, data residency on Cloud is limited for some countries, which can be a significant obstacle for companies in regulated industries such as finance or medicine. This limitation can make migration impossible, reinforcing the preference for Data Center solutions.
Although they have a lot in common, they have significant functional differences. The Cloud edition is a software as a service (SaaS) solution and offers many benefits. For example, Atlassian takes care of all the technical details to provide an always-on, continuously updated, secure system. On the other hand, you must maintain your infrastructure if you opt for the Data Center edition.
Throughout this book, we recommend and assume that you have the Cloud version.
More information can be found here: https://www.atlassian.com/migration/assess/compare-cloud-data-center.
Discovering the different plans of Confluence Cloud – Free, Standard, Premium, and Enterprise
- Free plan: For small teams who need essential project knowledge management solutions
- Standard plan: For growing teams who need more powerful collaboration and knowledge management solutions
- Premium plan: For organizations with advanced features for scaling knowledge management and achieving a high level of cooperation
- Enterprise plan: For enterprises with global scale, security, and governance
This book recommends and assumes that you have the Premium or the Enterprise plan. These plans have all the features that you will need when you study this book. A brief overview of the essential differences between Confluence Premium and Enterprise follows. Although these two plans are similar, they have some important differences that are summarized in Table 1.3:
Table 1.3: Differences between Confluence Premium and Enterprise
As you can see, the Enterprise plan provides the most advanced features of Confluence and a higher SLA.
Figure 1.1: Confluence’s official documentation
- How to set up Confluence Cloud
- How to create and organize work
- How to collaborate on content
- And much more…
Atlassian Marketplace is a thriving online platform that hosts plugins, apps, and integrations specifically designed for Atlassian products. It’s a space where developers can share their creations, and users can find the tools they need to enhance their Atlassian experience.
The importance of Atlassian Marketplace can’t be overstated. It enables the customization and extension of Atlassian products, allowing users to tailor them to their specific needs. Whether it’s project management, code integration, or workflow enhancement, Atlassian Marketplace offers solutions that can make an Atlassian product an even more powerful part of your toolkit.
Atlassian Marketplace boasts a diverse array of features, including a user friendly interface for browsing and discovering apps, detailed reviews, and support resources. You can find both free and paid solutions, with clear information on pricing and functionality. With robust search and filter options, finding the perfect tool to augment your Atlassian experience is just a few clicks away.
Atlassian Marketplace and Confluence are tightly intertwined. Through Atlassian Marketplace, Confluence users can access a wide variety of add-ons (or plugins) that expand Confluence’s capabilities. Whether it’s new macros, templates, or integrations with other tools, AM empowers Confluence users to adapt the platform to their specific requirements.
We’ll be delving into Atlassian Marketplace in more detail in the later sections of this book. Its rich ecosystem and endless possibilities are worth exploring, and we’ll guide you through everything you need to know to make the most of this invaluable resource.
Accessing the service availability information and reports for Confluence Cloud
We expect this critical system on which your team works together to be operational. But unfortunately, no system can be 100% functional. However, in the previous sections, we saw that the service level is 99.9% for Premium licenses and 99.95% for Enterprise licenses. You can find the link to Atlassian’s Service Level Agreement in the Further reading section at the end of this chapter.
The interruptions are sometimes due to planned maintenance and unforeseen events. When such a situation occurs, our primary expectation is that the problem will be resolved as soon as possible and everything will return to normal. However, our other expectation is to be informed effectively and transparently in this painful process.
This is where Atlassian’s status page comes into play. Thanks to this tool, you can instantly monitor the service quality of Confluence and Atlassian’s other products. When there is a problem, you are immediately informed first-hand in the most reliable way without having to send a panicked email or make a phone call. Thanks to this, you know that the Atlassian team has already noticed the problem and is working on it, so the team does not become burdened with unnecessary demands and can devote its energy to solving the problem. You can access this tool at https://confluence.status.atlassian.com.
The Confluence Cloud status page is pictured in Figure 1.2:
Figure 1.2: Confluence Cloud status page
As you can see in the screenshot, this tool has many features. We recommend you learn all these features and try them out a few times. We also recommend you try it when everything is operational without waiting for any interruptions.
With this tool, you can do the following:
- Monitor whether the systems are operational
- Subscribe to instant notifications
- Report a problem you notice to the Atlassian team
- Access the list of past problems
You can stay instantly informed about updates from Atlassian by using the yellow Subscribe to Updates button located at the top-right of the screen. You can receive these updates either via email or through a platform such as Slack. We recommend utilizing this service and closely following the updates.
This tool works on the status page, another famous product of Atlassian. Here, the status of Confluence and all Atlassian products can be instantly monitored.
We will now provide an example of how Atlassian maintains communication when there is a problem. The following is a screenshot of an issue that occurred on September 29, 2022:
Figure 1.3: Past incident post published on Confluence status page
Anticipating and preparing for changes with Atlassian’s Cloud Roadmap
We must always be able to look ahead to maintain a platform on which the whole team will work. Changes we are unprepared for can put us in a difficult position. On the other hand, if we are aware of the upcoming changes, we can make much more sound decisions.
Atlassian is constantly improving Confluence by adding new features, removing some parts, and changing some features.
Atlassian Cloud Roadmap
One of the most reliable and effective ways to learn about the changes that await you is to review the official Cloud Roadmap that Atlassian has published here: https://www.atlassian.com/roadmap/cloud.
The Atlassian Cloud Roadmap is shown in Figure 1.4:
Figure 1.4: Atlassian Cloud Roadmap
As you can see in the previous screenshot, here is the roadmap of all Atlassian products, not just Confluence. You can view the changes that concern Confluence using the Product filter near the top of the screen.
Here you can see the following information about the changes:
- The change details
- The timeframe of the change: Q4 2022, 2023
- The products affected by the change: CONFLUENCE, JIRA SOFTWARE, TRELLO, and so on
- The category of change: Compliance, Security, Performance & reliability, and so on
- The status of the change: RELEASED, COMING SOON, FUTURE
We recommend that you follow this roadmap, which is updated quarterly. We also recommend that you proactively make the necessary technical and administrative preparations.
Confluence and Jira Software
Confluence and Jira Software are both products from Atlassian, and their tight integration is designed to enhance team collaboration, project management, and workflow tracking within an organization. Here’s how the integration between Confluence and Jira Software works, and why it’s beneficial.
Unified project management
- Linking issues and projects: You can link Jira issues directly within Confluence pages. This allows teams to reference specific tasks, bugs, or stories within their documents and meeting notes.
- Embedding Jira reports: You can embed entire Jira projects, dashboards, or filters within Confluence, offering a real-time view of the project’s status.
- Real-time synchronization: Changes made in Jira (such as status updates or comments on an issue) are reflected in Confluence and vice versa. This ensures that everyone has the most up-to-date information.
- Commenting and discussion: Team members can discuss Jira issues within Confluence, adding context and collaboration around tasks and projects.
- Creating issues from Confluence: If a task or requirement is identified within a Confluence document, you can quickly create a Jira issue directly from Confluence without needing to switch between tools.
- Connecting requirements and development: You can connect Confluence pages (such as product requirements) with corresponding Jira issues (such as development tasks), allowing seamless tracking from initial idea to development.
Visibility and transparency
- Shared access: Team members can view relevant Jira details within Confluence, even if they don’t use Jira regularly. This promotes a shared understanding across different roles and departments.
- Centralized information: Having Jira data accessible within Confluence means that all project-related information, from requirements to status reports, can be found in one place.
Customization and automation
- Workflow automation: You can set up automated workflows that trigger actions between Jira and Confluence, such as updating a Confluence page when a Jira issue is resolved.
- Custom integration: Through APIs and various add-ons, organizations can tailor the integration to fit their specific needs and processes.
The tight integration between Confluence and Jira Software supports a more cohesive, efficient, and transparent approach to project management and collaboration. By connecting documentation, discussion, task tracking, and reporting across the two platforms, teams can work more seamlessly and maintain alignment with both high-level objectives and day-to-day tasks. It reduces the fragmentation of tools and information, leading to a more streamlined and productive working environment. We will revisit Confluence’s integration with Jira Software in the next chapters.
We have briefly introduced Confluence and Atlassian; this will help you better understand the philosophy of Confluence and get the most out of it. It’s now time to meet some fundamental concepts of enterprise collaboration.
Introducing enterprise collaboration concepts
Today, working life practices are seriously questioned. Focused experts are trying to detect and identify problems in the actual ways of working. Based on some of these studies, we would like to review a number of basic concepts frequently mentioned today.
Enterprise collaboration refers to the ways in which employees within an organization communicate, collaborate, and work together across different levels, departments, and locations using various tools, technologies, and practices. The term can encompass a wide range of activities and processes, supported by collaboration software and platforms designed to facilitate teamwork on a larger scale. What follows is an overview of the key aspects of enterprise collaboration.
Collaboration tools and technologies
Enterprise collaboration often relies on digital platforms, software, and tools that enable seamless communication, document sharing, project management, and more. Examples of collaboration platforms include Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Atlassian products such as Jira and Confluence.
Unlike small team collaboration, enterprise collaboration involves coordination and communication across various departments, teams, and potentially different geographic locations. It’s about working together on shared goals, projects, or initiatives at the organizational level.
One of the goals of enterprise collaboration is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information across the organization. This can lead to better decision-making and innovation by tapping into diverse insights and expertise.
Integration with existing systems
Successful enterprise collaboration usually requires integration with existing business systems such as CRM, ERP, or document management systems. This helps ensure that collaboration tools align with the broader business processes and objectives.
Security and compliance
In large organizations, collaboration must be managed with attention to security, privacy, and regulatory compliance. This includes managing access controls, data protection, and adherence to various legal and industry standards.
Enterprise collaboration isn’t just about tools and technologies; it also involves fostering a collaborative culture. Leadership, trust, clear communication, and a shared understanding of goals and values are all vital to making collaboration effective.
Implementing effective enterprise collaboration can be complex. Challenges may include resistance to change, difficulties in integrating different tools and systems, ensuring security, and maintaining a consistent collaboration experience across diverse teams and locations.
Benefits of enterprise collaboration
Enterprise collaboration represents a strategic approach to enabling teamwork and coordination across an organization. It relies on a combination of technology, processes, and a supportive culture to enhance communication and collaboration at all levels of the organization. It can play a vital role in supporting organizational agility, innovation, and overall performance.
Enterprise collaboration is vital in today’s complex and rapidly changing business environment for several reasons, and specific circumstances have given rise to the development and adoption of collaboration platforms. The following subsection provides an overview of this.
Why is enterprise collaboration important?
- Enhancing communication: Collaboration facilitates clear and efficient communication across various departments and teams, promoting understanding and alignment
- Improving efficiency and productivity: Collaboration tools streamline workflows, reduce duplication of effort, and allow for real-time updates, enhancing overall productivity
- Fostering innovation: By connecting diverse teams and individuals, collaboration platforms can spark new ideas and innovations, leveraging different perspectives and expertise
- Facilitating remote work: Enterprise collaboration enables employees to work together regardless of location, which is essential for remote or distributed teams
- Better decision-making: Shared access to information and insights can lead to more informed and effective decision-making
- Scalability: Collaboration platforms can grow with the business, supporting expanding teams, new locations, and evolving projects
- Enhancing customer service: Quick and coordinated responses to customer needs or issues can be facilitated through collaborative processes
- Compliance and security: Collaboration ensures secure and compliant communication and data sharing across an organization
Circumstances that gave rise to enterprise collaboration platforms
- Globalization: As businesses expand globally, the need to communicate and collaborate across different regions and cultures has increased, necessitating robust collaboration tools.
- Technological advancements: The growth of cloud computing, mobile technologies, and broadband internet has enabled the development and widespread use of sophisticated collaboration platforms.
- Rise of remote work: With more employees working remotely, especially accentuated by circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic, collaboration platforms have become essential for maintaining team cohesion and efficiency.
- Increasing complexity of business processes: The growing complexity of projects and interdependencies between different parts of an organization requires more sophisticated tools to manage collaboration effectively.
- Competitive pressures: In highly competitive markets, agility, innovation, and customer responsiveness are key. Collaboration platforms support these by enabling quicker, more coordinated action.
- Regulatory compliance: The need to manage data and communication in line with various legal and industry standards has also influenced the development of secure collaboration platforms.
- Consumer expectations: As consumer expectations for rapid and personalized service have grown, companies have needed ways to collaborate effectively to meet these demands.
In conclusion, enterprise collaboration has become crucial in modern business, driven by globalization, technological advancement, the shift toward remote work, and the growing complexity in business processes. Well-implemented collaboration strategies and platforms can lead to increased innovation, efficiency, agility, and competitiveness, addressing the challenges and opportunities of today’s dynamic business landscape.
The need for remote collaboration has become increasingly prominent, particularly with the rise of globalization, distributed teams, and the shift toward remote and flexible working arrangements. The following subsection provides a detailed explanation of the need for and benefits of remote collaboration.
Need for remote collaboration
- Global workforce: Companies are increasingly drawing talent from around the world, and remote collaboration allows team members in different geographical locations to work together efficiently.
- Flexible work arrangements: Many employees value the ability to work from anywhere, and remote collaboration enables this flexibility without sacrificing productivity.
- Business continuity: Unexpected events such as natural disasters or pandemics can disrupt traditional office work. Remote collaboration ensures that work can continue uninterrupted in such scenarios.
- Access to expertise: Remote collaboration allows organizations to tap into specialized skills and expertise that might not be available locally.
- Cost savings: By allowing employees to work remotely, companies can reduce costs related to office space, utilities, and other overheads.
Benefits of remote collaboration
- Increased productivity: With the right tools and practices, remote collaboration can enhance productivity by allowing employees to work in environments that suit them best.
- Enhanced diversity and inclusion: Remote collaboration opens up opportunities for individuals who may have been excluded from traditional office roles, such as those with disabilities or caregiving responsibilities.
- Better work-life balance: Employees can achieve a more balanced lifestyle by eliminating long commutes and working in a more flexible manner.
- Access to global talent pool: Companies can hire the best talent, regardless of location, leading to more diverse and skilled teams.
- Scalability: Remote collaboration facilitates business growth and expansion into new markets without the need for substantial physical infrastructure.
- Real-time collaboration: Modern collaboration tools enable real-time communication and collaboration, ensuring that team members stay aligned and informed, no matter where they are.
- Environmental benefits: Reduced commuting and office usage can lead to a smaller carbon footprint.
- Robust security: Secure remote collaboration tools can provide robust protection for sensitive data and information, even when accessed from various locations.
- Continuous innovation: By fostering diverse and inclusive teams, remote collaboration can lead to more creative and innovative problem-solving.
Remote collaboration is not merely a trend but a vital aspect of modern business operations. With the strategic use of technology and proper management practices, it can lead to increased productivity, flexibility, diversity, and resilience. By embracing remote collaboration, organizations position themselves to compete effectively in a global marketplace and adapt to the continually evolving business landscape. It is a model that aligns with the needs and expectations of a modern workforce and can drive significant long-term value.
Hybrid working refers to a working model that combines both remote (off-site) work and in-office (on-site) work. It’s a flexible arrangement that allows employees to split their time between working from home (or another remote location) and working from the physical office.
All-remote working refers to a working model where employees work entirely outside of a traditional office environment. Unlike hybrid working that combines both remote and in-office work, all-remote working means that there is no requirement or expectation for employees to be physically present in an office at any time.
Agility is an iterative approach that focuses on the continuity of new releases and includes customer feedback while managing projects. Teams break the requirements into smaller workpieces sorted by importance, and integrate the plan according to the implementation, which enables the team to respond to changing conditions.
Today, a team specializing in a single function (human resources, software development, finance, etc.) is not enough to handle ambitious projects. On the contrary, we need the cooperation of teams specializing in different fields working for a common purpose. Modern self-sufficient teams and individuals from other specialties are called cross-functional teams.
A cross-functional team is a group of people with different functional expertise working toward a common goal. It may include individuals from various departments and levels of an organization, such as finance, marketing, operations, and engineering. The idea is to bring diverse perspectives and skills together to accomplish a specific objective, often related to problem-solving, product development, or process improvement.
Cross-functional teams represent a collaborative approach to tackling complex projects, enabling a more holistic view and drawing on the diverse skills needed to succeed. They can be highly effective but require careful planning, coordination, and leadership to overcome potential challenges related to diversity of thought, priorities, and working styles.
A distributed workforce refers to a business model where employees work from various geographical locations rather than from a central physical office. The workforce could be spread across different cities, states, countries, or even continents.
An information silo, or a data silo, is a term used in information systems and business to describe a situation where a set of data or information is isolated or segregated from other parts of the organization. This isolation can occur within different departments, teams, or even different systems within an organization.
Information silos can create significant challenges within an organization, inhibiting collaboration, efficiency, and effective decision-making. Addressing this issue often requires a comprehensive approach, including technological, cultural, and organizational changes to foster open communication and collaboration.
Information architecture strategy
Information architecture strategy refers to the planning, organization, and structuring of information within a system or environment, such as a website, application, database, or business process. The goal is to make information easily accessible and understandable, facilitating efficient navigation and meaningful interactions for the users.
An information architecture strategy is a holistic approach to managing information in a way that aligns with both user needs and business goals. It plays a vital role in enhancing user experience (UX), supporting effective content management, and contributing to the overall success of a digital product or service. It’s a multidisciplinary effort that involves collaboration among UX designers, content strategists, developers, and other stakeholders.
Single source of truth
A single source of truth (SSOT) refers to the practice of structuring information so that there’s a singular, authoritative data repository or record for each piece of information. In a business context, it means that everyone in the organization relies on the same data point or definition, reducing inconsistencies and errors across different departments or systems.
A single source of truth serves as the definitive and authoritative reference for a particular set of data. It’s a concept widely applied in areas such as data management, software development, content management, and more. It promotes consistency, accuracy, and efficiency, but requires careful planning and execution to be implemented effectively.
Synchronous communication refers to a mode of communication where all parties are present and engaged at the same time. This real-time interaction allows for immediate feedback and collaboration, fostering a sense of connection and immediacy.
In essence, synchronous communication is a valuable tool for fostering real-time collaboration and connection, particularly for complex or urgent matters. However, it requires careful planning and consideration of the needs and preferences of all participants. Balancing synchronous communication with asynchronous methods can help create a more flexible and inclusive communication environment, accommodating various work styles, locations, and schedules.
The communication happens in real time. Zoom calls, phone calls, and real-time chat messages are all examples of synchronous collaboration. Synchronous collaboration is the preferred method if you need instantaneous feedback.
Asynchronous communication refers to a mode of communication that does not require all parties involved to be simultaneously present or engaged. Unlike synchronous communication, where everyone must be available at the same time (such as in a live meeting or phone call), asynchronous communication allows people to send and receive messages at their convenience.
Asynchronous communication is an essential aspect of modern work communication, especially as remote and flexible working arrangements become more prevalent. It fosters a more inclusive environment where everyone has the opportunity to contribute, regardless of their location or schedule. However, it requires clear guidelines and expectations to be effective, ensuring that everyone stays engaged and informed.
Communication doesn’t happen in real time. You send your messages when you’re ready; your colleagues respond when they’re ready. For example, you can send a text message, a voice message, or even a video clip of yourself to your colleague. You’re not in sync when you’re communicating with each other.
Collaboration software refers to the suite of tools that aid teams in communicating and working together on shared goals and projects, often in real time and across various locations. It can include features such as the following:
- Messaging and chat
- File sharing and collaborative editing
- Video conferencing
- Task management
- Workflow automation
Trends in collaboration software
- Rise of hybrid and remote work
- Integration with other tools
- AI and automation
- Focus on security
- User friendly interfaces
- Sustainability considerations
Common use cases for collaboration software
- Project management
- File sharing and document collaboration
- Workflow automation
- Knowledge management
- Integration with existing systems
Demand for collaboration software
- Shift to remote and flexible work
- Complex projects and cross-functional teams
- Compliance and security needs
- Small business growth
Collaboration software plays a pivotal role in modern business, enabling fluid communication and teamwork, irrespective of location or device. As the landscape of work continues to transform, collaboration tools are adapting and innovating to cater to the new norms, facilitating a more connected, agile, and efficient work environment. Whether for global corporations or small start-ups, collaboration software remains central to achieving success in today’s interconnected world.
We have covered fundamental concepts of enterprise collaboration that will guide you on your Confluence journey. Now, we will discuss the types of teams that can benefit from Confluence.
Which teams can benefit from Confluence?
You may wonder whether Confluence is the right tool for your team or company. Let’s now discuss how Confluence is flexible and can be efficiently used by teams and companies with different backgrounds and needs:
- Your company’s focus area does not matter when using Confluence. Any team or company can benefit from Confluence, and the critical point is to have a solid willingness to manage your knowledge for better collaboration. As an Atlassian Solution Partner, we have already helped some very different teams. Some examples of these industries include technology, software development, finance, education, and government.
- Confluence has robust features to adapt to modern teams’ different needs. No matter your team type, you can use Confluence as your primary collaboration tool. Some types of teams we have worked with include human resources, finance, sales, marketing, operations management, support teams, project management teams, product management teams, boards of directors, service teams, and many more.
- Your company size does not matter when using Confluence. You can easily use Confluence whether yours is a one-person company or a company of thousands, and you can comfortably go up to 35,000 users within a single Atlassian Cloud site.
- Your company’s working practices do not matter when using Confluence. We all work differently, and you may be working entirely from the office, in a hybrid fashion, or entirely remotely. Thanks to Confluence, you can easily manage your knowledge.
- Your information security and privacy needs can vary greatly, but Confluence will adapt. Confluence can be optimized according to your information security and privacy needs. You may apply the principles of transparency to a large extent in the company and want the content to be generally accessible to the entire company. On the other hand, you may be dealing with sensitive content that requires confidentiality due to the nature of your business, and you want only authorized people to see it under certain conditions. Confluence has features to address the needs of these two extremes and all situations in between. In later chapters, we’ll look closely at Confluence’s security-related features.
- Your cloud adoption preferences do not restrict you from using Confluence. Some companies prefer using cloud products, and others do not. Some companies are not allowed to use cloud products because of their regulations. So, you have two options here: you can use Confluence Cloud or Confluence Data Center. In either case, Confluence will help you master modern collaboration within your company.
- You are always free to use other tools with Confluence. Some teams in your company may already be using SharePoint, Google Docs, Notion, or other systems, and you don’t have to quit them. You can use Confluence with these systems.
Proof of concept – how can your company benefit from Confluence?
In the previous sections, we mentioned that Confluence could be helpful for different teams. Now, we will see more concretely how Confluence can be used. It is worth remembering that what you can do with Confluence is much more than what is explained here.
There are some features common to all of the following scenarios. Atlassian has placed qualified templates for many different needs within Confluence. You can get effective results in a short time using these templates. In addition to these templates, you can create your own. You can even adapt Confluence according to your needs by using its plugin software.
In the next subsection, we’ve put together some real-life scenarios that might inspire you. These examples can be beneficial in building your team’s collaborative muscles. In this way, it may become necessary for your teams to be in the same environment, but only in some exceptional cases.
Confluence use cases for all types of teams
Confluence offers templates and features that can address some common problems that teams often need, regardless of their types of functions. With Confluence, you can efficiently manage notes, decisions, meetings, to-dos, plans, calendars, and all kinds of content.
Confluence can help you with the following use cases:
- Knowledge management
- Information gathering and sharing
- Meeting notes
Introduction to Confluence templates
All teams can get started quickly with Confluence. Templates are one of the essential concepts that can speed up your work. We will look at the templates in more detail later in the book. Now, we're giving you a summary of the templates here to show you how many well-designed, ready-made templates Confluence has for different teams. Meanwhile, a significant portion of the templates found on Confluence has been prepared by Atlassian. However, there are many other companies besides Atlassian that offer templates such as Optimizely, Miro, and Figma.
The numbers of templates available on Confluence as of January 2023 for different kinds of teams are as follows:
Table 1.4: Template categories in Confluence
Templates for sales and marketing teams
On Confluence, there are 19 ready-to-use templates that can accelerate the pace of these teams. Some examples include the following:
Templates for human resources teams
Human resources teams are at the forefront of the teams that have the most communication with the other teams around them. HR teams must quickly and effectively manage recruitment, adaptation, performance audit, leaving the job, and many other processes, create a large amount of content, and bring together and organize that content. In addition, they can make the rules and procedures that everyone in the company must follow visible to the whole company using Confluence.
There are 17 templates for human resources teams in Confluence, which include the following:
- Employee handbook
- 90-day plan
- Performance improvement plan
- Hiring process
- Career development plan
- Job description
- Job offer letter
- Interview feedback
Templates for project management
Confluence can be very useful for agile project management, especially with Jira. It provides project managers with useful, ready-made templates and reliable features for planning, communicating, working with stakeholders, setting goals, and so on.
There are 32 templates for project management, which include the following:
- Project plan
- Project kickoff
- Stakeholder management
- Risk register
- Daily stand up
Templates for product management teams
Product management teams are highly specialized in knowledge management. Doing research, collecting requirements, designing, analyzing, interviewing users, making data-based decisions, making roadmaps, holding meetings, and so on, are among product management activities. A large amount of content accumulates while doing these studies. They can use Confluence to keep this content tidy, and they can keep all content in one place that’s accessible to both their teams and relevant stakeholders.
There are 18 templates designed for product management teams within Confluence, including the following:
Templates for software development and IT teams
Software projects can quickly become highly sophisticated. All the content stakeholders with different needs can be brought together on Confluence. If you start such a project on Confluence, you can create a world-class environment quickly by using ready-made templates. These templates cover essential topics, especially collecting requirements, planning, enabling meetings, and managing decisions. Confluence works in harmony with many different tools used by software developers.
There are 19 templates available for software development and IT teams, including the following:
- DevOps runbook
- DevOps change management
- ITSM change management
- Incident communication
- ITSM runbook
We’ve discussed how different teams could benefit from Confluence. You can use these use cases to build your company’s knowledge management system. Now, it’s time to think about your Confluence team that will build, maintain, and develop this system.
Building a Confluence team
Although we can provide most of this platform’s maintenance and development work with automation or Confluence’s features, it is people who will do the actual work.
Checking out team building tips
- Every company is unique, whether it’s a start-up with 10 people, a small business, or an enterprise with 5,000 people. They all have their own authentic contexts, problems, and needs.
- It may be necessary to set up different teams for different parts of the process (planning, initial setup, and maintenance).
- To keep such a platform alive, we must identify the jobs that need to be done and distribute them to the relevant roles and people.
- We can talk about the fundamental roles in almost every company: site, product, space, and content managers.
- In addition, roles may differ according to the diverse needs of other teams.
- You can build the team iteratively.
- The responsibilities of everyone who will use Confluence must be determined. Everyone should have some duties, but some should have more responsibilities.
- You can make a systematic stakeholder identification.
Identifying roles using RASCI within your team
RASCI (responsible, accountable, supporter, consultant, informed) is used to identify all the roles and responsibilities within a project. We recommend that you use this technique while adopting Confluence within your company, as it will help clarify the responsibilities of each project team member.
A detailed explanation of RASCI is provided as follows:
- Responsible (R): The person responsible for completing the work. This is an execution role.
- Accountable (A): The person accountable for the work’s outcome. This is a management role.
- Supporter (S): People who help those responsible to finish the work.
- Consultant (C): People from whom we’ll get help when we’re stuck or confused.
- Informed (I): People whom we keep informed throughout the work.
The following is an example of a RASCI table that you can use as a starting point when identifying the roles and responsibilities within your Confluence team:
Table 1.5: Sample RASCI table
Maintaining your Confluence team
- Continuous education on Confluence and content management is a must.
- The use of Confluence can feed the performance evaluation criteria.
- Support from the management and the support team is crucial.
- Tracking, monitoring, and reporting on Confluence teams’ performance is vital.
- You must clearly define roles and responsibilities to plan, realize, and maintain a healthy Confluence environment. You can use the previous table as a starting point when determining the roles and responsibilities for this project.
Atlassian University offers numerous, high-quality courses related to Confluence. Some of these courses are free, while others are paid. By studying these courses, you can keep yourself up to date with Confluence. Additionally, you can earn badges and certificates from this platform. We recommend exploring Atlassian University and taking advantage of the valuable resources available there. You can access the Confluence courses on Atlassian University at the following link: https://university.atlassian.com/student/catalog/list?search=confluence.
In the first chapter of this book, you have gained general knowledge about Atlassian, the developer of Confluence. This has provided you with the opportunity to more closely understand Atlassian’s thought process, products, and philosophy. Understanding Atlassian and its ecosystem will open the doors to a sound understanding of Confluence. In this chapter, we discussed many important concepts related to teamwork, such as remote, distributed, and asynchronous work. We then began to get to know Confluence and explored the templates available.
We also discussed how teams and companies of different types could benefit from Confluence. Lastly, we introduced insights on building a team that will plan, develop, and maintain an effective collaboration environment using Confluence.
In the next chapter, we will plan a fully working Confluence site and set it up.
- Atlassian provides different plans for teams. What are these plans?
- What’s the difference between remote, distributed, and asynchronous work?
- What is a single source of truth?
- How can software development teams benefit from Confluence?
- One of the core values of Atlassian, the company behind Confluence, is open work. Can you explain how Confluence can help companies to build a culture of open teamwork?
- Free, Standard, Premium, and Enterprise.
- Remote working means working from outside your office. A distributed workforce is a team with geographically dispersed members who can work from anywhere. In asynchronous working, the communication doesn’t happen in real time. You send your messages when you’re ready; your colleagues respond when they’re ready. For example, you can send a text message, a voice message, or even a video clip of yourself to your colleague. You’re not in sync when you’re communicating with each other.
- You collect all information from across the enterprise and aggregate it into a central repository. This method has a lot of benefits, such as increasing productivity, breaking down information silos, and eliminating duplicate information. This can support decision-makers and strategy-makers.
- Software teams can use Confluence for technical documentation, project management, testing, meeting notes, decision registers, requirement management, and other purposes.
- Confluence can help companies to build a culture of open teamwork by organizing, developing, and making visible their knowledge transparently and collaboratively.