We continue to share our experience in our video blog and show the best tools for distributed teams on our YouTube channel.
Many years of ITQuick experience is presented in an 8-minute video!
In this series, we talk about Confluence, a tool not only for collaborative document management, but also for creating a unified company knowledge base. This product, as well as Trello and Jira, belongs to Atlassian and has excellent integration with these systems, but can also be used independently.
What has allowed this tool to become one of the most popular solutions in its segment?
What type of problem does Confluence solve?
Dmitry Shishkin, co-founder of ITQuick, explains:
Confluence has two basic scenarios and more than 75 (!) customizable templates.
- Collaborative work with documents across all company divisions: marketing, sales, finance, IT, etc.
- Creating and storing knowledge in the company. Confluence allows you not just to collaborate on documents, but to store information in a centralized way and have a unified picture (instead of losing it in chains of emails, different versions of documents, presentations, tables, some of which are located somewhere on servers, and some on users’ PCs).
Thus, Confluence belongs to two classes of IT systems: team collaboration systems and knowledge management systems.
In addition to basic scenarios, Confluence has a wide range of additional features:
- Document version control: Confluence by default saves versions as you work. And it allows you to set up change notifications for other users. It’s also easy to restore any versions and compare them with each other. This is often necessary to maintain internal policies and instructions. Or, for example, IT needs to store versions of documents associated with specific system releases.
- A tool for solving operational issues — taking notes on meetings, decisions and tasks. In particular, Confluence allows you to create tasks directly in Jira, where you can track their execution.
- Confluence can be used to create help information for customers or user documentation for the company’s software products.
- Confluence has the ability to fine-tune access rights. We often use it in our projects. Some of the pages can only be seen by us, and some of the pages can be accessed by our customer. On these pages we place the project plan as well as reports from Jira with the current task statuses. The data in these reports is automatically generated in Jira. This also works the other way around. For example: from the customer meeting protocol created in Confluence, you can create tasks directly in Jira..
Thus, there are many scenarios for using Confluence to support the entire cycle of IT product development and support: from writing requirements, planning and producing releases, to getting feedback from users, maintaining retrospectives and demos, and creating online project reports.
Dmitry Virin, Jira and Confluence expert, says:
Confluence is currently one of the most popular knowledge management systems due to its user-friendly web interface, high security, and affordable price.
- Confluence has a wide basic functionality. It is like a construction kit with the ability to purchase plug-ins that can be used to customize the system to the customer’s needs.
- Confluence has integration with Jira and Active Directory as a basic feature. It can also be integrated with databases such as Oracle DB, MS SQL or PostgreSQL.
- You can embed forms and buttons on pages that will automatically perform simple actions, such as creating tasks in Jira, sending a message by email or to a database.
- With Confluence, you can make a website, both internal or external, with a pretty respectable design and a convenient administration system.
If you purchase Confluence, you can use it as a standalone tool.
But if you know for sure that you need Jira, we highly recommend buying it together with Confluence. The two systems are from the same developer, they are integrated by default, and they complement each other well: you manage tasks in Jira, while Confluence contains descriptions of all the processes, diagrams, and charts.
After setting up the project in Jira, you can place the instructions in Confluence and share the links with everyone involved in the project. There you can also place all process rules, agreements between contractors and customers, and all documents related to the project.
Server and Cloud Versions — What’s the Difference?
The cloud version has more modest functionality, but it does not require the purchase of servers and is easier to get started with. To get started, just register on the Atlassian website and click a couple of buttons in the wizard to create an environment.
The server version is installed on the customer side and has higher security, speed and more features.
In Russia, companies prefer server solutions to cloud solutions. This is primarily due to security policy and the requirements of Russian legislation on personal data processing. Also, using the server version greatly simplifies the task of integrating with the company’s internal systems.
To achieve the highest efficiency of teams, choose the highest quality and most convenient tools. We opted for Jira and Confluence, and we still consider it the right choice.