Confluence for beginners: how to be efficient in a heartbeat


Posted by
Emeline BERLAND

April 28, 2014

If you heard about Confluence but you wonder whether or not you should implement it, this article is for you. As I recently joined the IT world, I discovered Atlassian solutions and started to use the knowledge management tool Confluence.

We all know the concept of an enterprise intranet which goal is to make communication easier among your firm. Now, imagine a tool that could have this functionality but could also enable you to improve your teams’ organisation. Follow me, I’ll give you a tour of my personal experience of Confluence.

Confluence

What is Confluence?

Knowledge management

Thanks to Confluence, you can create your enterprise encyclopedia. As your firm grows, you cannot ensure an efficient communication without relevant tools. Creating your enterprise encyclopedia allows you to gather information in one place and to make it accessible for all your employees.  With Confluence, you can as well classify your documents and articles in categories and a search bar system helps users finding documents with keywords. Information is centralised, organised and easily accessible.

An enterprise social network

Confluence also offers the advantages of a social network: an interaction between users is possible, people ask and answer questions, like articles, comment them… Knowledge can be properly shared, and people can get a quick answer without wandering around, desperately looking for the person who has the appropriate skills. Knowledge is accessible to everyone, at any time.

Improving efficiency

Meetings are useful to organise the work among teams. However, the lack of efficiency of meetings is a real problem. Confluence allows you to manage efficiently all the steps from creating a meeting to the follow up. Your teams can pick a meeting date through the agenda and share all the documents they need to prepare it: notes, files, links… Decisions process is lightened : it can be discussed and managed directly through the interface and avoids a long and constraining validation process.  But this final decision can be easily forgotten without a follow up… With Confluence, you can attribute tasks to team members and create check lists to ensure the work is complete.

Complementarity with JIRA

If you already use JIRA, the use of Confluence will be time-saving for you. You can then create a knowledge database with the most popular issues and their solution, which makes the process simpler.

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My personal experience of Confluence

Intuitive ergonomics

As a newly user of Confluence, there are several aspects I particularly enjoyed about it and which stimulated my learning process. The ergonomics of Confluence are clear and logical, which helped me finding my way around. As you can see below, several categories are available on the top of the page, each category gathering documents related to the topic. If you start with the tool, just like I did, you may not find what your are looking for in the categories: in this case, the search bar happens to be very useful.

Impr écran 1

Easy browsing

During my discovery of Confluence, I visited the different categories and got familiar with the “spaces”. A space is a subcategory allowing to organise documents inside a category. Once again, the platform offers a logical organisation.

The left part of the screen is also convenient: just like a social network, I have an overview of the latest news (who posted them, when, about what).

Impr écran 2

Writing an article in all simplicity

One of my first missions in Valiantys was to write an article although I was a beginner. Confluence helped me to be almost autonomous on this mission. As you can see below, the page used to create a text is presented as follows: title, layout and text. Without a special training, creating an article is possible for beginners. Layout options are simple, accessible and intuitive. I managed to create an article with images, links and a proper layout without help.

Writing an article in Confluence 

Receiving instant feedback

In addition, the icons on the right side of the screen (below) allow me to manage my profile, and one in particular informs me about notifications, such as comments on articles I wrote. Thanks to that, I received feedback about my work and I could progressively improve.

Indeed, as a reader, people can comment, like, share, update (…) an article. If someone comments on the article I wrote, I receive a notification and can then react to it.

This type of feedback is beneficial for everyone: people can send a feedback quickly, and I do not wait for someone to be available to give me a face-to-face feedback. In my learning process, this system has been time-saving, direct and efficient.

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Finally, I would recommend Confluence for its ease of use and its intuitive ergonomics. Browsing is easy, pleasant and allowed me be almost autonomous even though I was a beginner. I did not have to constantly bother my colleagues to get information, which was quite enjoyable for both of us!

Now less talking, more acting!