Atlassian Confluence Review
Collaboration tool that has search, audit history, navigation, and template functionality.
What is most valuable?
- Search: It is simple to search for documentation throughout Confluence from the search bar.
- Audit History: Collaboration is brilliant with a full audit history on the changes made by the users involved, as well as the ability to visually compare the differences.
- Simple Navigation: It is simple to create or edit a page with a similar look and feel to any word processor-type app.
- Templates: Used for standardizing and guiding users regarding what type of information should be captured within different spaces or page structures.
- Action Items: Makes it quick to set reminders for yourself or another user, with a due date for the required activity.
How has it helped my organization?
- It has improved collaboration, transparency, and documentation quality among teams.
- It has started us on the journey of knowledge management, not leaving valuable IP in peoples’ heads.
- It has enabled us to publish ubiquitous language and link standard definitions to words used in documents.
- It has enabled us to link templates to JIRA workflows in the management of our business processes.
- It has drastically improved the discipline around meetings and arising actions.
What needs improvement?
I would like to see the following improvements:
- When comparing page changes, you are only able to select 2 pages. While this is useful, it has proven to be a slight limitation when many people are editing a document. Having said this, we work around it by selecting the last “approved version” and the latest version. The downside is that we are unable to then see who made the change and when they made it without going to that specific history version are comparing it to the version just prior to it.
- Page approval: there is a feature whereby you are able to require page approval, but it can only be applied at a space level (with the ability to apply certain exclusions). The exclusion capability is not intuitive and therefore does not always work as expected. In addition, there is usually a specific parent and child set within a space that we would want to set approval requirements on. The approval plugin also keeps adding “Unapproved” blocks to the top of the page whenever an edit occurs. These continue to build up despite the fact that there has not been a status change (i.e. the page has not yet been approved, so one “Unapproved” block would be sufficient).
For how long have I used the solution?
I have used Confluence for approximately three years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
We had an issue where the activity feed stopped working due to a locked cache file. This has not repeated itself.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We currently have approximately 200 users and have not experienced any difference in performance from when we had 10 users.
How is customer service and technical support?
We haven’t used technical support.
Which solutions did we use previously?
Our previous solution was a combination of our file system, local hard drives, and an internally developed document management system.
We implemented Confluence because we needed a place to collaborate around software design and design specifications that was integrated with JIRA.
How was the initial setup?
- Setup was fairly straightforward
- Some configuration is required to integrate with LDAP for authentication, if that is your chosen route
- Some configuration is required if you integrate with other Atlassian products
- The installation guide covers everything
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
Make use of the evaluation option if you are unsure. Another option is to start small and test whether Confluence is for you.
A 10-user license is only $10. Be aware of the costs if you plan on rolling it out to your organization, as it does start to add up.
Try to do license changes on your anniversary month, as there is no pro-rata benefit.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We didn’t evaluate alternatives. The implementation was driven by our Java development team and their requirement for a place to collaborate and plan development work.
What other advice do I have?
Employ lean thinking and learn by doing! Have a rough idea of what you need to achieve and get a working framework in place. Experiment and see what works for you. It is simple to move pages after the fact, so don’t worry about being too pedantic in the beginning. Keep permissions simple and use groups as much as possible.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Feb 23 2017