We all know how it feels to be interrupted by an email.
You’re hard at work, right in the middle of a project.
You’re on the phone with a customer.
You’ve finally cleared out your inbox and you’re ready to move on to—
Thinking it’s something important, you stop what you’re doing to check the new email.
It’s an update from your team about a project that you’re not directly involved in, or a less-than-helpful “summary” email listing daily activity on one of your team tools. You didn’t need that particular information at that moment, or maybe at all.
Answer this question honestly: How many times a day are you interrupted at work with notifications and updates that don’t pertain to you?
Wouldn’t you love to use a software that sends the right notifications to the right people?
This review centers on the team collaboration and knowledge base software Confluence. We’re going to talk about what makes this software valuable to your team, and how it helps you stay focused on your own work.
Who Is Behind Confluence?
Confluence is run by parent company Atlassian. This monolith of software also owns Trello, OpsGenie and other widely-used tools.
Tools made and promoted by Atlassian are currently being used by household names such as NASA, Spotify, Docker and others.
In creating Confluence, the goal was to make team collaboration and knowledge sharing easier than ever.
So, they created a software with the flexibility in price to adapt to different-sized teams, and enough flexibility in features to make it useful for different types of teams.
This tool allows for groups within your company to see how their projects are going, share thoughts, assign tasks, get feedback and catch up on team updates without being distracted by information that doesn’t apply to their work.
Ready to see what Confluence can do for your team? Let’s dive deeper into its features.
What Sets Confluence Apart?
Knowledge Sharing in the Right Space for Different Teams
When you start using Confluence, you’ll be able to create different spaces.
These spaces allow you to separate team members into groups, ensuring that they only see information that’s immediately relevant to them.
For example, let’s say your team is a mixture of content writers and designers. If you want to create a template for new blog posts, you don’t need your designers to be distracted with it. With Confluence, you can create separate spaces for writers and designers, and thus shut out unnecessary noise. That way, everyone sees exactly what they need to, and nothing more.
Within each space, you’ll see an overview page that’s completely customizable.
There’s an incredible assortment of page elements (called macros) that you can add to your overview page. This allows you to make the most important information easily accessible to all the users in a space. Some macros include:
- Current and upcoming tasks
- Users lists or profiles
- A project planning roadmap
- Quick links to useful pages
- Helpful tips
- Trello boards or cards
- Warning notes
- Page index
- Activity stream
- Content reports
- And more!
You can also embed content from other places, such as YouTube or Twitter, or add content such as Google docs or sheets, Word documents, Excel sheets, PowerPoint presentations, or PDFs.
Spaces also have customizable permissions. The space admin has the ability to change the permission of individuals in the space, deciding whether they can add, delete, edit, view, or export content within that space.
For example, you can give someone permission to view and edit content within the space, but not permission to add or delete anything.
Dynamic Content Keeps the Whole Team on the Same Page
Within each space, it’s easy to create new pages that adapt to all types of teams.
You can start with a blank page and add elements manually, or you can create a page using templates such as:
- Blog posts to keep your team up-to-date
- Updates on important project decisions
- How-to articles to help users complete tasks efficiently
- Marketing plans and personas
- Meeting notes
- Requirements for new products
- Project plans
- Retrospectives to get ideas for improvements from your team
- Task reports
- Troubleshooting articles to help users find quick solutions to common problems
Within each of these pages, you can insert media such as graphics, videos, charts or embedded documents and spreadsheets from Google or Microsoft apps.
Each page can also have its own specific permissions, meaning space admins can set exactly what each user can do within a page.
Keep Track of Feedback and Collaborate in Real Time
Have you ever been collaborating on something via email and lost important feedback in your inbox? What about that time your company started using chat systems and your editor’s comments got lost in a stream of funny cat memes?
With Confluence, commenting and feedback is done in-line, right inside the page. That means you can highlight specific points to place feedback in the right place, without the risk of it getting lost.
Also, whenever you create a new piece of content, the software automatically saves versions. That means when the intern messes up your marketing report, you can quickly revert back to the last version before anyone notices.
Get the Add-ons for a User Experience That Adapts to Your Team
There are tons of functional add-ons that can be used within Confluence. Some are free and others have an additional price, but you’re guaranteed to find something that makes life way easier for your team.
Here are a few examples:
- Team Calendars allows you to plan events, see your team’s vacation time and more.
- Questions allows your team to ask, vote on, and answer questions.
- InVision gives design teams real-time design access.
- Analytics gives managers the ability to see who has read their pages, what’s being used and how often, and more.
- OneDrive and Office365 allows direct embedding of files from these sites.
- Approvals allows users to ask for approval on projects or content, with automatic notifications.
- Presenter turns any Confluence page into a presentation.
These are just a few examples: There are so many add-ons for Confluence! These add-ons make your Confluence experience even more customizable, and better adapted to your team.
Pros and Cons of Confluence
- Mobile app available. Meaning you can take your team, content, and tasks on the go!
- Adaptable pricing for companies of different sizes. This makes it available to everyone, from small businesses to large enterprises.
- Knowledge base articles can be easily found through labels. Mark your articles with labels in order to help users find them faster!
- Permissions specific down to the user. When you want to create something private, you can set who sees or edits that content. If you don’t given them permission, they won’t even know the content exists.
- Share pages outside of your team with sharing links. Great for sharing reports with clients.
- Notifications within the web app and via email. Customize what notifications you receive by watching certain spaces or pages. That way, you’ll never miss important updates!
- Users have reported some bugs with the web version of Confluence. Hopefully these slightly irritating performance issues will be smoothed out in time.
- Search feature can be difficult to use. Users report that you must know the specific wording of the item you’re searching for, otherwise it will not appear in the results.
Confluence has a highly adaptive pricing system, adjusting to the size of your company.
The base package of Confluence is available for $10 per month for up to 10 users, or $5 per month for up to 100 users.
If you have more than 100 users, you can try their handy price calculator in order to see the specific cost for your team.
There is also self-hosted version which can be downloaded directly onto your server. The one-time price for the self-hosted version also depends on the number of users, but starts at $10 for 10 users.
Is Confluence the Right Collaboration Tool for You?
Confluence is a highly customizable tool, turning itself into the magic sweater that adapts to all shapes and sizes.
Teams can use Confluence for creating company wikis, or for collaboration on marketing, design, product development, or IT.
The price is also magical, giving both small and large companies exactly what they need for a price that makes sense.
If you’re looking for a flexible project management software that adapts to your team’s size and needs, look no further.