Here’s Why Your Confluence Instance Is Disorganized

April 22, 2021
#Confluence Tutorial#Confluence
10 min

Are you having trouble managing your content in Confluence? Is it difficult for users to search for a specific page or attachment? Do your teams have a hard time staying on top of important information? Or maybe your Confluence user adoption is at an all-time low?

Then your Confluence may be disorganized.

A lot of admins struggle to keep their Confluence organized, especially when the volume of content increases. With more information to manage, attachments to keep track of, wikis to groom, and a larger user base to administrate, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.

You may not know where to start reorganizing and decluttering your instance, but identifying the reasons it’s disorganized in the first place is a great first step. From then onwards, it’s all about implementing the best practices and charting a Confluence management strategy that supports your business needs.

Continue reading to find out the causes of a messy Confluence and the most effective way to detangle the mess.

Cause #1: Inefficient space management

Confluence space structure says a lot about an organization. Without a clear structure, you will have a hard time arranging content and also make it difficult for users to navigate the wiki.

confluence space with no page structure

Setting up a lot of spaces without any form of categorization isn’t practical. It can crowd your wiki, reduce the searchability of content, and prevent users from staying on top of critical information.

On another note, spaces that store outdated information could mislead users looking for the latest updates. So, what can you do?

Structure spaces based on your needs

Start by structuring spaces around people and/or work. You can set a space for each team – development, finance, sales, content, marketing, HR, etc. Then, make sure to categorize your spaces using labels. Consistency in labeling must be prioritized here since you have to add them manually. Use the page tree feature to compartmentalize content and information into relevant sections like knowledge base, team calendars, and team OKRs.

If collaboration is more central for your teams, you can create project- or product-based spaces instead. For example, backend developers, who typically work alongside frontend developers, requirement engineers, and product managers, can operate more efficiently and communicate effectively when all the relevant information for a project is in one space.

Next, use Confluence’s analytics to help you identify unused spaces across your wiki – spaces that are least viewed or not used on a daily basis. Archive spaces that are no longer relevant to improve the navigability of content, enable teams to stay on top of critical and new information, and help establish a robust wiki.

archive Confluence spaces you do not use

Cause #2: Inconsistent labels and lack of metadata

When the use of labels is inconsistent, pages, blog posts, and attachments can end up drowning in the sea of content. Even worse, poor labeling causes search results to be irrelevant and inaccurate.

To avoid problems, avoid manual labeling. Having a clear, documented labeling convention can help. But it’s not a perfect system, and you’ll likely end up having to review regularly to address typos and other inconsistencies. Additionally, you’ll need to routinely update the labeling convention as the range of content grows.

The entire process is tedious because Confluence lacks effective metadata management capabilities. Labels are the closest thing to metadata that the platform offers, and even so, they are still unstructured metadata.

Leverage metadata management capabilities

Instead of settling for error-prone labeling practices, you can leverage metadata management capabilities instead. The most effective way to improve searchability, categorization, and organization of content is by using metadata – Forbes has highlighted this as well.

metadata consistency in Confluence

In your mission to tidy up your Confluence, metadata can help you:

  • make global metadata changes to swiftly remove label typos from content, which will then help deliver accurate search results
  • create predefined metadata fields to help users quickly find information by searching for relevant keywords
  • use said predefined metadata fields to pull critical information from a page and display them using Confluence macros
  • prevent users from entering page labels that are inconsistent, incorrect, or typo-filled.

Metadata for Confluence is an app that you can leverage to achieve the goals above and more. By managing your metadata, you can rest assured knowing that your Confluence will remain organized no matter how vast your instance becomes.

overviews based on metadata in Confluence

Cause #3: Undefined page structure

You have a Confluence space for a project in the making, so keeping comprehensive documentation is vital – how do you go about arranging information?

Are you using page hierarchy to categorize it into relevant topics and/or units of work? Is there a clear flow of information from the meeting notes to the quality assurance test? If a new user visits the space, will they get the latest information on the project?

If your answers are mostly “No,” then you don’t have a defined page structure across your spaces.

On the other hand, how do you ensure that all content contributors follow the standard structure of information display? Imagine if you have a set of product requirement pages with a clear format and structure – but when a new contributor comes along, the structure is no longer maintained. What happens then?

Use templates and macros to organize content

Firstly, coming up with a rough idea of how you want to structure your page tree in a space can tremendously improve organization. To do this successfully, you have to consider a few things; the objectives of the space, the longevity and types of content, and the flow of information.

For individual pages, the information structure can actually be maintained – all you have to do is use page blueprints; templates that come with macros, formatting, and sample content. You can customize them according to your organizational needs.

You can also benefit from predefined metadata fields here; you can pull important information from a page and have it displayed in the page overview using macros. This will help users see what’s under a parent page without going into every other page in the hierarchy. The page tree feature will also help you compartmentalize content and information into relevant sections like knowledge base, monthly reports, etc.

If you need to manage documents and attachments in Confluence, try Smart Attachments for Confluence. The app improves how you organize attachments in Confluence, keeping your project documents and files organized the way you want. You can:

  • quickly download your existing folders with files into the space storage
  • embed documents or folders into the content of your Confluence pages
  • collaborate on project assets right in Confluence.

Instead of searching for specific files through numerous Confluence pages, you can rapidly find them in your space storage along with their revisions. Make document management in Confluence a breeze with the help of this solution.

Tidying up your Confluence space

A disorganized Confluence can be a reminder of how vast your instance is becoming. To sustain a bigger Confluence, you need to scale your content management capabilities. That includes leveraging metadata, acknowledging all the platform’s features and limitations, and understanding where you fall short. Only then can an action plan be formed.

To get more insights on how to make your Confluence instance more powerful, check out the Making Magic with Metadata ebook. You can also read about nine Confluence best practices your users should know.

Related posts

Connecting Sharepoint and Atlassian Confluence together

February 18, 2021
#How To#Confluence
6 min

Did you know that switching between different systems and apps is not only annoying but costs businesses hundreds of billions of dollars annually due to wasted time? Enabling users to immediately find the information they are looking for is crucial to empower efficient teamwork.

Let us imagine you want to create an overview of an upcoming marketing campaign in your Confluence. Having all information and documents available on this specific page helps all employees, from marketing to sales, to get what they’re searching for with ease. But how do you accomplish such a comprehensive overview?

SharePoint Connector for Confluence

Communardo’s SharePoint Connector for Confluence is here to help! By integrating Confluence and SharePoint, you enable a seamless work experience and get the best out of both worlds. The app makes it possible to easily embed SharePoint content into Confluence.

Using the SharePoint document macro, you can either embed full-views or links of SharePoint documents as simple as posting the document URL. In case you got many files to share, you can even choose to embed a whole SharePoint document library. Now your colleagues can easily edit documents without the need to navigate to SharePoint first.

The SharePoint Connector for Confluence is available for all Atlassian hosting options (Cloud, Data Center, Server), as well as SharePoint Online (as part of Microsoft 365/Office 365) and on Premise (2016, 2019).

» Start my free trial of SharePoint Connector for Confluence

Smart Attachments for Confluence

If once you decide to finally migrate your document library from Sharepoint to Confluence, the Smart Attachments for Confluence app is the first option to consider. It integrates with Confluence and allows you to create local file storages within your Confluence spaces.

For those of you who migrate from Sharepoint, you can just drop all your existing folders with files and internal folder structure, and the app will recreate this structure from scratch. So that you can preserve all your folder structures and files as you have them in your Sharepoint.

You can perform all the basic operations on folders and documents, keep document revisions, manage labels, or move them between folders of yours. What stands this app from others is that it closely integrates with Confluence itself, so as a result, you can preview all the files and documents, edit them with Atlassian Companion, embed them into Confluence pages, and, of course, comment on them. This greatly simplifies the end-user experience and reduces the number of context switches, which leads to better productivity of your team.

By default, the file storage is available to all Confluence users, and the availability of specific features is regulated by space permissions, so you needn’t adjust anything in your access control policies and go as is. The app also lets you perform non-trivial tasks, such as:

  • lock a specific document against edits while you are editing or reviewing it
  • restrict access to folders with sensitive information
  • share a folder with documents with some external users who do not have regular access to your Confluence, for example, when sharing assets with your customers.

To minimize the necessity to constantly switch to the file storage, you can embed specific folder structures into Confluence pages. This way, you can instantly view, edit, and upload documents from your Confluence pages without losing your current page context or interrupting your activities.

» Start my free trial of Smart Attachments for Confluence

Bring Sharepoint capabilities into Confluence

It is no longer a problem to show Sharepoint content in Confluence. As of now, you can consider two options:

Which option to choose? Try both options and then decide which better fits your needs. Have any questions? Leave your comment and we will reply to you shortly.

Smart Project Planning in Confluence

January 21, 2020
#Analytics#Integration#How To#Confluence#Project management#Reporting
10 min

Aloha, Atlassian fans! 

Have you ever thought of vacation planning as a project that requires thorough study and preparation? My colleague and I decided to challenge ourselves and plan our dream vacation with the help of Confluence because we use this collaboration software every day at work to create content and share ideas on the fly.

In this blog post, we will show you that Confluence can be a great travel planning tool that helps you carefully plan every step of your trip. You will get answers to the following questions:

  • How to choose a place to stay that suits your preferences
  • How to plan your travel budget
  • How to discuss your travel plans with your colleague
  • How to get more ideas for great travel photos

How to choose the best hotel at a bargain

The Gold Coast city in the Australian state of Queensland is our dream destination. We start by gathering all the information about hotels, hostels, and apartments in the Gold Coast on Confluence pages. Next, we create a master page with the help of the Page Properties Report macro.

Now we have a detailed list of hotels. However, it can be a bit difficult when it comes to working with table data. We love to filter and sort tables and visualize them with the help of dynamic charts and graphs. This functionality helps us to get a bird’s-eye view of all options from the table, range the accommodations, and, finally, select the best hotel for our needs.

How to stick to your budget

We need to accurately plan our budget because covering more than 15 000 kilometers to Australia would cost us a fortune. Moreover, we plan to spend a terrific time in Australia and some extra money for entertainment will come in handy.

So we create a table with our travel expenses distributed by multiple categories.

With the help of the pivot table, we can aggregate all the expenses in each category. After that, we can view the chart to analyze them.

No doubt, Confluence is a platform for team collaboration. Irina can rapidly review the table with expenses because it’s better to plan more money for unexpected expenses. She can easily add suggestions to the content to let me know what she thinks about my plan.

Pro tip:

Learn more about using Spreadsheets in Confluence

How to find inspiration

One does not simply spend hours surfing on beautiful beaches, watching awesome sunsets, and making no photos. We’ve found a couple of pictures that inspire us to make our own during the vacation.

So we upload already structured files to Confluence and easily embed the required folder into our Confluence page to manage these files on the go.

How to get all the things done

And the last but not the least thing in planning a journey is to keep an eye on deadlines. We have so many tasks and don’t want to forget about anything. Our dear old friend Gantt chart can help us in this situation. We can plan some periods to complete every task and define the milestones to draw attention to particular tasks. To keep our plans on track, we add flexible reminders that are easy to configure.

Confluence for project planning

Confluence is all about working together and is a perfect solution to get everyone on the same page. It helps you accomplish multiple tasks at the same time, from writing blog posts to building a knowledge base. So why not use this trusted software to plan your dream vacation?
We hope that this blog post helped you look at Confluence from a different perspective and discover more capabilities you can use with the help of:

Please, share your story of using Confluence in the comments below. What are your use cases?

Year in Review: The Most-Read Blog Posts of 2019

January 10, 2020
#How To#News#Confluence#Jira#Bitbucket
7 min

We bet that everyone who has a blog wants to know what readers want. To get closer to the answer to this question, we usually check what blog posts got the highest amount of views during the year. Of course, we try to use this information about the most-read topics to create more interesting articles for you.

We published almost 60 blog posts in 2019, and we hope that they helped you learn more about Atlassian products and find solutions to your challenges. So what were the most popular posts of 2019? Here is the list of the most trending blog posts of the past year:

  1. How to search for commits in Bitbucket Server and Data Center
  2. Pull Request vs. Merge Request
  3. Document Management in Atlassian Confluence
  4. Calendar of Atlassian Events 2019
  5. Handy Jira Dashboards for Project Management in Confluence

1. How to search for commits in Bitbucket Server and Data Center

In this article, we highlighted the three options you can use to search for commits in Bitbucket:

  • You can use REST API to get the list of all commits in the repository.
  • When working with Git and Mercurial repositories, you can take advantage of Sourcetree.
  • You can try the Awesome Graphs for Bitbucket app that helps you get insights on the code review process and personal statistics of all contributors.

This blog post will help you to find the solution that works best for you.

2. Pull Request vs. Merge Request

The second popular blog post is about how to effectively work with pull requests in Bitbucket and how to use the Merge Request feature in GitLab. The insights described in this article will help you improve your code process.

Moreover, you will learn how to get more information about your team’s performance with the help of Awesome Graphs for Bitbucket. This app allows you to evaluate the work of every contributor in your team and make decisions with the help of informative graphs that show you detailed information about commits, PRs, and lines of your code.

3. Document management in Atlassian Confluence

This blog post shows you that document management in Confluence can be easy with the help of Smart Attachments for Confluence. This powerful tool provides you with a centralized space storage where you can keep your project files and easily structure them the way you want.

Moreover, you can rapidly embed folder and documents into Confluence pages.

In this article, you will learn more about a great alternative to Dropbox, OneDrive, or Sharepoint that helps you collaborate on your files and documents with ease right in Confluence.

4. Calendar of Atlassian events 2019

Every year blog posts with the full list of Atlassian events that take place all over the world are among the most-read articles. Of course, it can be beneficial to have all the required information about Atlassian conferences in one place. That is why we annually gather all the details about Atlassian events in one blog post and share it with our readers.

In January 2020, we will publish a list of Atlassian events you can expect this year.

5. Handy Jira Dashboards for Project Management in Confluence

The last but not the least is a blog post that describes the five useful charts that can help Atlassian users track the progress of their projects:

  1. Open vs. resolved issues graph
  2. Velocity and committed vs. completed story points chart
  3. Burnup and burndown charts
  4. Gantt chart

You can build these charts using only one Jira Issues macro and Table Filter and Charts for Confluence. This app helps you quickly filter table data and visualize it in a blink of an eye.

Thank you for reading!

These were the most popular blog post of 2019. We want to thank you for reading our blog, subscribing to our newsletters, and sharing our content on social media. Please, feel free to write to us about what you want to learn about our apps and Atlassian products.

Stay tuned for more exciting articles in 2020!

5 Apps Compatible with Confluence 7.0

September 10, 2019
7 min

Greetings to all Atlassian fans!

We suppose not only our team was looking forward to a new release of our favorite tool for creativity and collaboration. Finally, Confluence 7.0 is here and you can already dive into it right now.

For those of you who love to be the very first trying all the new things and strive for progress we prepared five apps compatible with Confluence 7.0, so let’s check them out.

Power up Confuence tables

Table Filter and Charts for Confluence is a powerful data evaluation solution for Atlassian Confluence that is perfectly combined with other macros and apps outputting tables. You can take advantage of bundled tools for running all kinds of table data filtration, aggregating it in multidimensional pivot tables, transforming it with the help of SQL, and visualizing it with a variety of charts and graphs, including a Gantt chart.

Simplify document management in Confluence

Smart Attachments for Confluence is a solution for comprehensive document management and file control. It provides the centralized space storage for keeping your project documents and assets. Now your teammates can instantly locate the recent version of the required document, diagram, or spreadsheet at once. The app deeply integrates with the native Confluence functionality and gives you powerful tools to collaborate on documentation with your colleagues in real time.

Enjoy LMS capabilities right in Confluence

Courses and Quizzes – LMS for Confluence allows you to create quizzes, tests and training courses for employee and customer education, employee onboarding, knowledge evaluation of job candidates. It lets you use Confluence as a learning management system (LMS).

Make your Confluence pages more powerful and attractive

Handy Macros for Confluence is a comprehensive set of tools (12 in one) to make your Confluence pages more appealing and interactive, including:

Take collaboration on content to a new level

Talk – Advanced Inline Comments helps you add powerful inline comments to your Confluence pages. You can easily add comments anywhere on the page, both while editing and viewing the page content. Moreover, you can restrict access to specific talks for appropriate users or groups making your conversation private, prioritize discussions, and use the Talk report that shows you all discussions spread over multiple pages in the space.

All these apps were designed to enrich your Confluence experience and simplify your daily tasks.

Do you remember you can try all of them free? (wink)

Document Management of Project Assets in Atlassian Confluence

August 6, 2019
#How To#Confluence#Document management
6 min

The more complex project you start, the more documents you need to have. All sorts of policies, specifications, diagrams, wireframes, prototypes, user guides, and bunch of other things should be kept somewhere.

When your team uses Confluence for collaboration on projects, it may be quite inconvenient to store projects somewhere else. In this case you cannot discuss them directly with your colleagues, you need to transition to some other service to retrieve the latest revision, and, finally, you lose the context during your discussion sessions.

These issues made us to design the solution that will provide the centralized storage for your project documents in Confluence. We also kept in mind the necessity to quickly navigate among assets, embed them, and perform all the essential operations on them.

All these concepts were successfully implemented in Smart Attachments for Confluence.

Create the project storage and its structure

Start of a new project is always followed by collection of multiple documents, including old project documentation, new specifications, business and project visions, diagrams of all sorts and kinds, and any other stuff that you find.

During the stage of project evaluation and elicitation of requirements, you need to gather all sources of information and add them into the proper catalogs. This way your teammates can quickly and easily review these files in one place.

project storage in Confluence

The Smart Attachments app allows you to quickly create a project storage with all the necessary folders within it. If you have already sorted out all files on your local computer, you can upload all these folders and the app will recreate their structure in the storage. This is quite convenient when you migrate files from some external file sharing service or from SharePoint.

Upload and manage files with ease

When the project is going on, new and new files are added to the project storage. New folders are created for new document types, old documents are deleted, new document revisions are uploaded.

The Smart Attachments app is a great helper for you here. It provides all the essential features for managing documents and assets in the storage. Additionally, it matches all uploaded revisions by name and attaches them to the parent documents. This way you can keep consistency in your files and you can always locate the latest revision under the source document.

Embed files and folders into context of pages

Keeping documents in the space storage is convenient, but usually a team needs to review files, comment on changes, or point out the necessary updates. This usually occurs in the page context and here the app provides a quick way to embed either documents or entire folders with files.

folder attachment macro in Confluecne

You just need to copy the embeddable link and paste it onto the page. The app will automatically catch this link and will convert it into the document or the folder. The embedding of folders allows you to navigate through the space storage, open files, manage them, and even upload new ones without leaving the context of the page.

Review and collaborate on documents

You can quickly and easily review documents with your colleagues, as the app integrates neatly with the inline comments of Confluence. When opening the embedded file on the page, you can comment on it, discuss some ambiguous points with teammates, and propose ideas on how to improve.

If some updates in the document are needed, you can add them with the help of Atlassian Companion app. You can initiate the file editing right from Confluence and save the modified file as a new revision in the space storage. This keeps all your edited files in one place without any fragmentation when files appear on different pages within the space or even spaces.

For better document searchability in Confluence, you can assign labels to your documents. Further, you can look up for these files when performing the global search for files.

Have fun with document management in Confluence

Yeah, this is not a joke. The Smart Attachments for Confluence app can turn your document management approaches upside down.

You no longer need to browse for specific files through numerous Confluence pages. Find them in one place including all their revisions, collaborate on documents in context, and deliver your projects on time.