Confluence whiteboards & the benefits whiteboarding bring

Hey All,

I just wanted to jump on here and post an article I wrote back in June on the new whiteboard functionality coming to Confluence. You can read the article HERE.

 

Formerly the Point-A product, Fabric, Confluence now has access to native whiteboard functionality. During day 2 of the team ‘23 event, Atlassian announced the EAP of the new functionality. Lets quickly recap some of this stuff.

FUNCTIONALITY

Confluence Whiteboards gives you the ability to turn any great idea or conversation into something visual. You can then turn those ideas back into Jira tasks to start working on. Even create lines between different stickies and cards on the whiteboard to create dependencies back in Jira. It is an endless canvas that has real time collaboration to enhance how your teams talk and work together. Like the rest of the Atlassian applications, whiteboards has access to the smart links functionality. Embed any Atlassian or partner product to help connect the dots without context switching.

Whiteboards comes with templates to help teams get set up quickly, whether you are trying to just visualise an idea, to planning an agile teams workload.

Whiteboards aren’t new to Atlassian. We have seen many great marketplace apps over the years including Appfire’s Whiteboards for Jira or Confluence, Draw.io’s whiteboard for Confluence or even the integrations to third party apps like Miro. So why should you care?

BENEFITS

DIGITAL WHITEBOARDS INCREASING COLLABORATION

As the modern workplace continues to evolve, even in my short career so far, the need for effective teamwork has become increasingly important & difficult for some teams to master. The nice thing about a whiteboard (physical or digital) is the blank canvas and opportunity for everyone to grab a “pen” and help build a masterpiece. Because there aren’t many constraints to what you can draw, whiteboards can be used to present or breakdown any challenge making them incredibly useful.

REAL-TIME COLLABORATION

However, as teams grow, they are often disperse (especially since the pandemic). Digital whiteboards allow teams to work together in real time, no matter where the location of the members, making it easier for teams to not need the same timezone or even physical space to complete the same action. With just a few clicks, teams can connect remotely and brainstorm on the same whiteboard. This level of collaboration leads to more productive meetings and results in better ideas & more productive and creative teams.

ENHANCE CREATIVITY

While physical whiteboards are great ways for local teams to visualise challenges, they are limited by the physical size of the whiteboard. Digital whiteboards allow much more flexibility. There's no need to worry about running out of space or erasing previous ideas - digital whiteboards provide an endless canvas to explore creative ideas.

IMPROVED ORGANIZATION

One of the most significant benefits of digital whiteboards is the ability to save and organize your work digitally. With digital whiteboards, there is no need to take pictures of the board or transcribe notes afterward. Everything is automatically saved, and revisions are easily made. Additionally, digital whiteboards allow users to search through past work, making it easier to find relevant information when needed. Since this information will be with all of your other knowledge within the Atlassian ecosystem, it is also incredibly easy to link and keep the flow of information easy and relevant for the user.

SO WHAT DIFFERS THIS NEW NATIVE FUNCTIONALITY TO THE MARKETPLACE APPS?

As we said right at the start, whiteboard functionality is not exactly new to the world and not to the Atlassian ecosystem. So why is this different?

Firstly, lets get an easy one out of the way. Cost. This is the first time users will be able to have the functionality as part of a license they already pay for. There is no need to go to marketplace apps or look at third party functionality and integrating to be able to off the same.

Secondly, I am a big believer in the removal of reliance. Tech debt is an issue for every business. Building a reliance on additional apps etc means it is harder to freely move from x to y. It means additional budget and time has to be spent to maintain things etc. Having this functionality natively removes the opportunity for reliance on these issues.

Lastly. Accessibility. You may have even external tools that not every user can access or work with. When working with external tools like Lucid or Miro, to be able to properly collaborate you all need licenses limiting how accessible the document and sessions would be. Native Atlassian functionality would offer more users and teams to benefit from whiteboards.

 

If you want to check out the community article from Atlassian announcing the feature, click here.

Do you think your teams will make use of the new functionality?

Are you now or planning on using whiteboards?

4 comments

Dave Mathijs
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
July 28, 2023

Hi @Dan Tombs

Can you confirm that Confluence Whiteboards will remain free forever and built-in for all Confluence Plans (Free, Standard, Premium & Enterprise)?

JWM was also announced as free, then free till 2024 (for JSW users), paid from 2024 onwards (for everyone) and now plans for a Premium Plan.

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Dan Tombs
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
July 31, 2023

Hey @Dave Mathijs

 

Atlassian have not released any of these details around where it will sit within its plans. Right now I know it is free for all tiers. I hope it will stay this way. Every team needs to ability to whiteboard not just premium or enterprise paying teams.

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Andrei Eleodor Sirbu December 26, 2023

It's a great addition !

We've been using it for PI Plannings and I really appreciate the ability to map dependencies from the whiteboard straight into Jira.

I hope we'll be able to retreieve already existant dependencies from Jira into the whiteboard. It would be a time saver. 

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Andy Gladstone
Community Leader
Community Leader
Community Leaders are connectors, ambassadors, and mentors. On the online community, they serve as thought leaders, product experts, and moderators.
January 10, 2024

Adding a comment here for two reasons.

  1. This is a great article, thanks for taking the time to cover it @Dan Tombs.
  2. Atlassian announced earlier this week that as of February 29, 2024 Whiteboards availability will change:
    1. All tiers will have access to Whiteboards
      1. Free and Standard
        1. Will be limited to (3) whiteboards per user.
        2. No advanced features (Smart connectors, smart sections, etc.)
        3. Advanced features used on whiteboards created during the beta will remain in place on existing boards.
      2. Premium and Enterprise
        1. Will have unlimited whiteboards and all features available.

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