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What are your project planning tips?

Jessica Lynn Atlassian Team Oct 11, 2018

Hello Community, 

Jessica here from the Confluence product marketing team! Today I wanted to get your takes on project planning –– what works, what doesn’t, how do you know if you’re doing it right? 

You may have heard that we recently released a project plan template for Confluence Cloud along with an intro guide that gives tips and tricks for how to manage a project from start to finish. 

We covered the fundamentals of project planning, like how to keep stakeholders in the loop and determine a timeline, but we know that every project manager has their own unique way of doing things. 

So we want to know: what are your personal tips for planning projects? Have you ever created your own project plan template that’s tailored to your work? If so, we’d like to see it!  Go ahead and post some screenshots below (feel free to cross out or remove any sensitive info). 

Looking forward to hearing from you! 

7 comments

Documentation is the Key to Success!

Document, Document, Document!

Like Blake Hodder likes this
Jessica Lynn Atlassian Team Oct 22, 2018

Yes!! Totally agree @Brien Matthys, so important for keeping track of everything that's going on in a project and keeping everyone in the loop. 

I'm curious - how do you make sure that you're keeping all of that documentation organized day-to-day? Are there any templates or other Confluence features that you use? Would love to get your take on how you do it! 

Like # people like this

My take is to always have the basic steps you take in your mind and follow them , this is discipline rather than document. Use confluence to hold things for you rather than focus on documenting. Using digital notes will helpto finally document it.

Use the templates to your way of working.

Jessica Lynn Atlassian Team Nov 07, 2018

@Getjan Lammers That's a really good point! I think it's really easy to get into a mindset where you feel like if you have all the right tools, they'll end up doing your project for you. Of course, that's not what happens. At the end of the day, these tools make our jobs easier, but good project planning still comes down to having a lot of discipline - no matter how you're doing documentation.  

Just to make sure I'm understanding you correctly, are you saying that you use Confluence as your way of taking digital notes and that you later end up drawing from in your documentation? If so, how do you make sure that you're keeping all of your notes organized? Are there any templates that you use when you finally document your project? Would love to hear more about your process! 

Like # people like this
Kesha Thill Atlassian Team Oct 26, 2018

For me it's over communication - especially for cross-functional projects! Whether that's digitally or verbally, I like to put allllll the info and details that are relevant or affect a work stream on a page. Then host a kick-off meeting to go over the plan with project team and let them poke holes where they think dates or scope are off. That way, everyone is bought in when the actual project kicks off :) 

Like Jessica Lynn likes this

Here's a project dashboard template that I created for all of our IT Products. We're in early stages of getting stakeholders access, so I don't exactly have data on how well it's working. I tried to create one place for stakeholders to go (because you can't really make sense of project status in Jira), but my dashboard tends to require some maintenance up front (like connecting several macros to Jira projects and having to use JQL for non-tech users).

Generally, I find that non-IT stakeholders needing info on a project are overwhelmed and/or confused about Confluence as a whole. You guys are doing a great job at continually improving it, but it's still not as intuitive as users expect these days. (I'm using Confluence with Jira Cloud)

While I really love being able to add macros, one side effect is that users can't view much of anything useful on this dashboard from iPads through the confluence app. 

In the future of Confluence, I'd like to see deeper integration with Jira, preferably through Atlassian made widgets/macros (most of the time users have to refresh the page to properly load a macro cuz things). I'd particularly like to be able to display the new Jira next-gen Roadmap on a confluence page and make it easier to build reports in confluence without having to use JQL.

 

Project Dashboard.jpg

Like # people like this
Jessica Lynn Atlassian Team Nov 27, 2018

Thank you for all of your in-depth feedback! This is extremely helpful. I'll definitely bring your insights back to our team. 

I really love how organized your template is and the way that you include all the top-level information that people might need all in one place. Once you have more data, I'd love to hear back about how it's working and any adjustments you may have made! 

Will this be available for the Server version?

@Robert Thornton Unfortunately, there currently aren't any plans in the works for adding this template to Server –– but I'll let our team know that you're interested! 

In the meantime, it would be pretty easy for you to work around this. Option 1 is that we have a free pdf of our project plan template available here for people who don't have Confluence Cloud: https://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence/templates/project-plan. You could use the PDF and then attach it into your Confluence Server page. 

Option 2 is that if you specifically wanted to make sure that you had a project plan template available in Confluence Server, you could work to copy the structure of that PDF and make it into your own template using these instructions: https://confluence.atlassian.com/doc/create-a-template-296093779.html 

It probably wouldn't be too hard considering that it doesn't use too many special macros. 

We have created what we called integrations: every 3 month we integrate our product and 'deliver' the planned capabilities for the integration. This means that we focus on planning towards the coming integration and 'leave' everything after a blur. 

We have created a template in Confluence which supports the creation of a vision and deliverable of the integration and then we use sprint templates to plan how we reach that integration. 

Currently, I am working on a new template that allows the PMs to elaborate and evolve the deliverable on the integration by investigating and deciding on integration capabilities. I use the macro 'create from template' to 'force' them to make decisions which should ease the work of development by having clear decisions for the task. Meaning that each integration page is created with a 'Create from Template' asking for the PM and team to evolve the visions/deliverables into concrete decisions that the developer can use. 

We are constantly challenged by balancing between agile and planning - we do not want to force time consuming planning when we encourage changes and iterations. However the nature of our products (robots) demands a certain amount of 'cleaver' planning to deliver on time. 

We use Confluence as a platform for information sharing, alignment, and decision-making. 

Hello @Jessica Lynn ,

I know you're looking for something for Confluence, but...

something similar in jira with Amethyst Project:2019-03-20_12-08-59.png

For the marketing teams I know it's important that issues in Jira are not necessary for planning.

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