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What was your a-ha moment with Confluence?

Hi Community, I’m a product manager on the Confluence Cloud team.

Our team would love to hear about your own a-ha moment: a time when you were using Confluence and something clicked for you or your team, a time when you realized what was so special about the product.

Perhaps it was discovering a unique feature, being delighted by a particular experience or even something broader about how Confluence enabled you or your team to accomplish something that would be very hard to do otherwise.

For me, this moment came when I realized that Confluence made it possible for my team to create together a living web of knowledge, linking together ideas or plans in an organic way that just isn’t possible with any other collaboration product.

What was your a-ha moment?


Florian

11 comments

I had my a-ha moment on Confluence Server when I learned how easy it is to extend the platform with our own macros and blueprints.

Using the rich features of Confluence (in addition to the integration options of other Atlassian products) to implement our way of team collaboration and technical communication.

This seems to have thrilled quite a few people if you look at the number of apps on the Atlassian Marketplace: Seeing something great and add own ideas.

This was the moment I fell in love ... ;)

Thanks so much for sharing, Robert. I really liked your comment about seeing something great and then building on it with your own ideas. And of course, it makes a product manager's day knowing that people fall in love with their product.

I need to cheat, because I had three that happened on the same day and I'm not sure I can decide which one mattered the most.   Upgraded to Confluence 2.0.0 as a test, and

  • Built a page from nothing but {include} macros
  • Installed a plugin that added something the users really needed
  • Wrote a user macro that did something useful for a user

Triple a-ha in one day is probably a record. Thanks for sharing. It seems that extensibility is one of the characteristics that has delivered value for you and your team. Great to hear.

Before I became the Program Manager for my department Confluence was used on a very limited basis for teams throughout the company. When I became the Program Manager I watched as teams across floors began to understand Confluences capabilities and I have enjoyed watching people get excited about documentation and process. Maybe not to my level of excitement, but enough to get buy-in for using Confluence for their teams. 

Simi S Atlassian Team Jul 05, 2018

Hey @Bounta Nomichith, another curious Atlassian here :)

Do you know why those other teams started getting excited? Was it because of a good example you set, or something else?

I think it was due to a lot of things, but more so to the ease of the program and the ability to link pages. When I took over the Program Manager position only two teams were using Confluence effectively. Everyone else used Google Docs, which is an amazing program, but not as useful or robust as Confluence. As I trained and taught the teams how effective Confluence could be they really warmed up to it quickly. We now have almost all the teams working in Confluence for processes, flowcharts and so forth. I also think the Macros really helped get people pumped. 

Great to hear that with a strong internal advocate like you multiple teams were able to see the value of Confluence. Any suggestions on what we could be doing better in the product to help teams "warm up to it quickly" as you put it?

Shrey Atlassian Team Jul 12, 2018

One more question @Bounta Nomichith. What did you include in your trainings to the team.

My a-ha moment was when I realized that I could insert a live search macro (with excerpts) to the side bar so that end users could more reliably search for content within a space. 

I think one of the top a-ha! moments for me was when I figured out how to use CQL macros and fetch data from several page-properties macros on pages in various spaces and display aggregate information. Selection done via labels, of course ;)

This made it possible to start project reporting via blog entries on project spaces, and then displaying the summary on a single page. The department management were (suitably) awed by the possibilities in Confluence.

Like Nadia Burborough likes this

> project reporting via blog entries 


oooooh could you tell me more about how you use this please? Sounds reeeeeeallly useful

Hey @Gustaf Sahlstrom

Just giving this a bump incase you didn't receive a notification :-) 

carolyn french Community Leader Jul 10, 2018

One of my a-ha moments came when I realized how easy it was to publish meeting notes before a meeting along with links, and then use it as a living document to revise during the meeting. Talk about saving a massive amount of time and headache at the beginning of a meeting! And those action items keep everyone on track post-meeting.

Along the same lines, one time I was on the phone talking through the solution to a relatively simple problem, and created a new how-to article at the same time. PUBLISHED and DONE.

The templates make it very easy to get going quickly and collaborate real-time, on your feet. That is a game changer. (Similar to yours, @Florian Pestoni)

@carolyn french I loved your comment about a "living document", and how it helps run meetings more effectively.

Here's a fun (or sad, depending on your perspective) infographic https://www.atlassian.com/time-wasting-at-work-infographic. The study found that most employees attend 62 meetings and spend 31 
Hours in unproductive meetings over a month.

As a PM, I'm definitely on the high side of number of meetings, so I appreciate any productivity hacks such as templates that help meetings run smoother. Are there any other templates that you would find useful? Feel free to share on this thread: https://community.atlassian.com/t5/Confluence-discussions/We-want-to-see-the-templates-you-ve-created-in-Confluence/td-p/841132.

 

carolyn french Community Leader Jul 12, 2018

Almost a week every month in unproductive meetings, yikes!

Thanks for the link to the other post- I'll think about which page templates I've created that have been used extensively.

My best a-ha moment is when I found user macro feature. I fall in love with this feature and found it very much useful. best thing about this is, it saves your visit to market place every time you need something simple but extra. and It give space to your creativity.
I have shared three user macros that I have created in this community. (Color tablesMoMossExpand Cards)

Other than user macros I love all the simple changes that makes a huge difference. top of the list; code blocks macro. I enjoy the way it gives user the previlage to change the theme. I always change these settings to my comfy theme.

Also I always share these handy features and efficient usage of them with our internal staff by posting a Blog post.

Also it is happy to see all of the other confluence fans comments here! 😊

Hi Alana,

thanks for sharing your perspective and for making great contributions to the community. My favorite is Color tables, they look great. 

Alana Fernando Community Leader Jul 12, 2018

thanks @Florian Pestoni, our staff seemed to enjoy the Color tables macro too. they really enjoy when there are already defined styles that they have to just select the preferred way.

Since some spaces/pages are shared with clients and external parties they always seemed to care about quick and easy ways to present important information in a attractive way. macros like road-map planner, status and tip/warning/info/note macros play a good role here.

One of my a-ha-moments came, when I found out about the power of user macros. Since then, I created a lot of them for small additions to Confluence. 

Another big thing was, when I implemented a completely new Confluence dashboard for our company (also using user macros) using the company's CI. This dashboard is now in use for several years and people still like it. For this year, I'm planning a re-design of the dashboard.

And a very big a-ha for my users are the word-, excel- and powerpoint-macros. The ones, that embed the content of the document directly on the page. The ones that are deprecated... But I still hope, they stay forever because I do not want to tell my users that their beloved macros have gone... 

carolyn french Community Leader Jul 11, 2018

I totally agree with you on the last one! Absolutely loved those macros.

Shrey Atlassian Team Jul 12, 2018

Thanks @Thomas Schlegel. What would you be your requirements related to embedded word, excel, powerpoint. How would your users want to interact with this content?

@Shrey 

I think the main problem with the new way of presenting documents by the overlay is the workflow, The document seems not to be embedded. Users have to click on the document link then there's the overlay. Then they have to wait until the document is loaded. To get back to Confluence, you have to close the document. Two clicks to see the document and get back to Confluence. With the deprecated macros, you just have to open the page.

People also like editing the document by clicking "edit in Word" and upload the document again by saving it in Word or Excel.  

I can't decide between these two:

  • when I discovered the Page layout button. I had been using the Section and Column macros for a while and the Page layout button was such a revolution!
  • when I learnt how to use Page properties macros - so useful with meeting and training notes. It looked like magic when I first used the Page properties report macro!

This is great, thanks for sharing. You mentioned "when I learnt how to use Page properties macros" -- I agree they're very powerful, is there anything we could be doing to make it easier for people to use the Page properties macro?

Hm, I'd say to rename it :D it was very unclear to me until someone taught me how to use it. I can't think of any better name though, but to me the main issue was that I had no idea what these macros were doing and they looked complicated.

Another A-Ha moment that I had was being able to develop a Title Page when exporting a space as a PDF. The documentation was somewhat helpful in that it was pretty expansive on the actual CSS, but it was pretty light on adding the actual title page. I ended up just finding samples on other sites to get me started. But anyways, I really love this functionality. I made the title page an attestation that we have users download and e-sign with acrobat. They later add the attestation to the page to certify its contents.

Hi @ramundodj, I'd be curious to understand a bit more about your use case for the attestation and e-signature. Are you able to share who your users are and how the attestation is leveraged internally? What level of security/compliance do you require?

We have organizations within our company that require committee approval on new policies and procedures, so sign off is a way to ensure that content is in a final state with Director level or higher approval. Any changes to the policy or procedure must undergo the same level of review. This content is fairly restricted by content owners, even amongst their own groups. Users must have a need to access the information to be able to review it.

The workflow is pretty simple:

  1. The page is developed and reviewed.
  2. Upon completion, approval is gained by completing the following:
    1. Navigating to Space Tools > Export > PDF > Custom Export.
    2. The completed page is selected, and the PDF is generated.
    3. The user opens the PDF in Acrobat, signs the document and enters other relevant information, and saves it.
  3. The document is added to a page properties macro on the page, that also contains, among other things, Last Updated, Approved Date, and Sign Off columns. The approved date is just user entry; however, the last updated is a macro that says when the page was last updated. The sign-off is then entered as a link. The Approved Date and Last Updated should always match, otherwise you'd want to investigate whey they are different. 

There are a lot of complicated add-ons out there for workflow management and approvals and Confluence doesn't really have any great solutions for content verification or e-signatures, but this solution is fairly simple to set up once you set up the Title Page.

Right now we have one group using this; however, there are other admins in our company interested in implementing similar types of forms. The only things that would make this more convenient is if you could add a title page to page exports, or if e-signing became a feature. 

Like Nadia Burborough likes this

Hi

Mine was several years back when the wiki markup editor was removed. That is when I knew this product was doomed.

Sorry, I know you were looking for positive feedback.

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