Getting a Confluence admin or technical writer for knowledge base

Hi!

I'm curious to know if other orgs have hired folks to manage their Confluence instance and/or to write (technical) content (i.e., knowledge base). What skill set did you look for? Could this be an intern or part-time position?

My nonprofit org is currently using Confluence via Service Desk. We're piloting this with our tech support team, so the request type and content topics are all tech related. We have set up our Service Desk such that when our end-users (internal staff) open a request, they would see suggested articles or browse for articles in the new help center. 

The challenge we encountered is how to deliver content in a consistent voice and format, to a majority of the non-technical audience.

Not sure if this is helpful, but we're also thinking of using Confluence as our intranet down-the-road.

Any insight is much appreciated!

 

 

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Bill Bailey Community Champion Jan 06, 2019

You described exactly what I do for one client. I am their Confluence admin, responsible for keeping it running, answer user questions, writing macros, etc. Their in-house IT team is too overloaded to take on this task, so they are more than happy to have me do it.

I am also their technical writing resource, responsible for editing content (sometimes sourcing it as well), creating graphics, generating PDFs, etc.

BTW, they are not a small company -- 100+ individuals -- just located in the Bay Area, so very hard to hire these positions.

@Bill Bailey Thanks for your response! I'm curious to know if you're doing this part-time or full-time for the client.

We just started rolling out Jira and we only have a few dozen articles for our IT team, though our audience is 500+ individuals. I would imagine a full-time person makes sense down-the-road, but I'm wondering how did people start out.

Bill Bailey Community Champion Jan 07, 2019

Well I am not full-time, but they can consume a lot of hours. It depends on how many articles you need, and how many people are generating content (determines workload).

I would suggest starting with a contractor, because hiring this position full-time may be hard - you can find people who know how to support Confluence, and you can find tech writers who have used Confluence, but finding both rolled into one would be tricky.

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Thanks for your insight, @Bill Bailey! I'm estimating our Confluence workload to be low-medium (maybe leaning toward the low end), but as you said it consume a lot of hours, hours that existing staff don't have.

Finding a part-time contractor makes sense and specifically, a tech writer as that is our gap right now.

Confluence pages are built on C/C++ on the back end very similar to Microsoft Word. It also uses JavaScript, HTML, & CSS to bring to the web. The person should be familiar with basic programming in Word and basic website building.

I would think a KB Developer would need to know these things. I would think you would need this person to be full time. You could use KPIs from your customers to justify the expense?

@CARLISLE I'm not sure I know how to access the backend, we're using the Cloud version. Though it would be nice to be able to edit the HTML/CSS!

Yeah, we're in the process of gathering some KPIs, albeit via Service Desk.

Well, for a mini-lesson, the code is available for most eyes in the upper right hand corner button near the ? button.

You might be able to edit or you might just be able to read.

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@CARLISLE When I clicked on the ? button, it shows me the markdown syntax. Is that what you mean?

It is near the ? button, but not the question button itself. You can click the < > buttons to see the code lines to do root cause analysis. The editorial features of this tool sometimes allow you (ADMIN) to read or possibly to write in this code.

I must have a different version of Confluence because below is all I see near the ? button.

image.png

Interesting, my instance is the server version and not the cloud instance I believe, but I can see the source button looks LIKE this < >. You might be running the cloud version which runs on Atlassian servers not in house stuff and it might depend on whether you are an ADMIN or not. FYI It is not just HTML 5 sensitive.  

The source editor is an add-on. You won't see the < > button by default.

We outsource this to our Platinum Partner (Avisi - Atlassian Partner of the Year 2017),

We are a small company so use of Confluence is minimal and outsourcing keeps life simple however I am well connected with fellow Atlassian Users (through the same partner) who are using Confluence as a Social Intranet.
As you're considering this, it might be the way to go.
They're using themes like Brikit, Refinedwiki, and Linchpin to build their own branded Confluence intranets. Helps deliver content in consistent voice and format across the organisation.

@Andy Barker Yeah, a social intranet is our vision. Baby steps till we reach there! I have come across those plugin themes before, but I'm in one of those situations where we have to demonstrate the usefulness of the system before getting $$$ to invest in "luxury."

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@Wai Khoo - spent most of my career in those situations. Good luck to you !

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