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Calling all Confluence Server & Data Center admins: How do you train your users?

Marcus Wong Atlassian Team Jan 30, 2020

Hello Enterprise Community Members!

My name is Marcus, Product Manager on Confluence Server & Data Center. 👋

We know that onboarding and training end-users to use Atlassian products can be time-consuming for many of you. Some of you have told us that you spend a considerable amount of time delivering training or creating instructional pages and spaces for your organization, in order to ensure that your teams know how to use Confluence.

We appreciate your efforts and are currently exploring different formats to deliver instructional training to Confluence users, in order to save you time and effort.

In order to build relevant training, we’d like to hear from you. We’re looking to understand:

  • What user actions do new Confluence users have trouble learning in your organization?

  • In your view, what are the top actions a user needs to learn to be proficient at Confluence in your organization? Feel free to list as many as you see fit.

  • How does your organization use Confluence? Examples: wiki, intranet, knowledge base, documentation, general workspace

Please feel free to share these insights as comments below, or if you’d prefer to keep it private, here is a Google Form link where you can submit a response.

https://forms.gle/A993y3hHC34nbxWPA

Your input is greatly appreciated!

4 comments

Really happy to see that this is being looked at.

One bit of onboarding feedback is that asking users to watch a space during initial setup leads to email fatigue very quickly in new users. They have no idea what the implications of watching a space are, they often don't know what spaces are, and if they do, they don't know what a given space contains. There is also no way to skip this step in the current onboarding. 

Thank you for the feedback Boris. 

To clarify, do you think spaces itself (as a concept) are difficult to learn as a new user? E.g. the nuances between site spaces vs. pages vs. personal spaces could get lost if onboarding was not clear on it

Or rather, do you think that users generally understand spaces well enough, but current methods of onboarding need improvement so that users understand the implications of what spaces are before committing them to further space-related actions?

Hi Marcus,

I can see how my comment wasn't clear enough. Let me try and explain it in a different way. I am talking about todays current onboarding flow which looks like:

  • User has no idea what Confluence is or how to use it
  • They hit the onboarding wizard with steps that explain stuff
  • The users I see doing this skip the video
  • They're asked to watch (they don't know what it means to watch something) a space (they don't know what a space is) and are presented a list of spaces (which they don't know what each individual one stands for since they're new to an org)

The outcome is that every single new user gets email spam from a topic area they didn't understand they were subscribing to.

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Marcus Wong Atlassian Team Feb 03, 2020

Appreciate the clarification, Boris. It seems spaces not being properly introduced is a recurring theme among respondents, so we will look to introduce this better with our material. Thanks!

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Hi this is a great thread which I have a lot of interest in supporting!

I am a global admin of 3 Server instances and 1 Data Center instance serving about 180K users of various types from development teams, military and service providers.

  • What user actions do new Confluence users have trouble learning in your organization?
    • Space Permissions and Page Restrictions .... I repeat .... Space Permissions and Page Restrictions --- This is the number one issue we see with both new and veteran users. 
    • Organizing content
    • Understanding how to use macros
  • In your view, what are the top actions a user needs to learn to be proficient at Confluence in your organization? Feel free to list as many as you see fit.
    • Learn to limit the admins as well as those with Restriction permissions --- I wish that new space admins would hold these permissions close to the vest but they don't.  And they don't pass along the same content we as the service providers provided to them when we created the space to them.  This leads to Admin bloat and more and more folks not understanding permissions/restrictions work.
    • Learn to layer permissions and organize content within the space.
    • Learn that Confluence is not 'a web page' that can be developed to be like a web page. 
    • Learn how to use macros.
    • Learn how to share our service 'how-tos' with others.
  • How does your organization use Confluence? Examples: wiki, intranet, knowledge base, documentation, general workspace
    • Our team is the service team for the four instances. We provide kb articles, documentation and many examples of how to best use Confluence. We've imported Community articles, Atlassian white papers etc.  Sadly, many of our users still don't know all of the content that is available to them. We provide a 'I have a Space, now what?' guide to all users who request team spaces. This page includes documentation, hints and a guide to get started. 

We are looking to survey our users to ask for the input in how they would like onboarding to go. "If you had a time machine and could go back to before you got your space what would you tell yourself?". 

I hope this helps. I'll be at Summit and would love to touch base with the Atlassian team on this subject.

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Marcus Wong Atlassian Team Feb 02, 2020

This is excellent feedback! Thank you for taking the time to share this.

Expanding on your thoughts, you mentioned that your current documentation on how to best use Confluence is available but users have trouble digesting / reading that information.

We'd like the learning material we're developing to be easily digestible for end users. What are your thoughts on alternative methods of onboarding?

For example, ideas that have been thrown around are: instructional videos/screencasts centred around specific actions, or interactive tutorials delivered via a free Marketplace plugin (akin to Training for Jira). 

Yes - I like the sample shown in the Training for Jira App.  I believe we have been provided a set of training materials for import into our closed network/enclave.  I'm hoping there are trainings for Confluence included.  (I haven't seen it yet.)

But our customers are in a closed network and can have difficulties finding time outside of work or getting access to WWW network connections to look for training materials or documentation.  I import all I can and we have discussed this topic with our TAM.

We'd love to provide each new customer a quick tips interactive module.  What we provide now is comprehensive but I think that scares them away.  .... and people by nature just want to poke around.  What happens is they poke and play then don't understand what they've done ... or how it could have been better with a bit of forethought.  

While attending summit I'll seek out the Confluence booth to discuss this more.

Like Marcus Wong likes this

After discussing this with a teammate she raised that the page restrictions would be less frustrating if the 'Edit' button were dithered out if the user didn't have Space Add permission.

On that topic:  Space permissions state show and Add column.  This is very much confused by our users.  If it stated Add/Edit then they would understand that both apply.

We often have users that are granted Restrictions permission configure the restriction of a page to 'View and Edit' to a named person.  They have no warning whatsoever that that named person doesn't have the Space permission to allow edit. If somehow there was a limit or a blocking for folks who try to add "Edit" restrictions to a page for a named person (or group) that doesn't have "Add" permissions in the space then they'd be more aware of the whole space / page permissions configuraiton.

In our team's service desk we have a canned response like this:

* Space = House

* Page = Room

If you can't get into in the House (to edit or view) you can't get into the room (to edit or view) .

 

It seems to make them understand better how it works.  

 

Another issue is that they think the space permissions are 'ANDs' and not 'Ors'.  They end up opening the space .. or pages .. to those they shouldn't.  With our large instance that could end up being a security incident.  

Like Michelle Vincent likes this

Great initiative Marcus.

We use Confluence for everything except as an Intranet as we have a separate system for that. We are around 1600 users in the company.

I would like to send the users to some basic web training and I would like them to know the following:

- What is a Space and type of Spaces

- What is a Page and type of Pages

- Permissions and Restrictions

- How to use Macros

- How to create a basic page, but also get ideas of how to make nice looking pages

- Share, Links, Watch and Search

- How to use MS office in Confluence / Attachments

- Blueprints and templates

- What is a plugin and example of these like Gliffy and/or Lucidchart

Marcus Wong Atlassian Team Feb 03, 2020

Appreciate the feedback, Olle! 

Out of the list you described, are there certain concepts you find your users have more trouble learning compared to others? 

The first 3 things that came to my mind and are always asked / always cause issues/confusions:

  1. Space Permissions and Page Restriction: especially restricting the view permission of the home page of a space. this is just a duplicate of the space permissions and often closes whole spaces accidentally. also the permission columns in the space permissions are hard to understand. Also people don't get that the permission concept is like a funnel.
  2. Reordering pages: We can tell peoples a hundred times that they can reorder the pagetree but they still always use "1", "2", "10",... as prefix. Also the usability of this feature is not very user friendly (no return,...)
  3. Examples for a good page structure / macro usage: to show them how to use the macros in context of other content. This is is especially about formatting macros/options but also about attachments, page properties and label macros.

As it was mentioned before in a comment: the onboarding "tutorial" of Confluence let users watch spaces which leads to a lot of mails and really lowers the acceptance of the tool because users don't know what they are doing there... Thats why also disable this feature.

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I think if the default for user profiles is to NOT automatically watch pages they comment on or create this cuts down on the emails. 

I had a customer ask me the other day about why she's being "spammed" by Confluence.  It wasn't her desire to start getting all the emails.

A more obvious impact statement about what watching means to a user would be helpful.

Yes! These are many of the same issues we face over and over. We use Confluence as a collaborative tool, a communication tool, a documentation tool, a community tool/intranet; we use Jira for process management for the organization, and HipChat still for instant communication. We have around 1500 users spread all over the world with a wide range of "tech-comfort". Some are long-term and some are very short-term. Making the use of these tools easy is CRITICAL to us. In this day and age, we have found very short videos to be the best way to provide training. Then the users can watch what they need as many times as they need. We are just finishing up with some internal training videos but these are designed for our use case and are longer. We hope this helps us since our only "qualified" trainers are at our main offices. 

In the documentation, I would highly recommend and request short topical videos with links to more information for those who like to dig in.

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