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We have Jira Prem & looking at adding Confluence. How has this combo helped your team?

We're trying to identify all the Pros and Cons of having Confluence integration to Jira. We currently use SharePoint.  Any examples the group / you could provide would be greatly helpful and appreciated. Thank you in advance for your time and help! 

4 answers

5 votes
Mike Rathwell Community Leader Aug 31, 2021

Hi @Chris Tetzlaff ,

I will start with the pros of adding Confluence alongside Jira

  • Extremely easy to add a Jira macro to a Confluence page that pulls issues from Jira live so it makes it very easy to have a reporting tool that always has up to date information in it
  • A Confluence page can be linked to a Jira issue with a bi-directional link between Jira and Confluence to allow full documentation to go with a given Jira ticket (like an Epic or Initiative)
  • A simple Jira macro with a list of issues in it can be embedded inside OTHER Confluence macros (like the Table & Charts Filter) to allow automatic charting (how many of which kind of issue, number of issues resolved by each human, etc). That same filter allows for generic user ability to filter issues to find what they are looking for without needing to make a JQL search for them once the full set is presented to them

Beyond what you are looking at just with the Jira integration, Confluence is head and shoulders better than SharePoint in All the Things.

  • Far easier and more stable to administer. Upgrades are straightforward and do not need to be looked at with trepidation like the stomach clenching fear I used to have every time I had to do that on a SharePoint site.
  • You can containerize Confluence (and Jira as well) so an upgrade becomes stop the instance/node, add a new image, start it up.
  • Confluence is honestly useful as a collaboration and documentation tool. SharePoint stands so much in the way of just... doing... things that it ends up being used as a clumsy file server. Confluence makes it so easy for everyone to create content that you get content and not just files attached. In fact, for users coming from SharePoint, I have to mentor them AWAY from just attaching files but creating content. The corollary effect to that is the content gets read. So often when presented with a link to yet another document to open separately, it does not get read. If the link you click directly gives you the content,  it gets read and used.
  • No more SQL Server. Literally, the only redeeming quality I can find about SQL Server is that you can use SQL to dynamically create the columns for a pivot. Beyond that, the cost and pitiful performance is just one more thing that can be blissfully left behind.

I could go on and on why you should just run away from SharePoint and the good reasons to go with Confluence. These are just some of the high points. Once you get used to "it's not hard" and your users get used to that, you will start to have an honestly dynamic and well used documentation/collaboration tool running.

Small comment on Mike's post - Jira & Confluence Cloud take the upgrade headache completely out of the picture - you get new function and fixes from Atlassian several times a year.

Mike Rathwell Community Leader Aug 31, 2021

I am actually in the process if migrating from hosted to Cloud, @Kelly Arrey which isn't a headache but a full on bodyache. Will be good when I get there not least of which is the reason you cite. The recent CVE on Confluence, for example, becomes a SEP. When there is one of me running the entire stack from the bottom of AWS to the top of the application, it will be pleasant to leave that behind.

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We migrated in March 2021 with the help of our local Atlassian Platinum Partner, Blended Perspectives, and haven't looked back.

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3 votes
Mykenna Cepek Community Leader Aug 31, 2021

I definitely agree with what @Mike Rathwell and @Kelly Arrey wrote above. I've been using Jira with Confluence for over 10 years at multiple companies.

One of the key strengths of Confluence is the ability to easily "click around" to navigate. If you are able to designate an explicit "owner" for a Confluence Space, that can help that space be (and stay) organized.

Sharepoint tends to be a "pile of documents" (unless you have a lot of admins to organize pretty navigation pages). Confluence can instead easily be an organized set of navigable web pages, without relying on admin-level expertise.

Initially you are likely to pull Sharepoint content into Confluence, and that will look like files attached to pages. Not much of an improvement, but at least the old content will be searchable and accessible. In practice, very little of that old content will ever be looked at again. But what's important is that you can find it if you need it, and shut down Sharepoint ASAP.

A key success factor is investment early in people learning to use Confluence -- just the basics! Atlassian has lots of training material, so making that easily available to people will go a long way. Example: incentivize earning the Confluence Fundamentals badge.

You don't want people to just end up using Confluence as a document dumping ground. Many spreadsheets, for example, can be tables on a page instead. Most text documents should be pages instead.

I've also found a lot of value in making myself available to collaborate online with early adopters, to walk them through something they are stuck with or a topic they want to learn right now. They become internal evangelists, and those are wonderful seeds to plant early.

Good luck!

All of the things @Mykenna Cepek said. Even more reasons to not be on SharePointless.

The last paragraph is the big one and it applies to both Confluence and Jira. That is very much the "teach a person to fish" world and has served me well. I had "extra" time spent to get people rolling but I have far higher adoption, happier users, AND less to do since I am not the only one with an answer OR the only one that can do <insert thing here>.

I have documentation focused humans that have forsworn using Office or G-Suite for most content creation and review. Meeting minutes are almost always captured on Confluence and disseminated with at mentions. There are humans in HR, Payroll, Legal, and Marketing that now say they refuse to go work places that don't use Jira to run those worlds. I hear about the AP and Payroll humans working together to sort out how to have me make their Jira worlds work more automatically together. That is very satisfying.

I am doing this all over again as I move to Cloud but... I enjoy it and love teaching humans to be able to do stuff. 

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@Mike Rathwell @Kelly Arrey @Mykenna Cepek   Thank you all for your time and insights. We've still have some heavy lifting to reach a decision and implement. Confluence does tip the scales in it's favor.  I'll 'accept answer' once we've made a decision. Being new here, not sure if I can only accept one answer or how that works. Again,  thank you so much for taking the time to provide such great information and insights!  

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Mykenna Cepek Community Leader Sep 02, 2021

You can "accept" multiple answers. As Community Leaders, we really appreciate that feedback. Best wishes with your decision-making!

In my experience, SharePoint behaves a lot like a shared file system - documents are discrete files and you can navigate through the directory structure and hopefully find what you need. Permissions are a ongoing challenge in my experience - whenever someone shares a file, someone (or several people) will always say "I don't have permission to read it" or "I don't have permission to edit it".

Confluence is a wiki, so you edit in place with a full change history.  You can include hyperlinks to other Confluence pages, Jira tickets/filters, and other pages anywhere - this is generally a good thing - it makes it easy to link relevant information together, and the wiki format makes it really easy to provide contextual information around the links.  Permissions are conferred at the "space" level, which makes it possible to set it up so that permissions problems are not a factor in your daily work life. Finally, there is a high level of integration with Jira, so it's really easy to link between Jira issues and Confluence pages and vice versa. You can also include Jira dashboard gadgets in Confluence pages, which makes it really easy to set up information radiators with more flexibility and more outside info than a simple Jira dashboard.

One question to ask yourself if what kind of information you're planning to store? Project plans and any kind of architecture/design documentation are certainly "naturals" for Confluence because they're so easy to integrate with Jira.

Anyway, Google is definitely your friend on this one, but Confluence has certainly added a lot of value to our Jira installation.

Mike Rathwell Community Leader Aug 31, 2021

@Kelly Arrey implies many of the things that made SharePoint an unpleasant thing to be around. I found it amusing to see "hopefully find what you need". In my experience, it felt like every search had an implied "not" operator added since it returned essentially everything except what I was looking for.

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0 votes
Rilwan Ahmed Community Leader Aug 31, 2021

Jira and confluence integration be like "Having your siblings as your best friend". 

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