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Top Tips when using Confluence for Document Approvals

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Confluence has been embraced by companies around the globe and in many cases has become an essential part of collaboration and team working. Whether you want to share some ideas with colleagues, collaborate on a team project, seek feedback and/or approvals on documentation or simply keep everyone up to date on your company’s social activities – Confluence can do it all! 

It has been developed as a simple and easy-to-use tool but the true beauty of it lies in its flexibility. There are hundreds of Apps available to enhance its functionality and evolve Confluence into the tool you need it to be 

With more people working from home in recent months, it is likely that collaboration tools such as Confluence have taken on a new level of importance for many teams and organisations. It’s a crucial part of staying connected but also making sure the wheels of progress keep turning without an endless stream of conference calls! 

As a vendor of review and approval Apps for Confluence, we know the importance of managing pages and documents in Confluence. So, today we wanted to share some of our tips that can apply to organizations of all sizes.  

1. Define your approval team  

It’s really important to define the people that need to review the page or documentation (with emphasis on the word ‘need’...) 

Define the Approval Team.png

Simply put, the more people that are included on an approval process, the longer it will take. It’s all about finding the happy balance between efficiency and ensuring your documents are reviewed by the right people.  

Be mindful that there is value in having reviewers from different areas of the business who can provide expertise from their function or role. Some industries are heavily regulated and may require specific functions to be involved in the review and approval process, so it’s important to know your approval groups before starting out.  

2. Set some ground rules  

You can still make the process efficient without compromising the quality of a review and approval.  

It’s important to agree with your approval team that they should be as thorough as possible when reviewing your pages or documents the first-time round. You need to receive all their comments and feedback in the first review so that you can implement the required changes and ensure your time (and everyone else’s) is used efficiently. 

Let’s be honest, if you have a document being sent backwards and forwards with the same approval team adding new comments each time, it can become a real headache - not to mention it puts the brakes on your project! 

With the increase in remote working, this point is arguably even more important now. Those coffee machine chats you used to have were a great way of getting the answers you needed. In the absence of face to face working, getting all the comments and feedback upfront will help maintain efficiency. But, if you need, a conference call to talk to your reviewers about their comments for context and understanding also has merit. It’s a balance, and as a team you can find the way that works for you. 

 

3. Encourage reviewers to be specific with their feedback 

Without feedback, it’s almost impossible to make the required changes. Not all documents will be perfect the first-time round, but together, as a team, you should be able to create something that everyone is happy with.  

When receiving feedback, you can often be faced with list of comments requesting changes and amendments. You might ask yourself the question – are all of these changes necessary? Why have they raised this now but not on other documents they reviewed before?  

It’s easy to get frustrated – we completely understand. One useful tip is to encourage your reviewers to state which of their comments are mandatory and which are optional. You can also set up time to discuss specific comments with your review team allowing you to make the right changes and move forward with confidence! 

 4. Use email notifications 

Everyone is busy. The highest priority task on your to-do list might be down at #25 on someone else’s. Email notifications are a great way of letting your busy colleagues know they have something waiting for their action so look for an App that will offer you email functionality. 

As an example, we have two approval Apps which both have email functionality built in: 

  • Approvals for Confluence – setup simple approvals on pages or sections 
  • Workflows for Confluence – set up simple or more advanced workflows that allow you to approve documents and set automated actions to occur at specific stages in the workflow 

5. Accept that things do change 

Change is constant – it’s a part of life 

The content of your pages and documents may evolve significantly throughout the approval process. This is normal in most cases and is just a reflection of your team focusing on developing the best content possible so don’t take it personally! 

In some circumstances, your reviewers may want the opinion from another team member. This is not always easy to do once an approval process is underway and depending on the Confluence App you’re using for approvals, you may or may not have this flexibility.  

We have recently added a new feature to our App, Workflows for Confluence, allowing you to add new approvers to your documents during the review process. It’s these small things that can save you a lot of time! 

Add Approvers As You Go.png

6. Harness the gift of automation 

We’re proud to be part of the Atlassian Ecosystem and are always amazed at how many great Apps are available to take your Confluence to the next level.  

Automation is a really important part of this, and it can make things easier for you and your teams by making the Apps do the work for you. Look into the Apps available and look for the different automation features that could make a difference to you and your teams.  

Our Workflows for Confluence App has extensive automation built in to make your life easier. These will allow you to automatically: 

  • Move through the approval cycle without having to manually send documents to individual reviewers 
  • Send email notifications to team members when a document is waiting for their approval 
  • Unlock pages for your colleagues to access and view once the approval process has been completed 
  • Send notifications on page approvals/progress to other popular collaboration tools such as Slack and Jira 

7. Use the approval App that’s right for your business  

There are a range of Apps available to support document review and approvals, including:  

And more… 

Our suggestion would be to try them out and see how they fit for your business. You can try our Apps for free by following the links in this article.

We’d love to hear your tips and tricks for making approvals in Confluence simpler, quicker and more collaborative for your team below 

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