Documentation and Collaboration using Confluence

Technology is blooming and hard technical skills are a requirement for the IT industry. However, just core technical skills won’t take anyone a long way. Many other soft skills can do wonders when combined with core IT. I would be talking about one of the lesser-known or in fact considered least important for IT guys. It’s documentation! 

Many of us think documentation is boring. No doubt it requires your undiverted attention. However, it always has your back once you start to doing regularly. It saves a ton of time during troubleshooting and ensures everyone in the team is on the same page. Well-documented manuals help the new team members quickly become involved in the team and take over responsibilities. 

Documentation is important folks!

Documentation is important for any profession in the market but it is extremely important for technology.  Whether you are a software developer or a project manager, documentation would help you trace your steps and take corrective action. After all programming and technical terms are far from natural language and hence a bit forgettable. Also, the logic applied for a code might not be fresh in your mind a few weeks later. 

Let’s talk about one of the most popular and high in demand documentation and collaboration tool-Confluence. Confluence is a collaboration and documentation tool by Atlassian. Many companies specifically demand expertise in confluence due to its numerous benefits.  We’ll discuss the benefits along the way.

For personal use, the confluence is free up to 10 users. This is a good option for exploring and getting hands-on experience with the tool. Instead of blank pages, you can choose from a variety of templates. From marketing, Software dev, and Human Resources there are countless templates available. 

Why Confluence?

In 2020, the world has seen a huge shift towards remote work. As collaboration becomes difficult while working remotely, cloud-based solutions come to the rescue. Confluence provides such a solution by keeping everything in one knowledge base. Everyone has access to the content anytime. Also, instead of starting with a blank document, you can start right away with templates.

Lets explore further.

Built in templates to start from.

Centralized knowledge management

With Confluence, you can add documents like troubleshooting manuals, legal procedures, and operational manuals. It is quite straightforward to share the documents with clients or across the organization.

Confluence also enables enhanced employee engagement as employees can create events, podcasts or even write blogs. This also breaks team silos and fosters an open company culture.

Uninterrupted, swift delivery

One great advantage of cloud-based collaboration is that many people can work at the same time and provide feedback on the go. This helps to prepare documents swiftly and shortens project delivery time.

Extensive versioning controls

Versioning is an important concept as it keeps track of the previous versions. It is especially important for software developers where changes in code are frequent.

Versioning in confluence keeps track of all the changes and until you choose to publish. This follows an inheritance structure which means that change in one version would reflect in versions after it as well.

Built in Macros

Macros are hard to create and configure in many of the tools and require an expert skill. However, with Confluence, you can choose macros from a predefined list.

Macros in Confluence

Dynamic Diagrams

Conventional tools usually export diagrams in uneditable png or jpeg format. On the other hand, diagrams in confluence are dynamic, implying that changes can be done directly in the diagram. This reduced the hassle of downloading and then making changes and then uploading.

Document Control

If you wish to add more control, Confluence has support for that. For regulated and strictly controlled documentation, Comala documentation can be used. With Comala you can configure workflows to ensure the defined steps are approved. Notifications are sent to users when any step needs approval/ attention.

In this way, teams can collaborate without losing control.

Manage languages

Confluence also supports languages other than English. Content can be viewed and edited side by side.

Another feature is that source language can be exported into XLF format. This file can be sourced to third-party applications. The process works vice versa as well, XLF files could be imported as well.

Publishing Documents

Sometimes print media is required for sensitive organizations where internet use is restricted. There is support available to export documentation to word or PDF that fits your brand.

End Note

Many IT industries include documentation skills in their JD. One of the prime examples is Amazon. Amazon has its own extensive, enhanced, template-based documentation setup. They value and love documentation as they are well aware of its importance. Those who are just starting might find this all overwhelming. However, trust me, in the end, this is all worth the effort. My advice is to start right away and you will not be disappointed. 🙂

To check out a detailed video on technical documentation do check this blog post.

If you are curious to learn more about confluence, do check out the official guide.

About the Author

Hi there, I’m Zaira! I’m an IT professional with diverse experience in Linux-based application management. I keep applications up and running for businesses. I’m currently exploring cloud technologies. My message is simple and straightforward: ‘Always keep exploring and learning. IT is beautiful and almost like magic, you’ll never get bored and always find something surprising. So, keep learning 😊.

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