Confluence for project management: the ultimate guide

Whether you’re a seasoned project manager or new to the field, this guide aims to empower you with the knowledge and strategies needed to harness Confluence’s capabilities for successful project outcomes: ensuring they are completed on time, within scope, and with the desired quality. By integrating Confluence into your project management workflows, you can enhance collaboration, streamline communication, and centralize essential project information.

In the upcoming sections, we’ll address fundamental questions about project management and Confluence’s role within it. We’ll discuss the benefits of utilizing Confluence for project management and provide step-by-step guidance on how to set up, customize, and make the most of Confluence’s features for your projects.

What is Project Management?

Project management is the systematic application of processes, methods, and tools to initiate, plan, execute, monitor, control, and close projects. It involves the coordination of various resources, including time, budget, people, and materials, to achieve specific goals and objectives within defined constraints.

At its core, project management revolves around:

  • Defining Objectives: Clearly outline the goals and outcomes the project aims to achieve.
  • Planning: Creating a roadmap that outlines tasks, timelines, resources, and potential risks.
  • Execution: Implementing the planned tasks and activities to bring the project to life.
  • Monitoring and Control: Keeping track of project progress, identifying deviations, and making necessary adjustments.
  • Closure: Finalizing all project activities, evaluating their success, and documenting lessons learned.

Effective project management is essential for ensuring projects are delivered on time, within budget, and to the satisfaction of stakeholders. By implementing structured project management practices, teams can minimize risks, optimize resource allocation, and enhance collaboration among team members.

Is Confluence a Project Management Tool?

Confluence, developed by Atlassian, is primarily known as a collaboration and documentation platform. While it may not be a traditional project management tool in the same vein as dedicated project management software, Confluence plays a vital role in supporting project management workflows.

Confluence offers features that are highly beneficial for project management, such as:

  • Document Collaboration: Confluence provides a centralized space where team members can collaboratively create, edit, and review project-related documents, requirements, and specifications.
  • Knowledge Sharing: With Confluence’s wiki-like structure, teams can share knowledge, best practices, and project-related information in an easily accessible format.
  • Task Tracking: While Confluence doesn’t offer robust project scheduling capabilities, it does enable task tracking through its integration with tools like Jira, allowing teams to monitor and manage project tasks.
  • Communication: Confluence’s commenting and @mention features facilitate seamless communication among team members, ensuring everyone stays informed and engaged.
  • Customizable Workspaces: Teams can create customized spaces for each project, tailoring them to suit the specific needs and requirements of that project.
  • Templates: Confluence offers various templates for meeting notes, project plans, and more, providing a consistent structure for project-related documentation.

While Confluence might not replace comprehensive project management tools, its collaborative and documentation-oriented features make it a valuable asset in the project management toolkit. Integrating Confluence with specialized project management tools can lead to a holistic approach that combines efficient collaboration and effective project execution.


Utilizing Confluence for project management offers a range of benefits that contribute to more organized, collaborative, and successful project outcomes. Here are some key advantages:

  • Centralized Information: Confluence serves as a central repository for all project-related documentation, reducing the chances of information silos and ensuring that team members have access to the latest updates.
  • Enhanced Collaboration: With Confluence, team members can collaboratively work on documents, share insights, and provide feedback in real-time, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation. Also, Confluence’s cloud-based nature facilitates remote collaboration, enabling team members to work together regardless of their physical location.
  • Improved Communication: Confluence’s commenting, @mention, and notification features facilitate efficient communication, ensuring that team members are aware of updates, discussions, and decisions.
  • Knowledge Retention: As projects evolve and team members change, Confluence preserves institutional knowledge by documenting decisions, rationale, and processes, making onboarding smoother.
  • Customizable Templates & Workflows: Confluence offers a variety of templates tailored for project management, allowing teams to start with a structured framework and adapt it to their specific project needs.
  • Task Tracking Integration: Through integration with task and project management tools like Jira, Confluence allows teams to link project documentation with tasks, keeping project context and documentation closely connected.
  • Transparency: Confluence provides transparency into project progress, allowing stakeholders to access project documentation and updates, which aids in accountability and decision-making.
  • Scalability: Whether it’s a small project or a large-scale initiative, Confluence’s flexibility accommodates projects of varying complexities.

By harnessing Confluence’s capabilities, project managers and teams can streamline their processes, enhance communication, and create a well-documented project history that contributes to future successes.

How to Use Confluence for Project Management

Using Confluence for project management involves a series of steps that empower teams to collaborate, track progress, and maintain organized project documentation. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you leverage Confluence effectively:

  1. Structure your spaces & documents
    1. Set Up Project Spaces: When new team members join, direct them to the project space in Confluence. This allows them to quickly understand the project’s context, goals, and documentation. Create dedicated spaces within Confluence for each project. These spaces serve as the hub for project-related documents, discussions, and updates. Customize the space to reflect the project’s identity and objectives.
    2. Define Document Structures: Lay out the structure of your project documentation. Create pages for project plans, requirements, meeting notes, and more. Utilize Confluence’s templates to maintain consistency across different types of documentation.
  2. Integrate with your task-tracking tools Integrate Confluence with task-tracking tools like Jira. Link project documentation with tasks, user stories, and issues. This integration ensures that project documentation is directly connected to the tasks being worked on.
  3. Foster collaboration Encourage team members to contribute to project documentation. Collaboratively create and edit documents, capturing insights, decisions, and progress updates. Leverage Confluence’s real-time collaboration features.
  4. Communicate regularly (updates, decisions, etc)
    1. Visualize with Charts and Diagrams: Use Confluence to create charts, diagrams, and visuals that communicate project timelines, dependencies, and progress. Visual representations help stakeholders grasp complex information quickly.
    2. Regular Updates and Communication: Encourage regular updates within Confluence. Document project status, achievements, and challenges. Use @mentions and comments to facilitate discussions and keep everyone informed.
  5. Document Decisions and Rationale: Capture key decisions made during the project lifecycle. Document the rationale behind decisions, as this knowledge becomes invaluable for future reference and learning. Use Confluence’s review and approval workflows for critical documents. Ensure that project documentation undergoes proper review before being finalized.

By following these steps, you can harness Confluence’s capabilities to optimize your project management workflows, enhance collaboration, and create a repository of valuable project knowledge.

Case Studies

In this section, we’ll delve into fictional examples of organizations that can effectively use Confluence for project management. These case studies highlight how Confluence’s features and functionalities can be applied to diverse projects, leading to improved collaboration, streamlined processes, and successful project outcomes.

Case Study 1: Tech Innovators Inc.

Tech Innovators Inc., a software development company, use Confluence to manage their product development projects. By creating dedicated project spaces for each product, they centralize requirements, design documents, and user stories. Through integration with Jira, they link project documentation with development tasks, ensuring alignment between documentation and execution. This approach leads to reduced communication gaps, faster decision-making, and a more efficient development cycle.

Case Study 2: Markven Agency

Marketing Maven Agency, a marketing firm, employ Confluence to coordinate their client campaigns. They use Confluence’s customizable templates to create campaign briefs, content calendars, and performance reports. Team members collaborate in real-time on these documents, ensuring everyone has the latest information. By using Confluence’s @mention feature, they facilitate quick feedback and approvals. This strategy results in improved client communication, better campaign tracking, and enhanced client satisfaction.

Case Study 3: Infrastructure Innovations Ltd.

Infrastructure Innovations Ltd., a construction company, leverages Confluence to manage its construction projects. They establish project spaces for each construction site, housing blueprints, progress photos, and safety protocols. With Confluence’s version control, they track changes to blueprints over time, ensuring that all stakeholders are working with the latest information. This approach improves collaboration among architects, engineers, and construction crews, leading to smoother project execution and reduced rework.

Case Study 4: Healthcare Hart Group

Healthcare Hart Group, a healthcare provider, uses Confluence for its process improvement initiatives. They document current processes, identify bottlenecks, and collaborate on solutions within Confluence. Through the use of diagrams and flowcharts, they visualize process changes and track their implementation. By integrating Confluence with their project management software, they align process improvements with project timelines. This approach results in enhanced patient care, optimized workflows, and increased operational efficiency.

These case study examples demonstrate the versatility of Confluence in different industries and project contexts. By adapting Confluence’s features to their specific needs, these fictional organizations are able to enhance collaboration, communication, and project outcomes.

Have you ever been faced to common customer support tickets that have already been solved but not documented? Or a piece of information missing to solve this incident, as the person possessing it is currently out of the office? Or even worse, a customer failing to find the answer he’s looking for while despite exploring the documentation?

Then you maybe be experiencing “IT knowledge management processes”-penia!

Worry no more, we have the right medicine for you.

By learning and implementing ITIL best practices for managing knowledge, you can quickly surface the information your customers or employees need to resolve their issues, fast, as well as empower IT teams to deliver great service experiences.

What is ITIL knowledge management process?

Simply gathering knowledge is not enough. ITIL knowledge management definition states that it should be used to build value, and provide the right information to the right people at the right time. ITIL 4 focuses on processes by saying WHAT should be done rather than HOW to do it. The goal is to create value and increase the efficiency of operations.

The ITIL Knowledge Management process is described in three main points:

Creating and maintaining a knowledge-sharing culture

It is necessary to create conditions in which all the employees understand what knowledge is for the organization and to give them the tools to create, use and transfer it.

In that sense, the ITIL Knowledge Management process includes:

  • changing outdated patterns of knowledge use
  • enabling the use and transfer of valuable knowledge
  • strengthening the learning culture in the organization
  • improving knowledge management practice
  • identifying knowledge assets in the organization

On-demand information search

One main objective of this ITIL process is to find and provide new information in response to unusual queries, when using the available information systems and patterns it is not possible to obtain a meaningful answer.

Here are examples of scenarios where this process is used to reach that goal:

  • Custom business analysis to verify the hypothesis
  • Evaluation of a new technology or business model
  • Management of complex and rare queries which have not been standardized or automated yet

Knowledge resource management

The process focuses on managing knowledge as a resource (knowledge assets) throughout its lifecycle and on its effective integration within the entire knowledge management environment in the organization. Knowledge assets can be collective and individual, structured and unstructured, implicit and explicit.

Examples of knowledge assets include records of incidents, documented issues and bugs, application source code, reports, design, and technical documentation, etc.

Read more about knowledge management in this ultimate guide: Knowledge Management – Best Practices Guide

Benefits of ITIL Knowledge Management

Why should organizations manage knowledge? For the same reason as humans. Organizations need to make better use of their most important resource – people’s knowledge – to turn it into a competitive advantage. Implementing an ITIL Knowledge Management process in your organization will bring several benefits:

Document answers to frequently asked questions to save agents’ time

Support agents usually have to deal with frequently asked questions. Losing time answering the same questions over and over again can be avoided by documenting typical answers and making them easily accessible. If you notice that a certain question comes up more than twice, it’s a sign that you should document the answer instead of letting your team waste time and resources dealing with it.

Empower customers to help themselves by searching for resolutions in the help center

By analyzing customer requests and tickets, you can find out what the more typical questions asked are, and in which words they are formulated. By properly including these keywords in your knowledge base articles, you’ll help the customer get access to articles perfectly matching their request and allow them to quickly find out the answer.

Gather customer feedback to develop more relevant documentation pages

Remember that knowledge also lies outside the organization. Customers using your products can show you a new perspective, find a previously undiscovered error, or even suggest a change. Stay aware of customer feedback to include it in your official documentation.

See how knowledge management can support your IT service practices.

Best practices when implementing an ITIL Knowledge Management process

Here are the seven best practices worth relying on when building an ITIL knowledge management process.

1. Focus on value

When creating articles in the knowledge base, you should focus primarily on the value they provide. The information should be precise and lead the user to solve their problem as soon as possible.

2. Start where you are

An organization is a living organism that is constantly changing. Therefore, any moment to start building a knowledge base is a good one. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of undocumented tribal knowledge that only exists in the minds of the longest-serving employees. The most important thing is to get started, the rest will happen along the way.

3. Progress iteratively with feedback

Documentation of larger processes should be divided into stages. Sometimes other people’s help can provide a fresh look at the documentation. Then the work should be done iteratively, i.e.: preparing a piece of documentation, submitting it for review, receiving feedback, and  making corrections. The process is repeated until the document is finished.

4. Collaborate and promote visibility

The power of a knowledge base is the ability of many people to work on it at the same time. However, it is necessary to build awareness that the knowledge base exists, that it has a real value, and that by supplementing it we make our (and others’) work easier. We will then no longer have to solve problems previously solved by someone else.

5. Think and work holistically

Developing a knowledge-sharing culture is essential when implementing this process. Increase transparency with open and shared information instead of keeping documents siloed in emails and folders, or locked behind permissions settings. Invest in technology that connects and unifies knowledge, like Confluence. Knowledge should be easy to search, find, and create, for your entire organization.

6. Keep it simple and practical

The information contained in a knowledge base should be as simple and practical as possible to directly guide the user (customer, support employee) to solve the problem.

7. Optimize and automate

Automation can help you streamline requests without a support agent needing to be called upon every time a new ticket or question comes up. Providing self-serve resources from your knowledge base, as well as keeping track of common requests and resolution processes automatically, can save you and your team time.

How to implement ITIL Knowledge Management with Atlassian tools

Keeping ITIL knowledge management best practices in mind, let’s see how you can implement them and build an up-to-date knowledge base to ease the work of support agents and help customers as well.

If you work with the Atlassian stack on a daily basis, the natural choice will be to use Confluence. In combination with Jira Service Management (JSM), you’ll get an easy-to-use and functional tool for creating and managing a knowledge base.

Building a knowledge base with JSM and Confluence

Follow this step-by-step tutorial to build a knowledge base with JSM and Confluence from scratch:

1/ If you don’t already have a JSM Project for your support portal, you can create a new one by going into Projects > Create Project > and choosing Service Management type.

2/ Creating a linked Confluence space

After the JSM project creation, the relevant Confluence Space should be automatically created and linked to the project. If you want to create another space go to Confluence, choose Spaces > Create a space > Knowledge base.

3/ Verifying the linking and permissions

Go to Project Properties Knowledge Base. If the space is already linked with the project, you will see the list of articles there. If it’s not the case, or if you wish to link other spaces, click on “knowledge base settings”.

There you can link the space by clicking on the “Link Space “button.

At this point, you can also verify permissions for the Space. If the Knowledge Base is intended to be used by customers, you should allow All logged-in users to view it.

4/ Adding the article from the issue view

Now you can add an article from the issue view. Click on “Knowledge base” on the right side of the issue and on “Create article”.

5/ Adding the article from the project view

Go back to Project Properties Knowledge Base (cf. point 3) and create a new article. Once created, you will also get the link to share it with a customer.

6/ Letting customers access knowledge base articles

Customers can find knowledge base articles as well by typing his/her request in the Customer Portal. Suggested articles matching his query will appear below.

What if knowledge-building could happen automatically?

Let’s imagine a support agent closes the incident reported by a customer, and just a moment later a new document is automatically published in Confluence gathering information on the request about how it has been resolved. This is where Elements Publish comes into play. This app for Jira Cloud lets you automate manual tasks and make knowledge base building fast, fun, and effective.

Building a knowledge base automatically with Elements Publish

Let’s take the use case of an Incident that has been solved and closed on the support portal.

In a well-defined ITIL Knowledge management process, a knowledge base page should be created, usually in Confluence, to store information on the incident and how it has been resolved, to consolidate knowledge and make it accessible to all. This task may be time-consuming, and it can be automated using an app like Elements Publish for Jira Cloud.

Several conditions must be fulfilled:

  • make it possible to create an article in the knowledge base based on a solved task
  • the document should be created only for Incident tasks that are resolved with the Done status
  • the document should be created in the Knowledge Base space and a link to it should appear in the task
  • the document should include the date of closing the task and its labels
  • the attachments should be copied to the newly created page
  • a document can only be created by the person assigned to the task

All these conditions can be implemented with Element Publish by creating a unique recipe, that, when triggered, will automatically create a page in Confluence, gathering all key data on the incident.

Interested in learning how to create Confluence pages automatically from JSM tickets? Take a look at our use case below:

Learn how to create knowledge base articles from Jira Service Management tickets with Elements Publish.

You probably know the age-old axiom: knowledge is power.

This might be true, however, it comes with a few conditions.

First, you need to have a way to access knowledge. Easily and quickly if possible. Also, this knowledge must be accurate, and it must be used the right way. Unfortunately, in the workplace — these 3 conditions can hardly be met. And it can be incredibly costly to a business.

That’s why managing knowledge the right way is key to a company’s success, and we’ll help you here by providing knowledge management best practices and tips to choose the best knowledge management system for your company’s needs.

What is knowledge management?

First, what is knowledge?

Let’s begin with the Cambridge Dictionary definition: knowledge is the “understanding of or information about a subject that you get by experience or study, either known by one person or by people generally”.

Two important notions here: first, the fact that knowledge can be acquired not only by study but also by experience, and that it can be known not only by one person but by people in general. In that sense, the experience and skills gained by a collaborator across the years are aimed to be shared across an organization. A typical example would be the onboarding of a new employee, a time when it is essential to transfer the company’s knowledge and practices.

What is knowledge management and why it’s important?

As defined by Atlassian, “knowledge management is the process of creating, curating, sharing, using, and managing knowledge across an organization”.

Knowledge is one of the greatest assets of an organization. When an employee leaves the company and the knowledge acquired by this person has not been stored or passed along to others, it constitutes a high risk of information loss for the company.

Knowledge management’s goal is to maintain all the company’s learnings and history and make it easily accessible to all.

This is even more crucial nowadays, with teams working from everywhere with different schedules and across different time zones. Going to the desk or office next door, and tapping the shoulder of your colleague for information might not be possible anymore. All team members must be able to asynchronously share their knowledge and learnings and get access to it whenever and wherever they are.

What are the benefits of knowledge management?

Half of all respondents in a recent survey conducted by Deloitte identified knowledge sharing as a key driver to team success. From offering a single source of truth to improving collaboration and productivity, managing knowledge efficiently can be highly beneficial for companies and teams.

Better collaboration & team communication

Effective knowledge management is the path to successful knowledge transfer. Sharing learnings across teams and team members prevents company silos and enhances communication throughout your organization. It fosters collaboration as people are more aligned, have clearer goals, and have more transparency in their work.

Single source of truth & high-quality data

Having multiple tools to store information usually leads to time loss, looking for what you need, duplicated data, or outdated information. To have a single, reliable source of truth where everyone can find the information they need, is one of the main goals of knowledge management. It gives efficient access to knowledge as well as improved quality of information.

Improved productivity

According to a McKinsey study, employees spend nearly 20% of their time searching for the information they need to do their jobs. With an effective system to share knowledge and information, productivity could be improved by 30 to 35%.

Faster decision-making

To give the right information to the right people at the right time. That’s the key to making more informed and data-driven decisions. When information is shared transparently across the entire organization, everyone has the tools to work toward the same goals.

What are the main types of knowledge management?

Explicit knowledge

Explicit knowledge is the most apparent form of knowledge: it includes any formalized documentation, written processes, or reports. Everything that is easy to write down and pass along.

Explicit knowledge is usually the first and the easiest type of information you can store and make accessible to your team. The challenge here will be to keep it accurate and up-to-date.

Examples of explicit knowledge: reports, formalized processes, product documentation, and technical user guides.

‍Implicit knowledge

Implicit knowledge is the practical application of explicit knowledge to a specific situation.

For example, if explicit knowledge is the user guide of your new camera, implicit knowledge will be gained when you apply that information in order to take beautiful portrait pictures.

It can be hard to capture and document, as it’s, essentially, learned skills or know-hows.

Examples of implicit knowledge: best practices and how-tos

Tacit knowledge

Tacit knowledge is the knowledge that is gained from personal experience.

Think of your grandmother’s famous recipes. It is usually never written down. She just knows how to cook them from the thousand times she already did it. Which quantity of flour to add, the right way to mix the ingredients together, the exact time in the oven… You will have a hard time learning how to make those, as this knowledge is based on experience and intuition.

As tacit knowledge is intangible information, it becomes really difficult to write it down and explain it in a straightforward way.

Examples of tacit knowledge: how to speak another language, cultural traditions, and customs, missions like sales or leadership where complex social skills are involved

Your organization’s ability to capture and retain all types of knowledge is at the same time essential and challenging. But once mastered, it can represent a huge competitive advantage.

Knowledge management best practices

Knowledge is one of your organization’s most valuable assets. But only if managed efficiently. Here are 5 best practices we recommend to get better knowledge management.

1. Aggregate your team’s knowledge in a single system

To democratize knowledge, companies first need to centralize it in a digital information hub, usually called Knowledge Management System (KMS). The goal is to avoid having information scattered across different tools, or in your colleagues’ minds. Choosing the right system is important, so we prepare a list of questions to ask yourself when choosing a knowledge management system, available at the end of this article.

2. Increase transparency with open and shared information

Preventing company silos has become more and more of a challenge with the COVID-19 pandemic’s scattering of staff among homes and work sites, and even across different countries and time zones. Increase transparency in your company by providing open and easy access to knowledge, and encouraging team members to collaborate and share information.

3. Make information fun & easy-to-consume

Prioritize brief articles and FAQs to long articles and procedures (you don’t want the acronym “TLDR” to be used to describe your content). Share your information in a user-friendly way to that readers will be eager to read it. As you know “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so don’t hesitate to use images and graphs to convey your message. For instance, at Elements, we create sprint posters for each development sprint to illustrate its main objectives. Atlassian also suggests creating a project poster for every major initiative, to share your goals and progress with the rest of the team and stakeholders.

4. Foster a knowledge-sharing culture

Faris Behme and Sandy Becker of Deloitte explain that “in the context of generating, sharing, and managing knowledge, organizations cannot underestimate the human factor.” If team members don’t have the will or the motivation to share knowledge and information, even the best platforms and tools will be useless. Enable employees on knowledge management best practices, and foster a knowledge-sharing mindset so that they recognize the value for themselves and for the company.

5. Measure and improve continuously

Don’t let your KMS gather dust. Adopt a “kiwi gardener” attitude to keep it clean and up-to-date so that it continues to be a relevant and valuable resource for employees. Measure user engagement and participation in knowledge transfer, and run regular audits to check if the platform and knowledge management processes are still aligned with user needs.

Choosing a Knowledge management system

It is no coincidence that we listed “Aggregate your team’s knowledge in a single system” as the first position in our knowledge management best practices. As Nate Martins from Notion says, “without a system, knowledge isn’t tangible. It lives in employees’ heads.”

But before jumping into selecting the software for your knowledge management system (KMS), you must consider several elements, from administration capabilities to usability and user experience.

Here are the key questions to ask yourself to make the right choice for your KMS:

Download this checklist here, to help you choose your KMS.

Atlassian tools for knowledge management

Several software can be used for knowledge management. From more generic ones like Notion or Monday, to specific ones like Document 360, Confluence, or Tettra, the offer is wide.

If you are already using some tools from the Atlassian suite (like ourselves), such as Jira Software or Jira Service Management, getting Confluence can be a great addition to manage knowledge and link your tools together.

With easy content creation, organization, and a powerful search engine, Confluence provides an accessible platform for knowledge management. Also, combined with Jira Service Management when used for customer support, for instance, it can offer a self-serve knowledge base so that customers find themselves the answers to common questions, without having to create a new ticket.

To go further and learn how to implement knowledge management best practices with Atlassian tools, check out our article on how to create a knowledge base article in Confluence directly from a Jira ticket.

Remember when you were a small kid, this moment when you graduated from four-piece puzzles to bigger canvases?

Elements evolves. We’ve redesigned our apps logos to reflect the maturity of our offerings, while keeping our iconic visual system based on primary shapes that evokes the idea of elements you assemble together.

We get a similar feeling of excitement with this new refreshed look! It reflects how Elements has grown and matured over the past four years, tackling challenges such as going Cloud-first, elevating our performance and security standards, bringing new exciting features to our customers…

We designed the new logos with the goals that they convey meaning about what each app does, and can be easily differentiated from one another.

Connect’s functions like a magnet.

Copy & Sync’s evokes the concepts of reflection and synchronisation.

Spreadsheet’s represents a sheet and cells

Publish’s conveys the idea of document publication.

We look forward to the years to come, and remain passionate about bringing the missing pieces to your Atlassian puzzle so your teams are more efficient and delighted.

Your scrum board is ready, filled with the Epics, User Stories, Tasks and Bugs that need to be worked on in the sprint. Or maybe a Kanban board. But in any case, there’s no question in your mind: Jira Software is helping your engineering team. But documenting decisions, sharing wireframes or mock-ups, or simply summarizing progress for colleagues who aren’t in Jira everyday isn’t easy to accomplish with Jira alone.

By using Confluence alongside Jira Software throughout the entire software development process, you can build an internal knowledge base that sets your team up for success. Get inspired by the following suggestions on how to use Jira Software and Confluence together to achieve a shared understanding, and support the successful release of your software.

Using Jira and Confluence for agile software development

Jira Software is built to keep track of distinct tasks individuals need to work on for your next release, but creating a shared history and knowledge base is not where Jira shines. That’s the job of Confluence: share and organize all of the ideas, content, and files you collaborate on for your project. If you currently have project resources scattered across Word files, Drive files, Sharepoint, or any other solution, your team is losing time navigating to everything they need.

4 ways to build tribal knowledge for agile software teams

Here are 4 ways to build tribal knowledge for agile software teams:

  • organize a hierarchy of pages for each team or project, and link the Confluence space to your Jira project to access the pages directly from Jira
  • create a project update page to share issue statuses with the Jira macros to help decision makers who aren’t using Jira stay informed of progress
  • use the Sprint planning meeting template to document what needs to get done, and then the Sprint retro template once the sprint is finished
  • link documentation pages to a Jira issue

If you are on Cloud, using Jira and Confluence together couldn’t be easier. As explained in our article on how to integrate Jira and Confluence, the app link is automatic on Cloud. All that’s left to do is to link your project in Jira with your space in Confluence. You’ll be able to see and even create or modify Confluence pages related to your software project directly from Jira.

Couple things to keep in mind:

  • For the pages to be visible in Jira, they must be listed under Pages in Confluence
  • From Jira you can see Pages but not Blogs

By keeping all the documents or content related to your project in Confluence, you streamline your knowledge building processes. Future team members and non-Jira using colleagues will thank you, we promise.

Jira Software and Confluence for Product Management

Adding Confluence to Jira Software brings a number of possibilities to Product Managers and contributes to successful software releases.

Jira and Confluence for requirements management

Create, share, get feedback, update, rinse and repeat: Jira and Confluence are the agile solution to requirements management throughout the life of your product development.

Confluence ships with a blueprint, or template, for requirements management, so you can get started right out of the gate. You can then solicit feedback and comments from multiple stakeholders, who can either comment the text directly, comment the page, or update it themselves (you can always check the page history to see the changes).

Requirements management Confluence template

As the requirements are detailed, you can start creating User Stories for them in Jira directly from Confluence by highlighting the text.

If you need to include wireframes, mockups, or prototypes on a Confluence page, there are multiple apps that allow you to do that so everyone can keep all your work together. Team members can even comment mock ups just like text or other images.

Confluence automatically creates a page summarizing the main details from all your requirements management pages if you use the blueprint, so you can see at a glance the progress of all your different projects.

Discuss, debate build consensus with DACI

Ever come across a decision made 6 months ago by people no longer involved in a project and scratch your head why they came to that conclusion? There’s a better way to document decisions made: the DACI framework.

The DACI (driver, approver, contributors, informed) template in Confluence is ideal to collect everything necessary to discuss and and debate decisions to be taken. The template helps by

  • documenting all the inputs for the question to be answered
  • listing the pros and cons
  • impact of each solution

You will build consensus for the final solution that’s chosen, and you ensure that the knowledge is available in the future. For example, if there are several ways to tackle building a new feature or fixing a bug, create a new page and insert the details from the Jira issue with an Elements Publish to Confluence recipe, and start fleshing out the details of each option.

Check out the Atlassian play for tips on how to use the DACI framework with your colleagues. Once you’ve come to a decision, don’t forget to update the status so that anyone looking at the decision log with the list of DACI pages will know at a glance if a decision has been taken.

A slight alternative is the RACI, or Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed.

  • Responsible is those who will complete the work.
  • Accountable is the final approver of the work.
  • Consulted and Informed are the same.

Tracking release notes from Jira Software in Confluence

Jira Software includes the possibility to organize projects with versions. Once you start using versions, you open the possibility of automatically generating release notes with all issues within a version in a single list, separated by the issue types.

There are two ways to publish to release note: from Jira or from Confluence.

From Jira Software, select releases on the left-hand panel, as explained in this Atlassian documentation to learn how to generate a release note.

Creating release notes in Jira Software

You can then copy all the changes associated with your release and paste them into a document you’re creating in Confluence.

From Confluence, click on create and then from the Templates in the side navigation menu select “Jira report”. When you click “Use” select “Change log”.

Jira report template change log

Then you’ll need to select the project and version. Confluence will automatically fetch all the issues and create your release note.

Tracking release notes from Jira Software in Confluence

⚠️  The release note will be created under the parent page you have open when you start creating your new page. To avoid having to move the page after creating it, make sure you open the right parent page before creating a new page and using the Jira Report template.

Incident management: post-mortems with Jira and Confluence

So you pushed a change into production and things didn’t go as planned. To improve your change management process, you first need to get everyone around a (metaphorical) table to analyze what happened. Atlassian provides a number of create templates in Confluence to bring together all the information you need for your continuous improvement process and even a guide on how to run the meeting.

We’ll admit though: creating the post-mortem document in Confluence can be tedious because most of the information about the bug has to be copied from Jira Software to Confluence.

To streamline the process, the app Elements Publish to Confluence grabs information from your Jira Software issue and publishes it on a new the post-mortem page.

Incident management post-mortems with Jira and Confluence

With everything prebuilt, your dev team can focus on the root cause analysis, not copying and pasting.

Achieve success with your software team

By using Jira Software and Confluence together throughout the entire software development process, you can build the tribal knowledge necessary for success. Whether you are looking to improve your sprint retros, managing product requirements, or incident management, adding Confluence to Jira Software will help document your decisions and help decision makers who aren’t using Jira stay informed. To get started using Jira and Confluence together, check out 8 ways to integrate the tools, or try the app Elements Publish to Confluence.

Start creating Confluence pages from Jira with Elements Publish

Change Management is one of the four ITIL modules supported by Jira service projects. To implement it successfully, you need to set up workflows that support existing best practices. In this article, we will cover just that: what is a workflow in Jira, how to set it up so that it supports the change management process and how to enhance it for a better experience.

Change management process in Jira Service Management (formerly Jira Service Desk)

A typical change procedure consists of five to six steps: 

  • Creating the change: Who raised it, the reason for it, which area it impacts and the priority it has
  • Reviewing the change: Is the request complete, relevant, and correctly filled out?
  • Assessment: What is the cost, benefit, risk and scope? Is it justified and what impact will it have?
  • Implementation: Actually introducing the change on relevant assets
  • Review: Was the change successful? 
  • EXTRA – Retrospective: What can we improve next time?

Atlassian has also nicely summed the procedure up in this article. You implement this into Jira through a workflow. But exactly what is a workflow in Jira?

Simply put, it’s an ordered set of steps necessary to complete a task. The steps are represented by statuses, and the order by transitions between statuses. For example, this is a very simple three-step workflow.

Open, In progress and Done are statuses, while the arrows pointing between each are transitions.

That said, what should you do to implement a change management workflow? It’s simple: transform the theoretical change management process into concrete Jira statuses and transitions!

Setting up change management workflows in JSM

Let’s present two possible ways you might want to approach this. A simple tracking of changes and a “true” ITIL change management.

Workflow 1: Simple change tracking

The first approach is for small teams that don’t need to adhere to a strict ITIL method, but they could definitely benefit from implementing a simple change management process in their Jira – they would see who requests, approves and implements which tickets and steer the whole procedure in the right direction.
For such a straightforward use case, they could use a workflow like this:

Workflow 2: ITIL Change Management

In case you’d need to configure a more robust solution, you could use the IT Service management project template. By default, a “Jira Service management change management workflow” is included in it, and looks like this:

This is the Cloud one; on-premise, it’s very similar. It has all the necessary change management steps, including various outcomes. The best part is that this is only a workflow template that you can adjust however you see fit. So how would you do that?

Editing workflows

This approach works if you already have a project created and you’d like to change its existing workflow. First, you need to having global admin privileges. In the project where you want to adjust the change management workflow, explore the project settings. Find the workflow you want to edit.

Choose the pen icon next to its name to enter the edit mode and display the workflow diagram.

To introduce a new status, choose the “Add status” button on the top left side of the editor. Once you add it, connect it to the workflow by choosing and dragging one of the circles on the status and dropping it to another one, as in the picture below. This way, you create a one-way transition. 

If you want to remove a status, select it and choose “Remove status” on the right side.

Finally, you would save the workflow by choosing “Publish” at the top of the page.

Novice admins should modify existing workflows than create new ones, as they contain many detailed settings that you would need to keep in mind when creating a new workflow from scratch, such as automatic resolution screens, different notification events and proper workflow schemes.

In this article, Atlassian described several directions this default change workflow can take depending on the type of the created change, its risk and priority. 

Emergency changes are those that need to be assessed and implemented as quickly as possible, and their process is shorter. Standard changes are frequent operations that have a pre-established procedure that needs less planning and approvals. Finally, normal changes require significant planning and assessing, as they cover important changes. 

To use the default change management workflow to support these operations, you can either “hardcode” the three types of directions with Conditions depending on issue field values, or simply keep the workflow open for all change types. 

Tips to improve change management workflows

Connect Jira to your asset management tool

Connecting changes to the relevant assets and stakeholders is key to successful change management.

Linking a Jira change ticket with the impacted asset helps both reporters and agents, by making the process simpler and adding the necessary context and a historical record that a change ticket had affected the device.

Now how to connect Jira to your Asset Management tool?

The Asset Management solution offer is wide: from Atlassian’s Insight (part of Jira Premium offer), to external CMDB (configuration management data base) and ITAM (IT Asset Management) tools.

If you are using Insight, you can add an Asset field from Insight on the Jira issue create screen (or a transition screen, depending on how complex your workflow is) to link the change with the asset. For external tools, you can use the app Elements Connect to retrieve data on your assets and populate Jira custom fields with it.

Set approvals automatically from the right stakeholders

Every asset usually have a responsible team or person that takes care of it. This stakeholder may be the approver for necessary changes. Or perhaps a Change advisory board (CAB) needs to approve the change.

Being able to automate the approval process and assign automatically the ticket to the right stakeholders can save a lot of time and repetitive work. To know more on how to get approvals automatically from the right stakeholders and set the assignation automatically, read this article.

Set your change management workflows up for success

Implementing a change management process in Jira is simple; you don’t have to start big. Try running your changes through a simple workflow like the one we proposed above, or leverage the Jira Service Management change management workflow provided with the default template. Modify it as you see fit, and remember that apps like Elements Connect can save you a lot of repetitive work. 

Are you looking for a way to monitor the change requests made by your stakeholders with Jira? Automate setting the approver on the issue for a change request? Maybe both, but your manager/approver information is stored in an external database? Providing answers to all those questions is the goal of this article.

Get approval from the right stakeholders in change management

As defined by ITIL, change management is the process used to minimize the disruption in your IT processes, for example when completing upgrades or changes in your workflow or services. The change management process is designed to reduce incidents, dissolve silos, avoid bottlenecks and reduce risk.

To manage the process, we usually set a change advisory board (CAB) or we choose a specialist such as a manager to accept these changes. This point of contact will become the approver of your change management process within Jira. By adding an approval step into your workflow, you can monitor the changes and let your team leader know when there are problems, and take action to fix them. The mission of this approver is to review all the proposed changes, evaluate any risk for the change, and then decide how to proceed. By doing so, they help the company to reduce risk and avoid unnecessary changes.

Let’s look at the importance of adding approvals to your change management workflows in Jira and then how to set approvers automatically with the help of Elements Connect.

Set a Jira user as an approver automatically natively with Jira workflows

When creating a new Jira project, Atlassian provides preconfigured projects with workflows and pre-set fields for a change management approval process. In Jira Service Management you can find the change management workflow. Atlassian based this workflow on ITIL principles and it looks like this:

Of course, this workflow covers several types of change requests, and not all change requests should follow the same path. By creating rules with Jira Automation, requests can move through the workflow automatically depending to the importance of the change. Three different paths can be taken based on the impact of the change:

  • Emergency: A rapid assessment and implementation of an emergency change is required 
  • Standard: This refers to your everyday, repeatable change
  • Normal: Non-emergency but also non-repeatable changes that require some risk assessment

Change management approval can be configured automatically in Jira with the native option provided by Atlassian. You can easily add approvals to your workflow by editing the workflow and adding an approver to the step you choose:

Next, fill the field in the popup window and set the appropriate approver from within the Jira users database.

Use an LDAP to set the manager of the reporter as approver on Jira On-Premise

Let’s imagine you want to set the manager of the reporter (or the infrastructure manager of the asset in the request) as approver, and this information is stored in an AD or LDAP. This use case is possible with the help of Elements Connect.

4 steps to use an LDAP to set the approver

  1. Connect your Jira Server/Data Center instance to the LDAP datasource
  2. Create Elements Connect fields to retrieve information from LDAP: the reporter’s manager and his Jira username. Thanks to the LDAP connection, we can get those details to then assign the reporter as approver.
  3. Adapt the workflow transition to retrieve the previous data and populate Elements Connect fields automatically upon issue creation thanks to post-functions.
  4. Set the manager as approver, by adding the Elements Connect custom field “Reporter’s manager” as approval to our workflow for the “Waiting for Approval” status:

Follow the full tutorial on the Elements Connect On-Premise documentation.

Set a Jira user as an approver automatically based on external data on Jira Cloud

4 steps to set an approver based on external data on Jira Cloud

  1. Create and configure the datasource in Elements Connect
  2. Create and configure the Connected items in Elements Connect
  3. Associate the Connected items to a request type / issue type
  4. Configure a Jira Automation rule
    • This rule will copy the value of the “Approver” mirror field in the “Approver” Jira user field every time the “Approver” mirror field is updated

Follow the full tutorial on the Elements Connect Cloud documentation.

Set your change management process up for success

Ticket approval is critical in change management: to resolve emergencies, mitigate risk when planning normal changes, or just make make life smooth for standard changes, you need approval from the right stakeholders. While you can set approvals natively with Jira, Elements Connect helps you go further by integrating external data from an LDAP or AD.

Get the approver data you need with Elements Connect

So your company is going agile too? Jira this, Confluence that? There’s no mystery about why so many companies are diving into the Atlassian ecosystem: Jira is a powerful tool for software development, ITSM, and recently business task tracking too (hello Jira Work Management 👋 ) Confluence is the content management system perfect for corporate intranets, product documentation, or customer portal knowledge base articles. If you’ve been inspired by our explanation of why you should use Jira and Confluence together but don’t currently have the tools integrated, read on.

Why set up a Jira and Confluence integration?

The simple answer: reduce silos between teams, of information, and of processes. By integrating the tools, you’ll enhance the productivity of your teams: they will be taking advantage of the full potential of Jira and Confluence. Once set up, you will be able to publish issue data to Confluence, publish your Jira roadmap to Confluence, or even create issues directly from Confluence. Check out our article covering 8 ways to use Jira and Confluence together to see more ways the tools work together.

If your company already has both Jira and Confluence, but they aren’t integrated, setting up an integration will help your teams make the most of their time by avoiding bouncing back and forth between them to get their work done. You’ll reduce frustration among your users.

How to integrate Jira with Confluence?

The process to follow depends on the hosting you are using: Cloud or On-Premise versions Server or Data Center. (BTW, if you aren’t sure if you are on Cloud or Server/Data Center, look at your url or the bottom of your page as explained in this Community article).

Differences between a Jira and Confluence integration in Cloud versus Server/Data Center

What are the main differences?

  • If you are on Cloud and have added Jira and Confluence to the same site, the integration is done automatically
  • If you are on Server or Data Center, you have to configure the integration manually.

Setting up the integration through Application Links for Server/Data Center

As explained in Atlassian’s documentation, the integration can be done with the bundled app Application Links that allows you to connect Atlassian products to each other. Here are the 4 steps, starting from Confluence.

1. Go to your general configuration and with a quick search, you can choose Application Links.

2. Enter the URL of the Atlassian product you want to link (in this example, Jira).

3. Follow the different steps inside the wizard to configure the link.

4. You will be redirected from Confluence over to Jira to confirm the app link in the other direction (and then sent back to Confluence to finish the process).

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⚠️  When you are configuring the Application Link you will have a choice between the option “The servers have the same set of users” which will use an OAuth authentication, or the option “I am an administrator on both instances” which creates a one-way link. When you use a one-way link, you will be in a read-only operating mode.

If you run into any problems, check out the troubleshooting guide provided by Atlassian.


Jira and Confluence integration in Cloud

When we are working with Jira and Confluence Cloud, nothing could be simpler. If you are using both tools on the same site, the integration will be done automatically as soon as you have both products.

If you are using Jira Software, you can quickly connect your Jira project with a Confluence space or page using the feature “Project Pages“:

If you want to link between Jira and Confluence instances on different Cloud sites, you will however need to configure an app link.

Remote App Links on Jira Cloud

To set up your link between different Cloud sites, find Application Links through the administration panel (try the shortcut “GG” to pull up an administration panel you can search from).

From this point, copy/paste the url of the site and product you want to link link:

If you are not the admin of the remote Cloud instance, a popup window will open in which you will have several options to configure this new link:

Otherwise, you’ll just be directed to the remote instance to confirm the link, then returned to your original instance. That’s it, you just integrated remote Jira and Confluence Cloud instances.

Your team can easily use the new Jira and Confluence integration: the remote Jira is accessible for example in the Confluence Jira chart with only a few clicks.

Get the most out of your Jira and Confluence integration

Once you have integrated the two tools, you’ll be on the path to easier project management and improved productivity of your team. When you integrate Jira and Confluence and use them together, you have the right information in the right place, optimized processes for your team, and you might even deliver faster.

Ready to practice? Try publishing your Jira Roadmap to Confluence, creating issues directly from Confluence, or even publishing issue data to a Confluence page.

Learn more in our article 8 ways to use Jira and Confluence together

Importing your Excel files in Confluence can bring many benefits to your team:

  • Centralizing information. No more searching in different drives or mailboxes to find the latest version of the file you want. No more wondering if someone worked on the document on their personal desktop and you are not informed. With a single Confluence sheet, the data you look at will always be up-to-date.
  • Fostering team collaboration. You and your team can work on the same document, inside the collaborative environment of Confluence. Thus reducing the risk of errors and the time and effort necessary to maintain multiple file versions and send them internally.
  • Contextualizing data. By embedding your spreadsheets in Confluence, you can surround the tables with descriptions and comments to help colleagues understand the data and what insights they can get from it.

As you can see the advantages are numerous, but when looking at how to take the leap and integrate Excel tables in your Confluence page there are plenty of options to choose from. Let’s explore the alternatives available and discuss which ones are best suited to collaborate on data in Confluence.

Pull data from Excel to Confluence: your 3 options

The recent versions of Confluence allow you to pull data from Excel to Confluence in various ways. To help you determine which one is right for you, we’ll briefly explore the different solutions to add spreadsheets in Confluence in the section below.

Using the Atlassian companion app

The plugin adds an edit button that allows you to open your files in Excel, then save the modifications directly on your Confluence page.

Atlassian companion app to edit Excel file in Confluence

However, this method moves away from the collaborative spirit of Confluence as you open an external app. On top of that, the file rendered on the page is a miniature version of the table that lacks any form of display option.

Note: On Cloud, you won’t be able to edit files using the Companion app after 31 March 2022 as Atlassian will remove the app from its Cloud platform.

Choosing the Confluence Office connector

If you do not use the companion app, you have the option of using a browser depending on your office version (see Office connector documentation) to edit an Office document attached to a Confluence page.

Simply go into the page attachments list, and you should see an Edit in Office button beside the attachment you want to edit.

Confluence Office connector to edit Excel file

This is another simple option but again lacks any kind of collaborative spirit or display properties to make your table enjoyable to use and read by your team.

Using an external plugin like Elements Spreadsheet

At Elements, we found those options were too limited and curbed our productivity. That is why we created Elements Spreadsheet, a simple Confluence plugin that allows you to transfer your data from Excel to Confluence in a few clicks.

The plugin allows you to display dynamic tables seamlessly in Confluence. It uses native Confluence features like user mentions and dates, support formulas, data filtering, dropdown lists and is fully compatible with your Excel files.

Native Confluence features in Elements Spreadsheet dynamic table

To have a glance at how well the app can integrate with your team processes, you can check some of our detailed use-cases:

Import an Excel file into Confluence using Elements Spreadsheet

How your Excel sheets are rendered is often just as important as the content. Here are our top tips and best practices in order to make the import process smooth and ensure your data is presented in a clear way.

Best practices for preparing your Excel document before importing it into Confluence

These general guidelines will help ensure that your table will be as close to the original as possible when importing it to Elements Spreadsheet for Confluence.

  1. Apply the correct data format: For instance, be sure your date cells are in the date format. This way they will match the native Confluence dates aspect after the import.
  2. Format your data as a table in Excel if you want your rows to display alternating row colors. The app will detect it automatically and apply alternating row colors to the corresponding area.
  3. Make sure to not have an empty first row, and that the first row is your header row with names for the data in the corresponding column.

Importing your Excel spreadsheet into Confluence

Now that your data is prepared, let’s look at how to import it in a few simple steps using Elements Spreadsheet:

Go to your Confluence page where you want to import your Excel file and insert the Spreadsheet macro.

Select “Import file” and click on the “Browse” button to select your Excel document on your computer.

Import Excel file into Confluence Elements Spreadsheet

Once your file is selected. Simply click on the “Ok” button to import your document.

Note: To be available on your Confluence page, you have to save your imported document in the editor (even if you don’t edit it).

Excel spreadsheet embedded in Confluence

That’s it, you’ve pulled your Excel spreadsheet into Confluence. Let’s now see how to optimize the way it’s rendered.

Display options for your Elements Spreadsheet documents

When the page is in edit mode, simply click on the Spreadsheet macro. You have 3 sets of buttons popping up at the bottom:

  • Edit to configure the advanced rendering options.
  • Shortcuts to adjust the width of your table in display mode: Centered, Wide, or Full Width.
  • Delete to remove the table from the page.
Display options for Elements Spreadsheet in Confluence

If you click on Edit, a pop-up window will appear with multiple options to configure the sheet rendering mode.

Options to display spreadsheet tabs sheets in Confluence

First, your Spreadsheet can be rendered in your Confluence page as a Table, in that case, it will be rendered as a standard spreadsheet inside your Confluence page.

The alternative is to render it as an Icon, in which case only a Spreadsheet App icon is displayed with the document name. This can be useful in case you have very long or large tables that you don’t want to fill your page space with. It will only display a placeholder icon and clicking on it will open the document in full-screen.

If you chose the Table mode, you can now pick if you want to:

  • Display the Full Screen / Edit / Export buttons when the Confluence page is in display mode.
  • Have the table width match the edit mode width, or always fill all the section available space.
  • View all the sheets and navigate between them by clicking on the different tabs, or displaying some selected tabs only. This allows you to hide tabs with less useful information relative to the context of the page and control what you want your team to get out of the table.

An embedded spreadsheet fully integrated into your Confluence page

Spreadsheets are an integral part of today’s project work and they shouldn’t be isolated from the wiki information. By pulling Excel data inside Confluence with Elements Spreadsheet, you’re able to offer a seamless experience with all the information centralized in Confluence.

Pull data from Excel and embed spreadsheet in Confluence

If you want to see what else you can do with Elements Spreadsheet, be sure to check out our documentation.

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