Confluence is a great way to align your company’s information, build a knowledge base, or share ideas. From spaces for teams to gather information around a common topic to individual pages that detail a point, Confluence is a one-stop shop for building and sharing information. When it comes to team collaboration, Confluence is the go-to tool of choice for 60,000+ organizations; at Capterra scoring #1 knowledge management platform, plus placement in the top 20 for all collaboration. For more on Confluence, take a moment to add our webinar to your watchlist!
Content Production should be a team effort
Your online internal content should be a vital resource for every team member. Done right, staff will trust to search the content base, use what is documented in preference to needing to ask a colleague, and contribute to fill in any gaps they observe. Good lean content is instructive and gives staff members more confidence to contribute. It aids system processes, such that cross-referencing by labels and page titles and searching work better too.
Creating content in Confluence is similar to using Microsoft Word. You can just write! Similarly simple to use, in principle every team member could start creating content right away.
Nevertheless, practical difficulties do arise, some of which are tactical.
Some planning and tools can ease these. Spaces should be architected and planned along the lines of an organization’s goals and process, and within these spaces, it helps to provide mechanisms to create content. The result should be structured content formed in the context of each space.
From a tools perspective, let’s look at Blueprints Creator – from //Seibert/Media – which helps name pages, templates to include in them, and automatic placement.
Blank Page Syndrome
Blank pages can be daunting, as they offer is no guidance as to what’s needed. New hires can find it particularly difficult to plan and outline the right level of detail in an unfamiliar situation. Documenting a meeting can be difficult without knowledge of who the notes are for – e.g. are they supposed to only make sense to attendees, or are they to serve a broader or even a formal audience?
Confronted with a blank page, many users are unsure of where to start. Guidelines and pre-made outlines make content production easier, faster, and more consistent.
Templates Outline Expectations
Confluence provides a straightforward way to leverage past work. Predefined templates come bundled with the product, or you can make your own by copying page content into a template. Either can be picked instead of starting from blank when making a new page.
An example of predefined content is Confluence’s meeting note template. This outlines expectations for a team to collaborate on the purpose, agenda, discussion points and helps to track ensuing tasks.
Space Administrators make templates available for a particular space or Confluence Administrators can enhance availability across the site.
Further, templates provide some capture of important information such as “Meeting Date”, “Location”, “Participants” or “Teams.” These then get inserted into designated spots in the text.
From the Template to the Blueprint
While Templates help with what is on a page, they don’t help with where the page belongs in the page tree. For this, you need a Blueprint.
A Confluence Blueprint places newly constructed pages into the structure of parent-child relationships visible down the left-hand side of Confluence.
Blueprints also improve the capture of information, for example permitting field values to be validated as dates or usernames, and by presetting the name of the generated page.
However, blueprints must be defined in programming code. This means for any change to the blueprint, a development team with knowledge of Velocity and Java has to be involved, together with a deployment process and administrator involvement to get updates into production. Most organizations cannot spare the time to learn, build and maintain and deploy these.
As a result, in most organizations, the Blueprints function in Confluence is used without customization.
The Atlassian Marketplace provides an answer
//Seibert/Media provides Blueprint Creator in Marketplace. The Blueprint Creator offers an intuitive user interface to end-users to construct blueprints that enhance the functionality of templates – and blueprints (placeholders for field data entry and page placement in the hierarchy). This requires no programming, so teams can serve themselves.
We appreciate Blueprint Creator for filling this niche – it’s a great example of other vendors going the last mile to ensure that teams have greater success in working together quickly, and further enabling the knowledge management practices of templated writing for reuse without adding system complexities.
Is this the best app for me?
The Atlassian Marketplace is an extraordinary place filled with around 4,000 applications like Blueprint Creator. However, the size of the Marketplace can be a problem for many customers as they struggle with finding the apps that will best work for them. Furthermore, with limited Atlassian categories and vendor self-selection, navigating through the ‘noise’ to find what you’re really looking for is time-consuming and often won’t lead to optimal app selection.
MARS shows us, for instance, that with over 800 instances Blueprint Creator is the largest blueprint application on the Marketplace and that with 15% growth just this year (vs. just 2% in the parent collaboration category) it is also the fastest-growing blueprint app and is only extending its market share. Therefore, based on both qualitative assessment and qualitative analysis we can categorically claim that for its particular usage, Blueprint Creator is the best app out there. This is an analysis that we can perform on any facet of the Marketplace and that has been very effective in terms of optimizing customers’ app selection.
At Blended Perspectives, our Marketplace Analytic Research Service (MARS) means that we are uniquely situated to help customers with their app selection. MARS is our database containing over 3 years’ worth of in-depth data on the Atlassian Marketplace. We collect data covering all facets of the Marketplace including instances, growth, product, platform, license, price, reviews, and many more. Perhaps most interestingly, we have also carefully assigned our own categories based on primary functionality to apps with over 500 instances (the 500 Club) which represent 83% of all Marketplace instances.
If you have any questions then feel free to get in touch with us at email@example.com.