When we’re talking about collaboration tools, it’s easy to think of Atlassian’s focus on teamwork. But which tool of the Atlassian product suite should be used to manage and maintain a company knowledge base, centralize insights, meeting notes and documentation? Confluence is the right answer. And how can I unleash all the collaborative potential of the tool? The first step is – keep Confluence updated.
Atlassian always focuses on improving the way teams make things happen by having access to the right information, collaborating in real-time and providing a reliable source for your discussions and projects. Over the years they’ve improved the process through the release of new features to help you work in a streamlined way.
As with most software tools and applications, if you’re not updating regularly, chances are you’re missing out on some important new features many of which are designed to fix performance issues and increase efficiency. However, planning for upgrades takes some time and requires a level of understanding in how it could affect your other integrations with add-ons, plug-ins, etc. An upgrade, although delivering on new features, can come with risk and jeopardize the state of a working environment.
The Latest Versions Available
Recently, Confluence released a new version that presents additional features users have been asking for. We’ve summarized the latest versions available to upgrade to and some of the features they introduce to Confluence Users, Administrators, and Teams.
5.10 The Power of Administrators
Version 5.10 was all about admins. In its infancy Confluence space Administrators could only manage watchers for individual spaces. Now it’s possible to manage watchers across multiple spaces to help your team access relevant information and set the permissions needed for private spaces.
And what about the logs? It became easier to audit logs and keep your compliance. You can access important records, filter them, dig into the details and improve your control on the changes that are made on your systems with clear information on who made them, who granted access, and when they were completed.
6.0 Collaborative Editing and Organizing Page Hierarchies
On Confluence 6.0, collaborative editing became available. Teams could edit their work in real-time and work together on the same file without needing to save their work before any teammate could edit. This saves a lot of time by allowing and recognizing simultaneous editing.
This version also made it easier to organize and manage your page hierarchies. Copying your page hierarchies and child pages, and modifying page status, allowed for the creation and easy tracking of templates, replicating page structures, and working faster in an organized way.
When these features were made available we quickly adopted them. For example, when we are planning events we have templates in place that allow us to visit the master copy and make a copy of the parent page and its descendants to easily follow our predetermined workflows and structures to help us coordinate all the requirements leading up to an event, including tracking the staff involved, and collaborative communications around specific event details.
6.1 Playbook Blueprints
As Atlassian continues to blossom and grow, their philosophy on unleashing the full potential of teams has remained consistent and they are experts at doing it. To help teams start their collaboration process with structures that work well, they developed some templates to help you organize your pages on a few clicks and a team playbook to ensure that the teams have clear insights to work better on those pages. The Playbook blueprints, released in 6.1, speed-up the creation of Health Monitor, DACI Decision, Experience Canvas, and Projects Poster. These build team confidence when starting a new collaborative project.
6.2 Permissions and Invitation to Edit
Inviting colleagues to pages became easier in version 6.2, which enabled sharing the page without changing the context and eliminating the need to save the first draft prior to the share. Collaborators could easily be added through the editor, therefore, improving efficiency in team projects.
Sensitive information requires restrictions, however, at times sharing this information with other people or teams is needed. The option to request access to a restricted page or understand who the admin is for a particular space was now easier to request and identify. This helped to bring access to pages to the right people within a reasonable amount of time.
6.3 Language Support
In a global market, it’s important that your tool supports different languages, especially if we’re talking about collaborating and working together across global teams! After all, teamwork is about respect, cultural differences, and finding a way to work together that every member is comfortable with.
6.4 Recently Worked On
Gone are the days where you have to sift through countless Confluence pages to find an important page that you need to resume working on. Version 6.4 allows users to quickly pick up where they left off by browsing their recently worked on pages from the sidebar. Easily check to see if there are any unpublished changes on that page or just continue editing as needed.
6.5 Email Threading in More Places
As your team becomes accustomed to working together discussing projects and ideas on Confluence, the last distraction needed is a storm of notifications. Atlassian took note of this nuance and introduced a feature to allow you to centralize alerts on a single email thread. This allows you to keep up with what’s important without congesting your inbox. Additional functions such as page likes, page-sharing, at mentions, and requesting page access helps to prioritize activities and see what is most relevant to you.
Preparing for the Upgrade
Now that you’re aware of the different features available to you in each version, it’s time to bring your environment up-to-speed by performing an upgrade. This might seem like an easy task, however, it can affect the way your system is currently performing and should be proceeded with caution. We asked e-Core Atlassian Consultant Fernando Horn his recommendation to successfully upgrade your Atlassian tools:
Tips to upgrade your Atlassian tools
- Check if your platforms (DB, OS, Java, Web Browser, LDAP/AP, etc.) are supported by the last application version.
- Confirm if the App installed is available for the latest Confluence version.
- If you have other tools integrated with Confluence, check on the development release notes to see if the API was modified.
- You must upgrade your tools in a staging environment to validate if everything is running as planned.
- Backup your environment before the upgrade, in case of rollback.
- It’s good practice to develop an upgrade plan before executing it. Detail all steps and staff involved in the process.
Benefits of upgrading your Atlassian tools
A successful upgrade has its advantages:
- When you keep your tools updated, you continue to have full support from Atlassian, older versions risk discontinued application support.
- By updating your environment, software bugs that hindered previous versions are resolved and performance is improved.
- Two words – New Features!
- Updating your tools often is good practice. It reduces downtime because the longer you wait to upgrade, the longer and more complex the upgrade can become.
As a final reminder, Atlassian also recommends upgrading the tools regularly. Planning for your upgrades allows you to better rely on Enterprise releases like Confluence 6.6.
Some additional tips to consider include scheduling the upgrade during an extended support period – outside of normal business operating hours, and referencing your database to see if other system requirements meet the upgrading version requirements.
If you are uneasy with the process, our expertise might be the right solution to help carry out the upgrade while reducing downtime and interruptions. As Atlassian Platinum Solution Partners we have the necessary expertise and knowledge of the tools that will help you achieve reliable results when upgrading your environment. Not only can we perform the upgrade, but we can help to assess your existing environment along with any add-ons to see what may be affected, or if there are any additional add-ons required to meet optimal performance with your next version upgrade.
To learn more about how we helped a non-profit organization adopt Confluence click here.