Atlassian Confluence Review

Atlassian Confluence Review

You’ll find no shortage of collaboration software that provides you with a communication program that preserves a searchable record of your team’s work. You might want to consider using Confluence as your virtual office huddle room if your company uses Atlassian’s Jira issue-tracking software. Team members can collaborate as a group using Confluence by discussing tasks, recording decisions, commenting on documents, and so on. When new team members join, Confluence provides context and history about the project at hand and the team as a whole. The two products were created by Atlassian, so they are built for each other.

The company also produces HipChat, an Editors’ Choice team chat application. Confluence is an excellent complement to other Atlassian products if you already use them, especially for large enterprises. Software Advice’s Editors’ Choice Podio ($9.00) is a more flexible, customizable solution that scales with an organization as it grows. Jira may be preferred by small to midsize companies, especially by those who don’t need it in their jobs.

Atlassian Confluence: Plan details and pricing

Atlassian Confluence costs vary greatly according to the number of users and features you choose. The core solution for ten users, which includes Jira integration, costs $10 per month. With 15 users, the fee increases to $50 per month, and with 25 users, it increases to $100 per month. From there, it only gets better. These are Atlassian-hosted prices; if you host Confluence on your own servers, the costs will vary (except for teams of fewer than 10 people, in which case the prices are the same). The cost of self-hosting for 25 people will amount to $1,200, for example.

You can add Confluence Team Calendars and Confluence Questions as add-ons. It provides a central calendar for project and event planning, as well as keeping track of who is taking time off and when. Users can view dates for upcoming releases, sprints, and other events through this calendar. There is also the option of integrating Confluence Team Calendar with Google Calendar, Outlook, and iCal. For Confluence plus Team Calendars, a group of 15 should expect to pay $75 per month.

Another add-on, Confluence Questions, allows teams to ask, vote on, and answer questions collaboratively. Users will be able to contribute content to the Questions section, which will eventually become a knowledge-sharing area. As with the rest of the team’s communication in Confluence, all the content becomes searchable, and there’s a game element in which people are rewarded for posting and demonstrating their expertise. Confluence and Confluence Questions for 15 users cost $75 per month, and if you add Team Calendars, you’ll pay $100 per month. It is important to remember that the total cost varies considerably from user to user.

Confluence’s Collaboration Style:

A huge advantage of Confluence is its integration with Google Apps, which many businesses find invaluable. You can try the service for two weeks without putting down a credit card, but two weeks isn’t much of a trial period. In other collaboration solutions, you can try out a program for an unlimited period of time for free, but there are restrictions on the number of people or data you can upload.

Whenever anyone joins the Confluence team, they are asked to upload a profile photo right away. Even though it’s a minor point, it helps people avoid forgetting to add their profile photo since they never got around to it.

You can install HipChat, Atlassian’s team chat tool, when you create an account to try Confluence. Even though I appreciate HipChat, I was surprised there was no way to integrate an existing HipChat account. Due to the need to create a new HipChat account during the trial setup, I was unable to evaluate Confluence as an existing HipChat user. Confluence is available through Atlassian, if you already use their products.

Usability and Design:

When I uploaded files and material, I found Confluence easy to navigate. Nevertheless, it lags behind several other workplace and collaboration applications in a few areas.

It shows vacation and work schedules, and it can all be color coded. The shared calendar is an important feature that should not be an add-on for an additional fee, and I find it strange that it is. Simple enough to use, but I had to use military time to set up a new appointment for the afternoon. My typing of 4:00 was automatically augmented with “a.m.” by Confluence.

Confluence provides a large text box with numerous formatting options when adding comments in other sections. I’m used to seeing more straightforward commented text boxes in other collaboration applications. Despite its benefits, Confluence seems dated, or at least out of step with current trends.

How to Choose the Best Collaboration App for Your Team:

It takes some thought to choose the right collaboration tool for your team, from determining team size and future development to assessing what might work with your existing set of tools. Since Confluence is designed to integrate with Atlassian software such as Jira and HipChat, it may be the best option for teams using those tools. Additionally, Google Apps is supported.

If you are searching for a more adaptable solution, consider Podio, an Editors’ Choice with a marketplace of apps you can use to create exactly the workspace you need.

Final thoughts:

With Atlassian Confluence, a team can track their discussions, decision-making, and other activities online. It’s easy to integrate Jira and works with Google Apps.

Written by Paul Cardone

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