5 minutes

Atlassian’s Jira would not be the powerful tool it is today without the assistance of extra software and plugins. As a bug and issue tracking and project management software Jira is an example of software development gone incredibly well. Its use and reputation amongst popular brands makes it a recognizable and desirable piece of software. Jira has been leading the way of bug and issue tracking and project management since 2002. With just under two decades under its belt, the software has acquired over 135,000 companies and adapted well to the many changes and challenges in software development and the larger world of project management. The software’s success would not be what is today without the incorporation of add-on software and plugins, most notably Atlassian’s Confluence software.

Add-on, Plugin, Software — What do they mean exactly?

Think of an add-on as a tool or gadget that helps a piece of software to perform as a certain type of task. They enhance the existing software with additional specific features. An add-on is not to be confused with a plugin. A plugin is a type of add-on. For example, if you use Google Chrome as your main internet browser you can install plugins, like an ad blocker or security enhancer, to cater your search experience. If you’re trying to watch a video on a web page you might be prompted to install a certain type of plugin to view the video. Add-ons can make smaller enhancements as plugins do or they can be an entire software program that pair well with other software. This is exactly what Confluence is for Jira.

Confluence — The Perfect Project Management Tool For Jira

Despite its versatile and substantial capabilities Jira is not and should not be a one size fits all type of tool. In terms of project management Confluence fills in the gaps and fulfills where Jira lacks on its own and is an all-around excellent project management software. In a situation where an agent is working with a customer, service desk tasks become more professional when Jira Service Desk and Confluence are integrated. Agents can communicate and work on customer requests in one place. Need to let the tech team know about a bug? Notify them of the issue and anything related with the software.  Whether or not it’s paired with Jira, Confluence serves a useful tool for teams to work together and get things done.

The collaborative software was released in 2004 and used as a collaborative wiki tool to help groups or teams to share knowledge effectively and efficiently. Teams from the computer software, IT and services, staffing and recruiting, financial services, hospital and health care, high education, retail, management consulting, computer hardware, and telecommunications industries use Confluence. Specific companies like Facebook, Netflix, Lyft, LinkedIn, Starbucks, OkCupid, and Skype are also know to use Confluence as one of their project management tools. It’s no surprise that such popular companies would be using Atlassian software. Take a look at Jira’s list of users.

 Enhance Productive Collaboration

Use Confluence in order to organize all your information in one place where other people can also access it. This way your team can work together. In Confluence everything is organized in spaces, which are different collections of related pages. Pages are where your team create, edit, and talk about the work being done. Within a space your team’s information can be found whether its project plans, timelines, documents, schedules, or notes. Confluence pages can be team based, which is particularly useful when working with multiple teams, or project based depending on what’s needed. Have your own personal space for anything you’re working on and would like to keep to yourself. Use it as a means to track personal goals or store important information. When creating a Confluence page take advantage of available templates and document your process every step of the way. Don’t forget about permissions and decide who can view or edit what.

Take Advantage of the Interactive Pages

The top project management feature of Confluence, which can be embedded into Jira, is the interactiveness of Confluence pages. Instead of just adding information, meetings are planned, tasks assigned, and decisions can be made on pages. Tasks can be added anywhere, including meeting notes, with the use of a tag that includes the assignee and due date. Team mates are then automatically notified. To simplify the decision making process, separate pages purely for this purpose can be created and include relevant individuals to prevent detracting from the larger project. This page can then be referenced by those who need more information on how a certain decision came to be if they were not a part of that original decision making meeting. File sharing in Confluence is also super easy and tracked so everyone knows where and how something got somewhere. If there are any doubts of Jira’s use as a project management tool, pairing it with Confluence would make them second guess their doubts.

Integrating Confluence with Jira — Bring Your Teams Together

Integrating Confluence with Jira provides even more possibilities for you team. When you connect Confluence and Jira you can bring teams together. From displaying Jira issues on a Confluence page, creating charts and reports, or creating an issue within Confluence, users can easily switch between Confluence and Jira. Managing tasks and workflows can become more transparent and fluid since information is even more accessible between users. When something’s reported, members of the support team can see all linked Confluence pages related to the ticket being raised. That information is all in one place for users to easily to refer to. Handle users in a central application and make things easier for administrators. Plus linking Jira and Confluence is uncomplicated. Simply use the application link function.

Still Hesitant? No Worries!

If for some reason Confluence’s ubiquitous positive reviews and ranking amongst its competitors isn’t enough, some alternative programs to use are Slack, Dropbox Paper, Microsoft Teams, or Crowdbase.  Confluence isn’t the only compatible software for Jira. Actually, just the opposite. The possibilities for customizing Jira to suit a company’s needs are endless. The availability of additional software and add-ons make it easy for users to create a system that works for them. For example Tempo Timesheets for Jira by Tempo offers useful functions in regards to time like, accurate time tracking or work time tracking like vacations, sick or paid leave. A different add-on by Russian ALM Works called Structure visualizes progress across projects and teams. It provides personal and company-wide overviews of projects.

For those still thinking about using a different software from Jira, a long list of alternatives are available. Whether it’s because they don’t need something as powerful as a Jira stack, the user experience isn’t what they’re looking for, or it’s just not the right price tag, other options like Trello or Asana could be a viable choice. Still despite the alternatives, Jira remains at the top. Jira’s capabilities with the inclusion of add-ons, like its best friend Confluence, allows for customization and adaptability of it. There’s diversity in the software and it can be used by almost everyone.