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Confluence 101: discuss work with your team

Get everyone on the same page - literally

The plan is set. The documents are in order. Now what? Feedback, feedback, feedback.

Getting a project outlined and adding the right content are just the first steps. Now it's time for your team to weigh in. Confluence makes it easy to discuss your work – with your team, your boss, or your entire company – in the same place where you organized and created it.

That's the true beauty of Confluence: collaboration. Because nothing is more important when working together than the ability to communicate with ease, and keep track of all those conversations. Discussing work with your team makes your projects, your pages, and your final products better.

How do you discuss work?

Confluence gives you options, which help you decide which type of feedback best suits the page or project.

Comments - Discussions in Confluence happen in comments. Confluence comments live right alongside your work so the feedback you need isn't difficult to locate or siloed in another system. You (the owner of the page) and everyone you share the page with (or eventually reads the 

There are three types of comments: page, inline, and file comments.

  • Page comments are located at the bottom of the page, and are best used for overall feedback. As multiple comments come in, they form a discussion thread.

  • Inline comments appear alongside the content of the page and are great for giving specific feedback within the text of the page itself. To create an inline comment, simply highlight the text and Confluence provides two handy choices: "Add inline comment" and "Create Jira issue." After the inline comment is made, the highlighted text remains on the page for the owner, and other readers, to discover. Once the page owner has incorporated or acknowledged the feedback, inline comments can be resolved. (Which removes the highlighting from the text.)

in line comments
Pro tip

Use @mentions in comments to alert teammates to your remarks. Confluence also sends an email to the owner of the page and all "watchers" of the page with the content of the comment. (More on watchers below.)

  • File comments are comments you place directly on your embedded files. When viewing a page, click on the embedded file and select "Drag this pin to add a comment" and that's it! You don't have to switch between the file and an email thread to provide feedback, and all your page's comments are in one tidy, contextual place. You can even drag more pins to comment on different parts of the file.

image comments
Pro tip

Rather than keeping related files in repositories or cloud storage systems, attach them to Confluence pages. This way, all your files live alongside the work they pertain to. Attach a presentation to a meeting notes page, for example, so all meeting attendees have it handy. Or, attach mockups and wireframes to your product requirement docs to give everyone involved the proper context. With file comments, you can engage in discussions on the embedded file itself.

Best practices for discussing work

  • Share button - The share button is a quick way to share your page with a teammate, your team, or a larger group. Address it to individual Confluence users and groups, or even to an email alias. Sharing is a simple way to ask for feedback or approval without leaving Confluence. Add a note about what the page contains, or the kind of feedback you'd like. Sharing the page triggers a notification in the Confluence workbox (the file tray icon in the header next to your picture), and sends an email notification to each recipient.
share
  • Watch button - "Watching" a page means you'll get notifications about all changes made to the page, including comments. This is one of the best ways to stay on top of the work happening on a page. You can also watch an entire space to stay up-to-date on the work of a team or project with many pages.
watch page
  • Likes - Don't have time to leave a comment but want to show approval of a page? Use likes as a lightweight way to show acknowledgement.

Another cool thing about Confluence likes is that as the amount of likes on a page grows, it increases the likelihood that the page will show up in the Popular tab on the Confluence dashboard. (Read more about the dashboard.)

like

See how it's done

Let's take a look at a typical Confluence reivew cycle:

Create a page. Everything starts on a page. Create a page to start planning for a project or milestone that your team has coming up.

create page

Share it with your team. Once your page is ready for feedback, use the share button to send it out to your teammates.

share

Add comments. Everyone you shared the page with will receive a notification in their Confluence workbox, as well as an email. They can immediately jump into the page and start adding comments.

inline comment

Edit page, resolve comments. Edit the page to incorporate feedback. When ready, click "resolved" on the inline comment. The highlighting disappears, and your collaborators will get a notification letting them know their comments have been addressed.

resolve comment

Save page, notify watchers. As you edit the page, incorporate feedback, and resolve comments, everyone you shared the page with gets updated. Also, anytime someone else edits the page, you'll be notified. This ensures that everyone knows when changes are made, and work stays transparent.

Pro tip

Uncheck the "notify watchers" box at the bottom of the screen before clicking "save" for minor changes that don't warrant your teammates' immediate attention. They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness.

One of the biggest benefits of Confluence is that as more people in your organization use it, it becomes the go-to place to find important information about what others are working on. When everyone is in the habit of adding all relevant information to a page, and having all conversations on the page, there's no need to use another tool or system to look for the right information—it's all right there.

Want to read more in our Confluence 101 series? Check out how to organize your work in spaces and creating content with pages. Happy collaborating!

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Jamey Austin
Jamey Austin

When not fussing around with words on a page, I love to walk while listening to Spotify, horse around with my kids, and ponder honking existential questions. Please comment below, and find me on Twitter: @jameyaustin

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