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Building a true Single Source of Truth (SSoT) for your team

Stop searching and start finding documentation you need

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A single source of truth (SSoT) guarantees that everyone in an organization has access to the same information. 

You need to find a document for your next meeting, which starts in four minutes. Frantically, you wade through a sea of email attachments and all five of your company's cloud services. 

With two minutes left, the right file scrolls into view. You exhale relief just as eight more files show up, bringing along a confusing parade of dates, keywords, and underscores.

Just another day in the future of work, thanks to information overload and #toomanytools. The status quo is a mess, but a Single Source of Truth (SSoT) can get us out.

What is a Single Source of Truth?

A true SSoT is one location for all your team's knowledge. It's a place where your questions transform into answers and documents exist in up-to-date happiness.

Most teams don't work in such a world. They use multiple tools and haven't set a clear definition of what information to store where, leading to confusion, duplication, and out-of-date documents. If that sounds familiar, here's what you can gain from building a SSoT with your team.

Benefits of a Single Source of Truth

Stop searching for information

Everyone uses the same location for storing information. You know where to look and avoid journeys to the dark depths of shared drives to find siloed files with unclear names.

Save time on recurring tasks

Your team knows where to find templates, examples, and guides for recurring work. They don't need to start from scratch with every new task or project. Instead, they head to your SSoT, pull a template off of the shelf, and get to work.

Avoid useless work

With an SSoT, you won't pick the wrong file and work for a few hours, only to throw it all in the bin once you realize your mistake. Instead, you're always in the right document and can work on files simultaneously with others without worries about conflicting versions.

Discover relationships and patterns

When information lives in one place, you discover relationships that save time and improve collaboration – for instance, how your objectives relate to the OKRs of other teams, how a project is nested within others, and which team created a specific page.

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How to build your Single Source of Truth with Confluence

Confluence is a team workspace to create, collaborate, and organize all your work in one place. It's a true SSoT that gives you and your team access to the information you need to do your best work.

Follow these steps to implement Confluence as the SSoT for your team.

1. Designate Confluence as your SSOT

Confluence is the ideal SSoT. Spaces help your team structure, organize, and share work. Dynamic pages are places to create, capture, and collaborate on any project or idea, like meeting agendas, project plans, and decision trees. Commenting, tagging, and integrations with hundreds of apps like Jira and Trello further improve team collaboration.

Avoid several places of truth by determining one place to store your team's knowledge. Make this transition by reserving time to discuss the change with your team and block time on their calendars to move all information from other places to Confluence.

In case you run into legacy information you need to reference somewhere, Confluence allows you to embed Word, Excel, and Google Drive files on any page.

2. Map out how your team is going to use Confluence

Decide on some SSoT basics, like which Spaces you'll create and which documentation you need to keep track of. Check our list in the next section for inspiration.

Also, consider mapping out a few essential workflows, as you can't review processes when they're in your head. Use mind maps and diagrams to sketch out how recurring work moves from incomplete to done. With those workflows on paper, you and your team can spot bottlenecks and shortcuts.

Confluence offers integrations with Draw.io, Gliffy, and mind mapping tools that can help with this step.

Moving ticket

3. Assign roles and responsibilities for updates

To keep your SSoT tidy, add an info panel at the top of each page that shows who's in charge of updating (or archiving) that document.

Larger teams or organizations can also designate an overall housekeeper per Confluence Space who keeps all pages up to date.

4. Create templates for consistency

Confluence comes equipped with hundreds of templates for goal setting, meetings, project plans, and many other purposes. Create a new page, and relevant templates automatically appear in a panel on the side of your screen. In two clicks, you can have your template ready to go.

Subject matter experts design these Confluence templates, but you can also create your own. This ensures crucial elements—like the field indicating update responsibility—are included on every page.

Moving ticket

5. Keep info up to date automatically

Using macros helps you extend the capabilities of your Confluence pages, allowing you to add extra functionality or include dynamic content so your Confluence pages always show the latest information. For example, you can include Jira issues, embed the most recent updates automatically, or display a Trello board within your page.

You can find macros under the + sign in your toolbar or by using the slash command (/) while editing a page.

6. Replicate your SSoT across the organization

If you're the first in your company to build an SSoT with Confluence, we salute you! Other teams can easily follow your lead by duplicating your Space's pages with their nested children pages and then customizing those to their needs.

You can help Confluence spread further as the SSoT in your company with internal blogs. Make sure leadership champions the initiative and integrates it into new employees' 90-day onboarding plan.

What documents to store in your Single Source of Truth (by team)

Each team has different information needs. Get inspired with the following lists of the content you could store in your SSoT.

General (for all teams)

  • Meeting notes
  • Processes and workflow diagrams
  • OKRs
  • Project plans
  • Onboarding guides for employees
  • Performance reviews

Product

  • Competitive analysis
  • Premortem
  • Product requirements
  • Product launch
  • Product roadmap

Sales & marketing

  • Campaign and project plans
  • Presentations
  • Brand and communication guidelines
  • Image libraries
  • Press kit
  • RFP pitch materials
  • Client documentation

HR

  • Company announcements and policies
  • Company directory
  • Onboarding handbooks
  • Annual leave tracking and calendars

Customer support

  • Knowledge base
  • FAQs
  • Canned responses

Software development/IT teams

  • Change management
  • Pro
  • DevOps run books
  • Incident post-mortems
  • Troubleshooting guides

Keep your Single Source of Truth true with Confluence

Keeping your SSoT true is an ongoing effort, not a one-time project. You and your team need to maintain the information within it through well-defined responsibilities and processes. 

Ready to make Confluence your Single Source of Truth? Get started here.

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