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possibility to reduce communication effort

Dear community, today a topic that affects me every day: Communication effort.

First of all, communication between systems isn’t really meant but communication between people. Maybe you have to say that first in a community of technology experts 😉

I once learned that a person cannot “not communicate” – it’s simply impossible. Even if you don’t actively communicate (for example by speaking), communication remains passive (posture, facial expressions and more).

Active communication costs time. Time that isn’t always available. So you want to communicate effectively, especially at work. That’s why I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my communication. And today I would like to share and discuss one experience I made.

I’ve been working with Confluence for a while. As Wikipedia says “Confluence is a popular web-based corporate wiki (collaboration software)[..]“. That is absolutely true. You can create pages, you have different options for designing them, you can link pages, build structures and much more. Working with Confluence is quick and easy.

The big advantage are the collaboration functions. For example, you can quickly search through the whole content. If you use meta tags on your pages, this is even easier.

You can also recommend a page to colleagues or invite them to collaborate on this page. I find exactly this function very good! Here’s the reason why.

I get a lot of emails every day. Often it’s about questions. The senders therefore want me to reply as quickly as possible. Now it can happen that some questions are repeated – from different people and at different times. Or I can only give part of the answer. Instead of writing an email reply and starting a long email thread, you can create a page in Confluence and share this page with the sender. You can also invite other people to work on this page. This has some advantages because information…

  1. is stored centrally
  2. can be found by anyone
  3. can be edited by anyone (correcting, expanding and more)
  4. can be shared with others
  5. is included in automatic backups
  6. is included in a structure (context)
  7. can be converted to different formats (ok, Word is not a good idea)
  8. gets a change history
  9. <your advantage>

Certainly this is not the solution to answer every email. I still answer most emails with an email. Hard to say this 🙁 But with some topics it’s really worth it. At the moment I’m also trying to use less Microsoft Office products and more Confluence pages for some topics. Concepts and documentation are typical examples. Among other things, arc42 is available as Confluence pages.

By the way, there should be other good products in this area besides Confluence. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet seen anything else in this depth compared to Confluence. Perhaps some of the readers want to share their experiences? It would be interesting to know if there is a strong open source solution.

By the way: You can use the SAP Community portal in a similar way. Information that is not a company secret and that you want to share with colleagues can also be posted via blog. Perhaps a programming example? Some tutorials? You have to decide that on a case-by-case basis and certainly coordinate it with your company. In any case, the benefits for everyone are very great 🙂

 

 

Best regards, thanks for reading and please stay healthy

Michael

 

P.S.: Please support the virtual wishing well.

P.S.S.: Not tired of reading blogs? Read about the new CDS view entities.

8 Comments
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    • It might sound that I’m a big fan of Confluence but I would guess there are other great solutions. At any rate fileserver and Sharepoint were impractical 🙁

  • Here I was ready to lecture about the agile principle:

    The most efficient and effective method of
    conveying information to and within a development
    team is face-to-face conversation.

    And then I remembered I don’t go to an office since ~March…oh well…

    Confluence is a great tool indeed, I find it slightly overused sometimes when EVERYTHING is in the Confluence and you start to have to scroll up and down on the page tree (left side) just to have an idea of what is there.

    Overtime, things might fall out of date too, which is a problem no matter what tool you use. In the end collaboration is key and yes Confluence is a good tool to assist on it!

    • Slightly overused? Without any rules and simple ideas of what is “structured content” you can convert Confluence into a chaotic storage – within minutes 😉 Especially when everyone “wildly” inserts their Microsoft Office files.

  • Nice blog post, Michael!

    We are working with Confluence a lot as well for anything where some form or other of documentation is needed. Now that collaborative editing and inline commenting is possible, it’s getting close to Google-docs functionality (which however still work more seamlessly from what I can tell).

    For anything where status tracking is needed, like “documenting” the process of some software development, Atlassian’s JIRA is a good and easily customizable option and it works well together with Confluence. We’ve been using it to keep track of change requests for many years. Using comments in an issue for communication purposes about the task, beats doing the same via email. One of the biggest advantages is that anybody can then read up on what has happened earlier regardless of when and between whom discussions happened as these are not buried in individual mail-boxes.

    When we have large test-activities for a project we document the results in a combination of Confluence and JIRA which – yet again – reduces the number of emails sent back and forth a lot (not counting the notification emails!) and increases visiblity of how things are going a lot at the same time and without additional effort. I wrote about this application of the two tools in one of my first blogs on SAP Community: Building a custom-made test tool with Atlassian’s Confluence and JIRA 

    Cheers

    Bärbel

  • I wasn’t aware of Confluence, but it looks great. We have Facebook for Work and it’s associated chat product, which is very heavily used, very collaborative, but not really very structured. We use Service Now for specs and work coordination but I find it hard to warm to this. Oh, and I still write loads of emails…