At the moment I'm involved in a lot of writing, both for our new release, which is for clients, and the Sprint releases, which are still internal. So I'm doing a lot less wiki work (boo hoo). Or am I?
Well yes, there are (still) only so many hours in the day, but there's still plenty to do on both sides of my job. For example, we're still integrating the existing systems and users from the companies we recently aquired - which means investigating how we'll import data from another wiki and integrate Sharepoint, and discussing how all this is going to be achieved. Fortunately Confluence and Sharepoint can do this, though it's too big a topic to discuss here (and I've never done it) but you can find out everything you need to know here.
Living In Exciting Times
I've been having some great conversations with new colleagues about using the wiki to bring all our disperate documentation together, how to manage corporate standards, agreeing what these are, what kinds of docs are we creating, and who is producing the docs in the first place.
Although there's a mountain to climb on this front - and just identifying those who might be involved is a challenge - what I know is that there are more than a few people who see the value of using Confluence to share and collaborate. So I'm expecting to get much busier on the documentation management front over the coming months.
Not only will the effort needed go on the docs themselves, a lot of energy will be spent on encouraging people to us the wiki. I won't pretend that take up isn't on the slow side at times, but once people begin to use it, once they see the advantages and benefits for themselves, then you find they (very quietly) become fans.
To this end, I've set up a global docs space which all those involved in this area will use as the hub of all our activities and communications. The plan is to draw people in by getting them to use it without making a song and dance about it. Apart from using the wiki to keep all our thinking in one place, I'm also going to use it to eliminate using email by making sure we all use the Share and @mentions functionality. Just imagine: more results and less emails - bliss!
So watch this space - and feel free to offer advice!
Feet Up On The Desk Time
My copy of Sarah Maddox's book Confluence, Tech Comm and Chocolate, finally arrived yesterday. I've only glanced at it but it's stuffed with useful info. And given Sarah's experience as both a programmer and tech author, you can't go wrong buying this book if you're interested in using wikis and documentation. I'm just wondering about how much of my working day I can justify spending reading it.
Upgrade 4.2 Is Go!
Yes, we're just about to upgrade to 4.2 and I'm dead excited about that! It's full of great new features and improvements which are not only going to make my life as a tech writer easier, but also a lot more fun. I can't wait to get my hands on the new Editor and to see how the What's Popular voting buttons will enable us to improve our user content.
Another benefit of upgrading is, as mentioned in last week's blog, that we'll be able to link JIRA and Confluence. For me, this means better access to the info that I need for my documentation, but it will also benefit development and testing, because they'll have also have easier access to the same info. This means, for the first time, that we're all able to use the same info in one easy-to-find place.
And just to make that even easier (have to stop using that word...) we'll all be able to use single sign-ons to access both systems. An additional bonus is the fact that we will be able to share the plugins that both JIRA and Confluence use between each other. This means you only have to have the plugin installed in one to be able to use it in the other - how neat is that?
Atlassian have also been busy working on the new Atlassian Marketplace, which, if I understand it properly, is pretty much a one-stop shop for all plugins. It should ensure that not only are plugins easy to find, but they will also be compatible with the latest version of Confluence. This means that when you upgrade in the future, you won't have to wait for the plugins you use to be upgraded too. Which cuts out a lot of hassle or not being able to use a plugin until it has also been upgraded and is compatible. And how neat is that?