One of the great advantages of using Confluence for your technical documentation is that colleagues can collaborate on a project, which basically means adding and editing content in one central place.
This is somewhere all the content for that project is created and kept, and a place that automatically informs all the team members about updates as and when these are made.
Confluence does this all day long, standing on its head. After a few clicks to set it up, you're done and can forget about everything but adding content.
But there's another form of collaboration too, one that we all know about but it's usually tucked away out of sight and only used when needed.
I'm talking about the user forum, or as it is called in this case, Atlassian Answers.
There are several reasons why this is a great user resource, for example:
- I don't know about other forums, but the Atlassian one is excellent because you post a question and, almost without fail, you'll get a response in less than an hour, and often within a matter of minutes. These responses come from both other users and Atlassian staff.
- I find there is feeling of community because everyone is here to be helpful. And the fact that you know that Atlassian staff, who are already busy with their day jobs, are keeping an eye on things, makes it even better.
- You ask questions, you get rewards. Like badges and karma points. Ok, these might seem like a bit of froth, but in fact it's good to know that by asking a question or supplying an answer that other people also benefit from it. Many's the time that I've hung my head and asked what seems to be a dumb question, only to find that other people also want to know the answer. Suddenly it's not a dumb question at all: you've done everyone a favour in fact.
- The questions you ask and answer all add to the general knowledge base of user info. And your input and experience will be different to other people's. This broadens everyone's understanding of how people are using Atlassian's products.
- You also get to know (and trust) other people whose knowledge of the products is greater than yours. This may lead to other forms of collaboration. For example, you may end up doing business with them because they can supply the skills you need but don't have in-house.
I'm sure there are plenty of other good reasons and benefits of using the forum, and while I'd be the first to admit it is often my last port of call (because I either try to figure it out myself or I use Atlassian's extensive user information), it's normally the quickest way to get answers and resolve problems.