Last month we hosted a webinar with special guests from Forrester Research and HubSpot. We focused on the meaning and business value of social content – a key component of any collaborative culture. We discussed the tools that drive the collaborative cultures at HubSpot and Atlassian, and gave practical examples to help you transform your company’s culture.

Watch the recording, share it with your team

If you’re interested in learning how to drive a collaborative culture in your company, then this webinar will help you get started.

Questions from the webinar…answered

There were a number of questions from the audience that we felt were worth posting answers to so everyone could benefit.

Q: We use Confluence corp-wide, however, primarily for individual product team collaboration. We are not fully collaborating across silo’d teams. How should we encourage cross-team collaboration? How does Atlassian promote cross-team collaboration?

This is an excellent question, and ultimately, one about how you get other teams to buy into Confluence and use it every day to get work done. Or, as John Rotenstein, a long-time Atlassian, likes to say, ‘How do you make your wiki sticky?’.

Here are some of the highlights from John’s talk that are key for encouraging cross-team collaboration:

  1. Give Confluence a name. While we like the name Confluence, it isn’t necessarily personal to your company and people might be more enticed to use a tool that means something to them. For instance, at Atlassian our internal Confluence is named ‘EAC’.
  2. Brand Confluence. There are two third-party add-ons that specialize in branding Confluence so it matches your corporate look and feel: Zen Foundation and RefinedWiki.
  3. Get executive buy-in. Instead of having founders, exectives, or managers blasting the company with updates via email, have them write a Confluence blog post where everyone in Confluence is notified and can chime in using comments and likes; not to mention that the blog post doesn’t get lost in the depths of everyone’s email inboxes and stays relevant forever.
  4. Create great content. A couple months ago we launched Confluence Blueprints to help new users create and share meeting notes, product requirements, and file lists faster. Besides blueprints, you can also create and provide new users with page templates so they don’t have to rebuild the wheel every time they want to create a page in Confluence.
  5. Start new employees on Confluence. Win over new employees by starting them on Confluence. At Atlassian, every new employee has an induction task list on a Confluence page. In order to complete the task list the employee has to make use of Confluence. We also provide a number of resources to help everyone get the most out of Confluence, including Atlassian University, our Confluence blog, and the Confluence Insiders email series loaded with tips and tricks.

Q: How do you handle resistance to culture changes from someone who has a lot of power and is important in your company’s survival

People are always resistant to change, so you must establish clear goals and metrics for Confluence that will help show its value to the skeptics. If you watch John’s talk above he dives into goals and metrics more deeply.

  1. You need to have a clearly stated purpose for Confluence so there’s no confusion why this is a vital tool. At Atlassian ours is:
    To provide current and future staff with easy access to Atlassian’s confidential corporate knowledge and to enable interaction amongst Atlassians worldwide.
  2. You need to have measurable goals for what success looks like using Confluence. At Atlassian, we measure success under these categories:
    1. It’s the first place people look for corporate information
    2. It’s the default place to store internal company information
    3. Almost everyone accesses Confluence daily
    4. Almost everyone participates weekly (edit, create, comment, share)
    5. Almost everyone creates content monthly

How you quantify these goals is particular to the size of your company, but these are helpful buckets to think about what you want out of Confluence before you start thinking about how much.

Q: When is the right point for Google for Business users (Google Docs) to start moving tho collaborate into Confluence?

The truth is there isn’t a graduation point from Google Apps to Confluence. Google provides really quality products and consistently improves on them.

Where we feel Confluence separates itself from Google Docs is Confluence’s content hierarchy and page structure and how that enables cross-team collaboration to occur more fluidly. In Confluence every team or project can have a space to work together in. For instance, you might create a Development Team space, a Marketing Team space, or a Project Jackpot space. Within these spaces your team can create various pages and blogs that are structured in a hierarchy of parent and child pages so order is maintained while your team adds pages to your space. All of this content and work that’s created is easily searchable for anyone and can be shared instantly so anyone that needs to know about a particular page can stay up-to-date.

Since there is a page structure it makes it easy to reference or link to other Confluence pages, so you can always pull relevant information in and keep everyone in your company informed.

The idea of transitioning from one system to the next sounds painful to me. If you need to work with others – create, organize, and share the content you create along the way – Confluence is the perfect solution for a teams of 3 to teams of hundreds of thousands.

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