7 Tips for Effective Confluence Organisation
Confluence is a knowledge-sharing powerhouse; by using it, your team can share and collaborate on a wide variety of different documents.
Sounds great, right? But what happens when too many users bring their own style to the table and your Confluence instance starts to resemble more of a jumble sale than an organised library? This kind of disorganisation can make it more difficult to find the documentation that you need.
If you want to avoid this fate, then you can ensure all users are on the same page by creating some best practice guidance. We asked our Solutions team for their top tips to keep your Confluence instance orderly.
Limit the Number of Sub-Pages in a Node
Nodes are great ways to group documentation together. However, having a top-level node with hundreds of pages under it can make it much harder to locate specific items. Once you get to around 20 pages under a single node, it’s time to think about breaking things up.
Use sub-nodes to break a broad topic (like strategy) into more specific topics (like strategies relating to specific projects or time periods). This will help you to keep things tidy, as you can easily navigate from an overarching concept into more detail.
Choose Naming Conventions and Stick Them
We don’t always think in the same way as our colleagues; what one person may title ‘Meeting Notes 05/01/2022’ another person may call ‘2022-01-05 Meeting Notes’. Neither is wrong in this example, but the latter naming convention allows Confluence to sort by date as you place the year, then month, then day sequentially.
The latter style of sorting can only work effectively if everyone follows this naming convention, otherwise as you reach the bottom of the node you’d find a disorganised group of documents. The same logic applies to most documents, so take time to ensure you’re all on the same page when it comes to naming.
Document titles should be short but descriptive - if they’re too long then you’ll find it difficult to read the whole title at a glance. For example, if you were looking for the ‘Client Name - Project - Meeting Notes 05/01/2022’ document, you’d have to hover over every title in the sidebar in order to see the date. In this case, the node and sub-node should already tell you the client name and project, so there’s no need for this additional information. You could even dedicate a sub-node just to meeting notes about this project and then you’d only need the date within the title.
Confluence won’t allow more than one page with the same name so duplicate pages aren’t an issue. However, if you start to see pages with an existing name and a modifier (such as ‘(1)’, ‘new’, or ‘final’) then this could be a sign that things might start to get messy. In isolation, one of these may not be a concern, but if you’re looking for a design and finding ‘final final’ or ‘final CEO approved’ then it becomes confusing as to which you should use.
Utilise Your Personal Space
Every Confluence user has a personal space, which is separate from any projects you may be working on. Using this properly can help you refrain from adding informal or unfinished documents into a project.
Use your personal space for notes, meeting notes, quick reminders, and anything else that you don’t want clogging up a project. You can always tidy these notes up and add them into the main project when you’re ready if they’re required.
Archive What You Don’t Need
Although it can be tempting to keep every document just in case, there will be items that you no longer need within your instance. Redundant runbooks for unsupported software, HR documents about members of staff that no longer work with you, unused logo concepts - these can generally be safely archived away from your main Confluence space. You’ll still be able to access this data should you need it but it won’t appear in searches or in the main hierarchy.
Maintain Key Pages
Interlinking pages within Confluence is a great way of signposting information. For example, you may have a page covering a tool, which then leads to process guides and troubleshooting. This is a wonderful way to help your colleagues find the information they need, without having to look through one extensive document.
However, this page flow can cause issues, as if you move a page or delete it the link will no longer work. Try to keep this in mind when making large-scale changes.
Create a Miscellaneous Section
This tip comes with a very important caveat; don’t treat a miscellaneous section like a dumping ground! By creating a miscellaneous section, you can make progress without worrying about perfection too much.
If you’re not sure where a document should live in your Confluence instance, then you can add it to this section in the interim. When you have groups of documents with similar characteristics (like a group of sales reports or runbooks) then you can create a node to keep them together outside of the miscellaneous section.
Publish this Information Centrally!
It’s fantastic to set out all of these best practice rules, but if you don’t share them with your colleagues then you’ll be the only one following them. Confluence is above all a collaborative tool, so it’s entirely logical that any rules you set for the space should be reached with the help and influence of colleagues.
These rules will likely evolve as you become more accustomed to Confluence and how it fits with your team’s way of working. The golden rule is to keep things simple and logical as you amass more and more documentation.
As with most things in life, it’s far easier to start with and maintain an organised Confluence instance than it is to tidy a vast, disorganised document library. The more users the Confluence instance has, the quicker this can get out of hand, so don’t delay in creating and sharing your own best practice guide.
Need help to set up an organised Confluence instance? Get in touch with us today!