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5 Reasons for low Confluence adoption (and what you can do about them)

If you build it they will come, or more like, if you introduce it they will come is perhaps the strategy that most organizations follow when introducing Confluence or other similar platforms. Sure, solutions such as Confluence come with a wide array of native features that can be tailored to any team’s needs. On paper, they should be widely and quickly adopted, why wouldn’t they be. In reality, however, this is not always the case. 

In this blog post, we will understand the reasons behind low Confluence adoption and share a couple of tips and best practices to tackle the issue.

Reasons for low confluence adoption

The reasons for low, especially initial, adoption and engagement rates vary depending on two major criteria. Some might do with the software itself, while many depend on the approach adopted by the organization. 

Reason #:1 Not understanding (and communicating) the why:

Let’s start with the obvious. Not knowing why the organization is adopting Confluence is what fuels resistance to change among employees. More often than not, Confluence is implemented as part of the Atlassian suite. The organization might have a plan on how to implement Jira software for tech teams or Jira Service Management for support teams. At the end of the day, they are more straightforward use cases. 

But in some cases organizations might overlook, underestimate or simply fail to communicate the proper use of Confluence. And more precisely how Confluence can compliment other platforms within the Atlassian suite.

  • What you can do about it: Set and communicate a clear vision

Setting a clear vision on how to use Confluence and incorporate it within your daily processes and other Atlassian tools is easier said than done. The vision to be communicated with teams when it comes to Confluence should revolve around three key questions: 

  1. What do we want to achieve?
  2. Which teams will be impacted and how?
  3. Why Confluence and not any other available tools?

For the above questions, there are no one size fits all answers. It depends entirely on the business. However, the approach is more or less the same. The first question is strongly tied to the overall business goals, objectives and team dynamics. First, the aim is to understand what you’ve already achieved with previous tools if there were any with a thorough audit. The gaps identified during this process is what drives you to use Confluence. For example, lack of collaboration, inefficient communication, disorganized team spaces, etc.

For the second question, you need to work closely with teams to better understand their processes and how they can be enhanced via Confluence. Tailor the implementation to address specific team needs and workflows.

And the answer to the last question is basically the sales pitch to your teams. Here, you can highlight key use cases for Confluence, and especially, how it can be seamlessly integrated with other Atlassian tools. Don’t forget to showcase the Atlassian Marketplace for additional add-ons that can further enhance functionality.

Reason #2: Not involving users prior to implementation

At the end of the day, Confluence will be used by your teams and their input is key in tailoring Confluence to their specific needs thus driving initial and long term adoption. 

It is crucial to recognize that the active participation of your team members is not just a post-implementation formality but a fundamental driver of success.

In certain cases, organizations may tend to follow a strategy of first deploying Confluence and subsequently seeking user involvement. This often proves counter-productive, as it leaves employees unaware of Confluence benefits and may foster a sense of neglect and disengagement.

  • What you can do about it: Make your teams the driving force from the start.

As stated earlier, feedback from end-users helps you lay the foundation for a successful Confluence rollout. Your teams won’t necessarily tell you what they want, but they will talk about their challenges (and that’s good enough as a first step). This will help you craft use cases, pinpoint areas of improvement and connect the dots. 

Reason #3: Launching all at once

A common trap that organizations fall into even after doing their homework is launching everything at once. With a complex platform like Confluence, this might be overwhelming to your users to say the least. With too many features to keep track of, too many spaces to follow, as well as the multitude of third party apps, rolling everything at once might prove to be a recipe for disaster. 

  • What you can do about it: Progressive and regular rollouts

Your teams need time to process and adapt to change. And this wouldn’t be possible without carefully planned and progressive rollouts over time. 

For example, you might start by promoting specific space templates and native features to be used initially. Then, as your teams start to progressively adopt Confluence, you can introduce more advanced features such as Atlassian Intelligence, and of course, the third party apps.

Reason #4: Not providing necessary and continuous training

Although Confluence focuses on user experience and ease of use, it might be challenging for beginners or even seasoned users depending on the usage. The multitude of features, macros and apps in display can prove to be overwhelming. Not only that, but the use of Confluence comes with its unique set of policies and guidelines that teams need to keep track of, adding an additional layer of complexity.

All of these factors combined with a lack of proper training poses a risk, potentially limiting your teams from harnessing Confluence’s full potential. 

  • What you can do about it: Assist and train your teams every step of the way

Begin by assisting your teams in initiating their Confluence journey. Conduct training sessions and centralize information in a holistic knowledge hub to aid teams in navigating Confluence and mastering fundamental features such as creating spaces, customizing pages, and leveraging built-in macros.

Every Confluence site has a host of Marketplace apps. Make sure your teams understand the key use cases associated with each one. In terms of training, there is a host of useful material that app vendors provide such as get started pages, detailed tutorials, documentation, and more. Additionally, make sure to designate individuals who will be often in direct contact with app vendors to keep track of the latest updates and any additional features.

Then, establish comprehensive guidelines and policies governing Confluence usage. These documents will establish the scope of work within Confluence, guide the type of content to be posted, assign responsibilities, highlight resource locations, and more. This ensures that your teams start their Confluence experience on a solid foundation, stay consistently informed, and remain actively engaged.

Reason #5: Not gathering feedback & monitoring key stats

Say you have followed all the necessary steps for a successful Confluence launch. Your teams adopted Confluence and they seem engaged. But does that translate into long term adoption, usage and engagement? The answer is not necessarily. Your teams’ needs might evolve over time, and that change needs to be reflected inside Confluence. This is what most organizations fail to realize especially after a successful rollout. 

  • What you can do about it: Measure key indicators and gather feedback

Constant feedback is crucial for the sustained and long-term success of your Confluence site. Regularly collecting feedback from end-users helps you keep track of evolving needs and preferences. 

You can start by leveraging Atlassian analytics tools to track user behavior within Confluence, as this data can unveil patterns, highlight popular features, and indicate areas that might need improvement.

Then you can adopt quantitative research methods such as surveys and polls to assess user satisfaction, identify pain points, and gather suggestions for further improvements. 

Additionally, you can engage in one-on-one or group interviews with key stakeholders to further understand their experiences and expectations. This qualitative approach can uncover insights that may be missed in quantitative surveys.

In conclusion, Confluence adoption is a journey that demands continuous effort, strategic planning, and collaboration across various teams. The above list is only a fraction of the reasons associated with low adoption rates, that we deem important to cover. And of course, the reasons completely differ depending on the business and circumstances. However, what is certain is that we need to follow the same fundamental approach to answer different questions and harness the full potential of Confluence.

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