Best Use Cases Integrating Jira with Confluence

by | Jul 26, 2019

One of the main problems Atlassian is trying to solve with their software is siloed information. There are many organizations that use multiple tools from multiple vendors. Nowadays a few tools integrate well, but many still do not. Clicking back and forth from Google Docs to Jira or Microsoft Word can be time consuming. Searching your email history for the team’s user stories from the last sprint is annoying and could cause you to lose productivity in your day. While many organizations use both Jira and Confluence, it’s sadly, not common to see these tools integrated and used together to get the maximum benefit.

In this blog, we will dive into details on the different ways you can use Jira and Confluence integrated. We will address the different features according to teams that could benefit from them most, starting with the most specific teams and working our way to broader use cases.

How Do I Integrate Confluence to Jira?

Before we dig deep into the integration use cases, let’s ensure your applications are in fact, integrated. To do this with Jira and Confluence Server, use these instructions in Atlassian’s documentation. Once you’ve linked your applications, you can use the hamburger menu (shown below) in the top left corner of Jira or Confluence to navigate back and forth between the two tools.

Integrating on Cloud is simpler than Server, you’ll need to navigate to the application links in the administration panel and enter the URL for the new link. Once that’s done, click the grid (highlighted in the bottom left of the screenshot) to see the options of applications to navigate between Jira and Confluence.
Whether you are using Server or Cloud, integrating Jira and Confluence will, at the very least, help users navigate from each product with less hassle and pain. If you are using both Server and Cloud, integrating these two tools is more complex. To ensure a quick, seamless experience, we suggest contacting us to give you a hand.

Integration Benefits for Service Desk Teams

There are two main functions that an integration between Jira Service Desk and Confluence can serve; The first is for your customers and the second is for your agents. Both integral functionalities will help resolve tickets faster and keep your Service Desk neat and organized.

Confluence has a Blueprint available for “Knowledge Bases”. The primary function of a knowledge base is to inform users of how to solve their challenge without having to contact support. Atlassian’s documentation is a relevant example of a knowledge base. When an Atlassian user is having trouble with any of their products, they can consult the knowledge base or troubleshooting articles. For example, issues involving how to set up a feature, users can find their answers in the knowledge base, and for problems with applications, users could visit Atlassian’s troubleshooting articles. This lends itself to the creation of “how-to” and “troubleshooting” articles, which Confluence offers templates for both. It’s important to use the templates to keep the structure of your articles identical, which makes it consistent and easier for users when they are browsing the knowledge base.

By having an integration between Jira and Confluence, users have the ability to link a Confluence space to use as a knowledge base within their Jira Service Desk project. As customers search the portal for information, relevant articles from the integrated space appear, giving users potential ways to solve their issues without having to create a ticket. Therefore, saving time for both the customer and the agent.

When users create troubleshooting articles, be sure to use the Jira Issues macro to provide a link to any known issues that relate to the article. The macro provides real-time status updates, which reduces redundancy and allows customers to constantly stay informed.

Jira Service Desk alone is also great at collecting data. In a typical day, there may be a certain request that comes in, doesn’t require too much time to resolve, but the sheer volume of requests coming in causes the more complex requests to get delayed. An easy solution for this is to create a knowledge base article within Confluence so that customers can easily find the answer themselves.

Similarly, Service Desk agents also have the ability to create a knowledge base within Confluence to help solve common request problems. Just remember, for sensitive information, keep it in a separate Confluence Space that isn’t linked to the Service Desk Project or open to the public.

Integrations for Better Documentation

Whether the methodology is agile or waterfall, all software teams have some things in common. All teams need some sort of documentation to explain the requirements of what they are trying to build. Even the world’s best developers need guidelines on what they are building, how to leave behind artifacts explaining what decisions were made and why, so that future developers can better understand the associated context.

Typically we see teams documenting requirements in a number of places. Microsoft Word, Google Docs, email, Excel, and Pages can all serve as satisfactory locations for requirements but having an integration with Jira is why Confluence is the better solution. If your team is using integrated instances of Jira and Confluence they might consider the requirements blueprint. This is a standard out-of-the-box blueprint which users can deploy to describe their requirements for a story or epic. Once the requirements are written down and the page is published, users can create issues directly from Confluence into Jira by simply highlighting the text they would like to include. Below is a screenshot of creating an epic:

Not having to leave Confluence to create an issue is incredibly convenient. It allows users to remain focused on the task at hand and instead of navigating between the tools, you can simply create an issue directly from Confluence. Similarly, the next time you log into Jira, the newly created issue will be waiting for you.

Even better is the ability to create more than one issue at a time. If you have a list of information in tabular format on Confluence, you can create multiple issues from it auto-populating the Summary and Description fields in Jira.

Manage Sprints in Both Jira and Confluence

Another great way Jira Software can integrate with Confluence is through managing sprints. This applies mostly to teams using an agile methodology and particularly to those using Scrum. During a sprint, the team will depend on various resources to help guide them and complete their tasks. If a team doesn’t have Jira integrated with Confluence, these pieces of information might be scattered around in various documents, emails, or messages. With Confluence integrated into Jira, the team can link certain Confluence pages related to issues they are working on, making it easy for team members to locate should they need to find additional information during the sprint.

According to Atlassian, here are suggestions on how you can support your sprint with a Confluence integration:

  • In Jira Software, create a Confluence page to plan your sprint. The page is created using the Meeting Notes Blueprint – a handy template that helps capture the details you need – and is automatically linked to the sprint
  • In an Epic, link to useful Confluence pages, including requirements, designs, and more
  • Report on your progress to stakeholders using the Jira Report Blueprint in Confluence
  • Use the Retrospective Blueprint in Confluence at the end of your sprint to take stock of what went well and not so well.

At Atlas Authority, we like to add a few additional suggestions to this list for our customers to follow:

  • At the beginning of your project lifecycle, link the project space in Confluence to the project in Jira. This helps keep all of the information pertaining to that project in one, easily accessible place.
  • In this space, use the Project Plan Template or Project Poster with a roadmap macro so that the team keeps the long term goal in mind while focusing on the short term sprint.

Overall, integrating Jira Software and Confluence can be very effective in getting the most out of both tools. Using the two tools together helps software teams keep track of information, manage their sprints, and create issues in Jira faster.

Jira Core Integration Capabilities

Jira Core is the base of all Jira instances. It’s the engine that drives the software, business, and IT teams to get work done together. Organizations outside of software are adapting Jira Core at an increasing rate, therefore, the integration between Jira Core and Confluence has become exponentially more important. Learn how Jira Core’s integration features can apply to all teams.

Linking Between Jira and Confluence

Within any project, there is always a need for documentation. Documentation can come in many different forms including requirements, instructions, notes, agendas, proposals, etc. The integration of Jira Core to Confluence allows you to link Confluence pages to Jira issues; and link Confluence pages within Jira issues. If you link an issue to a page then the page will have an indicator at the top, displaying the Jira issue that you (or someone else) linked to the page.

Another great aspect of the integration is when the user mentions the issue on the page with a link, the link will automatically convert to present the Jira issue in the simplified text, making it clear upon sight which issue the link goes to.
Another way to get issues to show at the top of the page is by adding the page to the Confluence pages field in Jira. This is great for the users that live in Jira instead of Confluence.
Whether the user mentions the issue on the page with a link, or if they add the Confluence page into the issue in Jira, they will get the same link at the top of their Confluence page. This link will mention the number of issues that relate to that page.

Using Macros with Integrated Jira and Confluence

One of the first macros we suggest using to increase the effectiveness of the Jira and Confluence integration is the Jira Issues Macro. The Jira Issues Macro helps you show Jira issues on a Confluence page.

To configure the macro just type “{” on a page then type “Jira”. Depending on the Jira instance, it will display a few options. On Cloud, the macro is called “Jira”. On Server, it is called “Jira issues”. Once you have the macro on the page, you have the following configuration options:
The user can create a list of Jira issues based on any JQL statement. If the user wants to show issues related to an epic, they could search using the function “epiclink” and if they wanted to show all the issues in a sprint they could search using the “sprint” field.

With the Jira Issues Macro, not only can you display issues on a page there is an opportunity to also create issues into Jira, display a count of issues, or display just a single issue.

The second macro to take note of is the Jira Charts Macro. To display this macro choose the Jira Charts Macro after typing in “{” on a page.

The user has the following options for charts to display from Jira on a Confluence page:

  • Pie Chart
  • Created Vs Resolved
  • Two Dimensional

The screenshot below provides a visual of what the user can preview before it is displayed and configured. The Jira Charts Macro’s configurations include chart display options, similar to the same capabilities on a Jira dashboard.

All in all, these two macros help display information with different views than the traditional Jira links capabilities.

Benefits of Integrating Jira and Confluence

Overall, there are countless ways teams could benefit from integrating Jira and Confluence. Users are able to focus more on their work with the ease of navigating between the tools with application links. Having the ability to add links to pages gives users the power to quickly find relevant information pertaining to a Confluence page or Jira ticket. When it comes to reporting, the Jira Issues Macro and Jira Charts Macro allow stakeholders to seamlessly gain visibility into their team’s progress. Lastly, with the Team Calendars application, users can stay on top of sprints, releases, and due dates, all while keeping an eye out for team members upcoming holidays. Contact us if you’re interested in integrating your applications or want to understand how to configure your Atlassian tools to run more efficiently.

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