by Bill Cushard (@BillCush)
When you begin to learn about Confluence Questions, you learn that you can use it to extract knowledge, crowdsource answers, learn forever, and identify experts. Those are nice, broad abstracts that cover the necessary "future of work," collaboration, and knowledge management buzz words. They do grab one's attention because leaders of organizations all over the world are struggling with issues of improving teamwork, collaboration, and performance. And these phrases are meant to solve these abstract problems, but most managers have concrete problems to solve. Problems like finding someone with specific expertise to staff a client project or getting help finishing a report or brainstorming ideas for a new HR policy.
So, when you learn about Confluence Questions, you still might ask yourself, "OK, so how is it really going to help my teams and is it worth the investment?" It is an important question. There are many ways to answer it, and Confluence Questions can be used in so many ways that it can be difficult to understand how you can use it in your organization. I want to answer this question by sharing with you specifically how I have used Confluence Question to get actual work done. I believe that if you can see how actual work gets done, with a specific example, even if it is not the exact type of work that you need to get done in your company, that you will visualize how your teams can get their actual work done using Confluence Questions.
Getting Work Done
So here goes. I have used Confluence Questions to:
- Create an industry certification exam for a client project. Yes, actual exam questions with code snippets.
- Develop training course content
- Write blog posts, ebooks, and white papers
- Learn about features in JIRA and Confluence
I know. That is a nice list, but I want to get even more specific and explain how I wrote a blog post that appeared on the ServiceRocket blog on August 12, 2014 called The 5 Best SLA Metrics of High Performing Service Desks.
Here was the exact question I posed in Confluence Questions:
What are the Top 5 SLAs that Help Desks Should Use?
I am writing a blog post related to JIRA Service Desk. I want to educate people on the best SLAs to use. What they are, why they are important, and examples of each. What are the best SLAs you know?
Here is what happened next:
- I received six unique responses. Each response had multiple SLA metrics with explanations of why each could be chosen.
- I asked the question on July 28 and all of the answers came in on July 28, except one which was on July 29.
- Four responses came from our Sydney office, one from Kuala Lumpur, and one from Palo Alto.
- Responses averaged 166 words. In other words, these were not just bullet lists of 5 SLAs. People wrote explanations.
- There was debate. Responses mentioned other responses. Saying things like, "I agree with Carol on her point about first call resolution, but you need to be careful when measuring....."
This shows a picture of the level of participation I received and the quality of the content, I could use for my blog post.
Assembling Responses into a Blog Post
As I read through the responses, I was able to easily see overlapping themes on three of the SLA, so I knew those three for sure would be in the blog post. The rest were more scattered, so I had to use some judgement about the remaining two SLA metrics to include in the post. Either way, there was enough content in these responses to write a blog post quite easily. The draft was completed on Friday, August 1 with less than one hour of solid writing and editing. The blog was published on August 12. This is not a bad result to have a blog post go from idea to published in two weeks.
I am fortunate to work in an organization where people help out like this. Perhaps these people would have helped even if we did not have Confluence Questions. However, I would not have been able to collect answers from people all over the world who had expertise like this without Confluence Questions. Confluence Questions helped me write a quality blog post and meet a deadline. How much more specific of an example do you need?
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Call for Comments
- I have just given an example of how I used Confluence Questions to get a very specific piece of work done: a blog post for the ServiceRocket Blog. What ideas does this give you for how you can use Confluence Questions in your organization?
- If you are still not convinced that Confluence Questions can help your organization get more work done, what are your objections? What makes you say, "I am not sure that will work in my company?"
- Are you working this way already? If so, how do you do it? What tools do you use? How do you foster a collaborative culture?