Cheese is delicious. Tomato sauce is delicious. Bread is delicious. They’re all so delicious, in fact, they work perfectly well as foods on their own. Yet one day, some brilliant person came along and decided that these delicious foods could become something more: a finer food known as pizza. Our world is all the richer for it.
A similar phenomenon happens in project management. Trello is working well; you’re a regular steam locomotive of productivity and task management. Confluence is working well; your remote team is collaborating and building team knowledge with ease.
If things are really running this smoothly, you might wonder; if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Because while bread may be good on its own, you want the team collaboration impact of a delicious pizza. And because there are only so many hours in the day, the smoother your team operates, the better they’ll collaborate, communicate, and perform.
Why Combining Trello and Confluence Will Make You More Productive
To explain why we should combine bread and cheese—err, Trello and Confluence—let’s look at a famous case study from the Harvard Business Review. Tom Cochran, Chief Technology Officer at Atlantic Media, noticed he was becoming overwhelmed with emails. He even measured it: 511 incoming emails and 284 sent in one week. Even at just half a minute on average, the sheer tonnage of emails added up to an hour and a half out of his workday, every workday.
Cochran next turned his attention to the entire company. He added up the numbers: salary, average emails spent, time spent on each email per year. His conclusion? All of that invisible email time…
“had soft costs equivalent to procuring a small company [private jet].” -Tom Cochran, as quoted in Deep Work by Cal Newport
In other words, the little things add up in a hurry. Even if you don’t see them.
Similar friction will rear its ugly head with your work management apps: context switching.
Every time you switch over to Confluence (or any other work tool) to check something that wasn’t in Trello, or vice versa, adds a moment of friction to your day.
Alleviating this constant jumping from app to app is one of those secret productivity boons: in this case, integration gives you the best of Trello and Confluence without the context switching. Plus, as you dive into it, you’ll find there are other benefits to this marriage. Consider:
- Trello & Confluence used together make for better planning. You can use Confluence to craft an overarching vision, and Trello to organize that vision into bite-sized tasks. Productivity guru James Clear advocates creating systems to achieve your goals: for example, “running a marathon” is vague, while “run three miles today” is actionable. You need both vision and concrete steps to get where you’re going. The Confluence/Trello combo lets you turn any vision into an actionable system.
- Quicker collaboration. If a team member updates Confluence, why not skip the copying and pasting and have it ring over to Trello? If you’re a flesh-and-blood human being like the rest of us, making yourself do something twice is a recipe for getting behind your collaboration.
- Bringing more work into one view. With Trello and Confluence integrated, you can work on any project-related materials in Confluence and embed your Trello files in the same place. You can even leave Trello comments within Confluence!
Classic Trello And Confluence: From Bird’s-Eye View To Finished
We regularly use Confluence to create our vision and strategy for a project, then use Trello to smooth out the nitty-gritty details.
Imagine a pyramid with Confluence on the top—the “eye” of the pyramid, overseeing the big, team-sized pieces of your project. On the bottom half, the “wider” portion of the pyramid is made up of Trello cards. Each Trello card can include information from assignments to links to deadlines, housing all of a project’s nitty-gritty details in one place.
For example, you can use Confluence project management templates to document key stages of your journey. Brainstorming, project planning, status updates—you can plan it all through Confluence.
But what about the individual steps? You create cards to capture specific tasks (link cards make integrating Confluence pages a breeze), giving every single team member what they need to finish their work on time.
How To Sync Trello And Confluence Together
The basic step is simple: go to the URL of your Trello card and copy it. Paste it onto a Confluence page.
Really. That’s it.
You should watch it to make sure it automatically renders a card once the page publishes. From there, still using Confluence, you can:
- View card and task statuses
- Comment on cards
- Subscribe for email updates on any changes
- Join cards
- View more info in the card just by clicking, which will take you into Trello—where you can edit the card, just like you’re used to doing
You can also paste a link directly into your Trello board and watch as it displays a new board tile. This tile gives you an overview of the link you pasted. From there, you can link any documentation you need with Confluence. If the team needs to update anything, they can easily do so within the tile on Trello.
Beyond that, use Power-Ups in Confluence Cloud to add context to a card in Trello. Working within Confluence, you can include project requirements, meeting times, and blog content so every team member is on the same page on the same Trello card.
But like we said, we’re going for pizza here. Let’s talk about making the Trello and Confluence combination even better.
Tips For Using Trello And Confluence Together
All right, so you’re convinced that using Trello and Confluence isn’t going to throw a wrench into your well-oiled productivity machine. It’s only going to make you more productive.
That still leaves us with a basic question: how can you make sure this is an improvement over your current system? Here are some tips you can keep in mind:
- Put your files in Confluence. Trello’s kanban system is handy for reference, while you can use Confluence as a knowledge base for the major materials and files that govern your project. When it comes time to update a Trello card, anyone collaborating on the Trello board can do exactly that—and it will update to Confluence as well.
- Add your Trello board to the “project planning” stages. This way, anyone who needs to see where things stand can do so quickly. This gives them the total view: not only do they see the major milestones you’ve hit, but your current status with individual tasks in Trello.
- Create a “Trello board” macro within Confluence for a fully-interactive Trello board. Say you “miss” the experience you get from your Trello board. Good news: you don’t have to say goodbye! Just select the “+” sign and ‘Trello Board’ within Confluence, pasting in your board’s URL. You can choose the height of the board as it appears within Confluence, and voila—you’re looking at Trello within Confluence, almost like you have a window between two applications.
Questions And Answers About Your New Trello-Confluence Marriage
Won’t it be weird to sync permissions across both?
Nope. When you add Trello cards to a Confluence page, the software will continue to respect the permissions on the original card. Then the permission request process can happen the exact same way it always would have—working through Trello.
What happens if someone makes an update in Trello? Will I see it in Confluence?
Yes. The synchronization will occur across both platforms, meaning that if someone updates a card in Trello and you’re viewing it in Confluence, you’ll see the updated info—in real-time.
What if I like Trello and don’t want to abandon it?
The good news is you don’t have to. You can incorporate Trello cards and even full Trello boards into Confluence and use them together. You’ll have the same access to Trello features—you’re simply changing the way you access them. And everyone on your team will be able to keep using Trello, too.
What if I don’t have a remote team?
Both of these tools are built for all teams to manage their work—no matter where they are. Consider how McCorvey, a metal manufacturing company, used Trello to digitize its old paper processes. They needed an application for handling every aspect of manufacturing—from welding to shipping—and pulled it all together in Trello, minimizing the need for complicated paperwork.
What if I’m not sure how to do something, like add new documentation?
Making Trello And Confluence Work Together
These two project management tools might seem like they overlap, but the truth is, they can work together in perfect synergy. And since there isn’t a complicated onboarding process, you can take existing Trello and Confluence accounts and cinch them together today. Just set the oven to 450, put on those oven mitts, and bake for about twenty minutes.
Oh, wait. That was that other thing.
Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Find us on Twitter (@trello)!