Atlassian Stride: Running in circles

Not to be outdone in collaboration and group chat, Atlassian recently launched Atlassian Stride, a new challenger into the group chat rumble we have going on in the market today. I got to use HipChat on some previous contract, so I was interested in seeing Stride for myself.

Atlassian Stride checks all the group chat boxes:

  • Invitation to join
  • Apps for the major platforms
  • Easy to follow onboarding for new users

When you first open Stride it reminds you a whole heck of a lot of Microsoft Teams and by extension Slack. That doesn’t have to be such a bad thing because I don’t see the three group chat applications in direct competition. While I do see Slack and Stride mixing it up for the attention of development teams, because Stride has an advantage with customers already standardized on the Atlassian stack.

You can set up public and private rooms in Stride to fit your needs which is to be expected in a group chat platform.

I got access to Stride by signing up for an invite. The application still has the feel of a very version 1 offering. While it maintains the usual level of Atlassian quality, I was hoping for more integration options out of the box like I see in Microsoft Teams.

Stride lets you insert files from either Dropbox or Google Drive in the rooms you create.You also can post decisions or tasks in the rooms. I see some real potential with these posting options especially if you can eventually link back to either Confluence or Jira.

Anybody who has ever worked in a group chat heavy work environment has their own stories about being interrupted by a chat client. I think it’s cool that Stride has a Ready to Focus option that enables you to write a short note about what you are working on and then mutes notifications and room activity while you get your work done.

Of course there are Stride applications for the major operating systems . There are also Stride applications for Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Mint, and Debian showing that Atlassian acknowledges their hardcore software developer roots. I checked out the Mac and iOS applications and found them to be stable and devoid of any surprises.

Atlassian makes the Stride Issues list open to the public via Jira. It’s important to note that Jira treats everything as an issue so you’ll see a list that’s more about customer suggestions than it’s about bugs and technical issues.

Final thoughts

I’ve been an off and on user of Atlassian tools for the past few years. What remains to be seen is if Atlassian Stride will subsume HipChat, an app with a loyal customer base? Tinkering around with Microsoft Teams and now Atlassian Stride has shown me how much influence Slack now wields over the group chat market.

In my opinion, Atlassian makes a solid 80/20 platform. You get what you need to do most jobs but may find yourself having to download and install a plug-in or extension to add some other functionality you might require to do your job. Considering the growing role of group chat in today’s enterprise, I hope to see Atlassian launch some sort of an app store for Atlassian Stride in the near future.

My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and content strategist living and working in the Washington, DC area. My current focus is thought leadership and technical marketing content. I got my start writing user guides, administrator documentation, online help, and later moved into SDLC documentation. My articles about enterprise mobility, BYOD, and other technology topics have been published by IBM Mobile Business Insights, Samsung Business Insights, TechBeacon, CNET TechRepublic, and others. Follow me on Twitter: @willkelly.

7 tips for creating and managing better Confluence spaces

Being on a job hunt has a tendency to make me reflective so today I was looking for better ways to frame my Atlassian Confluence experience. I’m a technical writer with a Microsoft SharePoint background and came to using Confluence later than some other people. Oddly enough, while I find Confluence easier to use than SharePoint, some of the same adoption issues especially when it comes to creating and managing team spaces.

Here are some of my favorite tips to build a better Confluence space:

1. Take ownership of the Confluence space

I’ve long been a proponent of project teams managing their collaboration platform otherwise it collaboration too often falls somewhere near the bottom of the IT department’s priority list. Even when the project team has full control over a space, there needs to be somebody to answer questions and even learn new features to introduce to the rest of the team.

Candidates for the owner might be the project manager/lead, business analyst, or technical writer. They key to this sort of ownership is not to get in the way of the rest of the team.

2. Take the time to onboard users

Too many users have a collaboration site thrust upon them which rarely works out well especially when the space wasn’t planned out well. It’s consistent theme I’ve found in collaboration sites I’ve seen. Onboarding to a Confluence space includes:

  1. Setup a user account with appropriate privileges
  2. Follow up with user to ensure they can sign into the Confluence space

3. Use templates

While you can’t always expect some team members to use page templates, I commend Atlassian for making their templates easy to use. I’ve gotten users up and running on Confluence templates using just a few clicks.

Confluence ships with a selection of page templates including:

  • How-to Article
  • Meeting Notes
  • Retrospective

You can also create custom templates to use in your space making it possible to translate your existing Microsoft Word templates into Confluence page templates. For example, I’ve migrated software development lifecycle (SDLC) documentation templates from Word to Confluence.

4. Use Confluence Labels

A logical use of Confluence labels is another way to improve the searchability of the pages in your Confluence space. Using labels can help you organize views of your space content using macros.

5. Know your macros

I recommend that you get to know everything about Confluence macros. While you may not be in a position to develop your own macros there is a library of macros that ship with Confluence that can help you build a better space.

6. Create a blog for the space

While the blog that Confluence includes may not rival WordPress, I think the Confluence blog editor is just what teams need for creating blog posts to communicate project and team updates.

7. Watch pages

I always recommend that users click the eye on Confluence pages of interest. Confluence enables you to watch a page, blog, or all of the contents in the space and notifies you when changes and updates appear.

Final thoughts

Atlassian Confluence seems to have a hard time living up to its potential inside some enterprises. While no collaboration platform is perfect if you learn some Confluence features and find the line between organization and free for all collaboration platforms need to hit to be useful then you and your team will build Confluence spaces that are an asset to you team and projects.

What are your favorite Confluence tips?

Hi! My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and analyst based in the Washington, DC area. I’ve worked with clients like NetApp, Dell, and NeuStar to develop technical, training, and thought leadership content. My articles have been published by TechBeacon, Projects@Work, CNET TechRepublic, Network World,,, and others. Follow me on Twitter:@willkelly.