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Why your team needs a single source of truth and how to build one with Confluence


Katarzyna Dorosz-Zurkowska - 25 June 2018 - 0 comments

One of the most significant challenges of working in an organization is managing different backgrounds, perspective, and experiences of individual team members and entire teams located in various departments. Teams change all the time as new members are added, and current members move to other teams.

That’s why establishing consensus is a critical step in the formation of any team – and the entire organization.

To avoid ending up in a perpetual whirlwind of training and communication, your team needs a single source of truth. Providing a single source of data-based truth throughout an organization is a smart move. If your data siloed and teams in different departments use different data, you risk making costly errors.

A single source of truth helps to bridge that gap but also provides your team with a higher degree of transparency which is crucial for making modern teams productive.

Read on to find out how to create a single source of truth for your team and how a tool from the Atlassian product suite called Confluence can help you do that.

What is a single source of truth and why it matters?

Single source of truth (SSOT) is a concept organizations apply in their information architecture to make sure that everyone is using the same data when making decisions. The goal of a single source of truth is providing employees with a database to which they can refer to at all times.

So what happens to teams or organizations that don’t have a single source of truth in place?

The consequences of misinformation can be dire, especially because team leaders can’t expect all team members to remembers every procedural step and requirements in a product development process. When teams lack a database of knowledge to which they can refer at all times, you might discover team members working away on projects based on outdated requirements, different priorities or building components in the wrong order. All that wasted effort ends up becoming very costly for organizations.

Teams that have a document that serves as a single source of truth for product elements can clarify their doubts and answer questions with a couple of clicks.  Keeping everyone on the same page isn’t only the path toward greater productivity but also a method for avoiding costly mistakes and inconsistencies that crop up during the product development process.

How to create a single source of truth in Confluence

Confluence is a tool that offers teams a central repository of knowledge they can access at all times. The tool helps to keep a team’s work accessible and organized, helping team members to find the information they need in a matter of seconds.
Just like other Atlassian products, Confluence is very flexible, and organizations can configure it to match their process requirements.

Here’s an example of how teams can adjust Confluence to serves as their single source of truth.

A team can create a space in Confluence that includes links to resources like product pages, compliance requirements, and other information essential to the project (for example, user stories, planning documents, architectural documentation, product roadmaps, or even team contact information).
That space will act as a single portal where team members can find all the information they need. Anyone in the organization can view and share these pages, but only a limited number of people can edit them – depending on how you set the permissions for the project. When new members join the team, that space will serve as their reference point throughout the project, helping team leaders reduce the onboarding effort.

Product owners don’t need to explain what will be happening to the product only refer stakeholders to pages stored in Confluence. That type of transparency in product management serves as a fantastic starting point for developing a culture of transparency across the entire organization – because everyone can now get an inside look at what is happening to the product.

Now that you know why a single source of truth is so important to teams and organizations, here are two steps to help you encourage knowledge sharing at your organization – and use Confluence at every step of the way.

1. Schedule time for contributing content

Participating in the creation of a single source of truth is exciting, but teams are busy and might not be able to set aside time to share new content. You can start by reserving an hour every week when every team member sits down and writes content to reach their weekly or monthly quota.
That way you’ll be making sure that everyone shares valuable knowledge and adds to the project documentation that will help new team members and other stakeholders understand it better. Confluence has a user-friendly, intuitive interface that offers a range of smart functionalities to allow team members to collaborate on a single document at the same time – an excellent opportunity to boost team collaboration.

2. Incentivize content creation

There are many ways in which you can reward team members for sharing their knowledge in the form of content articles published on Confluence. The first step is recognition. Be sure to offer a shutout in the form of a notification, email or announcement when a team member contributes something valuable to your knowledge repository.
Give our small prizes for sharing content. And consider giving a bonus to the team member who shares the most utilized piece of content every quarter or year.

Knowledge sharing is the path toward success

By developing a single source of truth for your team and organization, you can be confident that every employee has access to information that helps them push their projects to completion.

But selecting a knowledge sharing platform is crucial for your single source of truth to do its job. You can’t have team members lose time browsing Google Drive in search for the right documents.

An excellent knowledge sharing platform allows to quickly find content, share documents, ask questions, locate experts and encourage everyone to start contributing. Confluence is that kind of tool – and it’s especially useful if your development teams use Jira Software or other Atlassian tools to organize their work.

If you’d like to get started at building a single source of truth in Confluence, reach out to our consultants – they’re always happy to help organizations configure Atlassian tools to their advantage.

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