Project Status Reporting with Atlassian Confluence

Written By Andrew Makar

Professional Cat Herder and an Agile Enthusiast with a keen interest in putting PM theory into actual practice.

At an Atlassian User Group

In April, I had an opportunity to present to the Ann Arbor Michigan Atlassian User Group on the topic – Project Status Reporting with Confluence. The meeting was hosted by Perficient Detroit office in Livonia, Michigan and featured the much appreciated pizza, salad and craft beer! The group meets periodically to share news and best practices with Atlassian product suite including JIRA and Confluence. If you’re looking for fellow Atlassian users outside of your existing company, check out a user group in your area! The Atlassian User group was definitely helpful in making new connections across Metro Detroit and learning how other users have applied JIRA and Confluence for software development and project management.

Below is my presentation on Project Status Reporting with Confluence as well as a few comments that introduce the presentation.

How do you handle status reporting?

If you look at your organization today, you’ll likely find multiple ways of reporting project status. Status reporting takes different formats depending on the audience, the project management approach and the systems development lifecycle. Depending on your organization, you status reporting hierarchy will looking similar to these examples:

Communication Level Traditional Agile
Individual Project Report status to project manager JIRA ticket
Project Team 1 page status report Scrum board
Project Team Multiple 1 page status reports Scrum of Scrum
Portfolio Level  Many 1 page status reports JIRA Portfolio or a portfolio summary slide
Enterprise PMO Level Executive summary slides Executive summary slides or a project portfolio management software tool

The Challenge with Project Status Reporting

Despite the importance of project status reporting, there are some key challenges successfully implementing status reporting across an organizing including:

  1. Necessary evil that no one likes to do
  2. Fill out a document and email it to the project manager or submit to the PMO
  3. 1 page status reports in Excel or Powerpoint need reformatting
  4. “Just one more change” yet you already pressed Print
  5. Most organizations lack a central project portfolio management tool for project status reporting

Another byproduct of status report meetings are action items, follow-ups and to-dos.

The Problem with Action Items

Action items are useful when they are documented and implemented but they also add to a project manager’s administrative burden. Below are just a few:

  • Usually part of meeting minutes that no one reads
    • Meeting minutes are sent via email
    • People are already overwhelmed with email
    • Bit of a challenge search through email for the last set of action items
  • Action items are rarely followed up unless put into a plan or task list
  • Even if collaborating in Confluence, action items can exist on multiple pages in multiple spaces

Confluence Status Reporting Technique

I attempted to solve both the status reporting and action item challenges using Confluence. I don’t claim to be the originator of this technique as I was first introduced to using Confluence as communication tool back in 2015. HS2 Solutions kick started my journey into “managing a project with a wiki” and during that time, our team was responsible for a global brand site program that implemented 15 different brand sites in 10 different languages within 18 months. The main project management tool for status, communication and requirements was the Atlassian Confluence solution in addition to JIRA.

JIRA enthusiasts will mention similar techniques can be applied by customizing JIRA and developing issues filters. However, I liked the Confluence approach because it is a simple, lightweight approach to timely status reporting that doesn’t require a JIRA administrator.

Ok! Enough of the backstory.  Here is the presentation.

Atlassian Confluence Status Reporting Presentation

Confluence Tutorials in the Presentation

You can find the step by step instructions for the tutorials in this presentation at:

Learn how to manage your projects BETTER with Atlassian Confluence

Manage projects, programs and portfolios using using Atlassian Confluence

atlassian confluence project management

Learn how to:

  • Managing with a Wiki and the Project Manager’s Dilemma
  • Creating Status Reports and Dashboards
  • Tracking Program Action Items
  • Gantt Charts and Roadmaps
  • Tracking Issues and Risks
  • Managing Project and Program Requirements
  • 1:1 Status Reports

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