Planning a project requires a lot of preparation and places to collaborate. Even the best teams who have been working together for years can find project planning to be a challenge. And based on the last two years with more teams working remotely - either partially or completely - that challenge has only grown.
As we know, Atlassian’s Confluence is a platform of choice for collaborative teamwork. To begin project planning, teams usually create an initial project page in Confluence to document the goals, strategy, and budget. However, Confluence isn't always the “be all, end all” tool some teams need. Sometimes they need to incorporate some additional resources.
With Aura, a beautiful set of formatting macros from Seibert Media, you can easily create an effective and powerful project page that gets the whole team involved. You can use Aura macros like titles, buttons, backgrounds, and dividers to structure the content and to get the whole team on the same page.
The Importance of Project Planning
Sometimes, the attitude of “just roll with it”, or proceeding without a specific plan in place can work. If you’re on holiday and want to let spontaneity rule, trying new locations and activities you haven’t in the past, then “rolling with it” works well. However when it comes time to properly implement a project, either internally at your organization or on behalf of a client, then you’ll want and need some definite structure in place.
There are a number of reasons for ensuring proper planning is followed in our work environments. First, we want to make sure what was asked to be delivered at the end of the project - a new product or service for instance - is indeed what results from all your hard work. We want to make sure we are delivering the value or organization our client is expecting. The goals or outcomes of the project should feed into the overall goals and expectations.
Second, proper planning ensures the goals or outcomes are clear, defined, and achievable. Vague statements such as “we want to increase bottom-line profits” are nice, but specifying “we want to increase bottom-line profits by 7% over last quarter in our retail division by implementing X, Y, and Z” is even better. Clear objectives mean your team, and every team at your organization knows what is expected of them specifically. The level of guesswork decreases dramatically.
Third, planning helps ensure budget estimates and timelines are based on specific details, not ambiguous or overly ambitious guesses. The overall quality of the project and in the end, the deliverables, is affected without proper planning. It sets specific bounds and expectations that are realistic and within reach, particularly when you’re attempting to improve upon results achieved in the past.
The list can go on and on, but we think you get the point; project planning is key to ensure the success and continued growth viability of any organization.
Anyone that has used Confluence knows it to be a more than capable workspace and wiki development tool for organizations large and small. Whether you’re a team of four or four hundred, working in real-time and collaboratively as it relates to your organization, its products and services, internal or external-facing documentation, and materials, it can be an incredible undertaking.
For those who strive to create and develop content that is beyond the basics of being simply informative, taking the next step of making all that content attractive, engaging, and even exciting, well then you may need to add some additional tools to your toolbox. This is particularly evident when you are dealing with co-workers that come from a variety of skillsets as it relates to design and layout.
And while Confluence does come with a solid set of basic editing tools, it does lack an expanded set of formatting options that can dramatically affect the look of your workspace and pages. Into this void steps Aura. Aura offers a number of packaged macros - progress bars, statuses, cards, tabs, backgrounds, etc. - that may be the game-changer your team and organization have been seeking. In addition to helping achieve that “look” you’ve been working towards, it also helps provide the structure for proper planning along the way.
Beautiful Pages And Page Elements
Returning to our earlier discussion about the importance of proper project planning, let’s say your team has been tasked with assisting your Marketing department with developing an attractive, easy-to-use, adaptable, information-rich Marketing project page microsite. While the initial design and major updates will be done by you and your development team, you also want to empower the Marketing team to be able to add documents and make smaller changes all on their own.
To begin with our example of an project page, we’ve determined that our own project planning page should include information such as content and current challenges, goals, target group, roadmap, etc . Now we could simply use the built-in editor within Confluence, create some headers and bullet lists, possibly links to both internal and external resources. Sounds exciting and engaging, right - just what your team needs to develop an incredible Marketing project page microsite? Wrong.
Let’s think about this for a moment. You and your team have just been tasked with creating an engaging, informative, and user-friendly project page. With Aura’s complete set of macros, you have the ability to transform everything from the background content, titles, add cards, progress bars, countdown updates, and so much more!
As a starting point, the Background Content macro allows you to add a background image (including animated GIFs), a background color, or both in combination. Once you’ve placed and configured your Background Content macro, you can then add any other Aura macro elements to be placed over that background image if you wish.
In our Marketing Project Page example, we placed multiple Title macros as well as the new Progress macro over that background content.
We then decided we wanted to break up the space a bit and outside that last Background Content macro area, place an Aura Tab Group macro, followed by the corresponding Aura Tab macros. These macros work as a team. First, you place the Aura Tab Group macro, configure the specifics of how you’d like those tabs to appear - for instance, horizontal or vertical, size and shape of tabs, number of tabs, etc. - and then within the Tab Group macro area, place as many Aura Tab macros as tabs you would like.
Within each of those Tab Group macro’s areas, you then add the content. In our example, we wanted three tabs (Your Development Team, Human Resources Squad, Management Superheroes) and within each of those, we wanted to place the respective staff for each. You can add any type of content you’d like within the Tab Group, Aura will keep it organized and beautifully formatted for you!
Our final element to our project planning microsite was to make use of the Progress macro. As we did previously, we started by placing a Background Content macro, again using an animated GIF. Then inside of that macro, you’ll see we have two bars, created using the Progress macro. However, you can add as many progress bars as you need and configure their respective statuses accordingly.
Reach Out To Learn More
As you’ve seen from our example, Aura is a powerful collection of macros that can take your Confluence pages to the next level. Not just the final projects themselves, but you can use Aura to develop the sites used to help plan and direct the workload itself for those final projects.
If you’re ready to learn more and get started using Aura for your own projects, head on over to our site. You can try Aura right now by installing it via the Atlassian Marketplace. Once in place, you can even schedule a demo with one of our team and receive 20% on the purchase price of Aura.
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