Using Confluence for Product Requirements

Confluence Product Requirements
Confluence Product Requirements
Before diving in to using Confluence for product requirements, we thought we would take a moment to  get you to the point where you have set up Confluence for product requirements.   This also assumes you have a reasonable understanding the product requirements gathering process.

Why Use Confluence For Product Requirements

As with everything else in product management, people have some pretty strong opinions about using Confluence for product requirements documentation versus one of the more specialized tool.

Your own opinion not withstanding, unless you rule your company like a personal fiefdom and do not have to worry about the opinions of employees, bosses and co workers, there is a good chance that you will run into a situation where you need to use Confluence.

Confluence’s advantages include:

  • A central, up to date point of reference for all requirements.
  • Version control of requirements changes.
  • Access control for viewing and editing requirements.
  • Automation for frequent requirement gathering tasks.
  • Collaboration tools, like automatic notification of team members when documents change.

Given that Confluence is often adopted company wide, it is also a good tool for executing you product requirements document communication strategy.

How To Document Product Requirements In Confluence

Before you can document product requirements in Confluence, you need to can create a space to keep everything related to a specific product in one place (i.e project plans, product requirements, blogs and internal communication). Do this by clicking the “CREATE” button.

Confluence Product Requirements
What you see when you dive into Confluence. Click the create button to set Confluence up for product requirements gathering.

The benefits of this space are that it allows for:

  • Collaboration: a single space or page allows for better communication and collaboration between the people involved in the product or requirement.
  • Progress Tracking: Keep on top of your team’s progress against specific requirements,
  • Page History: See the differences between the first and last change.  Find out what has been changed

Requirement Gathering Workflow in Confluence

So now that you have your space set up, the next step is building out a requirement gathering workflow, which consists of two main parts:

    • Selecting the Confluence documentation to use, so we will look at product requirement documentation options available within the platfrom.
    • Mapping out the process user follow within Confluence.  Using the deadly duo of Confluence and Jira (Atlasssian’s issue tracker), your have multiple options for documenting product requirements depending on your degree of obsessive compulsiveness*:
      • Low level OCD: Put the entire specification in one Confluence document. 
      • Mid level OCD: Build the requirements structure in Jira and flush out the details of the requirements on Confluence pages.
      • Over the top OCD: A master product requirement document, with subpages interconnected with Jira issues so that you can track progress. OCD jokes aside, this is how the combination of Jira/confluence is supposed to work and what we will eventually get around to showing you.

Product Requirements Document Options in Confluence

Use Pre Existing Product Requirement Templates

Using a pre existing product requirements document template already available in Confluence.  This is probably the best option for most users out there.  Follow along in the images below to deploy an existing template.  There are two ways to go about doing this:

  • Use the “Create” Button
  • Use the “Templates” Menu Item
Use The "Create" Button To Create a Document From A Template
Using Confluence Product Requirements 1
Hit the "Create" button" to bring up template options.
Confluence Product Requirements
Use the "Template Browser" to find the template you want to deploy.
Confluence Product Requirements
Preview the product requirements template.
Confluence Product Requirements
Select the document template, give the new page a title and click "Publish".
Use The "Templates" Menu Item To Create a Document From A Template
Create Document Process
Hit the "Templates" item in the menu.
Create Document Process step 2
Use the template browser to find the template you wan to deploy and then click "Use Template".
Create document process step3
Give the document a title and click the "publish" button. You are now good to go.

Use Custom Product Requirements Document Templates

If you need to do more with Confluence documents that what is available out of the box, consider customizing the templates to your needs.

We’ve tackled the topic of using custom documents within Confluence previously, so we will just link to the documents from here.  When it comes to using custom documents in Confluence, you have two options:


We took also a deep dive in to process of how to create a product requirements template in Confluence for your benefit, so do us yourself a favor and read it!!!) to ease the pain of documenting product requirements details .

Putting Confluence To Work in Documenting Requirements

In building out the process you want to implement for gathering requirements within your organization and since we have already gone to the trouble of teaching you about Confluence templates, we are going to ignore the fact that you can use Jira as a stand alone tool to deal with product requirements gathering. 

Using Jira as a standalone requirement gathering tool is a bit troublesome as it requires the proper and consistent use of labels, components and product descriptions to make filtering and searching for specific requirements much easier and faster.  In short, its something you probably wouldn’t do.

If you haven’t already, you’ll learn combining Confluence with tool Jira provides particular advantages for requirements gathering and overall requirements management that make your life easier:

  • You gain coherent and consistent information management, task management, and progress monitoring across the entire application lifecycle and all software development workflows.
  • In addition, there are various automation options around software change, configuration management, project planning, and monitoring.

This is because the platform allows for the following functionality that makes your life much easier as a product manager:

  • Jira development issues and tasks can be created directly from Confluence requirements pages.

  • You can collect and display Jira issues on a Confluence page.

  • Include reports and charts with information from JIRA into Confluence

Suggested Confluence Workflow

After deploying a product requirements template, it is suggested that you follow a workflow that looks something like the following:

Capture Key Administrative Details
Outline Goals and Objectives
Link To User Stories
Capture Design/UX Elements
Highlight Questions and Issues
Review Requirements

A Note About Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Although we discuss obsessive compulsive disorder in a tongue in cheek manner, it is a serious disorder and should not be taken lightly. Please reach out to a mental health professional if you are struggling with symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder.
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