First Impressions of Atlassian, Jira, and Confluence from Actual Newbies (Part 2)

Illustration of Li-Anne with a question mark on her head as she looks at all the various Atlassian logos

If you think Jira is the same as Java or that Atlassian sounds like a really boring superhero, you’re in the right place.

This two-part article offers insights from members of the Old Street team who are relative newbies to the Atlassian ecosystem, and are still learning the benefits of Jira and Confluence for work and document management.

In part one I kicked things off with a rundown of my own experiences, followed by some insights from my colleague, Jamale Harris.

This week, Gabriel Wielkopolski and Li-Anne McGregor are walking through their own journeys from “Whaaat” to “Aaaaah.”


When I started my career in IT three and a half years ago, I knew I’d have a lot to learn. But we live in an age where IT is an elemental part of everybody’s day-to-day, so you know, how hard could it be?

Pretty hard.

When I was introduced to the Atlassian ecosystem and got a basic explanation of what Jira and Confluence are, I thought they sounded pretty straightforward. Only when I started using them did I see the steepness of the learning curve that comes with them. Considering I was new both to IT and agile working, there were so many features whose use cases I just didn’t get.

As I worked mainly in customer relations, marketing and sales, I wasn’t utilizing the work management part of Jira very intensively, as the tool has always been targeted mainly at dev teams. However, I needed to fully understand why those teams, and increasing numbers of non-dev teams too, are using and loving it. Although the free training from Atlassian was great, it was hands-on experience and shadowing of Scrum Masters (back when we used to meet in the office :cry:) that finally made me grasp Jira conceptually.

There’s no denying that Jira and Confluence are complex solutions and can be a bit overwhelming at first. However, what quickly becomes clear is that they are built to be customized. All those pages of settings, possible integrations, and an entire marketplace of vendors developing apps to expand on the possibilities – it’s all there to help you match the tools to your team’s creative processes. With systems that are well-maintained and properly configured, it’s mind-blowing how much time and money you can save, at the same time as making everybody’s work easier and faster.

At my previous job, one of the coolest things for me was using Jira Service Management (known as Jira Service Desk back then) to communicate with customers. By integrating our customer relationship management (CRM), emails, databases, and Jira, we created an environment where all the customer-facing roles had the information they needed at their fingertips. Account Management, Sales, Support and Marketing were all able to see our history with a given customer.


Greetings from the newest newbie to enter the Atlassian landscape. In a way, ‘Atlassian’ seemed like quite an appropriate name. An atlas is a book of maps, and I was certainly going to need one of those.

Here’s me, an SEO nerd completely oblivious to all things Atlassian and Jira, joining the ranks of Old Street Solutions, a superstar team of Atlassian community leaders and app builders. My Zoom’s on mute and I’m silently hoping that my SEO knowledge and knack for content curation would hide my Atlassian cluelessness, and that the gurus would not sense my Jira-less weakness.

Okay, so I soon realized that they weren’t monsters waiting to eat me when I tripped up. On the contrary, they were teachers, here to guide and nurture me.

And guidance sure was needed. When it came to Jira and Confluence, I was like a brand new person, no control over neck or head or limbs for that matter, the world one large blur. I pleased to say I’m fully able to see and move around now (although there’s still a way to go before I start tackling Jira swimlanes and such).

I began to make my way around agile boards, moving tickets/tasks from one column of an active sprint to another. It was when I discovered Old Street’s app, Custom Charts for Jira, that a true appreciation for the power of Jira emerged. The nature of my job at Old Street involves presenting SEO findings in the form of reports, and here was a Jira-based reporting tool that I’d argue is easier to use than other, more complex areas of Jira functionality.

The ease with which I’m able to drag and drop the information I want and build targeted reports with my own preferred graphs, metrics, colors, and tone, is astounding. With Custom Charts, Jira has become a workable and actionable tool and I envision many fun hours spent prettifying the endless data that is needed to get my job done as SEO lead.

The next obstacle was (is) Confluence. Prior to Old Street, my only real dealing with Confluence was to drag and drop csv files into templated blocks on a Confluence page and watch the data transform into graphs. This was all well and good till the search query and/or macros broke and I had little clue on where to start to get the template to pull in the correct data.

Of course, I no longer need to do any of this thanks to Custom Charts for Jira. And if I did need to create charts on a Confluence page (perhaps to show my SEO findings to external partners who may not have access to our Jira), I can use Custom Jira Charts for Confluence, a functionally mirror image version of the Jira app for Confluence users.

My dealings with Confluence have changed since coming to Old Street. I can now see why it’s the preferred method of creating and organizing work, content, and events, and communicating with colleagues. And I’m proud to say that I have created my own Confluence space! It’s become my workspace for the post-2020 environment. Sure, it’s basic, but like anything it’ll grow. Not unlike a desk in the office during your first few weeks, I’m gradually adding my own things to make it more suitable as a workspace.

And I’m excited to say that my metamorphosis from “Huh? Atlassian what?” to “Yes, I can do that!” is almost complete. :slight_smile:

Christopher is a self-confessed nerd who’d probably take the cake on Mastermind if Star Trek: Voyager was his specialist subject. He writes fiction about time travel, conspiracies and aliens; loves roller coasters, hiking and Christmas; and hates carpet, rom-coms and anything with chilli in it. He’s written extensively for technology companies and Atlassian partners and specializes in translating complicated technical concepts, specs and jargon into readable, benefits-driven copy that casual readers will understand.