3 reasons I see teams leave Confluence for Coda

Your team deserves more than a wiki.

Tool consolidation · 7 min read
I’ve seen many teams become deeply accustomed to their wikis in Confluence without realizing how much the tool is costing them. Having worked with some of the best product and design teams—like Spotify, Uber, Block, Zoom, Figma, and hundreds of others—I firmly believe that the time for static wikis is over. Your teams are ready to work in the modern world where team members can easily collaborate, making changes and edits together in real time. Here are my three reasons why your teams should run on Coda instead of Confluence. On the surface, Confluence looks like the documents we are familiar with, and often, everyone at the company has access to them. But I’ve also heard that Confluence pages are notorious for going stale. One team even told me that Confluence was their “documentation graveyard.” So why does information go bad so quickly in Confluence? The answer is simple—when your tools are difficult to use, and painful to look at, your team avoids making updates. Your information gets out of sync and so does your team. Confluence is simply not collaborative—it is built as a publishing tool for your internal intranet, so your team is constantly stuck in the editing-viewing-toggle dance. You are either limited to how many teammates can be editing simultaneously, or stuck asking your team to reload to see changes. And, if you’ve ever tried to configure a macro in Confluence, you’ll understand why it often feels easier to give up and add some bullet points rather than make the change you had in mind.

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In Coda, the day-to-day experience is more than a modern interface. Coda gets out of your way and lets you do your work. Coda starts with a familiar blank page and blinking cursor, so that everyone on your team knows exactly where to start. But you can add simple drag-and-drop building blocks without nightmarish configuration steps to go beyond the docs of old. And, with real-time collaboration, everyone on your team stays up to date without having to pick the right mode. Because everything is live, your team can update topics, add information, and make changes in real time. This means that taking notes, ranking ideas, and making decisions are second nature instead of an afterthought. What does this practically look like in Coda? Let’s look at the example of running your team’s daily standup meeting. With a clean interface, it’s simple for your team to add their check-ins and topics for discussion—your team can upvote topics in real time to make sure the most important items are discussed first. Most teams who use Confluence tend to use other tools, too—one for OKRs, one for bugs, one for tasks, and the list goes on. What do our customers say when I ask them where they spend the most time doing work? Inevitably, the answer is a list of documents, sheets, and task-specific software. A browser full of tabs just to get one project done. Teams end up living in documents and sheets for good reason. Your team wants a flexible surface where they can work in a way that suits them best, not how the tool dictates. But when your available tool is a rigid wiki, like Confluence, you often have no choice but to find something else for the job. The unfortunate outcome of spreading across a range of tools is that you create isolated siloes of critical information. Your team ends up spending valuable time copy-pasting from one tool to another, re-building the same asset in multiple places. What a waste of time. With Coda, your teams have everything in one place—a single source of truth instead of six different sources. It allows you to manage projects, organize and analyze data, and create charts and layouts, all from one place. Practically, your PMs are no longer sending piles of links to different docs for specs, dashboards, tasks, bugs, etc. Instead, they start by creating a team hub, which serves as a single home for all their team’s work. But things get even better—the hub starts to grow and change to fit the needs of the team. The PM might start the hub by creating clear meeting notes and follow-ups. And once they solidify a next step, they might write a product brief. At that point, an engineer may add a table outlining tasks (or sync them in from Jira), a designer may embed a Figma prototype, and a researcher might add a new page with a research plan. Now, everything is a page in the same doc instead of links spread across different tools. The team’s work is in a single central location: meeting notes, briefs, tasks, plans, and more. Not only is information easier to find but your work actually gets better because all of your data is connected—you vote on important decisions alongside your meeting notes, you prioritize bugs alongside your team calendar, and you write your retrospectives alongside your Jira history. And if you ever need to remember why that decision was made in the first place, just check your planning doc—full version control means you can see who made every change and when. For many of our customers, Confluence was the only approved option across their org. This meant that they were forced to push the tool beyond its limits, asking it to do things it was never designed for. Again, the lure of a familiar doc surface is enticing—everyone wants the flexibility to work the way that is best for their team. But if you ask anyone who has tried to run a repeated process in Confluence—think standups, meeting notes, or quarterly retrospectives—you’ll quickly hear how painful the process is. Built-in features like page properties give the promise of summarization and organization but quickly fall short of a full solution. And the extensions provided with macros are often so difficult to set up and use that they are a non-starter. The result is that Confluence becomes a dumping ground with no real possibility for thoughtful, repeated processes. You get by with the provided templates, quickly type up your meeting notes, and get out of editing mode as quickly as possible. But when you log onto your next call or are asked to find the context for a prior decision, you are left scrambling. In Coda, you get the best of what used to feel like opposites—powerful and repeatable processes in the form of ready-to-use templates with the flexibility to work exactly how you want. It’s a collaboration tool that flexes with your team, getting you started and keeping you running on everything from project management to documentation management. Our Gallery has thousands of templates to solve real problems, with rituals from product leaders at some of the best teams—like Stripe, Figma, Meta, and others—so you can learn from their teams while tweaking the templates to fit your own needs. And Coda goes beyond what you know from the world of wikis. With powerful automations and our integrations (called Packs), our customers build custom workflows that run themselves. But don’t worry, I promise there will be no outdated UI jump scares. Imagine your doc automatically reminding the team via Slack or email to add their standup notes in the morning, helping you rank discussion topics while live on the call, and automatically sharing the meeting summary afterwards. Your docs do the grunt work for you.

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