Atlassian Jira / Confluence

Dr. Oliver Eidel
Updated May 17, 2024
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How well does an Atlassian Jira / Confluence QMS work?

For whatever reason, Confluence and Jira still seem to be popular choices among software companies. Why? I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s the same reason startups adopted microservices: It doesn’t make sense, but Google does it, so it must be great (spoiler: no). Anyway!

If you’ve noticed that this is turning into a rant, you’re damn right. I hate Jira and Confluence – they’re slow, customizing them is a full-time job, and they create so much complexity in teams that you’re wondering why the hell you introduced the tool in the first place.

But I’m going to attempt to stay objective here, and I’ll start by citing a lead auditor from a medical device Notified Body:

I hate Confluence and Jira.

A lead auditor at a Notified body

Confluence QMS Drawbacks

The Data Loss Incident

If you’re wondering why this auditor also hates the Atlassian tools, it’s quite simple: Atlassian had a data loss incident in April 2022 which left a number of companies locked out of their accounts, or with data loss, or both. This is essentially the worst case for running a Jira / Confluence QMS: Imagine you’re getting audited, and you don’t have access to your documents. Ugh.

Exportability

While Confluence and Jira have export features, the output can be described as “well, it exists, but it’s not great”. What I (and auditors) typically see are lengthy Word or PDF files. The tables in those files typically have columns which are so slim that they are unreadable. Having any sort of other data export would involve coding effort on your side, so it’s not feasible for most companies.

That being said, there also are (gasp) benefits to choosing the Atlassian tools for your QMS.

Atlassian Jira / Confluence QMS Benefits

Pricing

The pricing is, like.. not super bad. It’s priced per user, and it’s reasonable.

And yup, that’s it. I don’t have anything else to say in favour of setting up your QMS in Confluence and Jira.

Conclusion

Definitely check out some of my other articles on the topic – startups ask me about setting up their QMS in Confluence and Jira all the time, so I hope this spares my inbox of these painful questions on this painful “software” in the future:

Also, check out this video I recorded in which I attempt to set up a QMS in these Tools Which Shall Not Be Named.

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Key Facts
Atlassian Jira / Confluence
Typical price
305$
Minimum commitment
1 month
eQMS Features
You could set up a QMS in this software, but you'd have to take care of electronic signatures and document versioning yourself.
Requirements Management
The software contains a ticket-like functionality to manage requirements, but you'd have to set up a compliant structure yourself.
Free Trial
You can't try this software out for free - you have to purchase it based on sales demos.
Data Export
You can't export your data in a structured way and are probably locked in.
Text Editor
This software has its own text editor, that means you can create and edit documents directly in the software.
Cloud Hosting
This software has a cloud-hosted option.
Self-Hosting
This software has a self-hosted option.