Atlassian Adds Team Calendars to Confluence

Atlassian announced the addition of team calendars to Confluence, its enterprise wiki software:

Atlassian has introduced Team Calendars, a new add-on to Atlassian Confluence that helps product and project teams stay in sync. Available today, Team Calendars helps teams track and report project releases as well as understand how the schedules of your team members impacts projects.

With Team Calendars, users can share calendars with their team and embed calendars in pages to keep everyone up-to-date. Users can use the search feature to find and subscribe to calendars that are relevant to their work. Some other key features include:
– Schedule team leave: Get an at-a-glance view of which team members are on-duty and on vacation
– Link to contextual information: Link calendar events to Confluence pages for release notes, launch plans, specifications, etc.
– Connect with Outlook: Integration with the email and calendar client lets users keep calendars in sync.

My Comments
1. In the 7 Pillars model of team collaboration, “Team-Aware Calendaring” is vitally important. Few vendors get this right, and it’s great to see Atlassian having a go.

2. There are three key requirements for team-aware calendaring – and Atlassian clearly meets the first: the ability to create a team specific calendar. What’s unclear is whether they meet the second two: integration with free-busy (would require proper integration with Outlook so Exchange can see the meetings), and synchronization to mobile devices (again, would require proper integration with Outlook so the mobile device could see the calendar). The use of the phrase “Import and Export” in relation to “Integration with your favorite email and calendar clients” leads me to conclude the integration is not done correctly. But – I’d be delighted to be shown otherwise. Atlassian?

2(a). Update on June 30. Atlassian confirmed that calendars have to be exported in iCal format, and imported into Outlook or other desktop clients. See Exporting Team Calendars Content to Other Calendars. “Better” integration, such as CalDAV, may come in the future. Thanks to Matt from Atlassian for the insight.

3. Note that Microsoft does not get team-aware calendaring right in either SharePoint 2007 nor SharePoint 2010. Yes it’s possible to create team-specific calendars, but the integration with Outlook is to a separate PST file, so (a) Exchange can’t see them for free-busy search, and (b) mobile devices can’t see the SharePoint calendared events.

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