10 tips for using Stack Overflow for Teams

We’ve curated ten of the most frequently asked questions about Stack Overflow for Teams to save you time and get your team up and running faster.

We’ve curated ten of the most frequently asked questions about Stack Overflow for Teams to save you time and get your team up and running faster.

User adoption

How do I encourage Stack Overflow for Teams adoption?

To encourage your team to adopt Stack Overflow for Teams, lay a solid foundation for engagement and growth by following these tried and tested best practices:

Identify the most impactful use cases

Pinpointing a use case from the get-go can help rally adoption around that use case and make it easier to articulate the value to stakeholders. Some common use cases include encouraging collaboration and preventing knowledge loss during a cloud migration or business transformation, expediting onboarding, driving InnerSource adoption, and documenting knowledge during a release or cybersecurity incident.

Make it easy for teams to contribute

The lower the barrier, the more willing users will be to engage. That is why it is critical to introduce relevant notifications and integrations, like Slack and Microsoft Teams, early on so Stack Overflow is embedded in team workflows. Organically seeding some initial content also allows users to immediately start consuming knowledge so they feel more comfortable contributing additional knowledge.

Have a launch communication plan

When you’ve determined an initial use case, set up integrations, and seeded some content, it’s time to launch! Launches can fall flat if the timing, communication channels, messaging, and audiences are not well thought out. A launch should create excitement and provide your team with the resources they need to adopt Stack Overflow for Teams. Here is a sample launch communication plan that you can use.

Ask Stack Overflow fans to evangelize

Stack Overflow fans are your best advocates because they’re already familiar with the format and are probably excited to launch an internal version of Stack Overflow at your company. These users can nudge other users to ask questions in Stack Overflow for Teams instead of chat or email. They can also help educate the rest of your team by modeling how to add, organize, and update content.

Incorporate into onboarding and training

Many Stack Overflow for Teams customers use it to expedite new employee onboarding. Create an “onboarding” tag that organizes all onboarding-related questions and share it in new employee training. Some examples of questions include “How do I set up my local dev environment?” and “What is the process for submitting time-off requests?” but you will quickly think of others specific to your team!

Be creative and make it your own

At Stack Overflow, our CEO sends out a weekly newsletter that recognizes employees with the most reputation points. However, your company’s culture is unique, so be creative about how you drive engagement. Question and answer challenges (check out the Code Golf Stack Exchange site for inspiration), lunch and learns, and internal tech events are other great ways to drive adoption.

How should my team set up notifications?

We offer flexible notification settings that put your team in control of when, where, and what knowledge they’re notified of. To ensure notifications are helpful and not causing unnecessary interruptions, consider the following questions:

  • What projects do I own or actively participate in?
  • What projects and tools impact my team?
  • How often do I visit our Stack Overflow for Teams site?
  • What notification channel do I prefer: email, chat, or both?
  • Am I a subject matter expert at my company?

How you answer these questions should inform your notification settings. For example, your projects will inform the tags you use to filter notifications. Also, how frequently you visit your site and whether or not you’re a domain expert will inform notification cadence and channels. Take a look at this article for more tips on setting up notifications.

Asking and answering questions

What are best practices for asking a question?

Here are some quick tips for asking a good question:

  1. Summarize the problem as a title. Keep it interesting and limit it to one sentence.
  2. Start the title with the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When, Why (or How).
  3. Fully explain the problem in the question body. Be sure to include how you encountered the problem and difficulties you ran into along the way.
  4. Proofread before posting. Check to make sure you didn’t miss anything.
  5. For more tips check out this article and the Help Center.

What if no one answers my question?

When a Stack Overflow for Teams question goes unanswered, it’s typically due to one of four reasons: low visibility, knowledge gaps, question structure, or lack of follow-up.

Reason Questions to troubleshoot
Low visibility
  • Does the question have the right tag(s) and are the right subject matter experts subscribed or assigned to those tag(s)? If not, subject matter experts will not be notified when a new question is asked for their tag(s).
  • Are notifications configured for the relevant Microsoft Teams or Slack channels? Tag-based notifications make questions more visible to the relevant teams.
Knowledge gaps
  • Are you asking the right subject matter expert or team?
  • Do the right people and teams have access to Stack Overflow for Teams?
  • Has there recently been turnover of tenured employees who possess this knowledge?
  • Does the question pertain to a new product, process, or team? If so, there might not be a good answer yet.
Question structure
  • Is the question formatted clearly and concisely?
  • Is the question too broad or specific?
Lack of follow-up
  • Was the question answered outside of Stack Overflow for Teams? If so, you should try to capture this knowledge so it can be accessed and reused by the rest of your team.

When should I post a question vs. an article?

Questions and answers are intended to be captured and updated collaboratively, so they are great for seeking solutions, ideas, and input on problems that you’re experiencing. Even if you think there is only one solution to your question, you may find that others have different perspectives and even better solutions, which is great for sparking innovation!

On the other hand, Articles (available on Business and Enterprise) should be used to capture knowledge for a release, project, or initiative in a format that makes it easier to consume, like an announcement, how-to guide, or policy. Also, if you don’t want the content to be edited, then it should be posted as an article since other users can’t edit unless they have permission.

Both content types use tags, are indexed in search, and can be added to collections (available on Business and Enterprise).

Knowledge management

How do I organize my knowledge?

We suggest using tags to organize your knowledge by topics specific to your team or company. Tags are keywords or phrases that categorize knowledge so that it’s easier to organize and find. How you curate tags sets an expectation for the types of knowledge that should be shared, which can include topics ranging from technology to human resources to finance. This guide shares tag management tips.

Business and Enterprise customers can also use collections to group content spanning multiple tags, time periods, or content types for specific use cases.

How do I keep my knowledge up-to-date and useful?

Knowledge management in Stack Overflow for Teams is a team effort. Our most successful customers ask Stack Overflow advocates to model good knowledge management behavior by editing content and tags, but the gamification also empowers your entire team to contribute and upvote helpful content. To proactively keep knowledge useful and reduce clutter, the Ask a Question Wizard automatically suggests similar questions as you’re drafting a new one.

Business and Enterprise customers can use Content Health to streamline content audits. Content Health programmatically surfaces content that might be outdated and offers other capabilities that make it easier to verify and update content. Some customers saw that after 90 days of using Content Health, there was a 600 percent increase in monthly editing activity.

Integrations and other tools

What integrations and APIs are available?

Stack Overflow for Teams has out-of-the-box integrations with Microsoft Teams, Slack, GitHub, Jira, and Okta. Customers also use the Stack Overflow for Teams API to index knowledge in their company portals and applications, measure engagement trends, migrate content, build chatbots, and more.

Can questions and answers be imported in bulk?

On the Business and Enterprise plans, tags can be imported via a CSV file and questions and answers can be imported via the Stack Overflow for Teams API. However, many of our customers find that copying and pasting frequently asked questions and other content directly into Stack Overflow for Teams works best.

If you have a dedicated Customer Success Manager, they are your best resource for developing a content migration strategy.

How does Stack Overflow for Teams work with Confluence?

You can add relevant Confluence links to questions, answers, and articles. Many of our customers use Stack Overflow for Teams alongside Confluence for several reasons:

  • The question and answer format is familiar, flexible, and easy-to-use
  • The simple tagging structure makes knowledge sharing and discovery more seamless
  • Features like gamification encourage teams to contribute and access knowledge in a single place, leading to more collaboration and less knowledge silos
  • Content can be added both proactively for large projects, releases, or initiatives and reactively to address questions, problems, and knowledge gaps
  • Built-in community and usage insights help identify, reward, and recognize domain experts within a team or company
  • The Jira integration allows you to access questions and answers related to a ticket for more context and clarity

If you’re moving content from Confluence into Stack Overflow for Teams, we suggest prioritizing content that’s up-to-date and relevant to your tagging strategy.