Do you Wiki?

So, I’ve got just over two weeks to pull together the various threads of thought that are floating around in my head into a cohesive presentation on how Wikis can be used for collaboration.

Part of the presentation will focus on some social engineering tips to foster usage, and, ultimately, the pitch is that a Wiki can replace the email/document cycle.

I’ve got a fair idea of the content, but I’d be interested to know if any of you use a Wiki on a regular basis and, if you do, what you use it for?

Also, anyone near Warwick? I’ll probably not have much time – I travel down on the 20th November and will be attending the pre-conference dinner, the conference is on the 21st, and I’m travelling back up on the 22nd (Tues, Wed and Thurs respectively). Will probably only really be free on the Thurs morning to be honest but, if anyone is around, let me know. Even if it’s just to hook up for a coffee.

Anyway, Wiki thoughts please.

9 comments

  1. You bet I wiki. I use it for planning and the staff uses it for passing on information and keeping in touch with what is going on around the school. I also use it for students to hand in work and post different information about assignments they are doing. I find that the wiki is so easy to use and so easy to get others to use. If you want examples you can look at the staff wiki at http://www.ecsstaff.pbwiki.com to see how we use it. A wiki I use last year for a class is at http://www.social907.pbwiki.com. My planning wiki and other wikis that I use are private. I believe that the staff wiki is a very good example of how one can be used to negate the amount of email that passes back and forth and how it helps our teachers know what is going on around the school. Let me know if there is anything else with which I can help you.

  2. I run a wiki for our 12-15 strong team. Started it around 2 years ago as we were switching from our Unix based CAD tool to a brand new cad tool on PC’s. Instead of each of us using our own note books, tips files etc we use the wiki to supplement the official documentation. It’s great for capturing little nuggets of information and also at finding that information quickly.

    We also use it as a way of capturing changes to our server environments. Allows us to easily see what changed when and who done it. Also it’s not just one person that knows whats changed – anybody in the team can access the information.

    Although it can take longer to enter the content at first, edit’s are a lot quicker and finding information is also quicker/easier. Bigger benefit for me is that we are sharing information amongst ourselves and thats something we’ve not found easy to do in the past. I don’t really know why but some of the older team members liked keeping their own notes rather than sharing their knowledge with others. The wiki has helped but it did take a long time to get the team interested.

    Roll out was difficult and in the first few months it was only me really using it but by putting all my content in first, getting the site organised and set-up for our needs and showing the benefits of it, others in the team started to use it and now it is an important tool for us. Specifically regarding replacing e-mail, I will now e-mail the team links to wiki content rather than e-mailing everyone a copy of the content. We’ve still not got to the point of people checking the wiki for updates although I’m looking into how to make it easier for content owners to subscribe to relevant pages and see changes that have taken place that may affect them. Slowly we are getting there!

    At the moment it won’t replace our process and user guides but as it evolves I don’t see why it shouldn’t as for some of the content it’s becoming a cut and paste job from wiki to officially published documentation on our intranet. Also as our team is a mix of engineering and IT skills, the content is of a very technical nature which I think is ideal for wiki’s – makes it easy to follow steps, insert code snippets etc which isn’t always as easy to follow from notes.

  3. Our company have a wiki for everything from project status info to various howto guides and so on. Here’s some random, disjointed wiki observations.

    – If someone wants to make information easily available, the wiki is the first choice they usually make.
    – A lot of the daily updates tend to be little tweaks that people make as they use the info.
    – Having said that, a lot of the information is out of date.
    – Wiki + Company google box = really really useful.
    – Occasionally the wiki becomes a place where anyone with a twitch about describing best practices can create a full description of their own preferred way. Our un-reviewed wiki works surprisingly well but it’s worth watching what goes into it to guard against people setting bad advice in stone.
    – I don’t know of anything other than the wiki software that we use, but wiki markup notation is really really crap and hard to use. Maybe that’s just because I’m familiar with HTML. In-place editing on our company wiki is a wonderful dream and would encourage people to update more often. Choice of wiki software must make things as easy as possible for people.

  4. Not currently, but I used to play with it quite a bit at my previous employer. It was still very new then, but the word spread through “word of mouth marketing” and it kind of snowballed from there.

    If you haven’t come across it yet you might want to google for intelpedia (That kind of gives away which company it was ;-)) and for Josh Bancroft (he was the driving force behind it, you can probably contact him via his blog, he’s usually quite open to share)

  5. We use a wiki called Confluence for our company documentation.

    http://www.atlassian.com/software/confluence/

    Each project has it’s own section. Here we include everything from system architecture documents, user guides, requirements documents, timelines, project status, release details, promotion instructions, meeting minutes, etc. Pretty much everything. Some of it is added inline, and some of it included as attached documents.

    We also have other sections for administration (timesheet and travel expense outlines, shopping lists, etc), our development process (such as how to set up your development environment, what programs, detailed instruction guides, etc), interesting reads (new technologies, good practice guides), and everything else we need to share.

    It has a handy feed of everything that gets updated and shows who updated it (and which part of the document they updated). You can reach it and log in from anywhere too, so you’re never stuck without an important document.

    I definitely prefer this to just having documents spread out on a network somewhere. It’s easier to keep track of everything.

    I’m also considering using TiddlyWiki as a personal wiki, to keep track of everything in my life. We’ll see, though.

  6. I’m near Warwick! But we may or may not have moved by then, so that’s not particularly useful is it?

    As for Wikis, ermm…can’t help really. Sorry.

    Can I have bonus points for most useless comment of the day?

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