Resolved: Improve Wiki Use in 2010

Ann All

Along with all of my usual New Year's resolutions, like getting more exercise and practicing better time management, I think I'll resolve to use the company wiki more in 2010.


I wrote about how little our wiki gets used back in August, and followed up with a post in October that related the positive experiences of several organizations using wikis. It bothers me that the IT Business Edge wiki is so neglected, since I think wikis just inherently make sense, even for a small company like ours.


Maybe IT Business Edge can use some of the suggestions offered by Stewart Mader on his Future Changes blog, home to some of the consistently best writing on collaboration, and especially wikis, that I've seen. In a clever nod to the holidays, he recently posted a series of short videos called the 21 days of wiki adoption. The entire series can be viewed in half an hour, and Mader covers a wide spectrum of topics, including ensuring data security, writing a wiki policy and setting up meeting minutes and agendas on a wiki.


Several of his suggestions stand out for me. I like his advice for Day Five, hold a barn raising. He likens it to the events that took place in the 19th and early 20th centuries in which folks would get together to build something that would be useful to the entire community. Only instead of cows, this barn houses collaboration.


I think this would have been helpful at IT Business Edge. Hopefully we can revisit the idea. Wikis "live and die on the entire community participating," he says, so it's useful to bring everyone together so wiki duties don't get handed off to one or two people. He suggests having the group decide together how a wiki should be initially used, which should increase the chances of folks sticking with it.


I also like his discussion on incentives and recognition, on Day 20. In addition to offering physical perks like a gift card, Mader thinks it's a good idea to have senior leadership recognize wiki stars at an all-company meeting or video conference. People will feel more comfortable with a wiki if they know senior management is aware of it and encouraging it. He also suggests building recognition for wiki use into job descriptions and employee evaluations. While he acknowledges this can be "tricky," he says recognizing employees' knowledge contributions is an important signal you think of them as knowledge workers.


I might have called it a show-and-tell instead of a science fair, but I like Mader's mention on Day 21 of an event -- modeled on those from our student days -- during which folks throughout an organization share with each other what they are doing on a wiki. It's a great way to foster new ideas, he says.


I hope my wiki resolution goes better than my resolution to get my house more organized. On a trip to IKEA yesterday, organizational overload left me looking a lot like this guy.

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Jan 8, 2010 2:38 AM Stefan Kleineikenscheidt Stefan Kleineikenscheidt  says:

In my experience it helps a lot if wikis are not introduced/marketed as wikis, but rather as a solution for real needs.  E.g.

  • for creating and maintaining project documentation,

  • an intranet with information like company policies, org-charts, etc.

  • discussion board

This helps people to know what they can/should contribute.

All the best for 2010 and your wiki! 


K15t Software,


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