Wikis are very useful for organizing information between groups of people. If you want a really good, quick, “get up to speed” tutorial on wikis, watch this movie by Common Craft. The thing is, once you’re sold on this, you’ve gotta determine when and why to use a wiki in your workplace? What value can they bring? How will you engage your team? Here are some thoughts:
Operations Guides– As fast as you can put down information on what to do in a certain situation at work, it changes. Right? “If the A server goes down, reboot the router.” No… scribble, scribble… Manuals are dead. If I owned a wiki company, I’d sell tee shirts that said “paper is dead.” Wiki-fy your operations manuals (and sure, print them once a month to keep an offline copy, should power go out).
Dashboard– There are better calendering options out there, especially for group projects, but a wiki can be a great FOCUS TOOL for upcoming events. If you’ve got the kind of business that works on deadlines, and on projects, it’s a great way to put a kind of “dashboard” that shows deadlines, things to focus on, and maybe key contacts/resources for that time frame.
Water Cooler– In the world of telecommuting, there becomes a need for telecommunity. Throw up an employee-driven wiki page for stuff for sale, outside-of-work events, and other items. It becomes a great way to keep people connected outside of the email stream. (Which is kind of the point of wikis).
Fact and FAQ Lists– I find wikis are a great way to share all the easy things you need over and over again. For instance, what’s that command that lets you pipe the output of a query right into a MySQL database? Put a line in the wiki showing that info. Did you switch suppliers? Put a reminder on the fact sheet. Want to gather up product resources quickly with links? Wikis are great for it.
Making Plans– Wikis are excellent ways to build up a project for either inside or outside of work. In the workplace, wikis can be a great place to get the brainstorming down, and then maybe to a second edit before committing the information to a more formal project plan. Wiki as whiteboard, I’m suggesting. I think this makes for a quick way to get lots of ideas thrown together. Imagine gathering around a conference call with everyone working on the same wiki. It’s like getting the whiteboard notes without that extra step of copying. Maybe not as easy as a mind-map, but definitely another way to capture points for planning.
And what about you? What are some ways you can envision (or have successfully implemented) in the workplace?