Wiki and the Enterprise

December 4, 2006

Alan recently wrote why he is sceptic about Wikis in the enterprise .

My view of Wiki has been completely different. Yes – people used to call me geek, but now that I am no longer one, I still find myself using Wikis.

Here are some good example of how enterprises benefit or may benefit from Wikis

– Help: It makes a lot of sense to write help in a wiki. Users – when they are pained by the system – discover how to make it work. I have tried it and it works. The user community just has to be large enough

– Policies and procedures: While policies and procedures are not a good candidates for being edited by users, it is a good idea to have a comments page associated with it, where users could elaborate or give examples. I havent tried this so I dont know if it will work.

– Collaborative content creation: Wikis also provide a good platform for writing these Policies and procedures in the begining.

My own company preaches practitioner driven processes and is experimenting with re-writing process using a Wiki, and I am keenly waiting to see if it gets adopted.  However, there is a catch. Its not that good if we need to have diagrams and graphics.

Handbooks, group bookmarks and other updatable team info: I am in software industry, and we have something called as “developers handbook”. This is like a quick reference telling us about where things are and the steps for getting things done.  This needs quick updates ( For example, the URL of the latest release keeps on changing). Wikis form a good place to host them.

Wikis do have a use ( probably not as much as we geeks think and the vendors think) and is a powerful answer to many questions yet to be asked by the next generation of organizations having distributed headoffices and distributed teams.

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