Genuine Curiosity

Author Dwayne Melancon is always on the lookout for new things to learn. An ecclectic collection of postings on personal productivity, travel, good books, gadgets, leadership & management, and many other things.


Wiki, wiki. Smooth and sticky.

Just read Bren’s post on wikis and, as usual, it fit in well with discussions I’ve been having with customers recently (Bren and I tend to hear similar siren songs at the same time, it seems). 
I have been recommending the use of wikis for internal projects and cross-functional collaboration within IT operations teams, and had just read the same article Bren did on Lifehacker about using wikis for business.

If you are a wiki fan, check out Bren’s post for some good ideas on preventing obsolete or stale information.

If you are unfamiliar with what a “wiki” is, it’s a web-based platform for dynamic, open collaboration.  People can invent new topics, add to / mark up / correct other people’s topics, and do all sorts of cool things to share information.

Where I work, we use it for a lot of things, but the highest leverage we get is to share information about the software we create.  This includes everything from feature discussions, design collaboration, sharing of customer use cases, collecting information about products and platforms we integrate with, and a whole mess of other topics.

We also use it to track development cycles and product release status, so that everyone can have a unified view of the successes and challenges at every step of the way.  Pretty cool (and empowering) stuff.

As Bren mentions, wikis can seem pretty arcane (I sometimes hear descriptions like ugly, clunky, geeky, or Spartan).  When you first jump in, it can feel like the wild, wild west.  The goal of the wiki is not prettiness – it’s to offer an efficient, effective way of presenting, sharing, and interacting with information in a multi-user environment.

That said, wikis can be pretty, too. If you want to see some good examples of wiki done right, check out:
GTD Wiki

If you're considering using a wiki for your business, PC Magazine has a great feature on "Working Together With Wikis" that is worth a read.