Why Wiki?

Posted by Brett Young | Friday, November 14, 2008 | | 0 comments »

Ray Sim's Learning Connections blog posted one of the best wiki use case lists I've seen. In addition to those on Ray's list, I thought of a couple more. I came away from the exercise with the sense that it is possible to do almost anything in a wiki, whether it was the best tool or not. It goes back to the idea that if there's nothing in your toolbox other than a hammer, then you'll try to fix everything with a hammer. That being said, I think the following list has some creative and interesting use cases:

  • The Wikipedia use case: "community creates consensus-based truth regarding a particular topic."
  • Documenting a business process (step by step instructions) — either as an initial draft for what is later to be "locked-down" in a document form (e.g. as required by government regulations), or not.
  • Sharing tips and personal experiences related to a business process that is documented elsewhere.
  • Creating a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to support a software application or business process.
  • Creating a glossary of terms that are specific to the project or company.
  • Creating a "portal" to commonly used resources within a team or community, e.g. frequently used URLs to applications, documentation, contact information, etc.
  • Creating a bibliography of team/community member's reading that they found valuable for the project or topic.
  • Preparing for a face-to-face or virtual event. Gathering participant input (e.g. proposing and finalizing agenda topics) and defining logistics for the event (e.g. when participants flights land, arranging car-pooling to the venue, selecting dinner locations, etc.)
  • Supporting weekly (or other periodic) face-to-face meetings. For example, conference room(s), phone numbers, facilitation assignments, agenda, minutes, etc.
  • Augmenting live conversation, e.g. taking jointly visible notes during a virtual meeting — either as part of a web conferencing solution, or independently.
  • Maintaining a "lab or project notebook" to share across shifts (teams working different hours on the same project) and/or physical locations.
  • Collaborative writing - For example, user documentation, proposals, policies, etc.
  • Collaborating on product or solution development including design, features, and technical specifications.
  • Disaster management site – Real-time communication and coordination of recovery efforts.
  • Strategic Marketing / Competitor Information - Document marketing strategies, results of market research and comprehensive information and analyses of competitors and link them to supplementary information – before, during and after the product launch.
  • Knowledge-base or support site – support questions, issues, solutions, how-to guides. comprehensive documentation of so-called ad hoc expertise to assemble a network of unstructured knowledge, for example, of specialist knowledge about corporate processes, guidelines, recurring organizational processes, checklists, etc.

Let me know your thoughts on these use cases and if you've encountered others.

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