This is our wiki book. Don’t be put off by the ugly cover! It may be a few years old now, especially for our fast-paced IT world, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it, because it holds a bevy of ideas that are still gems. Yes, of course, you’re welcome to keep the copy.
Source file for the book: https://seibert.biz/wikibuch
In any case, the book contains a section with 66 reasons for setting up a company wiki. If you like, we can pick up on the most important arguments and possible uses described there, go through them and update them at the same time.
By doing so, I’d like to sharpen your understanding of the fact that using a wiki in your organization is not meant to keep to a manageable number of ready-made situations, but it can be useful in thousands of different ways in countless merging scenarios.
From my experience, this knowledge is one of the hardest of all nuts to crack when introducing a wiki to a company. It’s a little bit like introducing a tool, but not yet knowing exactly what it will be used for. And it’s even more difficult for your employees: I’m supposed to find this new piece of software without knowing when, how, and what I’ll use it for in the future? We want to resolve this situation and unravel it.
Here are the best of our 66 examples:
A wiki helps you to record the results of a project and what you’ve learned from it and make it available to other people in your organization. This stops you from repeating mistakes and fosters organizational learning. In situations where you were on your own in the past when writing texts and concepts, you now have the chance to work and think in unison with a whole group of other people. And not just at the same time like in a meeting, but asynchronously over many days or weeks, without anyone getting the feeling that they’ve lost control of the progress the document is making.
If you’ve already introduced a quality management system at your company or perhaps would like to (e.g. according to ISO), a wiki represents a modern and helpful basis for doing so, primarily for quickly and practically creating and maintaining the technical basis of the certification process, and also to subject the individual documents and processes to a revision-proof workflow.
You can map existing manuals (for example, for your products) on a one-to-one basis or transfer them to the wiki as native content and enhance them further using collaborative functions and workflows. I’m convinced that you won’t find a better and more fitting place than a wiki when it comes to quality management and manuals.
A wiki allows you to record ideas in a centrally accessible repository, collect them in one place, and discuss them together. This represents a great way to complement, extend, and improve your brainstorming sessions.
A wiki allows you to create and manage other forms of documentation as well, because lots of small changes to your daily agenda take place on them. The versioning and control options a wiki offers fit perfectly. Other applications include tutorials (incl. videos) and instructions, FAQs (questions and answers), and everything that needs to be looked up. You can even use it to store, manage, and conveniently search proprietary documents.
News Clippings/Competition Monitoring
Several of our customers use their wiki for corporate communication processes such as news clippings: for example, where is my company mentioned in the press or on the internet? Even aspects like monitoring and analyzing the competition can be organized well in a wiki.
You can not only set all of the relevant permissions required for any choice of report in a wiki, but also prepare them in multimedia format so that they’re dynamic and offer additional context and facilitate discussion. Many of our customers prepare website content together in a wiki.
A wiki is often used for an extranet because it’s so well suited to project management and reference work. (We’ll come back to this in a moment! (See: “Inner Loop, Outer Loop, Extranet”))
Modern wikis offer native options for creating and using diagrams and charts. For example, flowcharts are perfect for the centralized documentation of IT infrastructures or visualizing a software architecture.
Preparing and Storing Templates
Wikis are very good at supporting the preparation and storage of templates of all kinds. These can be instances of communication, such as email signatures, letterheads, and letter layouts, or presentation templates. A wiki is superior to many other systems here too in combining small and rapid changes, and in versioning and simple monitoring. File previews, where you don’t have to open the individual templates, have always proven to be extremely time saving and efficient.
Glossaries and Lexicons
The use of a wiki as an internal glossary and lexicon goes back to the roots of all wikis in the original Wikipedia system. No one could ever doubt that a wiki is well suited as a reference for technical terms in the company. The Wikipedia model is one of the most successful in the world for websites.
Some of our customers use wikis to provide links and interesting sources for internet research in the form of thematically organized lists.
Presenting Departments, Business Units, and/or Services
The presentation of departments, business units, and/or internal services is a simple and practical way of using a wiki, especially in intranet-related applications. The many options available for formatting here offer editors great freedom of design. A wiki system supports many stakeholders making quick and easy changes, while allowing a departmental head, for example, to remain in control at all times.
Standardization Through Templates
Our customers use template software in the wiki in Confluence wherever a certain level of standardization is required by using templates, and not only for presenting departments and internal offerings or services (see “Adil Nasri: Templates on Intranets”)
Jointly Drafting Contracts
A wiki represents a suitable long-term solution for jointly drafting contracts and their amendments. I admit that most organizations are more likely to draw up their contracts in Word or Google Docs, which work just as well and even better when it comes to the expressive form. However, when the documents are very large and subjected to repeated amendment over a long period, a wiki does have some advantages. For example, you can split content into smaller, “more digestible” parts and paste them back together again later.
We frequently and intensively use campaign plans in table form in blog articles and social media posts. The responsible teams or departments plan their campaigns in external publications here.
A wiki demonstrates its strengths particularly when it comes to tables that a lot of employees make changes to. Google Spreadsheets and Excel Online do, of course, offer options as well these days for working together on spreadsheets. However, these are limited to pure text only, while modern wikis allow for rich, multimedia content. It’s possible to upload images or different formats such as PDF documents and embed them directly. You can also work using formatting, headings, and links inside cells. We use tables to organize feedback lists, opinions, bug overviews, and much more.
The figures for our company as well as the goals and vision of our organization can be accessed and found at any time using our wiki.
We often use wiki pages to spontaneously update order lists that have little structure. We have a structured ordering process as well, of course. However, when people want to order pizzas during a hackathon, they simply write down what they want on a wiki page that’s been quickly set up.
Customer Training Courses
We document everything for our customer training courses in our wiki and make them available to all our employees. We also store other internal and external training documents in our wiki so colleagues can access them later and perhaps use them for their own training purposes.
The onboarding of new employees is an important topic for us and many of our customers. Onboarding involves newcomers finding their way around the company as quickly as possible and allowing them to begin adding value quickly. Good onboarding ensures that the period of induction is kept short and that newcomers then receive the competent support they need (see “Onboarding with Our Intergalactic Flight Plan”). Knowledge and basics help a lot in this. Much of this basic knowledge is the same for all employees – you should definitely map this part on the intranet. Information specific to different departments, units, and areas may also exist.
The lunch menu for the next week or the daily menu from your cafeteria probably represents the most requested information in any company. What we actually want on projects is for employees to have an order template for their food that’s digital and has smart support. In reality, however, most consist of PDF documents supplied by a caterer. It’s precisely this static information and the frequent changes made to it that can be displayed on a wiki. And thanks to automatic change notifications, you immediately find out when the cafeteria has posted a new menu.
We also use our wiki for what we refer to as “track records.” This is what we call lists and tables that detail the successes, for example, of marketing and sales. Marketing could list the marketing measures carried out with data and the hoped-for effects in the track record. We use these lists to compare successes in our track record for sales so as to correlate them with our marketing activities. This is particularly interesting when you only have a few successes to celebrate, which are all the more important, however. The popping of champagne corks will only have just faded away when the first questions come flooding in asking when we’re going to repeat the success. Finding a good answer to this is usually very difficult. That said, however, lists of work results like these from different departments help to build a plausible story that can form the basis for further hypotheses and experiments. A wiki is particularly well suited for track records like these, because it’s transparent and can be easily seen by everyone in the company. Also, any number of people can work on the data and content at any time.
Norms, Standards, and Regulations
If a company works in the automotive industry, norms, standards, and regulations make up part of their day-to-day working life. Many of our customers use a wiki to document these requirements systematically and clearly, and make them available to others. In this context, it’s helpful when users can search not only the native content, but the file attachments too.
A wiki represents the perfect platform for works councils and staff representatives to notify the entire workforce at a company. One of the most pernicious but superfluous problems (or rather misunderstandings) on intranet projects is that the project management team and executive management perceive the works council as an opponent. This is something we’ve already discussed (see “Establish Broad Support – Before You Start”). This is why we should briefly remind ourselves at this point that an intranet platform represents an ideal basis for presentation and communication from employee representatives. The works council will certainly be able to use the wiki to help fulfill its function. Whether this potential was preceded by conflict with the works council or not changes nothing. And if you’re striving to achieve better cooperation and more transparency with your intranet, you should tolerate and allow your works council to publish content on it. It represents a valuable source of information from your employees’ perspective.
If you don’t (yet) offer digital forms on your intranet, you can maintain and link existing PDFs for download and completion. We frequently see that happening on projects for corporations. Sometimes, PDF forms like these are also needed for communicating with customers.
Intranet User Guide
Last but not least, as a suggestion, don’t forget a guide to using your intranet platform, which you and your team can create bit-by-bit in the wiki and then export to different formats (e.g. as a PDF or an e-book).
Link to this page: https://seibert.biz/intranetbookapplications
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