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  • Intranet Book: Simplifying Validation Processes with a Wiki
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We have already considered the general benefits of setting up a corporate wiki. How meaningful this tool is, is made particularly evident in complex decision-making processes. This is mainly due to the natural formation of a semantic network. In our company, our wiki is already well established and its use has become a habit.

We work on the initial document first, but very soon new pages are created that cover other aspects. It also happens that people (mainly for reasons of clarity and readability) outsource existing content to new pages. This creates an increasingly dense semantic network that follows a sequence that is intuitively understandable. What people have laboriously attempted to do with Google Docs and Word 365 using elaborate folder structures works easily in a wiki with a kind of parent-sibling relationship between superordinate and subordinate pages. It is also easy to connect pages using links. It works in exactly the same way as with websites and is just as practical. 

So, no fibbing now: have you ever tried setting up a link between two documents in Word, Excel or PowerPoint? I told you so! The option is available, but ungainly to use, which is why nobody ever does. In a wiki, however, this is a common and frequently used tool. A positive side effect of this is that authors can make individual pages much more modular, shorter and more compact. Observing the page is also easier. If you think back to how you used to have several people managing, editing, and maintaining a 150-page Word document, you would think differently about it today, right? In a wiki, this feels normal and uncomplicated. 

Word documents and Google Docs (especially if they are large) usually have dedicated managers and owners who maintain and prepare their own documents. In contrast, shared ownership is quickly created with wiki pages, which means that topics develop more dynamically, sustainably, and continuously. 

This is extremely valuable for a company. Especially when it comes to topics as comprehensive as ISO certification, having a natural and federal structure where everyone can contribute quickly and easily with a high level of energy is really helpful. What I also like a lot is that everyone can make a small change and be sure that the notifications sent out to observers result in a corresponding validation process kicking in. 

Quality Through Formal Validation Processes 

In areas where this validation needs to be more formal and perhaps even obligatory, you can also use a mandatory workflow to ensure that changes are kept in the background at first and are not immediately visible to everyone. The audited and released version then remains at the front until the overall approval process has been completed and a new and official version of the page exists. With their tasks and automatic escalations, extensions to the workflow like these also help to ensure that the formal process is actually lived. 

I’m not a fan of rules. But when it comes to an ISO-certified quality manual, it is certainly a good idea. Auditors also like to see this as well, because a structured and clear audit log book can be generated via the workflow. 

But I wanted to talk about our internal coordination process. Good, because we’ve done a lot of work on the wiki document. We discussed things and maybe even got together to coordinate things here and there to clear up any differences. That all worked fine and now we have a concept that we would like to give to the organization in this form for reconciliation. 

Simplifying Decisions by Using Wiki Templates 

The next step involves making a decision and prioritizing it on our portfolio board. To do so, we use a decision template in Confluence. Atlassian has already prepared something for this purpose and has even documented it on the internet. Simply google “Atlassian Playbook.” We’ve refined this a bit further in-house and are using a customized blueprint template that we created with Blueprint Creator, a pretty practical Confluence add-on. 

The advantage of a template like this is that documents of the same type (in our ISO certification case, it is a decision that will have consequences for the further development of the company) are always prepared in the same way. For example, if our team responsible for prioritization determines that a certain key figure or format is valuable for the prioritization process, it can be integrated directly into the template. If I now want to prepare a specific decision concerning the ISO certification process, I open the template and in doing so automatically receive help and instructions for preparing the required details. All of the necessary information is included in the template in advance. This is really nice because it saves me the time and effort of thinking and I don’t forget anything important. 

It is also helpful for employees who are not initially involved to use templates like these, because they are displayed in a list and they can easily access them. This allows them to find out what status a decision has on the fly. 

Atlassian, the producer of Confluence, has given itself and its internal teams a motto which says, “there is no decision for which a DACI does not exist.” DACI is the acronym for “Driver,” “Approver,” “Contributors” and “Informed” and answers the following questions: who introduced the topic and why? Who has contributed to it? Who decides? Who needs to be informed? The Atlassian Team Playbook website writes up and explains the DACI concept very well (also see https://seibert.biz/atlassiandaci). As I said before, you can find it quickly by googling it. It suffices for us to know at this point that it provides everyone with all the important background information required for making a decision. 

This is an extremely effective cure against rumors being spread around the company: Everyone knows about the decisions that are being discussed, their status, and what has actually been decided. 

We have adapted this approach in the company to prioritize the investment issues we are working on. 

So, if I want to progress with my ISO certification story, I have to go through this process. That requires some effort. As managing director, I sometimes secretly wish that I could just announce my decision. But what is supposedly simple is neither simple nor effective in the end. Think about the Japanese concept of “nemawashi” or “caring for the grass roots.” If everyone really participates, everything can be implemented much better and faster. 

If everyone has the opportunity to get involved, their concerns are heard and they can clearly present their arguments, studies, documents, key figures, and other information to sway opinion, and it will be easier for them to accept it when the company decides to take an alternative route nonetheless.


Link to this page: https://seibert.biz/intranetbookvalidationprocess


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