Wiki adoption – Think of a context first…

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Many a times; just because the whole world is going the wiki way, organizations start a wiki initiative and put a wiki in there and say — let’s use it. Many a time it doesn’t work..

Every organization, team, function, or unit needs to first identify the context’s in which Wiki will be used and what needs it will satisfy. In short, you need to answer ‘Why do you want to use Wiki’; and generalities won’t do here. You need to be precise and identify the scenario’s , the context in which your team will use the wiki. Saying that we wil use wiki for ‘collaboration’ just won’t do. Ok.. collaboration for what?

Whatever be the context, say a place to list all the SoP [standard operating procedures] , glossary of terms, cheat sheets, place for sharing infrastructure details, contact details of team members, list of modules within a project and roles & responsibilities, release notes, installation procedures… etc etc..

If you identify even the basic 2-3 scenario’s, the contexts in which your wiki will be used, and then make them work… then wiki adoption will be easy..

Why Wikipedia is the biggest threat to Organizational Wiki Adoption

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Strange as it may sound, I believe that Wikipedia is one of the biggest ‘threat’ or issue when rolling out a wiki initiative in an organization.

I was at KAMP — a KM unconference and asked the partcipants on how many used Wikipedia as a refence, as an example for introducing Wiki to people within an organization. Almost all raised their hands and agreed.

What’s wrong with that.. you may think.. well what’s happening here is that you are sending a subtle message to people that it is a Wikipedia equivalent that we are trying to build within an organization and people seem confused on why would you want to do that.

KM professionals need to stress the ‘underlying principles’ of Wikipedia more that wikipedia itself when trying to start a wiki initiative and clearly mention that we will be using these principles to use the power of wiki in our organizational context.

So my advice to people is.. beware when you use Wikipedia as an example of wiki..

This is the presentation i used to illustrate some key ponts we need to be aware of while rolling out a wiki initiative