New entrants to the social media sphere are getting their feet wet, googly-eyed while sorting through the hype and determining what to leverage and how.
For business communicators keen on emerging web-based technologies and their various applications to existing processes within the enterprise, a good starting point would be to look at how wikis (not blogs) are being leveraged for internal collaboration, particularly when managing projects involving several players in a team.
This post is geared to help familiarize communicators with the potential of using wikis as a collaborative tool within their organization.
Blogs vs. Wikis
Blogs are great vehicles for enhancing external marketing and communications efforts, managing brand awareness/reputation, improving lead generation, etc.
Wikis, on the other hand, can be an efficient platform for streamlining processes within the enterprise, either for a given operational unit (e.g., marketing or corporate communications) or for cross-functional collaboration (e.g., between marketing and IT).
- Streamlined communication. Imagine eliminating more than half of your day-to-day project-related email communiqués that tend to clog your inbox.
- Virtual access. Users can easily access a wiki online through secure login, view/modify content on the fly and track what others are doing with the content.
- Archiving ease. Each page revision is kept as a version. Hence, a previous instance of a given page is archived automatically and can be easily accessed.
- Collaborative input and validation. Wikis are an open content management system since every user has a say and is able to input, modify and vet content accordingly.
A recent wiki-related project has prompted me to jot down some key notes to keep in mind. The same best practices are observed in project management.
- Define scope. If you don’t define this from the get-go, you’ll easily end up moving out of scope and missing your target deliverable.
- Establish a timeline. Be clear on mapping out a critical path for your wiki-driven project. A drop-dead completion date will serve to align the wiki’s life cycle with the project.
- Identify content owners. While wikis are indeed an open platform, users’ settings should be configured so that there is at least one overall owner or point of contact assigned for a given wiki page/section. The onus is on this person to oversee the progress of their respective content entity and keep a pulse on all other entities related to their content.
- Unified moderation policy. This point is subjective and at times almost impossible to map out and implement, since each user has their own style and approach for managing content. However, at best, a set of over-arching rules should be enforced and observed for content modification and internal collaboration among team members. These rules are based largely on common sense (e.g., refraining from using inappropriate language, offensive personal attacks, airing dirty laundry, etc.) Sound familiar?
Is your organization using wikis? What have you observed and found helpful?
Additional Sources on Wikis
- What is a Wiki
- Wikis explained: understanding wikis
- What is a Wiki and How to use one for your projects