From WikiSym 2008
Open space section, 10 September, 2008.
What was here?
We have participated in a structured OpenSpace session, where each of us have 5 minutes to write some PostIts on wiki practices he used in his own small groups; then we discussed each topic, determining if it was a success story and sharing insights learned.
Who was here?
- organizing small groups of 3-10 people; around 3-5 groups in a year;
- we use wiki as a group glue, creating group awareness
- here I want to share my expertise & find more insights on wiki usage
- occasional wiki user; independent freelancer, webdeveloper, consultant
- use wiki in projects with 5-20 people
- here want to find out, how to use wiki properly in a small group
- intranet services manager in a company of 1500 people (500 developers working in small groups of 5-15 people)
- our intranet is based on wiki
- want to find what patterns may be in a wiki for small groups & how to bring these patterns to people
- work in group of 10 people, doing quality, documentation, method description
- want to find a strategy to make people accept wiki technology
Communication, awareness or product creation?
Most of our practices can be distributed between two categories:
- commutication/awareness practice around some workflow (for example, backlogging)
- practice of direct collaboration on a some product inside of wiki (such as documentation)
It seems that communication/awareness practices are a way easier to adopt, comparing to practices of direct collaboration.
Put a vision on a wiki and use it to sync members' vision and to lead a project
- key issue: it is hard to formulate & maintain complete vision description
- so wiki-vision is short
- allows to indicate changes of vision and keep teammates aware of it
Each group member writes 3 short statements on some common topic like "vision of project", "aims of projects", "what is X", trying to describe it as accurate as possible.
- usually it is enough to think of 3 statements from different points of view to explain what are you thinking of it
- as a result we have group awareness of triangulated topic
New members guide
Created an introduction for new project members as a page (or pages) in wiki.
- introduction kept up-to-date because when newbies find problems, they ask for advice -- that leads to older members updating introduction
- that was a success
Minutes from meetings
Used wiki in project schedule, created documents to wiki-pages during meetings.
- prepare a meeting agenda (collaboratively, each one can contribute some point of it)
- meeting report is based on that agenda
What we have done, in small statements. Helps to jump in.
- similar to backlog of agile development, but covers wider topic of any group-related activity
- provides members with some sense of history -- awareness of what we assume as our achievements also
Skype sessions or long email discussions can be summarized in wiki: both decisions and next actions.
- skype logs are pushed to wiki as-is
- then some people find time to distill them in decisions, next-actions, key-points
Each group member creates a wiki-page about himself/herself -- with name, photo and other valuable personal information.
Usually it is required to have some group-oriented stuff:
- contacts (how we can reach you?)
- personal aims and goals related to project
- expertise and past projects/groups
That allows group members to find experts for some problem area quicklier, organize vision-related conversations more effectively, etc.
Wiki is a good place to create & maintain
- list of team members (and their personal traits)
- list of restaurants nearby
- list of social events
Product creation practices in wiki
Brainstorming for a web-site (or concepts of two main pages)
- start with empty page
- single sentence regarding some topic (website)
- then draw schemes to create main pages/scheme of a web-site
Also brainstorming with list of open issues
- design enhancements
- possible future features
Wiki snapshot as product
Wiki was used to create a CDROM catalogue -- all work was done on wiki pages (including uploaded images, etc.), then there was taken a snapshot of a whole wiki and that snapshot was published on CD.
- that was 1 month project with 70 pages
- example of wiki usage as a production tool, HTML editor
- snapshot is a cheap way to provide small group members with artefact they just created
Write design documentation
Design documentation started with a few sketches, completed at the end of project.
- problem: documentation may become splitted between PDF & wiki
- solution: generate PDFs only afterwards
- problem: rich documentation leads to great amount of wiki pages created -- that requires some wiki-gardening
- also we need to provide some starting structure at the beginning of work
- problem: documentators were not glad to switch to wiki from their own documention instrument
S.O.P. in a wiki
We tried to bring SOP (standard operating procedure) to the wiki
- the aim was to centralize writing of procedures
- settings up soome forms/templates -- forms & templates were helpful
- project is not finished yet, now we are trying to enforce some document workflow
- it seems that wiki is not good enough for organizing any workflow-related activity