Okay, you’ve made it all the way to Part III (or have you? here are Parts I and II if you’re looking to catch up), so you still want your company to have a wiki. Right? Here’s how to go for it. Start by asking the key questions:
1) Who gets to play? Who will have access to the wiki? Who will find the contents useful? Is this a wiki that’s strictly for internal use, or one that’s primarily customer-focused? Are you hoping to bring your employees and customers together so both can contribute in some way? Define the parameters of your desired community. Most of all, what’s the purpose of the wiki? Knowledge-sharing? Collaboration? Define your business goal.
2) How will it get built? Create a strategic plan for the wiki that includes:
- a statement of purpose or charter, explaining who/what/why
- a communications plan showing how you propose to get the wiki populated
- metrics that will help you determine whether or not you’re reaching the goals you defined earlier.
3) Who’s on the team? You will need IT, some legal guidance to get rules-of-the-road established and (most important) an enthusiastic cadre of people who are willing to create content on topics for which they have a reasonable claim to expertise.
4) What about the details? Budget? Infrastructure needs? What software are you going to use to build it? Who will do the technical maintenance? What about the ‘gardening’ of the wiki, or content management?
5) Can we take a second look at that strategic plan? Go back and include details from #4.
Now, you’re ready to build the wiki. Get the technical project plan written, and implement. Muster your initial contributor group, start adding topics and you’re off and running.
Like any other system, your wiki initially will have hiccups and rough spots. Have a pilot phase with a willing group of users; this one step will save you lots of apologies later on, and (more importantly) will help you develop a better, more easily navigable wiki that will keep users coming back for more.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out a few of these successful wikis:
- World of Warcraft has a justly famous wiki that is a deep resource for the game’s passionate and community-oriented players.
- SAP has a wiki for users and developers, the SAP Community Network.
- Oracle’s developer-oriented wiki
- The Disney wiki is largely fan-written and is quite comprehensive, covering everything from Disney history to the company’s films and theme parks.