In a previous post i talked about how useful a Wiki is within a project and how opening up a wiki and expecting team members to use it productively will probably not give you the best results.

Once you figured out which wiki tool to leverage (if any) and have rolled it out within your project the next big challenge is to promote its use.

Some considerations:

  • Well, the biggest step to overcome is the inertia. Users seldom want to contribute when they see a completely blank space. Start putting up some of your own content and talk to a few of your team members to help build it into something substantial that you can then showcase to the rest of your team.
  • Please keep in mind that being a corporate wiki every contribution made to it is tracked, there is no such thing as anonymity. Once you get over this hurdle you can leverage the fact that it is a great way to promote an individual as a knowledge creator.
  • Don't put too many rules and structures in place at the beginning, this is a sure way to derail the entire process. Allow your team the flexibility to grow the wiki the way they want it to. If you feel at any point that it is getting unmanageable you can always step in.
  • The Wiki should be the first place your team looks for information, which means do not keep copies of this information sitting around in other places.
  • Don't expect an immediate return - A wiki takes time to grow.
  • Educate your team - Take them through the entire process of creating an article on the wiki so they understand how it works. Do not make the mistake of assuming that just because everyone has seen Wikipedia they know how to use a wiki.
  • Allow people to make mistakes and deviate from the "norm" - This is a creative process that will take some time to evolve, encourage a level of experimentation and allow your team to make mistakes. That is the only way they will learn how to use this effectively.
  • Promote the wiki whenever you can