Blah! Writer’s block!

20 June, 2008

I’ve struggled to come up with something interesting to write this week, although I’ve been doing some reasonably interesting things.

Over the past 8 weeks of so I have been conducting the wonderfully fun task of evaluating wiki platforms for implementation in our organisation. It turns out that the bulk of them are more or less the same, the main difference seems to be in the text editor but even then I reckon that most of them share the same DNA.

In the end I chose a platform based on ability to grow with us, price and most important ability to integrate with our unique environment. We want to implement a Single Sign On function using an encrypted HTML string rather than an LDAP integation. It seems most of the major ‘Enterprise 2.0’ vendors are ready to hook up inside your building but can’t quite handle a smooth integreation with a website. Anyhue we found someone who is very keen and hopefully will provide us with a solid product!

It seems that we’re going to be able to make pretty broad use of the system, we’ve gone with a platform that can accomodate a range of spaces. This should allow us to use it in our customer facing environment and internally, either way the more successful uses we find the easier it’ll be to justify the expense for 2009!!

The next trick will be to get people into it. We’ve gone after a wiki to create our own knowledge base,  we already have quite a lot of content to go in but due to a range of existing copyright agreements we are not going to be able to make it editable. I actually don’t think this is going to be a problem as we’re going to have to go through a fairly hefty education process on two fronts:

  1. Many internal stakeholders are terrified of allowing anyone outside the building to contribute to something that has our logo on it. We need to show them that with appropriate guidelines and access levels this will not be a problem and will in fact open many doors to us.
  2. Many of out target audience probably have not had a lot of exposure to the ‘2.0 revolution’. We are going to have to build a level of comfort in the audience to contribute. I get the feeling that in a knowledge base situation the ‘fear’ factor may be larger than in some other work-based wiki applications. The risk of being labelled as wrong (particularly in our system which will not allow anonymous posting) is much greater than if you are using a wiki in an enterprise environment to host meeting minutes and spreadsheets.

Starting with locked content then slowly opening areas of the wiki up will allow us to gradully build interest and confidence, without the worry of conducting a grand opening only to find it left to crickets and tumbleweeds two months later.

In any case, the boring software selection stuff is done, so now I’m going to start planing for the people. I’ve had Stuart Mader’s Wikipatterns sitting on my desk for about 6 weeks now. I might bring it along for the tram ride tonight!

…well it was a big long rambling mess but turns out I can think of something to write….


3 Responses to “Blah! Writer’s block!”

  1. slmader Says:

    Hi Mick,
    Congratulations on choosing a wiki engine for your organization! Let me know how I can help with the people part of the adoption process.

    Your instincts are correct that people will be apprehensive about editing the wiki at first. Check out Chapter 4, which explains how to run a limited pilot – this will demonstrate the usefulness of the wiki, spread a lot of good buzz once those initial groups are successful and start telling their friends, and shift people from fearing the wiki to getting on a waiting list to be given access to the wiki – yes, a waiting list!

    Let me know if I can answer any questions, or if a workshop would be useful for people as they get started using the wiki.


  2. Mick Leyden Says:

    Hey Stuart,

    Thanks for dropping by, I’ll be a very happy camper if I can manage to build a few successful user groups, if interest is so great that we have a waiting list I’ll be doing back-flips down the hallway!! 🙂


  3. […] swirling around in my head of late. Mostly they have been driven by my current work situation. As I mentioned a week or so ago, we secured our wiki agreement and are moving into the content / community phase. […]

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