Team wiki tips and tricks?
March 21, 2014 11:41 AM Subscribe
We are a large team, familiar with wikis, feeling disillusioned because the wikis always end up being a giant mess. What conventions can we adopt to make our wikis better?
posted by Joh to Technology (2 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I work on a 100-ish person team inside a large corporation, developing software. For each project, we set up a wiki to store documentation, tutorials, and so on. Almost everyone on the team is technically adept enough to create or edit a wiki page, and a decent number of people are also willing to do so, so we definitely get content added to project wikis. Our corporation provides Confluence wikis to us, and there is a whole department that handles the backend, so we don't have to worry about that. Also our wiki has to be locked down so no-one outside the team can see it, so we need to stick with the corporate-hosted Confluence wiki.
However, people are gradually becoming disillusioned with wikis, and with the start of a new project, we are trying to do it better this time around. Issues we typically run into:
1. It becomes a hugely disorganized mess, making it hard to find anything. We typically set up a basic hierarchy at the start (department sections, each with child sections for tutorials, specs, etc), and people stick to that structure, but the number of child sections multiplies out of control and often things arguably belong to multiple categories or departments, so it gets confusing. I am considering suggesting a much flatter, broader structure, so there would be less hierarchy, which means less pages, but they are more link-heavy to scroll through and find the thing you want.
2. Stuff goes out of date and no-one notices. New people join the team, get pointed to the wiki for tutorials or specs, and then when they ask questions about the content we realize that the pages are horribly out of date and there's a huge scramble to quickly write new ones.
We do not have anyone with the role of wiki master, and this is not going to happen. I want to set the thing up with a plan in mind, communicate that plan to the team, and hope that it goes better than usual. No-one has time to really police it. What has worked for your team? How have you addressed issues of organization and keeping things up to date? What conventions have you come up with to make it work better?