Better groupware for our team?
February 2, 2006 7:48 PM   Subscribe

Our team needs some good groupware. What are your experiences?

I work for a small software engineering team as part of a larger department of writers and developers. We currently maintain a wiki which lets us document our extensive toolchain, and allows the rest of the department document their processes and plans. Unfortunately, this wiki has become crufty and hard-to-manage due to its lack of natural organization and unrestrained editing features.

We want to deploy some better groupware for our department. It needs to satisfy our original requirements:

• A place to easily and regularly document our software
• A place to communicate regularly with the rest of our department
• A place where text and images (think reference material) can be easily updated, changed, and organized by other members of the department—remembering that many in our larger department are not extremely tech-savvy

To solve the problems with our wiki, though, this software also needs:

• Real, manageable user accounts
• A built-in hierarchical organization, so it remains easy to navigate as more content is added, deleted, and updated
• A better way to communicate regularly—some blog-style features would be great, with RSS feeds and multiple assigned authors and the like.

We've investigated a couple of products that seem to satisfy our needs: Plone and TikiWiki, but I'd like your input on these products, or hear your favorite alternatives.
posted by symphonik to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
Before you completely settle on 'groupware' make sure you wouldn't be happy with some form of an SCM. (Probably not tho, based on the non-tech savvy group you need to help.

Otherwise, I would recommend some flavor of the Basecamp software. It's got far more built-in structure than a wiki, and it's easier to use than any wiki I've encountered, especially for people that aren't tech savvy. I'm using the free version my project myself, and the premium versions offer a free 30 day trial.

It's web-based, however, so that may be a good or bad thing depending on your company.
posted by tweak at 8:47 PM on February 2, 2006

*I'm using the free version for a project myself
posted by tweak at 8:48 PM on February 2, 2006

I second tweak's Basecamp - your wishlist sounds like a feature by feature description of Basecamp's capabilities. My company uses it to manage 100+ projects for 50+ clients with amazing ease. Check it out.
posted by slhack3r at 9:54 PM on February 2, 2006

posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:36 AM on February 3, 2006

We use WordPress for an internal blog, Bugzilla for bug tracking and MediaWiki for documentation, it works well for us, but we are a fairly small group. As far as the wiki goes, would it not work to have maybe one dedicated person do organization of data in it? I'm usually no too concerned with how things are organized in wikis, because searching usually finds what I need. MediaWiki is pretty impressive though, and might be a much better solution than TikiWiki, which I've always found confusing. I'd suggest trying out MediaWiki.
posted by raster at 10:36 AM on February 3, 2006

posted by trillion at 11:28 AM on February 3, 2006

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