This is the second of four posts comparing wiki use and knowledge management inspired by reading Stewart Mader’s Wikipatterns. For a good general review of the book in at the Fast Forward blog, see wikipatterns - The First Enterprise 2.0 Playbook by Jevon MacDonald. Stewart writes for wiki success start with a pilot. He lays out success factors for pilots. This was a common recommendation for KM, to establish value and create interest, as well as to test ideas. You wanted to get into a “pull” situation rather than a “push” mode to help with the adoption and behavior changes that KM required. The same is true for wikis. The greater flexibility and usage opportunities for wikis expands the pilot options.
Listed below are Stewart’s pilot success factors.
Establish a Time Frame - necessary for any good pilot but still good advice
Make it Representative - if you want to generalize the results and create demand elsewhere, you need to select an area and problem that more people will feel relates to their work
Keep it Compact - necessary for any good pilot but still good advice
Choose Participants Carefully - start with people who might be predisposed to participate in knowledge sharing or even better are already doing it and you are just providing a better tool
Seek or Be Sought - issue is important for any good pilot but still good advice, with Km I would more err on the side of hand picking participants
Wiki with a Purpose - see comments below on additions - because of the intrinsic value in wikis, discovery mode is more possible with wikis than KM, but having a purpose will always be better
Make it a Magnet - very good advice for KM, make people work within the system but doing such things as not responding to email requests directly outside the system but requiring them to engage within it
Be Firm and Think Long Term - Stewart says require people to stay within the wiki and this is also key for KM - stay with the guideline above to stay within the system
More Wiki Unique
Define House Rules - with more individual freedom, this is more of a wiki issue
Personal Spaces - this would be a benefit of a good KM system but less of a requirement
Never an Empty Space - again, with more individual freedom, this is more of a wiki issue
I would add these for KM but I feel they are actually less important for wiki use as the wiki could be first used for such tactical things as event planning to demonstrate the benefits enough for further adoption. However, the KM system would fail without being grounded in the following two since there is not an inherent benefit of the tool.
Select a Key Business Issue to Address
Align with a Business Process
In my next post, I discuss good behavior patterns - Wiki vs. KM.