Basic Workflow for Managing your Wiki
Knowledge Management is key to productive organizations. Past experiences can be leveraged to improve future processes and to reduce duplicated work. In this article, you will learn how to get there. Follow these four steps to set up your basic wiki workflow and to implement knowledge work into your daily routines.
The first time you set up a wiki for your organization, start with the why and define the key business drivers you want to focus on with your knowledge management strategy. This will have direct implications for the amount and variety of data, that will flow into your wiki. You need more input about objectives and easy to use formats? We got you covered.
At this point, you should already know about the direction and scope of your wiki. About what kind of information you want to cover and who should benefit from it. Now, let’s get right into it.
This phase is all about compiling raw information. You need to gather all the explicit, implicit and tacit knowledge within your organization, that others might benefit from. This includes specific documents, best practices as well as individual insights. Try to focus on those things, that can be reused or that can speed up processes in the future (otherwise this task can be quite overwhelming). Let’s get into the details:
Explicit knowledge is everything already written down and stored – such as files, presentations, reports, e-mails, notes, transcriptions, and databases. Some might be more accessible, structured, processed or interpreted than others. It’s your duty to collect all the pieces that are essential to your particular project, team or business and even store them in the same repository.
It’s way more tricky to gather implicit knowledge – the practical application of explicit knowledge. Often times this hasn’t been written down yet and needs to be created first. Implicit knowledge can be a team member’s personal experience of performing a task or solving a challenge. Collect those workflows and methodologies.
Last but not least there is tacit knowledge – like personal experience and context. It’s the application of implicit knowledge specific to your organization. Like a best practice, your team came up with after evaluating all the different working methods. Or the experiences you make working with a client or subcontractor.
Ask people in charge of individual tasks, projects, clients, departments and business drivers to help you collect those essentials and to verify them. Most likely you won’t be able to set up your wiki on your own.
Once you got a collection of data, it needs to be organized and applied in useful ways. Topic heads or a team of trained technicians can help you with finding patterns and summarizing data.
By analyzing your collected data you start making it reusable. Search for any correlations, trends, or tendencies first. Secondly, try to extract knowledge from different sources into one. This process will help to exploit, expand, or correct the initial set of data.
Help people to use your wiki as a knowledge resource. Create reusable material, repeatable processes and standardized formats to order explicit, implicit and tacit knowledge, i.e. in form of guidelines, workflows, checklists, best practices, lessons learned, and rules of thumb. Just stick to a bunch of them and keep things simple.
Your organization will turn into a powerhouse, once people start searching for common knowledge and leverage it all over. You have to make sure they know about the capabilities of your wiki as well as about new additions, so people can apply.
Start informing all potential users about the wiki on a regular basis. You can either include it in your team’s weekly stand-ups, the corporate newsletter or put the ten most frequent entries on the front page of your intranet. In any case, you should integrate it into your everyday practice.
Your wiki will prove in action. Your organization can speed up, improve processes, work more efficiently, and innovate – just by taking advantage of the knowledge that is already there and by applying it to new situations and challenges.
We would like to end our basic workflow for managing a wiki with keeping it relevant. This is harder than said since organizations completely reinvent themselves every few years. Luckily there are certain things you can do to stay on track.
Your business keeps evolving, so should your wiki. Make sure you add additional topics whenever they come up inside your organization. Again, it will help to assign this task to a variety of team leads, since they can oversee new knowledge much faster. You can also collect ideas and queries for new articles to expand the wiki in an organic way.
Make sure you also maintain your existing data and keep it fresh. That’s something we do focus on with our very own wiki Skara. We remind you not only about dated content but also do calculate the relevancy of entries with a smart formula. This way you can focus on creating high-quality knowledge.
Managing a wiki seems quite huge in the beginning, but it can be just like any other project with a neat structure and distributed work assignments. If you follow our guide, you will see the results positively affect your greater business goals quite quickly. So, let’s start organizing your practices, strategies, and behaviors to provide value for the future.
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