RE: Wiki as a final output of the documentation?

Subject: RE: Wiki as a final output of the documentation?
From: <sintac -at- home -dot- nl>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2009 17:05:25 +0100

I will try and keep this short but it's a large story so please bear with me.

Much of what happens where I work is done by consultants. Consultants have a lot of knowledge in their heads, but no time to put it on paper. As a lone writer in a company of 200+ I couldn't keep up. So, I implemented a wiki on my own initiative. It took me 2 years to get it fully embedded in the company, but we have now got to the point where we mirror parts of the internal wiki to an internet site accessible to customers, and the wiki acts as a portal to an issues database and e-learning.

I still maintain parallel copies of a couple of manuals, and produce PDF versions of one or two, but for the rest the wiki has now superceded all the other copies.

Development teams have now started writing their development documentation in the wiki, and experiements with getting them to write their own end user/key user/train the trainer documentation are in progress. Customer support is now one of my most active users (FAQs, how to's, troubleshooting topics).

In the next 2 years I hope to roll out a platform that will integrate the application software with wiki technology so that end users who participate in the application development wil lalso be able to participate in creating their own documentation.

So far, all is going far better than I could have hope for (more than 2,000 topics; 100+ users, 200+ unique visits per day) but, as others have suggested, you need to be very active and very involved. I manage, configure and control the software, I manage, control and edit all content. I evangelize at every chance I get and provide user training, assistance and advise on demand.

It's a lot of work, but the results are terrific. If I wasn't such a darn perfectionist, I would actually be very proud of what the guys have done ...

Simon North.

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