Sunday, April 17, 2011

Random Idea: Using Wikis for project documentation

Disclaimer: The idea being detailed below is not new and I am sure is in practice in a number of organizations, but documenting it as I am yet to come across companies that have used this.

I strongly feel that it would be great to adopt wikis as the primary medium of project documentation, especially when it comes to support/maintenance projects. The features and convenience offered by a wiki product is much more and superior to the conventional practice of using word processing documents as the documentation media and a content management site like sharepoint as the central documentation repository. The major advantages of using a wiki are:
1. Easier access (or discovery) to documentation as a wiki is web based and no need for users to remember folder navigations and file names.
2. Easier editing and maintenance.
3. Pages can be logically linked to each other - this is the biggest advantage that I see. The major drawback I experience with traditional documentation is that one document does not link to another and it doesn't provide a continuous reading experience. In a wiki, linking of interconnected documents/pages is possible and this will lead to a far improved user experience.
4. Tagging would be possible in wikis.
5. Wikis are much 'lighter' than traditional documents and would take up much lesser storage space.


jre said...

Fabulous idea - I can't see a single drawback to this except possibly the dead hand of "compliance".

In fact, I'd go further and allow users to wiki their own help and user guides - but that's just me.

jre said...

Great idea, but I'd go further too and let users run their own documentation wikki for system help.

Jiju Vengal said...

Hi John,
Thanks for dropping by.
Absolutely - user documentation is a perfect function that can be wiki-ed!
Life would be much easier for all involved if we transitioned from a document heavy delivery model to an open and light wiki model.


bas said...

Very much agree.
Am looking into this option.

Any ideas on what setup / wiki would work the best?
with the least learning curve for users. (i guess i just know to many of them, but am curious if you have any experiences in using them this way)