Following hard on the heels of 10 ways to use blogs for project management, here’s some thoughts on how we’ve been using wikis in a project management environment.
Planning meeting agendas
The task of planning agendas normally falls to one unfortunate, who’s
then bombarded by emails from all quarters. Rather than stand
underneath the deluge, why not plan the agenda on a wiki page? Anyone
who needs to add an agenda point can do it themselves, adding notes and
background information as required — and once the organiser decides that
the agenda is set, the page can be locked to prevent further changes.
Then issuing the agenda is a simple matter of forwarding a link — no more bulky attachments to clog up road warrior inboxes.
Real-time minute taking
Taking minutes of meetings, conference calls, etc is vital
for project managers — all too often, people’s recollection of what
they’ve agreed to is — ahem — subtly different once the meeting has
finished. So getting actions down on paper as soon as possible is
crucial to avoid actions falling down the cracks. But the problem with
minute taking is that you spend the whole meeting writing, then twice
as long again typing the minutes up, and then they’re emailed out to the
participants and promptly disappear into thin air.
We’ve taken to using a wiki to capture the progress of meetings while
it’s still in progress by adding them to the agenda page. As the each
item is being discussed, the contributions can be captured — and if it’s
a conference call, participants can see the minutes as soon as the wiki
page is saved - realtime and online. As soon as someone’s volunteered
for an action, it’s up on screen and documented — no room for wriggling!
Wikis are also great if there’s information which wasn’t available at
the time, but will be added later. Rather than send out the missing
info in an out-of-context email, participants can update the wiki page
so that the new details appear in the context of the discussion — and
the wiki’s version control allows you to see by who and when the changes
Collaborative presentation planning can be a nightmare, particularly if there’s more than two people involved. Despite the version tracking functionality of Powerpoint and the like, there are invariably problems as two or more contributors change the content simultaneously.
Rather than use Powerpoint, we now brainstorm presentation outlines on a
wiki page. It’s simple to add and change bullet points, drop in new
slides or expand on existing ones. There are wiki plugins that allow
you to export pages in a format that can then be imported into
Powerpoint - just apply the corporate layout template, add clipart, and
your presentation is ready to go.
And to take wiki presentations to the next level, why not dispense with
Powerpoint altogether? With clever page formatting, you can run the
presentation direct from your browser — so no need to distribute the
presentation afterwards, just send out a link.
Keep documents up-to-date
Wikis are excellent at version control - it’s built in out-of-the-box.
So rather than using file documents and shared drives, why not keep
project documentation online and up-to-date on a wiki? If you have
documents which are subject to constant change — configuration settings
for example — you can easily maintain a wiki page as a single, central
source of the up-to-date configuration. And the built-in version
control and change tracking make it simple to find out what changed and
We run a marketing & technology consulting business that helps smaller companies in the UK.
A lot of our work is now centring on using social software technology to reduce information problems in business. So this blog is designed to share our knowledge and first hand experience.
If you are interested in developing an enterprise social software strategy and setting up an easy-to-maintain weblog for your business, Infosential is the company who can help.