Wednesday 26 September 2007

Enterprise Workshop Manager - Using multiple interlinked wikis to capture knowledge

A while back I wrote a post called Organising a workshop using a wiki (Please read this earlier post for reference). The idea was to improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of running a workshop. Now for my dissertation I am thinking about the practical implementations of this type of knowledge capture in the enterprise.

Imagine your organisation is undertaking a large business requirements gathering exercise in relation to a major implementation. It is estimated that it will take a total of 70 workshops to cover all of the streams involved.

Using my proposed method, the facilitators could reduce the number of mails required to run these workshops as all details in relation to each event is located on its own dedicated set of pages.

Using links, the outputs of Workshop 1 can be referenced on the "Background" page of Workshop 3, as these 2 workshops are related. This means that the repetition of information is reduced, and less documents are required for the preparation for individual workshops. The re-use,retention and linking of valuable knowledge is increased.

Traditionally, an individual who cannot attend a workshop does not contribute (they may send someone else in their place). This can often detract from the effectiveness depending on that individuals role or importance to the topic being explored. Now, they can contribute any suggestions, questions, concerns, or ideas to the workshop wiki before the event. This helps improve the quality of what is discussed on the day, and improves the overall effectiveness of the event.

The notes for a workshop are usually jotted on to large flip-chart sheets during the workshop. These then have to be transcribed into a word document and mailed to everyone for review (at this point the flip-chart sheets we used to record what happened in the workshop discarded). Now, we can take the notes directly onto a wiki page during the workshop, and they are immediately available to all participants afterwards. They remain there for cross reference for future use.

All of the knowledge created during the 70 workshops is now held on a single, searchable repository. Each page or set of pages can be exported as PDF documents, which can be the starting point for the drafting of Functional and Technical specifications.

The method allows for many individuals to collaborate in a new way. By allowing easy, combined input to each workshop before the event, there is a reduction in time wasted on any "Surprises" on the day. It also allows for a definition of focus by providing a forum for Q&A.

Each user would open up the Workshop Manager. They will be presented with a "Dashboard" showing them all of the workshops they are involved in. They will be directed to the homepage of any one of these by clicking on its link.

I will expand this idea more in the more posts to come, but please let me know if you have any suggestions!

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