Monday 24 March 2008

6 Characteristics of a Wiki Champion

This is a cross posting of a piece I wrote for Stewart Mader who I have linked to many times here at Extacit. Based on my own experience, I have jotted down some of the characteristics that a Wiki champion may need to succeed:

Knowing the benefits that Wiki use can bring to your organisation is the easy bit! Driving adoption and selling that message is what will make you a Wiki champion.

A Wiki champion is important –

“a passionate, enthusiastic champion is essential to the success of wiki because s/he will be able to generate interest, give the appropriate amount of training for each person at the right time, monitor growth of the tool and fix problems that could derail adoption.” Source WikiPatterns

There are no set rules or processes to follow, only some emerging guidelines and best practices (known as patterns), so it is up to you to make it succeed. There is no better place to start than the 21 days of Wiki Adoption series here at Grow Your Wiki.

Like any new technology, there will be some resistance to Wiki adoption in your organisation. This can come from many sources, not just those who are not familiar with Web 2.0 or Social Computing. You must be clear about what you are trying to achieve with your Wiki deployment. So here are some of the characteristics you may need:
  1. Be a Clear Communicator: Wiki and the ‘Wiki-Way’ of working will be new to many people in your organisation. It is important to keep things simple when selling the idea. I have found that gaining senior management support early for your project is important. Then you can let them sell the idea for you.
  2. Be A Coach: Commonly known as ‘Wiki-Gardening’, you will need to coach some of the early users so that they can make best use of their Wiki from the beginning. They in-turn will pass this on to others, but a quick win is important to securing sustained engagement from your user community.
  3. Be Patient: Be patient with your early adopters, allow them to sculpt their Wiki in their way. They will know what works best for the information they work with and the team members they deal with. Be ready to help when they need it.
  4. Be Enthusiastic: People will react to your enthusiasm and knowledge of the ‘Wiki-Way’. Encourage others to try new things or to look at how they currently collaborate and show them how this could work in the ‘Wiki-Way’.
  5. Be Engaging: As people begin to find their way with Wiki use, be available to discuss or help with continued use. Show them examples from other Wiki’s internally, so they can see what others are doing and adopt some of those practices themselves.
  6. Have Fun!: This is one of the most important characteristics. Wiki adoption will be different in each organisation. Grassroots & organic seems to be an emerging successful trend, so there will be an element of exploration and innovation involved. Enjoy this period, communicate and engage with your user community and you will reap the rewards.

There may be many other challenges you could face, but if you get the formula correct for your organisation, then it is a great experience. You might even have people call you ‘The Wiki Guy’! Overall, a collaborative environment, where knowledge sharing and productivity has improved is a very welcome outcome of the Wiki adventure.


Stewart said...

Thanks Colin! This was a great guest post!


Neil Burston said...

Sound advice - would be interested to discuss further.

Will send an email (very old fashioned I know!) to start the process.