Last week I spoke about a little thing called confluence and how awesome it is not only as a blogging tool but as a web based wiki. And this week I’m going to talk about some of the ways to influence the adoption of these technologies not only at Airservices Australia but in any organisation.

Enterprise Wiki – A tool, not an encyclopaedia. – Mike Cannon-Brookes Co-Founder Atlassian

The first thing that you’ve got to realise is that it’s NOT Wikipedia, and cannot be treated as such. What I mean by that is that for it to be successful you don’t want it to follow the 1% rule (where 90% of visitors are lurkers, 9% contribute and only 1% create), nor do you want it to be as difficult to find content in and least of all do you want it to be as difficult to generate content for. The Enterprise Wiki is a place where employees don’t just come to for information. It is a place where they should come to collaborate and to share their knowledge.

So as Sherif mentions in his blog post you can’t really define the exact steps to Wiki adoption but I think there’s a handful that will certainly get the ball rolling. My top three, in particular reference to Airservices Australia but which can certainly be utilised by any organisation are:

Choose a good Wiki.

This is soooo important! The best way to put anyone off using a software tool is by making it intimidating. Figure out who your users are going to be (are they techy or are they arty?) and what are they going to use it for (meeting minutes and action items or code snippets or both?). The answers to just these two questions will give you a massive insight into what kind of tool is right for your organisation. <cough> Confluence <cough>. Claire points to an awesome tool in her post this week called WikiMatrix who have a tool called the ChoiceWizard
which is just perfect for getting started on choosing what’s best for you. Check it out!

Lead by Example.

Ok so if you want to spread the word and you want to encourage the use of a wiki, you need to migrate the ways you work into the wiki as much as possible. Instead of emailing attachments, link to them in the wiki, instead of sending meeting agendas via email, create them in the wiki and invite your attendees to add their agenda items there too. Only by leading horses to water will you have any hope of getting them to drink.

Seek out your Champions.

Pretty much whenever you bring in new software into an organisation, you’re gonna get your haters. And to combat these little tumorous individuals you need people to not only spruik the benefits of the wiki but also who can offer sage advice. Those that create the most content, those that find inventive ways of creating content, they’re your champions. Seek them out.

Here’s a few more links that I used to create this week’s post but I’d be well keen to hear if you have any tips or tricks to help aid the adoption of Enterprise Wikis. Laters.

5 differences between wikipedia enterprise wikis

1% rule

organisational wiki adoption

sage advice on wiki adoption keys to success

enterprise wiki strategies

five patterns for massive adoption


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About andrewdcook

Project Manager/Animator/Beer Snob

10 responses to “Adopt-A-Wiki”

  1. Claire de Larrinaga says :

    Hello Andrew,
    Interesting article as always.

    Concerning the point “seek your champions”, I agree in a way but I don’t really see how to translate it in concrete terms.

    For example in my previous internship, the management decided to introduce a wiki. They took two young and excited about 2.0 tools young men and asked them to take care of creating and introducing the wiki.

    A week after, one of them tells us during a meeting that the wiki is ready,that it’s an awsome tool, really easy to use, he sends us our passwords and that’s it.

    Then what? Nobody even took time to logged in because everybody was far to busy to see any interest in doing so. So the week after, he comes back, repeats that the wiki is ready to be used and that we should start using it and posting relevant content. But then again nobody really care because they don’t feel really concerned about that, “they have serious work that need to be done”.

    So what would you do in concrete terms once you have “your chamions”? WHat is their goal? What would you expect from them?

    • andrewdcook says :

      Hi Claire,

      I think to a large degree, champions create themselves by the fact that they generally create the most amount of content and find the most innovative ways to use the wiki. It’s not as simple as choosing someone and telling them to be a champion of the wiki. They have to want to do it. So i can’t go as far as giving you a concrete task list for what they should do, but there would be certain expectations. Such as talking to people about the wiki, promoting its use, identifying new ways of utilising the wiki for content that is already being created. And ultimately their goal is just to get people using it

      I might change the order of “my top 3” section so it’s a bit clearer as to the steps in which you should take. Because you generally can’t find your champions until you’ve got a good wiki in place and have people already using it. So maybe that would make a bit better sense?

      Great questions!

    • inn346qut says :


      that’s really a good question, Claire. If you want to know my opinion, I would argue that in your case the need for the wiki is not really visible. To increase adoption a sense of urgency for change is necessary. So if you put the 2 guys in charge they should come up with a great use case for the wiki and make them sell it to everyone else.

      A big focus should always lie on people with a lot of authority as they can speed things up if they are into the project and throw their weight behind it.

      Cheers, Alex

  2. inn346qut says :

    Again with the confluence promotion 😀 Are you working for Atlassian or something? 😉
    Kidding aside, like your post! Totally agree with your points, however I have another idea… what’s your take on gamification? Ever thought about implementing some kind of game system to facilitate adoption? Maybe we could develop something in this direction for this case study…

    • andrewdcook says :

      I wish man, Atlassian seem like a pretty cool bunch to work for

      Gamification is a WICKED idea! a points based thing maybe where if your page is accessed by n amount of people or has the most amount of contributors you get some “company dollars” or the like to put towards something. Dunno just spit-ballin, you got any ideas?

      • inn346qut says :

        Yeah, I registered for an online class on coursera for gamification but didn’t have a chance to look at that, yet. Maybe that will give some good ideas (or least scientific background for the paper). But your idea sounds pretty good already. Another one would be to make people campaign for side projects… People have Amount X money they can spend on what they think is a promising project but founds only get released if a threshold is reached… Kickstarter within a firm so to say… Don’t know if that counts as gamification but I think it sounds interesting none the less. However, I don’t know how this would work at airservices…

  3. shaungoossens says :

    Hi Andrew,
    Great post with relevant pictures, any kickbacks from confluence yet ;)?
    What would you think of the idea of management making it mandatory to upload any email conversation that is end to 3 or more people to the wiki.
    Or to upload any files that would have been emailed internally to the wiki?

    – Shaun

    • andrewdcook says :

      Hahah no kickbacks yet, but maybe one day… hopefully as a job offer 🙂 their offices seem pretty cool

      In principle i agree with your points entirely. The problem i’m finding at the moment is resistance form some people in regards to where these items should be placed on the wiki. And in many ways that is worthy arguement, but as we are still in the early adoption phase of the implementation i believe that we just need to get the information up there. We can always tidy it up later.


  4. paulbrouard says :

    Hi Andrew,
    Your post really enjoyable to read! Your link to “Sage Advice on Wiki Adoption: Keys to Success” is really informative. I had actually read Claires post where she talks about WikiMatrix. I have to say its a really useful tool to find what wiki suits your company or your particular work.
    You do well to precise that Wikis can be much more than just Wikipedia. I think to many people don’t know its a tool with much wider uses that can increase productivity.


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