As an avid user of the wiki feature in SharePoint to capture and share corporate information with colleagues, I’ve witnessed the complete chaos that can result when a community of users come together to collaborate without a set process in place to manage their documentation.
As I continue to compile and refine my list of recommended best practices around wiki use as a content management system, I decided to deviate from my preferred self-education through hands-on testing to perform some online research. What better place to find a complete definition of a wiki than the best known online wiki – Wikipedia.
Did you know? Wiki is a Hawaiian word meaning “quick” or “fast”.
Sometimes seen as a cliché resource, often cited as an infamous bane to educators worldwide who want their students to perform research using fact-checked sources, I’ve viewed it as an ideal place to find nuggets of truth as it provides a forum for opinions of advocates and opponents to co-exist in a central place for the reader to discern. Therefore I was not surprised to discover several components of its definition of ‘wiki’ left me shaking my head.
One head scratching component that I’ll discuss today is as follows:
According to Wikipedia, a wiki’s content is “created without any defined owner or leader.” Although an organization can leave a wiki to its own devices, I am wary of implementing this approach as a long term best practice for business purposes. Allowing everyone in an organization to contribute and update content may sound like an idealistic approach to data management, and often it is, as the space can quickly grow into a disorganized dumping ground without a designated champion to manage content.
Best Practice Tip #1 – Assign the role of wiki champion or administrator to a member of your staff, such as a General Manager. As your wiki grows and expands to include specific sections or separate wikis for different teams, assign a team lead to manage their team’s section and data.
So how do you keep track of who’s in charge? – Clearly display the name of the ‘owner’ of a section on the section’s main page.
Additionally or alternatively, this data would also be useful on the wiki homepage as part of a high-level site map or as a list organized in a table.
I’ll continue to cover additional SharePoint wiki Best Practices over the coming months.