Why Use A Wiki For Your Team

for Hack Your Project Team With An Issue Tracker Wiki

The members of your team need to be able to use their brains in their work.

To do this, they need Strategic Context. They need to understand how your Business Model works, and who's being served by the business and by their own work. They need to understand how their current work fits into a longer-term Road Map.

But most business-description/planning documents you have are probably BullShit. They usually start as being targeted at outsiders (investors, customers), so they are fuzzy and pseudo-inspirational. So you need to start over from scratch.

And you need to break the Mental Model up into pieces or its becomes impossible to review, and overwhelming to read.

And those pieces will change/drift over time, so keeping some structure will help keep the business consistent.

The standard term associated with connecting messy thoughts is: HyperText.

But the "manual" way of creating links among chunks of HyperText is too annoying to bother with.

Wiki provides a way of Automatic Linking by using Smashed Together Words.

  • You just take a "key phrase" that you think about, capitalize the words and Smash them together (remove spaces and punctuation), and you automatically define a WikiWord.
  • If you don't already have a page named with that WikiWord, there's a link right there to start one!
  • If you don't create that new page for now, and later using the same WikiWord in other pages, then finally get around to making the page with that name, all those various pages using that WikiWord automatically link to the new page from now on!
  • Every Wiki also has a BackLinks feature where, by clicking on the linked page-name near the upper-left of the page, it gives you a list of all the pages that link to the current page. So you can review your past related thoughts. This something like using "tags" in some NoteBook apps, except that you can make as many of them as you want, and you're embedding them within your sentences, rather than just attaching them to the overall note (WikiWordAsTag).

As a general rule, it's a good idea to have at least 1 WikiWord in any page, to relate it to other pages.

Some people think having a Search Engine for a collection of MsWord (or GoogleDocs) documents is good enough. But anchoring your writing to specific words and phrases helps you think more deeply (esp over time) about what you mean. You can make specific variation-pages around an idea to think/write about it in different ways, but having them in separately named pages helps you push the idea in different directions.

Over time this gives you a FeedBack loop of creating a Shared Language with your current and future team. I think this is the essence of Sense Making and future-StoryTelling.

Eventually we'll get to Picking A Wiki For Your Team.

But first we have to list What Your Team Needs Integrated Into Its Wiki.

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