I loves me some wiki. I’ve been messing around with wikis for a few years and I think they’re great. By now, most people reading this ought to know what I’m talking about, but if not, the basic idea is that a wiki gives you web pages that are easily editable in any web browser. Here’s a pointer from Ward Cunningham’s Portland Pattern Repository (Ward invented the wiki genre and the C2 wiki is his…imagine him polishing his wiki saying, "This is my wiki. There are many like it, but this one is mine." Apologies to Kubrick.).
When I first met wikis, I just figured they were cool, but I didn’t really have a use for them. Of course, that didn’t stop me. A wiki was installed on a site I share with some other folks and we’ve used it intermittently for several years. In the beginning, I even started blogging on that wiki.
Now I use wikis regularly at work, and a little bit at home. I won’t go so far as to endorse a particular wiki flavor, since there’s one for everybody. Although I am particularly enamored with this new TiddlyWiki thingamabob. It doesn’t need a server to live, and you can email the thing! Pretty gool. Gool. Just made that up: geeky/cool. Gool. You can use it if you want to.
Back to the wiki as a management tool idea. I recently (couple of days ago) got overwhelmed with emails from people in my office. Multiple people were working on identical lists of things, and sending me each of their copies. What a nightmare. I whipped up a wiki page for use as a central database where they now go to update their lists. Now they know what other people know, and I know what all of them know. Which fits nicely with my motto: "I don’t need to know, if I know where to go." That is to say, I don’t need to know the answer to everything, as long as I know where to get the answer. The wiki helps a lot in this regard. I keep account numbers in there, job instructions, work rules, etc. Anybody can update whatever needs updating, without arcane web publishing knowledge. Ok, wiki markup can be arcane, but you get the idea. It’s easy.