I was reading an article on Linkedin this weekend where someone said that they were having a horrible time using their wiki and that they wouldn't dream of using it for client-facing documentation. It isn't the first time that I've heard this argument: it is an argument that is completely spurious.
This sort of negativity arrises when lots of people are contributing but no one is managing: if you don't have someone (or several someones) organising and looking after your documentation, then yes it probably will become unusuable.
But when you dig into the argument you find that what you're probably suffering from is having LOTS of content - which is a good thing. You want lots of (or at least, the right) content (as it's got to be quality over quantity) and having lots shows that staff are contributing - which is definitely a major benefit. The only negative is that you don't have someone in charge of it.
Which is where a technical author comes in handy.
A technical author (or someone similar) will not only write your normal user info, but they can also edit the content supplied by other people.
I do this all day long and am happy to do so. I've got my notifications set up so that I'm told every time someone edits one of the user content spaces. I can see at a glance if anything needs to be done and sort it out then and there. It's that easy.
One of the major benefits of using a wiki to deliver your client-facing content is that EVERYONE can contribute. That is EVERYONE from ALL depts in your organisation. And as long as you've got someone who's making sure the writing etc is up to scratch, corporate styles are followed, and that they're organising it properly, then what you have is MANY people creating content instead of only one or two or maybe even none.
So next time you hear this argument, don't focus the negative. Instead realise that this is actually a positive thing that is good for you all, it is an opportunity waiting to be grasped.
Tip of the Week
Have you tried using the Task List macro? If not, then give it a go.
Although you can use it for your own work, it's great for teams too. It's great because there's a lovely little arrow that appears to the left of the task's details that allows you to assign the task to someone else in the team.
When you click on the arrow, see Figure 1, you can prioritise the task and assign it in seconds. When you do this the assignee is automatically notified of the task and it's priority. This means you can organise and
assign tasks quickly and easily, and know that the recipient is completely up to date with what you want them to do.