One of the biggest challenges I’ve come across in how best to use technology is the process of developing documents that have many authors, or collaborative authoring. A typical process goes something like this:
- Someone is assigned as configuration manager
- The initial draft is created and sent, usually via e-mail, to all reviewers/contributors
- Comments/changes are sent back to cm to be incorporated
- loop until complete
Not only is a cumbersome process, it quickly fills up e-mail inboxes as several versions of a document go flying back and forth.
As its title suggests, Michael Angeles’ article Using a Wiki for Documentation and Collaborative Authoring looks at how wiki software can be used to make this process more efficient and effective.
I had my first experience using a Wiki for project documentation when I participated in the formation of a professional association. The group was geographically dispersed, and after our first face-to-face meetings, it became clear that we needed a platform to supplement our email meetings and conference calls. We quickly set up a Wiki, and it became everything from the white board to capture our post-meeting ideas to the documentation repository for our initiatives. Wikis proved to provide a lot of publishing functionality to this organization with little financial investment. Since we had limited financial funds as a start up, this seemed the perfect fit for our needs.
The remainder of the article provides essentially a case study of how wiki was used in support of a specific project. Well worth the read.