Friday, 14 July 2017

NASA's 6 rules for making Wikis work

Wikis can sometimes be difficult to sustain as a Knowledge Management tool. Here are 6 rules for success.


Image from Wikimedia commons
I was reading a great article called "Why Wikis at NASA" by  John Verville, Patricia Jones and Mark Rober. In the article, they talk about NASA's experience with wikis, giving the examples of the Goddard Engineering Wiki and the JPL Wired Wiki.

From theie experience, they share these 6 basic and common sense rules.

  • Wikis work best when they solve a problem that is evident to most of a group. 
  •  Wiki use needs to replace an existing work process, not add to work. 
  •  Wikis need advocates and advertising. 
  •  Seeding the wiki with valuable content helps jump-start the process; with a blank page, no one knows where to start. 
  •  Gradual growth is fine, and starting small helps a core group of users become accustomed to the wiki (think pilot study). 
  •  A wiki that serves a niche need is okay; it does not need to be all things to all people.

The authors conclude that

"Wiki technologies have proven themselves to be usable, robust, and affordable. With wikis and other collaborative technologies springing up around NASA, we believe the technological, economic, and cultural forces have aligned to make us a more highly collaborative culture".

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