We are all pretty familiar by now with Wikis as community generated and maintained knowledge repositories. At COW, we are finding that they are also useful to project teams as a primary development support and project management tool in a number of ways:
- Mission/ vision statements can evolve online organically, becoming well-vetted requirements overviews and functional specs through continuous, visible review and feedback by stakeholders.
- Questions that arise during ongoing development can be posed quickly and with very little friction to design and editorial team members for further articulation/ clarification.
- Dialogue surrounding options and alternatives can be captured inline with preceding requirements and functional documentation
- Project artifacts such as art samples, mock-ups, design diagrams and other critical artifacts are made visible to the team.
- Prototypes and in-progress work-product can be embedded or linked directly in the project page along with pertinent release notes.
- ‘Watchlist’ notifications can be established such that all relevant team members and other stakeholders are alerted in real-time when the work-product has been updated and has become available for review, evaluation, commentary and feedback.
‘Ticket-based’ or issue-tracking commentary tools and systems have been around for quite a while and are certainly valuable to project teams hard on the case of buttoning down all the details of a commercial-grade code release. But these systems can be cumbersome in their configuration, ramp-up, and maintenance – not a desirable situation at the early stages of a project when ideas are being formulated and evaluated, and thinking and communication needs to flow and be as friction-free as possible.
The ease-of-use, accessibility, and flexibility of a Wiki by contrast makes it a great choice for teams who want to get up-and-running quickly – and stay running efficiently – in their project design and development. Leveraged to their potential, Wikis make it easier for each team member to share the burden of project management during development, and that in turn promotes agility. Teams that allow a Wiki to transcend its role as a knowledge base and take on the additional, more active role of project hub are likely to be pleasantly surprised at how smooth that road can prove to be.