Encouraging Successful Wiki Adoption

As I explained in my previous article on 3  Reasons to Switch to a Knowledge Management Center or Wiki, when done well wikis can be an excellent Knowledge Management tool. Atlassian’s Confluence is the best platform for creating this Knowledge Management Center. Through Confluence you can provide one centralized place where team members, members of other departments in the company, partners, and sometimes customers can share information, documents and knowledge.

However, successfully implementing a wiki adoption initiative involves much more than simply deploying Confluence and then telling everyone to stop sharing documents via email, shared folders, etc., and start using the wikis instead. Ensuring your organization-wide wikis initiative is a complete success with adoption by all users takes planning and follow-through.

Based on my many years of experience in the field, here’s what I recommend…

Pay Attention to Important Governance Issues

From limiting page structures to a maximum of three or four levels to maintaining a single source for each item, Confluence governance must be addressed. For more information about this topic, see 4 Important Confluence Wiki Governance Issues .

Provide an Excellent User Experience

To entice people to give up their old ways of storing and sharing documents and information and switch to Confluence, you’ve got to make the wiki adoption sexy and engaging for the user. This means branding it with the company branding, involving the team in decisions regarding their space’s look and feel, and ensuring that everything is extremely well organized, easy to read and simple to use. The ability for users to easily find what they need is absolutely key.

Assign Local Administrators

When you first launch Confluence, the company wiki administrator can probably handle all of the questions and support issues that arise. But if you want to be able to scale up to more than 20 or 25 wiki spaces, you need to have each team designate a local wiki administrator for their space. These local administrators can be given extra training so that they can answer basic questions and provide basic training for their peers. The local administrators become the first level of contact that every user in that space should go to when questions or problems come up. When the local administrator reaches the limits of his or her knowledge, the company administrator can then step in.

Provide Online FAQs and Training

It can be very helpful to enlist the aid of the organization’s marketing team to create a series of “how to use the wiki” videos. You can also create a welcome page which organizes all of the links by bucket and type of link. For example, in the Human Resources section you can have a link for “where can I find my 401-K?” This welcome page often becomes the most-used page within the wiki.

This is useful for both existing employees and new employees, who will finally have an organized and branded place to find all of the necessary or required information.

Link Confluence to Google Analytics or Mixpanel

By tracking your analytics you’ll be able to see what’s going on. What are the most successful spaces in your wiki? Who are the most successful users or contributors? How many pages are watched each month? Is the file structure system working, or are people giving up before they find the information they need?

Analytics will also help you define and track your return on investment. For example, say your company has 2000 employees and you have invested in Confluence for your wikis initiative. Analytics will let you see that 1500 people are using the wiki each month, with an average of 7 interactions per person each week. The wiki is being used more than email for internal communications – which was your target – and you’ve got the data to prove to your stakeholders that the wikis are working as desired.

Confluence can be also integrated with your Microsoft Active Directory and provides a software developer’s kit called “REST API.” The Confluence REST API is provided for developers who want to integrate with or build on top of the Confluence platform, and administrators who want to script interactions with the Confluence server.

Ensure Your First Confluence Space is a Huge Success

The goal here is to turn the users of this first wiki environment into “raving fans.” If your first Confluence space is a huge success, the users will talk. They’ll rave to others in the company about how easy it is to find information on the wiki, how they’re using it more than email or any other local initiative, how it’s made their life so much better, etc. Next thing you know, other departments will want wikis, too, and adoption will spread company-wide.

Basically, if you hear someone asking for information and the answer is, “did you look for it on our wiki?” then you know you have successfully implemented your new Knowledge Management System.

How do you ensure this first space goes over so well? First, of course, you do everything right (see all of the points above). Next, you might want to consider incentivizing people to give the wiki a try and contribute to their space. For example, each week you can publish a list of the top 10 contributors to the space, and announce that after six months the top 3 contributors will get a prize.

Need help encouraging successful wiki adoption in your organization? Give us a call, and put our wiki and Confluence expertise to work for you.