Using a Wiki for Documentation and Collaborative Authoring

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.