The Birth of a Company-Wide Wiki      Joaquim Baptista      Director, Technical Documentation                             ...
Design of communication at Altitude SoftwareWiki adoption story, how and why? 2002: Technical writers’ wiki. 2004: Techn...
Background — Altitude SoftwareAltitude Software: Sells software for contact centers (product plus setup services). 150 e...
Phase 1 — Mid 2002 — PoolWiki discovery: Issue with extra notes (extra detail, inefficient XML toolchain). Experience no...
Phase 2 — 2004 — TechnetOpportunity (Email is not enough): Email with meta-information (I’ll send you these files private...
The Technet experience in 2004        ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved   6
The Technet experience, reduxWiki areas: Forum — based on the comment plug-in. Notes — Technical notes that originated t...
Phase 3 — 2004 — DisseminationSeminars and webinars to disseminate: Teams asking for team areas, sometimes private. Surp...
Phase 4 — Mid 2004 — InfoSpacesInternal 2002 study shows need for unified distribution of information: Interviews with de...
InfoSpaces and distribution mid-2004             ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved   10
Phase 5 — End 2004 — IT takes overCompany IT provides: Hosting Administration Backups User administration.Aftermath: ...
Phase 6 — 2005 — Marketing takes overMarketing leads, involves graphical design: Graphical home page. Revamped navigatio...
Altinet homepage in 2010  ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved   13
2010 — AftermathAftermath: Most company information on Altinet. Not all proposed InfoSpaces appeared immediately. Most ...
Guidelines for the next travelersKnow wiki          Design content                                         Have champions ...
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The Birth of a Company-Wide Wiki

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A small software company with a worldwide presence uses one wiki to store or access most company information. Using open source software, the wiki started as a small team tool and then grew to reach technical people. An innovative content strategy proposal later extended the reach of the wiki to non-technical people. Five years later, the system is still the backbone of the company.

Crucial factors for the unusual adoption of the wiki included technical competence, judicious leadership, champions at the executive committee, and a compelling proof-of-concept.

Published in: Business, Technology
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The Birth of a Company-Wide Wiki

  1. 1. The Birth of a Company-Wide Wiki Joaquim Baptista Director, Technical Documentation @pxquim px@altitude.com©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved Organização 2.0 — 2-Jun-2011
  2. 2. Design of communication at Altitude SoftwareWiki adoption story, how and why? 2002: Technical writers’ wiki. 2004: Technical wiki and more. 2005: Company wiki and more. 600 500 400 300 Wiki users at Altitude Software 200 100 0 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 2
  3. 3. Background — Altitude SoftwareAltitude Software: Sells software for contact centers (product plus setup services). 150 employees in Lisbon (including R&D). 150 employees worldwide.Altitude uCI suite is technically complex: Client/Server, Windows/AIX/Linux. Integrates with switches, databases, major ERP suites. Customized in C, C#, VB, Java, proprietary programming language. ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 3
  4. 4. Phase 1 — Mid 2002 — PoolWiki discovery: Issue with extra notes (extra detail, inefficient XML toolchain). Experience note-taking with a simple wiki. Articles on wiki philosophy and usage patterns.Pool is born over TWiki: technical notes, team wiki. Pool stays dormant as team tool for 1.5 years. Run by Docteam on surplus and obsolete hardware.Why TWiki? Focus on intranet. Text files instead of database back-end (Unix philosophy). ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 4
  5. 5. Phase 2 — 2004 — TechnetOpportunity (Email is not enough): Email with meta-information (I’ll send you these files privately). Actual information lost (both persons left Company). VP Professional Services looking for Web forum (such as phpBB). Argued “wiki is better”.Technet is born: Hacked TWiki comment plug-in to resemble a forum. Moved Pool content along. Added an HTTP server for product documents. Added linking to specialized systems (bug tracking, other). ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 5
  6. 6. The Technet experience in 2004 ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 6
  7. 7. The Technet experience, reduxWiki areas: Forum — based on the comment plug-in. Notes — Technical notes that originated the first wiki. Docteam — Manage the documentation team. Informal — Encourage individual experimentation.Easy document publishing: Product documentation in a plain HTTP server. File sharing to publish files.Wiki features: File attachments to wiki pages. Wiki shortcuts to specialized internal systems like bug-tracking. Daily email announcements of wiki pages changed. Authentication system integrated with the existing password system. ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 7
  8. 8. Phase 3 — 2004 — DisseminationSeminars and webinars to disseminate: Teams asking for team areas, sometimes private. Surprised at instant buy-in! Not all teams though…Champions in Executive team (meeting minutes as killer application): VP Professional Services. VP R&D. VP Marketing.Aftermath: Most technical information is on Technet. Used by GPS people, R&D, QA, Docteam, executive team. ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 8
  9. 9. Phase 4 — Mid 2004 — InfoSpacesInternal 2002 study shows need for unified distribution of information: Interviews with department heads and main information producers. Matrix of who produces and who consumes what information.Producers and consumers meet at “InfoSpaces”: Collaborative (wiki). Few to many (shares or wiki for structure). Specialized (bug tracking and similar).Propose set of “InfoSpaces”: Unified logins (for each kind of user). Area editors (wiki gardeners or content curators). Wiki aggregates information (process, meta-information, links). ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 9
  10. 10. InfoSpaces and distribution mid-2004 ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 10
  11. 11. Phase 5 — End 2004 — IT takes overCompany IT provides: Hosting Administration Backups User administration.Aftermath: No longer a side project, now fully embraced by Company. New employees automatically set up. Letting go of control critical to gain wider acceptance. Experiences with deep TWiki integrations are lost. (!) Lost part of R&D (want closer control). ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 11
  12. 12. Phase 6 — 2005 — Marketing takes overMarketing leads, involves graphical design: Graphical home page. Revamped navigation scheme.Altinet is born through Marketing diplomacy: Marketing Customer assistance Product planning Training Customer projects HR, IT, ...Two extra wikies for R&D (control), Executive team (security). ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 12
  13. 13. Altinet homepage in 2010 ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 13
  14. 14. 2010 — AftermathAftermath: Most company information on Altinet. Not all proposed InfoSpaces appeared immediately. Most InfoSpaces appeared in due time. Current system alienates R&D people, but brings sales people in. Gartner took due notice. It was a success beyond anyone’s wildest dreams! ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 14
  15. 15. Guidelines for the next travelersKnow wiki Design content Have champions Let go of controlphilosophy and interaction Explain Explain Involve users, Let others how to, what reinforce embraceor why not might be collaboration and extendIt was a long trip, full of surprises! Thanks! px@altitude.com @pxquim ©1993-2011 Altitude Software - All Rights Reserved 15
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