Rock Your Wiki - Atlassian Summit 2012


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Tom's Rock Your Wiki story will show how persistent application of a handful of core strategies plus a few key plugins can take adoption from "Yawn" to "Wow" and get business units clamoring for more. Learn how a Fortune 500 Enterprise used organic adoption and guerrilla marketing techniques to gain users throughout the organization.

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  • effort to gain widespread adoption of a tool like Confluence can appear daunting. it’s a new type of application to get awareness and knowledge on that isn’t a required application like say, SAP or other ERP software that in our and many organizations drives the core business . <CLICK>You might feel like you’re stuck on a cliff-face without knowledge or experience of how to go up. But <click> No worries.. <click> Using or adapting the techniques and approaches of others – like picking up a copy of the book Wikipatterns by Steward Mader (highly recommended), gaining information from others like speakers here at Summit are a few ways to get a great start . Your own path – tailored to your org’s culture, size and collaboration needs – and fueled by what you’ve learned from others plus your own ideas and creativity can help you reach wherever you wish to go.
  • A little background on Graybar…We’re a distributor of elec, communications and data networking products and services with typical customers ranging from small contractors to very large ones building stadiums, high-rise office buildings, wind farms and so on. We also sell to industry and the government and military.140+ year history…a company with a lot of tradition (Gray & Barton are in the upper right). That was the name of their first company which later became Western Electric. Elisha Gray had many patents including ones for the telegraph and one he just missed for the telephone), we are employee-owned for the past 80+ years, and so with that, and our size….as you might imagine, something has to prove itself to break through the ‘clutter’. Information–sharing challenges exist in any company; the question for us was, how might Confluence fit?
  • We started our wiki journey 6 years ago, and first budgeted a wiki tool – which turned out to be Confluence – back in 2008. Confluence’s entire package was in our view head-and-shoulders above other tools we looked at, and it seemed an easy choice. In April of ‘09 we first implemented v2.10….just three years ago, and how far it and we have come. It is reassuring to see how active Atlassian is in improving Confluence…it has gotten better and easier to use every year, and they seem to keep outdoing themselves. Keep going, Atlassians!In the rest of the presentation, I’ll describe how we got to where we are today, and some peeks into where we’re going in the future.
  • 5 to 20 to 80+ to110 … "We had real grass roots viral adoption/organic adoption“ We have super pleased this social software tool for business actually has had some stickiness beyond just curiosity and frivolous uses. We are using it to connect within and outside our business, and even solved business challenges. My role in change management is to help prepare the organization for new technology, and typically that would involve a detailed plan involving communication and training deliverables. For the wiki, we intentionally did not follow that approach at all. For the first time, we decided to go a different route, which allowed for managed growth; that is, we learned how the wiki would work within our company culture while we learned the application itself.
  • We didn’t know at first how this would fit into our organization when we began our first wiki in IT in 2009. Some of us could see its potential, but still unknown was how it might fit our needs and cultures. At first, -CLICK-we focused on departments – could they use a wiki to help with their collaboration and communication needs? (the answer- yes). -CLICK - Next, beginning early in 2010, we found that our districts, we have thirteen across the country which support our 200+ locations, had a use for them; Neil. Our early dept and district successes encouraged others to give it a try..the wikis became centers for their space members to connect, link out to other part of Graybar or beyond, and gave them the license of creativity to accomplish information sharing in new exciting ways and even solve business problems! -CLICK-Then Projects –large project initiatives now had a way to share information and have employee input (our CRM project was our first), and - CLICK - finally virtual teams themselves could benefit (examples include teams supporting projects, and one you’ll hear about soon supporting the wiki itself, our WAC). One quick anecdote. Sometime finding solutions on the go can keep early momentum going –… For example in one of our first business spaces, our Corp Accounts group had a spreadsheet-based table they had to consult often but there was always the problem of not only where it was, but what changed. We turned it into a wiki table only editable by two employees in our legal department. Now, at one URL, everyone had the latest information at their fingertips, knew how current it was, could see what changed if watching the page and so on.
  • Often in our quest for wiki adoption we’re up against the ‘clutter’ of a lot of distractions employees have – their workday in general, meetings, information coming at them from many directions, and their use of established software of all types (ERP software, software for programming, design, presenting analyzing). The point is, other software within organizations can have large ‘footprints’ vying for user attention. AUDIENCE QUESTION…Who works in organizations with large ‘footprints’ of other software? Pause.. Who doesn’t right?You CAN pierce through the ‘clutter’ toshare that a new way of working –working with a mature, well-designed wiki-based tool like Confluence– can be made available to assist them.
  • THINK LIKE A DAVID! Large enterprises, and really orgs of any size, usually have well-established applications with large footprints. Choose your stones –- your managed growth plans, - new wiki space opportunities, your guerilla marketing efforts like ones we’ll share today, etc.-----choose them wisely, and you can get the attention you need to build a critical mass.
  • As you have seen from the rock music opening, the cliff face climbers, David’s slingshot and stones…the presentation is centered around a rock theme. So as Rock Your Wiki continues, we have this zen-like scene with stepstones (ah, foreshadowing…!) which will bring you the 5 main elements of the rest of my talk, and a 6th which is our rock-smashing conclusion. I’ll walk through or over the stepstones briskly here and then we’ll dive in…First the Foundation. Our Meeple represents a couple of critical folks in our wiki story.Rock stars! Find and utilize your wiki rock stars. Mountains! There is your personal one and the ones you have to help others climb.We’ll talk about rocking chair moments.Do you know the Atlassian goat? He perfectly represents this point.And the final exclamation point will be the point to share happening now, and next, including Rock Your Wiki screenshots and other goodies.
  • Management support is an invaluable foundation. My boss Kirk shared the vision of what this tool could accomplish for us and was behind the effort 100% from the beginning…from getting acceptance among his peers for this ‘wiki experiment’ to introducing it in the budget, and on through the implementation challenges and other phases I’ll touch on at the end of this presentation.Another key was the support and buy-in of our VP of Corp Accts and now VP of Bus Dev, John..who saw the potential of this tool early on. His use of the wiki – his was the first non-IT wiki and I believe he has 6 or more in use now spread over his departments and projects – was influential for the tool gaining credibility ‘in the business’ and helped others feel comfortable with the tool.Find and stay connected to key management that can assist your adoption efforts.
  • Find others who get it…you’ll see those who are working to develop their spaces and getting engagement and buy-in from their audiences.
  • Here’s the top or header of our Plugin Considerations Table…Left to right – columns include the Plug-in Name + hyperlink to more info, Features/Purpose of the Plug-in, Cost | Potential Use Case(s) within Graybar | Votes (by initials) | and Comments. The feedback has been outstanding (mention GLIFFY!?), and as a great example of the grassroots-powered effort this has been – our team has recommended some plugins for consideration that we hope to move forward with this year. And you can’t beat the, what I call, ‘wikidollars’ cost of even the best plugins – the affordability makes it so much easier to ‘take the risk’ if there is any felt risk by even the most cautious in your organization.
  • How do you keep everyone ‘climbing’ up the adoption mountain, How do you help them find their edges’, those little bits of basic wiki knowledge and wiki tips to get them started up the path, and then to keep going. There’s so much that a few people or even one-person can do to help. <click>First, as the evangelist or champion, get help yourself…<click> (touch on the bullets)And for Help to Others…We use a Welcome to the Graybar Wiki space where we link to the basic tutorial (we tell them to just take 5-10 minutes), have a sandbox, share homegrown tips.We also have a ‘New to the wiki? Click here to learn more’ link on new spaces that links to that wiki space.
  • LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THIS IS ADOPTION GOLD! This is just one example comment I’ve heard of this nature. I like this example because it is from someone in our sales group, and I don’t think its uncommon that ‘selling’ a software solution to your internal sales folks is challenging. The tool has to work for them in all facets – easy to use, provides value and so on…in general, the fact that Confluence has a ‘fun’ component to it, AND helps them get their work done/helps them to collaborate is a huge WIN/takeaway for ALL users. Here’s another one…
  • This is from another management-level sales person, a space ‘owner’ – this gentleman works out of our Richmond, VA office and he pioneered our first ‘field’ sales wiki space. He used the wiki to create a page for each sales rep …they would input their current year’s sales goals (like Total Sales dollars, GM percentage) and were asked to update the page monthly with their performance towards their goals. It included their picture and a short profile. Their first year he piloted it in 3 or 4 branches and recently expanded to all of the dozen or so branches in his district.
  • Take time to sit back and think about things, like…
  • We’re just now looking to consider more advanced training materials for the masses, such as how-to videos. But otherwise, this takeaway is my advice…
  • Start video to play from the beginning, then after about 10 seconds, slide the volume down while I start to talk…So back in early January, I was looking for a way to spice up and call attention to the wiki in, again, a unique way. I started hearing commercials about the upcoming Academy Awards. Academy and awards kept rolling around in my head. Wiki Academy Wiki Academy …Wikademy Awards. <CLICK>Instead of an Oscar, how about an Atlas. I shared the concept with the Atlassians, in fact with Matt, and he was like go for it. So.. We did.
  • No particular anecdote about Summit…except to say that what I found is that with so many options, it is helpful to have a plan to ‘work’ the Summit. I plan to hit as many presentations as possible, hit the Sponsor Pavilion to get apprised on some of the plugins (new or updated), and meet folks.SUMMIT IS A GREAT PEOPLE-CONNECTOR…They may turn out later to be invaluable connections for you. …
  • The first official all-employee wiki was the launch of our Sustainability initiative last fall. We didn’t have special tools to that point or programming expertise so this space incorporated columns and panels – with on-page menus - to make it presentable. As mentioned earlier we implemented Zen a few months ago, and so we recently converted this space to the Zen theme which gave us this…
  • Wow, right. Here is the same site an hour or so later. The conversion is quitesimple ..the persistent menu tabs have to be created and linked to, but beyond that it’s pretty easy and the outcome is pretty impressive isn’t it? Notice this Join the Conversation button…that was an idea that came out of a challenge early on from our first business wiki adopter, a VP of corp Accts whom I mentioned earlier, who wanted a place for conversation without using a new tool like a forum tool. His challenge, “can we do that in the wiki?” The solution we came up with…. the link from the image is the Add Comment link from a designated page where you plan to harvest questions or comments. Sometimes these can be pruned after review and perhaps converted to a site’s FAQ page. He loved it and a dozen more spaces are using the idea.
  • Here’s 5, there are at least a dozen or more now and we’ll double that soon…polished look, persistent tabs, microediting and drag and drop of sections. This has all happened in the last few months – it’s been another thing that has ignited interest and has added some zing for space owners who want their audiences to use their wiki. With Zen, they don’t only get all the power and functionality of Confluence, but all the design beauty of a polished-looking website and more.
  • A wiki-powered tool could harvest the knowledge of many of our employees to build a great glossary.
  • Our soon to be launched interactive glossary. As you type, term hits come up. Tags and an Index for discovery will also be available.Tag – green for terms like carbon footprint, sustainability, etc.
  • As our site has grown, we realized – - advantageous to be able to more quickly take advantage of Confluence and plugin upgrades, and just in general to move faster. Our IT organization is, for good reason, built around critical applications that keep the business running, and sometimes it’s difficult to get attention for other tools and let’s face it, Social Software in the Workplace is growing, but I think it’s fair to say is still a somewhat novel thing for many businesses. My boss gave the thumbs up to explore a managed hosting option and we found <click> Contegix, Atlassian’s exclusive managed host provider.That is happening now. It should allow us to move quicker on upgrades and handle issues as they arise more quickly, and we are excited about the new partnership.
  • Rock Your Wiki - Atlassian Summit 2012

    1. 1. Rock Your WikiA Story of Grassroots Organic Adoption(with Tips and Takeaways)Tom CrespiManager Change Management, Graybar
    2. 2. The Challenge May FeelLike This• You can follow the lead of others• You can figure out your own path
    3. 3. •Fortune 500 Company founded in 1869•Employee owned since 1929•7500 employees - 200+ locations•Electrical and comm/data distributor•$5.4 Billion in Sales (2011)•#9 of Top 50 Largest Industrial distributors
    4. 4. Graybar’s Wiki Journey (so far) What’s next?
    5. 5. 2009-2010-2011Quadruple year over year growth
    6. 6. 110+Wiki Spaces Real 80+ Grassroots Organic Adoption 20 5 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 ….
    7. 7. Who is Using the Wiki? Departments Districts Virtual Projects Teams
    8. 8. David and GoliathOrganizations typically have well-established applications with largefootprints.How to break through?Like David, wiki evangelists need aclear head, a sure aim, and at times, abold heart. Choose your stones wiselyand you’ll gain ground.
    9. 9. How did we do it?
    10. 10. Mountain GoatNow and Next Rocking chair Mountains Rock stars Foundation
    11. 11. Mountain Goat Rocking chair Mountains Rock stars Foundation
    12. 12. Foundation• Management support • Share challenges and successes • Ask for advice • Support
    13. 13. Build a foundation for wiki success by connectingwith key management personnel. They can assist andsupport your adoption efforts. #summit12
    14. 14. Rock stars Foundation
    15. 15. Rock Stars• Find Others who ‘get it’ • Nurture them by keeping them informed• Wiki Advisory Council
    16. 16. Wiki Advisory Council Kicked off in early 2011 Cross-section of employees, mostly ‘from the business’ :Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, IT, etc. ‘In the know’ perk The WAC team has its own space Three-fold purpose: • Share knowledge/experiences • Help champion wiki use across the organization • Gain consensus on plugins (see next slide)
    17. 17. Wiki Advisory Council, continued How often do we meet? NEVER…all the interaction isvirtual, mostly via the wiki Blog posts to share news and stimulate conversation Plugin Considerations Table helps assess in acollaborative fashion what plugins might be worth exploring.
    18. 18. An advisory group made up of a x-section of anorganization‟s top wiki users can maintain adoptionmomentum esp. during the ramp-up phase. #summit12
    19. 19. Mountains Rock stars Foundation
    20. 20. Mountains• Get Help Yourself • Confluence KB/Documentation • Offer Help to Others • Twitter (@confluence,…) • Make resources available • Atlassian Answers • Offer a helping hand • Help others ‘find their edges’ • Plug-in Developers and get further up their little • Other users in your community mountains
    21. 21. “Confluence makes work funwhile connecting my team innew ways. I like it!” Jon Director of Sales
    22. 22. 4 Reasons I Like Confluence for my sales teams:- Brings a sense of community- Provides a platform for competitiveness- It‟s easy to use- It speaks to the younger generation Greg Director of Sales
    23. 23. Rocking chair Mountains Rock stars Foundation
    24. 24. Rocking ChairPeriodically review… • What is working or not working? • How can we re-energize? • How can we increase adoption and understanding? • Is it time to upgrade? • Do we need to add functionality (plugins?)
    25. 25. Spend early efforts targeted to finding and nurturingnew space owners vs. concerns about mass training.We found that gaining critical mass of wiki spaces ismore important than mass formal training efforts inthe early going.
    26. 26. Mountain Goat Rocking chair Mountains Rock stars Foundation
    27. 27. The Atlassian Goat• Like the perky goat, Confluence has a unique character to it. Use it to your advantage! For example…
    28. 28. A ‘rocking chair moment’ led to this… TheWikademy Awards
    29. 29. Wikademy Awards categoriesthis first year included:• Best Use of Wiki Comments• Best Use of Wiki Tables• Best Use of a Wiki Macro• Best Use of Wiki Templates• Best Use of the Blog Feature• Best Use of a Wiki to Solve a Business Challenge• Innovative Use of a Wiki for a Sales Team• First ‘Official’ All-Employee Wiki
    30. 30. Summit!• Training • Networking• Presentations • Summit Bash• Atlas Bar • Decompression Chamber• Guru Room• Sponsor Pavilion
    31. 31. Mountain GoatNow and Next Rocking chair Mountains Rock stars Foundation
    32. 32. ZenFoundation
    33. 33. Zen Foundation – a Confluence-theme-on-steroids –is a „rock your wiki‟ adoption accelerator. #summit12
    34. 34. Wiki-Powered Interactive Glossary
    35. 35. Managed Host Provider• 24/7/365 Support• Expert,Speedy Handling of Tickets by Tier 3 Support Engineers• Follow Atlassian’s Recommendations for Large Confluence Implementations (server set-up, dedicated resources, monitoring)
    36. 36. CreditsSlide 3.• 2 photos from nzgabriel (Gabriel Pollard) on Flickr, used by permission• 1 photo from Jsome1 (Feliciano Guimarães) on Flickr, licensed under CreativeCommons Attribution• Music, ‘Rock Track 1’ from Edie Murphy’s Royalty-free-Music-room.comSlide 4.• Photo from ollimar71 (Maria Ollis) on Flickr, used by permission.Slide 6.• Time-line created at the Timeline Generator at Slide 9.• David and Goliath image by Osmar Schindler .,.. A Wikipedia public domain image at
    37. 37. Thank you!