Tag Archives: procedures manual

Wicked Wikis!

3 Oct

Today we keep on investigating how web 2.0 tools can help companies improve their businesses. Do you remember that last week I talked about microblogging and how it could help improve corporate collaboration? Well, time to discover what else the mysterious world of web technology has to offer. I will again illustrate my statements using  Air Services as an example. Through my different posts you will therefore be able to see how all these tools can actually work together to come up with a real Web 2.0 implementation plan for this company.

Ready? Let’s talk about Wikis!

Yes, Wiki as in Wikipedia, which I know we all are familiar with. I’m sure that each of us have at least once use Wikipedia to find out about the Tajikistan’s population, Justin Bieber’s discography or the history of the creation of the corkscrew. No? Ok maybe I’m curious about weird things, but it doesn’t matter what you are looking for, you can find it on Wikipedia. As far as I’m confident that you all use it, do you actually know how this website works? Where do all these pages of information come from?

Wikipedia is simply one example of what a Wiki is: A wiki is a website that allows users to add and update content on the site using their own web browser. Through a collaborative effort of the site visitors, pages are created, text and images are added, link to other pages are included, creating this huge database of knowledge that anyone can edit.

Some advantages of Wikis are that:

  • Contributions are made by a big number of people with different perspectives, making the content rich.
  • The quality of the content is high since contributors are incentivized to share helpful and relevant information otherwise their edit will be deleted by other users.
  • The wiki can grow very fast since the number of contributors can be huge.
  • Wikis are flexible and easy to use.

Because of the flexibility of this tool, Wikis can be used by organisation in many ways:

  • Managing meetings and calendar
  • Knowledge management
  • File archivage
  • Brainstorming and innovative thinking
  • Reference material and operations guide
I am going to focus on the latter use of Wikis.
Air Services is operated by 3 different teams that works together to insure safe and sound air traffic:
  • Air Traffic Control manages Australia’s airspace
  • Aviation Rescue and Fire Fighting solves a wide range of incidents from medical emergencies to fire fighting
  • Projects & Engineering designs, develops and maintain technological systems

Because Air Services business is highly specialized, a set of procedures is linked to each team. It is critical that each team working on similar tasks are kept in sync and follow the same guidelines to achieve maximum efficiency and coherence.I would therefore recommend Air Services to set up a Wiki per department, stating a procedure check-list, an operations manual or any other instructions related to their job.The goal here is to simply write down the recipe of the department success.

This is even more critical for Air Services as they have to deal with the issue of an ageing workforce. Indeed, because the business is specialized, a high proportion of employees have a long career in the organization, and today, 67% are older than 40.
Staff retiring raises the problem of passing on knowledge to new recruits, and training them, which can really be time-consuming. Having a well written procedure guide already in place can speed up this process.
The manual can then be used as a reference material that guide employees towards doing a better job. If anyone doesn’t know what they need to do or how to do it, they can simply refer to the procedure guide.
Why use a wiki to do so?
Nobody really likes writing procedures manuals. It’s boring we know that. But what if everyone collaborated, writing down specifics as they do them, in the area of their expertise. Way easier don’t you think?
The flexibility of the wiki is also perfect should procedures evolve and updates be needed.
Still not convinced that it is the right tool?
Ok here are 2 more arguments: If  you are afraid of making a mistake in writing a procedure down, don’t worry you can track the history of all modifications and go back to a previous version of the manual.
And last but not least: it’s FREE!

As usual I will finish this post by providing some takeaways for a successful implementation of the new tool:
  • Use one unique wiki software. There is no need wasting time  training different people in using different wiki softwares.
  • As for every web 2.0 tool, TRAINING is key. Don’t expect people to spontaneously use a tool they are unfamiliar with. You need to lead them to use it slowly over time.
  • To avoid the risk of misuse of the wiki, the editing option should be made available only to registered members of the company. However, no moderation is needed. It is important to select who can participate in the wiki but the selected contributors should be trusted.
Do you know any company that are already using wikis in this way?

Feel free to read my team related posts about how Airservices can use wikis to:
manage knowledge (Andrew)

REFERENCES:
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