Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Project Planning Using Blogs and Wikis


Nicole Engard, Jenkins Law Library

problem using email for project planning; difficult to follow and go back to decisions a year later.

Use a blog for each project; give every staff member the ability to contribute to or create a blog. Discussion is still date-stamped.

Everyone can read what is happening in other departments.

Reduces clutter in in-box. Easy to go back to see the year, and complete reports.

Uses wikis for collecting documentation.

She opened up their site live to us and demonstrated some of the features. Kind of hard to transcribe everything, but here are a few things:

They have a shared calendar that is web-based. Everyone is able to edit it.

To do lists - share to do items with other staff, mark items off, keep track of everything. She hasn't said what platform they are using (or perhaps I missed it).

Every staff member has the ability to start their own project.

Staff members don't have to focus on making things look good; they have the power but should focus on writing (i.e. creating content). The web team go in to make things pretty. Web team also have the ability to delete posts, but doesn't happen very often.

Staff get email alerts when things are updated if they want.

Use good web design, icons to make things clear, Dilbert cartoon to inspire people to visit the site. :-)

They have a "future wish list" thread for everyone. Also works for posting meeting minutes and people can post their comments about the meeting.

WYSIWYG editor - WYSIWYG Pro; they also have ability to edit by HTML. They decided to go with editor since it allows for multiple editors on one page. Approx. $40 for non-profits.

Limit the number of Word documents; prefer to term them into wiki pages so they are searchable, easier to handle.

People can read about projects in other departments; improves communication, lets people know what is happening across the organization.

It is an in-house developed platform based on MySQL using PHP for the front end. They would have to do a lot of work to make it available as open source. She is willing to share parts of their code.

See her website where she will post her presentation:


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