Selecting a wiki that works best for your team takes time, but the real work begins when you start to add information to your new knowledge management system. It’s important to look for a tool that has intuitive hierarchies, integrations with your pre-existing tools, and a price point that works for you, but it’s equally important to promote a culture of documentation.
So how best do you structure your account and get your employees as passionate about documentation as you are? Below are a few practical and tips to help you foster a culture of documentation.
Explain Why You Need a Company Wiki
Transparency is power. When you commit to a wiki, make sure everyone on your team is ready to make the change as well. Create a Tettra page, explaining how your team benefits from a wiki and encouraging everyone to contribute knowledge. Make it clear that your wiki does not take the place of your pre-existing tools, but rather, serves as a hub for all your scattered documents, standard operating procedures, and other tools.
Seek Individual Buy-In
One of the biggest hurdles after selecting a wiki is to actually get your employees to start using the product. And ideally, you want everyone to share what they know; everyone has at least some amount of knowledge that other people might need. Keep in mind that people might feel daunted by the task of populating an entire wiki. Clarify that you want the whole team to get involved.
Ask individual people to start adding info to the company wiki. A great way to combat the initial writer’s block is to ask individuals what questions they run into on a regular basis. Clarify that by answering these questions in written form in the wiki, they’ll be saving time and avoiding answering repetitive questions in the long run. It may take some time up front, but they’ll be thankful for it later. Writing documentation in this way is an investment in your future productivity!
One of the first pages you should consider creating is a DRI Directory (a list of “Directly Responsible Individuals”). A DRI is a person who’s accountable for a certain area of work and any decisions that are made in that area. By clarifying your DRIs, people will more easily know who to go to for information and help keep your decision-making scalable. It also makes it easier to fill in the gaps of any documentation you might be missing.
For example, on our team at Tettra, we have a page that lists our DRIs for most areas of the business, large and small. If I have a brand question and can’t find the info I need, I can use the DRI page to identify who to ask. If you want to take it one step further, create a suggestion in Tettra and assign it to the DRI for that area. In my example above, I might ask the Marketing DRI to publish this info in Tettra, so she doesn’t have to answer the question again in the future. Which leads us to the next tip…
Grow Your Company Wiki Organically
Encourage your team to start thinking with a documentation mindset. Anytime someone runs into a question and learns the answer, that person should write down this knowledge. By taking an organic approach to building up the info in your wiki, you ensure you’re documenting the info people need most.
As in the example above, you can also share the load among your team. Make suggestions in Tettra (or even directly from Slack!) to other people on the team. This helps shift the burden from your DRIs helps your individual contributors become stakeholders in your documentation.
Document the New Employee Onboarding Process
As your team grows, you need to make sure your knowledge grows alongside it. Instead of recreating the wheel each time a new teammate joins your company, consider building out an Onboarding folder. One of our customers, Animalz, wrote a terrific guest post about how they navigate the onboarding process for their remote team. Their advice is highly applicable for remote teams, as well as co-located ones.
You can get as granular as setting up an Onboarding page for each role, or as general as an Onboarding category for all new employees. In either case, create a Welcome page that outlines onboarding checklists and timelines, links to other more in-depth instructional guides, and shares common office knowledge like wifi passwords and other tools they can expect to use.
Reduce Meeting Time
Many teams hold regular, recurring standups. Keep your standups fast and efficient by documenting things in a company wiki beforehand. Plus, you have a running record of all the work you’ve done and have planned to do. You can automate some of this process with the Zapier integration.
Here at Tettra, we use the Zapier integration to automatically create a new page 1 business day before our weekly meeting. The template is automatically formatted in the way we like, and it gets populated with a section for each functional group.
By automating this process and pushing an alert into Slack, it’s easier to remember to document our weekly standup page. We hold each other accountable to fill out upcoming tasks for each department for the week ahead. In front-loading the sharing of info, we’re able to hit the ground running and make the best use out of our time together. This also helps promote accountability as we assess what was left unfinished for the week before, alongside what we’re planning for the week ahead.
Build a Set of FAQs for Each Department or Group
Improve team efficiency by building out FAQ pages. Consider building an FAQ page for each department. For example, I run customer Support at Tettra and it can be difficult to keep track of the wide variety of questions I receive and solutions I find from month-to-month. I also want to keep in mind that someone else may have this job in the future. By keeping the FAQs up to date, I keep response times down for myself and future support representatives.
Don’t feel the need to document each and every process on this page. This can be overwhelming and actually end up costing more time than saving. By giving a high level answer and internally linking to more fleshed out instructional guides, I keep the FAQ simple and easy to search without sacrificing the quality of content.
A Company Wiki Means a More Effective Team
At its best, a wiki serves as a centralized hub of your institutional knowledge. Your employees should always know where answers can be found. And if they’re not able to find it, they should be able to request that information in a way that doesn’t get lost in a Slack message or interrupt your knowledge-holders day-to-day workflow.
A company wiki like Tettra saves people from answering repetitive questions, enables your individual contributors to self-serve, and promotes accountability across your company. It also serves as a hub for other, scattered information. With good knowledge management, everyone can access the info they need when they need it.