One of the tricky parts of introducing a wiki into an organisation is getting people in the habit of using it. It’s really a chicken-and-egg problem: without content, the wiki is boring and noone uses it; if noone uses the wiki, no new content gets written.

At Atlassian now, we have a thriving internal wiki. Our internal blogs get up to 40 new blog posts and comments per day. Discussion abounds on everything from marketing and pricing to development improvements. How did this happen?

Atlassian blogs this morning: 34 unread internal posts
Atlassian blogs this morning: 34 unread internal posts

A subtle ploy already employed when I joined Atlassian was getting staff to record their timesheets in a personal space in Confluence. Not only is it an easy way to edit and submit a timesheet, but it gets staff to create a personal space and become familiar with editing wiki content.

Whether this originally done to encourage collaboration via the wiki, I’m not sure. I’m pretty certain is has had a big effect, however. It cuts out the biggest hurdle in getting people involved in a wiki: not knowing where to start. We say: start with your personal space, and move on from there.

As an example of the effectiveness of this ploy, consider again the internal blogging. Six months ago there was minimal internal blogging at Atlassian. The company was growing fast, and different teams were getting out-of-touch with the big picture. When the suggestion was made to start blogging internally, everyone having a personal space with their timesheets in it made the transition to this really smooth. We always had the tools, but having the personal space structure in place meant people became comfortable with the idea pretty quickly. In just six months, internal blogging is now firmly a part of the Atlassian culture.

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