I’ve been at Atlassian for a month now, and it’s time to admit that I never really got the whole wiki thing. (This is something I’m glad I didn’t have to own up to during my interviews.)
Until now.
Before starting with Atlassian, I thought that Wikipedia was the only real world wiki. But apparently, Wikipedia is not the real world. I thought collaboration was something I was across — I was one of the more prolific users of the Sharepoint site at my old job. My family use a Drupal site to blog, even if the average time between posts is measured in months, rather than days.
But a wiki as a enterprise tool? Spontaneous collaboration? People going to the wiki rather than asking to be emailed? I wasn’t skeptical, just unable to imagine how it could work.
Now, after four weeks of wikiing-the-Atlassian-way, I’m in danger of becoming a wiki fangirl.
What convinced me? Four days into my job, I needed to share some information with the other Internal Systems people. I assumed I’d be sending an email — the big decision was whether to write what I wanted in the body or attach a document. Neither felt very Atlassian-y. But then, I had an ah-ha moment — I could add a page to the wiki!
Plus:

  • I needed a license key for IntelliJ IDEA. It’s on the wiki.
  • Every time I’ve searched for something, what I was looking for was in the first three search results.
  • I haven’t had to convene a meeting to get comments/updates to something I’ve written.
  • Directing someone to the wiki is much faster than attaching a document to an email — think of all that extra free time I have!

Now, some of these are part of Atlassian’s culture, rather than just because we use a wiki. But I also think most of them are due to the important paradigm shift of thinking about knowledge management rather than document management.
For whatever reason, it rocks. I love things being this easy. I love getting (almost) zero emails with attachments. I love not having a hard drive full of Word documents.
As for all the extra free time I have, from not attaching documents to emails? I spend it reading the internal Atlassian blogs. Which are also part of our wiki!

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