Designing with a Wiki

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Scott Watermasysk: In part 1 of the interview, Anders mentions an internal wiki that is used for the design process. I would love to read that some day.

Reading this sparked off some more thoughts this week about the use of a Wiki for documenting a design/development project. I played around with OpenWiki a few weeks ago, which is implemented using ASP and is a piece of cake to get up and running.

The pages upon pages of notes I have written down for the projects I’m currently working with can become difficult to manage and there are a list of tasks in amongst them that are not only waiting for me to complete, but also waiting for information from other people. These tend to be little things that don’t need to show up on the overall project plan. Using a Wiki might be a way of allowing other people to see the notes I’m taking and also see what tasks are outstanding. If everyone did that then there would be a much better sharing of information. However, the Wiki Backlash debate made me wonder if all that would be manageable.

I’ve also experimented with Microsoft OneNote this week. Having originally written it off as something that I really needed a Tablet PC for (and much as I’d like one, the price/performance factor doesn’t seem to make them worth it yet), a few comments I’ve read recently suggested that it was still a fantastic tool for keeping your notes even if you just type into it. My evaluation suggested just that and if it wasn’t for the fact that the beta kept crashing on me, I might dispense with a paper notebook, something that was previously an anathema for me.

The outcome of this is that I think in the very near future, I’ll be managing much more of the day-to-day information that I write down in an electronic (and hence searchable and sharable) medium. How, exactly, I’m not yet sure: possibly a mixture of Wiki and OneNote from the looks of things…