Wikis are one of those "Web 2.0" applications that seem to be right on the edge of jumping into mainstream adoption. If your workplace is anything like mine, you've been spending more time lately answering the "what's a wiki" question than you have in the past. If you're starting to approach the point where you're ready to try one out in your organization, here's a good place to start your planning... WikiPatterns - A Practical Guide To Improving Productivity and Collaboration In Your Organization by Stewart Mader. Rather than a "do this, this, and this" instruction manual, Mader gets into the whys and whats of wiki adoption in the workplace, complete with case studies and real-life examples.
Table of Contents:
1. Grassroots is Best
Case Study: LeapFrog
2. Your Wiki Isn't (Necessarily) Wikipedia
Case Study: Johns Hopkins University
3. What's Five Minutes Really Worth?
Case Study: Sun Microsystems
4. 11 Steps to a Successful Wiki Pilot
Case Study: Red Ant
Case Study: A Conversation with a WikiChampion: Jude Higdon
5. Drive Large-Scale Adoption
Case Study: JavaPolis
Case Study: A Conversation with a WikiChampion: Jeff Calado
6. Prevent (or Minimize) Obstacles
Case Study: Kerrydale Street
7. Inspirational Bull****
Case Study: Constitution Day
Case Study: Peter Higgs: Using a Wiki in Research
Appendix - Questions and Answers
Stewart Mader is the Wiki Evangelist for Atlassian Software, who also happens to be the creator of Confluence, an enterprise Wiki software package. But don't let that little bit of disclosure put you off. He is a well-known personality in the wiki community, and he's done the evangelism gig with many a company and organization prior to joining Atlassian. As such, the material is pretty vendor-neutral in terms of what you should and shouldn't be doing. You don't have to worry about sitting through a long sales pitch.
The book is designed to be used in conjunction with the website [...]. That site lists and explores a number of "patterns" and "anti-patterns" that come into play when launching and running a wiki site. Furthermore, it's split up into people and adoption issues. So as you're reading through the book, you'll see references (especially in the case studies) to patterns and anti-patterns that influenced the successes and difficulties of many of the projects. As the wikipatterns concepts are still evolving, the case studies didn't necessarily set out to follow and implement a certain set of behaviors. Quite often, the patterns are seen only in hindsight. But you have the benefit of being able to observe the patterns at work before you get started on your own project. This should help increase your odds of success at the start, or at least give you a clue as to what might be going wrong before it gets too messy to correct.
I personally am at the point where this information is *exactly* what I need at work. We've got a number of people who are ready to start a wiki pilot project, and the only reason I've put it off is due to some other higher-priority projects. But armed with Mader's wisdom, I think I'll have a much better chance of pulling off a successful pilot. I also saw some great ideas for taking the DominoWiki OpenNTF project and extending it (like with page templates) to make the software even more useful and easy to implement.
If you simply want to roll out a wiki for your own use, you'll probably see most of this information as overkill. But if you want to help lead the way to wiki adoption at your company, you could consider this the "teacher's guide" edition of the textbook. Not only will it ground you in the cultural aspects of wiki adoption, but it will establish you as the "go-to" person when it comes to this particular branch of the collaboration software tree.