Using wiki talk pages for daily progress reports

In this post I mentioned setting up a wiki for the Delphi development team and how it has become a great knowledge base but I didn’t mention one rather unexpected use. It all started back in March when we hired a new C++ compiler engineer and he started using the $g(wiki Talk pages) in $g(MediaWiki) as a sort of personal progress report. The idea started to catch on and now a bunch of engineers in R&D add content to their own Talk pages each day.

A typical daily entry is very simply and includes the date and a few bullet items mentioning things that were accomplished or issues being dealt with. Of course, this all seems rather benign until one day a Sales Engineer from half way around the world emails an R&D engineer inquiring about one of his bullet items as it relates directly to a problem one of his customers is having. Suddenly, the trickle of information has some real value. Our wiki supports $g(RSS feeds) for both recent changes and new pages so it’s fairly easy for anyone to “watch” what’s going on when there are people updating the wiki daily with their own status report. I’ve now learned that our R&D manager regularly visits these pages as well and that this information is used in a variety of ways.