Saving Time by Using the TechNet Wiki

imageA few people have asked me why our team uses the TechNet wiki to publish our content. I tell them that the number one reason why we use the wiki is that it saves us time and enables us to get our content out to the community faster than our traditional processes. That sounds good on paper, but what is it specifically about the TechNet wiki that saves us time?

It’s a good question and its worth answering, because if it saves me and the rest of my team time to use the TechNet wiki, it could save you time too!

Here are a few reasons why I think the TechNet wiki saves us time:

  • Because the wiki is a open platform, we don’t have to worry about onboarding people into some closed platform to allow for collaboration. In some cases, it’s not even possible to onboard people into the closed platform, which means that you need to shuttle documents as email attachments back and forth – which makes change management difficult to do.
  • We are writers, not editors. While I think we do a reasonable job at editing our own content, line editing, copy editing, developmental editing, and other types of editing do not play to our strengths. The great thing about the wiki is that there are a lot of people in the community who do enjoy these kind of editing tasks, and have been doing these tasks for us. This allows people to participate in a way to targets their core competencies.
  • The TechNet wiki is a very easy to use writing environment. You can use the wiki editor, which is pretty simple and efficient, or you can use a tool like Live Writer, which allows you to copy/paste content from Live Writer to the wiki editor with a high degree of fidelity.
  • Fixing mistakes in the wiki is easy! If you write something (or if a collaborator writes something) that isn’t quite the way you like, it’s a simple process to revert to a previous edit.
  • The wiki platform is a no-brainer to work with. If we want to find our documents, we just search for our tags. If we want to edit the documents, we just fire up the wiki editor. There is no context switching, no separate tools for content management and editing. no onerous learning curve, no arcane series of steps to do simple things – it’s all right there in the browser. Very 21st century!

Those are just a few of the things the TechNet wiki provides that help you save time when creating technical content.

If you have some more ideas on how the TechNet wiki helps save you time, then please include them in the comments section. The best suggestion received before June 9 2012 will win a copy of my latest three books! However, you must receive your prize at TechEd North America in Orlando Florida Smile


Tom Shinder
Principal Knowledge Engineer, Private Cloud Security
SCD iX Solutions Group
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Comments (8)

  1. It allows frequent forum answerers to create a frequently-asked questions Wiki page for the forums that they visit, which they can use to list Q/As and then point new users to.  This reduces the amount of duplicate questions so that searching is easier, allows users to help themselves quicker than having to wait for an answer, and provides SEO that brings new users to the TechNet/MSDN platform.

  2. It could save you days to publish content versus using other platforms. Congratulations. You can have days of your life back. =^)

  3. Here, here, true words. My best tip for saving time is a one in the negative, it's this: right now (at least to me) it's unclear how many people are actually reading the wiki pages. The addition of a visitor's overview would be a real time saver, as there's no point in maintaining wiki pages that nobody is interested in.

  4. thomas w shinder - msft says:

    Hi Rich – excellent idea on how the wiki saves time!



  5. Margriet,

    What do you mean by "Visitor's Overview"? Isn't that all of the "Get Started" information?


  6. thomas w shinder - msft says:

    Hi Margriet,

    I agree that not having visibility into the performance of your wiki page is one of the downsides – since you have that information on your own private blog. I believe that we are working on this and hope that we will be able to provide information on this powerful incenter in the near future.



  7. To get people to use the Wiki more frequently we need to get the content in here, refere from blogs and other location. I dont know if Microsoft themself refere to this when clients contact them, but for is the community it's really good to provide information regarding different aspects of our plattforms and then refere to them in the forums, blogs, email etc we answer and get.

    some of the articles created here are designed to answer some of the most common questions in the forums. Having one place to keep a reference is the key to success, the fact that Microsoft also contributes makes it even better. Good work Thomas!