Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wikis ... Practical Example ...

I like to see examples of some of the things I talk about and work on, in daily life. Why? As we shall see, this provides an invaluable way to illustrate the principles. Such an opportunity is at hand ... Planning for a wedding. Planning for a wedding, you might exclaim. But allow me to hasten to mention that illustrations of the kind I am talikng about are usually to be found in the unlikliest of places ... Preparations for the wedding, for example.

The wedding is of a Brother in Law ... Poor fellow finally succumbed, and is getting hitched this month, actually happy with the prospect. You se, he doesn't know any better. Ah well ... But let me not digress. Planning the catering for the days leading up to the wedding is turning out to be a far more complex activity than one would think. This is, in part, due to the distributed nature of the team. Allow me to explain ... The boy and his family are in Mumbai, while the wedding is to happen in Delhi. So, the requirements definition is happening in Mumbai, while the delivery of the project has to happen in Delhi with a local caterer.

Now, this is a simple scenario, except that requirements keep on changing, and there are a number of iterations the menu has gone through, and promises to go through quite a few more. As a result, in trying to co-ordinate the menu, we have come up with four different versions of an excel file which contain four different versions of the menu, and with at least five people taking part in the planning (the stakeholders and the participants), noone is quite sure which is the latest version of the menu. While someone believes the final version contains Bhetki, others think it contains Rohu.

This is the type of confusion which usually crops up during projects. The larger and more complex the projects, the more this type of confusion. Now, bring in a wiki into this mix, and the scenario changes. If all the updates, all the iterations to the menu are simply recorded on a wiki, then firstly, everyone participating in the project gets a single view of the work being done and the deliverables, and secondly, nobody needs to add to the confusion by sending out multiple updates multiple times.


Anjali said...

Atul I always believed that you were a great story teller! In the way teachers use story telling. This one is the best !!

Atul said...

thank you, Anjali! :-)