An Experiment, Starting Now

Glass on Glass on Flickr - adamrhoadesI know this isn’t rocket science, but I want to try a little experiment to see whether we can work a bit more efficiently by creating and editing project docs in a wiki format.  I’ve seen other programs use the wiki function within Intelink-U to do it, and even saw Coast Guard folks dipping their toes in the water as recently as this week.  CAPT Rambo was the last person to edit the “Coast Guard Cyber Strategy” article here. Another great example is the NECC TEMP, which is here.

The wiki section in Intelink is called “Intellipedia,” and it based on the same open source software used by Wikipedia, so it will be familiar to anyone who has used Wikipedia. There is plenty of help available describing how to use the markup language used in the tool. Here is just one example of a Wikitext cheatsheet.

Creating, reviewing, and updating the docs in a wiki will provide transparency, accountability, and (potentially) efficiency.  ePMO and shared folders have worked well to make documents shareable, but when we ask for feedback from even a few people, someone has to centrally manage all the changes that come in and bring them into a master document. A wiki can allow many people to make small changes to a document and the document owner can easily see what has been changed and undo any that don’t belong.  There’s also a built in “discussion” function for each document that can be used to capture comments or concurrence within the team.

I’d like to try using a wiki for the Project Tailoring Plan, then we’ll decide whether it makes sense to either continue using it or to go back to MS Word, tracking changes, and managing updates through ePMO or shared folders.

If we don’t like it, it’ll be easy enough to cut and paste what we’ve done into Word and maintain it from there.  If we do see the potential, we will consider using it for other project documentation.  Aside from the Acquisition Plan, I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t consider it for just about all the required project documents. We can store FOUO content, but not government-only or acquisition sensitive material.

The next step for me will be to sit down with Steve and show him what I started for the Project Tailoring Plan here. Then he’ll pick up the ball and start filling in the content.   As we review the work within the team, he or I can provide just-in-time training. I think it’s reasonable for everyone who reviews and offers changes prior to concurrent clearance to do the review and editing within the wiki.  We can PDF a copy of it and provide it along with the link for the concurrent clearance.  CAPT Rambo has shown he’s willing to review and edit a wiki, but it may be a tough sell for other O-6’s / O-7’s.

If anyone who reads this has experience using Intellipedia for acquisition program or project documents, please drop me a line or (better) add a comment to share your experience and provide me any tips from your experience. If there are examples you know about that we should steal from, please share!

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2 Responses to “An Experiment, Starting Now”


  1. 1 daniel.p.taylor April 2, 2009 at 5:58 am

    Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

    This may belong in the “obvious” category, but I just say the “View Printable” link in the “Toolbox” section along the left column of the Intellipedia page. That’ll make a printed or PDF-ed version a whole lot cleaner. Here’s an example: https://www.intelink.gov/w/index.php?title=NCES_TEMP&printable=yes

  2. 2 daniel.p.taylor June 10, 2009 at 7:30 am

    Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

    The PMO completed the first draft of the Tailoring Plan, and yesterday Steve sent the following e-mailing inviting the the stakeholders at IPT-level to have a look, weigh in, and raise a hand for training as needed. It’s a tech savvy bunch, so we’ll give it a few days before either reaching out for one-on-one or group training.

    The Integrated Master Plan that is being constructed to reflect the Tailoring Plan is in ePMO here: https://epmo.uscg.mil/aepa/5F9EF85BDFA7551B852574960076DB26 It’s not ready for your review, but for those who want to see why it’s important to tailor to meet the IOC target, you’re welcome to see the draft as it changes. It will be updated to reflect the final Tailoring Plan before it’s baselined.

    Here’s the e-mail Steve sent inviting folks to look at the Tailoring Plan:

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Sielbeck, Stephen CTR
    Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 3:04 PM
    To: Ruckstuhl, Mark CDR; Williams, Nathaniel LCDR; Sylvester, James; Shurtleff, Jonathan; Thompson, Russell; Hart, Robert LCDR; Spillane, Laura; Shorb, Brian; Cavey, Wayne; Heffner, Yvonne; Vojvodich, Joseph CAPT; Taylor, Daniel CDR; Thomson, Lisa; Seal, David
    Cc: Negretti, Nicolas CTR
    Subject: CG-LIMS Project Tailoring Plan: Stakeholder Review

    Good afternoon:

    Your assistance is requested reviewing the preliminary draft of the CG-LIMS Project Tailoring Plan. Your comments, recommendations or other contributions are requested by 23 June 2009.

    The Project Tailoring Plan has been developed as a wiki document so that we can use a wiki’s collaborative features and functions. You can make comments or editorial changes quickly and easily directly in the document. Every stakeholder can see the latest changes or comments immediately since there will be only one, on-line version of the document.

    Using this wiki is very easy and the tool is nearly identical to Wikipedia (the online collaborative global encyclopedia) in appearance and function. The basic steps to editing are:

    (1) View the document at https://www.intelink.gov/wiki/CG-LIMS_Project_Tailoring_Plan

    (2) To edit or comment, log in with an Intelink Passport ID and:
    Make changes using the EDIT tab (don’t forget to save your changes)
    Make comments on the DISCUSSION tab (and save your changes)
    Review past changes or compare previous versions with the HISTORY tab

    Getting Started:

    Before making your fist edits or comments open an Intelink Passport Account. It takes less than 10 minutes to activate an account at https://www.intelink.gov/passport/Welcome . Use Agency=Department of Homeland Security, Organization=Other, and Mission Area=Homeland Security when you register.

    Simple wiki instructions and a cheat sheet (all you need to know) are at:
    https://www.intelink.gov/wiki/Help:Contents or
    https://www.intelink.gov/wiki/Help:Editing

    If you’ve never used a wiki, you’ll find it easy and interesting. You can view a quick video demonstration and learn more at https://www.intelink.gov/MediaCenter/videoselected.aspx?id=db05cbf0-d279-4d59-9903-d15c44b796d2 or http://cglims.wordpress.com/2009/04/23/four-minutes-to-understanding-wikis-mastery/ .

    We’ll be happy to provide you with wiki instructions and OJT, just contact:
    Nic Negretti CG-9334 X5-5887 Nicholas.F.Negretti@USCG.mil or
    Steve Sielbeck CG-9334 x5-5886 Stephen.L.Sielbeck@USCG.mil

    Upon completion of this collaborative effort, a smooth draft will be placed into the formal concurrent process.

    Thank you for taking time to provide feedback. Please let us know if you need any assistance or additional information.

    Regards,

    Steve Sielbeck
    CG-LIMS / CG-9334
    Coast Guard Acquisition Directorate
    Serco
    202.475.5886
    Stephen.L.Sielbeck@USCG.mil


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