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TWiki Success Story of Texas Instruments

How did it start

Two senior guys in one of the design groups in TI's India design centre installed TWiki in 2001 and started using it to manage/share their projects' information. Initially very few people were keen to collaborate in wiki. The basic need for the design teams were:
  • Managing all project specific information: documenting ideas, plans, status, issues ...
  • Sharing these information with other team across various sites
  • Getting the information/activity owners to update the contents
  • Managing documents (doc, pdf, ...)
Many other alternates (mainly web based tools, some commercially avaialble, some home-grown) were tried, but nothing seemed to have come close to meeting all the needs of the design teams. So, as everything else failed, wiki became the default choice & started gaining popularity.

And when it really started ...

By the beginning of 2003, most of the design projects had started using wiki and started putting all the project information (Spec docs, discussions/meeting records, issues, plans/schedules, risks, ...) in wiki. 2003 also happened to be the year in which we had to go for the external ISO audit. To ensure the project wikis (all our projects have one web) have required information/ documentation, we created a teamplate & used it to create all project wiki webs. This helped a lot before & during the audits. All the top managers/leaders also started pushing for use of Wiki for everything. By 2004, Wiki was THE tool - the only web-based project repository.

Introduction of some of the useful plugins helped a lot. Particularly popular among those are:

  • Action Tracker
  • Edit Table
  • Spreadsheet
  • Chart
  • Smilies

We now have two TWiki installations within our group, one has information on all our projects, other has information on competencies. There are 25 webs in the 1st one, another 5 webs in the other Wiki, approximately 200+ pages per web. We have more than 400 registered users.

Currently there are atleast 3 other groups within TI, India who have installed TWiki and are using it. Some groups in TI Dallas & Houston also have started using TWiki since 2004.

Wiki beats them all ...

Not all design/software groups in TI use TWiki yet. Some of them have moved to MS Share Point/ ePM, others have developed their own "Project Note Book". Some wiki detractors (in our design group) still argue that TWiki is a rather free-format web-authoring tool and not the ideal choice for managing critical projects' information; they try to promote commercially avaialble tools like ePM or Share Point, which they perceive are more structured (& sophisticated) web-based tools.

But with the introduction and usage of:

  • templates** for creating project webs with a pre-defined structure of contents
**we have created a hidden web (called _default_project) using which we create all new project webs. This has the project wiki web structure defined, upto 3 levels down from the web home page. While this allows a standard look and feel as well as structure for all project webs, it still gives the designers the flexibility to create their own structure and contents.
  • page templates for documents (e.g. project plan, CM plan, Risk plan/ Design FMEA, implementation spec., ... ), minutes of meeting, ....
  • wiki forms and editable tables ...
... wiki is able to meet the needs/expectations of the design teams and successfully counter all the arguments about its so-called limitations. In summary, wiki has come of age in TI and over the years has only become more and more popular.

Before I end, I (on behalf of 500+ wiki users of TI) would like to thank Peter and all the contributors of TWiki for giving us such a wonderful tool.

-- SaumitraBhaumik - 08 Dec 2005

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Topic revision: r5 - 2010-07-04 - PeterThoeny
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