WaterWiki Toolkit: The Process Step-by-Step

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edit  ·  Toolkit WaterWiki 2.0 - The project
WaterWiki in UN-Water Context | Technical development issues | Managing WaterWiki 2.0 | WaterWiki - Wanted Content
WaterWiki-presentation Nairobi web4dev-conf Nov07 (Web4Dev Nairobi 2007 | Web2forDevConference findings) | The Contribution of a Wiki to the Development of a Community of Practice: A Case Study - Anna Maron Aug07 (Findings from study on WaterWiki by Anna)
Further resources: Knowledge Management Toolkit
WaterWiki 1.0 (Careful: Archived, non-updated version)
WaterWiki 1.0 Toolkit (FAQ | KM | Substantive | Technical | Process Step-by-Step) | "Outstanding Dev Issues" on WaterWiki 1.0 | Draft concept for the way ahead | New architecture (draft) for WaterWiki



In overview, what were the steps in the pilot cycle, from start to finish? (Graphic, or timeline?)

What were the main parts of the pilot, in the wider process / cycle (i.e. interviews, Water Wiki)

The pupose of the pilot initiative was to access knowledge on water governance in the region. The step-by-step pilot process consisted of seven practical steps:

1) Materials and information relating to this topic were gathered,

2) An e-mail was sent out to the environmental focal points requesting materials and information

3) A system was established for categorising knowledge objects

4) Follow-up phone calls to the focal points reminding them of our e-mail requesting information

5) Mediawiki software was downloaded and the technical work on the WaterWiki started

6) Interview process

7) Construction of the Toolkit in the wiki

What were the main functions on the pilot team, and what was each responsible for?

The pilot team met on a two week basis for brainstorming and next steps. Communication between Anna and Juerg was frequent.

Juerg Staudenmann, Water Governance Advisor, was responsible for the substantive part of the project, as well as providing support and guidance to Anna.

Andrea Cuzyova, Knowledge Management Officer, was responsible for guidance and advice on knowledge management.

Anna Maron, intern, was responsible for the step-by-step process.

Mikel Maron, intern, was responsible for the software of the WaterWiki.

Patricia Keays, Consultant, was responsible for professional support and guidance throughout the process.


What was the specific need or gap the process was initiated to address?

Bratislava Regional Centre lacked specific knowledge of available resources, information and ongoing and pipelined projects on water governance in the region. The purpose of the pilot was therefore to access the existing knowledge on water governance in the region and to map and build on that knowledge. Lessons learned and best practices needed to be distilled and made available to practitioners in the region.

What were the crucial steps for making the Wiki happen?

After gathering all available information on water governance in the region this was mapped in a spreadsheet with meta-data on every knowledge object. This allowed for a comprehensive picture of the existing knowledge base in the region.

The mapping of the available knowledge allowed for a structure to emerge which pointed towards organising the knowledge according to country. This, in turn, gave the idea of using a map as the access point to this knowledge. The debate within the team was from the beginning how to ensure that the emerging knowledge map was dynamic and interactive. The idea of using a wiki software for the purpose ensured that any of the practitioners in the country offices could actively access and share knowledge and information on water governance in the region.

What resources and supports were necessary? Were the necessary resources and supports in place at the right times? How did the pilot team address resource realities?

The project would not have been realised without the support of a qualified programmer. It became clear after gathering and codifying the available knowledge that without establishing a useful online space for this knowledge the project would not fulfill it's potential. The availability and willingness of a programmer to install the software as well as write the necessary code was crucial to the realisation of the WaterWiki.

The Pilot Experience

What proved significant as a positive influence through the pilot process?

The positive feedback and support from the consultant was extremely important for moving the project forward. Juerg and Andrea were often busy elsewhere and without the support (and compliments) from the consultant it would have been difficult to have faith in the project.

Juerg's curiosity and willingness to learn how to use the wiki provided support and confirmation to Anna and Mikel's work.

What could have helped to make the process easier?

1) A more thorough introduction to the Energy and Environment practice at the beginning would have been very helpful. Aspects such as information on ongoing projects (water and other), introduction to GEF and its structure in relation to UNDP, who does what on the floor, could have helped to provide a comprehensive picture of how UNDP works in general and thereby provided an insight into water governance as well.

2) An introduction into the multitude of systems, workspaces, databases, resources etc. that exists within UNDP. This would have ensured faster access to the really useful information.

3) An introduction to water governance and what different aspects it includes. For example it might not be obvious that sanitation is not a part of water governance or that international waters is not a part of water supply and sanitation.

How much time was spent on each of the phases?

Phase 1 Information gathering: 10 days

Phase 2 Codifying knowledge objects: 10 days

Phase 3 Follow-up phone calls: 4 days

Phase 4 Establishing the wiki structure: 4 days

Phase 5 First interview:6 days

Phase 6 Uploading information to the Wiki:10 days

Phase 7 Toolkit:5 days

How was that time divided up?

Phase 2 and 3 were conducted simultaneuosly. All other phases in order.

Step by Step Through the Water Wiki Development

1) Materials and information relating to water governance in the region, both UNDP and other, were gathered. Reports, project documents, websites etc, were assembled from all available resources. This was a time consuming task as there was very little easily accessible material relating to UNDP's work on water governance. All materials were temporarily stored on the existing UNDP website.

2) An e-mail was sent out to the environmental focal points introducing the pilot project and requesting materials and information on ongoing projects and available reports. See initial letter to focal points:  DRAFT INITIAL LETTER TO CO Final.doc

3) A system was established for categorising knowledge objects. An excel spreadsheet was used to extract meta-data on each knowledge object to get a comprehensive picture of the existing knowledge base in water in the region. See knowledge object:  Knowledge Objects.xls

4) Follow-up phone calls to the focal points reminding them of our e-mail requesting information

Reminder phonecalls were made to the majority of the environmental focal points reminding them of the e-mail sent out requesting information. Many had not had time to read the e-mail but were happy to hear what the project was about. The response was overall very positive and eight countries came back with reports and project documents.

5) Mediawiki software was downloaded and the technical work on the WaterWiki started. A programmer was brought in on an internship basis on short notice as a result of a personal connection. This was essential to bringing the project forward. The spreadsheet contained 230 knowledge objects, a number too large to manage without a flexible online system. See WaterWiki

6) Interview process (See below)

7) Construction of the Toolkit in the wiki. It was decided that a useful way to test the Workspace function in the Wiki would be for the pilot team to collaborate on the Toolkit in the Wiki itself. This would make it easier for everyone to work on it when they saw fit and it would bring greater flexibility since links and documents could be added into each section. Each member of the pilot team wrote a section relating to his or her work.

Step by Step Through the Interview Process

A core principle of the water governance knowledge management pilot was that the output would be practical, as well as generated bottom up, and relevant to practitioners. UNDP practitioners were the primary group of reference in design and testing of the interview as a means of accessing tacit knowledge – the kind that cannot be found already codified in reports, notes, articles or books.

Step 1: Interview Request It was decided to interview one country at a time in order to learn from experience, modify the interview script and test out different questions or methods. A letter was sent out to Kazakhstan requesting an interview as a part of the previously communicated pilot initiative. The response was positive and time and date was set.

 Interview Request Letter.doc

Step 2: Interview Script The script was modified targeting a specific person and project. See examples:  INTERVIEW QUESTIONS extracted to an interview schedule with script.doc (Example with notes)

 BiH Script.doc (Example no notes)

 Moldova Script.doc (Example no notes)

Step 3: The Interview The first interview was conducted with a seperate notetaker. With later interviews it was discovered more information is captured by recording the interview in order for one of the interviewers to later listen, take notes, and write up the report. A lot of information gets lost due to language barrier or misunderstandings if notes are taken during the interview. See guidelines for how to conduct the interview step-by-step.


Step 4: The Report The report is best written by one of the interviewers straight after the interview. As mentioned above, listening to a recording of the interview afterwards while taking notes down will yield more knowledge and information. Examples of reports:  Interview Report.doc

 Moldova Interview Report.doc

Substantive Highlights

Juerg 1. How did the pilot process link with the ongoing substantive work of policy advisor? 2. What did the pilot produce that contributes directly to the regional sub-practice / CoP?

Knowledge Management Highlights

Andrea 1. Where does the pilot process and outputs fit in the over-all BRC KM strategy? 2. What outputs from the pilot are identified as strategic contributions to the wider KM strategy?

Both 1. For what specific purposes or in what circumstances would the substantive and KM leads recommend other practices / sub-practices consider adapting and replicating the wiki and pilot approach to accessing tacit knowledge? 2. What are the internal team's recommendations about securing the best intern / research assistant / pilot support for such an undertaking?

Technical Highlights

Mikel to draft ... or an excerpt of his part, in terms of overview of the general process, both for the layperson and more specifically what another technical person might be interested in if they were approached about providing similar support on a wiki.

Tips about Process Management for Replication

Drawing from the "lessons learned and tips" equivalent in each of the main sections (substantive, KM, technical), what is a CONSOLIDATED set of tips / points of guidance for those considering replication? Not too much detail here - for that, there can be links to the separate pages and their tips.

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