Help, we can’t afford a request management system!

I want to share an extension of knowledge management that helps organizations that can’t afford to purchase a request management system, or actionable service catalog. Let’s start by introducing the Request knowledge article type. The Request article type is used when documenting how to fulfill a service request where the approval to implement the change is not required from a governing body, such as a change advisory board.

Why Knowledge is the source of our Problems?

As more incident tickets are attached to a knowledge article, the article rises in reuse and is then promoted to problem management for root cause analysis and issue elimination. Most organizations that perform proactive problem management begin with ticket trend analysis. The Knowledge Centered Service Management (KCSM) strategy creates problems from knowledge articles instead of from incidents.

Knowledge Collaboration Trumps Knowledge Management

Knowledge is never perfect. It may begin as a simple resolution to an issue and then matures as people add knowledge fragments to increase the findability and usability of the knowledge article. The simple act of commenting on a knowledge articles adds value for the next user of the knowledge article. Thus, knowledge is enhanced through collaboration and the concept of crowd sourcing – the continued evolution of knowledge by those that interact with it. The knowledge base must become a collaboration space.
The whole is greater than the sum

Knowledge Fragments Add Value

Knowledge fragments are pieces of information that once added to a knowledge article improves its value. No one person can write the perfect knowledge article. They just don’t know what others know or what others need to know. Many people may know something about an issue that can add value and improve the knowledge. Having enough information can produce knowledge that is usable. Through knowledge collaboration, additional pieces can be added to the picture.
Red and green street signs with blue sky with words Right and Wrong Right versus Wrong

Stop Searching for the Right Answer!

When implementing knowledge management, it is important to remember that people are not searching for the right answer. They are searching for the right question. That is, they search for a question or issue that most closely matches the question or issue they want answered or resolved. When they find the question, then they open the knowledge article with the expectation of finding the answer to the question. This realization that people do not search for the right answers but for the right question is key to developing a successful self-service knowledge base.

Flagging Knowledge Articles – the Simple Act of Commenting

A knowledge article is never complete until it is obsolete. This statement from the KCS methodology promotes that knowledge is not perfect and can always be improved. It needs to be dynamic and not static. Yet not everyone will have the authority to modify or fix knowledge. Those rights must be earned based on the KCS competency model. When fixing is not an option, flagging is. Flagging a knowledge article allows individuals the ability to contribute fragments of knowledge to improve the knowledge article. Ultimately these fragments from flagging need to be addressed by someone who has the authority to fix the knowledge article. In many knowledge management systems, flagging is enabled by adding comments to the knowledge article.