Common questions from new knowledge authors are “What is an Applies-to tag and why would I use them?” Applies-to tags are used to define the environment. This usually leads to the next question “What is the environment?” Applies-to tags improve the ability to find relevant articles and enables the identification of continuous improvement opportunities.
ADVICE AND POSTS
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.
Do you capture all your knowledge using the same form? Or have you found value in having different forms based on the type of knowledge and its purpose? While one form can work, having a few forms is often preferred. Simply put, each knowledge form or template used to capture and present knowledge represents a different knowledge article type.
In most organizations, people use knowledge bases to document questions and answers as well as issues and resolutions. But a knowledge base can also be used to document escalation procedures. Escalation articles improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the escalation process. They document the escalation requirements and set expectations.
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.
Reactive knowledge management captures knowledge as a byproduct of responding to a need. Proactive knowledge management creates and tests knowledge articles in preparation of a need. Organizations can benefit from a blend of reactive and proactive knowledge management strategies.
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.
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.
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.
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.