Knowledge Management

books on shelves Knowledge falls into two main types:
Explicit Knowledge
Knowledge that can be written down.
Tacit Knowledge
Knowledge that can only be learnt from experience,
perhaps from tens of thousands of hours of experience.
A cooking recipe is a form of explicit knowledge. Relaying this explicit knowledge, passing it from person to person, from generation to generation, is crucial to our civilisation. Tacit knowledge is knowing when the cooked item is not perfect and what has caused that.

Sometimes the knowledge is lost, to be rediscovered centuries later, like the reason why Roman cement and concrete has been so durable (Opens a new window).
In IT, it is critical to record processes, to provide in-line help in software, and more detailed knowledge base information for power users.

Documentation has a broader business rationale than merely preservation and dissemination of knowledge. In addition to facilitating "self help" for end users, documentation also serves as a training resource for internal personnel. In a merger, acquisition, or other on-boarding situation involving rapid transfer to the support team, consultants, or sales force, the latter is particularly useful. These individuals will be extremely frustrated and the company will incur significant delays to revenue generation because the people will be unable to perform their assigned duties in the absence of complete, accurate, or current documentation.

One day the Infrastructure Manager was 'fighting a fire'; their number two was fighting another fire; so was I: the need for another emergency change arose. I made the decision to pass the relevant protocol to the novice on my team, the only person available at the time: "follow this as best you can and ask me when you're not sure". They did the job perfectly, no QA push-back, and did not ask for any help. Without that written protocol, that emergency change would have needed to wait.

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  For more information on how we can help you with improving knowledge management, please write to robert@itsm-support.com.