Friday 20 May 2016

Making Knowledge continuously improveable

You must be able to continuously improve and develop the knowledge in your knowledge base.

Image from wikimedia commons
I worked recently with an organisation that invested heavily in a knowledge base a few years ago. A central team spent a year creating the best possible content, and rolled it out to the users. The users were delighted - this would make their knowledge work easier and more consistent.

Over time, however, they noticed content which was out of date, insufficient, or occasionally just plain wrong. They started to create feedback. However for whatever reason, the feedback loop was broken. There was no way to edit the content online or to automatically raise a change request, and when they sent suggestions to the central team by email, nothing seemed to happen. 

Users began to lose faith in the knowledge within they system. If there was no way to correct errors, they felt that the knowledge could not be trusted. Even worse, they lost any feeling of ownership regarding the content. If they could not influence it and contribute to it, it was not "theirs".

With the lack of a feedback loop, there was no way to continuously improve the content. Slowly it began to go out of date. Slowly people abandoned the knowledge base and created local alternatives that they felt ownership for, and today the central knowledge base sees little use.

Your knowledge must be continuously improved, and you must introduce a system whereby knowledge content can be reviewed, improved and developed, and any missing elements added.  This will deliver knowledge that is owned by the community of users, and is always as fresh and as accurate as the community can make it.

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