Timely communication is critical to successfully introducing a new KM initiative and keeping the organization informed of implementation progress. Complete and effective documentation supports training, communications, and user assistance. It is a good way to demonstrate knowledge sharing and reuse, and allows users to learn about all elements of a KM program.
The types of documentation to provide include big picture documents, user guides, administrator guides, policies and procedures, and knowledge sharing documents.
Big Picture Documents
These are conceptual or overview documents. They help users understand the importance of knowledge management and their own role in making it succeed. Big picture documents are for those interested in a high-level view of knowledge management, including why things work the way they do, and available resources.
Examples of Big Picture Documents
- Strategy and Vision: defines the Top 3 Objectives, the KM Strategy, and a vision for how things should work
- Program Governance: describes how the KM program is governed
- Roles: defines the roles of KM leaders, project leaders, and knowledge assistants
- Priorities: defines the KM team’s priorities for the year
- Expectations: states the importance of KM to the organization and specifies the responsibilities of all professionals and managers
- Getting Started: explains basic KM concepts, what resources are available, and how to learn more
- Initiatives Inventory: lists all KM initiatives in the organization with sponsoring organizations, responsible individuals, and links to websites
- Overview: provides highlights of the KM program, details on all components, and screenshots of and links to all relevant websites
- Architecture: explains the structure of the KM environment, the standard taxonomy, how content is contributed, and how it is searched for
- Insights: provides an overview of the topic of Knowledge Management, including definitions, models, process maps, checklists, and industry examples
These are written to help users understand how to do something. Knowledge assistants can refer users to these when providing support.
Examples of User Guides
- FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions): contains answers to the most typical questions about finding content; sharing; asking questions; tools; external access; communities; collaboration; archiving; expectations; time reporting; contacts, documentation; rewards; training, and support
- How to Collaborate: describes the processes and technologies that are used to encourage employees to collaborate and participate in communities
- Communities: explain how to create, build, sustain, and participate in communities
- Face-to-face Knowledge Sharing: describes why this is important, different types, guidelines, examples, suggestions, and pitfalls to avoid
- People Guides: explain how to use a particular KM people component; e.g., the knowledge help desk, measurements, or incentives
- Process Guides: explain how to use a particular KM process; e.g., capture, reuse, or lessons learned
- Tools Guides: explain how to use a particular KM tool; e.g., team space, repository, or threaded discussion
- How to Ask for Help: describes the key elements of a successful help request for those posting a question to a threaded discussion, or sending an email message to a large distribution list
- How to Record Time: explains how time spent on KM activities should be reported in the organization’s labor tracking system
- How to Track Accomplishments: describes how to track KM accomplishments in order to take credit for them during performance reviews
Policies and Procedures
These provide details on standard processes required of users. They may be part of an official document repository, in which case, link to them from the KM documentation web page.
Examples of Policies and Procedures
- Collaboration Policy: defines the policy for how teams should collaborate
- Knowledge Capture and Reuse Policy: defines the policy for how to capture and reuse knowledge
- Knowledge Capture and Reuse Procedure: details the steps to follow in support of the policy
- Records Management Policy: defines the policy for how to manage the organization’s business records
- Archiving Procedure: details the steps to follow in support of the records management policy’s archiving rules
Lucidea Press has published my latest book, Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program, which offers advice and insights drawn from my career as a KM practitioner, including more tips on how best to communicate with your user base.