The lack of Knowledge in Knowledge Management - Matthew Hooper VigilantGuy Digital Transformentalist - Create High Performing IT
The lack of Knowledge in Knowledge Management
Sorry for the length in advance, but this topic needs some story telling around it.
(c) (r) New Line Cinema
IT collaboration seriously needs a reboot.  We are making the same mistakes over and over again in our approach to increasing organizational performance.
For example, let’s breakdown Knowledge Management.
What is Knowledge Management?
This is the process for eliciting, capturing, organizing, maintaining and delivering current and accurate information throughout the organization.
What do most ITSM folks think it is?
The creation, storage, editing, review and approval of Knowledge Base Articles.
So when it comes to deploying ITSM tools for automating IPCC, they say, we don’t have time for Articles (Knowledge), we’ll do that later.
But wait!  Aren’t we going to tie Incidents to assets for tracking, categories to groups for resolutions, and be aware of how many times this issue has popped up?
If you answered no, please leave my blog and never return!
Think about Changes, where do they come from?  Aren’t changes spawned mostly from projects, and isn’t there an abundance of insight in the project request, plan, and resource matrix that would be vital to release these changes and support the system afterwards?   Why are these vital pieces of intel being kept locked away in disparate tools?
Real Knowledge Management (KM) ties these things together. It puts them in context so that team members across the organization can make rapid decisions.
Let’s look at a few examples of Knowledge Artifacts.
Asset status: 
Is it being repaired?
Is it being replaced?
Is it being patched, modified, upgraded?
Project to Asset relationship:
How did this asset come into the environment?
What was the business purpose?
Who sponsored, authorized, funded this asset?
Now let’s look at a scenario comparing traditional Knowledge Management vs. Contextual Knowledge Management
Here is the scenario:
Business Type: Auto Insurance Company
Business Stake Holders: Claims, Fraud, Underwriting
The business is rolling out a new Mobile Claims Application.
Traditional take on Knowledge Management
Activity Performed
Knowledge is Captured
Where Collaboration happens
Project proposal is written for new mobile claims application
Word documents on file share
Email for collaboration
Business stakeholders provide justification and financial ROI
Excel documents on file share
Email for collaboration
Project plan developed
MS Project document on file share
Email for collaboration
Resources planned
Excel documents on file share
Email for collaboration
Business requirements are gathered for application development.
Excel & Word documents on file share
Email for collaboration
Architecture is designed.
Visio & Word documents on file share
Email for collaboration and approvals
Software assets are built or acquired
Excel Word documents on file share
Email for collaboration
Project status updates given
Excel & PowerPoint documents on file share
Email for collaboration
Asset release planned
1 massive Change Request in ITSM tool
Email and CAB for collaboration
(Cause email is such a great waste of time but lonely, let’s all sit around a room together and waste time)
Test case & Training guides
Excel & PowerPoint documents on file share
Email for collaboration
Assets released
Change Request in ITSM tool
Notified via email  (awesome!)
1st Incident reported to service desk that user can’t upload photo.
ITSM tool records issue, notes recorded in Incident record
Phone calls to project team to try to find support procedures, developer, and business contact
(Hey at least someone finally picked up the freaking phone)
2nd Incident reported, same issue
ITSM tool, notes taken, same chase for owner
 Service desk supervisor requests work instructions from developers, escalation procedures.
Support instructions provided
Formatted in Word, put into KnowledgeBase as an Article
(Ha – like they are going to ask for feedback & collaborate… you kill me)
Incident repaired new mobile app released
ITSM tool handles change request
Email notifications sent out
Users call with similar issue,
Support finds article still exists so deliver former workaround which fails.
ITSM Incident reported, KB searched, phone calls used to chase why it’s not working.
Email’s fired, call’s made, and the monkey chase begins again.
And on it goes….
Now same scenario with contextual knowledge
Activity Performed
Knowledge is Captured
Where Collaboration happens
Project proposal is written for new mobile claims application.
ITSM Service Portfolio Request record called “Mobile Claims” is used for submission.
Stakeholder profiles are linked as Knowledge Artifacts.
Discussion Board linked to Request for threaded conversations are used for collaboration.
# tags and @ signs are used to tag key members and create taxonomy.
Business stakeholders provide justification and financial ROI.
Excel used to model but uploaded as Knowledge Artifact into ITSM Service Portfolio Request “Mobile Claims” record.
Discussion Board receives updates with Excel document and threaded conversations are used for collaboration.
Project plan developed
Project Management record called “Mobile Claims Development” is created.  It links Resources and Assets already in system to the Project and issues Request & Change submissions into the  in the queue of the ITSM tool as appropriate.  Additional resources and assets required are linked to ITSM Request Management and set as pending to be triggered according to Project Schedule.
Discussion threads are used at the Request and Change level to facilitate detailed discussions and collaborations.  Decisions are recorded and tagged to the Service Portfolio discussion thread.
Resources planned
ITSM Request Management used via assignee reporting of assigned Change/Release, Incident, Request backlog used for availability and impact.
Virtual meeting is set up where video and real-time dashboards are used to reconcile conflicts and resource shortfalls.  Adjustments made in tool real-time.
Business requirements are gathered for application development.
Excel & Word documents uploaded to Service Portfolio “Mobile Claims” record.
(Word & Excel?  Yeah! Let BA’s do their thing. Not everything has to go in the system, just linked so it can be contextually searched)
Service Portfolio threaded discussion used for collaboration
Architecture is designed.
Visio & Word documents on file share along with CMDB Parent CI called “Mobile Claims Application” are linked to Service Portfolio “Mobile Claims” record.
ITSM Config Management w/ Change Management used for approvals.  Discussion board used for review.  Documents linked to discussions.
Software assets are built or acquired
CMDB populated with Asset information, linked to repositories for code builds, purchase orders, supplier information.  All CI’s are then linked to parent CI “Mobile Claims Application”.
CI’s become social objects that developers and project team can subscribe to follow for collaboration.
Project status updates given
ITSM Project Management dashboards provided in real-time , aggregating requests and changes along with resource utilization reports
Discussion boards used for collaboration
Asset release planned
ITSM tool manages queue of discrete requests and changes, using Project Management to drive dependency and schedule.  All Requests and Changes are linked to Assets through CMDB tiered off parent “Mobile Claims Application” CI.
Distributed ownership facilitates localized approvals and encourages knowledge to be recorded. CAB is virtualized and asynchronous facilitating better due diligence with reduced latency.  Steering committee views are real-time and dynamic dashboards.
Test case & Training guides
Excel & PowerPoint & Video are stored in KnowledgeBase and linked to Project and Service Portfolio “Mobile Claims” record.
Discussion boards are used for collaboration
Assets released
All Requests and Changes are fulfilled and as they are statuses flow to related CI’s. CMDB updates Child Status of “Mobile Claims Application” CI’s w/ Production status as released and where appropriate.
Project Management discussion board is automatically notified via posts upon completion of tasks, Project Management dependencies are automatically updated upon completion of tasks, CI’s in CMDB are automatically updated with new status.
1st Incident reported to service desk that user can’t upload photo.
ITSM tool records issue, as short description is typed…  “can’t upload photo”.  While agent does this a read ahead search facilitates the display of known incidents, in progress or pending requests & changes, comments from discussion boards, test case and training documents.  Finds a training document “to upload photo on Android, you must first take the picture, then open the app…”
Support Agent determines it is a training issue, links training document to Incident, updates notes using # tags and @ mentions of training team.
2nd Incident reported, same issue can’t upload photo.
ITSM tool has already updated self-service, and as user was typing issue…”can’t upload photo” – the training document was recommended.  User clicks training document and realizes they are on a BYOD Android device and resolve it on their own.
Automated
Support instructions provided
ITSM KnowledgeBase is updated with simpler instructions for this issue.  Instructions are linked to Claims users role. Each time a Claims person comes into Self-Service it now displays “Photo upload instructions”
User clicks – Thumbs Up / Thumbs Down if the article worked
Incident repaired new mobile app released
ITSM tool handles change request. Developers release notes are put in as a knowledge artifact and linked to CI. CI change flags support to review article. Support unlinks article and archives artifact as no longer valid.
Automated
A user calls in with similar issue
This time support finds release notes and is able to provide clarification on new functionality.
ITSM Incident reported, Clarification documented and linked to self-service as notification set to retire automatically in 30 days.
Automated
You can see how utilizing digital assets contextually can significantly streamline organizational efficiency.   Leveraging your ITSM platform in the proper way can truly reduce the complexity and confusion that can quickly erupt in IT.
If you want to drive real value from your ITSM, do DevOps, and create sustainable innovation, you really need to get your Knowledge Management house in order.
Hopefully you picked up on something here. Project Management is not managed outside of ITSM.
Next blog, I’m going to dig more into how Projects are just groups of ITSM requests.  Let’s see if we can’t fire up all those PMI & Prince2 folks out there.
Written by

Digital Transformentalist Twitter: @VigilantGuy http://twitter.com/vigilantguy Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewbhooper Web: http://www.vigilantguy.com Matt Hooper is an industry advocate for Service Management strategies and best practices around Enterprise Service Management. For over 20 years Matt has instituted methodologies for business intelligence and optimization. Leveraging technology to drive business outcomes, he has built an industry reputation for his highly effective approach to creating value through Service Management. Matt is active on Social Media known as VigilantGuy, and co-hosts the weekly podcast: Hacking Business Technology. HackBizTech.com

4 Comments
  • John says:

    Great article.

  • Craig Wilkey says:

    Spot on Hoop! Knowledge Management done right is not an extra job for people to do, it’s integrated into processes to become ubiquitous and transparent. People shouldn’t “DO” Knowledge Management work – Knowledge Management should work for people, and serve as a conduit between processes.
    It’s nice to see when people “get” Knowledge Management!

  • Anish says:

    Great write up! you hit the right cords!

  • Thanks for a great article! I often meet people with 20+ years experience in ITSM who thinks Knowledge articles are something we should write as “Just in Case” on a Sharepoint portal – not as “Just in Time” using a contextual tool in relation to solving a problem or incident.
    I think your article will help me open their eyes and minds for what Knowledge Management can be.

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Matthew Hooper

Digital Transformentalist