Knowledge base spring cleaning – Part 1: Refreshing your strategy

If you’re like many knowledge managers, you’ve found yourself in charge of a mass of historical content and related information that has accumulated over several years. You’re responsible for managing the knowledge and cleaning it up, but you have little or no budget and not enough resources to make it happen. At the same time, you also need to improve the overall performance of the knowledge management system while moving the needle on key metrics.

If this sounds familiar, then you’re likely due for some spring cleaning in your knowledge base. In this three part series, we’ll show you how to create and execute on a knowledge roadmap that will bring about results your customers (and your company) can see.

Start by defining these five components of your knowledge strategy

Getting these five aspects of your knowledge strategy in order before you proceed set the stage for successful, effective changes within your knowledgebase.

strategy_map (1)A crystal-clear picture of your outcome

Before you can get started, you need to understand your optimal final outcome, and create a business case that supports existing company or departmental goals. The reason? Non-operational dollars (capital expenditures) that typically fund cleanup projects are usually tied to these goals and their budgets.

An idea of the level of effort and resources required

At this early stage, you may find it difficult to pin down exact figures that detail the level of effort and resources you’ll need to bring your plan to fruition. The more data you can provide, the stronger the business case, but it’s usually sufficient to create a high-level overview of the work that’ll need to be completed.

A strategic end date

You’ll want to paint a very clear picture of how your plan ties into organizational goals. Choosing a target end date for your project that aligns with the overarching departmental strategy or supports company goals helps present your efforts as part of an overall plan of success.

Criteria for measuring success

While there’s no easy way to prove your project has moved the needle on larger metrics within your organization, there’s no shortage of quantifiable measurements within your control. Some examples include overall usability of your knowledge base, better searchability, fewer articles, or increased user satisfaction. You can baseline using a brief survey to your user base, and then use a follow-up survey to measure your results after your project has been completed. You might try using a trial instance of SurveyMonkey to get started.

Upper management buy-in

In order to make any effort successful, you’ll need your leadership behind you with a strong commitment to getting things done. Defining your new knowledge roadmap with the points above positions you to secure that buy-in.

What’s next?

Once you’ve defined your plan, it’s decision time. Your management team will need to weigh the pros and cons of supporting your request, such as budget, time, resources, priority. In doing so, they’ll probably ask, “Can’t you just use existing resources to get the job done?” You’ll probably answer, “Yes and no.”

Next time, we’ll talk about how you can identify the right knowledge management resources to execute on your cleanup strategy and deliver the experience your customers need.