fighting the lack of good ideas

preparing for change (part the first)

I have recently been preparing to change jobs within my company from Support to Professional Services. This has lots of caveats, concerns, and corners to shine light into, alleviate, and circumvent.

The first thing that I did when I found out that I would, in fact, be able to move to ProServe from Support was to review all the cases I have had over the past year for commonalities, how-tos, and troubleshooting material. I have been working supporting a very complex server management product since January of last year, and I’ve had a lot of cases in that time.

One of the things I started to discover as I went through my case history was that customers end up having similar issues, but may report them with different symptoms. Like having the flu, where symptoms include fever, nausea, dehydration, dizziness, and more, one core problem can manifest itself in many ways.

So, in reviewing every case I have had in the last year, or at least those that are still ‘owned’ by my user, I was able to generate about 40 articles for other folks in Support to use in diagnosing similar issues in the past.

The core of any organization should always be knowledge transfer. In the company I work for, however, most of that knowledge transfer has been done verbally – so between all of us we know the product, but it’s tribal: if one person leaves, everything they know walks out the door with them.

Knowledge capture, then, must be a priority for any organization. Knowledge base articles, wiki pages, cheat-sheets on a shared server – something must be done to adequately snag everything those involved with the group both know and need to know.

Like the famous Microsoft developer’s conference video chants, “Developers, developers, developers, developers!”, so, too, must any organization chant, “Knowledge capture, knowledge capture, knowledge capture!”