Creating a sustainable product is a challenge in surprising ways. Instinctively, you might think it’s mostly about creating a well-functioning interface that solves a particular problem in a novel way. However, to create a great product, you also need a great organization, backend, people, and processes.
Alongside this, you need to be able to create, store, and access the knowledge you gather from your projects and meetings. It can be detrimental to the success of your product if you keep losing time looking for the information that you need, but you can prevent knowledge gaps by having a strong process and culture around knowledge collection.
In this article, you’ll learn more about knowledge management, its best practices, and an overview of the best knowledge management softwares.
Knowledge management is a collection of methods and practices that aims to create, curate, share, use, find, organize, and manage the knowledge and information of an organization. It is a combination of various fields, such as business administration, information systems, management, library, and information science. The main objective is to allow easy and structured access to knowledge that helps to achieve organizational goals, improve performance, enhance innovation, and achieve a high level of customer support.
Knowledge management can be divided into:
Whatever you do, you need to ensure people want and enjoy collecting and reusing knowledge. One of the best ways to do this is to establish knowledge-sharing habits, such as regular meetings, workshops, webinars, newsletters, or feedback sessions.These facilitate knowledge exchange and learning, as well as promote internal tools that make knowledge sharing easier.
Along this, make sure that storing knowledge is easy. You can do that by investing in automation and proper tools. The era of generative AI based on Large Language Models (LLMs) also opens new possibilities, like automatic meeting notes generated using Microsoft Teams.
To ensure data richness, involve different stakeholders, such as customers, partners, or experts, in knowledge sharing. This will potentially allow you to correlate decisions with their non-intuitive impact and either benefit from the non-obvious connection, or, if the impact is negative, identify its source and counter the effect.
Let me be real with you for a second…if you or your company has no prior experience with knowledge management, you won’t be able to just suddenly introduce it. Systems and processes require buy-in from coworkers and team to properly set up. What you really want to do is to take a focused, high-level view of the knowledge generated and stored within your company and identify gaps and opportunities that will surface.
Perhaps you would benefit from a more structured approach to product discovery with frequent all-hand emails that share the results found. You might also realize that your knowledge base is working terribly, which makes it hard to find anything.
In other words, it comes down to championing a dedicated knowledge-management audit that you can lead, fixing and/or improving what you identify, and then keeping high standards. You should implement these audits on a regular basis to keep everything going smoothly.
There are several pieces of software available on the market you can use, but let me present you with the top three examples alongside their pros and cons:
Confluence helps you create and collaborate on documents, projects, and ideas. It allows you to create, edit, and share content using pages, spaces, and macros. It can be easily bundled with Jira, a project management software, to provide seamless workflow and communication.
Confluence is flexible, versatile, and powerful. It has a rich set of features, such as version control, permissions, comments, and notifications and also supports multiple integrations and plugins.
However, Confluence can be complex, confusing, and overwhelming. It has a steep learning curve and may require technical skills. Alongside this, it may have some issues with performance, security, search results quality, and compatibility.
Similarly to Confluence, Zendesk Guide allows you to create and manage a self-service help center for your customers and employees. One can create, edit, and organize content using templates, categories, and labels. Guide is also a bundle software connected to Zendesk Support, a customer service software, to provide seamless support across channels.
Zendesk Guide is easy to use, customizable, and scalable. It has a powerful search engine, analytics, and feedback features. Besides this, it also supports multiple languages and content formats.
That said, Zendesk Guide can be expensive, especially for small businesses. It also requires a subscription to Zendesk Support, which may not suit your needs. Zendesk Guide also has some limitations in terms of integrations and customization.
Unlike the other two, Guru is a standalone knowledge management software. It can do basically the same stuff as Confluence and Zendesk Guide and it also integrates with various tools, such as Slack, Gmail, and Salesforce, to provide contextual and relevant knowledge.
Guru is simple, intuitive, and user-friendly. It has a smart search engine, verification, and suggestion features. Guru also supports multiple content formats and workflows.
On the other hand, Guru can be limited, basic, and repetitive. It may lack some advanced features, making it a limited alternative to more commercial pieces of software. There have also been some reports of bugs and glitches.
Time is money and knowledge is power. As a PM, you want to make knowledge sharing as easy as possible to avoid bottlenecks and keep your team operating autonomously. However, it isn’t just about access. You also need to make sure that you organize your knowledge in a way that it’s actually digestible.
The best place to start is by running a knowledge audit within your organization so that you know your baseline and where you need to improve. Once you do this you can start taking active steps to improve. Good luck!
Featured image source: IconScout
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