Help a team export their knowledge
November 16, 2015 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a tool to use — a cross-platform app or web app would be great, or alternatively a method we can apply and use with something basic. I work on a voluntary campaign team where it would be really helpful to dump our knowledge in a shared location where it can be mapped and searched, both for us now and for handover. Paid solutions are probably out of our reach.

"Knowledge management" being a high-earning buzzword is making searching for tools really difficult.

Cross-platform is important: between us we use desktop PCs, Mac and PC laptops and Android and iOS phones and tablets.

I find wikis difficult because of the lack of structural overview — I want to be able to see the shape of our knowledge somehow so that we can see what we know about and what we don't. Visual clarity/beauty is helpful for all of us as we're all variously disabled – personally I have a lot of difficulty maintaining a knowledge map in my head while I read written text, as well as with producing written info without prompts – and so are import/export options. I have basic web development skills and hosting capabilities and could very slightly adapt or extend an open source project.

What are our options?
posted by lokta to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Slack is a great option, because you can connect so many things into it, and it doesn't require an enterprise solution for individuals. It's called a "messaging app," but it's definitely useful as a knowledge capture system.
posted by xingcat at 11:50 AM on November 16, 2015

Slack plus Google Docs is a strong combination.
posted by mhoye at 12:04 PM on November 16, 2015

I would set up a new Basecamp account. The first project is free forever and you can get chat, text documents, messages, uploaded files, deadlines, etc. all in one place. I've been setting them up for things the way I used to set up free Slacks and it's going well so far.

Otherwise, Google docs because you can use tables, uploaded images, color-coded spreadsheets, etc. to do pretty much anything you want. If you really need structured visual layout of info, shared online mindmapping software or sticky note boards (Google for many examples of these) should work.
posted by michaelh at 12:16 PM on November 16, 2015

not a tech option, but i'd suggest getting people to dump whatever they think of into any format they like while they still feel motivated. in my experience this kind of process fails much more through lack of time/motivation than through poor tools. you can do normal "managementy things" like gamifying submissions (alice is top of the leaderboard with 3 documents submitted describing her experiences; bob gets editing badge for ...) to try keep things rolling. and then perhaps just one or two core people doing collating later.

so, perhaps more constructively, i'd say start with something like google docs, which are likely familiar to most, so you can get started while people still care, with little in the way of learning curve. or whatever tools you are already using, if you can bend them to fit. even emails.
posted by andrewcooke at 12:43 PM on November 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Don't overlook the tools you use in your work processes. Can you structure the tools you use so that essential data and knowledge is collected at the point in the work process where it's generated? That is the cheapest place to gather that kind of information.

One example: A support ticket form in Remedy, JIRA, etc. can be structured so that a resolved ticket can be exported as a knowledge article for a knowledge base. This works if the team is trained to think of these tickets as knowledge capture as well as the item that is going through the process. The value proposition to the support team for the extra work at the present moment is the possibility of driving down repeat calls for the same old issues over time.
posted by cross_impact at 10:19 AM on November 18, 2015

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