Friday, 28 June 2013

What to look for in a technical case that would make a good knowledge article.

Knowledge base articles can help divert calls, improve the time to resolution and provide research material when working on technical troubleshooting calls. Good KM articles work well for support folks and customers servicing themselves.   

Every support engineer has cause to be grateful to his colleagues that took the time to generate the knowledge base articles that helped with a tricky case. These articles often derive from previous casework. 

Here are some notes about what to look for in a case to see if it is a good knowledge base article candidate.

Lost –Functionality of product is different from that expected by the customer.  Describe the feature functionality in a way that would avoid confusion in the future.

Missing – Data lost or corrupted by unintentional action of a customer or rogue product. Describe the conditions that lead to the data loss and how it can be avoided. These technotes can be the most contention so be sure to get senior technical advice on theses ones. Some times these KM articles will be promoted to product alert status for direct distribution to customers.

Gaps – Holes in a documented procedure or process that substantially impact the success rate of that process. Describe the purpose of the procedure and how the gap in the process can be avoided.

Scrolls – Documentation errors that are substantially misleading or dangerous to the integrity of customer systems. Be specific as to the documentation reference Book, Number, Page, Paragraph title.

Alien technology – Other vendor problems which impact our software.  Document the events and versions involved link to the vendors support site.

Found – New features or functionality can have unexpected benefits and/or consequences.  Describe the upside of the new feature but also include any Trade-off that come with the new feature.

Wisdom – At the end of a case ask yourself "If you knew at the start what you know now how much better would that case have gone ?" Write that KM document to save your colleagues from the same pain.

Knowledge base articles are the golden nuggets of technical support documentation, learn to find cases and forum threads from which to build them.

Cue the Knowledge base picture :

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