Categorising knowledge

Don’t get too granular straight away. It’s like going to a restaurant with a menu full of acceptable choices—it’s too hard to decide and you end up with the parmigiana. ‘General’ or ‘miscellaneous’ is the parmigiana of knowledge base categories.

We’re more likely to make a sensible choice when there are fewer options. In a busy service desk environment where service management data is collected, the categories become more meaningful. It’s here that management will find areas that require improvement—either to a system or product, or through customer education. It’s impossible to determine those improvements when 80% of that collected data is filed under ‘general’.

Start with a few broad categories. Over time it will become obvious where new categories are needed.

Not sure how to get started? Let’s take bookkeeping as a first example. Think of the kinds of broader issues bookkeepers commonly deal with as a part of their role. Payroll, accounts receivable, accounts payable, bank reconciliation, and tax. Tax could then be broken down into the nested categories of BAS, IAS, GST, for example; and payroll could be broken down into processing and PAYG.

How many choices are you offering for filing documentation? Perhaps you need a category audit.

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