Monday, December 15, 2008

Future KM entries

Lately I've been on an tagging/organizing kick with my knowledge management posts. But there are other areas I need to explore too. As my post from earlier today pointed out, the lack of organizational structure behind the existing site (or at least the lack of documentation of any such structure, the difference between it existing with me failing to understand it vs simply failing to exist is effectively nothing) makes for a lot of unfun time. Once I eventually vacate this seat for whatever reason, I hope to leave my replacement in better shape than I currently find myself.

That means I need to work on documentation ranging from style guides to well documented, maintainable code to official policies and guidelines that better fit into the bureaucratic mindset of the campus than all that geeky stuff. (Both the resources I linked to there are written by women. I wonder if that is at all relevant or just a simple coincidence?)

In a time of economic crunch and budget cuts, many people would probably shy away from purposefully making themselves easier to replace. But if knowledge management is really about boosting the productivity of knowledge workers, isn't it possible that turning our backs on knowledge management now could very well extend the economic troubles? KM is about a lot more than just easing the transition for my eventual replacement. One thing I learned early on in my career about commenting my code, the person I'm communicating with in my comments may very well be my future self. Six months after I've written something, there's a good chance I won't be able to figure out what the hell was going on without at least a little guidance. It may be more important for someone who has never seen the code before, but that doesn't eliminate the very real (and almost immediate) benefits such documentation provides for me.

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