Sunday, May 21, 2006

Email and Content Management

Seth Gottlieb wrote a good post on Email and Content Management

I never miss the opportunity to evangelize the use of our KM-tools instead of e-mail (and sometimes even verbal contact). Some effective techniques I used at work:

* Refuse to do any task colleagues sent me by email, insisting that they issue a ticket in our task-tracker instead.

* Never reply with informative emails. Rather write a wiki-page on the subject and send the link to the correspondents.

* Each time a colleague seeks to explain how something works, or teach me something, I insist that they write a wiki-page instead, and send me the link.

We shouldn't abandon email. It's a quick and responsive tool that creates alot of dialog and content productivity. KM-people know that face-to-face meetings is the best way to convey knowledge. Phone, instant messaging and even email are closer to face-to-face than a CMS.

Any company should have set conventions of how different collaboration tools are used. Here are some example keywords:

* Email: Drafting and suggestions
* Forum: Discussions
* IM/Chat/voice: Quick notifications, brainstorming
* Blogs: External presentation for promotion
* CMS: Formal promotion, customer/user documentation

One could also divide the strategy into extra (public, open) and intra (internal company biz), and perhaps even a strategy for how communication with customers are done. We use a different kind of ticket-tracker for our customer-support (OTRS) than we use for internal business tickets (Trac).