Zodiac of Knowledge Capture
The start of a new year gives me a rare chance to measure my knowledge
capture output over time. I maintain electronic
for the various projects I am driving, business units and functional
areas I support, and people I work with. This results in a hundred or so
separate MS Word documents, with generally the same format - still, it
would be quite tedious to take a word count each week to check my
However, at the beginning of the year, I start a new folder and a new
set of Word files - which means that after week 1, I have the easiest
scenario for figuring out how much data entry for the week. And, since
last week was typical, I set out to total up my data entry - starting
with tthe personal journal files, but including other media:
MS Word 15,300 in 22 documents
in 4 documents
Blogs 3,100 in 6 entries in 4
MS Excel 500 in 5 spreadsheets
Notepad 500 in 4 text files
Mind Maps 300 in 7 maps
Power Point 700 in 5 presentations
Wiki 500 in 2 wikis, 2 different dialects
24,800 words in 1 week
Hmm, that sounds like a lot - accoprding to
, I could / should be writing eight books per year ...
But then I though of all of the other formats that I was
counting ... texting via phone, IM over eight different accounts
(thanks, Pidgin!), emails over four different accounts (and four
different clients). And what about the code? That wiki item at the end
got me thinking; most
is faux-HTML, right? But I've also had to do work just this week in
HTML, CSS, ASP, SharePoint, VBA, dokuwiki, TiddlyWiki ...
This whole exercise conjured a series of images in my mind, avatars for
of Knowledge Capture ...
never ending task
of documentation. At times, my "backlog" gets so big, I just file a big
chunk away under Future Projects ...
should be the expectation, not the exception. The world / your work
group is ever-hungry for more structured knowledge, and they don't want
to wait thru the backlog - they want stuff now!
is a must - you will write stuff and get no response for months ... but
every once in a while, a glimmer of hope. Had a conversation this week
with someone who noted my
post from 14 months back (!). They had seen a class offering at a local
college, and we ended up talking about how applicable the skills are to
: You need to be facile when plotting and navigating many
levels of abstraction
. The reader needs to absorb slowly, peel the onion one layer at a time
... but they better be able to drill to the required level of detail!
- Don't be surprised when you have to repeat, repeat, repeat, over and
over, until you get folks used to the idea of going to the wiki,
searching the portal, reading the manual.
must be in your mind all the time. There is always a better way to get
an idea across (which relates to ...)
is the sincerest form of flattery. Let's not lose sight of the goal -
capture and transfer knowledge . So, if you see a more effective method
of communicating - learn from it!
in communication is everything. You might think this one should be
, but Tufte drives for clear and effective communication graphically /
pictorially, as well as in the written word.
: Don't rule out
; you are competing in the market of attention, and you need to capture
the mind before it's ready to receive. You also can't always rely on the
Same Old Stuff when capturing knowledge; keep experimenting with
different tools, take the best, leave the rest.
?): Develop skills at multi-tasking, maintaining many threads at once
). Multi-platform, multi-editor, multi-laungauge, multi-markup, etc.
: Be aware that documenting processes can be like measuring them - you
will probably introduce some
. This is "stealth process improvement", and might even be manifest
laziness (it's easier to document a simplified process ...)
This zodiac needs a twelfth sign - any ideas?