Today I witnessed an interesting conversation and realized the importance of the Information or Knowledge Manager within an organization.  In reviewing some technical documentation, it was obvious that the documentation had not been updated until the current client had actually requested said documentation.

A bit of scramble later and it is noted that there is a single author who had then been replaced.  Makes for an interesting divergence on succession planning for persons responsible for documentation processes. I’ll stick with the cracking of the whip.

A non-technical person was in the room as this issue was being discussed.  The question:

You mean the engineers don’t document how they fix things?

A librarian, an engineer, a coder and a project manager all laughed outloud.  Organization’s do not stay on top of their documentation.  Why?  Because the engineers are doers, they fiddle and then fix.  Rarely do they even remember in five minutes how that fix came to be.  Documenting that process then becomes difficult.  Especially if there is not a knowledge manager in place to monitor, maintain, and remind the technical writers that this must be done regularly.

Business mangers think its done because its a process and should be done. IT thinks I fixed it what else is there.  The need for a liaison between the two is critical.  A qualified Knowledge or Information Manager is a perfect candidate for this role.  They can crack the whip and explain to both parties the whys and why nots of documentation updates.

If your organization is not using a qualified Knowledge Manager to bridge the gap, you could be making a big mistake.