Your team might need a knowledge manager

....Just like an orchestra tends to need a maestro

Your team might need a knowledge manager

....Just like an orchestra tends to need a maestro

Last updated
May 29, 2023
Written by
Elisa Reggiardo
Artwork by
Clara Rua

The Symphony of Knowledge

A strong knowledge base serves as the symphony that resonates through a team's veins, guiding them toward success. Just like a skilled conductor leads an orchestra, a dedicated knowledge manager orchestrates teams' collective knowledge.

While every team benefits from effective knowledge management, the need for a knowledge manager can vary from one team to another. Just as technology is pushing the boundaries of art forms, such as with the creation of images with AI (hello Midjourney) or the emergence of AI-generated music (hello Tech Elf), the management of knowledge and the roles involved in the process will also evolve.

With a knowledge manager acting as the maestro of information management, the team's productivity, collaboration, and innovation reach new heights. By harmonizing collective expertise and conducting the symphony of knowledge sharing, they empower team members to find the right notes of knowledge independently, fostering a culture where innovation flourishes, and ownership is cultivated. This creates a symphony of success, safeguarding against knowledge loss and unlocking your team's true potential.

Distinct Talents, Collective Wisdom

While having a dedicated knowledge manager is valuable, it doesn't always have to be a full-time gig. In some cases, like small lean teams or startups, managing knowledge can be a one-off project or seamlessly woven into existing roles. Think of it as the secret sauce that adds flavor to your team's recipe for success.

Within your team, there are unsung heroes, individuals with unique talents who naturally excel at driving the momentum of knowledge. They may be the ones who effortlessly organize information, document and share knowledge, or collaborate across different functions. They might not have an official title, but their passion for learning and innovation propels the team forward.

By embracing and empowering these individuals, you create an environment where collective wisdom thrives. It's like having a conductor who knows how to bring out the best in each team member, leading to a culture where innovation blossoms and everyone takes ownership of their contributions.

Next, we'll explore the role of a knowledge manager, uncovering their specific responsibilities and the value they bring to a team. We'll also share insights on how to identify and find the right knowledge manager for your unique needs.

So, what exactly does a knowledge manager do?

Picture this scenario: your team possesses a treasure trove of knowledge, ideas, and experiences. However, without a dedicated KM to weave the threads of wisdom together, that treasure remains hidden and untapped.

There's actually one more thing a knowledge manager does...they also play a crucial role in handpicking the perfect knowledge base tool to support your team's knowledge management efforts.

Like a savvy curator, they evaluate different options, considering factors like accessibility, user-friendliness, scalability, and seamless integration. They understand your team's unique needs and ensure that the chosen knowledge base aligns perfectly with your goals. Once the knowledge base is in place, the knowledge manager takes the reins, becoming the ultimate responsible and caretaker of this valuable resource. They work closely with the team, gathering feedback, making improvements, and ensuring the knowledge base stays organized, up-to-date, relevant, and, most importantly: a place where everyone feels free and empowered to contribute.

When Do You Need a Knowledge Manager?

If your team has ever expressed sentiments like "I'm drowning in information overload," "There are loads of duplicated docs...," or "that used to be handled by X, but since they left the team, we have no idea how to...," it's likely time for you to hire a KM.

This need often arises when a company is experiencing rapid growth, expanding quickly, or has a remote team with a heavily asynchronous culture that would benefit from maximizing the potential of beautifully curated knowledge-sharing and consumption experiences.

Determining whether your team needs a KM doesn't require overly complicated processes. Consider factors such as your team size, company's growth, industry, work culture values, and, most importantly, pain points. If bringing order to information and sharing knowledge across teams would help you work smarter, a knowledge manager could make a significant difference.

How to find your first KM

Finding the right knowledge manager for your team can be a strategic move. Consider these three potential candidates who possess the necessary skills and qualities:

  • Customer Support: Support agents excel at gathering, organizing, and sharing information. They have a deep understanding of the team and relevant abilities. Promoting a support agent allows them to leverage their expertise and contribute company-wide. By evolving team knowledge, they unlock untapped potential and create a win-win situation.
  • Project Managers: Project managers possess strong organizational skills and a knack for coordinating complex tasks. Their ability to oversee projects and collaborate with diverse teams makes them well-suited for knowledge management. They can bring structure and efficiency to the knowledge base, ensuring information is accessible and relevant.
  • Technical Writers: With their expertise in creating clear and concise documentation, technical writers are adept at capturing and conveying complex information. Their attention to detail and communication ability makes them valuable knowledge managers. They can transform scattered pockets of information into a cohesive and user-friendly knowledge base.

When deciding between internal promotion and external hiring, consider your priorities and available resources. Internal promotion fosters a growth culture and utilizes existing team strengths. External hiring brings fresh perspectives and specialized experience. Choose the path that aligns best with your needs and set up a knowledge manager for success. By orchestrating a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration, they harmonize your team's collective expertise, ensuring valuable insights are preserved. Their guidance empowers team members to find knowledge independently, boosting productivity and cultivating ownership.

Conducting Knowledge

Bringing a KM on board can directly impact your team's productivity, collaboration, and innovation. A knowledge manager promotes a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration, safeguards against knowledge loss, and empowers team members with autonomy. The role of a knowledge manager is not to immediately transform your knowledge documentation practices into a top-down, hierarchical one but rather to act as the maestro guiding the orchestra of information management. Just as a maestro brings out the best in musicians, a knowledgeable manager empowers your team to manage their knowledge better.

Investing in a knowledge manager unlocks the full potential of your team's collective wisdom and propels your organization toward success.

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Written by

Elisa Reggiardo is part of the Marketing team at Slite where she leads the Partner Marketing motions. She is also a mom, author, and a big fan of delicious wine.

Artwork by

Clara Rua is on the Design team at Slite. She juggles with all the Slite's brand codes to make our values and beliefs come to life in illustrations, projects, and visuals, amonst other things. You can find her cycling, surfing, pottery making, jump-roping, yoga-ing from the south of France to the Moroccan west coast.

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