Adventures in setting up a knowledge system for a research group




We're not a standard company, but a group of 10 researchers with support staff working on robotics in a university. Despite that, our challenges may be very familiar with those of documentarians in companies.

A little more than a year and a half ago the research group I'm working in asked me to take up "knowledge management". One of the key things that had to be addressed was that much of the documentation that we made ended up in somewhere in one of our many storage spaces. We had no standardization on what was sored where, and some of the locations were only visible to part of our group members. Our core business is to develop and share knowledge, so something had to be done!

In the following year we first set out to find out what we actually wanted to share with whom, and what roadblocks we found, both technical and organizational. As our organization is trying to be "LEAN", we asked the help of a lean coach to look with us what the "root causes" were for the lack of information sharing. One of the main things we found out "on the go" is that the documents we had standardized, but never made were indeed those that no one was interested in.

In the process of standardizing and recreating our knowledge products, we had a lot of hurdles to take, such as getting consesus what we actually need to document, getting some kind of "definition of done" and determining the locations of file storage and how to get the right internal and external people the right access. In this presentation I can share the process we went through, and give our current perspective on how we're doing now.

  • Conference: Write the Docs Prague
  • Year: 2021

About the speaker

Victor Sluiter