You’re Welcome for Asking

One year back in high school, my math teacher called my parents to discuss my disruptive behavior. According to Joe-Math-Teacher, I asked too many questions when trying to understand new lessons. Fortunately, my Mom defended my inquisitive nature; rather than discourage me from asking questions in class, she signed me up for a summer journalism course at a nearby college!

Questionable Discovery

Although my math career was stifled and journalism wasn’t quite the right fit, my knack for asking questions has been a fundamental element in propelling my TechComm career.

Technical Writing is often a problem-solving process:

  • Who needs information or what does the user already know?
  • Where is the user along their journey or when will they need this information?
  • Why does the user encounter this question or issue?

The delight when I discover a miscommunicated detail or unexpected dependency is like a treasure hunt, and asking the right question to the right person is the only way to get the next clue!

Practice Makes Progress

Beyond information gathering, the practice of asking the right questions is crucial for professional development, process improvement, and deliverable optimization.

For example:

  • Find Opportunity – Seeking to be helpful is a driving force behind many of my career advancements. What’s needed that I can do or learn to do?
  • Uncover Assumptions – Journey mapping and process reengineering specifically require you to consider assumptions. Is there another way to accomplish the goal? What is a different benchmark we could strive for?
  • Prioritize Requirements – Determining the minimal viable product (MVP) for faster delivery or understanding success factors are essential to keep a project focused on outcomes. What are the objectives and key results needed?

What have you asked lately that’s led to positive results or progress?

Do you know about Knowledge-Centered Service?

KCS Methodology
KCS Double Loop Process for Knowledge Capture

Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS®), formerly called Knowledge Centered Support, is a methodology to integrate knowledge creation and maintenance into your day-to-day processes.

KCS becomes the way people solve problems and creates knowledge as a by-product of problem solving.

KCS Goals

  1. Integrate the reuse, improvement, and creation of knowledge into the problem solving process.
  2. Evolve content based on demand and usage.
  3. Develop a knowledge base of collective experience to date.
  4. Reward learning, collaboration, sharing, and improving.

My Favorite KCS Concepts

  • Knowledge Is User-Centric. Information becomes knowledge when it is actionable, which means it is demand-driven. Customers are the catalyst for information becoming knowledge. – so frame information from their perspective.
  • Collective Ownership. Knowledge ownership applies to all who use the knowledge, therefore, knowledge workers and users are part-owners of the content.
  • Continuous Improvement. Double loop learning means that solving problems creates knowledge, and evaluating the knowledge helps it evolve.

Get Trained & Certified

KCS v6 Fundamentals Certification – Entry-level understanding of the methodology across groups of knowledge workers.
KCS v6 Practices Certification – A more thorough understanding of KCS methodology and adoption.

Recommended Resources

LinkedIn Group for KCS
KCS v6 Fundamentals Certification Study Guide *Start here and read “KCS Principles and Core Concepts”  for free, to see if the concepts interest you*

Image Credit: Knowledge Centered Service (KCS) by MindTouch

KCS® is a service mark of the Consortium for Service Innovation™.