How I Restored Order to Chaos

One of the products I was helping with had a knowledge base full of documentation and other useful information for users. I was assigned to produce screencasts once a week for these KB articles, using them as a script.

I figured that if I’m using them as scripts, they better be accurate. So I requested Editor/Admin access to the KB to update and edit them as necessary. Around that time, there were only a few people who routinely accessed the KB to update articles.

KB Request Board

There was a project management task board set up so that when someone filled out a KB request form, the request would end up on the board. The problem though is that no one owned the board. It was a group/volunteer effort. Requests ranged from updating broken links and updating screenshots, to documenting new features.

At the end of 2023, the KB request board became unruly. There were a lot of tasks that contained a New status because they were not assigned to anyone or being worked on. There were also a handful of tasks that would require a considerable amount of time and effort to complete.

During the last week of 2023 and the first week of 2024, there were a lot fewer people in the office. This provided some welcomed peace and quiet. It also provided an opportunity to focus on things that didn’t have priority.

Taking Initiative

After wrangling with the KB request board for a few months and realizing that everyone else would be too busy to focus on it, I took it upon myself to restore order. I spent my New Year’s Day at work, sorting through KB tasks, assigning them, providing status updates, and getting everything in order. It was exactly what the board and team needed.

When my teammates returned to the office and read my updates on the KB Request board, they were ecstatic. They very much appreciated the work I accomplished, knowing that going forward, things would be a lot smoother.

It’s In The Details

While I’m proud of the work I mentioned above, I’m most proud of what I accomplished with specific team members. When it comes to KB requests that are tied to product updates, those requests need to have details. Some of the requests I dealt with had task details that looked like this:

Update Screenshot: Classic Editor

If you’re like me, you’d ask yourself What The Hell Does That Mean? What screenshot? On what part of the page? Update it to what? The lack of details in the KB requests made it extremely difficult to accomplish tasks.

What I ended up doing was having one-on-one meetings with the people requesting these types of tasks and explaining why their lack of details made things so difficult. I also brought this up in meetings.

When it came time to provide further updates to a specific product release, the same person who had requested a task with a lack of details made a request that included links to the affected KB articles, and what exactly needed to be changed and where. I WAS HAPPIER THAN A PIG IN MUD!

I showered this person with admiration, thanks, and happiness. I used their request as a shining example of what all other requests should look like. Collaborating with this individual which led to improvements was a joy. I loved working with them.

Skills I Showcased

I took the initiative. I took ownership of the problem. I solved it. I improved communication between product owners and KB maintainers. I used my collaboration skills to connect the dots and get tasks completed. I also showcased my project management abilities.

If you’d love to have someone like this on your team, please reach out to me by commenting on this article, through the contact form, or by contacting me on Twitter. Let’s talk.

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