The KCS Design Session is a four to five day workshop with three goals:
1. Develop the initial documentation for KCS
2. Establish ownership of the documents the team creates, and
3. Align KCS with the goals of organization.
At the completion of the KCS Design Session, the first wave of adopters (Pilot Team) will use the new workflow and content standard with existing software tools and provide feedback for improvement before engaging any additional users or modifying technologies.
In the Design Session, the first draft of the foundation deliverables are created. These must be tailored to the needs of the organization, and in the case of very large support organizations, there may be variations of the deliverables based on the unique characteristics of each support group. This is particularly true for the content standard and the workflow. If different groups support different customers or different kinds of products, or if they use different tools for incident management unique requirements for the workflow and content standard may be appropriate. That being said, we find 80% of both the workflow and the content standard are common across all groups. Unique requirements are reflected in variations that represent less than 20% of each of the documents.
The deliverables from the Design Session include:
The output of the Design Session is a first draft of each of the documents listed above. By first draft we mean it must be sufficient to support the pilot. The adoption team will continuously improve these deliverables based on the experience of the early users.
Details about all the deliverables listed above can be found in the KCS Practices Guide with the exception of the Adoption Strategy and Road Map.
We have talked about the concept of waves of adopters – not everyone across the organization starts doing KCS at the same time. The Adoption Strategy and Road Map is typically one of the last exercises in the Design Session. It helps the Adoption Team decide who should be in the first wave. This is a critical decision and often requires considerable discussion. The goal is to identify a group of 25 – 40 Analysts who are most likely to be successful with KCS and who will test and improve the workflow and content standard based on their experience.
A few criteria for selecting the participants in the first wave:
For large support organization this can become quite complicated. Attached is the Adoption Planning Matrix, which is a helpful tool in facilitating the discussion on the adoption waves. By identifying the numbers of people in each product area, level, and location, we can get a picture of the landscape. Do not get hung up on the accuracy of the numbers; ballpark estimates are fine.
Typically teams and managers have a personality or history around embracing change. Some are good at it, some aren’t. Use the + 0 – indicators for team and manager attitudes towards change.
Once we have the map of the organization’s landscape and attitude, it becomes easier to pick out a group of 25-40 Support Analysts who share a product area and would likely be successful at a KCS adoption. These are our candidates for this first wave.
While the entire KCS Adoption team needs to be aligned to the goals of the program, much of the work in the Design Session is done in sub-groups: one team for the communication plan and performance model and one for the content standard and the workflow.
The team that owns the communications plan and the performance assessment model should be mostly managers and supervisors with some representation by Support Analysts. The team that owns the content standard and the workflow should be mostly Support Analysts. It is critical that the people who solve problems and create and use knowledge Articles everyday develop the content standard and the workflow model. When management gets involved in the content standard and the workflow, they inevitably over-engineer it.
Additional success criteria for the Design Session:
The design session should be very interactive; discussion on various ways to address the challenges is important. The KCS Practices Guide is a great resource but it is, as the name states, a guide. It describes an approach to implementing KCS. There are many ways to implement KCS. However, successful implementations adhere to a few fundamental principles.
When exploring implementation options the following principles should be applied to test ideas for compliance to the KCS ideals: