Pages: Your Secret Weapon for Totally Free Knowledge Management
Blog: The Process Street Blog
It’s also free, forever, for your entire team.
Pages is part of Process Street’s development as the modern process management platform for teams.
Thousands of teams from Salesforce to Yext use our interactive workflows to power their processes. In doing so, these teams are evolving their process maturity.
And process maturity, as well as how to think about & use our new Pages product, is exactly what we’ll be covering in this article.
Here’s an overview:
- The three phases of process maturity
- Achieving process maturity with Pages
- What types of content should go into Pages?
- What’s the best way to organize content in Pages?
The three phases of process maturity
Each phase in the image below answers the question: Where does operational knowledge live?In Phase 1, operational knowledge lives only in people’s heads. This might be fine for very small teams or very simple work. But it really starts falling apart once there is any complexity.
In Phase 2, operational knowledge is written down. But that written-down knowledge isn’t where the work is happening. If a team is relying only on static documents and process diagrams, the team’s operations will still be slow and inconsistent.
Phase 3 is where a team wants to be. In Phase 3, the knowledge is woven into every step of the process. Every task owner has full information and intuitive tools to help them contribute to a process, in the moment when it’s their turn to contribute. Software helps automate the parts of a process that humans shouldn’t have to do. And every process stakeholder has visibility into the current status of each running process.
Achieving process maturity with Pages
The problem is most teams get stuck in an earlier phase of process maturity.
Our new product Pages helps teams in two ways. The first way is to help teams in Phase 1 of process maturity get to Phase 2 . This is done by “writing it down” — getting operational knowledge out of people’s heads and capturing it in a central place where it’s easily referenced by anyone on the team.
“We need to get this written down” is a common first thought people have when they’re feeling the pain of phase one.
This isn’t a bad instinct. Some teams and processes aren’t ready for phase 3. Some never will be, and that’s OK too. But until now, we’ve had no solution for this intermediate phase.
The second way is to help teams in Phase 3 with their day-to-day management of operational knowledge. Even when a team has woven their operational knowledge into their work by using interactive workflows to orchestrate every team process, there’s still a need to capture certain types of team knowledge for easy reference, outside of an interactive workflow.
One example is a vacation policy. You might need to take some action: i.e. You’re ready to submit a vacation request. But in a lot of other instances, you may just want to know the policy for purely informational purposes. You want to know the policy going into the new year so you can start thinking of your vacation plans, but you’re far from ready to submit your request.
What types of content should go into Pages?
We think the best kind of content to put into Pages is established team knowledge . With the word “established”, we’re referring to content that has jelled — there is consensus that the content represents “the way the team does things”, or is “something everyone on the team needs to know”, and the content is unlikely to change significantly for the foreseeable future.
So it’s useful to get this content into a central place where everyone on the team can easily discover it, read it, and refer back to it.
Here are some examples of established team knowledge:
- An overview of the company’s mission and vision
- An explanation of the company’s vacation policy
- A walkthrough of the Marketing team’s style guide for writing customer-facing content
- A briefing on the Information Security team’s key practices to prevent data breaches
- A high-level intro to the way the Finance team closes the books at month end
- A repository of the HR team’s interview questions to assess fit with company values
- A description of the Sales team’s rules of engagement when co-selling with channel partners
The above examples stand in contrast to a team’s fluid writings and daily note-taking, which aren’t good use cases for Pages.
When your team is taking some quick notes during a meeting, or when they’re collaborating on a document with lots of edits and comments, they’re better served to use a collaborative editing tool like Google Docs or Microsoft Word.
What’s the best way to organize content in Pages?
Another question to consider: How should you organize content in Pages? One good approach is to have a folder for each team — the folder structure would mirror your organizational structure.
A benefit of this approach is that it makes it clear who is responsible for curating the content in a particular folder — for example, the Tax team sub-folder within the Finance function folder.
You’ll probably also want to have a folder for content about the company overall, covering topics like mission, vision, values, culture, etc.
Notice how GitLab’s handbook content in individual team folders is written in a way that is approachable for people from other teams — the content assumes limited knowledge of the individual team’s operations, and defines jargon terms when they’re used.
GitLab has taken the bold step of opening their handbook up for public viewing, which probably won’t work for most companies, but they’re an inspiring example of how making established team knowledge visible and approachable can empower everyone in the organization to be at peak effectiveness in their jobs. This is especially important as remote work becomes more prevalent.
In some cases, it’s useful to enshrine a piece of established team knowledge in Pages, but it’s not necessary to have a workflow that reflects that same content.
This is true, for example, of a page that gives an overview of the company’s mission and vision. There is no workflow needed for executing on the company vision and mission, but it’s important and canonical team knowledge.
On the other hand, there are some cases where it makes sense to capture a type of established team knowledge with Pages, and additionally to create one or more actionable workflows that bring that team knowledge to life.
For example, a Finance team might want to have a page that gives an introduction to the way they close the books at the end of each month, with explanations of key related concepts and the roles each team member plays.
To accompany that page, the Finance team creates a workflow that they use to orchestrate and automate the close-of-books process.
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Have questions about Pages? Let us know in the comments, we’re always happy to help!
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