The mind of a software developer is filled with copious amounts of knowledge. Getting that valuable knowledge out of their heads and captured in a shared community can save both developers and customer service valuable time.
In a recent poll conducted by TalentBridge, the question was asked, “What keeps you up at night?” 66% of the attendees answered “departing workers with critical and unique knowledge.” Knowledge transfer and internal documentation are key to any developer’s success. Departing developers are just one of the critical areas where critical knowledge is lost. Switching departments or projects, promotions, or lack of documenting important skill sets are also factors.
Knowledge transfer is replicating the expertise, wisdom, and skills possessed by software developers in the heads and hands of their coworkers. While knowledge transfer is often associated with on-the-job training and mentoring, it means much more. Companies need their critical workforces to perform smarter, faster and more productively. Achieving that goal requires inserting collaborative technologies deep into processes while also providing incentives for collaborative behaviors—ultimately transforming the way developers turn knowledge into action. Simply put, documenting and writing down useful knowledge from the mind of the developer moves the right skills at the right time to keep a workforce prepared, productive, innovative, and competitive.
For a developer, the concept of writing (outside of coding) can seem daunting. Mike Borozdin, the senior director of engineering at DocuSign who previously worked at Microsoft, has a unique piece of advice; “I would advise folks in software to do one thing, and that’s write.” Developers need to hone this skill because the business is increasingly collaborative; open source projects invite worldwide participation, and developers who take on the task of writing clear, concise findings of their products, are moving the industry forward as a whole.
One great advantage to developers documenting their knowledge is the “self-service” that would be created for everyone in the field. Studies tell us that more and more people prefer self-service over contacting a support agent; a whopping 91% say they would use a knowledge base if it met their needs. How many times do you spend hours solving a problem, but no one else ever benefits from your solution?
How does knowledge transfer support self-service for developers?
- Coworkers have a place to go to find, share, and research knowledge that would otherwise be in the developer’s head. Having clear guidelines for staff allows processes to be standardized across your business to achieve consistency.
- Customer Support has a place to go to get answers to questions rather than bother the developer who would have to stop and answer.
- External users have a place to go rather than dial that 800 number or wait for that email. Community documentation acts as the store of collective organizational knowledge regarding the processes and can be accessed by anyone in times of need.
Ultimately, with effective implementation of having developers document their knowledge constantly, then knowledge transfer can become a key solution to many common business challenges, and the impact of knowledge transfer will ramp up productivity.
Not only is writing important, but collecting, sharing, and storing the writing in a useable, collaborative space is important. Countless times developers have searched for answers but there is just no written documentation, they want a place where they can connect with each other, and the information they need to get work done that can be accessed at any time and from anywhere.