Startups are a unique and delicate type of business. Startup founders need to go through a minefield just to get to the growth stage, which in turn comes with its own challenges. One of the most common ones, caused by the constant flux of employees and need for new helping hands, is knowledge management. We need to do our best to avoid losing knowledge, we simply can’t afford it. So, today I’m sharing with you my own techniques for knowledge management.
An image speaks more than words, which is why I love screenshots. Just throw in a couple arrows and it’s a better tutorial than any you might find on YouTube. When someone in my team does something new, I don’t get asked about any details more than 90% of cases. Everything is right there, visible and explained through screenshots. The tool I use is Clarify (or ScreenSteps), it creates a document with all my screenshots and notes.
Use screen sharing
This might sound obvious, but most people don’t do it: you can do a screenshot of a screen share. When people call me asking for help, or whenever I’m auditing code, I can create clear associations between the practical app screens and technical screens.
Do a screen recording
Even more effective, when you’re doing a procedure, record yourself while you narrate out loud what you’re doing. This way someone can follow the procedure alongside the recording, and you or someone else later will be able to create a Word document or take a screenshot out of this video for future reference.
Choose one file-sharing tool
Define from the get-go which tool you are going to use: Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, etc. It’s always most convenient to use a well-known service. It’s a nightmare to have all your documentations scattered all over the Web.
Keep technical documentations tidy
This one is to be followed mostly by your developers and engineers: make sure that all your technical documentations within the code and readme file is explanatory and clear enough. There’s nothing more complex than to start working on an app from without documentation. Whether you’re just doing your first version or building up on features, make sure you have all the relevant technical information.
Included in this category are procedures, for instance: how to deploy the application or do a backup; and of course, a global overview of how the code works. But you also need to know where your client details are. Is the database in a virtual server? A cloud provider? What’s the software architecture of the solution? Make sure you have access to all these as well by keeping the corresponding credentials in a separate file. For this, you can use a password repository like LastPass or KeePass.
Hopefully, with these techniques, you’ll be able to keep track of your company’s information like a pro. If you found this article useful and would like to learn more about the topic, check out my other posts. And if you’d like to delve deeper into tech management for startup, you can also take a look at myCTOfriend.co courses, or reach out for a consultation.