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The KM Triangle and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (Video)

Video produced by Steve Nathans-Kelly

In May 2019, Shopify launched an internally built wiki for the whole company. This wiki replaced an out-of-date tool that contained stale information and had lost the trust of the company. Despite having a highly engaged workforce, healthy culture, and crack project team, this project overcame many hurdles and made plenty of mistakes along the way proving that success is just the culmination of failures we learn from.

At KMWorld 2019, , projects lead, KM, at Shopify, shared insights for finding highly engaged stakeholders, experimenting using your own team, knowing your current state; gathering metrics; designing with end stakeholders, the importance of small wins, how to keep KM from becoming a tragedy of the commons, and speaking the right language, during a session titled, "Fail Your Way To Launch: Lessons Learned Launching KM Projects At Shopify."

Shopify's KM Triangle

Shopify's KM Triangle was developed by Cauley's director, Dana Tessier. According to Cauley, it begins by identifying and capturing knowledge and that includes feedback. "And what that is is, we go out, we look for the commonly recurring processes, the commonly recurring questions. The type of things, maybe there's a new product launching and that we need to capture that information. And it's kind of based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs where the thing at the bottom, everything else is built on when we get all the way up."

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs starts with food, anything physiological, and ends with self-actualization, said Cauley. "So organizational learning and self-actualization are basically the same thing. Everything is built on top of one another and then from there, from identifying, capturing we move up to storing knowledge."

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

This involves putting it in the right format, finding the right place for it, said Cauley. "What's going to work with the people that we're building it for, and then we move on to knowledge sharing. Getting it out to them, making sure they know how to use the tool. Making sure they know it is accessible and then we see them using it. And then we collect feedback on that use. Was it right? Was it correct? Is there anything that needs to be tweaked? And then from there once it becomes part of our common wisdom of the company. We build on that."

According to Cauley, an example of this in action is this: "Knowledge management falls within the support organization. And if we have a new product coming down the pipeline, there's a team that liaises the product, and they feed the information to our support training team about what they need to build. So they're identifying, capturing that information from product. From there, the support training team builds a bridge course, so that's that tool that uses Bridge, so they store the knowledge in the right place, and then they give it to our support organization, our frontline staff, our customer service, who then use it to answer questions from our merchants. From there, depending on, we collect feedback from our merchants about what areas of the product do they have any friction, or difficulty with."

A continuous loop

Cauley said the people who first identified and captured that information make deep dives into Shopify's support tickets and look for that information and feed that back in an effort to mitigate the types of friction that people have in their product. "So not only are you trying to train people to better answer questions that our merchants are having, we're also trying to feed that information to product so that doesn't even happen in the first place. So that they can fix some of the technical issues that we're going into," said Cauley.

Videos of KMWorld 2019 awards presentations, keynotes, and many sessions can be found here.

Many speakers at KMWorld 2019 have also made their presentations available at www.kmworld.com/Conference/2019/Presentations.aspx.

KMWorld 2020 is Going Virtual: NOVEMBER 16-20, 2020!

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