DEV Community πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»

Cover image for Knowing your Knowledge Stack
Jamie Davenport
Jamie Davenport

Posted on

Knowing your Knowledge Stack

Sharing knowledge is a crucial behaviour for anyone working in a team. In this article we’ll define the term β€œKnowledge Stack” and discuss why it’s important to think about yours.

What is a Knowledge Stack?

πŸ‘‰ Your knowledge stack consists of all the tools where you might find answers to questions

Using Docbot Labs as an example, our knowledge stack consists of:

  • Github - READMEs, Comments, Issues & Pull Requests
  • Linear - Project tracking & Tickets
  • Notion - Knowledge Base
  • Slack - Communication
  • Figma - Designs, Diagrams & Product Discovery
  • Public Documentation - ReactJS, NextJS, NestJS, etc.

This is ours but every company is different. What’s your knowledge stack? Let us know in the comments.

Fragmented Knowledge Stack

A fragmented knowledge stack is one where the information is spread across all of these different tools making it harder to know where to look. For product teams it’s nearly impossible to have a centralised store of knowledge. Even a simple SPA will rely on code and public documentation.

Let’s take a look at some of the outcomes from having a fragmented knowledge stack.

Onboarding

This becomes more difficult when there are many places to search. You might start by looking at the codebase, Figma designs and Notion docs but soon you’ll find yourself asking questions like β€œWhy was this done like this?” only to realise you’ve not seen the architecture decision records buried deep down in the Engineering section of Notion.

In addition, engineers don’t just onboard once when they join the company. People move teams or start new projects over time and each requires a mini-onboard to familiarise yourself with the new context.

Context Switching

Distractions hurt our productivity massively, and time spent searching for an answer is time not spent building your product.

For an experienced engineer or tech lead, you might have your focus time interrupted multiple times throughout the day in order to point your team in the right direction.

Lose Faith

If your team can’t find what they need easily from your documentation then people will lose confidence in it. When your knowledge base develops the reputation that it’s a black hole where knowledge goes to be forgotten then everyone stops contributing and silos start to develop.

However, if you have confidence that capturing the valuable knowledge in your head will eventually be found by someone who needs it then you’ll be much more likely to spare the time to write it down.

Duplicate Work

How often do you start working on something, only to find someone else has already solved that problem? This can often occur in large organisations where different teams are capturing knowledge across different tools. Maybe one team solved this problem and kept track of it in Jira while your team uses Linear.

DocSearch

We believe that using the right tool for the job is important. Which is why we’ve created DocSearch to democratise knowledge across your organisation, without changing the way you work today.

Our extensions give you a single place to search both private and public knowledge to unblock yourself quickly.

Sign up today for early access πŸš€

Conclusion

These days growing your team is harder than ever but we’re always looking for ways to improve productivity and scale our organisation. We’re having to work smarter, not harder to push the boundaries.

Hopefully this article has made you reflect on your own knowledge stack and realise that having a knowledge strategy in place can make your team more productive and happier.

We’re hiring Software Engineers. If you’re looking for a role in the productivity and dev tooling space check out or job ad on Otta.

Top comments (0)

Layoffs: It’s Okay to Not Be Okay