A while back, we introduced the Knowledge Project. The idea with it was to make life better for members of Support Driven, especially newer ones, but in general to make sure every member knew how the community worked, how they could ask questions and get help, or share knowledge.

This is a pretty all encompassing topic and there are 1,000 different things we could do and still reach this end goal. This is the first article that looking at that work specifically, rather than the end results. How did we decide which things to do from the 1,000 different options? What specifically did we do and how did we do it?

The initial planning

Before jumping in to the project, we paused for a while. How did we know exactly what the community needed? How did we know the pain points or the questions we needed to answer? As with all larger projects, it’s always best to come in with a plan, and an informed plan is always better than one that you came up with on the fly. So to come up with a plan, we worked on 2 research components: A survey open to everyone in the community and 1:1 chats with brand new members of the community.

The survey

With the survey, I wanted to get a bird’s-eye view of the community and any pain points. Rather than coming in with preconceived notions about what the community wanted and needed. I wanted to ask some general questions around how people treat the community and specifics about areas they might struggle with.

The results were interesting! First, we sadly only got 41 folks who took the time. Support Driven is a busy community and it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks, but that was the first thing added to my list going forward. Look out for more surveys in the future!

Some general highlights from the survey

Of the survey takers, ~61% have been active in the community for at least a year, if not longer. But ~32% have been active for less than 6 months. Basically the community is a lively mix of grizzled old timers and new folks.

Of the folks who took our survey, they’re very active. They have Slack open at least a few times per week, though likely they’re signed in and checking things out during their entire work week.

And folks are a member of the community to learn, quite overwhelmingly (though to meet other people is high up there as well).

Can we help?

Surprisingly, the majority of folks don’t feel like they’re missing out, though it was only a bit over 50%. But that twisted a bit when you compared to the demographics. If you’re newer to the community, you feel like you’re missing more vs someone who’s been a member for 2+ years. That identified gaps.

Despite a lot of folks feeling like they find what they need, they still wanted more ways to find information.

And they wanted knowledge to be within Slack or on the website.

The 1:1 discussions

In parallel to the survey, I also talked to brand new members of the Slack 1:1. This ended up being a bit of a jobs to be done style discussion. With JTBD you want to find out why someone is hiring you, versus the strict facts about them. We didn’t want to look at all the wonderful new members of the Slack community and boil them down to facts (works in x size company, has been doing support for y years, etc). Instead we want to know why. Why did they join? What problems are they hoping to solve? What outcome are they hoping for?

From those discussions we learned that most people are joining the community to network or to learn (or most likely both!). They’re either new to their job or a seasoned veteran, but either way they’re here to learn. And they’re lost. Support Driven is a fairly overwhelming fount of knowledge.

The plan

So we knew folks new to the community felt far more lost on average than folks who’ve been around for a year or more. We also know that being able to see value in Support Driven and the knowledge the community shares is what keeps people coming back. And with that the plan started to form. It’s broken into a few discrete steps and those will shift and change as time goes on. But initially The Knowledge Project is working on:

  1. The onboarding process. How can we shorten the time it takes for people to feel comfortable within the community?
  2. The knowledge sharing process. Even more experienced members of the community wanted to see more knowledge found in easy spaces like Slack bots or a “Support Driven Manual” on the website.

Those 2 goals play well together. Anything we do to share information easily for newer members is there for more experienced members as well. So we’re tackling onboarding first. Stay tuned for more!

Want to volunteer? Reach out to @dpotter or @andreabadgley in the SD Slack.

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