Unit 7: Week 1: Your Knowledge Base Documentation

Unit 7: Week 1: Your Knowledge Base Documentation

Essential Questions

  • What worked well this semester? What didn’t?
  • What areas do you need more practice? Or time to Review?

Big Ideas

The intent of this week is to provide students time to reflect on their work this semester. There is also time for any students who need it to return to topics they need to explore further.

Help Desks that implement a full Service Level Model include time to review data on their performance and make revisions to their practice. Your team should review their work this semester, determine your strengths, and consider whether any changes might be necessary going into the next course. The focus of your review will be the Knowledge Base documentation created throughout the year.

Connection to Student Lives

There’s a saying that “hindsight is 20/20.” That means that when you come across a situation, you can do the best you can to understand it, but with time and experience you probably have a better understanding and can picture the situation better. Throughout this semester you’ve been encouraged to document your progress and add some of that documentation to your Help Desk Knowledge Base. Because you now have more experience, it’s a good practice to go back and review your work, especially in the Knowledge Base. Since you’ve written your documentation, you might have found out new information, new ways to do things, or additional resources you can use to address the problems you’ve documented. It’s not that you weren’t correct the first time, you just probably have greater hindsight now.

Framing Problem

How well do my Knowledge Base solutions hold up? What might I change about them based on what I now know?

Cornerstone Assessment

Review the Knowledge Base documentation you and other members of your team have created this semester. Follow a process to review them, edit them, and make them as clear as possible, perhaps adding images or video to support the work you’ve already provided.

HDI Standards

  • 5.6.1 Describe the purpose of the Problem Management practice.
  • 5.6.2 Define problem.
  • 5.6.3 Define known error.
  • 5.6.4 Describe the value of problem management.
  • 5.6.5 Describe the responsibilities of a desktop advanced support technician in problem management.


  • A problem is the underlying cause of one or more incidents whose root cause is usually not known.
  • A known error is a problem where the root cause is known and a temporary workaround has been identified. Known errors are stored in the knowledge base or Known Error Database (KEDB), and can be used to resolve incidents and restore service quickly should future incidents occur.
  • The value of problem management is to:
    • Provide information about workarounds and known errors to incident management, thus increasing service and support center productivity and improving resolution times
    • Reduce repetitive incidents and increases availability of services
  • In problem management, a desktop advanced support technician may be responsible for ensuring there is correct documentation of incident records and problem records when they have a role in problem management. This includes:
    • Alerting desktop support manager about repetitive issues
    • Providing workarounds/solutions to the service and support center
    • Providing proactive problem management by being involved in desktop configuration items (CIs) which have “known errors” before incidents occur


  • Review and revise their Knowledge Base documentation for clarity


Known error

Weekly Map


Introduction to problem: Problem Management using the Knowledge Base

Review content resources with whole group

Activity: Discussing the use of the Knowledge Base


Contribute to team project


Review and/or Practice Exam

Contribute to team project


Review and/or Practice Exam


Review and/or Exam

Lesson Ideas

Throughout the semester, your students have been encouraged to address IT Support issues by addressing real-world problems they are likely to encounter. In these cases, a problem, according to HDI, is one in which the root causes of an incident or incidents is not known. When the root causes are known, these known errors and known errors and their solutions should be documented so that documentation can be used to resolve future known errors should they occur.

Your students have been encouraged to track their progress and add documentation for solving problems, whether they are known errors or not, into a Help Desk knowledge base. Doing so follows what HDI refers to as the Problem Management Practice. Specifically, HDI notes that a Problem Management practice is responsible for managing the lifecycle of all problems, and as your students have been exposed to problems, they’ve been working through them and determining their own best approaches for resolving them. HDI notes the full purpose of problem management is to:

  • Prevent problems and resulting service disruptions from occurring
  • Improve service availability by eliminating recurring incidents
  • Minimize the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented
  • Ensure that the information about problems and workarounds is maintained
  • Ensure that the problem resolution is implemented through the appropriate change and release processes

Hopefully, your students can see the value of the Knowledge Base and documenting known errors. Some of the value includes providing workarounds to known errors so they can resolve issues faster and more efficiently if they run across them again. It also expands the value of the Help Desk by increasing the type of services it can provide.

A Knowledge Base should be reviewed and updated periodically. This week, consider spending time reviewing the Knowledge Base articles your students have contributed throughout the semester and determine if they need any additional information or are good as they are. Consider whether the documentation might be improved with pictures or links to short videos or other types of data. Review the Knowledge Base articles provided and add the strategies and components that make the best sense for your situation.

Potential Resources

ITProTV (may include promotions for ITProTV courses)

Best practices: Developing content for your knowledge base by Jennifer Rowe for Zendesk, a customer service solution provider.

How to Review a Knowledge Base Article by April Allen for KnowledgeBird

Knowledge Base Article Review Process from Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, MN