Monday, January 26, 2009

Know They Know

There are three types of knowledge related to information about your project:
  • Knowledge your audience has
  • Knowledge you think your audience has
  • Knowledge no one has
The first thing to notice here is that your knowledge doesn't matter. What matters is what your audience knows and what you can tell them that they don't already know. Knowledge your audience has (and presumably that you also have) is great. Knowledge neither you nor your audience has is straightforward - you can go get it. The danger area is knowledge your audience doesn't have but that you think your audience has.

This is where that ugly "miscommunication" business word rears its head.

Remember that date you changed and thought you told everyone? That's knowledge you think your audience has. Make sure. Mention it again.

Remember that third-party component you need that isn't quite released yet but you're going to have to take the risk to get the functionality? That's knowledge you think your audience has. Make sure. Outline both the situation and the resulting risk and mitigation.

No one's saying your audience has to know where you went for your last team lunch, or who wrote up what bug. But there are things that you need to make very sure are communicated, and then communicated again. That's the knowledge you can't afford to think your audience has. You need to know your audience knows.

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