Now that you’ve got your knowledge base up and running, here are some best practices for when to document information and where it should go.
A lot of teams have asked us “when do I use Tettra vs. Slack vs. Google Docs vs. email?
To help you decide what form of communication is best for any type of information, we’ve created the following decision matrix.
Ephemeral vs. Evergreen
Most information can be categorized as ephemeral or evergreen. A great way to decide what type of information you’re dealing with is to ask yourself “Is this information likely to change over time”?
An example of evergreen (permanent) information would be your company’s mission statement, operating principles, or the process for submitting an expense.
An example of ephemeral content would be something like monthly priorities, meeting notes, or an update to a project plan.
Synchronous vs. Asynchronous
Asynchronous communication is any type of communication that doesn’t happen in real time and that allows the recipient(s) of information to respond on their own time (e.g. email, knowledge bases, wikis)
Synchronous communication is any type of communication that expects an instantaneous or near-real-time response (e.g. in-person conversations, phone calls, video calls, and messaging apps like Slack)
The question you should ask when determining whether information is synchronous or asynchronous is “is this information someone needs right now that is only relevant to this discussion/decision?”
If the information needs to be shared in real-time, you can safely do so synchronously on Slack or in real life. If it’s likely to be a resource people need to come back to or isn’t immediately applicable to a discussion/decision, asynchronous is probably a better option.
So what should go where?
All evergreen and asynchronous information should automatically be added to Tettra. This is a safe rule of thumb to keep in mind when you’re deciding where information should go.
If information is evergreen and synchronous, a safe bet is to keep it in Tettra too. This allows you to work on the page with other members of your team, but also allows the rest of your team to access that information at a later date.
If information is ephemeral and asynchronous, consider sending an email instead. Using email lets your team stay focused on deep work mode, but still gives you the ability to share important information that everyone should read. A good idea though might be to put all updates in Tettra anyways though. If a new teammate starts the day after an important email goes out, they won’t have access to it in their inbox. If it’s in Tettra, they’ll be able to read all historical updates and get a sense of what has happened.
If information is ephemeral and synchronous, you may to use chat software like Slack, or have an in person meeting. Synchronous communication should be a last resort for knowledge workers because it’s distracting and stops people from doing real work.