To check your project for knowledge management problems, try answering the following three questions:
- Do you know what your project team needs to know?
- Do you know what they already know?
- Do you (and they) know where their knowledge is stored?
If you have troubles doing so, your project might require knowledge transfer. Here’s how a dedicated Information Developer can help you.
October 31 was the last day of knowledge transfer on the project I’m assigned to. During those tough, demanding, but also inspiring 3 months, our team of Information Developers managed to process 161 incoming documents and turn 63 hours of knowledge transfer sessions from 8 knowledge holders into a knowledge base. Now, the project has entered the support phase with its continuous improvements and new challenges. But it’s also the time to see the results of our efforts and the value knowledge transfer brought to our customer.
Knowledge transfer, or KT, is the process of passing information, skills, and processes from one group to another via knowledge transfer sessions. Information Developers are the core of KT as they serve as mediums between knowledge holders and the new users of this information. Information Developers analyze the available data, attend countless meetings, ask tricky questions, structure, restructure, and tirelessly document in order not to lose the valuable knowledge shared by the stakeholders.
Despite the fact that knowledge transfer is mainly aimed at the recipient team, KT brings tremendous value to the customer as well. Below, there are five examples of the difference knowledge transfer can make.
- Captured knowledge – protected customer.
Vendors change, employees come and go, and with each team turnover, the customers are losing important knowledge. Knowledge transfer solves this problem. When information is captured and structured in the form of a knowledge base, it belongs to the customer.
- Prevented risk of critical information loss.
Knowledge transfer helps to identify the main knowledge holders and, more importantly, preserve the critical information they possess. This way, customers are safe from losing the most vital knowledge that keeps their business afloat. There are three types of knowledge:
- Explicit or know-what that is present in all sorts of documents like data sheets, white papers, research reports, and so on.
- Embedded or how-to found in rules, processes, and codes of conduct.
- Tacit, experience-based, or know-how (for example, workarounds) which is the most challenging type to capture, but at the same time the most valuable.
Knowledge transfer can ensure that none of this information is lost.
- Identified information gaps.
During KT, Information Developers try to take a fresh look at the situation and often come across unexpected things like outdated documents, missing data, information gaps, you name it. Since forewarned is forearmed, the more problems you manage to identify in the process, the better result you will deliver in the long run.
- Documented history of (un)successful solutions.
For long-term projects, it’s typical that some ideas repeat throughout time. When unsuccessful solutions are documented, the team doesn’t spend their time and efforts on them and concentrate on finding a better way out.
- Boosted efficiency – reduced expenses.
From my experience, efficiency is the crucial criterion of customer satisfaction. Our project dealt with passing the knowledge between user support teams. In terms of efficiency, a knowledgeable team means reduced user support expenses. Other benefits that boost team efficiency include:
- Shared and ready-for-use information, so the team no longer needs to ask for colleagues’ help.
- Quicker and less painful newcomer on-boarding that doesn’t require time-consuming one-to-one knowledge transfer from more experienced team members.
In his book ‘The Way to Wealth’, Benjamin Franklin mentioned the following:
‘An investment in knowledge pays the best interest’.
As a customer, make your project stand out by investing your time and effort in good documentation, I’m sure your team will appreciate it. Gain new knowledge, put it to practice, and leave the rest to Information Developers. 😉