Why Knowledge Management (KM) ?
- Don’t re-invent neither the wheel nor the bearing
- As a consequence:
- more time and room for creativity & innovation
- less costs
The objectives of KM man in an organization are to promote knowledge creation, knowledge growth, knowledge communication and knowledge preservation in the organization (Steels, 1993). It entails managing knowledge resources in order to facilitate access and reuse of knowledge (O’Leary, 1998)
How to efficiently introduce KM ?
- KM starts by Managing the Change
- Focus on the people, their habits, their way of working
- Accompanying the tool introduction with training
- Spread best practices
- don’t focus on the tool but maximize the way people use the tool (your tool can be great but if no one use it…)
- A good KM strategy requires
- support from the hierarchy
- money and time
- resource (a knowledge manager)
- continuous evaluation of the tools and the practices
- Make the difference between DMS (document management system) & Information Portal
- Don’t neglect social media
- Extend the DE/PV system used in one site to all test labs. Possible Improvements: additional tags, link to the file, notifications send to the people when a new file is added in their area of interest.
- Create a spider (or wikimedia or quickR) for persistent information written in an encyclopedically way or How-Tos, processes. Permalink to files may be included in the pages.
- Store persistent knowledge (Test reports, former projects) in a plain text searchable system (DMS). The system should allow tagging. This will replace the Windows folder architecture and the duplication of files.
- Use the shared Windows folder growing knowledge (current project). Even better use a file sharing platform that allows versioning (to track changes) and/or sametime editing of files. Prefer emailing the file link than the file itself.
- plain text search means that the search engine can search inside document (not only in the filename!)
- Tags allow to create dynamical virtual folder called bins without duplicating files.
Some details on the criteria :
- Simplicity of retrieving knowledge : Getting access to the information, to the files
- Simplicity of adding knowledge : Adding files to the knowledge
- Search function: Searching for a specific subject
- Tagging function: Allow the use of meta data to organize projects based on tags
- Versionning (history): Keep track of all previous versions
- Security (confidentiality): Are the data safe ?
- Right controls: Manage Admin User, block users, create group of user
- Ease of getting support: Community support, paid consultant support
- Compatibility: In case of change of system, is it easy to switch ?
- Mobility and multi-site: Access to the information from anywhere
- Installation: Easy to install ?
- Group solution: Does it fit into Company Group policies ?
- Interactions (notifications,…): Neswletters, email notification when new knowledge arrives.
- Price (and price of support): Price of acquisition, annual fee, price of support
A point of view on the excel sheet subject
Convert xls to matlab :
- Matlab can do more things
- Matlab can protect the software against editing
- Matlab is a lot more complicated for doing simple things
- Matlab is more expensive
- Excel let the people make the software evolve
If you want to empower the people, let them use and customize their excel sheets. They might have great ideas. But collect these improvements and needs to validate them and distribute to all.
If you want to go into a large software that can do a lot of things in a controlled way hire a matlab consultant. If you do not add all function into the matlab soft, the people will continue to use excel sheets…
Alternative : distribute an official version of the sheet where everyone should verify its data produced by its own sheet.
The task of the knowledge manager
- Collect permanently the needs and habits of workers
- Identify unreachable knowledge (brain located knowledge or C:\ located knowledge or printed knowledge) and make them accessible
- Facilitate the adoption of new tools and best practices
- Keep the knowledge bank always up-to-date
- Benchmark new solutions
- Manage access and rights
- Measure and report the ROI of the Knowledge Management strategy