Jul 012012
 

Knowledge Management in the Military Knowledge Management (KM) in the United States (US) Military has been implemented using a top down approach that is resonated through each branch, command, directorate, division, group, battalion, etc.

The US Military has established a culture of KM that leverages its personnel, processes, and systems to facilitate a consistent flow of knowledge and the mechanisms to execute and make decisions from this knowledge.

The current Military KM strategy

It is widely acknowledged that knowledge management (KM) strategy is a desired precursor to developing specific KM initiatives. KM Strategies are established from the top down in every branch of the US Military. As this strategy is propagated and aligned through the organization, it is often a difficult process due a variety of influences and constraints. These KM influences and constraints include understanding, conflicts with IT organizations, funding, technology usage and configuration, and outsourcing.

Each branch of the US Military works to overcome barriers to KM adoption. To this effort an establishment of processes and tools, which involves providing approaches and solutions for knowledge sharing has influenced a change in people’s habits. This change will drive values to move US Military organization culture father to overall KM adoption. In support of the US Military in its knowledge sharing efforts, Communities of Practice (CoP) have become an integral method of sharing and distributing knowledge across all branches of the military. In addition enterprise web search capabilities have been implemented to increase “findability” of key content, which is leverage for decision making at all levels of command.

Continuing KM Challenge of BRAC

The Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) specifically represents the challenge of capturing knowledge both tacit and explicit before it leaves a command from personnel shifts and loss due to a BRAC move. The US Military has already experienced this knowledge loss and unless steps are taken at least a year in advance of a BRAC move, this loss will continue.

The loss of knowledge has the potential to compromise mission activities and the soldier in theater. Leveraging the US Military’s ability to share knowledge through its established process and tools will help lessen the adverse impact of this knowledge loss. However, without process and tools to capture, catalog, and reuse knowledge, the US Military will be challenged to keep the various commands fully operational and effective long term for the solider in theater.

I am interested to hear from our men and women across the military, this includes active, inactive, reservists, as well as civilian personnel who have worked or are currently working with KM. I would like you to share your thoughts about how you are utilizing KM and/or if you feel KM is/will be a benefit for you!

Feb 172012
 

KM in Research InstituitonsIn a previous post I wrote about KM for Collaboration and Innovation, and in this post I pointed out that research areas are critical to new product creation and the speed to market for new products are essential to stay ahead of your competitors. KM plays a central role not only from the perspective of innovation by knowing what has been done and/or what is being done in other areas of research that can be utilized, but also from the collaboration and knowledge sharing among researchers contributing to the speed of new products to market.

At its core the nature of research is to nurture open access to extensive amounts of tacit knowledge (knowledge within the minds of people) and explicit knowledge (knowledge that is written down) by applying a model that reflects the natural of flow of knowledge. The model of Connect – Collect —Reuse and Learn depicts a knowledge flow model that supports KM within research institutions and R&D functions within organizations. For KM to work within a research environment (as with other environments) a culture and structure that supports, rewards and proves the value KM can bring will encourage the continued use and adoption of the KM practice.

In addition, the choice of IT tools (which is of secondary importance) should be brought in to the organization to automate the knowledge flow and its associated process. The KM tool(s) must support KM goals/strategies, provide a means to connect, collect, catalog, access, and reuse tacit and explicit knowledge. In addition the KM tool(s) must capture new learning to share across the organization, and provide search and retrieval mechanisms to bring pertinent knowledge to the user.

For those who are working in or interacting with research institutions and/or R&D departments I want to hear from you. I look forward to hearing your perspective on what KM is bringing to your world of research!
Oct 022011
 

knowledge management expertsRecently I had a conversation with one of my colleagues regarding his organization’s loss of critical expertise.

As people started to move in and out of the company, valuable knowledge gaps appeared. In a statement of exasperation he asked, “Where have my experts gone?”

To address these gaps, the organization began hiring short term (6 months or less) expertise to perform specific duties. When these resources moved on the organization was back to square one. This lead him to ask, “How can we address this long term?”,  “Where can we find experts to fill these positions long term?”, and… “How would you address this issue?”

Well I guess this is the million dollar question.

The first task I told him I would do is to prioritize the areas that have experienced knowledge loss and, based on that, perform a knowledge audit of the area that has been identified as the highest priority. In addition, further knowledge audits should be scheduled for the remaining areas as his organization became more comfortable with executing knowledge audits. I did inform him that the knowledge audit will tell him what specific knowledge gaps exist, who the current knowledge holders are, and what percentage of knowledge is tacit, explicit, or both.

Understanding if the knowledge gap is tacit, and the specifics of this tacit knowledge would help you determine the type of expertise you need to hire and for how long. In understanding if the knowledge is explicit, your key knowledge holders may have access to this knowledge somewhere in the organization (knowledge repository/portal, network folders, on the shelf, etc.), you may also have the ability to purchase this knowledge or perform research to document this knowledge. I also believe engaging the key knowledge holders when it comes to identifying the “right” personnel to bring in to fill key positions will start to address his concerns around where to find the experts he needs.

I know this is just a start to address his problem. I would like to know what others believe he should do, and why. In this current economy it’s only a matter of time before all of our organizations start to face this same problem!

Jun 142011
 

UML for Developing Knowledge Management SystemsWithin knowledge management (KM), the ability to harvest or capture the knowledge of workers has been a challenge for many years (see blog post: Capturing Tacit Knowledge).

The capturing, cataloging, and reuse of explicit knowledge of workers has been accomplished effectively through the use of content management systems. However, capturing, cataloging, and reuse of tacit knowledge remains an elusive, and often controversial subject within KM.

To address the issue of capturing, cataloging, and reuse of tacit knowledge I have developed a methodology which I believe effectively addresses this issue. This methodology is the Knowledge Acquisition Unified Framework (KAUF). The original basis for this framework is detailed in my publication from CRC Press UML for Developing Knowledge Management Systems. This framework has been utilized for the military at the Surface Deployment Distribution Command (SDDC) and also leveraged at a major retail company with some measurable success.

The framework’s flexibility allows for many project management and software tools to drive and implement applications based on the guidance of the framework. The framework consists of seven (7) major steps:

  1. Define domain knowledge
  2. Decompose the domain knowledge
  3. Determine interdependency
  4. Recognize knowledge patterns
  5. Determine judgments in knowledge
  6. Perform conflict resolution
  7. Capture an catalogue the knowledge

These steps provide a repeatable process for identifying, understanding, and cataloguing the tacit knowledge of the organization during the knowledge elicitation process.

In the post to follow over the next couple of weeks I will detail more about the KAUF and welcome your questions and comments. In the meantime I can be reached via twitter at Tony Rhem.

May 012010
 

To continue the dialog about capturing tacit knowledge and managing human capital, Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) represents a significant challenge for the United States military to continue operations without compromising mission activities and the soldier in theater. Due to a BRAC move many Commands will be transferring to other locations, while some bases will be closing. Many military personnel will not transition as these bases close and commands move to the new locations. This will undoubtedly cause a loss of personnel resulting in a loss of tacit and explicit knowledge. Leveraging knowledge management (KM) to address this challenge is essential to keep the various commands  fully operational and effective for the solider in theater. The following table represents some contributing factors of a BRAC and it’s effect on the Command:

This challenge has to be addressed and I welcome your comments on this important subject.