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.

Apr 032010

capturing tacit knowledgeOver the last week there have been messages going back and forth between the members of the Federal Knowledge Management Working Group  about the ability and validity of being able to capture tacit knowledge and transitioning it to explicit knowledge.

The conversation was initiated by Neil Olonoff, Lead Federal Knowledge Management Initiative, Federal KM Working Group. There were many views and opinions voiced on this subject. Some points stand out such as, it is difficult and considered unrealistic to think that you can fully transfer tacit knowledge in its entirety into explicit knowledge, instituting a mentor/protege (apprenticeship) program to transfer tacit knowledge is an optimal way to transition tacit knowledge to explicit knowledge, and are there methods (tools) that can really convert tacit knowledge into explicit knowledge effectively and efficiently.

It has been my experience that you can capture specific kinds of tacit knowledge (declarative, procedural, rules based) very effectively, and translate it into explicit knowledge and make it available across the enterprise. This knowledge becomes among other things “tips and techniques”, “standard operating procedures”, and “lessons learned”. There are also methods to codify tacit knowledge and that knowledge can be utilized in an expert (knowledge-based) system see UML for Developing Knowledge Management Systems.

Tacit knowledge has been translated into explicit knowledge throughout history, from the ancient Egyptian carvings through storytelling, through the semantic web. Phil Murray, Chief Architect from The Semantic Advantage has an interesting article in KM World: Putting Meaning to Work, that talks about the connectedness we share through semantic networks.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Sharing our knowledge both tacit and explicit is the cornerstone to the success of any knowledge management program!