Knowledge Management, why and how we did it

    Those companies that do not realize that knowledge is a means of production more important than land, labor or capital will gradually die and will never understand what killed them. Larry Prusak
    Stupidity is a gift from God, but they should not be abused. From von Bismarck


    For a couple of years, in their daily practice, our company's technical support engineers have successfully used the KM knowledge management technology . At the same time, some colleagues still confuse knowledge management with training, completely unaware of the difference between these technologies. I conceived this text as a certain minimum of information for an interested reader, allowing superficially to understand the essence of KM and at the same time as an argument in favor of KM for a skeptical reader.

    If you really think about it, you come to the conclusion that the writing of this text is an ignoble task ungrateful. There are several reasons and all of them are proven by time and experience:

    • The first is that there is no need to tell the audience about your successes, because if successes are obvious to everyone, then the reader will argue with you and not “listen”, if not obvious, then skip past the ears as spam.
    • The second is bad feng shui to encourage the reader to change something in “his kingdom”, good feng shui - when the reader “matures”, then looks for a solution to his insight.
    • Thirdly, the subject of my story “seems” to the reader familiar to the reader from time to time, and like many of the knowledge from that period, a waste of time (if not more) in practice.
    • There are other reasons ...

    It turns out my goal is complicated, but the benefits are not obvious ... In the depths of my soul, I confess, it’s also the fact that I want to boast of sharing with my wide audience my, as I see it, successes. On habre, in my opinion, the audience is suitable, especially since no “significant KM crowd” has yet developed ...

    So, I decided to best submit the material in two parts.

    The first part is as simple as possible to understand, but at the same time logically related information on KM.

    The second part is a material in the format of a discussion between me today and me from 2014, when, of course, I heard about knowledge management, but for reason number 3 I did not betray this value. I admit there is something “schizophrenic” in this format, however, talking to myself somehow makes it easier for me to “sell” arguments in favor of my ideas.

    Structurally, the material is organized as follows:

    • In the first two short chapters, the answers to the questions “about what” and “to whom”;
    • "Theoretical base" is contained in the third chapter;
    • In the fourth chapter, “Practical Implementation,” very briefly, the experience of implementing KM in our organization;
    • A discussion with a skeptic in the penultimate chapter;
    • Finally, a brief comparison of the level of knowledge before and after the implementation of KM.

    What is this text about

    This text is about the methodology for improving the quality and efficiency of the team called "Knowledge Management".

    Seeing the lack of specialized tools for knowledge management, I suppose this method is not sufficiently applied in the world and almost never used in Russia.

    To this text

    In my humble opinion, this text must be read by the managers of the team manager ranging from 7 ± 2 employees.
    In addition to managers, the information presented may be curious to people professionally related technical support or HR.


    Knowledge is information “assimilated” (realized) by a person or experience acquired by a person. Without a person - there is no knowledge. Indeed, communication and cronyism are a prerequisite for an employee to take a certain position within an organization, since they must be applied in the process of performing official duties.

    In order to briefly talk about the management of general knowledge in an organization, let us first ask ourselves what is an organization?

    An organization is a group of people united and coordinated to achieve a common goal or, in other words, an organization’s mission. Each of the people united in the organization is an expert in a particular subject area. For effective communication within an organization aimed at fulfilling a mission, specialists need general knowledge.

    General knowledge is knowledge obtained on the basis of information that is equally interpreted and equally used by all employees. Accordingly, the minimum acceptable (or minimum acceptable) level of knowledge of an employee of the organization is such a level of general knowledge, due to which an employee can effectively perform his or her duties by interacting with colleagues and information systems of the organization.

    It is the need for a person (specialist) to use knowledge related to the “knowledge package” defined as the minimum acceptable level of knowledge that determines in the first place whether a person should be involved in the organization as an employee or it is acceptable to use the outsourcing of the relevant specialist.

    If you share my opinion on the importance of general knowledge, then the question of how to “guarantee” the presence of the minimum level of general knowledge in the heads of the staff is likely to come, or will soon come to your mind.

    General knowledge can be obtained in two ways:

    • traditional education (school, university and TP);
    • KM (knowledge management).

    I will not spend your time on the story about traditional education, especially traditional training does not guarantee the preservation of rarely used knowledge in my head, further about KM.

    The basis of knowledge management is the idea of ​​regular use (training) of knowledge by employees of the organization. Regular use of knowledge is achieved through the use of situational modeling technology. The technology of situational modeling contains scenarios (usecase) of knowledge application. Each use case, in turn, models the “practical” situation in which the employee is faced with the need to apply knowledge to resolve the situation described in the scenario.
    The scenario consists of two parts:

    1. The training part (knowledge) - that is, the structured information necessary for the employee;
    2. Контрольная (вовлекающая, записывающая в память) часть — то есть способ поместить вышеуказанную информацию в память сотрудника.

    Both parts of the usecase script are related in meaning and theme. The ideal link when the training part contains a hint to the answer of the question from the control part, but to clarify it you need to use an additional source of information.

    In the course of the daily workout of knowledge the employee decides several usecase. The result of the decision of each usecase is saved. The statistics of the results ultimately shows the level of knowledge of the EKi employee . EKi is a good KPi as an employee in particular, and the organization as a whole.

    It is worth adding that the daily amount of use case being solved is, on the one hand, determined by the minimum acceptable level of knowledge, on the other hand, it should not exceed the employee’s “rejection of KM” threshold. The repeatability of usecase in the KM process is determined by the Ebbingauz curve (forgetting curve).

    Practical implementation

    I would be happy to make a mistake, but there are no ready-made solutions that fully meet my requirements for implementing KM. My implementation today is several "third-party" systems integrated with each other:

    • Request Tracker (RT) - engine: knowledge base, usecase templates, storage of KM results;
    • Google Calendar - training schedule: employees, usecase staff;
    • Google Spreadsheets - base usecase: topics, questions, answers;

    Mechanics of interaction of systems

    RT is used as a system defining the logic of interaction between systems. The initiator of interaction is always RT, receiving the data requested via the Google API:

    • Google Calendar gives a list of employees and the amount of usecase for today for each of them.
    • Google Spreadsheets gives you the information you need to form usecase.
      In addition, RT, using “scratches”, templates and notifications, first creates and transfers usecase to each employee, and then checks the answers of employees.

    Algorithm training knowledge

    Daily, the following procedures are performed:

    • form a list of employees involved in the training of knowledge;
    • we define themes to usecase for each employee;
    • create usecase for each employee in an amount equal to the number of topics;
    • we transfer to usecase to the employee (email, RT web-interface ...);
    • the employee during the working day must answer questions from usecase;
    • We check the answers and save the result of checking each use case.


    I am skeptical about my own literary abilities, and since I’ve read most of the various FAQs in my life (but this isn’t accurate), it’s this format that I chose for the skeptical reader. I'm sure another style would convince my reader even less.

    Question number 1

    Question: Why do I need to manage knowledge, because knowledge is what is already in my head ... For example, my driving experience is more than twenty years, I have been driving without accidents for many years, why manage knowledge of driving?

    Answer: The human memory is so arranged that it is cleared of unnecessary knowledge. You drive a lot - this is everyday training, and regular training is one of the knowledge management techniques.

    Question number 2

    Question: OK, even so, it turns out you hung the label “knowledge management” on the fact that I did without your label for many years. Thanks you. Now tell me, what is the practical use of your label?

    Answer: The question is important, I will explain in detail. You say that you have been driving successfully for many years. Think about whether you really know how to manage it, whether there is no substitution of concepts? Answer yourself the question - is it just as good if you will drive a car for the first time while driving? and if the road is "hellish" slippery? and if you go along the narrow serpentine? and if the rules of the road are different from the usual to you? Isn't it more correct to say, you are doing an excellent job with “your car”, in a familiar environment ... It turns out that you are doing an excellent job with what you train every day, but what about the skills that are required a couple of times a year? and once every few years? It would not be more correct to say this: I can control the machine, but when I need it, I will acquire additional specific skills as needed.

    And now, answering your question - labels hangs the mind without anyone's participation, it is so arranged. A label is an element of the classification of the world around the mind. The mind can interpret the environment from previous experience, as if concentrating on the main thing and discarding the insignificant. There is a benefit from the classification - without it, we did not distinguish the right from the left, but we should not forget about the nuances, the right and left in the mirror change places for example.

    Question number 3

    Question: “What is x $ # I for this, difficult, difficult, b # $ b ... why is it so difficult ... in general, # $ is not clear”?

    Answer: Hmm ... In short, if not set, I explain on the fingers. You only know what you regularly train or repeat, and about everything else - you have already forgotten it.

    Question number 4

    Question: Well, let's say ... how can we get practical benefit from this?

    Answer: Very simple. If you need to maintain certain knowledge among subordinates - there is no other way than regular training.

    Question number 5

    Question: Some kind of nonsense, it is impossible to keep everything in the head, and you don’t need it, because you can read the necessary document if necessary.

    Answer: Of course, it is impossible, so you need to train only the really necessary knowledge.

    Question number 6

    Question: OK, how to determine what knowledge is needed?

    Answer: Actually, the question is too “broadly” posed, but I will try to explain clearly. Knowledge is information placed in the head, and information is classified data. So the knowledge should be the information that should "bounce off the teeth" as in the well-known saying. If you give an analogy from the realities of technical support, the knowledge should be the information that the engineer should remember, and not crawl every time in the documentation.

    Question number 7

    Question: Repeating regularly the same thing is stupid. In a month from this knowledge will be sick.

    Answer: You are right, this is a serious problem. Therefore, you need to prepare a large amount of usecase to minimize the likelihood of "gag reflex" from repeating the same. In addition, the Ebingaus technique allows you to repeat the usecase, following a complex algorithm that eliminates the "emetic urges."

    Question number 8

    Question: It is clear, understandable - Ebbingus thought up the technology of preserving knowledge in the head. Will we study reference books?

    Answer: Learning reference books is at the very least an inefficient use of memory. I repeat, it is necessary to determine what information should become knowledge, and only this knowledge should be trained ... other information should be googled as necessary.


    To improve the readability of the text, I excluded a lot of theory and practice. The consequence of this was the lack of complete coverage of some of the topics, as well as some abstracts are not fully disclosed. In particular, an important thesis on the effectiveness of knowledge management technology did not acquire scalarity / “measurability”. Measuring the level of knowledge of employees - there is an index EKi. EKI is the KPI technical support of our company. In my opinion, the table below fully discloses the thesis on the effectiveness of knowledge management technology.
    December 20160.35
    December 20180.92
    PS Already before the publication from colleagues came a feedback “It is not clear with this EKi. Is 0.35 good or bad? and 0.92 is it worse or better three times? ”... I agree, if it goes to that - about EKi my next text.

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