KnowledgeConf: It is time to share knowledge / Oleg Bunin (Ontiko) Conference company blog

Published on February 05, 2019

KnowledgeConf: Настало время делиться знаниями

    KnowledgeConf is a new conference in the Ontico family, we want to gather on one platform those who are constantly or occasionally engaged in fixing, structuring, organizing storage and updating knowledge in technology companies. We will talk about how to reduce the risks of losing unique knowledge, how to reuse solutions, how to improve the bus factor, and how quickly to board new employees.



    For IT companies, knowledge and intellectual resources are flesh and blood.The business of most of them is based on unique approaches, processes, often implicit and unrecorded. Keeping knowledge in the heads of developers, on white boards in negotiations, in kitchen conversations can work well, no doubt, but with the growth of the company, with the departure of people who have worked in it for a decade, with the scaling of teams, the risks from implicit knowledge and not aligned their processes storage are becoming more noticeable.

    KnowledgeConf 2019, a professional conference on knowledge management in IT companies, will be held on April 26, 2019 at the InfoSpace in the center of Moscow.

    What is the general knowledge , what kind of abstraction, you ask. Yes, this is not really about algorithms, architectural patterns or commands in a version control system.

    In each company, even universal approaches and algorithms are embedded in processes in a new way, in each team technical knowledge is layered on the processes - internal limitations of the system core, when for one reason or another the constructions are not used, not compiled, etc., the use of hybrid versions and applications, bizarre processes of planning, release, testing, in the end - the style guides, the naming of variables and entities. This also includes knowledge of the tools: even the same settings differ, the scope and specificity of the application, knowledge of contact points and relationships in teams and much more.

    Even well-known processes and methodologies, such as writing autotests, scrum, agile planning, detailing tasks, working with a version control system - are different in each company due to the processes that have developed over the years and the specifics of the business.

    Next comes a large layer of implicit knowledge in the heads of experienced developers, knowledge of decisions made once , crutches buried in the system, legacy code that is familiar to those who have been working for a long time (no one touches it), but at some point when you leave or leave an employee, he shoots. But it turns out that “it was always necessary to do this here, and it worked normally.”

    There is still knowledge about the mistakes made and the lessons learned . Well, actually knowledge about the business of the companywhich most often refer to unique ones. Especially if your company is working in a new field, industry, market segment.

    And what is the profit? How to justify the business owners that it is necessary, because somehow it works and everything is fine.


    This can be done through potential loss and risk management. I came across a report from Panopto - Workplace Knowledge and Productivity Report 2018 .

    These are the results of a survey of more than 1,000 US employers who talked about the problems they are experiencing with the transfer of knowledge and their loss.

    42% of the interviewed employees admitted that they possess unique, not fixed knowledge anywhere. At the same time, 81% agreed that they are upset that the company has unique knowledge that they do not share with them, this affects their work and the assessment of the transparency of their decisions and current processes.

    In companies with low turnover, 23% of employees admit that it is difficult or almost impossible for them to access the information they need to do their job better. In companies with high turnover, this percentage soars up to 38.



    As a result, the average time a novice spends looking for answers to questions per week is 12.7 hours, which is 50 hours in the first month of work.



    The report's authors even calculated the potential savings from more efficient knowledge sharing based on data about simple or inefficient work: for a company with 17.7 thousand employees and an average salary of $ 47 per hour, it will be $ 42.5 million per year, for companies with 1000 employees - 2.4 million US dollars per year. A more efficient onboarding newcomers will allow a company with 17.7 thousand employees to save $ 4.5 million annually.

    Cool, but why the whole conference?


    The experience of other conferences has shown that sometimes on TeamLead Conf, then on Highload ++ there are reports and whole groups of reports about storing, indexing, supporting knowledge artifacts in IT teams and entire companies. In this field, only a few companies have a single and well-built knowledge management system, and a knowledge-management specialist is a very rare bird .

    It is much easier to imagine a situation where each team of development, support, testing, infrastructure digs its piece and comes up with its own practices. Even within the framework of one company, you can meet like that (once we had a whole report on TeamleadConf with our colleague so- we didn’t even know that we are doing almost the same thing in different departments), but to think about sharing practices between companies. Oh no, there is no such thing.

    But someone does it even well. We would like to bring these practical cases outside, and share with each other experiences, practices, rakes, go beyond our “cozy little girls” and do something cool and useful.

    IT is a fairly young market, compared to, for example, the real sector of the economy, mining, producing, financial companies. There, knowledge management systems began to build up from the early 2000s, when no one knew the word millennial, people called each other by phone (!) And made appointments. But they also have their own specifics, in particular, many initiatives on knowledge management and on the formation of best practices come from above, and not from below, have unconditional support and funding from top management. We will invite representatives of these companies to the conference, because we have something to learn from them.

    Who is interested in this at all?


    We gathered a program committee and analyzed what types of companies and why the topic of knowledge management might be interesting. Write if you find your case in it, and share other ideas in the comments.

    Type of business Why do they need knowledge management? As a rule, they want ...
    Integrator company - Fixing agreements with the client and reducing risks
    - Team scalability
    TK
    Food Company, PaaS - Re-use of solutions developed
    - Reducing the risk of dismissing and onboarding a new employee
    - Scalability of projects (if knowledge is well preserved and quickly transferred, it is easy to recruit new employees)
    Functional requirements and detailed descriptions of business problems

    Look on this topic: From the other side of the mirror glass: a look at the documentation from a business point of view Maxim Stroyev
    Custom development, devshop - Reducing risks in customer relations
    - Reducing the cost of immersion in a new subject area
    Detailed Task Description
    Service company - Reducing the time of immersion of a new employee
    - Reducing the cost of immersion in a new subject area for an employee or the specifics of the client
    Instructions "How to do it"
    Instrument engineering company - Fixing the reasons for the selected technical solutions, leading to the acceleration of projects for modernization
    - Reducing the risks from the loss of "unique engineers"
    - Accelerating the introduction of products into production and simplifying the move to new production sites
    Fixation of system architecture, description of protocols, album of technical solutions, maps of production lots


    Conference team


    Now it's time to introduce our team to you, those who are responsible for the content of the conference, for its quality, for the formation of the program.


    Rodion Nagornov, Head of Training and Certification Group, Kaspersky Lab.

    Random fact: Sang twice in the "Olympic".



    Igor Tsupko, Head of R & D, Fant.

    Random fact: the first lines of the code were written in 4 years. It was a drawing of a cat on QBasic.



    Svetlana Novikova, Knowledge Management Specialist in the IPONWEB development team.

    Random fact: I tried more than 140 varieties of cider and keep an Instagram account with reviews about them. According to the first education political scientist. She almost defended her thesis on political science.



    Konstantin Medvedev, Head of Product Support at Tion.

    Random fact: I work from 6 am, I go to Moskvich 412 and I am normal.



    Nikolai Volynkin, Technical Writer in Plesk.

    Random fact: From the end of the 15th year I work as a moderator in the Russian branch of StackOverflow.



    Maxim Tsepkov, Architect and Business Analyst, CUSTIS.

    Random fact: At the institute, he wrote a multi-user editor for Fortran files on the BESM-6 and elementary functions for the Soviet version of the Cray supercomputer. I love to ride horses, I try to do it twice a week.



    Dmitry Simonov, Founder dsimonov.consulting.

    Random fact: Worked in all the companies of the "Big Three": Yandex, Rambler, Mail.ru.



    Maxim Babich, Founder of Cloveri .

    Random fact: Sometimes in my free time I herd the sheep with the Corgi dogs.


    Blitz interview with members of the Conference Program Committee


    Tell us in a few words about what you do besides the conference, at work, in social activities.

    Svetlana Novikova, IPONWEB ( nerazzgadannaya ) : I have been setting up automation processes for uploading and publishing documents (in a broad sense, this includes descriptions of processes, the internal structure of the system, video courses for beginners, control tests) in the UI development team. I am working on the onboarding system for newbies in the team along with the team leader, making sure that the team does not have implicit knowledge, to make it convenient for the guys to share them, and to update the artifacts into the overall development and release processes. I also sometimes organize meetings, discussions around this topic and lead a channel on knowledge management in IT .

    Maxim Babich, FTS (WebByte ) I help IT-specialists and IT-teams to develop more consciously with the help of competency models. I am building information systems at the Federal Tax Service to increase the quality and speed of obtaining public services.

    Rodion Nagornov, Kaspersky Lab ( KnowledgeManager ) : In fact, knowledge management is my job. I have been doing this at Kaspersky Lab for 5 years now and do not plan to stop. In addition, my responsibilities include managing our community and overseeing customer support in social networks.

    I am an engineer by CAD (Baumanka), a developer on C #, VB #, fortunately, who chose another field of activity after university :) I haven’t been actively noticed in public life, I spend my free time doing family work and travel.

    Konstantin Medvedev, Tion: I manage the product support department of the R & D company Tion. I manage the documentation, knowledge base on products. We train support, sales, marketing, solve problems with products, collect ideas, advise colleagues on technical issues. And I create and move forward the Novosibirsk Instrument making community. We discuss the development, support, production and knowledge management.

    Nikolai Volynkin, Plesk ( nick_volynkin ) : I work as a technical writer at Plesk. I write documentation for developers and I develop tools for documentation on Python. I lead the channel in Telegramabout documentation in general, the “documentation as code” approach and a little about knowledge management. Since the end of the year 15, I have been working as a moderator in the Russian branch of StackOverflow. Now there are five moderators on the site, the community chooses them, the work is voluntary and unpaid. But it is very interesting: knowledge flows are visible in the developer community, problems are visible in them, and these problems can be influenced.

    I also, together with my colleagues, organized several meetings of the international community Write the Docs: in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Novosibirsk. I think that mitaps are very important. They help people meet and share ideas. It is also a forge of speakers at large conferences, such as the KnowledgeConf.

    Igor Tsupko, Fant ( may-cat ): I am on fireIT "seriously" for more than 10 years. I started as a developer, now I help the company to scale up the company Flant, including, in practice, I solve rebuses on knowledge management.

    Sergey Zaika: Lamoda ( fewald ): I am a senior order management system developer at Lamoda. I am engaged in the development, design, and also onboarding, on-call duty and incident investigation. Sometimes I have time to speak.

    Dmitry Simonov, dsimonov.consulting ( dsimonov ): I lead the tech channel in which I collect notes, “rakes” and funny cases from my own work, systematizing knowledge of the work of technical directors.

    Maxim Tsepkov, CUSTIS:For over 30 years I have been involved in custom development for corporations and banks as a developer, architect and business analyst at CUSTIS. I believe that automation makes life better and opens up new opportunities. In parallel, in recent years I have been working as an independent consultant for agile, turquoise organizations, spiral dynamics and other practices of new management in IT and beyond.

    What does knowledge management mean to you and why is this important?

    Nikolai Volynkin: It all starts with a simple idea: knowledge is an asset of a company that brings profit to it. Knowledge management increases profits and reduces the risks of missed deadlines, the bus factor, erroneous decisions and valuable ideas that have not reached implementation.

    Rodion Nagornov:I can name 3 main profits: insurance against the loss of knowledge and experience during the care of specialists; accelerating the training of new employees; the ability to create entirely new products, approaches and solutions based on existing knowledge. Of course, there are a lot more buns, but these three always stand out in particular.

    Maxim Babich: Knowledge management and knowledge-based management is the way to accelerate the solution of business problems and reduce the risk of losing key professionals.

    Konstantin Medvedev: For me, knowledge management is a mixture of people, processes and approaches aimed at generating, disseminating and maintaining the relevance of knowledge about the company's products and the intricacies of the technologies used in them. It is important, because without this, any upgrade = development from scratch, and any dismissal of an engineer = development from scratch.

    Maxim Tsepkov: I came across knowledge management in 2010 at the KM Russia conference, I was surprised to find that this is a completely separate established discipline, the practices of which are interesting to apply in IT. I was particularly struck by the thesis that oral tradition is a completely legitimate way of working with knowledge, and the correlation of oral tradition and documented knowledge must be managed.

    Igor Tsupko: This is a childhood trauma, I guess. Very early on, I ran into unsupported, incomprehensible code, contrary to reality and common sense “modifications”, the inability of people to express their thoughts.

    And if your company grows - the problems of communication and a small bus factor start to distract you from really important things, to spray concentration and will.

    Dmitry Simonov:I believe that the management of knowledge for technical specialists is a key point that allows for the professional growth of all my colleagues, who still emphasize their opinion on daily work practice.

    Sergey Zaika: For me, in the context of a corporation, knowledge management is primarily an exchange of expertise. Corporations are large and the necessary expert can work in another country, long resign or sit at the next table. When knowledge management is established, each expert reserves the “trace” of artifacts, from which, ideally, one can understand what is required, even without resorting to it directly.

    Why did you decide to join the Program Committee?

    Svetlana Novikova:I want to make a conference with deep and high-quality reports. One that I wanted to be on all the reports, walk, chat, stick on the stands. The best way to achieve this is to participate in the organization. In addition, it is a lot of new cool dating, exchange of experience.

    Rodion Nagornov: In recent years, he spoke a lot himself, attended conferences as a listener, but did not see what was inside, behind the organizer badge. When I received an offer to participate in the PC, I agreed immediately. Moreover, it was assumed that the main target audience is people associated with the development. Since I myself am collecting knowledge from developers, and we often do not immediately understand each other, it has become extremely interesting to look at my work from the other side, to understand how developers see us, knowledge management staff. Well, perhaps, to be able to convey to them, for our part, that we are doing useful work, including for themselves (giving KM to the masses!), And not just distracting you from your work with stupid questions. I must say that the expectations have already been justified.

    Konstantin Medvedev:I want to talk with Oleg Bunin about the conference for the instrument;).

    Igor Zupko: I want to make a deep conference, without a marketing bullshit and speakers, who were accepted into the program "for beautiful eyes."

    Nikolai Volynkin: This is too interesting and useful to stay away. And all the people will hear the reports only on April 26 (and those who will not come to the conference later), and I already had time to listen to a few and even applied something in my work.

    Maxim Tsepkov:I accepted the invitation to enter the KnowledgeConf. Knowledge management in IT projects is a relevant and often problematic topic. And I hope that the conference will bring together reports on knowledge management practices in different projects - I hear them at different conferences, there are many interesting things, and here they will gather all together.

    Sergey Zaika: It is interesting to get acquainted with the “cuisine” of conferences from the other side.

    What reports would you like to see on KnowledgeConf?

    Svetlana Novikova:First of all, I would like to see cases, the use of specific approaches and tools in different teams - development (documentation as code), testing (storage of test cases and checklists), infrastructure (lessons learned, information about incidents, architectural registers), support (development of technical support knowledge base), product teams.

    Rodion Nagornov: Personally, I would like to see a report about the fact that knowledge management is not necessary, it is in vain and in general only resources to spend :) Again, to understand the arguments of colleagues who now think so, and perhaps be able to change something in their views.

    Konstantin Medvedev:Instrumentation, but there are none. Reports that are applauded, not because it is accepted. Reports that I will remember and tell upon arrival in Novosibirsk. Reports, after which you want to repeat the positive experience and do not want to try to repeat the negative.

    Nikolai Volynkin: I want to talk about how knowledge management helps companies grow, strive for excellence and become leaders. On the culture of experiment and knowledge sharing.

    Igor Tsupko: Telling about knowledge management technologies. How your decisions made through it led to changes, rethinking and business growth.

    Dmitry Simonov:On KnowledgeConf I expect reports on a range of all knowledge management activities. It seems to me that for the very first knowledge management conference it will be a victory for just such a complete list.

    Sergey Zaika: Practical. I think that knowledge management is an infinitely imperfect area, you can always “do better”. ” Everyone faces it (when changing a project and hiring an employee) and somehow decide everything. I would like to discuss this “somehow”.

    What are your personal report selection criteria?

    Svetlana Novikova: What we want: relevant, lively, deep and interesting reports. When we want it: always!

    Rodion Nagornov: I love storytelling, not reports for top management. I am sure that any report may be interesting, if it contains a clear idea that the speaker wants to convey to the audience, it is still good, if the speaker has good speaking skills and speaks in accessible language, the presentation is not a transcript of the report (the speaker does not read from the slides), but The report solves the real problems that people face in real companies.

    Igor Tsupko: First, the report should reach our audience. If the topic of the report is too narrow - we, together with the speaker, are looking for ways to expand it.

    Secondly, the report should not be banal. For example, it’s already too late to present the idea of ​​storing documentation in git in 2019 as a know-how, you have to go much deeper. Of course, the speakers are not always aware of trends: if a person works hard and hard, he has no time to follow fashion. Therefore, working with speakers is individual, and we are looking for ways to help everyone with this difficult problem.

    Nikolai Volynkin: Most of all I appreciate the reports that change the worldview. When then another month I think about the report, and then I set myself new goals for the next few years. For example, a little over a year ago I listened to the report of Maxim Stroev from Zodiac Interactive. Maxim talked about knowledge management and its importance for business. And here I am so imbued that now I am doing a conference about knowledge management.

    Maksim Babich: A good report describes “what to do,” “how to do” and “who does.”
    If all three sides are revealed - great. If one or two - it is worth thinking more.

    Maxim Tsepkov: It is important for me that the reports, first, create a separate focus for the participants in thinking - knowledge management. And, secondly, they gave practical methods that you can try not the next day after the conference.

    Who is the audience of the conference, to whom it will be useful?

    Svetlana Novikova: If you look at the composition of the Program Committee, you will understand that we expect to see an equally diverse audience.

    Nikolai Volynkin:To managers from business leaders to business owners who want to build a continuous improvement process in the company, as grandpa Eliah Goldratt bequeathed.

    Igor Zupko: To employees of IT companies who understand the need to record and transfer knowledge. Who do not want to sit like a dog in the hay on sacred knowledge, but understand the cumulative effect of the ability to speak, hear and record knowledge. This is not necessarily top managers, knowledge sharing begins with a junior developer who comments on his code correctly. Employees of non-IT companies that have long been familiar with the topic of knowledge management and lack a "breath of fresh air." Such a sip can be ideas and solutions from IT companies, young, arrogant and skillful.

    Dmitry Simonov:The conference audience, of course, is very wide - from small companies to large ones, because until now a systematic approach to knowledge management, despite the abundance of professions of product managers, project managers, analysts, is implemented only in a very narrow set of companies.

    Maxim Tsepkov: It will be interesting for analysts, architects, project managers, developers - in general, a wide audience, because the problems of losing knowledge about the current structure of projects, the rapid inclusion of a new team member are relevant for everyone.

    Rodion Nagornov:I think that the conference will be of interest to the team leaders, the leaders of the development teams and the service stations, in terms of whether it is worth doing QM at all, how to start, who can help. Also, of course, it should be of interest to representatives of HR, Learning & Development, and knowledge managers to see how knowledge carriers understand the knowledge we are trying to engage in the knowledge sharing process. Well, and the third party - the producers of knowledge management software - who knows, it is at this conference that they will hear the “very” killer feature that their software lacked to take off in the market, or find the client of their dreams.

    Sergey Zaika:I expect two strata: tech-companies and scientists knowledge-engineering. First realized the problem and are interested in effective solutions, tools, and even, perhaps, ready to invest in development. The second ones know “what” and “how” and will be happy with implementations and collaboration.

    Give advice to future attendees of the conference.

    Rodion Nagorn: I recommend simply to be open to any ideas, try to immediately transfer the experience of the speaker to your personal case, in order to understand how you can adapt what you heard in your company. Well, do not sit in the device during the reports - skip all the most interesting things :)

    Svetlana Novikova: Communicate, use this time to establish connections, communicate with experts, share contacts. Let's create a community!

    Konstantin Medvedev:Ask the speakers questions, praise the good reports and criticize the not very good reports, try what you hear at the conference, and come to talk about what you have tried, to the conference in 2020.

    Maxim Tsepkov: Keep both focus: try to build a holistic picture of knowledge management and at the same time look in the reports for practices relevant to your project, ideally - here and now.

    Offer your topics for the KnowledgeConf before March 1, and meet on April 26th . And come discuss ideas and questions in a Telegram chat with the Program Committee.