The People in the Middle #KM leadership

Congratulations! You just purchased a new social tool for your organization.

software-analysisIt only cost your company a few bucks to get licenses and there are very little infrastructure costs associated.  In only a few short months, your teams will break down silos faster than you could ever have imagined.

  1. Software
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Maintenance including Service Level Agreement
  4. Corporate Communications and Marketing

Ready… Set… Go…!    Click here pacman for result 

A social platform without community management is like a party without a host.   No one has any idea what the heck is going on and / or what to do.  They show up, see that everyone is confused and leave.

Many organizational leaders simply don’t know what they are buying and what it takes to make this successful.   When they are told what it will really take, they don’t want to spend the money they come to consider as “additional.”   The only reason why they consider it as an extra cost is due to poor understanding of the social space and poor planning for implementation, support, and on-going day to day operations.

They believe  “Not only will you get better collaboration, we will throw in cost savings, 100% ROI and you ..yes you … will no longer need email”!  As soon as a “TOOL” is purchased for the company it will be … “SOCIAL.”

Wait..what?…Where is the focus on the people???

-making sense-people

Story from the Trenches 

This story / discussion comes from a colleague Wendy Woodson @iaqtworld 

I was recently involved in a conversation related to this. I was sharing an image created to help the conversation. Nothing complicated.

One of the first comments I received was “you need to remove the people from the center of the image, it isn’t important and it makes it busy.” This is not the first time I have heard/seen this. All too often the people are left out of the equation.

I responded with that is the problem today. People are considered insignificant and left out until it’s too late. Leaders sit around wondering what happened, why aren’t they using/doing what we want?

I went on to explain it is important that the people are not only included but are the center or focus of it all. People are essential to it all. Remove them and there is nothing. No one to use the tools or to follow the process. Without them, who will manage the content who will use the systems? People are the nuclei and everything, we as knowledge managers do, is to provide benefit to them and the community they create. – WW

-making sense-

People in the Middle

This is very simple. Social media tools that are used for personal purposes are very different than tools used for a social intranet or social business.  Beyond this social internal and social external for business use is also very different.   The common thread is context and purpose.   If people are in the middle and they are the center based the platforms are used more.  Platform use does not by itself equal value.   This is very important to understand.   A page hit doesn’t mean anything.   Every aspect of the human interaction has a specific context and it will change over time.  That is why the community management aspect is so important.

Community

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Community management is a key critical function for a healthy social network.  Being connected can mean the difference between a new sale and a missed opportunity.  It can be a channel for innovation, information, observation, awareness and it can also be detrimental.    Placing social systems out in the wild without expertise is akin to running with scissors.

Summary

Whether you are building a social channel for your sales force,  a place for your whole company to meet at the water cooler, or simply enabling your work force to have additional channels for communication and collaboration, people need to be the central focus.   One thing is for certain as it stands today,  tools without people will not build, produce, sell, create, innovate, enable or protect your company.   The case for a social platform must include active community management, facilitation, leadership and communication.

 

 

 

 

Working Out Loud: Speaking to Leadership (Part 2 of 5)

anchoredSpeaking with Leadership and Working Out Loud

Part 2 “Speak Up”

  1. Show up whenever possible (Part 1)
  2. Ask to speak with senior leaders; chances are they will see you. 
  3. Advocate for yourself and others. (Part 3)
  4. Speak to the heart and mind. (Part 4)
  5. Have faith and courage. (Part 5)

“Senior leadership isn’t interested in what I have to say.”
“They (leaders) don’t care what we think.”
“We are just the hired help here.”
“I don’t have time and I am not really motivated”
“I have tried before and it didn’t work.”

I hear phrases like this often. I have heard people say what they can’t do and what leaders aren’t willing to do for most of my career. What I have found is that people make assumptions about leaders based on their personal perspective. The reality may be very far from a personal truth. In fact, there are many reasons why leaders want to hear from their staff. It is important to take into consideration that everyone is different and that organizational cultures are different. We have to be mindful of the approach in every organization but in my experience there are good people who are willing to spend time learning from their peers and staff.

**Note: When you are Working Out Loud, there should be a clear purpose articulated. It helps filter noise to signal as people try to gain clarity on your message.

Working Out Loud and Senior Leadership

A few years ago, my team was working on a project that would help grow business for our company. We were beyond excited and ready to get started. We had a client, a plan and support from our immediate leadership. Our team worked in a very specific business area; we were specialized to an extent. Our client / customer base was part of a specific practice in our company. When we discovered and developed this new opportunity, we thought that our company would jump all over it. We also thought that they had a process that we could follow or learn. We were wrong.

There wasn’t a process or practice we could follow and what followed was a series of rejection and overall negativity that could have stopped us in our tracks but that didn’t happen. Here is what we did.

  1. Read, Study, Learn, Write: Our team started working the 42nd hour in other words; we spent a lot of time working after hours. I don’t think we went Elon Musk but we met up, read books on the subject of interest, and we met with other industry experts and worked hard to write multiple aspects of a business case. On Sunday mornings I would blog about some of the things I learned but I would keep my writing generic to an extent. Our team figured that anything we were learning along the way could benefit others as well as ourselves. Writing also helped sharpen our understanding of the work and presented an opportunity for experts to help us.
  2. Shaping the Story: Who you are and what you do are important. Your company hired you for reasons beyond your knowledge, skills and abilities. You found a way to fit in and you are part of an organizational ecosystem. What does that mean? What is the story of you? We started by rewriting our resumes and we created multiple versions. We also wrote short biographies and created some high level presentations around our thinking.
  3. Learning Leadership: The corporate intranet is treasure trove of information. Every large organization I have worked with has a lot of information about their leadership in org charts but they also may have articles and biographies. The first thing I do is research both internal and external inter and intranet resources to learn about senior leaders. It is also general practice for me to know the people I work for directly. **note: Sometimes even leadership needs leadership.
  4. Schedule Interviews: Starting with my direct supervisor, we scheduled 10 minute phone calls or quick meet ups to discuss our ideas. In our case our supervisor was pretty excited about what we were doing. It was the next level up where we started to run into challenges but we scheduled meetings there too. When they didn’t want to meet, we scheduled meetings with their peers and folks above them. On one occasion, we scheduled a meeting with the most senior partner of our firm. When our peers and leaders told us that it would be impossible to reach him, we reached out to his Executive Admin and asked for help. We had an in person meeting scheduled almost immediately.
  5. Leverage the Network: We used our internal social network to build community connections. Our organization had over 22,000 people including a multinational presence. We used our understanding of community management and social networking to discuss our ideas. We asked for help in our communities and we were active contributors. We used the concept of “batching” work.

Nothing is Easy

Our team turned an opportunity into a great deal of money.  It wasn’t easy; it took hard work and a lot of writing. We also had a lot of rejection. Many folks in middle management rejected us even when we offered our work as part of a partnership. For every few that rejected us, we found friends and champions.

The most compelling aspect of this story is when we traveled to visit the senior partner. In hand we had a few slides talking to our thinking. We had sent some read ahead material that he didn’t have a chance to look at. We had a few discussions with his EA to learn about the best way to communicate with him. We sat down in his office and he asked, “How can I help you?” We were ready to answer that question. He listened intently, gave us direction and proceeded to help us. He also mentioned in our discussion that he had wished others would reach out to him. Most often, it is lonely place at the top with a lot of information prepared and filtered. We didn’t have a problem sharing our perspective and he used that perspective to help shape some of his strategic initiatives.

Part 3.. Advocate for yourself and others..

What is that story of you?

What can you do to advocate for yourself and others?

Why is it important to advocate for others at times over yourself?

What are tools that you can use?

How can this be applied to your business or organization?

Shout, Show and Share to Work Out Loud

Working Out Loud – Simply Works..

I can easily see how everyday my life is better for practicing behaviors that are aligned and consistent with WOL.   When I first met John Stepper http://johnstepper.com/ he said “I don’t care about selling books, I care about helping people.”  If he were to have any disappointment it would potentially be that he could not reach further and help more people.   It left a very clear impression on me.   John conveyed his ideas beyond his words alone and spoke from his heart.    I believe that we should do our part to help people as well.

As a child my step father would go to the Salvation Army depot and pick up an emergency services disaster relief truck to serve firefighters on 3 alarm or greater fires.   It could be 3 in the afternoon or 3 in the morning, he would go and serve the firefighters and police through the disaster.   He had a full-time job to do as well.   The whole family would go sometimes and serve cookies and milk or ice tea to the blackened faces and tired eyes of the NYC service members.   Andre (my step father) would say that we need to “show up” and he enjoyed just being there to help.

I thought about John Stepper and Andre both in consideration of the work I had before me in knowledge management.    It is empowering to serve and act to help others and I wanted to find ways to introduce these concepts in all aspects of my life.    I read a lot about leadership and I try to account and understand my failures along with my success.   I know I can do better and I work to stay resilient.

I am happy to share what I have seen actually work.  I also want to put this in context of this quote “The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost.” – M. Scott Peck

I believe that John may never see the millions of people that he helps or the butterfly effect of his insights and wisdom but if we know that we help one person, this may be all that is needed to create a positive impact and the desired outcome.

Here are some basics that work.

Corporate Communications..  **Shout Out**

1) Use the 5 Whys.. to explain what problem you are looking to help solve by Working Out Loud.

2) Use stories to tell people the value of Working Out Loud without having specific problems to solve.

3) Ask your communications team to help share and convey your message.

Create an Event or a Series and **Show Up**

1) The more you show up the better off everyone is.   Your stories will get better and you will become more relaxed and comfortable.  Beyond that, showing up is showing that you care.

2)Go to your people.  People may not have time to come to an event or see you, but you can find your way to them.  Making the effort is critically important.

 

Share

Every one of us has a story to share and experiences that can help others.    Share your ideas, your thoughts and your experiences and be open to listening and reading the thoughts of others.  It helps in many ways both for business and personal reasons but the practice of sharing and infectious and are good for your overall health and well being.   At the same time, have no expectations of getting feedback.   If you put something out there today it may find its way to usefulness many moons from now but have faith that it matters.

 

 

 

 

Emotional Business in Employee Engagement

qua·le ˈkwälē/  noun a quality or property as perceived or experienced by a person.Link

We are physically blind in each of our eyes, we have a blind spot.

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There’s a way to find your blind spot. Cover your left eye and look at the dot on the left in this image. Be aware of the cross on the right, but don’t look at it – just keep your eye on the dot. Move your face closer to the monitor, and farther away. At some point, you should see the cross disappear. Stay at that point and close your right eye. Stare at the cross, and you should see that the dot has disappeared

Our world is what we perceive it to be but not what it is.

We can demonstrate over and again that things aren’t always what they seem.  We can identify sense gaps and find ways to augment them but it is difficult to identify the emotional gaps and find ways to engage.  If it is dark, I can use a light.  If it is hard to hear, I can use an amplifier.   If I can’t smell something, I can add a smell to it (for detection) like garlic added to acetylene.  When asked in an employee engagement survey a question or a statement it may read.. “On a scale of 1-10, my employer values how I feel.”  No matter what number leadership reads there will be a challenge on how to deal with the results.  Are they a reflection of some common reality or common blindness?  If it is dark for everyone and I turn on a light, everyone can see, but if I take an action to deal with emotions.. results will vary.

How does this translate to business?

In a very literal sense, we are enamored with technology because we can see, feel, hear, touch, smell a change.  We can all share in this idea that together we went from someplace to somewhere using something.

This is one of the reasons why today we have more challenges in human interaction and success in employee engagement.  It impacts everything in business.

Emotional continuity in business is part of business continuity and operational agility. Leaders try to address it with tools.  

…  Company X has a problem transferring knowledge from older workers to incoming 20 somethings.   Company X reduced benefits to cut costs, decreased pay to cut costs, cut jobs, gave all of their senior staff a pay increase, and started to make strategic investments and acquisitions.

Company X created a new internal business capability for communications called “JAM” and they asked all of their employees to use it.   The organization spent $3m dollars on the product in licensing and services, hired the best consultants in the world to advise them on the technology and built a marketing campaign around the capability that included a “Jamboree”

It was new and innovative, built on the best technology that anyone could offer, had the best analytic engine in the business to get all sorts of communication, relationship and sentiment analysis.  It could handle all sorts of communications traffic and it could even make predictions.

Brain Drain

Company X started to look at JAM to see how it was being used and what the adoption rate looked like.   As they got closer to the screen the cross disappeared <— look up at the top if you forgot about the cross.  They are looking at the world with one eye shut.

Due to the new healthcare laws, the cost of working actually went up for the older folks. (Read this for more).  “The costs are going up, the benefits are going down and now you are asking me to train young folks that came into the world with the book knowledge of a billion lives at the tip of their fingers.”    It’s like a reverse shark tank.. they are out.

They didn’t join JAM and they won’t, in fact, they plan on leaving but they are just in the process of questioning themselves on when.

Emotional Business

If you want to reach a person, they must have some trust in what you say.  It isn’t simply that you are a person they like or that you have a great scope of influence, you have to speak with both actions and words.  People will give you a chance to back your words with action but if you fail to do what you say you are going to do, they will leave you.  They will leave you first in emotion and you will be blind to that and they will leave you physically and that you will be aware of because of your focus on the circle.

Leaders wonder why that we have “Crew Change” problems in every industry and every market but there should be very little to wonder.  They are looking to solve the wrong problems with great precision with both good and not- so good intentions.   When you believe your organization would sell your organs to make a buck on you in order for them to spend that same dollar on a bottle of the best rot gut they can find, you will lose your emotional inclination to be loyal to them.

Solutions

When someone in your family is hurt, you engage them. You talk with them and not at them.  You find ways to communicate with them.  If your son is hurt, buying him a watch won’t change his pain.   It is the same thing in an organization.  There are choices made by multiple parties.   People choose to work for the organization and the organization chooses to have these people work for them.   You have to take the blinder off and look through both eyes and at the same time, use all of your emotional understanding as well.  At the end of the day, communities are families of people who are working together for common goals.  If leadership in a community separates itself from the community and creates an (us and them) situation, the community will respond in kind.   If you want to build the best organization to work for, you have to start with building trust.   Trust is not a slippery business word or consultant speak, it is a real thing that is not something we can touch but certainly something we can feel.

Being a Premier KM Organization (Preparing for a Marathon)

Being a premier KM organization doesn’t mean that you are THE premier KM organization.   What this means is that we must consider bench-marking ourselves vs. ourselves.

I have a friend who just ran an ultramarathon. If you don’t know what an ultramarathon is, it is basically a very long run with common distances of 50 miles to 100 miles and beyond.   When I heard he was running 50 miles I thought to myself that he is absolutely amazing.  How did he condition himself to be able to perform like this?  It is almost super human!

Thinking back a little, my friend and teammate has run the full marathon around 26 miles and of course my wife who has run the half marathon around 13 miles or so.

One evening I got up and proclaimed that I would get up every morning and start running.  The next morning, I got up early and I ran almost a mile.  I was exhausted and I really did wonder how come I couldn’t just get up and run.

It is said … The modern use of the word “Marathon” dates back to Philippides the dispatch-runner. Bringing the news of Marathon, he found the archons seated, in suspense regarding the issue of the battle. ‘Joy, we win!’ he said, and died upon his message, breathing his last in the word Joy … – Lucian Pro lapsu inter salutandum (translated by F.G. and H.W. Fowler, 1905)[4]

Being able to run the distance in KM…

You aren’t going to wake up at 6:00 am and run 50 miles.   No one can do that for you and from an organizational perspective if you try to run 50 miles on Day One you may find yourself in the same position as Philippides.

What you can do is get up at 6:00 am with the expectation of running 1 mile today and 1.2 miles tomorrow.  When I learned that I was tired on the first day after almost a mile, I had my baseline that I knew that I could perform as a minimum and I had an idea of where I wanted to be.

It doesn’t matter that my friend could run 50 miles or that my wife could run circles around me at 13 because I know and understand that no matter what I do today it will be at least a few tomorrows before I can catch up.

Organizations today want KM at the 100 mile mark.  They have a desire to be the best!

Getting to the 5th mile

When I asked my wife Erin about her running the race, she told me that she doesn’t run for or against anyone but herself.   She runs to better herself and not to be better than others.   When I look at high performing collaboration teams and organizations that perform outstanding knowledge management, it is very clear that they are performing well because they know themselves well.  They are also performing well because they want to better themselves rather than beating someone else.  They have a sense of teaming and culture that is pervasive, inclusive, and builds on trust.   In a lot of cases, KM works well when people run in packs (We can talk about that another time.).

The Technology

After running a certain amount of time and miles, some folks start to really commit to this running thing.  This commitment means that they could benefit from technology in some way.   Maybe get a new pair of shoes from the running store or some new headphones that don’t fall out when you run.   The key is that technology helps make you better but does not replace the hard work that you are doing.  It is used to augment not replace.   If we take this into consideration in KM, some organizations see clarity in a technological approach.   That is kind of like saying I want to make it 100 miles as opposed to run 100 miles.   There is a difference.

If you want to run 100 miles, you practice every day.  You get up and get dressed with intent and vision.  You know that you won’t run 100 miles today but you know that you will run 100 miles soon.  You will get the technology you need to support your run at the level of capability you are running today.

If you want to make it 100 miles, you buy a car.   It will get you there much faster and your performance will appear extraordinary.  The only problem is that as a body or organization, you are still only truly capable of running a mile.

The Journey

If you understand that becoming a premier top tier knowledge management organization is more about the run every day, it will help you set reasonable and realistic organizational goals that are very achievable.  You will also benchmark, measure, audit and qualify but all of these will be done to simply test where you are relative to where you want to be in accordance with your vision, goals and objectives.

Good Luck and don’t forget to hydrate..

Cluster Transfer Rapid KT Through Maps

Remembering 1 Thing over Many (Communication | Memory | Context)

“Never force anything, you’ll break it.” – Dad Cohen
  • What do we need to know and why? Memory
  • The right information at the right time. Value
  • Clusters in Context. (Maps and Links) Relationships 

MEMORY

STRATEGIES FOR REMEMBERING (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/200911/how-remember-things)

  1. Become interested in what you’re learning. We’re all better remembering what interests us. Few people, for example, have a difficult time remembering the names of people they find attractive. If you’re not intrinsically interested in what you’re learning or trying to remember, you must find a way to become so. I have to admit I wasn’t so good at this in medical school. The Krebs cycle (I provided the link only to prove how immensely boring it is) just didn’t excite me or relate to anything I found even remotely exciting (though I made myself learn it anyway).
  2. Find a way to leverage your visual memory. You’ll be astounded by how much more this will enable you to remember. For example, imagine you’re at a party and are introduced to five people in quick succession. How can you quickly memorize their names? Pick out a single defining visual characteristic of each person and connect it to a visual representation of their name, preferably through an action of some kind. For example, you can remember Mike who has large ears by creating a mental picture of a microphone (a “mike”) clearing those big ears of wax (gross, I know—sorry—but all the more effective because of it). It requires mental effort to do this, but if you practice you’ll be surprised how quickly you can come up with creative ways to create these images. Here’s another example: how often do you forget where you left your keys, your sunglasses, or your wallet? The next time you put something down somewhere, pause a moment to notice where you’ve placed it, and then in your mind blow it up. If you visualize the explosion in enough detail, you won’t forget where you put it. Remember: memory is predominantly visual (unfortunately, I can’t think of a good image to help you remember this fact right at this moment).
  3. Create a mental memory tree. If you’re trying to memorize a large number of facts, find a way to relate them in your mind visually with a memory tree. Construct big branches first, then leaves. Branches and leaves should carry labels that are personally meaningful to you in some way, and the organization of the facts (“leaves”) should be logical. It’s been well recognized since the 1950’s we remember “bits” of information better if we chunk them. For example, it’s easier to remember 467890 as “467” and “890” than as six individual digits.
  4. Associate what you’re trying to learn with what you already know. It seems the more mental connections we have to a piece of information, the more successful we’ll be in remembering it. This is why using mnemonics actually improves recall.
  5. Write out items to be memorized over and over and over. Among other things, this is how I learned the names of bacteria, what infections they cause, and what antibiotics treat them. Writing out facts in lists improves recall if you make yourself learn the lists actively instead of passively. In other words, don’t just copy the list of facts you’re trying to learn but actively recall each item you wish to learn and then write it down again and again and again. In doing this, you are, in effect, teaching yourself what you’re trying to learn (and as all teachers know, the best way to ensure you know something is to have to teach it). This method has the added benefit of immediately showing you exactly which facts haven’t made it into your long-term memory so you can focus more attention on learning them rather than wasting time reinforcing facts you already know.
  6. When reading for retention, summarize each paragraph in the margin. This requires you to think about what you’re reading, recycle it, and teach it to yourself again. Even take the concepts you’re learning and reason forward with them; apply them to imagined novel situations, which creates more neural connections to reinforce the memory.
  7. Do most of your studying in the afternoon. Though you may identify yourself as a “morning person” or “evening person” at least one study suggests your ability to memorize isn’t influenced as much by what time of day you perceive yourself to be most alert but by the time of day you actually study—afternoon appearing to be the best.
  8. Get adequate sleep to consolidate and retain memories. Not just at night after you’ve studied but the day before you study as well. Far better to do this than stay up cramming all night for an exam.

Mental Tree MindMaps and Remember Once.. And Knowledge Journey

There are differences in transferring long-term and short-term knowledge.   Today people are more likely to know less because of technology.   This means that the requirements to retain information and manage it have changed over time. What a knowledge receiver needs to know is the location of the information and the context of that information as applied once they discover or reference it.  Once they identify what they are looking for they also need the ability to understand and codify the information for it to be useful.

Method of Loci

 The method of loci is a method of memorizing information by placing each item to be remembered at a point along an imaginary journey. The information can then be recalled in a specific order by retracing the same route through the imaginary journey. Loci is the plural for of the Latin word,locus, meaning place or location. The method of loci is also called the Journey Method by Dominic O’Brien, and the imaginary journeys are often referred to as Memory Palaces or Memory Journeys. See also Mind Palace, the term used in the TV show, Sherlock. (http://mnemotechnics.org/wiki/Method_of_Loci)

Rapid KT..  A Mind Map is a ROAD MAP of associations..

The map is a visual representation of the interlinkages of nodes (objects or concepts) and their relationships.   To transfer knowledge rapidly (the secret sauce) is for a—> mentor or SME (Subject Matter Expert) to take the knowledge receiver on a trip through the map.

Example:

It all started..(element of time and location) (HERE at this place) and this turned into the (X), where X = an outcome and (X) is related to (A,B,C) —> It is objects and concepts in story on a map that can account for time and events.   As a result of an event on (this date or timeframe) the object or concept of (x) turned to (X1).  All of this contained in an explicit map.

 

The key is that you don’t have to remember to “Bake” or “Bake In Oven” individually,  you need to remember the map as a whole.   (Even though this map is simple)  The person that is transferring knowledge creates the map or walks the map with the person receiving knowledge.   The story comes with the map.. the story is that TACIT information …  “When I first started here and I was learning how to bake a cake, I didn’t know to pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees for 30 minutes.”  The knowledge receiver can adopt the concept / mind / knowledge map and put their own notes or stories.  It is their investment, it is personal to them.    There are things the receiver may already know and not need.   The image or map is the cluster of relative and relevant knowledge.  In the process of KT, it can be tied to one event.  There are elements of Personal knowledge, Team knowledge and Enterprise knowledge here.    The lower the fidelity of information the higher the knowledge resides.  The map shown above can be linked to in an enterprise repository to team or personal maps.   During the process of knowledge transfer all of the maps and information associated is identified as one clustered object.   The knowledge receiver learns about the process, methods, tools and any links to people who may have existed in the past and exist today.

When I was a young man working on a car with my father, he said “Righty tighty, lefty loosy” and in the same instance “Never force anything, you’ll break it.”   He only told me one time and I have remembered and applied this my whole life.  These two concepts were shared in one event, the relationship of the information is tied to my father, a Dodge Scamp Silver, any given Sunday and working on cars at the top of an open air garage in Coop City.     That is how we remember things..   When looking to transfer knowledge, we have to address the environment, condition, time, sentiment and ability to cluster information and create relationships with the data for purposeful recall.

How do I create a “clustered package” for KT?

Please be clear that I am not inventing something new.   This is a simple outline for steps you would take on a high level.

  1. Identify who, what when, where and why.
  2. How- This will be the process and the methods.
  3. What is important to know today? How much of this information is still relevant?  Can I throw some of this away or do it better?
  4. What is the business case for this information and what historical measures have been used?
  5. What are the stories that are tied to the information?
  6. What can we automate (where it makes sense)?
  7. What changes should be made moving forward?
  8. What is the risk? (From the SME’s perspective)
  9. What is value? (From the SME’s perspective)
  10. How is any of this tied to assessment criteria? (if not, why not?)

These are some of the steps and questions that we may ask.  We must understand (WHY) and we must seek to keep all of the information and content tied through the understanding of relationships.   My good friend and mentor Ron Batdorf will say that this is all tied to Enterprise Architecture.   It is an explicit expression of a moment in time relative to what is important (NOW).  Effectively a best effort to get the right information at the right time.

 

bakemap1

Advanced Map of Context

Alzheimer’s Map <—PDF larger viewAlzheimers_Map-440x264

 

What do you think?

Memory Forum –>http://mnemotechnics.org/

 

 

Project Black Box – 1 -2 -3

Team to the Center..

It isn’t exactly what it seems..  About 10 years ago, my team implemented one of the first fully virtualized computing environments on a defense oriented platform.   It was a pretty complex system with a 4 tier architecture.  The software that we were sharing for end user productivity was called TeamCenter Requirements.

When our team realized what it was going to take to make this system work as an enterprise level capability that was available worldwide to users as far as Korea, we knew that our plan to get us the capability we needed were going to take imagination.

We needed a robust operating capability that had a good responsive speed of service, available to DoD architects, planners, and engineering oriented teams.    We needed to meet DoD security requirements and function on DoD infrastructure.   We were constrained by budget and we had an aggressive agile like schedule.  At the time, the concept of Agile development was not even something we heard of.

Fast Forward

AND.. We did it!  Our team pulled it off! … But what happened next is why this story is important.

Now that it works.. Take it all apart..

We had to transition the whole enterprise solution to a cloud based platform and as we moved all of our software and licenses, we quickly found out that the IaaS platform that we were moving our software to was not going to be enough to hold up the building.

We had to transfer equipment and licenses and…

After months of work it was done but the level of effort was so great that the team supporting the cloud platform was fed up and frustrated and they left.  Yes, they quit!  Our team had to essentially take over the work which mean’t they all had to shift to other companies and  it was a mess.

After a while.. they got frustrated and they left.. and what they left was explicit documentation (limited in scope and instruction).  The systems and support services were lacking and there wasn’t enough man power to support their capabilities no less the system that we brought in.

 Last man standing..

I went from a team of over 12 people down to just myself.  During the transition process I was pulled into a different project and I was no longer managing the system work.    I watched as the team left for other projects, one by one.  Now leadership came to me at the end when they had no one else and said “what do we do?”   When they initially asked me to work on the other project it was for a good business purpose and I understood, although I loved my team and I felt close to them.    Now they had shed everyone for one reason or another, they still needed the capability and they needed help.

Unfortunately, this project was under budget constraints that did not allow for new hires.. and they needed to maintain a capability for as long as possible without bringing in new people.   That is 12 down to 1 in support.  We did have a few people left on the cloud side of the house supporting virtual technologies but no one that understood TeamCenter except for me.

 

Black Box –> End of Life

  1. Created a virtual set of appliances using the existing software.
  2. Created documents to support the effort.
  3. Defined some operating guidelines.
  4. Set expectations on performance.
  5. Came up with a transition plan.

Eventually,  the capability was replaced.  The work was able to continue and all of the staff involved had a successful transition.

 

Lessons Learned

  1. People are not as replaceable as advertised.
  2. Knowledge Management must occur over the long term and the life of a project.
  3. When shifting project ownership, the incoming PM should maintain and grow KM.
  4. Trust is key and when it is broken, your staff will leave you.
  5. There are methods to convert and maintain a “Black Box” solution but they are all stop gap measures.  (Triage over a long term resolve)

If you have questions on specifics, please reach out!