Avancier’s approach to knowledge management

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Something of my experience as a knowledge manager.

And some conclusions on knowledge management technology and resources.


My experience as knowledge manager

I spent 8 years in a systems integrator as company methodologist / knowledge manager / best practice manager.

We had 5 knowledge communities (system architects, system analysts, system designers and developers, system testers and project managers).

An aim was to gather and share professionally useful knowledge.

This was used to inform the content of the quality/business management system.


Community discussion operated in a Q&A fashion OK.

But communities did not organise themselves or their knowledge.

The majority of contribution were not very useful; some plain wrong.

For every 1 good contributor, there were 20 lurkers and 20 disinterested.

Some ignorant people liked the sound of their own voice.

Unfortunately, some knowledgeable people didn't.


I appointed a few good people to monitor and steer community discussions.

Distilling useful nuggets from discussion required serious dedication to the task.

The shared documents and ontology had to be controlled from the center.


Moreover, the community didn't voluntarily get to grips with the knowledge themselves.

There had to be strong, expert leadership from the centre.

Ultimately, some kind of formal education was needed to share knowledge.

And I never really managed to monitor how knowledge was being used.


The quality management team were little help.

After I left, efforts were made to re-write documents to meet the apparent requirements of ISO9001 and CMMI.

The useful content of the documents became obscured by self-referential bumf.

Years later, I found people were secretly storing and sharing some of the older version documents!


Technology resources I used then, and now

Email was fine. Web pages were fine.

Various knowledge management technologies were more hindrance than help.


Now, the Avancier web site is nothing but plain old HTML pages and PDF slide shows.

Somebody recently told me the web site is “way beyond any other EA/system engineering/human factors/systems theory resource.”


Knowledge resources

The primary knowledge sources for the Avancier web site, probably in this order, are:

·         Training course delegates

·         Private contact list

·         Topic-related internet discussion groups

·         Research across the whole internet

All are used to improve the avancier.co.uk web site.


Human resources

Human expertise, thought and effort are the thing

It is bloody hard work. Resources have to be dedicated to it.

Organising and maintaining substantial knowledge resources is a 16 by 7 task.


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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works Licence 2.0             02/05/2014 14:48

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