Re: Peer Assists? #peer-assist

Mark Tilbury

Not really on the subject but at this time of year would just like to point out that the bible mentions that knowledge comes through fear. I wonder, in today's corporate life we can translate that to mean where we have weak leadership knowledge will not flourish!

--- On Fri, 26/3/10, Allan Crawford wrote:

From: Allan Crawford
Subject: RE: [sikmleaders] Re: Peer Assists?
To: sikmleaders@...
Cc: "'Allan Crawford'"
Date: Friday, 26 March, 2010, 17:24

I've been involved in using Peer Assists in both the oil and gas business and aerospace. And you are absolutely right...they are very effective. 
We have used them for a wide variety of projects and as well as at a variety of stages within projects.  We have used them in projects ranging from development of billion dollar oil and gas fields to preparing for meetings with congressional committees.  We have used them at the launch of projects as well as at key stages within projects.  Regardless of what we used them for...or the timing...the teams inevitably got a tremendous amount out of them.  They are relatively low cost (usually just the time of the people involved and perhaps some travel) - and target the issues the team is most concerned with. 
We have found that key to success is:
  1. Understand the key issues that the team wants to discuss -- what are the things that keep them up at night...or where they I could only answer this question.  Then develop a meeting agenda that allows the team to addresses those issues. 
  2. Select peers that have real world experience that is relevant to the issues.  This doesn't mean that they need to have done exactly the same thing...but that what they have done is applicable to the problems at hand.

    For example in one case we were preparing a design for a subsea oil well that would be drilled from a floating platform.  To complete the well (which involves putting a bunch of tools on the bottom of the drill pipe to clean out the well, perforate casing da...da...da) there is a lot of heavy (i.e., tons) of equipment hung on the end of the drill pipe (which in itself weighs tons).  The peer assist was about the methods that were going to be used to complete the well, but we also brought in a marine engineer that was working on design of the floating platform.  During the meeting, after hearing what was being proposed, the marine engineer did a quick calculation and said....hummm. ...if that is what you are going to will sink the platform we are currently proposing.  The result was the marine engineers went back and redesigned the platform...prior to having done extensive design...and long before we had spent major sums of money on construction or procurement of the "wrong vessel."  Another common situation was to bring in the ultimate users of a product and get their input during the design phase.  The conversation was typically something like...this is what we are proposing because... And the response would be...well for the most part that sounds good....but would do this, make this minor change, put this over here instead of would be easier to use, or easier to maintain...or safer. 
  3. Have the team present enough context for the peers to understand the issues.  This can be done in part by sending out material prior to the meeting...but we have found that if the team does a short presentation outlining the key issues during the meeting this helps set both the tone for the meeting...and helps make sure everyone understands the issues to be addressed.
  4. Don't try to do to much in one peer assist.   Unless you are dealing with a relatively small project or one with narrow scope, break it into pieces where the peers can focus on a select few issues. 
I'd be happy to share more of what we have learned  - don't hesitate to give me a call...or send an e-mail.
I'd also recommend the book Learning to Fly.  It has the best description of how to run an effective peer assist that I have seen.

Allan Crawford


www.acrawfordphoto. com



From: sikmleaders@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:sikmleaders @yahoogroups. com] On Behalf Of Mark
Sent: Friday, March 26, 2010 7:35 AM
To: sikmleaders@ yahoogroups. com
Subject: [sikmleaders] Re: Peer Assists?

Thanks Mark, your idea sounds interesting. . to clarify, I am looking to understand more regarding organizations utilizing the knowledge sharing technique of a peer assist in their day to day prject delivery processes (embedded in workflow and standards of executing projects). How something like this has been presented to leadership as a method for "getting better at what you do" by adding in the peer assist step prior to projects, engagememnts, etc.. do you think this knowledge sharing approach is more fitted to communities or within more organizational focused team structures? I like to think both but I am very interested in organizational (team) knowledge sharing aspects. e.g. if a national organization wanted to learn from its international peers on project approaches and best practices what would be the best approach for setting the stage for this that is a business oriented focused approach that they will "grasp on" to? I would be interested in different view points on this. Thanks..

--- In sikmleaders@ yahoogroups. com, mark.tilbury@ ... wrote:
> Not sure if this answers the question but we use 'virtual' scouts within one of our Yammer community groups and physical scouts - thererole is to stage manage discussion and act as connectors for meetings withn their groups. Happy to expand further if interested. Also find out more at
> http://digitaldivid e.posterous. com/the-knowledg e-scouts
> --- On Fri, 26/3/10, Mark <mpreissler@ ...> wrote:
> From: Mark
> Subject: [sikmleaders] Peer Assists?
> To: sikmleaders@ yahoogroups. com
> Date: Friday, 26 March, 2010, 13:58
> Peer Assists?? A Peer Assist can be organized in a workshop or meeting
> form to gain knowledge and insight from people in other teams before
> embarking on a project or activity where they have experience. Is there
> anyone effectively utilizing this KM concept of the "peer assists" in
> their organization as a process for preparation prior to projects or
> activities? Seems to me this is a bit more focused than a roundtable and
> the results are very beneficial to the "receiver" and the peers alike. I
> would like to understand more about your approach and organizational
> adoption from those who have effectively done this. Peer assist on peer
> assists??

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