Tom Short’s suggestion to capture context by linking knowledge artifacts to specific
processes or tasks and features within existing processes is relevant
and realistic. For Chevron, this turned out to be with a Q&A process.
A typical example was our
refinery KM site. After a large merger, we needed to connect over 2000 refinery
engineers and operators to our best practices to ensure high quality global operations.
The best practice library was very comprehensive, but difficult for the new engineers
to navigate due to their different backgrounds.
We designed a Q&A tool
using refinery process and equipment terms (the metadata) which were familiar
to all the new engineers. One of the pre-launch steps asked each engineer to complete
a profile by selecting items from the two lists that they knew something about. If time was of the essence, the engineer facing
a problem could find someone to call for quick
When an engineer ran into a
plant problem, he or she just posted a question and selected relevant metadata.
Emails were sent to engineers whose profile had matching metadata. Often the engineer
received multiple suggestions in a few days. We asked the engineer to “close
the loop” by documenting the actual solution and estimating the value to their
refinery in terms of cost and/or time savings.
We documented an average of
$10-20 million/year in business value savings.
The new knowledge, which
included the problem, relevant metadata, suggested solutions and the actual
solution employed was easily and quickly tagged and available for future problems.
Even answers that didn’t fit the original problem could easily apply to another
problem in the future. Thus, you may not want to discard it.
Most of today’s KM
technology tools don’t offer this capability. We did this with Lotus Notes back
in the day. Fortunately, I have discovered that it is possible to build the same
capabilities in SharePoint.