Topics

Knowledge effort estimates #value


michael_hutchens81@...
 

Hi SIKM'ers,


I am implementing a knowledge management system across a large IT company. The rollout is happening in stages, business unit by business unit, starting with the operational groups that log and resolve tickets in our service management tool. Due to resourcing constraints, each of those BUs will manage and build their own knowledgebases, after I have completed the initial project plan with them (I'll then provide oversight, reporting, additional training, etc.) In order to set the right expectations for the management teams about the level of sustained investment required for a KM implementation, I'm trying to put together an effort estimate based on two factors:


Fixed (closed-ended activities with definite start and end points, and are typically either weekly, monthly, or one-off activities like conducting a training session, or generating a scheduled report)

Variable (are open-ended activities that are typically dependant on additional complexity factors , e.g. creating and publishing knowledge articles)


The variable factors are proving to be challenging for me to quantify and distill down into something useful, and I'm very interested to hear from others who may be operating in an outsource IT environment and have faced this challenge before, or just some general advice in the area of knowledge-related effort estimates


Thanks for your time,


Michael



Albert Simard
 

Michael –

 

Your first task is to put your project manager hat aside.  The second is to decide whether you are really contemplating KM or IT/IM. 

 

KM is not a project that builds a system, implements it, and then walks away, as is typical for IT.  KM is a way of working.  It is ongoing.  It is a culture.  It has no sunset date.  Unless you include continuous promotion, support, and evolution as you learn, along with maintenance and administration, it is unlikely to succeed.  Absent culture change (a very long-term effort, fraught with challenges), KM must adapt itself to the existing culture.

 

Second, KM is about people, what they know, and how they do knowledge work.  It is also about social interaction, which is based on factors such as trust, self-interest, motivation, and engagement.  The system is the easy part.  Enhancing social interaction is the hard and most important part.  This is a fundamental mind shift from people as the box in the diagram that provide inputs to the system.  Now if only we could get them to do it the way that we want them to.

 

Al Simard


Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Michael,

You are in essence asking: How do I set up a sustainable continuous improvement program in a meaningful way?

With all continuous improvement, the twin expectations are that:

(a) there is always more to be done
(b) there will always be more to be done than time/resources to do it

Because of this, you need a system that fixes effort per period and always focuses on relative value to prioritise delivery.

The best way I've found to do this is through agile techniques, most commonly derived from Scrum. Done right, you'll always see new, good content being produced at a rate that is sustainable to each business area. You'll also have a process that is transparent and easily monitored.

Cheers,
-- Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Director & Principal Consultant
knowquestion Pty Ltd
E: sb@knowquestion.com.au
M: 0401 829 096
====================================

On 9/02/2016 9:11 AM, michael_hutchens81@yahoo.com [sikmleaders] wrote:
Hi SIKM'ers,


I am implementing a knowledge management system across a large IT
company. The rollout is happening in stages, business unit by business
unit, starting with the operational groups that log and resolve tickets
in our service management tool. Due to resourcing constraints, each of
those BUs will manage and build their own knowledgebases, after I have
completed the initial project plan with them (I'll then provide
oversight, reporting, additional training, etc.) In order to set the
right expectations for the management teams about the level of sustained
investment required for a KM implementation, I'm trying to put together
an effort estimate based on two factors:


•Fixed (closed-ended activities with definite start and end points, and
are typically either weekly, monthly, or one-off activities like
conducting a training session, or generating a scheduled report)

•Variable (are open-ended activities that are typically dependant on
additional complexity factors , e.g. creating and publishing knowledge
articles)


The variable factors are proving to be challenging for me to quantify
and distill down into something useful, and I'm very interested to hear
from others who may be operating in an outsource IT environment and have
faced this challenge before, or just some general advice in the area of
knowledge-related effort estimates


Thanks for your time,


Michael



Ivan Orozco
 

Hello Michael,

I will suggest the following general activities [the text is a little long - also, apologize me if I made mistakes when writting] I put in practice a couple of years ago with a large group of IT engineers working on managed services in a system integration company:

1. First thing was to validate company strategy in order to identify what aspects were under different technical groups. For instance, how does onsite support group contribute with the company strategy? Do the same with other groups as help desk support, software development, presales support, and all groups related.

2. Identify, at least, a couple of groups to deploy a KM pilot.

3. For such groups, perform a KM diagnostic based on two specific domains: core knowledge and managerial knowledge. Core knowledge refers to those skills needed to accomplish with everyday activities as operating systems management, databases support, virtual systems, networking, and others. Managerial knowledge refers to those skills that help to streamline the core knowledge as project management, ITIL best practices, data analysis, and others your company consider important.

4. For every knowledge, make an analysis to define the level of knowledge every group has and required knowledge according to company strategy [use a range you set up as 0-10]. The difference is the gap.
Example: Networking has 4 points and your company requires 10 points because it is a key product in the portfolio. The gap is 6.
According to results, prioritize the skills to reinforce using your knowledge management strategy. At this point, you have a knowledge diagnostic that helps to define where to start! 

5. Structure a plan based on communities of practice: define the topics, select a leader from any area with enough knowledge of transversal company processes. Take the analysis from the knowledge diagnostics stage to establish action plans to close the gaps you found before. Those plans must be performed inside the community assigning specific activities to community members and supported by KM activities as lessons learned, after action reviews, presentations, tutorials, and whatever activity helping to knowledge sharing and learning. The goal is having the km cycle in place and transform explicit and tacit knowledge all the time. At this point is very important the participation of the leader and volunteers inside the community. By the way, since my former company has a nationwide presence, I used the suite of Google as the KM tool: blogging, chat, email, sites, cloud drives, hangouts.

6. Evaluate the process after some time [3 months is a good timeframe] and verify which gaps are closing [also if there are greater gaps because an expert quit the company, for instance]. Check for the new knowledge your company is requiring [maybe there is a new technology being adopted] and remove any unused knowledge [maybe you company consider Win XP support is important right now but useless next year].

7. Prepare a presentation for people in higher positions and get approval to continue with the process after showing the benefits for the company.

This strategy worked but it was not easy! It is important to evangelize all the time and find unconditional allies that support your job. As Albert mentioned before, KM is a way of working, it is a new culture. The key aspect is a step-by-step "culture management".

After some months, people were very comitted because they found a new way of doing things [inside the community], the company were satisfied because found the real strengths and weaknesses, customers and providers were confident with the services being delivered. By the way, one of the key providers started to support the KM strategy increasing the academic offering and facilitating access to experts for gaining more deep knowledge. 

I hope this help.

Ivan Orozco
Medellin, Colombia    


Randhir Pushpa
 

Hi Michael,

When you say KM Systems, do you mean setting up an IT infrastructure to practice KM. Does it also include Social networking activities within the organization?

From your mail I understand that you will setup the KM system for each group and they will use the features to develop their interventions and manage the same.

I have an IT services background and can connect with my network for further information. 

Regards

Randhir

On Tue, Feb 9, 2016 at 3:41 AM, michael_hutchens81@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...> wrote:
 

Hi SIKM'ers,


I am implementing a knowledge management system across a large IT company. The rollout is happening in stages, business unit by business unit, starting with the operational groups that log and resolve tickets in our service management tool. Due to resourcing constraints, each of those BUs will manage and build their own knowledgebases, after I have completed the initial project plan with them (I'll then provide oversight, reporting, additional training, etc.) In order to set the right expectations for the management teams about the level of sustained investment required for a KM implementation, I'm trying to put together an effort estimate based on two factors:


Fixed (closed-ended activities with definite start and end points, and are typically either weekly, monthly, or one-off activities like conducting a training session, or generating a scheduled report)

Variable (are open-ended activities that are typically dependant on additional complexity factors , e.g. creating and publishing knowledge articles)


The variable factors are proving to be challenging for me to quantify and distill down into something useful, and I'm very interested to hear from others who may be operating in an outsource IT environment and have faced this challenge before, or just some general advice in the area of knowledge-related effort estimates


Thanks for your time,


Michael




Phil Verghis
 

Hi Michael,

 

Congratulations on what sounds like a very busy and exciting engagement.

 

The single biggest danger in a high-tech organization (my heritage) is that people are even more likely to treat this as a IT problem to solve, not a people/process issue to address. This approach fails early and often -- anecdotal data shows that 2/3rd of KM implementations in high tech organizations fail in the first year and the rest fail within three years.

 

The great news is that there is a de facto standard methodology for KM in high-tech companies, and done right can be very successful. One of our clients – a $50B/year high-tech company that has six enterprise-wide President’s Awards – just won one for 2015 for their *KM initiative*. The CEO is presenting it to them in person this week.

 

This open methodology is called Knowledge Centered Support (KCS) and has been refined over 20+ years by a non-profit that is comprised of companies like Microsoft, Oracle, HP Enterprise, Red Hat and more. The principles are very similar to what all on this list would know – people then process then technology.

 

The biggest difference I see between the traditional KM worlds and the high-tech KCS world is that people have a common set of tools that they are usually required to use as part of their jobs. The focus is very much on real time access to rapidly changing data, not so much on after action reviews and communities of practice.

 

Focusing on the KB as an example, our world is one where an error or issue can impact tens of thousands of people every second and a stale KB will fail spectacularly. This means the traditional KB approach where an article needs multiple levels of approval before it is blessed and can be seen by a customer will fail. KCS has a licensing and workflow methodology that converts the KB article to a living document that allows you to easily search, capture, structure and re-use information as part of your workflow, no matter what tool you are using.

 

One other thing.

 

People have to want to share knowledge, and it has to become a part of everyone’s workflow. The key is not to use a peanut butter ‘one size fits all’ in terms of the licensing and workflow model. Each group will consume and create knowledge articles differently. The Motivation, Ability and Trigger  is different for each of the groups – but predictably so. Once you account for that, you can do some really amazing things.

 

Organizations with a strong knowledge-sharing culture like HP Enterprise now has ‘time to publish’ for an article from when it is first ‘known’ to ‘published’ went from weeks to *32 minutes*… Remember, this is not consumer, but Enterprise support.

 

Resources:

 

·        Happy to chat (or connect you with others in our world)
www.scheduleonce.com/philv

·        A ‘content standard’ for a KB article that you/they are free to use/modify under a Creative Commons license.

o   https://kleverlibrary.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/sample-knowledge-structurecontent-standard4.pdf

 

·        Some reading that might resonate in IT:

o   https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/time-smile-new-killer-internal-customer-experience-metric-verghis

o   http://getklever.com/benchmark-report/

 

·        KCS and related info:

o   www.serviceinnovation.org/kcs

o   http://getklever.com/solutions-2/enterprise-assessment/ (our KCS V5 Aligned tool that helps address the ‘one size fits all’ issue)

o   Klever’s own online 30 minute training used by many high-tech organizations to augment principles of KCS post rollout

§  http://getklever.com/solutions-2/klever-training/

 

 

Once again, congratulations!

 

Peace,

 

Phil

 

CEO & Co-Founder | Klever | www.getklever.com

phil@... | @getklever | +1 919.641.9465

https://www.linkedin.com/in/philverghis

 

 

 

From: sikmleaders@... [mailto:sikmleaders@...]
Sent: Monday, February 8, 2016 5:12 PM
To:
sikmleaders@...
Subject: [sikmleaders] Knowledge effort estimates

 

 

Hi SIKM'ers,

 

I am implementing a knowledge management system across a large IT company. The rollout is happening in stages, business unit by business unit, starting with the operational groups that log and resolve tickets in our service management tool. Due to resourcing constraints, each of those BUs will manage and build their own knowledgebases, after I have completed the initial project plan with them (I'll then provide oversight, reporting, additional training, etc.) In order to set the right expectations for the management teams about the level of sustained investment required for a KM implementation, I'm trying to put together an effort estimate based on two factors:

 

           Fixed (closed-ended activities with definite start and end points, and are typically either weekly, monthly, or one-off activities like conducting a training session, or generating a scheduled report)

           Variable (are open-ended activities that are typically dependant on additional complexity factors , e.g. creating and publishing knowledge articles)

 

The variable factors are proving to be challenging for me to quantify and distill down into something useful, and I'm very interested to hear from others who may be operating in an outsource IT environment and have faced this challenge before, or just some general advice in the area of knowledge-related effort estimates

 

Thanks for your time,

 

Michael

 


Paul McDowall
 

Hi Michael,
From my experience you have a quite a challenge implementing an IT system for KM in an IT firm.  Having said that there are a couple of things that strike me.  Going BU by BU is an effective way to do it but in your description I don't see an inference that the BUs will identify the value proposition, ie. the business benefits and the upfront and ongoing effort.  The fact that you are having difficulty developing the effort estimate is not surprising to me and suggests that you really need the BUs to co-develop this with you.  More than that, what you really want to do is build strong engagement BU by BU for he role for the KM system in achieving their business benefits.  Use the value proposition from early BUs in the process to inform the VP of later BUs and build on the success.  Once you have a few BUs under your belt you may be able to extrapolate a reasonable range of required effort levels if you absolutely need to do so, but I suggest you try very hard to avoid this as the need to do so could reflect a marked level of uncertainty if not outright disengagement by management, and that's another serious issue to address.      
Hope this helps.  Happy to discuss further.
Paul


michael_hutchens81@...
 

Good morning all,

Thanks for the varied and useful responses thus far

Albert: Thanks for your advice - continuous promotion is certainly something that I'm looking to focus on. Completely agree that social interaction is the hard and most important part (I elaborate on this in my response to Randhir, below)

Stephen: Interesting, thank you. I've started some research on agile techniques, specifically Scrum. Could you elaborate on what you mean by 'relative value to prioritize delivery', perhaps with an example?

Ivan: Historically the link between the company vision & mission statements and our KM mission statement has not been much of an ongoing focus for me. I'll revisit this. Thank you for the breakdown of the general activities you followed in your implementation, its most helpful

Randhir: Sorry, my email was perhaps a little light on details. I mean setting up a formal KM practice in an IT services company using existing (fit for purpose) tools. The company spans three countries and historically social networking activities have basically been non-existent, company-wide. We have recently implemented a new Office365 intranet with Yammer however, so that is beginning to change. Utilizing this new social network to build on our KM practice and establish culture change is something that I'm rather focused on at the moment, but engagement at an employee level (as opposed to a management level) has been slow. Any additional information you can provide would be appreciated

Phil: Good insights, thank you. I recently had the epiphany that KM is about people\process rather than a technical solution. As it happens we have also adopted the KCS methodology :) I found your comment 'each group will consume and create knowledge articles differently' interesting. A key focus of mine has been to standardize our KM environment and processes, as no such standardization exists at present. Reconciling that wish for standardization against group variances will be an interesting process, what are your thoughts on that? And thank you very much for the additional resources you have provided, I'm digesting them now

Paul: Co-developing an effort estimate with each BU is not something I have considered. I'll ponder that, thank you. Could you please elaborate on why extrapolating a reasonable range of required effort levels could reflect uncertainty and disengagement?

Regards all,

Michael


Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Michael,

One of the most crucial aspects of agile is doing the most valuable things first. Value is evaluated from the perspective of the customer, normally by the "product owner" role who acts as a proxy for the customer.

So in your example, let's say members of your business unit have identified 4 known problems that could lead to higher customer satisfaction and higher throughput if a best practice were documented. Team members add the action(s) required to resolve these problems to the backlog at their own initiative:

KB article for Problem A (logged by Ken)
Staff training on Problem B (logged by Sarah)
Tool to prevent Problem C (logged by Lachlan)
KB article for Problem D (logged by Ken)

The "product owner" (in your case, probably the team manager) evaluates their relative priority based on whatever metrics are seen as most relevant:

Staff training on Problem B (logged by Sarah)
Tool to prevent Problem C (logged by Lachlan)
KB article for Problem A (logged by Ken)
KB article for Problem D (logged by Ken)

Each "sprint" or iteration then tackles the highest-priority set of problems deemed achievable by the team within that fixed period:

Staff training on Problem B (logged by Sarah)
Tool to prevent Problem C (logged by Lachlan)
-- < sprint cutoff > --
KB article for Problem A (logged by Ken)
KB article for Problem D (logged by Ken)

Then at the end of the period, review what has been achieved and repeat the process with what remains or has been newly added to the backlog.

It may seem like I'm being vague about the process for determining relative value, and that's true. There is no one right way to figure that out - what's right for any organisation can vary from gut feel to a rigorous multi-factor assessment process.

That said, don't over-do it: agile is about getting results fast and adapting rapidly rather than over-engineering analysis up front.

Cheers,
-- Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Director & Principal Consultant
knowquestion Pty Ltd
E: sb@knowquestion.com.au
M: 0401 829 096
====================================

On 11/02/2016 4:36 AM, michael_hutchens81@yahoo.com [sikmleaders] wrote:
Good morning all,

Thanks for the varied and useful responses thus far

*Albert*: Thanks for your advice - continuous promotion is certainly
something that I'm looking to focus on. Completely agree that social
interaction is the hard and most important part (I elaborate on this in
my response to Randhir, below)

*Stephen*: Interesting, thank you. I've started some research on agile
techniques, specifically Scrum. Could you elaborate on what you mean by
'relative value to prioritize delivery', perhaps with an example?

*Ivan*: Historically the link between the company vision & mission
statements and our KM mission statement has not been much of an ongoing
focus for me. I'll revisit this. Thank you for the breakdown of the
general activities you followed in your implementation, its most helpful

*Randhir*: Sorry, my email was perhaps a little light on details. I mean
setting up a formal KM practice in an IT services company using existing
(fit for purpose) tools. The company spans three countries and
historically social networking activities have basically been
non-existent, company-wide. We have recently implemented a new Office365
intranet with Yammer however, so that is beginning to change. Utilizing
this new social network to build on our KM practice and establish
culture change is something that I'm rather focused on at the moment,
but engagement at an employee level (as opposed to a management level)
has been slow. Any additional information you can provide would be
appreciated

*Phil*: Good insights, thank you. I recently had the epiphany that KM is
about people&#92;process rather than a technical solution. As it happens we
have also adopted the KCS methodology :) I found your comment 'each
group will consume and create knowledge articles differently'
interesting. A key focus of mine has been to standardize our KM
environment and processes, as no such standardization exists at present.
Reconciling that wish for standardization against group variances will
be an interesting process, what are your thoughts on that? And thank you
very much for the additional resources you have provided, I'm digesting
them now

*Paul*: Co-developing an effort estimate with each BU is not something I
have considered. I'll ponder that, thank you. Could you please elaborate
on why extrapolating a reasonable range of required effort levels could
reflect uncertainty and disengagement?

Regards all,

Michael


Paul McDowall
 

Hi Michael,
One of the frequent challenges of IT projects is to project a positive ROI.  KM initiatives, and especially IT systems for KM can get caught up in the same trap.  It may be a reflection of the organizational culture or it may show that the initiative is seen as just another IT system rather than as an initiative to enhance the use and usability of knowledge, ie. KM. Often, IT firms have this kind of culture.  The need to develop effort and cost estimates up front is often a reflection of this kind of situation.  As such it puts a 'burden of proof' requirement up front on the IT-for-KM project and reflects at least uncertainty if not a lack of engagement by the the BUs/management.  The better scenario is where you work with the BUs/management up front so they see how they will achieve their business objectives and goals by using this KM tool.  You are not in the unenviable position of trying to convince BUs/management that it's worth the effort.  It becomes their solution to their business need/opportunity.  It's a very different perspective.  One of the single greatest critical success factors of any KM initiative is that it clearly addresses a real business need, issue or opportunity.  The ideal situation would be the BUs to incorporate the KM initaitive as part of their business planning.  Now THAT shows engagement.  What would be important for long term success is to have their engagement up front in this way.  That's why I suggest you think about working with the BUs individually up front to assess its relevance in the context of their needs and effort and plan it accordingly.  The risk in not doing so is that it will be seen by the management and staff of the BUs as another thing being imposed on them and end up just being another KM 'failure' statistic.           
Best of luck


Howie Cohen
 

Here is what we do.... Basics 

  • Overall Vision, Mission (Scope of Work) 
  • Areas of coverage  (list of top 3) for us it is KT, Content Management, Community. 
  • Measure by Outcome -- tied to business goals and objectives with specific deliverable. 
  • Knowledge Narrative / story (appears in social streams) 
  • Project Charter (capital / non capital projects) Authoritative system of record 
  • PMO task/est/labor -- operational velocity / org competency alignment 
  • BA - Delivery Management 
  • In progress review / delivery with measures of performance / effectiveness and target deliverable rationalization. 
This ties all of the knowledge work to business objectives.. if it isn't a business objective it isn't done.   We look at risk, efficiency and rev gen..


Hope this helps.. 

Howie 


On Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 11:08 AM, paul_mcdowall@... [sikmleaders] <sikmleaders@...> wrote:
 

Hi Michael,

One of the frequent challenges of IT projects is to project a positive ROI.  KM initiatives, and especially IT systems for KM can get caught up in the same trap.  It may be a reflection of the organizational culture or it may show that the initiative is seen as just another IT system rather than as an initiative to enhance the use and usability of knowledge, ie. KM. Often, IT firms have this kind of culture.  The need to develop effort and cost estimates up front is often a reflection of this kind of situation.  As such it puts a 'burden of proof' requirement up front on the IT-for-KM project and reflects at least uncertainty if not a lack of engagement by the the BUs/management.  The better scenario is where you work with the BUs/management up front so they see how they will achieve their business objectives and goals by using this KM tool.  You are not in the unenviable position of trying to convince BUs/management that it's worth the effort.  It becomes their solution to their business need/opportunity.  It's a very different perspective.  One of the single greatest critical success factors of any KM initiative is that it clearly addresses a real business need, issue or opportunity.  The ideal situation would be the BUs to incorporate the KM initaitive as part of their business planning.  Now THAT shows engagement.  What would be important for long term success is to have their engagement up front in this way.  That's why I suggest you think about working with the BUs individually up front to assess its relevance in the context of their needs and effort and plan it accordingly.  The risk in not doing so is that it will be seen by the management and staff of the BUs as another thing being imposed on them and end up just being another KM 'failure' statistic.           
Best of luck



Albert Simard
 

Michael (and the group) –

 

My apologies for previously conveying my thoughts in a way that was more direct than diplomatic!  It was just my immediate reaction based on working for more than one government agency in which IT viewed it’s role as control and enforcement rather than support and service.

 

In a more positive vein, I have been working on using an enterprise architecture approach to develop a knowledge services architecture.  The challenge is to structure what should be structured and let the rest just hang out.  The key that I found was to structure processes, not the methods used to do knowledge work nor the knowledge itself.  And even then, if parts of a process are not needed or require more detail, my view is to simply make it so.  For example, a decision may involve little more than a 5-minute conversation with the decision maker or a year-long discussion and review process involving multiple committees.  I also gradually came to understand that there are four organizational structures involved (social, business, knowledge, and technology).  Each has different drivers and uses different processes, but all must be integrated to accomplish organizational objectives. 

 

By way of example, in a SIKM presentation a year ago, I used social interaction as a particularly challenging aspect of the 100+ knowledge services architecture diagrams that I developed:  http://www.slideshare.net/albertsimard/sikm-yin-and-yang-of-km  In it, one can see how the four organizational structures are integrated to accomplish a specific process, such as sharing.  One can also see that knowledge itself is not structured.  It simply flows through a sequence of steps, each of which increases its value by transforming it from an input to an output.  What is also important is that each input and output is named (first two tables only, due to space limitations).  If one cannot name each I/O, the work is probably not an identifiable step in the overall process.

 

I don’t know if these ideas are helpful to your work, but for what they’re worth…

 

Now the real challenge is the social context that underlies social interaction!

 

Al Simard


michael_hutchens81@...
 

Morning Albert,

No offence taken at all, I appreciate your responses and didn't take it as anything other than diplomatic and useful. I think your advice about structuring process not methods or knowledge is very pragmatic. I'm also going through your slide deck now :)

Apologies for the delay in my reply :)

Regards again,

Michael