Saturday, September 24, 2005

Allocating Time to Share on Projects

I have recently been thinking of a concept whereby Project Team members are allocated 2 hours a week devoted to knowledge sharing. There are two primary activities to be undertaken during these two hours.

The first is asking peers and known experts to share their knowledge and experiences in the area they are currently working on.

The second is to make themselves available to other staff to provide assistance relatd to their capabilities and areas of interest/expertise.

This knowledge sharing can take many forms including:

  • participation in communities of practice (online/face-to-face)
  • searching information/knowledge respositories (Intranet/Internet)
  • contacting experts/providing referrals (networks/yellowpages)
  • creating/renewing knowledge assets

One of the main issues usually raised with this model is why the sponsor should pay for the time spent by project staff on these activities instead of productive work. The answer I would give is that the time spent on these activities allows the combined knowledge of the staff's network and resources to be utilised on the project directly or indirectly. This means the wealth of knowledge of the entire Unit/Department is at the disposal of the project to access learnings and reducing the risk of re-inventing the wheel.

I will put some more thought into it when the opportunity arises.


Cory Banks

Friday, September 16, 2005

Motivation to Share and Learn

Doing what little one can to increase the general stock of knowledge is as respectable an object of life, as one can in any likelihood pursue.
Charles Darwin

The issue of how we undertake the cultural change to get people to share infromation and knowledge, as well as gain experience and learn new skills, comes down to how we motivate people into participating.

There are those that espouse that incentives are needed to reward those who undertake the correct behaviour. You could even go as far as to punish incorrect behaviour.

This is only one aspect of motivation. Unless you know the preference of individuals as to what would motivate them to participate in sharing and learning, then single point schemes will not result in wholesale change.

Sure you can start with one method of motivating and get a certain percentage involved but you also run the risk of providing a 'disatisfying' situation for others.
Ability is what you are capable of doing.
Motivation determines what you do.
Attitude determines how well you do it.
Lou Holtz - American Football Coach

When working in Scotland a couple of years back I was involved in a diverse program of providing motivation for Contact Centre staff to stay in the job ( The program was wide reaching and included some of the following activities:

  • An analysis of each persons individual reward profile to ascertain what incentives and rewards would be suitable for them
  • Theme Days (more than one for each day of the year)
  • A Point System that were aquired through participation in games and activities and 'cashed in' for rewards
  • Ongoing monitoring of how staff were 'feeling' - After each call staff were asked to rate how they felt on a scale of 1-5 (1 terrible - 5 fantastic)
  • Trigger levels for each person to acertain when an intervention needed to take place - When an agent hits rock bottom and may give a number of 1 or2 scores in a row, the team leader would be notified (electronically), consult with the persons reward profile and intervene with any number of tools (take a break - tea/coffee and biscuit pack, make some personal calls, 'come in late' pass)

This is a major activity but ensures the right motivation is given to each person.

KM Vision

Provide an environment that promotes, facilitates and motivates staff to undertake:

  • the creation of knowledge
  • the storing of knowledge
  • the sharing of knowledge
  • the learning of knowledge

Cory Banks

The right motivation needs to be provided for staff to participate in knowledge sharing and learning.

It's not about incentives, it's about motivation.