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Welcome to my blog, which was once a mailing list of the same name and is still generated by mail. Please reply via the "comment" links.

Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Persisting Knowledge Across A Changing Workforce

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 16:34:01 -0300

It is normal for people to restrict access to knowledge within an
organisation - for job security, through laziness, because they don't
understand why doing otherwise is important (perhaps because the
culture does not value this).  When they leave, the organisation is
damaged.

This is a particular problem when the organisation is large and the
turnover in staff is mandated (mentioning no names).

The problem is exacerbated by unclear roles and poor communication,
because not only is the knowledge restricted, but access to the owner
of the knowledge is restricted.

In other words, person A may have some knowledge.  Person B may
require the application of that knowledge, but always works though an
intermediary, C.  As far as B is concerned, C leaving is just as bad
as A.

And the same motivations apply.

It would be wonderful (at least from the point of view of the
organisation) if it were possible to capture knowledge, so that it can
easily be passed on to the successor.  This is a hard problem.

An alternative approach, which is not a complete solution but at least
reduces the problem, is to avoid the amplifier effect by connecting
people more directly.  This is an easier problem to solve.

I guess this is obvious.  I'm just thinking things through for my own
satisfaction.  On the way home from work today I was wondering how to
solve the first problem.  Now that I see the second approach I
understand a little better how people work.

Andrew

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