All in Knowledge Transfer

Risk, Uncertainty, and Managing Big Data Projects

Anyone who practices project management for a living will recognize this list. It’s certainly not unique to big data analytics project. It is however reasonable to ask whether “big data” projects are unique in some way that exacerbates the probability of failure.

On the Need to Tolerate Communication Diversity

IBM’s Luis Suarez’ blog post Social Media at Work presents basic arguments for why organizations, not just individuals, need to adopt social media as a normal part of their communication infrastructure. He suggests that organizations need to adopt social media because their employees and their customers are using social media.
Gene L. Dodaro, Acting Comptroller General, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) gave a presentation on November 2010 titled Acquisition Reform Challenges Facing Government. Referring to GAO’s strategic plan, Dodaro’s presentation addressed large-scale acquisitions as “targets of opportunity,” repeating the often-heard criticism that “… much of the government’s major investments have faced persistent cost and schedule growth.” His analysis is a very intelligent review of the challenges involved in reducing acquisition costs. Here I suggest an approach he doesn’t discuss but which is based on concepts he presents.

Promoting Technology Enabled Collaboration in Complex R&D Environments

An important element in a successful R&D effort is effective collaboration. As the complexity of the research, development, and eventual adoption environments increases — as it does with large Federally funded R&D efforts — the importance of the sharing of information, ideas, and goals increases as well.

The IT Director in a Large Manufacturing Company Discusses "Baby Boomer Brain Drain"

Last week I interviewed “Ferris” (not his real name) about how his company is handling the pending retirement of senior IT staff. Ferris is the IT Director in a large manufacturing company. Ferris’ company doesn’t have the mix of custom legacy Cobol and Assembler based mainframe systems that Boris the Insurance Company CIO has.
Last week I interviewed “Boris” (not his real name) about his and his company’s handling of the pending retirement of senior IT staff who are critical to the maintenance and operation of a number of his company’s business-critical mainframe legacy systems. I was initially interested in learning whether Boris thought that modern social networking and collaboration tools might be useful in documenting and transferring the specialised expertise staff needed for maintaining critical systems. Instead, the discussion took a different direction and revealed some underlying issues that go beyond technology enabled knowledge sharing.
Back on July 17 I wrote about the potential impact of pending retirement related “baby boomer brain drain” on IT departments, especially those heavily invested in supporting legacy mainframe systems. As a followup I asked for research interviews with several CIO’s I know in order to get a better handle on the issue and to find out whether emerging Web 2.0 and social networking and collaboration technologies might be supportive of knowledge transfer to younger staff.