More on knowledge management as learning support

Greg Lloyd at Traction Software also picks up on the same JP Rangaswami post that I did yesterday. He offers several additional examples of the value of making knowledge work visible as a simple tool for supporting on the job learning. Here’s one of his many useful insights. Go read the rest.

Learn by watching – Then do

Learn by watching – Then do
Blog446:  August 14, 2007 7:22:00 PM EST, Posted by Greg Lloyd

Each project’s serial file was nothing fancy. Usually it was a few file drawers with incoming and outgoing correspondence, briefing slides, q&a memos, contract actions and meeting notes, all top bound in chronological order – full contracts, formal specs and other deliverables were filed separately. In pre-email days, the project serial file was a pretty accurate snapshot of our interactions with the outside world interleaved with internal notes and memos. We all kept our own date stamped lab notebooks for private jottings.
A day or so of close reading and the chance to ask a few pointed questions to the original project engineer (“You said WHAT to Captain K??”) usually got us up to speed on the pulse of each project – not just the formal status and deliverables. We learned to use the project file to refresh our memory on details before and important meeting or decision – or just to reflect and review the bidding. We learned to use each other’s project files to keep track of dependencies and learn how to handle problems. …
I know that an electronic form of serial file can replace the old paper trail, since that’s what I use every day. The TeamPage blog + wiki tool lets everyone look over my shoulder – and vice versa – as we tear off in different directions and do our work as individuals or teams.
I rarely need to read any one project in real time, but I know that I can come up to speed quickly, search across all projects, and dive in if I need to. If someone asks for help or sees an opportunity, they can post it if it’s not urgent; add a tag to anything that needs quick action; or IM a permalink if they need me to look at something now. What I can do, all of Traction’s employees can do – only the “Board of Directors” project is private. Board pages or posts – including monthly financials – are cross-tagged to make them visible to all hands when the dust settles.
There are days when I wonder whether one of the fundamental impediments to the take up of blogging and wikis within organizations is, in fact, their utter simplicity.