The Knowledge Management (KM) Depot

The Knowledge Management (KM) Depot: June 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Seven (7) Steps of the KAUF

As mentioned in my earlier post on capturing tacit knowledge, I have developed a framework in which to accomplish the task of harvesting tacit knowledge. The seven steps of the framework were identified in my previous post. The seven steps which represent the core of the Knowledge Acquisition Unified Framework (KAUF) will be briefly described here:

Step 1 - Define Domain Knowledge:
The first step in the knowledge acquisition unified framework is to identify what domain (business unit/division/department, etc.) will be the focus of your knowledge elicitation and what knowledge is pertinent to be captured in this domain. In order to determine what knowledge to capture an identification of the key knowledge holders and SME’s in the specified domain must take place. This is typically done through a knowledge mapping exercise. Once this occurs the knowledge management analyst must ascertain what knowledge is essential to be captured. This can be accomplished through a series of interviews/surveys and analysis working closely with the key knowledge holders and SME’s.

Step 2 - Decompose the Domain Knowledge:
When attempting to solve any large-scale problem, we would typically break the activity into a number of smaller tasks; to help a domain experts (SME’s, Content Managers, Contributors, etc.) populate the knowledge repository, we should similarly break the activity of knowledge acquisition into a number of smaller tasks. Structuring the task of populating the knowledge repository into a number of distinct sub-steps (typically based on the taxonomy/ontology that has been established). This will ease the process of populating the knowledge repository gradually.

Step 3 - Determine Interdependency:
Interdependency is when two or more pieces of knowledge/information depend on one another equally (one component depends on another). Finding the interdependency's between different pieces of knowledge (documents/artifacts, and/or expertise) will guide the knowledge analyst and domain expert(s) in completing the knowledge acquisition task. Determining the interdependence's between aspects of knowledge/ information will facilitate identifying the missing pieces of knowledge, determine what pieces of knowledge are related and determine any inconsistencies with the knowledge gathered for that domain.

Step 4 - Recognize Knowledge Patterns:
When analyzing knowledge/information, the process of Connect, Collect, Catalogue and Reuse will uncover patterns of knowledge and recognizing these patterns will contribute to increase efficiencies in the knowledge/information being captured.

Step 5 - Determine Judgments in Knowledge:
If the knowledge being captured is determined to be judgmental (uncertain or “fuzzy”) analysis has to occur to understand if conflicts exist. In addition, consulting with expert resources to come to a consensus as to what represents the "correct" knowledge may also be necessary.
Step 6 - Perform Conflict Resolution:
There are situations in which sufficient expertise and/or documents are unavailable to solve conflicts within the knowledge being gathered. If the knowledge being captured has some uncertainty or is fuzzy, you must first specify preconditions in the context of one or more of the conflicting elements of the knowledge to prevent those conflicting elements from being considered.

Step 7 - Capture/Catalogue the Knowledge:
Tacit knowledge is now sufficiently ready to be cataloged and transformed into explicit knowledge to be prepared for inclusion into a knowledge management solution.

Let me know your thoughts.... In the meantime access amazon for their references to Knowledge Acquisition and CRC Press. Also, feel free to contact me on twitter at Tony Rhem.

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Monday, June 13, 2011

The Challenge of Capturing Tacit Knowledge

Within Knowledge Management (KM) the ability to harvest/capture the knowledge of workers has been a challenge for many years (see blog post: Capturing Tacit Knowledge). The capturing, cataloging and reuse of explicit knowledge of workers has been accomplished effectively through the use of content management systems. However, capturing, cataloging and reuse of tacit knowledge remains an elusive often controversial subject within KM. To address the issue of capturing, cataloging and reuse of tacit knowledge I have developed a methodology which I believe effectively addresses this issue. This methodology is the Knowledge Acquisition Unified Framework (KAUF). The original bases for this framework is detailed in my publication from CRC Press UML for Developing Knowledge Management Systems. This framework has been utilized for the military at the Surface Deployment Distribution Command (SDDC) and also leveraged at a major retail company with some measurable success.

The framework's flexibility allows for many project management and software tools to drive and implement applications based on the guidance of the framework. The framework consist of seven (7) major steps:

1. Define Domain Knowledge, 2. Decompose The Domain Knowledge, 3. Determine Interdependency, 4. Recognize Knowledge Patterns, 5. Determine Judgments in Knowledge, 6. Perform Conflict Resolution and
7. Capture/Catalogue the Knowledge
These steps provide a repeatable process for identifying, understanding and cataloguing the tacit knowledge of the organization during the knowledge elicitation process.

In the post to follow over the next couple of weeks I will detail more about the KAUF and welcome your questions and comments. In the meantime I can be reached via twitter at Tony Rhem.

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