Wednesday 14 March 2018

Using a "pretend customer" in knowledge capture reviews.

When capturing knowledge, sometimes its useful to have a pretend customer you can introduce. 

Image from wikimedia commons
I have blogged about the need to write knowledge as if it were for a "knowledge customer", and to "document for the customer" when capturing knowledge.  But what do you do if nobody knows who the customer is?

A friend of mine recently came up with an interesting solution to this, but introducing a fictional customer.

He was running a Retrospect, and was discussing the learning points from one particularly tricky set of events. The group were struggling to express the lessons in useful terms for future projects, so he reached into his bag and pulled out a little blue toy dog which he was taking home to his son.

"This is Blue Dog" he said. "Blue Dog is running the next project. What advice would you give to Blue Dog, to help avoid the problems you had this time around?"

OK, a bit corny, but it gave the discussion a focus, and the project team were able to come up with some specific and actionable recommendations for Blue Dog. Blue Dog became a very visible stand-in for the Unknown Knowledge User.

Another friend, Lisandro Gaertner fron Brazil, used a similar approach with a three months long training/best practices sharing online program with Sheriffs.

They were challenged to give advice to a new Sheriff called Sherlock Silva about the most common problems they faced it. That worked very well and Sherlock Silva turned in a kind of a meme in the community. "What should Sherlock Silva do?" 

So if your Retrospect is struggling, maybe its worth having a blue dog in your bag, or introducing Sherlock Silva!

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