Wednesday, 26 August 2020

8 ways to transfer team knowledge

Imagine you have identified some lessons or new knowledge within a work team. How do you pass them on?  There are 8 different contexts which determine how you might approach this.


I am a great believer in tailoring your approach to circumstances, and the circumstances you need to consider are as follows
  • Who needs the knowledge? The same team as generated it, or a different team?
  • When do they need it? Now, or at some undetermined time in the future?
  • Where are they? Near enough to sit down with, or somewhere remote?
So we have three variables, so we can't draw a Boston Square with four sections - we have to draw a Boston Cube with eight sections. And in each of those sections, we take a different approach to how we transfer the knowledge.

  1. Same team, same place, same time - hold an After Action Review. Discuss the learning, and help everyone internalise it.
  2. Same team, different place, same time (virtual team) - hold a virtual After Action Review. Discuss the learning, and help everyone internalise it. Checking for internalisation will be harder without access to body language, but it can still be done if the team is well-bonded. In today's coronavirus times, this is shoul dbe the default approach.
  3. Same team, same place, different time - hold a Retrospect and update and improve your team processes, procedures and practices. Then if you follow those next time, your performance will improve as the knowledge will already be embedded in your procedures.  
  4. Same team, different place (virtual team), different time  -  conduct a Learning History or a virtual Retrospect and update and improve your team processes, procedures and practices. Then if you follow those next time, performance will improve as the knowledge will already be embedded in your procedures.
  5. Different team, same place, same time - hold a Peer Assist or a Baton-passing exercise. Discuss the learning, and help the other team internalise it. Or host a site knowledge visit.
  6. Different team, different place, same time - hold a virtual Peer Assist or virtual baton-pass. Discuss the learning, and help everyone internalise it. Checking for internalisation will be harder without access to body language. Set up a community of practice, or virtual coaching group to continue the discussions.
  7. Different  team, same place, different time - hold a Retrospect and document a Knowledge Asset. When the knowledge is needed, find someone from the original team to talk through the Knowledge Asset and to provide face to face coaching.
  8. Different team, different place, different time - hold a Retrospect and document a stand-alone Knowledge Asset.

Different contexts, different approaches.  Choose the technique that fits your context.

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