Knowledge sharing, a huge construction site !Fabian Piau | Sunday November 7th, 2010 - 08:31 PM
Naturally used in micro-enterprises, knowledge sharing is less often used in the biggers. And yet when it is mastered, it can be a key to success.
Nowadays, we know how to search the internet efficiently, Google is (almost) everyone’s friend… But we often lose time to explore forums tirelessly without knowing that one week before, a colleague has already be faced with the same issue and know how to resolve it. This assertion is especially true when the company has more employees.
This accumulation of knowledge over time is a very important development strategy. From my perspective, I see many advantages especially for technical positions such as developers.
Even though many people will see the idea like an encouraging start, some will probably find it a little outdated. For example, they will tell you that most of the information can be find easily by searching on the internet or by reading books borrowed at the library. Some (me included) may wonder why rewrite articles or tutorials is needed while they are accessible at your fingertips. Simply that when you rewrite a text, you keep the most useful information, you personalize it with practical and suitable examples, etc. In some way, you write it as your own and as the image of your company. Furthermore, you know who wrote or has contributed to the article so you know who to ask or even propose some improvement. It can also avoid you getting into a not suitable and complicated solution without having any help to get out.
Setting up such a project is not easy, it can quickly bound to fail. Concern is not technical because it is not very difficult to set up a Wiki platform. Risk is related to the quality of the contents, the relevance of datas and even the whole structure that should be designed for faster searches. We can compare it to a large construction site that will never end, and where one make one’s contribution.
The main factors of success are motivation and involvement, but also communication. To communicate is essential, as always. Without communication, the platform will probably be gradually abandoned. People will stop to publish new articles, or even worse, stop to consult it.
Fragile and not very convincing at first, mainly due to its limited number of articles, the platform can become essential and symbolize a pillar of the corporate knowledge. It will survive in the long term by regularly renewing its contents. As everyone knows, people move on to different companies and it will not be surprising to lose big contributors. It is not the end of the world and you should inform new employees about the existence of this knowledge database in order to sustain it. Ultimate goal is that it is become an important part of the corporate culture.
I could not end this article without mentioning one of the most brilliant success in collaborative work: Wikipedia. It goes without saying that this great world encyclopedia has not been built in one month…