All entries for April 2009

April 25, 2009

Less is more…

I love Jazz. I also love rock, classical music, Brazilian pop music, etc etc, but currently I`m in love with JAzz (again). Many years ago, when I was a musician I fell in love with it. Specially a school of jazz called Be Bop, that was very popular on the late 40`s early 50`s. Its a very fast, technical, show off kind of Jazz. And them I met Miles Davis (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miles_Davis) . He is the father of several jazz styles. One of them was called "Cool Jazz" and it was the antytheses of Be Bop. It was about few, well chosen notes on a slow introspective tempo. The moto of Cool Jazz was "Less is More". On my late teens, being a professional musician, an anxious and communicative human being, it was hard for me to understand this whole "less is more"thing. I really wanted a "more is more"kind of thing. I liked the sound, but I did not support the concept.

Why am I talking about that? Because as the PMA`s go by, I`m more and more into the "less is more"thinking. Not that I`m working less, reading less or doing less. But I`m concentrating more and more on sintetizing my thoughts, on trying to make the ideas I have more clear by puting less ideas on the PMA. I`m not necessarily talking about shorter PMA`s, because you can have the same length even with less ideas if you explain those ideas better or invest more time on having a writing style that is more pleasant to read. But the point is, I`m making an effort on improving one one my weakest spots, that is the difficulty i always had to cut things of and keep them away. I must say I got very proud at the result we achieved on that sense, when we did the KBAM presentation. I think the bit of the work I helped with (KM) was rather sintetic and straight to the point. I think our team managed to do it. But it still a challenge, and one that I`ll think I`ll take with me forever. Always remember Miles Davis saying that less, is more....


April 24, 2009

Tacit to explicit

One of the greatest challenges of any KM policy is how to transform all the huge amount of tacit knowledge that is part of an organisation in explicit knowledge. People want write manuals or fill in systems. The most practical way to do that is through communities of practise or creating in-house training. Based on what I have seen over this years, if a company wants to to somehow make people write down or fill useful information of some sort that has to be connected with some bigger aspect (some prize or being considered a natural part of some other activity). A few years ago we had a structure to allow all projects conducted on the company to leave some kind of information. We managed to have over one hundred projects properly completed on our database. Quite a good number. We did that by establishing that in order to be appreciated over one recognition program we had, all information had to be filled. Some other people also filled because they believed on the idea (and we set example, doing the same on the projects conducted by us). The problem, looking back, was how useful, how frequently those information was used and valued on other initiatives.

But the challenge of making people share and use the available knowledge by turning tacit to explicit persists.


Knowledge Audit

Have you ever performed a knowledge audit on yourself? That is a concept I came accross while working on the mini-project for KBAM. Like many other concepts, is common sense the idea that I should think and know about what I should know. But have you ever done it consciously? Well, for all of us MBE students the answer is yes. At least it should be because every time we are doing a mind map and planning an PMA or the project we are doing some kind of Knowledge Audit. We are identifying what we know, what we need to know and how to do it.

BEsides that, recently I did a different and more complex version of the Knowledge Audit. I was talking to some former colleagues and to some people from the company I worked for and they enquired me if and when I was returning. I knew this question would come so before hand I gave some thought to the the question. And one of the things that came to my mind is that in order to know that, I needed to know what I wanted, what I was looking for. That was something I already knew (see the entry about my personal vision and mission for that answer). Them what I had to think was, what do I needed, what was missing, what were my improving points in order to get to this level. That was basically a knowledge audit with a slightly different connotation. What I needed to have and know here was more closely related to professional experience (a form of knowledge) them to formal academic knowledge.

I think constantly performir personal, honest, realistic audits is a valuable experience to any human being. And I`m not talking about academic or professional experience, more important them all that is making a personal audit, reflecting were I am, were I d like to be and what I need to get there as a human being. 


April 20, 2009

Writing in books….

Never liked writing in books. Them some years ago I had a teacher on university who stimulated me to do so (in my own books, of course, not library ones). So while reading about knowledge management one of the techniques that is often discussed is that people just register conclusions taken from meetings, actions or facts as soon as they happen (Toyota, for example, stimulates that). The idea is that it allows more details to be remembered, real information's to be collected (and not post-fact impressions changed by personal impressions) etc. I related one think to the other. The idea of writing thoughts and ideas on the book as the information is readden relates in an individual level to the same concept. Is a technique for individual knowledge management but that builds in the same ideas used for organisations.

 


April 13, 2009

Do you remember Sue?

Do you remember the lady that used to write all sorts of comments on our blogs? Curious about her? Look at that....creepy! 



http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/gavinalexander/entry/the_guantlet/


April 12, 2009

Organizational Culture is everywhere….

Working on my KBAM PMA. Suggesting how WaiveRiders could use Knowledge Management in order to manage  its assets considering the whole life-cycle of the products. I ended realising that the best way to make it work, is to make those aspects, the care for knowledge and the consideration for the whole life-cycle part of the culture, of the blood of the organisation. That is funny because several PMA`s I worked on had to talk about culture, two of them (PIUSS and LE) were clearly about using specific systems (6S and the EFQM) for that change. It is, of course, a very important aspect. The problem is that changing culture is slow (and I found some interesting material saying that it is not possible to really change at the managers will). The main conclusion is, if you wanna build a good organisation (and thinking, as usual, on the long term!) think about setting up the proper culture on it!


April 10, 2009

Maintenance, Management, Life–Cycle, KM…

Writing about life-cycle costs asset management for my PMA. Actually came to my mind that the basic question of management is always related to the basic question of Life-Cycle. It`s such (or it at least should be) a basic thing, the idea that a manager should make decisions thinking about the life-cycle consequences of those decisions that is sounds funny that somebody has to be remembered of that by a whole body of knowledge. 

But is certainly something we human beings tend to forget. I had a teacher on my MBA who was an specialist on Ethics. He wrote a very interesting book about how the basic question people`s life (and for extension in all business related sciences) is always about spending more, enjoying the moment or saving for later. Reminds me of the old rock`n roll motto that used to say you should have a fast, crazy life and die before being 30....Well personal decisions are personal decisions, but when managing an organisation in which several people depend on you you need to have a non-r`nr approach and think about life time implications and decisions...



April 06, 2009

Knowledge Management and MBE

Yesterday I was in a bus, and I had to wait sometime until the bus left. I had a pen and I started drawing, understanding the KM process. And I was relating to the obvious, to the way we learn. And them I related to MBE, to the way MBE is conducted, planned. To the way we acquire knowledge, for example,  I though that the fact that we are stimulated to choose the way we like to do it certainly makes it easier, because we can use the time of the day we prefer and the topic we are more interested on. How could we do that on a organisational level? How could we allow an organisation to do it in its favourite style ? Them using it. It is very obvious that if we came to Warwick, if we decided to spend all this money we were already planning to use it. But how do we do that in a company? The basic answer is to make it a natural part of the regular processes that they should help, but is still a challenge.


I`m still thinking how I will do that for WaiveRiders....


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