Knowledge management is dead, long live experience sharing!

I love learning, and that is probably the reason I got obsessed with knowledge management. I used to idealized people that seem to know a lot of things. I believed if we could build a database that contained all information from all those wise people it would be a wonderful idea to have all that knowledge available at the click of a button. I don’t believe that any more. I was wrong to think we could manage knowledge.

The internet contains an immense overload of information and yet we’re spending more time searching than finding. Why? Because all these statistics are exactly that_ data. Documentation which is useless when it comes to real life application. You cannot learn to drive a car by theoretic knowledge alone. In every aspect of learning, there will come a time that we have to put the theory in practice. That’s why there is this thing that called OJT (On the Job Training). Even the most seasoned sales manager finds it impossible to sell something new without addressing customer needs first. The same applies to knowledge, what it is that they say? Before you can administer a cure, the person has to admit that he’s sick.

Building knowledge works better when learning from experience. How to achieve this goal?

  • Identify learning goals for all team members
  • Encourage experience sharing
  • Decide how individual targets will fit in day to day work
  • Set activities for learning and assign leaders
  • Work together
  • Evaluate what has been learned
  • Conclude and set new learning goals

Any team could easily attain this objective by stimulating open communication, encouraging everyone to experiment and to put fresh ideas into practice, and giving honest feedbacks.

We could dream the dream of changing, improving what has already been done but unless we put our thoughts in action, it will remain a dream.

There is no better time than present to set and reach our goals. so, go on… join me, practice what you preach walk the talk and motivate.

Remember:

“A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” – Bruce Lee

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To-Do? Done!

  • Be self-sufficient
  • Become a coach for anyone who wants to deliver Quality
  • Travel around the world, spend some time wherever we’d like to stay
  • Find inner peace and write a book about management
  • Learn to play Jazz piano to vent my feelings

One day, once my dreams have been realized. We will wake up in a country far away where the climate is mild. I’d have made enough money from selling my books and experiences coaching teams. Enough to worry no more about day to day practicalities, enough to have the time for a morning swim, cook a nice breakfast and spend some time with loved ones before starting to work.

My work would be providing strategic advice about management and communication, working with self organizing groups. At the time I’d have enough offer to be able to choose my next projects, putting my skills to a greater good like restoring our natural resources and helping people in developing countries or any other cause that satisfies the desire to do a better than thinking my own survival.

In my spare time I’d be travelling many countries where I could live among the locals and learn about their way of living. In the evening I would play the piano while drinking green tea/wine and most of all, take good care of Impossible Bebong if she would have me… 🙂

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A reply to the Daily-Prompt: To-Do? Done!

Winding down…

I love to walk after a day’s work. And if possible, in nature. It winds me down, empty my mind from unnecessary clutter and calm my nerves. It allows me to get in touch with myself and see the world in another perspective. Roaming around the country side listening to humming of insects and singing of the birds, I feel energized as if born again. I feel somewhat lighter, more positive and ready again to face another day and whatever challenges it may bring…

Walking


This is a reply to the Weekly photo challenge

Can I trust you???

“I don’t feel the motivation of the people working on this project”, “The team has lost confidence in their management” and “I just do my 9 to 5 after receiving the blame for the last production issues”

Those are just a few of many complaints I’ve overheard when working with failing product development teams. It make the alarm bell in my head ring every time I hear such talks! How often did you have the luck of working with a management that truly cares about the challenges, the team morale, and communication’s transparency.

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I have a dream…

Sometimes, you need to step outside, get some air and remind yourself who you are and where you want to be.”

Sometimes i want to be in a world where there are no hierarchies. Where people are judged by their capabilities, knowledge and expertise as well as their behavior and communication skills. And political play is not the (tall) order of the day. I dream of a place where people get a chance to innovate and create to find their own solutions to given challenges and problems. I want to see a society where we are able to speak what’s in our minds freely about certain matters that concern the difficulties teams are facing on executing projects and what comes with it without unnecessary complications and consequences. I wonder if Agile profiling is the answer to these… but in order to find out, people have to be willing at least to try and cooperate. For the meantime, all I could do is dream…

Communicating properly

“We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.”

Last weekend We’ve had one of those family reunions again. In case of my family, this means shallow conversations, lot’s of political play and inappropriate humour with the purpose to steer conversations away from serious subjects, like the slowly dying family ties, personal grievances and so on. Work is a topic everyone is willing to venture because it is the perfect opportunity for anyone to vent their frustrations and brag about their personal achievements.

Conversations ranging from silly jokes to the misfortunes that overcome their friends, to weather forecasts and holiday plans. Peppered by their personal judgment on any real or imagined injustices that have been done to them such as not recognizing their full potential at work assuming they are more capable of improving the whole company policy a lot better than the current management.

Among my family members, remarkably enough, the only one who behaves normally (as normal as normal can go) is my granny. She’s the one who dares to say what she means and mean what she says without unnecessary flavour and beating around the bushes sans pardon what others might think or how they will react. If only they will follow her suit then it will improve the flow of communication and will probably bridge the ever growing gap between us relatives.

The reason for this ongoing miscommunication I think is the lack of trust. Funny how it may sound I never witnessed any sign of that in my family both sides. The only thing that’s important for them is to compete with each other about their achievements, financial status and material things in general. Tragic isn’t it?

Which reminds me of the general behaviour I witness at work these days, colleagues trying to outdo each other telling stories about everything and nothing in particular. Co-workers listening, nodding their head politely but you can see the doubt in their eyes. Why do you think they don’t dare to voice out their real opinions in public? Because nobody wants to rock the boat. God knows where it will bring them.

In my opinion the optimum manner to establish strong connection with each other is to be out in the open about your thoughts in general within boundary of course. Like the best way to build a team is to share personal values with each other. We tend to trust individuals who openly share their best experiences and their hardships with us. Sharing ideas is a good foundation to establish future relationship and far more efficient than formal techniques like ideaboxes, personal reviews, task planning meetings and so on…

So when you’re managing a team remember, you have to manage the communication in order to make sure that they start to truly understand the worries, strengths and ideas of individuals in the team. They have to feel like respected family members, who will still be family members after they made a mistake. As a manager you have to set the example! You will also share your doubts and ideas with the team, communicate openly and make sure all team members can do so. Building trust is making sure you show them you care about their problems, recognize their differences and make sure they understand each other!

Exploring your Goals and achieving them

With all that social media hype, we’re in a world of overflowing information and communication streams. There are mails, texts and so many other feeds constantly competing for our attention. It’s a real challenge to keep focused especially when it comes to product development where complex disciplines like analysis, design and testing meet. More and more, experts from other fields like healthcare run into similar communication difficulties like how to decide which information is relevant, accurate and valuable?

“In order to work together the people (involved) and the powers-that-be must share the same vision.”

Communication issues are among the top 10 reasons for project failure, another one being a lack of clearly defined responsibilities.

When working together ensure the communication is structured and clear. Keep it simple and keep it human. It has to base on mutual understanding and check whether those needs and goals are truly understood. There is a time to define, teams to inspire, vision to explore and goals to conclude.

“One Goal, One Vision, One Mission”

Oh, if you can plug into people’s emotions by making them see their own needs, go for it… Make them talk about their issues. Nothing is more powerful than intrinsic motivation.

In my experience, what is working when creating shared vision?

  • Define the Needs
  • Inspire the Team to Explore options to address those Needs
  • Explore team Goals

What’s my inspiration writing this? Queen – One Vision, thinking on team level rather than a single man…

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Yes it’s f*cking Political, everything’s Political

Skunk Anansie inspires me to write this short post on behaviour patterns and how they are affected by political motivations.  We are all wearing many different masks for different people and changing them according to the situation for our own personal gain, nothing wrong with that right?  That is understandable behaviour for anyone that’s trying to make the best out of their own lives.

However, it become a different story when this behaviour is present in organisations, since the values of these organisations often don’t match, the goal of personal gain for yourself becomes an obstacle for reaching team goals?  For example our famous “Delivering working software or Shippable Product Increment?”.  That’s in conflict with the laws of putting together successful teams (Ref: Benne & Sheats).

We have to maximize team dynamics by taking into account vision and goals of all involved individuals.  Translated in political terms it’s Glasnost or transparent management, open to debate.  Organisations should open up their management and be completely open about their policies (yes, from highest management, involving all).  By using the S-model and experience coaching teams are directly involved in reaching goals, self-organising with management support.  Experience coaching can work in matrix style, horizontally forming groups that create value.  In efficient organisations that care about their employees there is no room for autocracy.

S-model: Coaching Growing Teams

Leaders help teams best by unlocking their potential enabling them to grow.  Coaching techniques enable teams to grow.  The S-model for Self Coaching teams help teams & Agile Leaders to constantly be aware about evolution of team and individual maturity. Furthermore it provides transparency to the team about their performance and growth path.

S-model for Team Self Coaching
S-model for Team Self Coaching

Coaches need to adapt to personal situation in teams. Depending on their personal experience and confidence they have certain needs for coaching in order to reach goals.  Coaching poker is a helpful tool for the team to see the experience present within the team.  Interaction between team members will indicate their uncertainties and needs in a highly efficient manner.  Just as with planning Poker we form an image on where we position ourselves in the S-model.  Depending on the outcome one of several approaches may be chosen by the Lead Coach:

For each topic / Coaching domain (Example:  Requirements and test management using a new ALM application)

  • The team still needs to grow towards their potential but we have the required experience within the team (expertise with a few people).  In this example the ALM application expert would be available to help out the team.  Experience coaching provides the backbone for the team to grow.
  • The team is currently unable to cope with the provided challenge, external help will be required in order to build up the required expertise.  For example when there is no testing specific ALM experience available.
  • Too many objections lead the team to find another option to do the same in more efficient manner.  Experience coaching is ideal to frame this innovative exploring by the team

In upcoming blogs I’ll discuss the behavior patterns for different teams and how they affect team dynamics.