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Putting Knowledge in the Flow of Work

Contents
Project Personnel and Copyright..2 Sponsor and Partner Organizations..4 Introduction.....5 Chapter 1: Embedding KM in Strategy and Practice........10 Chapter 2: Managing Change and Creating a Knowledge-Sharing Culture.......21 Chapter 3: Making It Easy to Contribute, Share, and Access Knowledge........28 Chapter 4: Measuring KM in the Flow of Work..37 Case Study: Alcoa World Alumina.......43 Case Study: MWH Global Inc. .......55 Case Study: Nalco, an Ecolab Company..........77 Case Study: NASA......85 Case Study: Tata Chemicals Ltd....106 About this Research......126

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Project Personnel
PROJECT TEAM Rachele Williams, SPHR, senior project manager, APQC Rachel Brill, project team member, APQC Lauren Trees, knowledge specialist, APQC SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTISE Darcy Lemons, senior project manager, APQC EDITORS Paige Leavitt Lauren Trees

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MEMBERSHIP INFORMATION For information about how to become a member of APQC and to receive publications and other benefits, call 800-776-9676 or +1-713-681-4020 or visit our Web site at www.apqc.org. COPYRIGHT 2012 APQC, 123 North Post Oak Lane, Third Floor, Houston, Texas 77024-7797 USA. This report cannot be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, faxing, recording, or information storage and retrieval. Additional copies of the report may be purchased from APQC by calling 800-7769676 (U.S.) or +1-713-681-4020 or online at www.apqc.org. Quantity discounts are available. ISBN-13: 978-1-60197-178-4 ISBN-10: 1-60197-178-8 STATEMENT OF PURPOSE The purpose of publishing this report is to provide a reference point for an insight into the processes and practices associated with certain issues. It should be used as an educational learning tool and is not a recipe or step-by-step procedure to be copied or duplicated in any way. This report may not represent current organizational processes, policies, or practices because changes may have occurred since the completion of this study.

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Sponsor Organizations
A global energy, financial, and manufacturing company BASF Corporation General Dynamics Corporation Hatch Petrobras Praxair Inc. Shell Oil Company The Hershey Company The World Bank

Partner Organizations
Alcoa World Alumina, a division of Alcoa Inc. MWH Global Inc. Nalco, an Ecolab Company National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Tata Chemicals Ltd.

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Introduction
This study represents the confluence of more than 15 years of best practices research in knowledge management (KM) by APQC. During that time, APQC has studied many aspects of KM, including strategy design, how to implement and manage KM tools and approaches, and the best ways to motivate employees to collaborate and share knowledge. One enduring question that remained unanswered, however, was that of how KM best-practice organizations put knowledge in the flow of work for business results. In other words, how do they integrate knowledge sharing and collaboration into enterprise and business processes to the point where these activities are no longer viewed as separate, KM pursuits? Best-practice organizations think of knowledge sharing and collaboration as how work gets done, whether that means the delivery of projects, the provision of client services, or the promotion of functional excellence to drive cultural transformation. This report, Putting Knowledge in the Flow of Work, examines the strategies, processes, and practices of five best-practice organizationsAlcoa World Alumina, MWH Global, Nalco, NASA, and Tata Chemicalsin order to learn how they tackled the very real challenge of embedding knowledge into their workflows. What we observed was that the organizations gave thoughtful consideration to the strategic objectives set by their senior leaders and the business drivers underlying the need to improve the way knowledge flows through core processes. They examined those processes closely in order to determine where and how to best infuse knowledge into them via KM approaches and tools. The details of how they accomplished this are described in the body of this report. A globally connected, knowledge-intensive world will continue to increase pressure on organizations to integrate knowledge into their critical business processes and workflows. We thank our best-practice organizations for allowing us inside to examine how they have incorporated knowledge and KM into the flow of work. Their strategies have enabled them not only to improve performance, but also to develop knowledge-sharing cultures that help employees at every level perceive the importance of sharing and collaborating in pursuit of excellence. Darcy Lemons Senior project manager, APQC

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The Best Practices


Over the course of this research, the study team identified 16 best practices associated with the successful integration of KM into critical business processes and workflows. These 16 best practices, categorized by theme, are listed below. EMBEDDING KM IN STRATEGY AND PRACTICE 1. Align the knowledge strategy to the organizations strategic framework and business objectives. 2. Embed knowledge-sharing and collaboration approaches in project management and process management methodologies. 3. Balance in-the-flow sharing with collaborative events where employees address strategic opportunities and challenges. 4. Develop transparent processes so employees see the impact of the ideas, knowledge, and lessons they contribute. 5. Aim for global consistency, but allow for some customization to accommodate local culture. MANAGING CHANGE AND CREATING A KNOWLEDGESHARING CULTURE 6. Recruit employees to act as knowledge advocates in their respective business units. 7. Include knowledge management capabilities in employee training, especially for targeted roles. 8. Consider knowledge sharing and collaboration in competency development and performance management. 9. Know your audience and brand KM initiatives accordingly. MAKING IT EASY TO CONTRIBUTE, SHARE, AND ACCESS KNOWLEDGE 10. Use facilitators to help employees capture and contribute knowledge. 11. Put knowledge where people will trip over it, and deliver it in a format the fits the target audience. 12. Create digital repositories to facilitate global standardization and knowledge reuse across projects.

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13. When selecting technology for knowledge sharing and collaboration, look for tools that support existing processes and fit the culture. 14. Extend virtual collaboration capabilities so employees can team with partners, suppliers, and customers. MEASURING KM IN THE FLOW OF WORK 15. Link KM measures to enterprise-wide strategic objectives. 16. Start by measuring activities, but shift focus to measures of business value as the KM program matures.

The Best-Practice Organizations


The five best-practice organizations in this study, also called best-practice partners, exhibited a number of similar characteristics. For example, they are all global enterprises with a minimum of six years of experience in formal KM. They also have several business drivers in common. Each best-practice organization had its own reasons for launching its KM program, but in comparing their motivations, several themes emerged: a trend toward globalization and expansion, a focus on meeting customer needs and providing value-added service, a need for integrated product solutions, a drive for standardization and consistent practices and tools, a desire to reduce costs while maintaining or enhancing quality, and a culture that values innovation and/or process improvement.

One additional similarity among the five best-practice partners is that they all benefit from the strategic placement of their KM programs and report directly to senior leaders at their organizations. (More details on this can be found in Chapter 1 of the report.) Below are brief overviews of the five best-practice organizations. More details on each organization and its respective KM program can be found in the case studies at the end of this report. ALCOA WORLD ALUMINA Alcoa Inc. produces alumina and primary aluminum. It operates in approximately 30 different countries, employs more than 60,000 people, and reported 2011 revenues of approximately $25 billion (USD). This study examined the KM program in the

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Alcoa World Alumina (AWA) division, which is part of the global primary products business group. Alcoa World Aluminas KM strategy is to standardize knowledge and practices to the current best level possible. To accomplish this, the KM team focuses on the identification and transfer of best practices across operating locations. Knowledge and best practices are transferred via four main KM approaches: communities of best practice, global virtual teams, focus plant initiatives, and operating reviews. Alcoas processes have become more mature over time, moving from explicit knowledge capture activities in communities of practice to more tacit knowledge transfer exercises facilitated by global virtual teams and focus plant initiatives. MWH GLOBAL INC. MWH Global Inc. is a consulting engineering firm that focuses primarily on the wet infrastructure industry (e.g., water supply and water treatment plants). MWH is a privately owned organization that employs approximately 7,500 people in 35 countries across six continents. Its 2011 revenue was $1.4 billion (USD). MWH offers a portfolio of products and services. In addition to those tangible offerings, the organization also provides the technical expertise of its employees to clients. Therefore, its KM strategy and program focus on locating and leveraging experts across the organizations global locations on behalf of clients. The organization also looks for ways to take its intellectual capital and infuse it into repeatable designs and solutions. NALCO, AN ECOLAB COMPANY In addition to manufacturing specialty chemicals and equipment, Nalco provides related consulting, engineering, and technical support to clients in 150 countries. In 2010, it reported sales of $4.25 billion (USD) and spent $80 million on R&D. Nalco has a 600-person R&D staff spread across 14 research facilities around the world. It also employs approximately 7,000 salespersons and service technicians who work directly with clients. Nalcos KM program helps transfer knowledge about the organizations products and services to salespersons and technicians, who in turn transmit that information to clients. Knowledge transfer occurs through an extensive professional development program; technical support from internal experts; and a global KM system that provides expertise location, social networking, communities of practice, and federated search capabilities. The current KM strategy focuses on promoting the organizations newly installed KM system and improving the integration of new hires.

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NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION (NASA) Created in 1958 by the U.S. Congress, NASA is headquartered in Washington, D.C. The organization has an annual budget of approximately $18 billion and employs almost 18,000 people. It operates 10 field and research centers throughout the United States. NASAs KM efforts are predominantly decentralized. Each center has its own culture and its own KM stewards. The focus of the KM program is to encourage collaboration and facilitate the communication of project and program knowledge across regional centers and audiences. Two key mechanisms for incorporating knowledge sharing and collaboration into the workflow at NASA are its lessons learned process and the NASA Engineering Network, a portal that offers an integrated set of resources to facilitate sharing and learning across the organizations engineering community. TATA CHEMICALS LTD. Tata Chemicals Ltd. is a global company headquartered in Mumbai, India. In recent years, Tata Chemicals operations have expanded to include manufacturing sites in the United Kingdom, the United States, and several African countries. The organization has more than 10,000 employees and reported 2011 revenues of $2.4 billion (USD). Tata Chemicals KM program concentrates on empowering employees to seek and share knowledge effectively. Senior leaders envision KM as a vehicle for cultural transformation, revolutionizing how employees work together to create value. The ultimate purpose of the KM program is to promote functional excellence, enhance decision making, and reduce duplication of work. The organization employs a number of KM approaches in support of this vision, including a story capture process, collaborative problem-solving programs, and activities that encourage idea management and innovation.

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Chapter 1: Embedding KM in Strategy and Practice


In their 2011 book The New Edge in Knowledge, APQCs Carla ODell and Cindy Hubert state that KM must serve an organizations strategic goals and the needs of employees using the knowledge. This statement is very important because it identifies, at a high level, two audiences for KM: the organization and its employees. Both are equally instrumental in integrating knowledge sharing and collaboration into business processes and workflows. From an organizational perspective, it is vital that the KM program support enterprise strategies and objectives. The KM team should find ways to use knowledge-sharing approaches and tools to help the organization achieve its mission and goals. This often occurs at the level of the business units or functional areas (presuming that their objectives align with enterprise objectives). When KM activities further strategic priorities, they are more likely to gain the support of senior leaders, who reciprocate by advocating knowledge sharing and modeling knowledge-sharing behaviors. For employees, it is important to have access to KM approaches and tools at the teachable moment, when people are most receptive to learning and retaining knowledge for future use. KM teams should collaborate with staff members to understand the processes they support and their workflows. With proper insight into when, where, and how people work, KM teams can embed the appropriate KM approaches and tools into employees daily routines, thereby simplifying the processes of finding and reusing knowledge. KM teams that provide tactics, tools, and templates that address employees urgent needs are more likely to successfully integrate knowledge sharing into the flow of work. Each of the best-practice organizations in this study has pursued a formal KM strategy and program for several years. Along the way, the organizations have learned numerous lessons with regard to building knowledge sharing into the flow of employees work. The strategies, processes, and practices described in this chapter reflect those lessons.

Align the Knowledge Strategy to the Organizations Strategic Framework and Business Objectives
One of APQCs KM Design Principles is: Make sure that the KM strategy is part of the broader business strategy and considers the enterprise value chain. According to APQC years of research, organizations with successful KM programs
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align them with the critical strategic objectives of their enterprises. For example, each best-practice organization in APQCs 2010 report Sustaining Effective Communities of Practice made a strategic decision to align its program objectives with those of the organization, thus ensuring that communities remained relevant and garnered buy-in from both leaders and employees. 1 Fluors KM program supports the enterprise goal of process excellence, whereas ConocoPhillips knowledge-sharing program supports the goal of functional excellence. As the following examples demonstrate, the current studys best-practice organizations have achieved a similar level of alignment. ALIGN KM TO THE BROADER STRATEGY The Alcoa Business System is how work gets done at Alcoa. The system is a structured set of rules and guidelines by which new practices and knowledge can be integrated into existing workflows. Alcoas KM team reports to the manufacturing excellence group, which drives the Alcoa Business System and initiates production rate, efficiency, and product quality improvements. Composed of technical and production presidents and vice presidents, the council controls and owns the technology strategy for refining and mining. This alignment with the manufacturing excellence group enables the KM team to stay informed of strategic priorities and ensure that its activities focus on the problems and challenges of utmost importance to the organization. The link to the Alcoa Business System also allows the best practices discovered and developed through knowledge-sharing approaches to be integrated into workflows and disseminated to Alcoa offices and plants around the world. In 2005, the KM team at MWH Global received a new objective: to embed knowledge and/or knowledge-sharing practices into work processes and intellectual property. The drivers behind this objective were to: deliver value to the customer, drive innovation, and encourage employee engagement and competency development. MWH Way is MWH Globals client service model. This service model encompasses three components: (1) manage the project, (2) engage the work force, and (3) manage the business. Manage the project actually refers to MWHs global project delivery framework. As a client-focused project delivery organization, MWH Global classes project management as a critical business process. Therefore, it made a strategic decision to embed knowledge sharing and capture in its project management methodology in order to improve global quality and consistency across each phase of the organizations projects.
1 APQC. Sustaining Effective Communities of Practice. APQC Publications, 2010: www.apqc.org/knowledgebase/documents/sustaining-effective-communities-practice-best-practices-report.

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NASAs work focuses primarily on aeronautics, human exploration and operations, and science. The organization operates according to a set of operational procedures and policies called the NASA Procedural Requirements. After the space shuttle Columbia disaster in 2003, NASA developed a procedural requirement for lessons learned, which is one of the organizations core KM approaches. NASA Procedural Requirement 7120.6 establishes the requirements for the collection, validation, assessment, and codification of lessons learned submitted by individuals, NASA directorates, programs and projects, and any supporting organizations and personnel. It provides the basic processes and requirements for the implementation of the NASA Lessons Learned Process. It also includes information and guidelines on the concept of lessons; the requirements for lessons; and the processes used to capture, validate, and transfer lessons. Tata Chemicals corporate vision includes tenets related to innovation, employee teamwork, and learning from diversityall of which tie into the need for knowledge sharing and collaboration. Perhaps more importantly, KM is included as a key area of excellence in Tatas business excellence model, which drives quality and performance standards throughout all Tata Group organizations. This inclusion of KM in the business excellence model ensures that knowledge sharing and collaboration remain priorities for leaders at every level of the organization. According to Nalcos leaders, knowledgeand by extension KMis at the heart of what the organization does. Customers dont just buy specialty chemicals from Nalco; they also need expertise on the application of those chemicals. As one Nalco employee said, They pay for chemistry; theyre buying our knowledge. The nature of Nalcos business means that it sometimes has to put its people in very dangerous situations and environments. For this reason, Nalco holds safety as one of its core values, along with customer delight, people development, and business processes. As a value-driven service organization, Nalco puts its customers front and center. Its vision of customer delight is for each customer to have an extraordinary experience and to be completely satisfied with the services provided. Part of how Nalco accomplishes this goal is by making sure that it has the right business processes in place as well as proper people development strategies and opportunities. KM is interwoven into the expression of each of these core values through the prescriptive transfer of knowledge during training; just-in-time access to libraries, communities, and expertise; and knowledge creation and dissemination. ALIGN WITH STRATEGIC FUNCTIONS APQCs research shows that organizations with successful, sustainable KM programs have leaders at all levelsfrom the CEO down to line management who reinforce the need to leverage knowledge and collaborate at every opportunity. All the best-practice organizations in this study enjoy the support of their senior leadership. Furthermore, their KM programs report into very strategic functions at

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their respective organizations (Figure 1), making alignment with business objectives easier. Reporting Structure at Best-Practice Organizations

Organization
Alcoa MWH Global Nalco NASA Tata Chemicals

KM Program Reports To:


Manufacturing excellence group Chief of strategy Sales and support function and marketing and business development functions Office of the chief engineer Chief of HR

Figure 1 BALANCE LONG-TERM STRATEGY WITH SHORT-TERM ACTIONABLE GOALS During their site visits, two of the best-practice partnersTata Chemicals and Alcoadiscussed their efforts to combine long-term KM strategies with annual goals. This balance of the long- and short-term enables the KM teams to ensure alignment with organizational objectives while, at the same time, pursuing tangible performance plans and goals that support the long-range vision. The KM team at Tata Chemicals uses an annual planning process to align the KM strategic plan with the overall strategic plan for the organization, helping to ensure that KM supports critical business needs. As part of the process, the KM team develops a list of KM goals and then designs a KM strategy map, a five-year strategic plan, and a one-year action plan that outlines specific projects to be addressed in the coming year. The team also defines how new and enhanced KM initiatives will affect key stakeholder groups, from senior leaders down to front-line workers at the organizations plants. Alcoas KM team takes the five- to 10-year enterprise strategy developed by senior managers and reviews it to identify areas where enhanced knowledge sharing and best practices transfer can support strategic needs. The team then breaks the longterm strategy down into short-term, manageable objectives. Once it has identified opportunities for improvement, the KM team creates plans to identify best practices and deploy them across operating locations. It uses operating review events (described later in this chapter) as opportunities to work with local teams on their
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KM road maps and determine how the road maps roll up into Alcoas long-term strategic vision.

Embed Knowledge-Sharing and Collaboration Approaches in Project and Process Management Methodologies
The previous finding discussed the necessity of aligning the KM program with the broader business strategy. Successfully accomplishing this alignment increases the likelihood of support from senior leadership and boosts engagement among employees. However, to truly integrate KM into the daily work of an organization, it is necessary to embed KM tools and approaches in business processes and workflows. This not only drives home the message that knowledge sharing is important to the organization, but also makes it easier for employees to participate in and benefit from KM. INTEGRATE KM INTO PROCESSES AND PROCESS MODELS The best-practice organizations studied for this report embed KM in processes at both the enterprise and project levels. Enterprise frameworks such as the Alcoa Business System and Tata Chemicals process management model ensure the quality and consistency of the knowledge transferred as well as the approaches used to transfer it. For example, Tata Chemicals uses its process management model to regulate operations and implement its strategic plan. The model consists of three levels: Level 1enterprise processes that address the core areas of leadership, supply chain management, technology and manufacturing, human capital management, financial management, customers and markets, IT, and continual improvement; Level 2mid-level processes representing significant business areas; and Level 3functional processes that guide employees in performing day-to-day activities. KM is considered a Level 2 process at Tata Chemicals. Beneath it are three Level 3 processes that guide activities related to knowledge identification, capture, sharing, and reuse. Every KM approach is linked to one of the Level 3 processes, which helps ensure that employees at all levels understand the purpose of KM and how it fits into larger processes and workflows (i.e., their everyday jobs). The Alcoa Business System is comprised of principles and tools used to manage Alcoa businesses. The system is built on three overarching principles: (1) make to

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use, (2) eliminate waste, and (3) people linchpin the system. The principle of make to use focuses on Alcoas customers and emphasizes single-piece production, on demand, defect free, at the lowest possible cost, and made safely. The eliminate waste principle focuses on exposing and solving problems in order to continuously improve the cost, quality, and speed of the organizations manufacturing and business processes. Finally, the people linchpin the system principle emphasizes the need for an environment in which people participate in identifying and solving problems and continuously look for ways to improve costs, quality, and speed. Understood as the way work gets done inside Alcoa, the Alcoa Business System drives the transfer of knowledge down to the shop floor. Nalco takes a different approach to KM. The target audience for its KM program is the organizations sales force and service technicians. These individuals spend most of their time onsite with clients; therefore, it is important that they be knowledgeable about Nalcos products and services. They must be technically capable problem solvers who can provide customized resolutions for clients. To help these employees develop their knowledge and expertise, Nalco has integrated knowledge transfer into its intensive, mandated orientation and training program. The orientation and training are led by the Nalco Learning Center (in collaboration with the KM team) and enabled by the online learning management system, which is part of Nalcos federated KM system. This learning management system, which also offers elective training, standardizes Nalco practices and validates employees completion of the courses. MAKE KNOWLEDGE CAPTURE AND REUSE PART OF PROJECT MANAGEMENT The examples described above depict methods of embedding KM into enterpriselevel processes and workflows. This is important to the best-practice organizations because it helps drive enterprise quality and consistency. However, to really build KM into operations, several organizations have gone a step further and integrated KM approaches into their project management methodologies. This puts KM resources directly in the path of those working on a project. Employees dont have to stop and think, Did I capture that knowledge or share that lesson? They dont have to wait until the project ends to record (or recreate) reusable intellectual property and improvement ideas. Instead, knowledge capture, transfer, and reuse occur naturally over the course of the project at appropriate junctures. The integration of KM into MWH Globals project management methodology began with an initiative to improve global project delivery. A team was formed to look at the entire project life cycle and determine how the adoption of standard processes could increase quality and consistency. One solution was to embed knowledge capture and transfer in all three phases of the project life cycle: planning, execution, and close-out. For example, in the planning phase of a project, a project manager must identify and plan knowledge transfers that will occur throughout the project. A template is provided to enable this step. During the execution phase, the
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project manager ensures that team members actually fill out the knowledge transfer template so that it becomes a working record of the project. Prompts at key milestones throughout the project remind team members to complete this activity. During close-out, the project team conducts a post-project appraisal to review the project and collect lessons learned as well as recommendations that can be applied to similar projects. The project team archives the knowledge transfer plan at the conclusion of the project, but it remains searchable and accessible by future project teams. NASAs lessons learned process is designed to ensure that key lessons are captured and shared agency-wide and also with the public. Using an approach to similar to MWH Global, NASA embedded its lessons learned process in its project management methodology. NASA defines a lesson as knowledge or understanding gained by experience (positive or negative). The organizations lessons learned process is governed by a NASA procedural requirement that dictates the process and key requirements. One requirement states that employees must review key lessons learned at major project milestones in order to determine their relevancy to the current project. Another requirement mandates that employees assess project compliance with lessons learned recommendations.

Balance In-the-Flow Sharing with Collaborative Events Where Employees Address Strategic Opportunities and Challenges
In addition to providing the type of process- and project-based sharing opportunities described above, the best-practice organizations also host knowledgesharing events that take employees out of their everyday routines. Even though such events require employees to step away from their jobs for a period of time in order to collaborate, create new knowledge, or identify best practices and/or lessons learned, APQC considers these events to be in the flow of business because they address issues that are vital to organizational strategies and priorities. The employees who participate in these events do not see them as frivolous distractions from their core duties, but rather as opportunities to directly contribute to the organizations innovation and continuous improvement goals. Tata Chemicals uses structured, face-to-face events called K-Cafs to gather employee ideas on subjects of importance to the organization. Each K-Caf begins with the announcement of a topic. While some topics link to the KM long-term strategic plan, others reflect needs within particular departments or lines of business. Once a K-Caf is announced, employees form themselves into teams and start brainstorming. At the culminating event, the participating teams present their ideas to a panel of judges, which selects winners based on a set of pre-established criteria. Plans for implementation begin immediately upon the announcement of the winning ideas. In 2011, Tata Chemicals hosted more than 40 K-Cafs across its
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locations. To date, K-Cafs have generated more than 1,500 ideas, 214 of which have been implemented. NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory uses a knowledge-sharing concept called Left Field for early mission concept design. A Left Field is a facilitated brainstorming session involving a cross-functional, multi-disciplinary team of internal subject matter experts. The purpose of a Left Field session is to surface innovative and creative ideas on a specific topic. Sessions take place in a specially designated room that is open and bright with a view outdoors. When a project in Left Field evolves beyond concept design, it moves next door to the Team X room where team members discuss the feasibility of the project. The juxtaposition of the rooms is purposely designed to facilitate a quick evolution from brainstorming to practical discussions on related topics such as resourcing. Alcoas global virtual teams and focus plant initiatives take employees away from their usual duties to collaborate on the creation of specific knowledge deliverables. Chartered to create new knowledge and package it as best practices, each global virtual team targets a key business challenge or objective. Depending on the challenge, team members may be recruited from a single community of practice or from multiple communities. Focus plant initiatives are similar to global virtual teams, but rely on in-person meetings. Each focus plant initiative encompasses a series of monthly events where a group of cross-functional employees comes together to identify best practices and collaborate on large-scale improvements. Focus plant event team members consider how to close the gap between current performance and the potential practical limit that could be achieved upon implementation of applicable best practices. The solutions that emerge from focus plant initiatives are implemented at each of Alcoas global operating locations.

Develop Transparent Processes So Employees See the Impact of the Ideas, Knowledge, and Lessons They Contribute
One of the most unique aspects of the best-practice partners KM processes is their transparency. This may seem obvious, but its really not if you think about it. After all, as a KM practitioner, how many times have you heard people ask why a certain process or portion of a process is important? Or what happened to the idea, lesson, or best practice that they submitted six weeks ago? For the best-practice partners, the need for transparency is paramount. It drives trust and engagement in their KM tools and approaches by empowering employees to be part of the process, making them feel like part of the solution, and enabling them to see the end result of the role they played. Alcoas KM team believes that the best way to engage people in KM is to get them involved. The organizations KM strategy aims to develop practices that ultimately
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will be put in place on the shop floor. One example is Alcoas focus plant events, which entail in-person, onsite meetings at specific plants to address operating challenges. Cross-functional teams comprised of experts, operators, and mechanics work on large-scale improvements in the plants, devising solutions and creating best practices. Solutions are implemented immediately across all operating locations, allowing team members and other plant staff to see their knowledge applied to resolve problems and improve operating performance. Many of Tata Chemicals KM approaches and tools are designed to make employees feel involved and empowered. One example is the K-Caf program described earlier in this chapter. When an idea wins recognition at a K-Caf, the organization immediately orders an implementation plan to put the idea into action. The individuals who contributed the idea are kept informed so they understand exactly how their idea is being leveraged and adapted to benefit the organization. Another example is the Prerana system scheme, which enables Tata Chemicals employees to suggest solutions and improvements for their locations. A local committee at each location reviews the submitted suggestions to assess their merits and practicality. If a suggestion is approved, the relevant process owner develops an implementation plan, which must include a timeline and a savings analysis. The employee who provided the suggestion is informed of the selection and implementation of his or her idea. Furthermore, if the suggestion results in reduced costs, the employee receives a percentage of the total savings. MWH Global relies on its MWH design framework to standardize technical design and delivery enterprise-wide while broadening access to the organizations intellectual capital. The design framework specifies standards and best-practice templates that can be used for design projects. During the development of the framework, designers worked with project teams to break down the most commonly used designs into their component parts and analyze the resources and expertise required to execute each design and project. The framework makes designs visible and accessible to all employees, enabling them to see how their knowledge and expertise are being reused. In essence, the framework takes what was previously tacit knowledge known by a few experts and codifies it so that it can be accessed by anyone across the organization. The design framework and related design centers (see case study) are key pieces of the MWH strategy to make knowledge explicit and visible so that anyone can benefit from it.

Aim for Global Consistency, but Allow for Some Customization to Accommodate Local Culture
A common theme among the best-practice organizations is a desire for consistency in terms of processes and designs. Consistency is important because it improves quality (of deliverables, for example) and reliability (of processes). It also enables the organizations to drive knowledge into their processes and designs, making it easier

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to surface relevant best practices, tools, templates, and lessons learned. However, global consistency must be balanced with local needs. For this reason, many of the best-practice organizations build a certain amount of flexibility into their KM tools and approaches to accommodate the unique requirements and cultures of various departments, business units, and locations. Alcoas KM team understands that, while enterprise-wide consistency supports the achievement of certain strategic goals, there are times when global processes must be adapted to fit local environments. The organization conducts operating reviews to audit each location and ensure that it is implementing the best practices identified through global virtual teams and/or focus plant events. During the reviews, local teams have a chance to discuss any significant challenges at their locations and how these might impact the implementation of specific best practices (or be impacted by them). As part of the discussion, the teams must share their plans to overcome the stated obstacles. Lessons learned are very important to NASA. So important, in fact, that a specific policy mandates the collection, validation, and sharing of lessons learned. However, NASA is a decentralized organization with 10 centers located across the United States. The individual centers administer most KM and lessons learned activities, and what works well at one center may not work at another. Therefore, while NASAs Office of the Chief Engineer maintains the centralized lessons learned process, the policy allows room for each center to adapt the process to its unique environment. Like many global organizations, Tata Chemicals must determine how it wants to address cultural differences that affect its KM tools and approaches. For example, one of Tata Chemicals core KM approaches is a story capture process. In support of this process, the KM team created a special role called a designated listener who is responsible for recording and submitting stories on behalf of other employees. This role has been welcomed in India and Africa, where many line staff members have limited experience writing formal documents and using computers, but it was less well received in Western countries, where employees prefer to submit their own stories through the knowledge portal. The KM team responded by adapting the process to support a self-service model in countries where it is preferred. Based on the success of this modification, Tata Chemicals now makes a point to adjust its KM toolkit to reflect cultural differences whenever such changes seem appropriate.

Conclusion
Finding ways to embed KM in your organizations business strategies, processes, and practices isnt easy, but it is critical. Aligning KM with the business strategy enables the organization and business leaders to achieve their objectives (e.g., to improve quality, reduce costs, and grow revenue). Integrating KM approaches and tools into business processes and practices both benefits the organization and
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empowers individual employees, who receive access content and expertise in the flow of their work. A fully embedded KM program helps employees improve their knowledge and skills and enables them to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively. Putting knowledge in the flow of work can have huge benefits for any organization. The findings and examples in this chapter describe how the best-practice partners have tackled this challenge and overcome the odds. The remaining chapters of the report provide additional details on how these firms accomplished the goal of integrating KM and business. APQC believes this information will be invaluable to KM practitioners, providing them with a vision for the future of KM in their own organizations.

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Chapter 2: Managing Change and Creating a Knowledge-Sharing Culture


Many organizations start their KM programs with the goal of creating a knowledgesharing culture. But lets be clear: A knowledge-sharing culture is usually an end result of KM, not an antecedent. Organizations that have built successful, sustainable KM programs began by realizing that, in order to transform their cultures, they had to change the behavior of individual employees. One way to support the necessary behavioral changes is to make the act of sharing knowledge as easy as possible. To do this, best-practice organizations find ways to embed knowledge-sharing tools and approaches in the day-to-day work of their employees, as discussed in the previous chapter. However, this integration often is not sufficient on its own. As APQC CEO Carla ODell is fond of saying, Knowledge is sticky. It will not flow without an environment that enables it to do so. One of APQC's Knowledge Management Design Principles says that: People tend to support what they create. Make employees feel like stakeholders in the process. In other words, organizations should involve staff members in designing ways to fit knowledge sharing into daily work. When employees are consulted, they are more likely to feel invested in KM and leverage KM tools to collaborate and innovate. This study uncovered four best practices for managing change and increasing KM engagement in ways that help embed knowledge in the flow of work. The first is to invite staff members in the business units to take on specific KM responsibilities, acting as liaisons between the corporate KM group and end-users. The second focuses on increasing employees KM skills and competencies by providing targeted training; this is particularly important for individuals who take on specific KM roles, such as leading a community of practice. The third is to build knowledge-sharing objectives into employees performance development plans, balancing firm goals with flexibility in terms of how the goals are accomplished. The fourth best practicewhich deals with effective branding of KM tools and approachescements the first three practices together. Each best-practice partners KM team took steps to adapt its KM tools and approaches, and even the language used to describe them, to the style of the organization. This ensured alignment between KM and the broader culture and laid the foundation for engaged employees who share knowledge instinctively as part of their jobs.

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Recruit Employees to Act as Knowledge Advocates in Their Respective Business Units


In The New Edge in Knowledge, Carla ODell and Cindy Hubert assert that the best way to integrate KM into the day-to-day life of an organization is to ask front-line employees how to do it. The people who work in the business are intimately familiar with the information and expertise related to their roles as well as the processes, activities, and steps enabled by it. They know where relevant knowledge can be found, who owns it, who needs it, and how it should flow through the organization. And this puts them in the best position to guide the integration of KM into routine work processes. This studys best-practice organizations identify certain employees in their business units and functional areas to promote and enable knowledge sharing. These people may be responsible for leading a community of practice, or they may provide KM support to a specific team, department, or location. In addition to disseminating information and performing administrative duties, the employees act as KM evangelists and change agents. They also help bridge the gap between the corporate KM group and the people who use KM by translating the tools and approaches so theyre in the flow of work. At Tata Chemicals, a network of part-time volunteers helps support KM activities in the businesses. For example, the core KM team recruits employees to serve as designated listeners who record and submit stories as part of the organization's story capture process. Listeners are available in every department and location, ready to translate employees oral stories into written format and submit them to the enterprise knowledge portal. Company leaders believed that adding the designated listener role would encourage participation because employees wouldnt have to write down their experiences or learn how to use the portal. In this way, the listeners help integrate story capture into the flow of employees work. Other volunteer roles include those of KM champion and coordinator. These individuals help ensure that KM initiatives are publicized and implemented consistently across the organization. Two key volunteer roles at MWH Global are those of knowledge advocate and knowledge leader. Among other activities, knowledge advocates listen for and collect success stories about knowledge sharingin other words, how connecting people to knowledge and one another helps MWH win new work or add-on work from existing clients. Knowledge leaders manage MWHs knowledge communities. Chief among their responsibilities is bringing people together to accomplish community goals. Knowledge leaders provide high-level oversight for communities and ensure that each community has a clear vision and direction. At Alcoa, each community of practice has a single point of accountability, or SPA, who acts as the community leader. This person is usually someone whose day-to-day role aligns with the communitys focus area (e.g., research and development). The
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SPA is responsible for articulating the communitys business case to its members and helping them understand their role in the community, including how they can contribute to the achievement of community goals. Not only do the people in these roles help translate KM tools and approaches into the flow of work for other employees, thereby building interest in KM and increasing participation, but they also are a good source of feedback. For example, Tata Chemicals constantly solicits input from its KM coordinators about which KM tools and approaches are most effective and which require improvement. During regular teleconference meetings, the KM coordinators pick specific tools or approaches to discuss and then relay their experiences and any issues they want the core KM team to address. This feedback loop helps the core team pinpoint potential improvements that will have the most impact on end-users.

Include KM Capabilities in Employee Training, Especially for Targeted Roles


Best-practice organizations frequently supplement their KM tools and approaches with training. Although some training materials are intended for anyone who is interested, others target specific KM roles. Training helps all employees understand why they should participate in KM and teaches them how to use the tools and approaches effectively. For community leaders and other key positions, training offers strategies for working with colleagues and helping them put KM in the flow of their everyday work. MWH Global uses its MWH University to deliver training that supports the organizations strategy and the need to share knowledge. The university offers a training toolkit for knowledge leaders that includes more than 100 presentations on topics such as building a community mission and recruiting community members. The toolkit also contains training on how to build trust across a virtual, globally dispersed community. In addition to training for knowledge leaders, MWH University offers resources for other key roles, such as technologists and project managers. Although these roles are not strictly KM-related, the people in them are high-volume consumers of knowledge and need to know how to access and use knowledge to their advantage. For example, a class on the essentials of sales and consulting teaches project managers techniques for leveraging available knowledge to benefit their projects and customers. Another classthis one designed for technologistsinvolves sitting down with experts to learn about problem solving. During the class, the technologists not only gain valuable skills, but also experience the benefits of knowledge transfer firsthand as they listen to the experts stories, many of which highlight lessons learned.

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Alcoas KM team provides training to community leaders and members. Training for community members usually consists of online introductions and orientations, but community leaders are given the opportunity for one-on-one instruction with a member of the KM team. This more intensive, customized training focuses on community organization and various collaboration technologies, including Microsoft SharePoint, discussion forums, and Yammer. Every new hire at Tata Chemicals goes through a week of induction training, which includes a half-day session on KM. The main objective of these sessions is to educate new employees about the importance of collaborating and sharing knowledge. More targeted KM training is integrated into the organization's management development program for high-potential employees and new managers. Although not designed to prepare employees for specific KM roles, Nalco provides extensive, mandated training for field sales representatives and service groups. This training, which comprises more than 50 percent of a new hires first year with the organization, is part of the professional development and prescriptive knowledge transfer process at Nalco. Training serves as a culture change agent at each of these organizations, regardless of the method used or the audience targeted. Employees who understand the purpose behind KM and know how to use the available tools and approaches are more likely to incorporate knowledge sharing and collaboration into their normal work routines. By providing more in-depth training to a specific sub-set of employeesnew managers, high potentials, or employees who have volunteered for KM rolesthe best-practice organizations ensure that Training serves as a culture change agent at each of these organizations, regardless of the method used or the audience targeted. Employees who understand the purpose behind KM and the workings of the available tools and approaches are more likely to incorporate knowledge sharing into their normal work routines. Those who receive more in-depth training help colleagues further embed KM into their workflows by encouraging participation and providing targeted, hands-on guidance when needed.

Consider Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration in Competency Development and Performance Management
The previous chapter talked about the importance of embedding KM in enterprise process models, project management methodologies, and other aspects of business flow. However, adding KM to employee performance goals and discussions forces a different kind of integration. Whereas the former makes the acts of seeking,
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capturing, and transferring knowledge easier to accomplish, the latter motivates employees on a more personal level, tying KM participation to career advancement and financial remuneration. Alcoa has included knowledge sharing in employees performance objectives as far back as 2005, when its primary knowledge-sharing approach was communities focused on best practices transfer. Organizational leaders believe that including participation in communities, global virtual teams, and focus plant events in employees annual performance objectives reinforces the importance of knowledge sharing and helps motivate people to become more engaged. NASA representatives assert that incorporating the expectation to share lessons learned in the performance management process has been one of the organizations critical success factors for KM. For example, when the KM team at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory launched an engineering wiki, people were slow to contribute to it, read it, and reuse the information it contained. However, once participation in the wiki became part of the performance management process, the organization saw a significant increase in wiki contributions and knowledge reuse. MWH Global had been practicing KM for many years when it implemented a career planning framework and performance management system in 2005. Within this system, each career path and level is linked to performance objectives against which individuals are assessed. Many of MWH Globals career paths, such as technologist and project manager, include knowledge-sharing goals in their performance objectives. For example, technologists have a goal related to participation in knowledge communities. Tata Chemicals takes a slightly different approach to embedding KM in competency development and performance management. One of its tactics involves performance dialogs, which are daily collaborative meetings carried out during shift changes at plants. The performance dialog process is designed to facilitate creative problem solving while building the competencies of employees at the shop-floor level. By teaming up to tackle performance gaps, plant workers learn to: identify problems and corrective actions, monitor key performance indicators, collaborate with colleagues and superiors, and build accountability and trust.

Performance dialog meetings also provide opportunities for senior managers to offer coaching and relevant performance feedback. Measurement drives behavior is a commonly accepted axiom. Professional and business goals help people make decisions about their jobs, and how to execute them, every day. Why should knowledge sharing be any different? At best-practice
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organizations, KM practitioners have long had KM-related goals in their performance objectives. Now, the trend is to extend these goals to employees not in KM-specific roles. On a cautionary note, it is important to understand the exact goals you are driving toward. For example, do you simply want employees to supply a certain number of lessons learned to a database? Or do you want them to publish detailed, quality lessons accompanied by recommendations that will allow future users to take action? These are very different goals. APQC encourages KM practitioners to carefully consider the behaviors they want to encourage and the measures that will drive those behaviors before documenting knowledge-sharing objectives in performance plans and goals.

Know Your Audience and Brand KM Initiatives Accordingly


KM is more successful over the long term when an organization considers the target audience for KM and adapts the programs brand accordingly. For example, in some organizations, its acceptable to use words and phrases like knowledge, knowledge management, and communities of practice. However, in others, such language carries negative connotations, reminding people of failed software implementations or other outdated efforts. The KM teams at these organizations tend to rely on more commonly accepted business terms to frame their KM objectives, focusing on the desired outcomes. For example, a team might tell employees, Were going to reduce risk in our projects by capturing and applying lessons learned. The best-practice organizations adapt the look and feel of their KM brands to fit the culture and style of their organizations. This often involves tackling challenges such as language barriers and regional or national cultural differences. As Tata Chemicals expanded its operations to four continents, the KM team had to recognize differences between South Asian and Western culture and adapt its KM approaches accordingly. For example, many of the organizations KM initiatives have Hindi names that non-Indian employees found difficult to understand and remember. The KM team responded by assigning some initiatives alternative names for use in English-speaking countries. Another, less superficial cultural adjustment involved the designated listener role, which did not catch on in Europe and North America. Employees in Western countries prefer to document and submit their own stories, and the KM team had to modify its approach to suit this preference for selfservice. Alcoa began branding its KM program almost as soon as it launched. Initially, the KM team wanted to avoid buzz words when describing KM to employees. In an effort to mirror the business language with which employees were already familiar, the team talked about KM in terms of practices and procedures that would allow
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employees to share knowledge, access expertise, and perform their jobs faster and more easily. The team also focused its branding on the crux of Alcoas KM strategy, which is the identification and transfer of best practices in order to standardize knowledge and practices across the organization. To emphasize the importance of this goal, Alcoas communities of practice are called communities of best practice. Localized branding is particularly noticeable at NASA, where KM is decentralized. Each of the organizations 10 centers has its own culture and its own approach to KM, reflecting the nature of the work performed at that location. At the Kennedy Space Center, for example, the KM team recognized that it needed to understand the knowledge requirements of its work force. Through a series of activities, the team identified various knowledge repositories and developed knowledge maps to create a baseline. The KM approaches developed organically from that point forward. By contrast, the Glenn Research Center relies on a robust lessons learned approach to integrate knowledge sharing into employees workflows. Members of a cross-functional lessons learned committee are responsible for acting as KM advocates and developing lessons learned into processes, policies, and procedures.

Conclusion
At organizations with knowledge-sharing cultures, employees are more likely to understand the purpose behind KM as well as the nuts-and-bolts of how to use specific tools and approaches. They are trained to share knowledge, supported by KM advocates in their business units, and ultimately evaluated based on their level of engagement. All this helps them see KM not as an isolated initiative, but as something that supports strategic goals and has real relevance to the work they do every day. And this, in turn, increases employee buy-in and support for integrating knowledge sharing into core processes and workflows.

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Chapter 3: Making It Easy to Contribute, Share, and Access Knowledge


You can set up all the repositories in the world, but ultimately it is the people that make it work. Ralph Zerick Lessons learned program manager, NASA Glenn Research Center
When APQC launched this research project, the study team was interested in exploring the specific tools that help organizations embed KM in business processes and workflows. However, a key theme echoed by all the best-practice partners is that KM programs should focus on people, process, and technologyin that order. In the words of the site visit hosts at Tata Chemicals: People are the fulcrum of KM, and changing their behavior [to enable] more effective collaboration is the key to success. Technology is important, but not the primary consideration for integrating knowledge sharing and collaboration into the flow of work. It is far more important to focus on the people who use the technology, their work and access preferences, and the organizational culture of which they are a part. In keeping with this theme, the best practices in this chapter focus on the employee experience and the ease with which knowledge can be contributed, accessed, and reused. Important enablers for embedding KM in workflows and business processes include: facilitation, tools, and templates provided by the KM team; well-organized, accessible electronic repositories; user-friendly technology solutions that fit the organizations culture; and the extension of virtual collaboration capabilities to suppliers and customers.

Use Facilitators to Help Employees Capture and Contribute Knowledge


A key finding from this study is that, if you want employees to do something, you have to make it easyin addition to highly relevant to their jobs. The best-practice organizations go out of their way to enable staff members to contribute ideas, knowledge, and lessons. Through facilitated processes, tools, and templates, the

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partners simplify knowledge capture and documentation, seamlessly building these activities into the flow of employees normal tasks and routines. The capturing and sharing of lessons learned is a mandated activity at NASA and a critical part of the organizations knowledge-sharing culture. But that doesnt mean that getting NASA employees to document and capture lessons is easy. Lessons learned program managers actively facilitate the employee contribution process. For instance, staff members who lack the skills or time to document their lessons learned can leverage designated technical writers to construct their lessons for them. The employees still have to review and approve the lessons, but they avoid the timeconsuming writing process. NASAs KM team further simplifies lessons learned capture by providing templates and customized support. For example, NASA Glenn Research Center Lessons Learned Program Manager Ralph Zerick and his team have designed templates as part of the overall lessons learned workshop package provided to project managers, including an invitation template that a project manager can send to prospective workshop attendees and a process guide for project managers. The lessons learned program manager also facilitates the actual workshop on the project managers behalf. According to Zerick, The idea with the lessons learned workshops is to make sure that the project manager does as little as possible. At MWH Global, knowledge advocates simplify the process of capturing success stories. The knowledge advocate position is one of the organizations key roles for promoting knowledge sharing, explained Christie Dowling, knowledge integration manager. Knowledge advocates listen for and collect success stories about how connecting people and knowledge helps MWH win and deliver work. The advocates also help their colleagues recognize when they have something valuable to share that others might want to hear about. According to Dowling, the knowledge advocates have been invaluable in helping to collect and document success stories at MWH Global. Like MWH Global, Tata Chemicals uses a facilitated process to streamline the employee story capture process. Rather than asking employees to write up their own stories, the organization created a group of designated listeners who record the stories for them. Listeners are embedded in every Tata Chemicals department and location, so when an employee wants to share a story, he or she can approach one of these individuals. The listenerswho have been trained on active listening and interviewingtranslate the oral stories into a written format and then enter them into the enterprise knowledge portal. Listeners also tag the stories using a preestablished taxonomy. Leaders at Tata Chemicals felt that assigning specific individuals to listen to and record stories was the best way to garner high levels of employee participation. The listeners make it easy for employees to submit stories because they can do so orally, without having to write anything down or learn how to use the portal. This is
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especially important because many line staff membersespecially in Indiahave limited experience using computers or composing formal documents. Designated listeners help integrate story capture into the flow of employees work; they also level the playing field and guarantee that every employee has an opportunity to share.

Put Knowledge Where People Will Trip Over It, and Deliver It in a Format That Fits the Target Audience
The best-practice partners have engineered KM in their organizations to the point where employees literally cant function without it. Nor do they want to. Knowledge sharing and collaboration are simply the way that work gets done. One way that the organizations accomplish this is by delivering critical knowledge to employees via multiple channels, including portals and data repositories as well as low-tech channels such as bulletin boards. One of the primary work tools at NASA is the NASA Engineering Network (NEN). Dedicated to the engineers that it supports, the NEN portal offers an integrated set of resources to facilitate sharing, communication, and learning across the NASA engineering community. Through the NEN, project and program managers can easily access the online Lessons Learned Information System (LLIS), a critical resource to them as they deliver their work. Other KM tools available through the portal include virtual communities of practice, expertise location, and training. Individual NASA locations also have their own procedures and guidelines for getting work done, which are integrated into their center-specific knowledge repositories. For example, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created its own work rules and guiding principles, called flight project practices and design principles. The center has embedded these in multiple portals and applications, including: JPLSpace (the centers intranet site), the JPL project support portal (a knowledge resource for JPL flight projects), the product data management system (a central information service for flight project designs and drawings), the electronic library system, and the computer-aided engineering portal. JPL employees cannot possibly miss the JPL guiding principles and rules, since they are woven into all relevant electronic work spaces.

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Another strategy that NASA uses to embed knowledge in the flow of work is to disseminate it in readily consumable formats. NASA project and program managers are required to search for lessons learned at key milestones throughout their projects and, to facilitate this, the organization formats its lessons so that they are easy to search, access, and absorb. Designed as quick reads, each document is a two-page summary containing: an abstract, a description of the driving event, the lesson learned, recommendations, and contact information for the submitter/owner.

Some documents include links to pictures, other documents, and videos. Michael Bell, lessons learned program manager at Kennedy Space Center, described the lessons learned format as providing a digestible amount of information. He continued, You get some content and background, but you dont have to read through something the length of War and Peace. Nalcos knowledge environment is primarily intended to support the organizations globally distributed field sales and service group so they can interact effectively with current customers and prospects. To encourage employees to leverage knowledge as part of their work, the KM environment was designed with the following usercentric criteria in mind: 1. ease of access to content and expertise, 2. just-in-time access, and 3. anywhere access. The centerpiece of Nalcos knowledge environment is its repository of content and best practices, offering global search capabilities across all technical material relevant to salespeople and technicians in the field. Content is available in 16 languages, and mobile access is provided through employees smart phones. Mobile access is particularly important at Nalco since the target user group for KM spends so much time on site and in meeting with customers. According to Jason Terakedis, business operations manager at Nalco, the organization focuses on the fact that the sales rep is the last 42 inches between us and the customer. If that salesperson doesnt know what hes doing, he cant build a relationship. He cant relay expertise and knowledge information, and he wont be successful. Easy access to safety information is especially important. For example, risk assessments allow employees to visualize what they are doing at client sites. This makes it safer for less experienced personnel to perform tasks such as turning a valve or opening a water line.

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Like the other best-practice partners, Tata Chemicals supports an impressive variety of KM tools and approaches (Figure 2). Employees have a wealth of options for sharing tacit and explicit knowledge, including storytelling, skits, knowledge sharing sessions, fairs, communities of practice, and the K-connect portal. The organization also disseminates knowledge through multiple channels to ensure that employees find what they need. For example, stories are shared through the K-Connect portal, hardcopy booklets distributed to employees, collaborative knowledge-sharing sessions, training programs, and monthly review meetings. KM Tools and Approaches at Tata Chemicals

Knowledge
Employees

Tacit
Story Capture Knowledge Sharing Sessions Idea Management SAE Oorja Communities of Practice Performance Dialogue Customer/ Supplier Meets K Cafes K Fairs BI

Explicit
Structured Unstructured

SAP

K Connect

FIBERS

Figure 2 Tata Chemicals KM toolkit is designed to appeal to the largest possible number of employees. Some staff members respond to databases and written documents, whereas others prefer virtual collaboration or in-person events. Certain approaches aim to engage specific subsets of the work force: For example, Tata Chemicals created a Yammer group to satisfy members of the Millennial generation clamoring for the latest social networking tools. But the thread that ties all these approaches together is their connection to the organizations strategic goals and desired business outcomes. Tata employees understand why they are sharing knowledge: to solve problems, improve processes, generate innovative ideas, and build relationships and trust across the global work force.
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Create Digital Repositories to Facilitate Global Standardization and Knowledge Reuse Across Projects
Another strategy that supports the integration of KM into the flow of work is the creation of electronic repositories where critical knowledge can be easily accessed and reused on future projects. The best-practice partners value innovation and collaboration, but they dont want employees to recreate the wheel unnecessarily. Over the years, these organizations have amassed a wealth of intellectual property, solutions, templates, and designs. By organizing these resources in well-structured, searchable databases, the partners make reusable intellectual property available when and how employees need it, allowing them to customize and build on preexisting elements to meet current client needs. These types of practical knowledge applicationswhich allow employees to reduce costs and cycle times on their projectsare the best way to build buy-in for KM and convince employees to incorporate knowledge reuse into their work processes. For example, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has created a product data management system (PDMS) to serve as a central information service for flight project designs and drawings, including flight project practices and design principles. PDMS facilitates the standardization of flight project design and helps employees jumpstart new projects by leveraging past knowledge and best practices. Another tool, the JPL project support portal, provides supporting information such as key deliverables, artifacts, guidelines, templates, and examples. A third tool, the computer-aided engineering (CAE) portal, is a central electronic repository for all CAE tools, including templates, models, and examples. Using the portal, engineers can access prepopulated CAD designs created based on past knowledge, which allows them to begin with working models based on the NASA guiding principles, rather than having to start from scratch. NASA also has an electronic library service for explicit project knowledge and a separate library portal providing online access to journals, books, scientific papers and reports, and photos. MWH Global standardizes technical design and delivery enterprise-wide using a design framework and associated design centers. In addition to laying out a standard approach to design work, the design framework specifies standards and bestpractice templates for various types of design projects. Four regional design centers co-manage the framework. The centers enable MWH to apply its design framework to its strategic projects while efficiently distributing the workload associated with those projects across the organization. The design framework and design centers are an important piece of the MWH strategy to embed knowledge sharing in day-to-day work. For example, as part of their normal routines, technical staff members follow the standard design methodology process steps and locate best-practice tools and templates that can be

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applied to their current projects. Whereas the design framework provides standardized process steps, the design centers give MWH a way to efficiently manage its technical resources. The centers channel the workload to prioritize necessary resources around MWHs various strategic projects.

When Selecting Technology, Look for Tools That Support Existing Processes and Fit the Culture
Best-practice organizations leverage virtual tools to enable the capture and sharing of knowledge. All five partners either currently use or are rapidly moving toward Microsoft SharePoint as their KM platform, and many combine SharePoint with social technologies such as Yammer or NewsGator. Such technology portfolios are not groundbreakingin fact, they are rapidly becoming the baseline in terms of KM sophistication. What stands out about the partners is the care with which they select tools that support existing processes and cultures, rather than the other way around. This study shows that the mantra, First design the process, then select the technology still holds among best-practice organizations. Nalcos KM philosophy is to design effective processes first and then focus on technology. Since software development is not its core competency, the organization relies on off-the-shelf IT products that integrate well with existing systems. For many years, the KM team used a Lotus Notes platform to support digital papers, local searches, expertise input, product alignment, customer and corporate intranets, and training. In recent years, much of this has shifted to a Microsoft SharePoint 2010 platform, which further enables a federated search function, social networking, e-learning, and access from mobile phones. Nalco also uses SharePoints FAST Search functionality, NewsGator Social Sites, iPhone and Android applications, and the SumTotal cloud learning management system. These applications help streamline Nalcos libraries for explicit knowledge, deliver training, and provide the social layer for communities of practice. The ability for sales team members to access the knowledge environment via their smart phones is another example of KM technology adapting to user preferences and facilitating the integration of knowledge into key workflows. At Alcoa World Alumina, SharePoint fulfills most knowledge sharing and collaboration needs. However, Alcoas culture and the nature of its work require that employees be able to ask questions and receive quick responses from colleagues. To support the need for rapid turnarounds, Alcoa supplemented its SharePoint environment with Yammer, which facilitates asynchronous employee discussions. According to the KM team, this tool is more effective for peer Q&A than the discussion boards offered by SharePoint. When compared to SharePoint, employees asking questions via Yammer receive a higher volume of responses in a much shorter period of time.

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At NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, demands from younger employees have driven the implementation of new KM tools. To allow these employees to interact and share knowledge online, the organization launched JPL Wired, a wiki where colleagues can contribute both formal and informal engineering knowledge. JPL Wired encourages a free flow of information among peers, although it is still guided by the overarching JPL flight project practices and design principles. The organization also built a JPL Gateway social networking site (customized from SharePoint 2010) where employees can share status updates and let colleagues know about any work they upload to NASAs electronic library.

Extend Virtual Collaboration Capabilities So Employees Can Team with Partners, Suppliers, and Customers
When you think about the flow of work, very few organizations perform tasks in isolation. Most processes, projects, and activities involve people outside the full-time work force, whether they are subcontractors, suppliers, clients, or joint-venture partners. Adapting to this reality, the best-practice organizations in this study extend knowledge-sharing and collaboration capabilities to external stakeholders when necessary. This enables employees to use KM tools and approaches as they interact with the extended value chain. For example, NASA supplements its full-time work force with a large population of contractors and subcontractors who are a key audience for KM tools and approaches. Both internal and external contributors need the ability to collaborate and retrieve critical knowledge and lessons learned from past projects. For this reason, contractors on certain projects are granted access to relevant knowledge repositories and systems. In some cases, access even extends to the broader public. For example, NASA allows anyone to review published NASA lessons learned via a specific interface set up for this purpose on the LLIS. Tata Chemicals provides collaboration capabilities to external parties through Eureka on Demand, a portal where employees can post questions and problems they need to solve. Unlike the organizations other KM systems, Eureka on Demand is open to a range of third-party stakeholders, including consultants and partnering academic and research organizations. The portal facilitates collaborative problem solving and enables employees to take advantage of external relationships they may not even be aware of. Eureka on Demand also has a feature where employees can host virtual brainstorming sessions that include third parties. These sessions enable Tata Chemicals to partner with suppliers, customers, and external experts to look holistically at problems and devise effective solutions. Nalco also emphasizes the importance of sharing knowledge with external parties. The organization invests heavily in employee development and training, such as
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through its robust, 24-week training program for new hires. The reach of its prescriptive transfer process extends beyond employees to include customers. According to Steve Lohman of Nalcos technical training group: An educated consumer is our best customer, and our best customers are knowledgeable of our business. One of the things that were constantly doing is training our customers and our customers employees on our business. That allows them to see the value that we deliver So, transferring our knowledge not only internally but externally helps us grow our business.

Conclusion
All the best-practice partners reiterated that the best way to integrate knowledge sharing and collaboration into the flow is to make such activities part of getting everyday work done. These organizations do not highlight KM as something different or special. Instead, they market it as a catalyst that helps employees get their work done faster and more efficiently while maintaining quality standards. KM becomes ingrained when it is directly relevant to peoples workwhen it helps them answer customer questions, sell new business, save time and money on projects, or solve business challenges. Employees who receive a positive return on investment from the time they devote to KM are more likely to build participation into their regular routines.

We dont showcase KM as a separate entity. KM is part and parcel of employees workflows, their own work and processes. We are only facilitators giving them what they require. Devson Kruthiventi Head of KM, Tata Chemicals

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Chapter 4: Measuring KM in the Flow of Work


If you have a well-structured KM program that links KM activities with business needs and changes what somebody does on a daily basis, you will reap financial rewards for your organization. James Grey Refining knowledge manager, Alcoa World Alumina
A final area of exploration in the Putting Knowledge in the Flow of Work study was measurementspecifically, how the evaluation of KM tools and approaches contributes to the embedding of knowledge sharing in workflows and business processes. In studying the best-practice organizations measurement strategies, two overarching themes emerged. The first is that KM measures need to tie back to an organizations business processes and the strategic priorities they support. Each partner implemented its KM program to address a compelling business need and designed its measures to quantify KMs impact on the broader enterprise. Because these organizations have integrated knowledge sharing into core work activities and processes, they do not measure KM in a vacuum, but rather as an enabler of better overall performance and the achievement of strategic goals. The second theme is the extent to which the best-practice organizations emphasize business value measures for KM. Perhaps not surprisingly, the partners have refined their KM programs over time, ending up with relatively mature knowledge-sharing practices. They continue to track activity levels and participation rates, but over the years their focus has shifted to return-on-investment calculations and other assessments of business impact. These types of measures demonstrate the importance of KM to the organization and, as such, are more compelling to senior management and the work force as a whole.

Link KM Measures to Enterprise-Wide Strategic Objectives


Measurement for its own sake is almost always a waste of time and energy. The best-practice partners maximize the usefulness of their measures by linking them to

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key performance indicators and issues of strategic importance. This ensures that the organizations KM programs remain relevant to and aligned with business priorities. Alcoa World Alumina asserts that the best measures for engaging its management team are those aligned with organizational strategy. One of Alcoas key goals is to decrease the production cost of global refining. In support of this goal, the predominant driver of Alcoas KM activities and programs is cost reduction through standardization and best practices transfer. Measurement efforts focus on this topic. Tata Chemicals also links KM measures to strategic goals. To that end, it has incorporated KM measures into the balanced scorecard it uses across all its businesses. A well-defined long-term strategic plan for KM is aligned with other long-term strategic plans throughout the business, and the plan is reevaluated annually to ensure that KM goals and initiatives remain in sync with enterprise priorities. One of the main measurement categories included in the organizations KM dashboard is conversion, which assesses the extent to which employees are applying knowledge to create business impact. The finding that best-practice organizations tie KM measures to strategy is not groundbreaking. Rather, it is consistent with APQCs larger body of KM research, which recommends that organizations start with their enterprise measures and then work backward to develop measures and indicators of KM activity. APQCs Measurement Alignment Worksheet (Figure 3) provides a general framework for linking KM measures to business strategy, and it is a valuable tool for organizations that want to achieve the level of KM strategic alignment exhibited by the bestpractice partners. Instructions on using the worksheet are available in APQCs Knowledge Base. 2

Start by Measuring Activities, but Shift Focus to Measures of Business Value as the KM Program Matures
When organizations first implement KM, they tend to emphasize participation measures, which are tangible and easy to track. As the KM team rolls out new tools and approaches, it wants to verify that employees are aware of the available resources and are using them consistently. But over time, the spotlight usually shifts to assessments of bottom-line value. Activity measures show that people are sharing knowledge, but is the business really benefiting? Is KM helping the organization reduce costs, increase productivity, avoid accidents, or achieve other strategic goals? Several of the best-practice organizations in this study report that their KM
2 APQCs Measurement Alignment Worksheet. APQC Knowledge Base, www.apqc.org/knowledge-base/documents/apqcs-measurement-alignment-worksheet-0.

March

2011:

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measurement systems followed this path, maturing from a focus on activity levels to more complex calculations of business value. APQCs Measurement Alignment Worksheet

Figure 3 When Alcoa World Alumina launched its communities of practice, the main measure it tracked was a community health score, a composite of several activity measures (e.g., number of core team members visiting the community site per month, monthly teleconference attendance, etc.). Today, although it still monitors participation rates, the organization concentrates on measuring the value of its best practice transfer process and the role of KM in decreasing operating costs. Alcoa also tracks non-financial operating measures (e.g., energy usage at plants) and the dollar value of KMs effect on these measures. What has the overall impact of KM been at Alcoa World Alumina? It consistently ranks as one of the top two Alcoa business units in terms of total return on investment to the company, a fact that Alcoa World Alumina representatives largely attribute to the divisions robust KM program. Alcoa World Alumina calculates that its communities of practice alone have delivered a 10:1 return on investment, which is compelling testimony to the value of KM. Measures such as the number of best practices documented provide updated information on activity levels and progress, but ultimately it is the business impact metrics that garner the attention of senior management. To publicize the value of KM at a granular level, Alcoa World
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Alumina develops road maps to estimate the bottom-line impact of implementing each individual best practice. Tata Chemicals KM measurement strategy has evolved along a similar path since the KM program's inception in 2005 (Figure 4). When the organization launched its program, it began tracking activity measures related to various KM approaches. At that stage, the KM team wanted to ensure that knowledge was being captured and transferred, so the emphasis was on quantity (e.g., how many stories were written down, how many documents were viewed, etc.). It was not until 20082009 that attention shifted to how knowledge was being used and the business benefits stemming from knowledge sharing, collaboration, and idea management. The evolution of Tatas measurement strategy culminated with the creation of the KM Meter, a comprehensive index designed to monitor KM engagement and impact across the organization. Through the K-connect portal, authorized employees can view a live dashboard of KM measures and can drill down by location, department, and area in order to assess trends.

The Evolution of KM Measurement at Tata Chemicals

Figure 4

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Tata Chemicals reports that its KM program has yielded various tangible and intangible business benefits, including: operational benefits (e.g., enhanced functional excellence, reduced duplication of work, reduced waste, process improvements, better decision making, and increased innovation and patents); employee benefits (e.g., better integration of newly acquired companies, a stronger sense of community within the work force, increased employee empowerment and morale, and decreased employee absenteeism); and customer benefits (e.g., enhanced customer focus). At MWH Global, the KM teams overarching goal is to deliver value to clients, employees, and the organization as a whole. Therefore, the measures and metrics collected and reported by the team focus on demonstrating that value. In addition to standard activity measures (e.g., number of communities, number of community members, number of lessons learned captured, etc.), the KM team uses more advanced techniques to determine success and demonstrate the benefits of sharing and transferring knowledge. For example, the team employs a success story framework to collect and connect examples of knowledge sharing contributing business value. The team might look at discussion threads where employees responded to a colleagues request for help with a client. The team then follows up with the individual who initiated the discussion to find out whether MWH won that project or won additional contracts as a result of sharing MWH intellectual capital with the client. If so, the team calculates the percentage of the project win that can be attributed to the fact that members of the pursuit team shared knowledge. This process allows the KM team to assess exactly how knowledge sharing helps MWH in the marketplace. To support the collection of success stories, the KM team created a survey form where people can document instances in which they increased contract value, won new work, or performed a job faster or more efficiently because they reused existing knowledge. According to Christie Dowling, knowledge integration manager, the KM team has collected 40 success stories to date with a combined value of more than $64 million (USD).

Conclusion
To embed knowledge sharing and collaboration into the flow of work, an organization must balance numerous considerations, including: current and future strategic objectives; the nature of the business and the type of knowledge it requires; the organizational culture and its outlook on collaboration and change;
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existing technology and the need for new systems; and how to measure success. Readers should consider these different factors and the best practices articulated throughout the report in order to successfully integrate knowledge management into their organizations critical business processes and workflows.

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Case Study: Alcoa World Alumina


Alcoa is a New Yorkbased producer of alumina and primary aluminum. Founded more than 100 years ago, it consists of three main business groups: 1. global primary products, 2. global rolled products, and 3. engineering products and solutions. Alcoa operates in approximately 30 countries and employs more than 60,000 people. It reported 2011 revenues of approximately $25 billion (USD). This case study focuses on Alcoa World Alumina (AWA), a division of the global primary products business group. AWA is responsible for the Bayer process, which involves mining bauxite ore and refining it into alumina. While every step in the Bayer process can benefit from effective knowledge sharing and best practices transfer, Alcoas KM initiatives focus on the refining step. Alcoa has refining locations in several countries including the United States, Jamaica, Brazil, and Suriname. Although technology and equipment differ depending on the age of the facility, each location is responsible for executing the exact same process. These circumstances produce an ideal environment for knowledge sharing. For example, if one location encounters an issue, chances are that another has experienced something similar and might have a solution to share. KM PROGRAM DESCRIPTION AWAs KM program concentrates on best practices transfer across the organizations operating locations. The program began in 2004 when the refining group launched its first community of practice. In 2009, AWAs KM effort expanded with the creation of the manufacturing excellence group. This group: drives the Alcoa Business System (ABS), a set of standards that determines how work gets done at Alcoa; initiates production rate, efficiency, and product quality improvements; and is responsible for all KM activities. The manufacturing excellence group is part of the refining center of excellence.

Strategy
AWAs KM strategy aims to develop practices that eventually will be put in place on the shop floor. If the KM team is not changing the actual work that Alcoa employees are doing, then it is not fulfilling its mission.
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DEVELOPING THE KM STRATEGY Alcoas overall strategy is to standardize knowledge and practices to the current best level possible. This strategy was born out of senior management frustration with vast performance differences among operating locations. For example, some of Alcoas operating locations are on the low end of the cost curve, whereas other locations are on the high end. Senior management discovered that practices from the more successful plants could be leveraged by the less successful plants to improve performance and help close the gap. Once senior management sets AWAs five- to ten-year strategies, the KM team breaks down those overarching strategies into more short-term, manageable objectives that address the organizations main opportunities for improvement. Based on the gaps identified, the KM team creates approaches to pinpoint best practices and deploy them across operating locations in a structured way. New practices are implemented through the Alcoa Business System (ABS). ABS, which was developed from the Toyota production system, is a structured set of rules and guidelines that must be followed when integrating new practices and knowledge into existing workflows. According to James Grey, refining knowledge manager, ABS is how work happens in Alcoa; it has become our version of Lean. All operating locations follow the ABS framework, so any changes that are made in the framework are automatically rolled out to all locations. LAUNCHING THE KM PROGRAM In the beginning, the KM team focused where it could make a significant differencethat is, where technical experts were already developing new technologies and making significant changes. The team launched communities of practice to leverage global technical knowledge across the organization. In order to gain buy-in from employees, the team initially focused on standardizing practices in areas where it was most possible and profitable to do so. The team determined that, if it started in areas where small changes might have significant financial impact, then it would be easier to sell the idea of best practices transfer to the work force. In addition, the KM team made it a priority from the very beginning to ensure that participation in KM was integrated into employees everyday work, rather than being an add-on activity. When introducing the concept of KM to employees, the team tried to avoid using buzz words like knowledge management and workflows. Instead, it described KM as an opportunity to share knowledge, access expertise, and quickly take advantage of new technologies in each location. The KM team disguised KM as a set of techniques that would enable employees to do their jobs faster, better, and more easily.

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SENIOR LEADERSHIP SUPPORT The manufacturing excellence group, which is responsible for all KM-related efforts, is sponsored by AWAs manufacturing and technology council. Comprising technical and production presidents and vice presidents, this council owns the technology strategy for refining and mining. The council demands success from KM initiatives and ensures that all KM-related activities are linked to business objectives and integrated into normal work. Alcoa is a hierarchical organization with well-defined pathways through which change must be made and delivered. The KM team has built senior leadership support for knowledge sharing and best practices transfer by following these pathways. This support has made KM adoption much easier. THIRD-PARTY ASSISTANCE In developing and evolving its KM approaches, AWA has leveraged multiple external parties, as described below. APQCs training courses, conferences, benchmarking studies, KM Capability Assessment Tool, and Knowledge Base have been key resources for Alcoa. Alcoa has had the opportunity to learn from and network with other industry leaders through Australias Leading Practices Forum. Alcoa is involved with a small benchmarking consortium in Western Australia that has given the organization additional opportunities to learn from others and adapt their practices. Finally, Alcoa works with the business school at the University of Western Australia to increase Australias overall familiarity with KM. The relationship gives employees a chance to talk with academics about the latest KM research. According to Grey, Its important to routinely critique your approach and your work, and to get others to come and look at it for you so that you get a third-party view of what it is you are doing and confirmation that you are on the right track.

Processes and Practices


Since 2004, AWAs KM team has implemented four main processes (Figure 5) to facilitate best practices transfer across operating locations: communities of practice, global virtual teams, focus plant events, and operating reviews.
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AWAs Best Practices Transfer Practices

Figure 5 All four techniques focus on developing best practices that are ultimately deployed through the ABS. As the following sections describe, the processes have become more mature over time, moving from explicit knowledge capture activities in communities of practice to more tacit knowledge transfer exercises, such as global virtual teams and focus plants that are tied to business value and specific deliverables. COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE Alcoa launched its first communities of practice in 2004. These communities were created to connect people in similar roles so that they could share best practices in technology, operations, and maintenance while deepening their individual expertise. Communities are tasked with discovering, refining, and implementing improvements to mining and refining processes and distributing the best practices to other operating locations. Each community is led by a single point of accountability (SPA) and a senior management sponsor. The SPA is a part-time position typically occupied by an
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individual whose role strongly aligns with the topic of the community. For example, the head of research and development for refining is the SPA for the refining community. In addition to SPAs and sponsors, communities are made up of two groups: core members and interested members. Core members are engineers whose work is directly related to the topic of the community. Typically, this group includes at least one person from each operating location plus additional researchers or experts from other fields. Core members attend all virtual meetings and teleconferences and contribute regularly to the community Web space. These members are deeply involved in forming the structure that attracts and engages the broader membership base. Interested members consist of a broader set of engineers, technical managers, or just employees who have an interest in that particular topic. For the most part, interested members dont get directly involved in the activities of the community. Referred to as lurkers in other organizations, the interested members may use work products of the community in their daily jobs and rely extensively on community resources, but they do not contribute to the community on a regular basis. Figure 6 describes the structure and roles in AWA communities. The acronym GVT stands for global virtual team, which is explained in the next section. Community of Practice Roles

Figure 6
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Community Web pages are a primary means of communication among members. Members receive alerts notifying them of new content or other postings to the page. Discussion boards are another important channel. In addition to enabling employees to ask and answer questions, the boards serve as repositories of knowledge. When members find themselves facing new problems, they are frequently able to find solutionsor at least narrow down possible optionsby going back through archived discussions. Initially, participation in communities was voluntary, but management enthusiasm drove the KM team to add participation to employees performance objectives and job descriptions in 2005. For example, precipitation engineers are required to join the precipitation community. AWAs communities have successfully documented more than 150 best practices and allow more than 1,700 employees to collaborate each month. However, as the communities matured, the KM team started to realize the limitations of the community structure. These limitations include the challenges associated with virtual work and the inability of communities to help with immediate crises on the shop floor. GLOBAL VIRTUAL TEAMS In 2009, AWAs KM team decided to launch a new knowledge-sharing approach: global virtual teams. Global virtual teams are similar to communities of practice, but they are charted to produce new knowledge in specific areas and package that knowledge as best practices. These groups use the same tools that communities do (e.g., monthly meetings and shared Web sites), but differ from communities in that each has very specific business goals tied to decreasing costs and increasing revenue. Depending on its intent, a global virtual team may exist within a particular community or bring together representatives from multiple communities. Membership and team roles can fluctuate as the team deals with specific problems. The importance of participating in communities and global virtual teams is reinforced by the inclusion of these activities in employees yearly performance objectives. FOCUS PLANT EVENTS Focus plant events, which take place approximately once per month, are face-toface meetings where employees explore a particular issue or challenge. At these events, experts, operators, and mechanics from across the organization gather in one location to collaborate on large-scale improvements and identify best practices related to the issue at hand. Once the solutions have been created, the changes are implemented at each of the operating locations globally.

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Focus plant event attendees also determine how to close the gap between current business performance and the practical limit (i.e., the realistic level of performance that an operating location could achieve after implementing the applicable best practices). This limit is determined using a pre-defined mathematical model in which the design of the approach, prices, and other local factors are used to calculate the impact of a practice on a particular operating location. OPERATING REVIEWS Operating reviews are conducted to audit AWA locations and ensure they are implementing the identified best practices. The reviews address each operating locations significant challenges and how it plans to overcome them. The reviews also give the KM team the chance to work with each location on its three- to fiveyear road map and explore how the road map rolls up into Alcoas strategic longterm vision. SELECTION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF KM APPROACHES The KM team selected AWAs KM approaches to target the processes within AWA that needed the most improvement. Before these approaches were introduced, the organization set targets on a location-by-location basis. By introducing the idea of consistent, global target-setting, the KM team was able to facilitate process improvement on a much larger scale. For example, when AWA first launched communities of practice, the communities focused on topics of interest to the membership. The implementation of global virtual teams steered these groups to focus on issues and problems that were linked to the organizations strategic vision. AWAs key KM implementations have been both full-scale and incremental. The implementation of each approach starts with a general plan. As the approach matures, the KM team refines the plan and further defines the approach in relation to other business processes and practices. For example, communities of practice started in key areas of the organization where the KM group saw an opportunity to leverage specific knowledge. As communities gained traction, the KM team created global virtual teams to enhance the role of communities and align their activities with the business strategic objectives. It is very important to the KM group that all KM approaches are seamlessly integrated with business as usual. For example, process engineers involvement in a community means answering questions, maintaining professional relationships, and accessing experts in their field (Figure 7). Participation in a global virtual team allows those same process engineers to achieve performance objectives and develop new practices in their area. Finally, attending a focus plant event allows them to improve performance in their area and facilitate the efficient rollout of new practices or technology.

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KM in the Flow of a Process Engineers Work

Figure 7

TOOLS AND TECHNOLOGY The KM team supports two primary online tools to facilitate KM activities: Microsoft SharePoint and Yammer. AWA currently uses SharePoint 2007, but it is in the process of migrating to SharePoint 2010. SharePoint serves as the virtual home for AWAs communities and as a content management system housing: best practices, information regarding best practices implementation, training materials, problem-solving documents, FAQs, discussion boards, contact lists, and technology implementation materials.

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SharePoint is also used to track performance metrics. To supplement the SharePoint environment, Yammer is used to support asynchronous discussions among employees. The KM team has found this tool to be more effective than the discussion boards offered by SharePoint. When compared to SharePoint, employees asking questions via Yammer receive more responses in a shorter period of time. As of 2012, Yammer is linked to SharePoint. However, in the future, the KM team hopes to embed Yammer within SharePoint so that the two tools are seamlessly integrated.

Culture and Change Management


It might be stating the obvious, but culture change is very important and necessary to be successful. In order to change the way [Alcoa] does things, we have to change the culture. Joe Regelski Global business systems manager
The KM team described several keys to effective change management at Alcoa: The process is the problem. Employees must be engaged at all levels in order to understand exactly what the problem is and how they are going to solve it. Experimentation is the key to learning. Employees need to understand that it is okay to experiment in solving problems. Everyone in the organization should know that, if they want to solve problems, the KM team is there to support them. The KM team also emphasized that, in order for culture change to occur, every employee must agree on the problem that they are trying to solve. This problem eventually turns into the business case. Once everyone agrees on the problem and the resulting business case, the next step is to support the business case with data and allow employees to see progress (i.e., whether or not the actions being taken are closing the gap). Alcoa achieves this through a reporting structure that compares each plants performance against its peers with respect to common cost drivers. Regelski also mentioned the importance of people. Culture change starts with the people, and [Alcoa] has a great group of people that are willing to share. Employee engagement is integral to the success of any KM program. The KM team does its part by trying to answer the Whats in it for me? question, both for the business as
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a whole and for individual employees. KM success depends on employees recognizing the benefits of participation and the role they play in achieving results. They have to be willing to share both the good and the bad in an effort to help the global Alcoa community. INCENTIVES Another way to support culture change is to incent employees to participate. Recognizing and rewarding desired behaviors can go a long way toward shifting attitudes. As mentioned earlier, the KM team ensures that knowledge-sharing activities such as participation in communities and global virtual teams are strategically aligned with employees personal performance objectives. In addition, the KM team administers a Best Practice Transfer Awards program to acknowledge teams that perform particularly well. These awards are given annually to reinforce the habit of seeking solutions outside ones specific operating location. An additional award is given to the best community. The manufacturing and technology council votes on all the awards, and this senior leadership involvement helps market the awards as highly prestigious honors.

Measures
AWAs KM team uses measures to determine how well the communities and global virtual teams are performing as well as the success of each best practice implementation. The first measure the KM team implemented was a community health score. This score is a composite of several measures such as: involvement of core members, Web site activity, and sponsor participation. The score helps identify whether or not the right people are involved with the community, whether the community members performance objectives are appropriately linked to community activities, and whether the communitys teleconferences are well-attended. Essentially, this score helps the KM team determine whether specific communities are active and contributing to the organization. To obtain a complete picture, the scores are evaluated in combination with each communitys outputs, including best practices and collateral resulting from operating reviews, focus plant events, and global virtual teams. As AWAs KM program has matured, so has its measurement strategy. In 2012, AWA created measures that are aligned with Alcoas overall organizational strategies, such as cost reduction. Other measures look at shifting non-financial indicators (e.g., energy consumption and product quality) and the financial cost/benefit of doing so.

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Over time, the KM team has realized that measures are powerful tools for engaging management. Leaders are especially interested in measures that align with the overall organizational strategy. If the KM team can demonstrate that participating in KM activities has a direct impact on the bottom line, then that is a compelling message for management.

Critical Success Factors and Lessons Learned


CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS AWAs KM team cited the following critical success factors for its KM program. KM has been formally recognized and legitimized be senior leadership. People may not call it KM, but they understand and recognize the purpose of best practices transfer. The KM teams plans are reviewed and sanctioned at the highest levels of the organization. Best practices transfer is seen as a key performance enhancer for the organization. Communities and KM activities are seen as fundamental building blocks for long-term improvement. The KM group collects as much feedback as possible from internal customers. This helps the team improve the KM approaches and ensures that employees get value from the time they invest in KM activities. The KM team focuses on technology that helps people do their jobs, rather than getting in the way. SharePoint and Yammer are relatively easy to use and do not interfere with people doing their work. LESSONS LEARNED The following lessons learned were identified by the KM team. It is important to distinguish between activities that can benefit from a new best practice and situations where people just need access to information or expertise. Stakeholders must understand the business in order to maintain a clear perspective on what intervention should be taken. Strong sponsorship that demands results forces the KM team to think critically about the activities that will help the business improve. KM can be led from the middle, but it must be directed from the top. Documenting practices should be as easy as possible. If it becomes something extra for people to do, it will not get done.

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KM participation cannot succeed as a stand-alone activity. It must be embedded in and add value to employees core work. It is impossible to over-communicate the value of the program or the results. There are always new opportunities to let people know about the great work that is being done. It is important to connect regularly with internal customers in order to maintain support for KM. Change might start in the conference room, but it takes effect on the shop floor.

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Case Study: MWH Global Inc.


MWH Global Inc. is a consulting engineering organization primarily focused on the wet infrastructure industry, including water treatment, water supply, and water infrastructure. 3 The organization as it exists today was formed in 2001 through a series of mergers. MWH can trace its history to England in the early 1800s when it installed some of the first sewer pipes in London. Based in the United States, MWH is a privately owned organization with $1.4 billion in revenue for 2011. It employs approximately 7,500 people and maintains offices in 35 countries across six continents. Its regional- and industry-based divisions are called operations. KM PROGRAM OVERVIEW MWHs status as a global organization was a key driver of its early knowledge management (KM) program. In addition to products and services, MWH offers clients the technical expertise of its technologists, engineers, project managers, economists, and statisticians. MWH wanted to make this expertise available regardless of location, which required a knowledge strategy that would allow project teams to locate and leverage experts across the organizations global locations. MWH has maintained a formal KM program since 1997 when it created its first chief knowledge officer role. The initial objective of the KM program was to connect people to people and expertise. With that goal in mind, the KM team launched its first knowledge communities (i.e., communities of practice) in 1999. In 2001, to enhance connectivity and offer employees better access to content, the KM team rolled out a knowledge portal called the Knowledge Network, or KNet. KNet provides employees with a place outside e-mail to have conversations, share documents, and collaborate. Originally built on a Lotus Notes platform, KNet was migrated to Microsoft SharePoint in 2007. MWH is currently upgrading KNet to SharePoint 2010. MWH instituted a career planning framework in 2005. The framework was designed to help employees identify their career paths and locate the training and development resources available to facilitate those paths. The benefit to organizational knowledge sharing and development was that the career planning framework, which includes a technical path, enabled the organizations technologists to further develop their expertise.
3

This case study contains information from MWH that may be confidential or proprietary. Any unauthorized use of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited, and MWH shall not be liable for any use outside the intended and approved purposes.

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As of 2012, the KM program supports knowledge communities, the KNet intranet portal, expertise location, and discussion forums, all with the goal of connecting people to expertise and content on behalf of MWHs clients. MWHs KM program is part of a larger philosophy that positions the work force as one global community. Operating as a global community, MWH integrates smart thinking, global knowledge, repeatable processes, and intellectual property (IP) to transform delivery for the client. According to Knowledge Integration Manager Christie Dowling, the result is value for clients (e.g., speed and agility), competitive differentiation for MWH (e.g., innovation, quality, and consistency), and 24/365 productivity. And MWHs employees benefit as well. They are more engaged with MWH and its clients; they have greater access to expertise; and they decrease their time to competency, which means they can be more productive earlier in their tenures. The MWH KM program is led by Director of Global Consulting and Knowledge Dan Kieny, who reports to the chief of strategy. According to Dowling, this alignment between the KM program and the strategy office enforces the value of KM to the organization. She said, Were sharing knowledge because it helps us achieve our strategies and our priorities within the corporation.

Strategy
Throughout the KM programs evolution from 1997 to 2012, the KM team has focused on connecting employees to the expertise and content they need to support their clients. However, around 2005, an additional objective was added that complements the KM program: embedding knowledge and/or knowledge-sharing practices into work processes and generating IP. The drivers behind this integration were to: deliver value to the client, drive innovation, encourage consistency across operations, and encourage employee engagement and competency development.

At MWH, knowledge includes technical expertise, or intellectual capital (IC), and repeatable solutions, or IP. KM, therefore, is the connection, development, and exploitation of knowledge and processes in support of growth (Figure 8).

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Knowledge Strategy at MWH Global

Figure 8
2012 MWH Global and affiliated companies, All Rights Reserved.

According to Kieny, the KM teams job is to bring together experience and knowledge from MWHs 7,500 employees and make it visible and applicable to clients. When knowledge is made tangible through best practices and templates, the organization is able to reduce risk while applying the best available knowledge to each client project.

Processes and Practices


The MWH KM team supports many traditional KM approaches such as communities of practice, expertise location, a knowledge portal, and discussion forums. However, the organization recognized a need to strengthen its knowledge transfer processes and embed knowledge in internal tools and processes in support of client work. To address these needs, MWH undertook three initiatives: 1. manage the project, 2. design framework and design centers, and 3. consulting solutions center.

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CASE STUDY NO. 1: MANAGE THE PROJECT Since 2005, MWH has endeavored to embed knowledge capture and reuse in everyday work processes. The knowledge communities, KNet, and discussion forums worked well to enable knowledge creation and networking, but there was still the challenge of integrating knowledge sharing into core work functions. MWH Way is the name given to the organizations client service model. It is comprised of three components: (1) manage the project, (2) engage the work force, and (3) manage the business. Because MWH is a project-delivery organization and project management is one if its core processes, it decided to focus on incorporating knowledge capture and sharing into its project management procedures. The Manage the Project component of MWH Way refers to the organizations global project delivery framework, which itself consists of five components. (Knowledge capture and reuse run through all five components.) 1. Right person for the right jobThis is the crux of MWHs project management process. Success depends on staffing the most appropriate people and skillsets to each project. 2. AccountabilityEnsure that project managers and staff members understand what they are expected to deliver and how they are expected to deliver it. 3. Consistent practicesHow are project managers trained? What procedures and processes are shared with them? Are standard processes easily accessible by global teams so that consistency is maintained across projects and locations? In other words, are people around the world delivering projects the same way no matter where they are? 4. Standard toolsAre the same tools used consistently around the world to deliver projects? 5. Continuous learning and improvementAre younger project managers given opportunities to manage new projects? Are mature project managers given opportunities to grow and improve? With regard to the third component, consistent practices, the Manage the Project team looked at the entire project life cycle and how organization-wide processes could improve the consistency of project delivery. KM approaches were applied throughout these consistent practices. The objective was to improve global quality and consistency in the following project phases: pre-contractidentification and pursuit of a project, contractplanning and execution of a project, and post-contractthe project close-out process.
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In the planning phase of a project, a project manager identifies and plans knowledge transfers. This includes identifying knowledge that might benefit the project, locating sources that might be helpful, and establishing a plan for knowledge transfer and reuse. A knowledge transfer guide, or template (Figure 9), facilitates the process. The project manager uses the guide to capture the required knowledge and sources for the project. For example, the project manager might look for information about other projects similar to the one he or she is planning. Reviewing plans and artifacts from past projects can provide ideas for the current one, including people to talk to or from whom to seek advice. The organizations project execution plan contains a knowledge transfer component as well. From the moment the project starts, the project manager builds and executes the knowledge transfer plan for the project. This helps ensure that the right skills and knowledge are identified for the project from the beginning. Although the project manager initiates the process, the members of the project team actually fill out the template, which becomes the working record for the project. There are various milestones throughout the project planning, execution, and close-out phases at which project team members are prompted to update the knowledge transfer plan. MWH Project Knowledge Transfer Plan Template

2012 MWH Global and affiliated companies, All Rights Reserved.

Figure 9

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During the project execution phase, the project team: performs technical reviews to confirm that existing knowledge has been applied properly; identifies any new prospects, approaches, or other knowledge gained from the project; reviews the achievement of knowledge goals; and determines how best to communicate the amassed knowledge for the benefit of future projects. During the project close-out phase, the project team conducts a post-project appraisal. This is an opportunity for the team to review the project, document lessons learned, and make recommendations on how to approach similar projects. The lessons learned process is designed to capture issues and best practices so that they can be applied to future projects. The projects performance is reviewed along with client feedback and recommendations. The project team also publicizes the project internally and updates the appropriate marketing materials by making project information and files available to the marketing team. Project close-out templates facilitate the knowledge transfer between the project team and the marketing team. On larger projects, the marketing team may employ a specialist to interview project team members and capture marketing materials. According to Project Delivery Manager Tania Flasck, updating the marketing materials helps the marketing team because it looks at accomplishments from previous projects to prepare marketing materials for new projects. The knowledge transfer plan is archived when the project closes. However, it is searchable and accessible by future project teams, subject to any agreed restrictions on publicity and disclosure with individual clients. Everyone involved in MWHs project management process is accountable for knowledge capture and transfer, and KM expectations have been incorporated into employee performance review objectives. However, the specific requirements for some roles vary by location. For example, in the Europe-Africa region, project technical leaders have primary responsibility for knowledge transfer during project execution, whereas in the Americas region, senior project managers play a key role in the project review process during the close-out phase. Challenges The Manage the Project team acknowledges that challenges remain with its knowledge capture and transfer approach. One challenge is how best to communicate the knowledge generated during a project in a way that will benefit future projects. The approach currently requires that employees pause what they are
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working on, reflect on the project, and discuss what would be useful for other people to knowall after the project has concluded. The KM team is looking at ways to enable knowledge transfer during the project, rather than waiting for the close-out phase. A related challenge is the need to budget adequate time for review activities so that people dont immediately move on to the next project without properly closing out the previous one. In 2011, a group in the United Kingdom piloted a technique called a knowledge charter assessment to address this challenge. The assessment is conducted by senior project technical leaders external to the project. Their role is to review the project and evaluate any knowledge inputs (e.g., evidence of knowledge reuse, discussion forum topics initiated) and outputs (e.g., documented lessons learned or papers produced from the project). Based on the evidence the assessment team finds, it gives the project a score: bronze, silver, or gold. The idea is to provide project teams with a meaningful metric that encourages positive competition. Following a successful pilot, knowledge charter assessments will be applied more broadly within MWH in 2012. The Manage the Project team believes that the assessments will be a positive driver to increase the amount of time project teams spend tracking project-related knowledge. Another pilot occurring in 2012 is related to the template and structure of standard project team collaboration sites. The goal of the site template is to enhance knowledge-sharing and transfer capabilities. When a new project team convenes, members are encouraged to set up a team site where they can collaborate and store project documents. The goal is to have all projects of a certain size using team sites by the end of 2012. By ensuring that past project data is stored in a consistent, easily searchable manner, the team collaboration sites will make it easier for project managers to prepare knowledge transfer plans at the beginning of each new project. Lessons Learned MWH shared the following lessons with regard to embedding knowledge capture and transfer in its project management process. Ongoing oversight is necessary. The global team that was responsible for developing and implementing consistent guidance for project execution was disbanded approximately five years after Manage the Project was introduced. This created challenges because, without a global oversight entity, each operation tends to go back to ad hoc project management processes. With a change of focus for the project management office, the number of staff focused on monitoring compliance with project management processes decreased. It is important that operational teams be able to fill this void in order to keep processes consistent across regions and operations.

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How one motivates operational leadership has a significant bearing on outcomes, such as direct time goals. Accountability is a key driver of success. Words should be accompanied by consequences. Communication is crucial. Have a plan. Separate systems can challenge integration and the adoption of consistent practices. KM is a continuous journey requiring ongoing modification in response to evolving needs. Change is challenging. Finding advocates is a key part of the change process.

CASE STUDY NO. 2: DESIGN FRAMEWORK AND DESIGN CENTERS In the same way that the MWH Way standardizes project management, MWHs design framework standardizes technical design and delivery. The design framework provides a process-based approach to technical design (e.g., specifying quality reviews at certain stages in the design process). In addition to laying out a standard approach to design work, the framework specifies standards and best practice templates for design projects. The framework is managed by four regional design centers: the Americas Design Center; the Europe-Africa Design Center; the AsiaPacific Design Center; and ResourceNet, a design center located in Pune, India. The design framework and the associated centers are important pieces of MWHs strategy to embed knowledge sharing in everyday work. For example, a technical staff member would follow the standard design methodology process steps and locate best practice tools and templates in the course of his or her routine work. An early iteration of the design framework was created in 2002, when MWH was involved in a large program of work. The project team members recognized that similarities existed across multiple projects and designs and that it could increase efficiency by grouping similar projects together and following a standard process to complete the work. The process-based approach allowed the team to complete the program of work ahead of schedule, generating a financial savings for the client. This success prompted a steering committee to develop the design framework and design centers concept in each of MWHs operating regions. The aim was to standardize technical delivery in order to: achieve consistent quality in technical design, manage technical risk, efficiently manage technical resources, increase speed in delivery, and create career paths and development opportunities for technical staff.
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The design framework concept gained momentum in 2006 when regional technical teams in Europe-Africa and the Americas put the organizations more frequently used designs into the framework. Team members collaborated with designers using the framework to break down the designs into components and then analyze the resources and expertise required to execute each component. The design framework ensures that project teams use standard, consistent tools and processes. However, it was the development of the four regional design centers in 2009 that really moved the design framework forward, asserted IP Sales Consultant Amy Broughton. The design centers enable MWH to apply the design framework to its strategic projects while distributing the workload associated with those projects efficiently across the organization. Prior to the establishment of the design centers, MWH was a loose confederacy of 150 offices where everyone delivered local work. The organization did not have an effective way to identify the skills in each office and make them available to be used on projects in different offices and regions. With the establishment of the design centers, MWH evolved to a federated work model for design and engineering. Each regional operation was asked to invest in setting up a design center. This involved designating a technical practice leader for each center and then pulling in employees with technical knowledge as central resources, instead of having them work only on local projects through their local offices. Employees in any location may be assigned as needed to work on projects around the world. The technical practice leaders are encouraged to keep their employees busy and their skillsets globally relevant; the leaders have profit and loss responsibility and are accountable for co-managing the global design workload. The design centers enable MWH to prioritize resources across strategic projects while working on projects 24 hours a day if needed. Although employees around the world may work together to deliver designs to clients, each design center has certain areas of specialization or expertise that reflect regional design strengths. For example, ResourceNet in India has expertise in pipelines, and the Americas Design Center has expertise in membranes. According to Broughton, the design centers efficacy was exemplified by successful completion of a recent program of work in the Asia-Pacific region. Working with the design framework and the design centers, regional MWH leaders identified the knowledge and engineering designs needed to pursue a small project with a new client. They won the project using those resources and delivered it to the client five days before the due date. The client was impressed and awarded MWH a second, much larger project. The same process was used to staff and deliver that second project successfully. By employing the design framework and centers, MWH was able to establish itself as a capable, high-quality, and responsive engineering firm with a valuable new client in a sector where MWH had minimal experience at the time. Today, that project has grown to involve more than 120 MWH engineers in eight time zones, with 15 offices delivering tens of millions of dollars of work.

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An additional advantage of the design centers is that they help create career paths for MWHs technical employees. For example, previously, a membrane design expert had to develop management capabilities in order to move into a leadership role. With the introduction of the design centers, MWH created technical career paths that enable employees to pursue leadership positions that depend on technical expertise, rather than business management. This allows the strongest technical employees to focus their professional development on cultivating skills and knowledge that make MWH a technical leader in the marketplace. Lessons Learned MWH cites the following lessons learned with regard to its design framework and design centers. Establishing the standardized design framework and pushing it out to the organization was not enough to change behavior. MWH had to revise its internal structure in order for the framework to have significant impact on the delivery of client work. Robust virtual communication systems and practices helped put the design framework and design center knowledge in the hands of the people delivering the work. Without those systems and practices, the global work force dissolves into a confederacy of offices. Leaders must have the vision and a draft of the delivery and resource plan in place prior to a contract award in order to capitalize on MWHs integrated global work force. This means they must understand how, where, and when knowledge must flow. CASE STUDY NO. 3: CONSULTING SOLUTIONS CENTER Whereas the first two case studies illustrated how standard processes are used to transfer knowledge and best practices, this example describes an initiative to develop new expertise and solutions. MWH opened its consulting solutions center in 2007 to help it quickly deliver innovative solutions to clients. The center is responsible for turning intellectual capital (i.e., knowledge) into intellectual property. Whereas the KM program focuses on the sharing, capture, and transfer of technical knowledge, the consulting solutions center creates value from that knowledge by focusing on transferrable processes. According to MWH Sales and Marketing Manager Kelli Shuter Cessna, The consulting solutions center picks up where KM leaves off. Although the center operates separately from the KM team, the two groups collaborate closely. The consulting solutions center evolved from two previous initiatives. In the first, a group of people harvested reusable tools from large programs of work that could be reapplied on other large programs. They sought to standardize the tools using
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technology and make them into either standard templates or applications that could be used on future projects, possibly with some configuration or customization. Similar to the first initiative in scope, the second initiative consisted of two individuals who supported existing projects by creating lighter and faster tools to increase efficiency and impress clients. The two initiatives were combined to form the consulting solutions center and support the rapid development and reuse of client-focused knowledge and innovations. For example, in 2008 and 2009, a project team successfully concluded an energy and resource optimization project for a client in the United States. When MWH won a similar project from another U.S. client, there was an opportunity to transfer knowledge from the previous project to the new one. The consulting solutions center harvested information on the best ways to execute and deliver an energy and resource project from the first project and embedded that information into a tool for the second project. That same tool has now been used on subsequent projects. Once a tool is created, it is available on KNet as part of an inventory of tools and solutions called the IP Marketplace. The inventory is searchable and available to everyone in the organization. For instance, when an earthquake struck Christchurch, New Zealand, the MWH team in place there quickly realized that it would need a way to collect and aggregate data from multiple sources in a standard manner. The team also needed an auditing tool to help with field assessments. A quick search of the IP Marketplace returned various tools that team members were able to adapt. Although the consulting solutions center works closely with MWHs operations and links to operational strategies, it resides at the corporate level and is not embedded in any specific operation. Because of this, participation in its goals is voluntary, and team members work primarily through influence. To help overcome this challenge and build buy-in, the centers team created a detailed outline of the type of innovation it would support and the framework in which it would work. This provided a message the team could take to the business to define its role and illustrate its goals. In creating its innovation framework (Figure 10), the consulting solutions center team wanted to acknowledge all the innovation already occurring within the organization, usually on behalf of clients. The teams task is to examine that innovation, fill in the gaps, and tie it all together. The innovation framework provides a mechanism for accomplishing these tasks and increasing the pace of innovation. According to Cessna: One of the keywords in the innovation framework is people. Were a very people-centric organization, and its all about what people do, know, and share. Therefore, people are a significant part of innovation for MWH and the consulting solutions center. She continued, An innovation isnt really good until people are actually using it.

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MWH Innovation Framework

- Definition of Innovation at MWH

Figure 10
2012 MWH Global and affiliated companies, All Rights Reserved.

Another keyword for MWH is value. How does the organization realize the value of the great work that is already occurring? How does it translate that value into projects and transfer it to clients? After defining innovation and creating its innovation framework, the consulting solutions center team developed a standard process to hasten innovation and reduce the time-to-market for new tools. Another factor for the team was to provide visibility and access. The team believed that it was important to work within the systems and processes already in place, so it leveraged KNet, the existing intranet platform for knowledge sharing. The team created a KNet site called Innovate!, which acts as a resource center for employees who want to develop new tools and improve existing ones. In addition to tools and guidelines, the site includes an innovation blog, articles about projects and people, and stories about innovation and how it delivers value to clients. Challenges One of the challenges that the consulting solutions center faced was consolidating the plethora of tools that existed across the organization. Individual knowledge communities and project teams had created tools over the years, but there was no effective mechanism for collecting them and making them available to other teams and projects. The team also faced a more direct challenge: direct time goals. MWH is a projectdriven organization, which means that employees are driven by project goals and billable time. To overcome the belief that innovation takes time away from project work, the team used a message like the one in Figure 11 to illustrate how the innovation framework facilitates the flow of ideas and knowledge back to projects and clients.
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How the Innovation Framework Facilitates the Flow of Ideas to Projects and Programs

Figure 11 Project teams are focused on meeting their deadlines, and many do not have time to develop and share ideas. Even when team members capture their knowledge and lessons learned, that information is not necessarily reused on future projects. This is partially due to the constraints that project teams put on themselves to deliver projects on time. Team members do not take time away from their projects to refine their own ideas and innovations. This is where the consulting solutions center steps in: It takes those ideas; brings in the right people to build on and enhance them; codifies them in the form of tools, templates, and products; and then distributes the resulting knowledge assets back to the appropriate projects and programs. Project Success Based on Applied Lessons Learned The following lessons from past experiences were applied to the design and implementation of the consulting solutions center: conduct pilots across a large, active community of participants; avoid creating new organizational boundaries; provide a lot of communication; include a call to action; respect employees time burdens; recognize that there are different ways to participate; encourage individual initiative while supporting a collaborative approach; conduct organizational network analysis to measure progress;
2012 MWH Global and affiliated companies, All Rights Reserved.

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make the innovation mandate visible in the global strategy and communications from executives; create a team from successful existing innovative individuals; create and communicate a defined process for innovation; and establish metrics to identify trends. Lessons Learned Lessons learned during the implementation of the consulting solutions center and Innovation Framework follow. Fully understand the organizational ecosystem, work on weak links, and leverage existing networks as much as possible. Link to the employee performance system in meaningful ways that are appropriate for different roles. Leverage the existing knowledge organization. According to Cessna, the consulting solutions center is a work in progress that is being modified with every new process or tool developed. As of 2012, the center has increased the average speed to market for tools by 75 to 80 percent.

Culture and Change Management


The MWH KM team attributes much of its success in integrating knowledge sharing into organizational workflows to good change management techniques such as: establishing well-defined roles, appropriately recognizing knowledge contributors and users, providing robust training throughout the employee life cycle, leveraging targeted communications, and linking knowledge sharing and reuse to the performance review process.

ROLES The KM team realized early on that it needed specific roles to support knowledge transfer. According to Knowledge Integration Manager Christie Dowling, the way to create a knowledge-sharing culture is to talk about it a lot and put people in roles to talk about it. The knowledge advocate is one of the organizations key roles for promoting knowledge sharing. The position was created to encourage employees to adopt knowledge-sharing and capture practices. Knowledge advocates listen for and collect success stories about how connecting people and knowledge helps MWH
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win and deliver work. They help people recognize that they have something valuable to share and that others want to hear about. According to Dowling, the role has been hugely successful in the Europe-Africa region, and the KM team plans to expand the role to other regions in the near future. In the United States, MWHs Young Professionals Group is the counterpart to the knowledge advocate role. This group is responsible for recognizing opportunities for mentoring and expertise transfer. Many group members are involved in knowledge communities, often as discussion moderators. Another important role is that of knowledge leader. Knowledge leaders administer and manage MWHs knowledge communities. According to Dowling, the knowledge leader is the heart of his or her community, facilitating connections and pulling people together to accomplish community goals. Knowledge leaders also formulate long-term visions and goals for their communities and are a big factor in whether or not a particular community is successful. In general, these roles are voluntary, with the organization providing no funding for knowledge advocates or knowledge leaders. However, several business-critical knowledge communities in the Europe-Africa region have some funding available to cover their knowledge leaders time. In addition, MWH provides full-time funded knowledge leaders for its two biggest knowledge communities: the water community and the wastewater community. RECOGNITION Another key to enabling a knowledge-sharing culture is recognition. The annual internal MWH Breckenridge Conference is a major recognition platform for knowledge sharing at the organization. At its heart, the Breckenridge Conference is a technology conference. The goal wasand isto bring MWH technologists together to talk about their good ideas and projects and share with one another. During the conference, two awards are presented: the Beacon Award and the Herald Award. The Beacon Award recognizes the demonstration of excellence in a knowledge network. For example, in 2011, MWH presented the Beacon Award to an integrated global team working for an Asia-Pacific client to honor the teams spirit of global working and knowledge sharing, More than 100 team members from four continents and six countries contributed to the projects success. The Herald Award recognizes knowledge innovation and creativity. In 2011, the Herald Award was given to a team that applied innovative tools and processes to data collection in the wake of a series of natural disasters. The project demonstrated the power of knowledge reuse and the reapplication of templates. Experience and tools used in previous disaster recovery efforts were reapplied, which allowed for risk reduction and improved efficacy.

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TRAINING Another enabler of MWHs knowledge-sharing culture is the organizations internal training program, MWH University. MWH University has campuses in North America, the Netherlands, and Australia. Although MWH offers e-learning, the KM team believes that nothing can replace the benefits of face-to-face interaction and networking. The MWH University classroom is where this happens. MWH invests in training classes that support the organizations strategy for knowledge and expertise. For example, the Technical Treasures class is designed for MWH technologists. In this class, technologists sit with experts to learn how they solve, approach, and break down problems. Similarly, a class for client service managers discusses how salespeople translate institutional knowledge into client relationships to win work. The classes change yearly depending on the organizational strategy and objectives. In addition to these classes, MWH University provides a training toolkit for knowledge leaders. The toolkit includes presentations on: navigating roles and responsibilities in a knowledge community, establishing a community mission, and recruiting members to knowledge communities. The toolkit also contains training on how to build trust among a community of people who are globally dispersed and might never meet one another in person. Although the training was originally designed for MWH knowledge leaders, any employee interested in sharing knowledge within a global virtual team can use the toolkit, including anyone involved in project delivery. Over the years, MWH has made significant investments in training its knowledge leaders to build trust within their knowledge communities. The KM team realized that the same concepts apply to global teams, particularly the global design centers. It took many lessons learned related to community management and transferred them to the delivery of projects via global teams. COMMUNICATION According to Dowling, communication has been critical to creating and sustaining MWHs knowledge-sharing culture. The KM team uses a variety of channels to raise awareness and educate people about the value of knowledge capture and reuse. One of those channels is the Hero Spotlight. Each spotlight features an interview with an employee who used the consulting solutions center and tells his or her story about the value generated for the client. Another channel consists of blogs about KM and innovation written by Dowling and Cessna, respectively. The blogs aim to generate conversations about the importance of sharing knowledge and innovation.

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The KM team also produces a quarterly knowledge leadership report for the Europe-Africa region that highlights stories about thought leadership. A final communication channel is the Webcast network. Housed on KNet, the Webcast network provides videos on various topics. The KM team views Webcast as an alternative way to convey messages to the work force. For example, rather than reading a memo from the CEO, an employee may view a video of the CEO discussing the items in the memo. The network contains videos from the Breckenridge Conference, corporate communications, and stories focused on knowledge sharing and transfer. PERFORMANCE REVIEW PROCESS Prior to reporting to the chief of strategy, MWHs KM program reported to a chief people and knowledge officer. Therefore, when the career planning framework and performance management system were being built in 2005, the KM team had a champion to integrate knowledge sharing into performance goals. As noted, the performance management system contains a defined career path for various roles at MWH. Each career level (e.g., associate, professional, and lead/supervisor) and path (e.g., technologist) includes performance objectives against which employees are assessed. For example, by default, technologists have a goal regarding participation in knowledge communities, and project managers have goals for knowledge sharing. The system also contains a career guide for each level that includes information regarding the importance of sharing knowledge. For example, a guide might suggest what or how an individual at a specific level should contribute to a knowledge community or how many external conferences he or she should attend. Objectives such as these are embedded in MWHs annual performance review process and measure each employees contribution to the organizations body of thought leadership. OVERCOMING OBSTACLES Like many organizations, MWH faces obstacles to knowledge sharing. The KM team reports hearing the following pushback from employees: I have to focus on my clients. I can do this myself. Putting my knowledge into a template will make me obsolete. I dont have a budget to do this. I dont have anything interesting to share. I dont have time to do this.

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According to Dowling, the entire KM program is designed to address these challenges. The KM team and the consulting solutions center constantly seek ways to support their stakeholders and embed knowledge sharing into the flow of work so that its not separate from client delivery. They encourage people to use the knowledge and expertise of MWHs global network, rather than operating in isolation. If employees see that knowledge-sharing processes can resolve client issues, they are more likely to participate in the future, Dowling said. Success stories are another mechanism that the KM team uses to build buy-in. According to Dowling, its important for employees to hear how their colleagues have used KM tools to add value for their clients. These stories help people understand the real purpose of knowledge sharing and how it can benefit their projects. The success story collection process is discussed in detail later in this case study.

Measures
The overarching goal for the KM team is to deliver value to clients, employees, and MWH as a whole. Therefore, the measures and metrics collected and reported by the team focus on demonstrating that value. In addition to standard KM-related activity measures such as the number of communities, community members, and lessons learned captured, the KM team uses more advanced techniques to determine success and demonstrate the value of sharing and transferring knowledge. SUCCESS STORIES MWHs KM team uses a success story framework to collect and connect examples of knowledge sharing that contribute business value. For example, the team might look at several discussion threads and find ones that focus on requests for help with a client and the responses shared in return. The next step in the success stories framework would be to collect information from the individual who initiated the discussion to find out whether MWH won that project or won additional contracts as a result of sharing knowledge either within MWH or with the client. The third part of the success stories framework is to assess what value was derived from sharing knowledge (e.g., a gain in team efficiency or a percentage of the project win that can be attributed to the fact that members of the pursuit team shared knowledge). The KM team wants to understand exactly how knowledge sharing helps MWH in the marketplace. To collect success stories, the KM team created a survey form where people can document instances in which they had an increase in contract value, won new work, or performed a job faster or more efficiently because they didnt have to reinvent the wheel. The form also asks whether a knowledge community or the consulting solutions center was involved in the knowledge sharing that took place. If either of these entities played a role, they receive credit for some portion of the success.
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This success story framework was adapted from ConocoPhillips, with whom MWH benchmarked. According to Dowling, the knowledge advocates have been invaluable in helping collect and document the stories. To date, the KM team has collected 40 success stories with a combined business value of $64 million (USD). ORGANIZATIONAL NETWORK ANALYSIS Since 2002, MWHs KM team has used organizational network analysis to measure knowledge connections and understand the knowledge network inside the firm (Figure 12). In the analysis, each dot represents a person and each line represents a connection, or flow of information. The more connected an individual is, the more lines flow to and from his or her particular dot. The analysis not only shows the connections among individuals, but also illustrates the relationships among teams and offices. The analysis can indicate the strength of the connections and relationships; however, it can also reveal weak connections and relationships, which is equally important. The results are used to inform decisions regarding what interventions may improve knowledge sharing. MWH has longitudinal organizational network analysis data dating back to 2002. It has conducted this analysis on topics such as innovation and information exchange, as well. The team also has data on what interventions took place in a given year, which allows it to correlate business interventions with the connectivity within the organization or a particular group. Organizational Network Analysis: Sample Diagram

Figure 12
2012 MWH Global and affiliated companies, All Rights Reserved.

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COMMUNITY MATURITY MWHs knowledge communities span a spectrum of maturity, ranging from collaboration communities (people helping one another with no defined objectives) to process-based communities (which follow standard processes and address defined business issues) to business-driven communities (which are created explicitly to solve specific business problems). To assess the maturity of MWHs communities, the KM team developed a maturity framework (Figure 13). Community maturity is measured based on 10 success factors, which were developed through benchmarking with ConocoPhillips: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. leadership and sponsorship; business alignment; adequate resources and defined roles; member engagement; clear deliverables and activities; development of trusted relationships; standard collaborative processes; supporting technology; community measurement; and motivation, recognition, and rewards.

According to Dowling, These factors are fundamental to the success of a community. The KM team interviews the knowledge leaders and community members to determine how the community is performing against the 10 success factors. The team then analyzes the information gathered to determine the maturity of the community. Measuring Community Maturity at MWH: Community Maturity Levels

Figure 13
2012 MWH Global and affiliated companies, All Rights Reserved.

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To complete the assessments, knowledge leaders must think about previous accomplishments, community strengths, and areas of improvement for their communities. The assessments establish a baseline and help the knowledge leaders determine community goals for the next year. For the KM team, the assessments help it separate healthy, active communities from those that require intervention or need to be retired. The assessments are also an additional mechanism to identify and provide recognition for successes.

Critical Success Factors and Lessons Learned


The MWH KM team shared a number of critical success factors and lessons learned in relation to its KM efforts. These are described below. CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS The first critical success factor for MWHs KM program is that the KM team has a strong, business-aligned focus. When KM addresses strategic objectives and touches on the topic areas people care about most, it is much easier to integrate knowledge sharing into the flow of work. Dowling said that, when the organization injects business strategy into its communities and requires them to demonstrate how their goals align with MWH strategic goals, the level of activity and the quality of the products coming out of the communities soar. The second critical success factor is the leadership and passion of the community knowledge leaders. In the KM teams experience, a passionate knowledge leader results in increased activity that aligns with the business strategy within that community. For example, MHW used to have an oil and gas community with an extremely passionate knowledge leader. This individual founded the community and built it into an engaging platform where employees involved in oil and gas could connect and share. The community became one of MHWs most active and drove the strategy for the whole oil and gas sector. However, eventually the knowledge leader left MWH, and no one stepped up to lead in his place. Community activity plummeted, even though all the same people and subject matter experts were still members. The knowledge leader provided a cohesion that could not be sustained after he left. LESSONS LEARNED The MWH knowledge strategy has always focused on sharing knowledge within the organization. Enabling people-to-people connections continues to be a foundational element of the strategy. MWH has found that communication is critical. It is important to have a communication plan, said Dowling. The KM team recommends thinking about how

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messages will be broadcast, who will deliver the messages, the language and terms that will be used in the messages, and the next thing to share. The KM team also finds it useful to support external involvement. It has worked with an external consultant for more than a decade to refine its knowledge strategy and develop techniques for transferring deep expertise. The team has also worked with an external marketing and communications firm. Finally, it has benchmarked with KM programs at numerous organizations over the years to bring in new ideas (such as the success story framework and community maturity framework) and stay aware of trends. The KM team believes that one reason it has been successful is that it started small and showed some early successes. According to Dowling, it is important to keep talking about KM, find and support early adopters, and pilot different approaches to learn what will work within the organization. NEXT STEPS

We bring knowledge in new and creative ways to the people of the organization and to our clients. Dan Kieny, director, consulting and knowledge
The KM team asserts that it is on a continuous journey to enhance MWHs knowledge strategy. Objectives for the near future include: integrating the organizations IC and IP agendas, continuing to strengthen knowledge communities, improving links to sales and marketing, introducing social and knowledge networking applications, continuing to strengthen knowledge capture and reuse procedures within the project management process, and implementing business process improvement to reduce barriers to collaboration.

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Case Study: Nalco


Our knowledge environment is targeted squarely at our field sales and service organizations. Its their ability to apply knowledge on our customers site that makes the difference for us. Daniel Flynn, KM manager
Nalco, an Ecolab company, specializes in industrial water, energy, and air applications that help customers reduce natural resource consumption, enhance air quality, minimize environmental releases, and improve productivity. In 2011, Nalco and Ecolab merged. Today, Nalco is a leader in water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services with 2011 annual sales of $11 billion. Nalco is an intellectual propertyfocused organization with more than 1,800 patents and $80 million spent on R&D in 2010. Its business strategy involves acquiring knowledge, educating engineers and sales personnel about that knowledge, and then applying the knowledge to client engagements. This cycle begins with a 600-person R&D staff spread across 14 research facilities around the world. As the R&D group researches and tests new ideas, that knowledge is transferred to approximately 7,000 sales and service technicians who work directly with customers. KM PROGRAM Nalco rolled out its enterprise KM program in 1999. Its KM tools and approaches continue to evolve in response to strategy and market shifts. Nalcos KM program helps facilitate knowledge transfer through: professional development; technical support from internal experts; and a global KM system that provides expertise location, social networking, communities of practice, and federated search capabilities. A three-person KM core team in the marketing and business support area reports to the sales side of the organization. A KM steering team led by a senior executive oversees the KM strategy, which is developed by an eight-person global team comprising stakeholders from each business unit. In addition, each business unit has a KM champion or administrator. Program costs are split between the business and IT groups.

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Strategy
Nalcos current KM strategy focuses on integrating new hires and providing a range of knowledge-sharing tools and approaches. The KM program targets field sales and service groups, which consist of 7,000 employees. Because Nalco provides consulting and technical support in terms of mechanics, operations, and chemistry, its field sales and service groups devote a significant amount of time to gathering data and understanding client needs. They must be technically capable problemsolvers who can provide customized solutions. To perform effectively, these employees need information and expertise related to Nalcos entire, complex product line. Nalco uses its KM program to broaden and enhance employees access to information and expertise as they work with clients. KM systems are populated by content and knowledge from R&D, industry groups, various process and application business groups, and a staff of subject matter experts. The resulting information is prioritized and integrated into employees workflow (Figure 14). Embedding Knowledge in the Work Flow

Figure 14

Processes and Practices


Nalcos KM challenge is providing employees with the information they need without overwhelming them. For this reason, the KM team has expanded its focus
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from content management to encompass expertise location and facilitating peopleto-people connections. It uses a three-pronged approach. 1. Prescriptive knowledge transferEmployees in the sales and service organization receive mandated training through a combination of instructor-led courses and self-study with the assistance of an assigned primary trainer. 2. Just-in-time knowledge accessField sales and service employees can access libraries, communities, profile pages, and expertise as needed for client work. 3. Expert technical supportEmployees working at customer sites can access technical support with direct input from Nalco experts for each industry and product. PRESCRIPTIVE KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER

There isnt a degree that prepares someone for a career in sales with Nalco. The training program taps into our knowledge network for that information. Steve Lohman, senior manager, business strategy
Professional development and KM go hand-in-hand at Nalco. Although not exclusively handled by the KM core team, mandated training for the field sales and service organizations is closely tied to knowledge sharing and reuse goals. Formal training includes an extensive onboarding process (more than 50 percent of a new hires first year is spent in training) and attendance at a new sales engineer conference. Field training includes administrative training with a district manager or administrator, online product training, a 24-week technical training program, competency exams, and safety modules. To assist in the creation of an informal knowledge network, the accelerated sales engineer program requires new sales engineers to network with approximately 150 corporate personnel in order to understand each of their job functions and how they will interact. Curriculum is determined by job title, and all employees must take specific training to be eligible for promotion. These efforts are facilitated by the Nalco Learning Center, which manages an online portal that is part of the federated KM system. This learning management system, which also offers elective training, standardizes Nalco practices and validates employees completion of the courses. Training for any new KM tool or approach is available through this center.

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Once sales representatives have gained experience in the field and successfully completed their initial training, they receive more in-depth training related to specific industries and regional concerns. Nalcos ProSchools address additional second- and third-tier technical training needs for the sales organization. Often these ProSchools identify talented individuals that go on to become technical experts who participate in the KM approaches. JUST-IN-TIME KNOWLEDGE ACCESS

We differentiate based on the greater company knowledge, not the individual knowledge. Daniel Flynn, KM manager
In order to resolve problems on their own, sales and service employees access Nalcos user-driven KM tools. The centerpiece of the KM system is a repository of explicit content and best practices with global search capabilities across all technical materials relevant to field salespersons. In addition to incorporating training content from Nalcos prescriptive knowledge transfer processes, the system organizes technical material by industries and applications. Users can refine search results using a proprietary, keyword-focused taxonomy. Corporate knowledge such as manuals goes through a substantial validation process before being submitted to the KM system. Less formal documents such as white papers undergo less scrutiny before submittal. The system also houses subject-focused communities of practice called Connections. Each community has a document library, calendar feature, and federated search function. Built on a Microsoft SharePoint platform, the communities are led by subject matter experts and boast global participation. The communities are the first place that field sales and service employees go when they have questions. A uniform MySite feature within the communities replicates Facebook functionality for the social element of networking; it also provides an easy way for employees to track their contributions and questions, along with those of their coworkers. Whereas Connections focuses on technical subject matter, a separate platform houses more customer-specific information. The customer relationship management platform is Microsoft Dynamics. All customer-specific content, including key account information, is held in SharePoint and delivered through Dynamics. The KM system is available through employees handheld devices, enabling them to access content whenever they need it.

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EXPERT TECHNICAL SUPPORT

The chemistry, control technology, and data acquisition we use are significant. But if you dont have somebody to effectively interpret the data and recommend corrective action, were not providing the expertise our customers expect from us. Thats why the knowledge is so critical to our field personnel. Steve Lohman, senior manager, business strategy
Ninety percent of problems posed by field sales and service employees have occurred before, with answers available in the KM system. For remaining questions, the KM system provides direct access to subject matter experts. According to Flynn, some of the organizations best technical resources are disproportionately located in its mature markets. The KM system helps expand this expertise to emerging markets for this global organization. Nalco has subject matter experts with high-level expertise in, for example, boiler water, cooling water, membranes, integrated solutions, raw water, waste water, and its equipment. Typically having more than 25 years experience at Nalco, these experts are the gatekeepers of the organizations technical knowledge. They offer diverse backgrounds, participate in trade associations such as the Cooling Tower Institute, conduct seminars to educate clients, and play a major role in ensuring that corporate technical knowledge is current and flowing where it is needed. These experts work closely with the KM team and make themselves available to employees through the KM system. They offer direct technical support so that the proper expert for a specific industry, application, or piece of equipment can be found to solve customers most difficult problems. Employees access these experts through features such as Nalcos Technical Expertise Center, its global equipment solutions help desk, and the KM system. TECHNOLOGY Nalcos KM team relies on off-the-shelf IT products that integrate effectively with the organizations existing systems. The KM team used a Lotus Notes platform for many years. This supported digital papers, local searches, expertise input, product alignment, customer and corporate intranets, and training. In recent years, much of this has shifted to a SharePoint 2010 platform, which further enables a federated search function, social networking, eLearning, and access from mobile phones. Nalco also uses SharePoints FAST Search functionality, NewsGator Social Sites, iPhone and Android applications, and the SumTotal cloud learning management
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system. These programs help streamline Nalcos libraries of explicit knowledge, deliver training, and provide the social layer for communities of practice.

Culture and Change Management


We continued investing in KM even throughout 2009, which was economically challenging. KM isnt something that we have to convince anybody about. This is who we are. This is what we do. Jerry Rose, general marketing manager
Because Nalco offers knowledge-based services, its corporate culture has always embraced knowledge transfer, according to Flynn. Thus, the KM program is supported at every level of the organization. The commitment is bolstered by an ongoing focus on training, especially as baby boomers retire. Yet the incoming generations are especially receptive to the IT tools leveraged by the KM program. With a culture that demands knowledge, the KM team is focused on making its tools and approaches easy to use and access. It has benchmarked externally, hired third-party consultants to help develop its KM strategy, and extensively surveyed field sales and service personnel on their perspective and needs. Nalcos current KM system is its response to help employees manage all of the various customer segments, industry manuals, complex product lines, and varying employee skill sets. The KM team performed a gradual rollout of recent KM enhancements in order to incorporate feedback from pilot groups. End-user training consists of a short Webinar and is led by the KM team members. According to Flynn, the response to the system so far has been great.

Measures
Because Nalco is focused on serving its customer base, the KM team emphasizes business-based measurements to assess the true value of its program and taps analytics as a leading indicator of system acceptance and utilization. Nalco occasionally correlates its strongest sales personnel with KM tool use; high performers consistently show up as significant KM system users. The KM program also promotes knowledge sharing by educating employees on the correlation between customer loyalty and their own technical competency (Figure 15).

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The Correlation Between Competency and Customer Loyalty

Figure 15 Nalco also uses measures to gauge the effectiveness of professional development efforts that intersect with KM. Its automated systems can track course completion and proficiency rates. For example, the ProSchools that develop deeper technical skills can show that competency exam results jump from 66 percent to 85 percent thanks to training.

Critical Success Factors and Lessons Learned


We apply our expertise. We apply knowledge. We have to have a trusting relationship. When we do those things correctly, well provide superior solutions to our customers. Jason Terakedis, business operations manager
Nalcos critical success factors include leveraging its KM-friendly culture and constantly updating and upgrading its KM tools and approaches. These elements, coupled with strong senior management support, have led the KM system to be accepted as a vital enterprise tool.

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BENEFITS AND RESULTS The KM program has increased consistency in terms of employees level of technical ability, said Flynn. There is more uniformity across functions and regions, greater innovation, increased industry knowledge, and as a result, increased customer loyalty and return on investment. According to Flynn, Nalcos KM program is key to delivering near- and long-term value, in addition to intangible benefits such as risk avoidance, brand reputation, and the ability to meet legal and regulatory requirements. In the near term, KM has helped the organization increase production and sales, enhance process efficiencies, save source water and thermal energy, reduce wastewater treatment and waste disposal costs, and minimize overall maintenance costs. In the long term, KM has helped Nalcos customers avoid unnecessary capital expenditures, reduce compliance costs and worker exposure risks, manage their environmental discharges, and secure carbon and other environmental credits. NEXT STEPS The KM team must continue to contend with a significant increase in new information to manage. In 80 years, the organization has expanded from a handful of salespersons to 7,000 spread across more than 150 countries. Its data storage needs currently grow at a rate of 30 percent each year, making its trove of information and knowledge greater than the human absorptive capacity. It is also working to broaden its expertise found in mature markets and apply that expertise to emerging markets. In response, the KM team continues to strengthen and improve access to knowledge by: Expanding mobile capabilitiesThe KM team has established a system that enables employees to access KM tools through mobile devices, with room for expanded capabilities. Shifting KMs role in professional developmentThe KM team wants to move away from the existing prescriptive model, which focuses on job title requirements, toward more of a competency model that addresses individual needs. Creating a more mature community of practice modelThe KM team plans to drive a maturity model that facilitates business objectives and more extensively leverages hidden expertise among participants. Shifting work practices to a more social environmentThe KM team sees opportunities to increase the business productivity and speed by working in a more social manner. The team hopes to change how people interact in order to flatten the organization and hasten solutions, innovation, and commerce.

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Case Study: NASA


To reach for new heights and reveal the unknown, so that what we do and learn will benefit all humankind. NASA vision statement
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was created by the U.S. Congress in 1958 to provide for research into problems of flight within and outside Earths atmosphere and to ensure that the United States conducts activities in space devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of humanity. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., NASA has a budget of approximately $18 billion and employs almost 18,000 people across the nation. It operates 10 field and research centers: Ames Research Center (Moffet Field, Calif.), Dryden Flight Research Center (Edwards, Calif.), Glenn Research Center (Cleveland), Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, Md.), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, Calif.), Johnson Space Center (Houston), Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral, Fla.), Langley Research Center (Hampton, Va.), Marshall Space Flight Center (Huntsville, Ala.), Stennis Space Center (Bay St. Louis, Miss.), and Wallops Flight Facility (Wallops Island, Va.).

NASAs work is organized according to three mission directorates: 1. aeronauticsdevelops new flight technologies, 2. human exploration and operationsfocuses on the operation of the international space station and human exploration of space, and 3. scienceexplores the earth, solar system, and the universe. This case study focuses on NASAs lessons learned programs and the NASA Engineering Network (NEN), two key mechanisms for incorporating knowledge sharing and collaboration into the flow of work at NASA. KM PROGRAM Although NASA is working on an agency-wide strategy for knowledge sharing and hosting a cross-center knowledge retreat in 2012, KM efforts are predominantly
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decentralized. Each center has its own culture and its own KM stewards. For example, both the Goddard Space Flight Center and the Johnson Space Center have appointed chief knowledge officers for their locations. The importance of KM at NASA is reflected in the newly created role of chief knowledge officer for the agency, which directs the NASA Academy for Program, Project, and Engineering Leadership. According to Ed Hoffman, chief knowledge officer, Knowledge sharing has increased the likelihood of our missions, projects, and programs being successful. Lessons learned is a key approach for embedding knowledge sharing in the workflow at NASA and is also a predominantly decentralized process. A program manager for lessons learned, Michael Bell, reports to the office of the chief engineer and oversees lessons learned managers at each of the regional NASA center locations (Figure 16). According to Bell: We have a decentralized structure because most of the knowledge or lessons learned capture happens at these locations. Some practices that work at one place might not work as well at another. The idea was to have a little bit of the process maintained at a centralized level and have the different centers add their own flavor to the program to take it and grow it. Lessons Learned Program Organization Structure

Figure 16
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Along with project managers at each center, the lessons learned program managers ensure that lessons are captured throughout projects. Both Bell and Ralph Zerick, the lessons learned program manager for the Glenn Research Center, refer to themselves informally as lessons learned stalkers. Bell said it is the job of the center lessons learned program manager to follow up with people and to promote knowledge documentation and sharing. In addition to having its own lessons learned program manager, each location maintains a supporting lessons learned committee, typically comprising 10 to 12 members. Committee members are responsible for promoting lessons learned throughout the location. History The NASA lessons learned program is a foundational KM program at NASA, and the documentation and application of lessons is a top strategic priority, according to Manson Yew, enterprise software systems project manager, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). JPL has captured lessons learned via a paper system since the 1990s, but the 2003 space shuttle Columbia disaster was a significant catalyst for the creation of the current lessons learned program. After the Columbia disaster, NASA established a NASA procedural requirement to document lessons learned and share them among all centers.

Strategy
From an overarching KM framework and strategy perspective, JPL Chief Knowledge Architect Jeanne Holmes chartered a cross-agency team in 2000 to examine KM agency-wide. She chaired an overarching NASA KM working group, which established a strategic plan that the CIO, the chief human capital officer, and the office of the chief engineer ultimately signed off on. The intra-agency KM working group is locally funded by JPL. NASA representatives at previous APQC benchmarking visits detailed the organizations three-fold KM strategy: 1. to sustain NASAs knowledge across missions and generations by identifying and capturing information residing within current employees and systems; 2. to help people find, organize, and share existing knowledge; and 3. to increase collaboration and facilitate knowledge creation and sharing in order to mitigate the barriers of time and space. NASA is a unique organization with a unique mission. Much of its work is projectbased. Although its civil servants are a core audience for KM, the work force is significantly supplemented by outside contractors and subcontractors who are also
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key constituents for KM. The focus of KM at NASA is to promote collaboration and facilitate the transfer of project and program knowledge across regional centers and audiences. NASAs KM program primarily targets the technical work forceprogram managers, project portfolio managers, and engineering community and supporting contractorsto ensure that they can retrieve critical knowledge and lessons learned from past projects, as well as collaborate with colleagues and external partners in order to apply that knowledge. NASA also shares knowledge and collaborates externally, as exhibited by its participation in an international project management committee. Started in 2010, the committee hosts biannual meetings at which 12 space agencies and six space industry associations share lessons and knowledge to improve the performance of programs and projects. This international group also engages in joint learning events, such as an international project management training course focused on sharing knowledge and lessons learned across global agencies.

Agency Processes and Practices


In school you get the lesson and then take the test. In life, you take the test and then get the lesson. Ralph Zerick Lessons learned program and center data manager Glenn Research Center
Most of the work at NASAincluding space life, research, facility, and IT projectsis governed by procedural requirements and policy documents. Although each center is decentralized in terms of techniques for integrating knowledge sharing into the workflow, there is a common environment for KM tools at NASA. That is, NASAs personnel, contractors, academic and global partners, and public stakeholders can tap into a range of knowledge resources including portals, networks, communities of practice, and a lessons learned information system (Figure 17). NASA PORTAL This public portal integrates NASAs Web resources for a broad audience including children, educators, students, and the media. The portal is highly interactive and easy to navigate using Google functionality. Content is automatically migrated from top NASA Web pages to populate the portal.
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NASA Knowledge Resources

Figure 17 The NASA portal was developed in 2003 and faced its first significant challenge when the agency lost the space shuttle Columbia only a few hours after the portals launch. The home page was immediately repurposed for concerned citizens and media, with safety topics about debris and outlets for the publics comments. Whereas previous systems crashed during periods of high traffic, this portal remained a touch point to the public as it received 75 million hits (as opposed to the 100,000 hits anticipated). During this time of crisis, the portal helped users find, share, and connect with people in NASA; it became an early adoption of what emerged into social networking (the current 2.0 version of the portal). The current version of the portal offers access to NASA TV, jobs, calendars of events, kids clubs, blogs, interactive tests, and NASA space activity and events, among other features. INSIDE NASA InsideNASA is the agencys intranet portal for employees and partners. Its features include: access to email and secure instant messaging; collaborative tools such as wikis, erooms, and blogs; Q&A forums with key administrators; and community and team areas.
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The portal is customized, in that it highlights certain content depending on the location from which each user logs in. It is integrated with other NASA applications, enabling users to access vetted lessons learned and employee profiles. A combined Google and Verity search function pulls up a broad range of internal content. This portal also supports discussion forums and extranet capabilities for NASAs communities of practice; this functionality is typically used for collaborative writing projects and the development of standards and handbooks. NASA ENGINEERING NETWORK One of the primary mechanisms for integrating knowledge sharing and collaboration into the workflow at NASA is the NASA Engineering Network, a portal with internal and public access that offers an integrated set of resources (communities of practice, lessons learned, search, expertise location, and training) to facilitate sharing, communication, and learning in the NASA engineering community. The public site for the network offers this description:
NASA's Office of the Chief Engineer and the NASA Engineering Network give the public access to search the NASA Lessons Learned database system. The NASA Lessons Learned database system is the official, reviewed learned lessons from NASA program and projects. The information provided is a summary of the original driving event, as well as recommendations, which in turn, feed into NASAs continual improvement via training, best practices, policies and procedures.

The network is leveraged as an integral part of NASA employees workflow. It receives more than 4,000 visits per month. LESSONS LEARNED

Lessons learned are part of putting knowledge in the workflow at NASAreferencing the lessons learned system and other systems to search for potential impacts (good and bad) to watch out for. Michael Bell Lessons learned program manager, Kennedy Space Center
NASAs lessons learned process is a set of information management procedures designed to ensure the capture and sharing of important learnings agency-wide and with the public. The lessons learned process is governed by a NASA procedural requirement document (NPR 7120.6) sponsored by the office of the chief engineer. The process is carried out at two levels: headquarters and the individual centers.

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Employees capture lessons through lessons learned sessions, pause-and-learn sessions, workshops, committees, project milestones, and individual submittal. At each major milestone in the project life cycle (e.g., initiation, critical incidents, and technological review), employees review key lessons learned, determine the relevancy of the lessons to the current project, and assess project compliance with lessons learned recommendations. For example, facilitated pause-and-learn sessions typically explore the following four issues with the project team: 1. 2. 3. 4. What did the team intend to do? What didnt work well and why? What did we learn from this? What should we change?

A lesson is defined as knowledge or understanding gained by experience (positive or negative). Not all discussions at lessons learned sessions are captured; its only those lessons deemed to have significant potential future impact and widespread applicability. Figure 18 lists criteria used to determine whether a local learning should be elevated to the status of a lesson learned. All lessons are reviewed, validated, and approved by a lessons learned committee and the technical point of contact before entry into the lessons learned information system. The turnaround time for writing, review, approval, and publication takes at least two months. Criteria for Elevating Local Learning to a Lesson Learned

Local Learning

Elevate to Lesson Learned

Internal opportunity for communication or training improvement Changes to informal local policy or processes Minor impact to cost or low severity rating

Significant impact on future customer satisfaction or product quality

Reduce the possibility of negative impacts to budget or schedule Widespread applicability across organizations Contains valuable content that could reduce the likelihood of repeating past mistakes

Figure 18
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Figure 19 depicts the template used to capture lessons learned. Most lesson documents are two-page summaries containing an abstract, a description of a driving event (i.e., background information), the lesson learned, recommendations, and contact information for the submitter/owner. The documents may include links to pictures, other documents, and videos. Employees who lack the skills or time to document lessons may leverage technical writers to construct their lesson documents for them (with their review and approval). Sample Lessons Learned Template

Figure 19
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According to Bell, the two-page files contains a digestible amount of information on the lessons learned. You get some content and background, but you dont have to read through something the length of War and Peace. Lessons learned documents are housed within a centrally funded and maintained lessons learned information system on the NASA Engineering Network, where they are accessible to all employees and on-site contractors. The public has access to a subset of lessons through a separate interface. In addition to general and technical lessons, the system includes: information about incidents or mishaps, technical standards and papers, and relevant NASA lectures and presentations about lessons learned. Employees can also upload existing documents (not formatted as lessons learned) as attachments to the system. The system currently houses more than 2,800 NASA lessons dating back to 1972. Each lessons learned document is classified according to a taxonomy to enable searches by category and keyword. The system can also search other NASA systems (guided by internal service-level agreements regarding metadata sharing). Employees can request to be alerted each time a new lesson on a particular topic is uploaded to the system. The lessons learned information system incorporates a feedback feature so that readers can rate the usefulness of particular lessons. There is a clear distinction between the documentation of lessons learned and any actions that need to be taken as a result. When a lesson requires a corrective action, a separate process is triggered to make necessary changes to policy or procedure. Example: The Lessons Learned Process at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Every NASA center has access to the centralized lessons learned information system. However, each center has its own processes for capturing lessons, beyond the basic procedures already described. The current lessons learned process is modeled on the process implemented at JPL more than 25 years ago. JPL uses the following approaches to capture and apply lessons learned. A JPL-specific lessons learned committee meets weekly to identify, validate, and prioritize lessons learned candidates; prepare and approve lessons learned; and serve as a de facto corrective action board for the center. A four-pronged lessons learned infusion approach ensures that lessons get reused by projects through: 1. targeted distribution (the review of newly published entries into the lessons learned information system by appropriate subject matter experts),

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2. project self-assessment (detailed reviews by the project team at major milestones to ensure compliance with NASA lessons learned recommendations), 3. center-wide infusion (cross-referencing of lessons learned against center guiding principles, such as the JPL design principles and flight project practices), and 4. corrective action board (the review of project incidents with institutional impacts by the lessons learned committee and, where appropriate, the triggering of the closed loop corrective action notice system to obtain center-wide resolution). The lessons learned committee publishes all approved lessons learned to the lessons learned information system to enable agency-wide access. All project managers and teams are required to submit lessons learned from their projects, review existing lessons that may apply to their projects, and take appropriate actions based on the knowledge gleaned from lessons. The lessons learned committee chair periodically e-mails a summary of submitted lessons learned to the centers mission assurance managers and project system engineers for further dissemination to their projects. Project managers formally report on lessons learned at major project milestones. Sometimes project teams go beyond intra-project lessons learned and share interproject lessons learned via project teamtoproject team knowledge transfer. These in-person knowledge transfers illustrate a key theme emphasized by NASA: Tools such as the lessons learned database are key enablers, but personal interaction is vital to enable effective knowledge transfer. COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE To supplement the rest of its KM infrastructure, NASA has established communities of practice for a number of projects and competencies. These communities disseminate critical lessons learned, provide forums for discussion and Q&A, and help employees find information. Each community has a charter, core team, and human facilitator and is integrated with document management functions. Unlike other collaborative spaces within NASA, communities are mandated and overseen by NASA's office of the chief engineer. Each community is led by a NASA technical fellow who is a designated expert in the communitys topic area. These community leaders have considerable oversight responsibilities, including: serving as senior technical experts in support of the office of the chief engineer and the NASA engineering and safety center;
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chartering and leading agency/government teams to resolve complex issues; serving as independent resources to the agency and industry; levying standards and specifications on major programs/projects; conducting workshops and conferences to enhance discipline awareness; serving as stewards of their disciplines; fostering consistency in the creation and maintenance of agency-level standards and specifications, including core standards; leading NASA discipline working groups; dispositioning major/complex waivers/deviations as required; ensuring that lessons learned are identified and incorporated into work; sponsoring specific activities in the discipline; and fostering NASA participation in engineering academies.

Center-Specific Processes and Practices


As previously stated, each NASA center has its own KM approaches and tactics that supplement the agency-wide infrastructure. Below are descriptions of how three centersJPL, Kennedy Space Center, and Glenn Research Centerembed knowledge sharing in the flow of work at their locations. JET PROPULSION LABORATORY Manson Yew, a JPL enterprise software systems project manager, explained that at JPL, work consists primarily of flight projects. Below are descriptions of some of the unique approaches JPL uses to integrate knowledge sharing and collaboration into these projects. Guiding principlesJPL has foundational guidelines for key activities such as flight project practices (geared toward managers) and the design, verification, validation, and operation of flight systems (geared toward engineers). Guiding principles are available through the JPL Rules! system and the NASA Engineering Network. All engineers and managers receive training on the guiding principles, which are continuously refreshed with new lessons learned. Each guiding principle refers back to the lesson that generated the principle. JPL Rules! systemThe JPL Rules! system serves as a repository for the centers formal procedures, policies, and rules (including the guiding principles). According to Yew, rules are religiously abided by because they are derived from cumulative organizational learning. He said: The system embeds

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our most important knowledge and how-tos. There are really good reasons why you do not want to deviate from a particular rule. The JPL project support portalThe JPL project support portal is a knowledge resource portal for JPL flight projects. It houses critical information for flight project management, including key deliverables, artifacts, and guidelines; templates and examples; and laboratory-wide services for projects (e.g., launch, IT, scheduling, systems engineering). Yew said: We assume our project element managers and subsystem managers already know the rules, have been trained, and are competent in their roles. But in case they forget details, they can come here. Theyll see samples of our standard work breakdown structure; key deliverables as required by all the documents for flight projects; and resources, templates, and examples. Product data management systemThe product data management system is a central information service for flight project designs and drawings. It is intended for the development phase of a project (differentiating it from the project support portal, which is geared toward projects already initiated). The system ensures that flight projects are designed according to established best practices. Configuration management engineers provide live support, guiding other engineers through the process. Yew said: If you use this system, it is hard to deviate from established flight project practices and design principles because they are embedded in the workflow of the system. The system forces you to design projects more efficiently and also to stick to the rules. Electronic library serviceThe electronic library service is an information service for flight project documentation and designs, including flight project practices and design principles. JPL employees can access knowledge from archived projects via this portal. As with the product data management system, individuals searching the electronic library service are assigned a live guide (in this case, an information management engineer) to facilitate their searches. When engineers deliver documents, they are expected to upload the final versions into the document library. Computer-aided engineeringJPLs computer-aided engineering (CAE) portal is a central electronic repository for all CAE tools including templates, models, and examples. The portal integrates with the product data management system. By accessing prepopulated CAD designs, an engineer can begin with a working model of a design based on the NASA guiding principles, rather than have to start from scratch. Yew said: We put flight project practices and design principles into these tools, so it becomes really

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hard for you to deviate. In fact, you need a waiver before you can change a particular principle. JPLSpaceJPLSpace is the centers intranet site, which includes access to all internal resources, plus a feed to news, announcements, search, and quick links. JPLBeaconJPLBeacon is a portal that provides access to the centers library service, which includes books; online journals; and an archive of all JPL scientific papers and reports, engineering documents, and photos. Whereas the electronic library service houses project-specific libraries (e.g., every flight project has its own secure area where project knowledge is housed and managed), the JPLBeacon is a more traditional library that provides nonproject-specific information. JPL WiredJPL Wired is the centers engineering wiki for peer-contributed formal and informal knowledge. Although JPL Wired encourages a free flow of information among peers, the guiding principles still rule the workflow at JPL. Any derivation from the guiding principles requires a formal waiver. GatewayBuilt on a Microsoft SharePoint 2010 platform, Gateway is JPLs social networking site. Employees are automatically friends with other members of their organizational groups. The system allows employees to share status updates and uploaded work with colleagues. Gateway has direct links to important reference material, such as the electronic library service. Gateway also facilitates networking circles, such as one for younger engineers, to encourage collaboration, community building, and informal knowledge exchange. The sites newsfeed informs employees when colleagues upload final documents to the document library. Left FieldJPL has created an innovative approach called Left Field to encourage face-to-face collaboration during early mission concept design. A Left Field is a facilitated brainstorming session attended by subject matter experts. These sessions take place in an open, bright room with a view of the outdoors and are designed to bring out innovative and creative ideas related to specific topics. When a project in Left Field evolves beyond concept design, it moves next door to the Team X room where representatives from the relevant departments discuss the projects feasibility in terms of budget, staffing and so on. The juxtaposition of the rooms is purposely designed to facilitate a quick evolution from brainstorming to practical discussions on related topics such as resourcing.

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A sophisticated employee mentoring system provides basic guidance on how to use each of the tools and approaches. Participation in the first three toolsthe guiding principles, the JPL Rules! system, and the JPL project support portalis mandatory, with employees routinely audited to ensure they are using the tools effectively. KENNEDY SPACE CENTER The Kennedy Space Center chartered a KM team in 2001 to address issues related to its aging work force and future program transitions. The team initially focused on understanding the centers knowledge needs through a skills and competency management system. The team identified various databases and tools and developed knowledge maps in order to create a baseline. Additional knowledge-sharing initiatives have since developed across the center, including: participation in the agency-wide lessons learned information system; an HR mentor match program; the collection of procedure documents in a content management system; knowledge-sharing sessions administered by the Kennedy Engineering Academy; and the establishment of various wikis, blogs, and SharePoint sites.

GLENN RESEARCH CENTER The Glenn Research Center has developed a strong lessons learned program to support knowledge sharing in the flow of work. To encourage the capture and reuse of lessons, Ralph Zerick, lessons learned program and center data manager, established a center-specific lessons learned KM committee. The committee is made up of a cross-section of employees from different functions who are tasked with promoting KM and developing documented lessons learned into processes, policies, and procedures. In addition to creating a read-only lessons learned site on the NASA Engineering Network, Zerick started hosting lessons learned and knowledge-sharing workshops. Workshops are conducted at key decision points and major milestones throughout the project life cycle, including concept studies; concept and technology development; preliminary design and technology completion; final design and fabrication; system assembly integration, test, and launch; operations and sustainment; and closeout. These workshops are built into the project planning template that the project manager approves at the start of the project. Zericks team provides project managers with templates to make scheduling and participating in the workshops easier. Available templates include an invitation template that a project manager can send to prospective workshop attendees and a process guide for project managers. Zerick and his team facilitate the actual workshops, further limiting the amount of

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effort expected from project managers. According to Zerick: The idea with the workshops is to make sure that the project manager does as little as possible. I facilitate the workshops. Members from the lessons learned knowledge management committee come and take notes, and then we sit down afterward and write a summary of what we learned. Figure 20 contains a sample lessons learned work shop agenda, and Figure 21 contains a copy of the process guide. Sample Lessons Learned Workshop Agenda

Figure 20

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Lessons Learned Workshop Process Guide for Project Managers


1. Before the Lessons Learned Workshop (LLWS): a. Project Manager (PM) and Lessons Learned Program Manager (LLPM) to discuss the LL process and schedule the LLWS. b. The LLPM will provide to the PM: Invitation Package for Invitees (Announcement Letter template, Preliminary Lessons Learned Data form, Rational, Rules, and General Information) Attendees Sheet Copy of GRC Capture Form for eventual use in the NEN LLWS Agenda template (suggested agenda but may be revised) Background Information for Lessons Learned if desired Summary Chart template Copy of GLPR 7120.6 Lessons Learned c. The PM will complete the templates within the Invitation Package (Identified above) to the project team. d. PM collects the completed Preliminary Lessons Learned Data Forms from the team and coordinates and categorizes the lessons for optimal review. e. PM prepares opening statements to the team summarizing the project and the lessons collected. (Templates provided). f. PM forwards the completed capture forms to the LLPM prior to the LLWS. g. PM and LLPM coordinate for presentation of materials and facilitation at LLWS. Lessons Learned Workshop (LLWS): Possible 2 Hour, 4 Hour or All Day Agenda. The recommended agenda for the LLWS is provided. The PM will prepare the final agenda in conjunction with the LLPM, prior to the LLWS. It is recommended to follow this formal Lessons Learned Workshop process when possible. A similar, informal Pause and Learn Session can take place but shall be followed up later by a formal LLWS as recommended through these procedures. Please talk to the LLPM if interested in learning more about a Pause and Learn Session. a. Introduction: PM gives introductions and an overview of the project. Encourage openness and let new lessons develop during the process. New lessons, comments, etc. will be captured during meeting by a Recorder provided by the LLPM for later reference. (10 minutes) LLPM presents brief history and description of Lessons Learned, LLWS Rules of Engagement and the NEN Lessons Learned Information System. (5 minutes) LL Facilitator or the LLPM will present the submitted Preliminary Data Forms for team comments. (10 minutes per lesson) At the conclusion of the meeting, determine if another LLWS should be scheduled to continue the vetting process. Provide summary chart of the Lessons broken down by categories per the provided template. Give brief explanation of what happens after the workshop. The PM and authors will determine which lessons are relevant for submittal into the Agency NEN LLIS or the GRC Lessons Learned Repository. All lessons to be submitted will follow the procedures set up in GLPR 7120.6 Lessons Learned. (5 minutes)

2.

b. c. d.

e.

Figure 21
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Lessons Learned Workshop Process Guide for Project Managers (Cont.)


3. After the Workshop: a. The PM will: PM reviews the results and makes recommendations for which lessons the originators need to develop with the GRC Lessons Learned Committee as referenced in GLPR 7120.6 for submittal into the NASA Engineering Network (NEN) Lessons Learned Information System (LLIS) or the GRC Lessons Learned Repository. Also, new lessons identified during the LLWS can be assigned. Schedule any necessary follow up workshops. Distribute the minutes to attendees or management once received from the LLPM. b. The LLPM will: Provide LLWS minutes to the PM for distribution. The minutes will be provided in standard format to include: date; time; location; attendees; scope; number of lessons reviewed, summary chart, and concluding remarks. Provide to the PM GLPR 7120.6 and GRC Lessons Learned Capture Form. Work with authors of the lessons to follow GLPR 7120.6.

After a PM has worked through this process and experienced the complexity and the benefits of Lessons Learned it is recommended that the PM share his experiences with other project managers and teams who have not yet experienced a LLWS. Hence the idea of knowledge sharing and lessons learned in its true value. This is of value to other projects and the Lessons Learned Program. The Lessons Learned Project Manager will help guide this activity.

Figure 21 Zerick facilitates the workshops according to a set of ground rules (Figure 22) to keep the sessions focused and in scope. Each workshop generates a summary report of key lessons that the project manager can report to his or her executive team. Lessons learned workshops result in changed standards and engineering designs, process improvements, and quality assurance verification. Lessons Learned Workshop Guidelines and Rules

Rule
Be respectful: Be honest:

Description
No finger pointing Call it as you see it Other opinions and perspectives are equally important, regardless of rank

Be tolerant:

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Be a team: Exchange ideas: Prepare Make sessions local: Speak openly: Hold sessions at key decision points:

View lessons from a team perspective and assume responsibility for ensuring excellence Review and discuss lessons in real time Identify and review lessons beforehand using the Glenn Research Center lessons learned capture form Locate the room, close the door, and discuss the lessons Participants dont have to fear reprisals; session generate no negative consequences for individuals Learning happens throughout the life of a project; make collection and discussion a habit, not an afterthought

Figure 22

Culture and Change Management


You can set up all the repositories in the world, but ultimately it is the people that make it work. Ralph Zerick, lessons learned program manager Glenn Research Center
Over time, NASA has developed an appetite for capturing and sharing lessons learned in spite of initial cultural obstacles. Representatives from JPL and the Glenn Research Center shared stories and examples for how their centers foster cultures that embrace knowledge sharing and collaboration. Key elements of change management include: the persistence of the lessons learned program managers; clear articulation of the benefits of capturing and accessing lessons learned; leadership support; appropriate training when new approaches and systems roll out; and the inclusion of KM expectations in the performance management process.

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CULTURE CHANGE AT GLENN RESEARCH CENTER Ralph Zerick, who is responsible for the lessons learned program at the Glenn Research Center, emphasized the challenges associated with culture change at NASA. The culture at GRC is an environment of very experienced and tenured engineers who dont necessarily appreciate or value being told what to do with their projects, he said. Zerick was able to build a culture conducive to lessons learned by recruiting a cross-functional group of advocates and by providing tools, templates, and facilitated workshops that lessen the time burden for individual participants. Zerick clearly articulates the benefits of lessons learned to workshop participants, including: helping project teams/individuals reflect on their experiences; helping project teams/individuals articulate lessons learned; helping project teams share observations and experiences for the benefit of future projects; and leveraging the lessons learned databases as a rich resource for data mining for upcoming projects and the development of case studies. According to Zerick, many of the engineers that were resistant to change are older and more set in their ways, whereas the younger engineers were much more accepting of knowledge sharing and collaboration. In order to overcome this resistance, Zerick benchmarked the other successful centers with established lessons learned programs (such as JPL and Goddard Space Flight Center), interviewed the top executives for tips and advice, and repeatedly sought senior leadership support. Zerick said, I could help this grow; but without upper management support, youre dead. CULTURE CHANGE AT JET PROPULSION LABORATORY According to Enterprise Software Systems Project Manager Manson Yew, one of the critical success factors for encouraging knowledge sharing at JPL was building KM expectations into the performance management process. For example, when JPL Wired was first created, engineers were reluctant to contribute. However, the founder of NASAs wiki took the initiative to engage senior leadership support for the process, and management incorporated the expectation to participate into the performance management process. As a result, the number of articles on JPL Wired exploded. Yew said, If you get management involvement and if people are rewarded and recognized for sharing knowledge and collaborating, people will contribute knowledge. As a result of these types of efforts, lessons learned processes have become engrained in NASAs culture.

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Measures
KM measurement was not an area of focus during the site visit APQC conducted for this study. However, Yew did share information regarding JPLs KM measurement practices. JPL recently created a performance measures handbook, which is currently under review. The handbook details four knowledge-sharing goalssociability, community outreach, usage, and increasing membershipthat will be tracked through formal annual surveys.

Critical Success Factors and Lessons Learned


According to NASA representatives, the agency took two actions that were particularly instrumental in embedding KM in the flow of work: building knowledge sharing into the project management processes, and including key principles and guidelines in knowledge repositories. Other critical success factors for embedding KM in the workflow follow. Senior leadership supportSupport from management is critical to gain traction when launching a KM effort. Employee engagementNASA combats apathy and disinterest by educating its employees about knowledge sharing and its value. NASA lessons learned program managers actively sell the value of documenting and accessing lessons. Building KM into the formal workflowThe Glenn Research Center has found that building formal lessons learned sessions into the project plan template is a key enabler to ensure that knowledge is shared in the flow of project work. Zerick said, If you have it in the project plan, everybody agrees to it and you have a better chance of success. The ancillary role of technologyThe exact nature of the technology is less important than whether it works for the target audience (in NASAs case, the project managers and lead engineers). For example, individuals searching JPLs portals receive live help to facilitate their search. Yew said, We found out that it is not really about the tools; it is about the people. Performance managementPeople are more likely to contribute and participate in knowledge sharing if it is a formal part of their performance expectations. NASA shared many success stories for building knowledge sharing and collaboration into the workflow, such as through its lessons learned programs and myriad portals. But the agency has also experienced challenges. For instance,
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NASAs decentralized KM structure creates both benefits (customization and regionalization) and drawbacks (redundancy and lack of standardization). Keeping some elements centralized, such as the lessons learned information system, helps to combat the challenges. NASA representatives also shared stories about lessons learned without owners (i.e., the owner has retired or no longer works at NASA) and the ongoing struggle to keep lessons up-to-date. But given the criticality of ensuring the effective use of organizational knowledge, NASAs strong emphasis on capturing, disseminating, and accessing lessons learned is in itself an important lesson that other organizations can apply to their own KM programs.

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Case Study: Tata Chemicals Ltd.


Tata Chemicals Ltd. is a global company headquartered in Mumbai, India. One of the largest chemical suppliers in India, Tata Chemicals controls more than 40 percent of Indias branded Iodized salt industry and is the second-largest producer of soda ash in the world. Its business is divided into three main segments: 1. living essentialsproduces consumer products including salts, pulses, and baking soda; 2. industry essentialssources raw materials for some of the worlds largest manufacturers of glass, detergents, and other industrial products; and 3. farm essentialssupplies pesticides, insecticides, weedicides, and fertilizers primarily to the Indian domestic market. Through a series of acquisitions and joint ventures, Tata Chemicals operations have expanded to include manufacturing sites in the United Kingdom, the United States, and several African countries. The organization has more than 10,000 employees and reported 2011 revenues of $2.4 billion (USD). Seventy-two percent of Tata Chemicals revenues come from Asia, with the rest split among the Americas (16 percent), Europe (11 percent), and Africa (one percent). Tata Chemicals is a subsidiary of Tata Group, Indias largest industrial conglomerate. THE IMPETUS AND VISION FOR KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

As we progress deeper into the information age, knowledge will be the key differentiator, and embedding knowledge management in our company is critical for its progress. R. Mukundan, managing director
Although collaboration has been part of Tata Chemicals culture for decades, it did not create an official knowledge management (KM) vision and strategy until 2005. Several factors drove the formalization of KM, the most critical of which are described below. Evolving customer needsTata Chemicals noticed that clients were requesting integrated product solutions that required closer coordination among locations and business units. The organization needed a way to facilitate global knowledge sharing and collaboration to satisfy its customers and keep up with the market.

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GlobalizationAs Tata Chemicals spread its domestic operations to four continents, leaders recognized the need for robust KM tools and approaches that would enable different locations to collaborate and share best practices and lessons learned. Technological advancesNew systems and applications made it possible to capture, codify, and share large quantities of knowledge across the organization. Tata Chemicals KM program concentrates on empowering employees to seek and share knowledge effectively. Guided by the idea that people are the lynchpin of KM, the organization aims to increase the quantity and quality of collaboration among individuals, teams, departments, locations, and business units. Senior leaders want the work force to see KM as more than simply a department or technology platform: KM is positioned as a vehicle for cultural transformation, revolutionizing how employees work together to create value. The ultimate purpose of the KM program is to promote functional excellence, enhance decision making, and reduce duplication of work. As part of its focus on inclusiveness and collaboration, Tata Chemicals asked its work force to weigh in on what the corporate KM vision should be. The KM team then synthesized the feedback it received to compose the following vision statement:
To create a culture of systematically harvesting and sharing knowledge in Tata Chemicals, in a manner that employees are encouraged to continuously improve their own knowledge and the skills that would be required to manage both the current and future needs of the business.

The KM vision and strategy are supported by Tata Chemicals official corporate vision, which includes tenets related to innovation, employee teamwork, and learning from diversity. KM is also included as a key area of excellence in the Tata business excellence model, which drives quality and performance standards throughout all Tata Group organizations. The inclusion of KM in the excellence model ensures that knowledge sharing and collaboration remain priorities for leaders at every level of the organization. In 2011, Tata Chemicals was named one of Indias and Asias Most Admired Knowledge Enterprise (MAKE) award winners by Teleos in association with The KNOW Network. GOVERNANCE AND FUNDING Tata Chemicals set out to create a KM program that would be sustainable, scalable, and easy to roll out globally. A four-person core team administers Tata Chemicals enterprise KM program, but this group is supported by a network of part-time,
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volunteer KM champions, coordinators, and designated listeners embedded in the business units. The coordinators and champions help ensure that KM initiatives are publicized and implemented consistently across the organization. A corporate-level KM steering committee oversees high-level policy, but each manufacturing site and major office has its own KM steering committee to help set priorities for that location. The KM team reports into the HR function, with the chief HR officer responsible for high-level KM strategy. Funding comes from both the corporate level and each business unit. The majority of the KM budget funds KM portal management and KM-related rewards and recognitions.

Strategy
We do not want to look at knowledge management as a special initiative; we want to make it a way of life. B Sudhakar, chief HR officer
The ultimate goal of Tata Chemicals KM strategy is to improve the flow of knowledge so that employees can innovate faster, make better decisions, and implement business improvements. Areas of strategic focus include knowledge capture and transfer, access to experts, databases and IT systems, and maximizing the value of intellectual property. While the strategy addresses processes and technology, the focus is on human behavior and interaction. According to Dr. Devsen Kruthiventi, head of KM, People are the knowledge holders and the knowledge users and thus must be the cornerstone of any effective KM approach. DEVELOPING A LONG-TERM STRATEGIC PLAN FOR KM Tata Chemicals develops long-term strategic plans for each of its composite businesses and departments, including KM. The KM long-term strategic plan is aligned with the overall strategic plan for the organization, which helps ensure that KM stays aligned with business objectives. To develop the KM long-term strategic plan, the KM team starts with a series of inputs, including: overall business strategy and objectives; the mission, vision, values, and culture of the organization; stakeholder feedback;
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risks related to technology and the potential loss of critical knowledge; and an environmental scan revealing KM and technology trends relevant to the strategy. Based on these inputs, the KM team develops a list of KM imperatives (i.e., goals and priorities for the long-term strategic plan to address). The team then uses analytical tools to design a KM strategy map, a five-year long-term strategic plan, and a one-year action plan and calendar outlining specific projects to tackle in the coming year. As part of the yearly action plan, the KM team defines how KM will affect each stakeholder group, from senior management down to front-line workers, and what metrics will be used to gauge ease of implementation and impact. Figure 23 outlines the process of creating the long-term strategic plan for KM. Developing the KM Long-Term Strategic Plan

Figure 23 Once a year, the KM team meets with representatives from senior management and the KM steering committee to review the long-term strategic plan and create a new action plan for the coming year. As part of the review process, the group looks at the results of an internal KM customer satisfaction survey and other stakeholder input to determine whats working, whats not, and how the long-term strategic plan should change in response to feedback and shifting needs.

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Tata quality management systems, which is responsible for quality guidelines across the Tata Group, has developed a KM maturity model for all Tata organizations. The five-step model addresses KM maturity across six dimensions: organizational needs, processes, people, support systems, scope, and results. As part of its planning process, Tata Chemicals must ensure that its long-term strategy will increase KM maturity on each facet of the model. Tata quality management systems conducts regular knowledge audits to assess Tata Chemicals maturity, point out gaps, and suggest actions that the organization can take to reach the next level. The knowledge audits help calibrate the KM strategy and ensure that it aligns with industry trends and business priorities. HOW KM FITS INTO THE PROCESS MODEL To regulate operations and ensure that the strategic plan is implemented effectively, Tata Chemicals relies on a process management model based on APQCs Process Classification Framework. This model contains a three-level process classification: Level 1Eight enterprise processes address the core areas of leadership, supply chain management, technology and manufacturing, human capital management, financial management, customers and markets, IT, and continual improvement. Level 2Thirty mid-level processes represent significant business areas. Level 3More than 600 functional processes guide employees in performing day-to-day activities. KM is included in the enterprise process model as a Level 2 process under continual improvement (Figure 24). Three Level 3 processes guide activities related to knowledge identification, capture, sharing, and reuse, as well as idea management and implementation. The fact that every KM approach is directly linked to one of the Level 3 KM processes helps ensure that employees at all levels understand the purpose of KM and how it fits into processes and workflows. KM in the Enterprise Process Model
Level 1
Continual Improvement

Level 2
Knowledge Management

Level 3
Process for knowledge identification, capture and review Process for knowledge sharing, replication, and usage Process for idea management and implementation

Figure 24 To manage and refine its processes, Tata Chemicals developed an improvement methodology called DeMMI, which stands for define, measure, monitor, and improve. As part of DeMMI, each process has efficiency and effectiveness
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measures that are tracked and reported regularly. Measures for Level 3 processes are aggregated to form measures for Level 2 processes, which roll up into high-level measures for Level 1 enterprise processes. Relevant managers act as process owners, which creates a clear accountability structure for ongoing process measurement and improvement. Because KM is fully integrated into this process framework, it benefits from the same level of oversight and scrutiny applied to all processes.

Processes and Practices


Since 2005, Tata Chemicals has implemented a variety of approaches for capturing, transferring, and applying organizational knowledge. Each approach has a welldefined business case and aims to support employees in their everyday activities. The evolution of KM has followed the organizations motto: Insight to Intelligence to Innovation. The initial approaches focused on capturing and codifying existing knowledge, but newer, more advanced initiatives involve leveraging knowledge to innovate and generate new lines of business. Because so many of the KM approaches facilitate creative problem solving and new product/process development, employees see KM as integral to the organizations culture of process improvement and its identity as an innovation hub. Figure 25 lists Tata Chemicals main tools and approaches for managing tacit and explicit knowledge. The following subsections describe these tools and approaches and explain how each is integrated into business processes and workflows. KM Tools and Approaches

Knowledge
Employees

Tacit
Story Capture Knowledge Sharing Sessions Idea Management SAE Oorja Communities of Practice Performance Dialogue Customer/ Supplier Meets K Cafes K Fairs BI

Explicit
Structured Unstructured

SAP

K Connect

FIBERS

Figure 25
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TITLI: THE TATA CHEMICALS STORY CAPTURE PROCESS One of the first KM approaches that Tata Chemicals implemented was Titli, a story capture process designed to extract tacit knowledge from experts and front-line employees. Historically, employees shared experiences and lessons learned through informal discussion, but this grew more difficult as the organization expanded and became more globally dispersed. The goal of the story capture process is to capitalize on Tata Chemicals tradition of storytelling while ensuring that innovations, successes, and failures are systematically and effectively communicated to the rest of the global work force. The program is called Titli, which means butterfly in Hindi, to represent the way in which storytelling enables the crosspollination of ideas and information. What makes Tata Chemicals process unique is that, instead of asking employees to write up their own stories, a group of assigned listeners records and submits the stories. Designated listeners are embedded in every Tata Chemicals department and location, so when an employee wants to share a story, he or she can approach one of these individuals. The listenerswho have been trained on active listening and interviewingtranslate the oral stories into a written format and then enter the documents into K-Connect, Tata Chemicals knowledge portal. Listeners are also responsible for tagging stories using a taxonomy with categories such as agile execution, customer focus, success stories, or learning from experience. Leaders felt that assigning specific individuals to listen to and record stories was the best way to garner participation. The listeners make it easy for employees to submit stories because they can do so orally, without having to write anything down or learn how to submit stories through the portal. This is especially important because many line staff membersespecially in Indiahave limited experience using computers or composing formal documents. Designated listeners help integrate story capture into the flow of employees work; they also level the playing field and guarantee that every employee has an opportunity to share. Over time, many listeners have taken on the additional role of KM evangelist, spreading the word about KM and innovation programs within their business units and promoting change. The KM team rarely solicits specific stories unless a major event occurs at a particular location. Every story submission goes through a verification process during which a group of experts authenticates and edits it into a usable format. In the first few years of the story capture process, Tata Chemicals collected a lot of stories, but they were of varying levels of quality. Since then, the organization has implemented measurement criteria to evaluate each story and its impact on the organization. Stories that reveal best practices, identify risks, and/or drive process changes receive the highest ratings. The organization recognizes particularly valuable stories with gold, silver, and bronze Titli awards.

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The KM team has been particularly successful in communicating stories and persuading employees to apply their insights to real-time problem-solving scenarios. Stories are shared through various channels, including the K-Connect portal, hardcopy booklets distributed to employees, collaborative knowledge-sharing sessions, training programs, and monthly review meetings. New employees are strongly encouraged to read through relevant stories, which helps reduce the number of errors they make. Story capture has also been integrated into Tata Chemicals exit interview process so that best practices and lessons learned from departing employees are available to their successors and others who can use the information in their daily work. PERFORMANCE DIALOGS FOR COLLABORATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING Performance dialogs are collaborative meetings that occur primarily at Tata Chemicals chemicals plants. As a data-driven organization focused on continuous improvement, Tata Chemicals constantly monitors key process performance indicators at its plants. Performance dialogs, which are carried out every day during shift changes, allow the organization to review performance data and devise solutions. The performance dialog process was created to help plant managers, shift leaders, and front-line staff align their problem-solving efforts. Meetings focus on a series of questions, as shown in Figure 26. During the meetings, leaders and workers perform root-cause analyses and determine corrective actions. The meetings also provide opportunities for senior leaders to offer coaching and relevant performance feedback. Any issue that cannot be resolved at the shop-floor level is escalated to higher management levels. Once corrective action is taken, progress is monitored using simple, visual scorecards displayed on the shop floor. The entire operations team reviews the scorecards and discusses progress on key performance indicators during daily shift meetings. Once a week, the plant leaders visit the shop floor to check on progress and make suggestions; management also evaluates the data at daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly review meetings. The objective of the performance dialog process is to solve problems at Tata Chemicals plants while increasing the competencies of employees at the shop-floor level. The process helps plant workers learn how to identify problems and corrective actions, monitor key metrics and progress to targets, collaborate with colleagues and superiors, and build accountability and trust. Tata Chemicals is in the process of adapting its performance dialog process for use outside the plant environment to address problems in sales and marketing.

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Questions Addressed During a Performance Dialog

Figure 26

OORJA: USING THEATER TO COMMUNICATE AND SHARE KNOWLEDGE One of the unique aspects of Tata Chemicals KM program is the way in which it relies on non-written forms of knowledge sharing, including oral storytelling and performances. Oorjawhich means energy in Hindiis a program in which employees form teams and write skits about a particular topic. For example, in 2012, Tata Chemicals selected sustainability as its Oorja theme, and staff members are creating short plays to demonstrate what they think the organization should do to promote sustainability. Several years ago, the theme was globalization and what it means to Tata Chemicals. When the KM program first launched, the organization conducted an Oorja in which employees performed skits about the importance of transferring knowledge. Oorja is seen as a powerful way to surface and communicate ideas about topics that are vital to the organization. The plays provide a creative outlet for employees to voice their enthusiasm as well as any concerns they might have about a specific issue or initiative. Once employees have written their skits, Tata Chemicals hosts a competition to select the performances that best represent the theme, starting with local contests and ending with a company-wide final round.

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The program encourages teamwork and friendly competition, and it is inclusive in that employees do not need advanced skills to participate. Participants often invite their friends and families to attend the performances, which increases the sense of comradery. In fact, the Oorja performances function as part of Tata Chemicals community outreach, publicizing information about the organization and its impact to the broader public. IDEA MANAGEMENT AND INNOVATION The KM program supports two main approaches for idea management: K-Cafs and Prerana. K-Cafs enable the development of ideas in a team setting, whereas the Prerana suggestion scheme provides individuals with an outlet to share their ideas. A third tool called Eureka on Demand allows employees to collaborate with external parties to innovate and solve problems. K-Cafs K-Cafs are structured, face-to-face events where employees brainstorm ideas that matter to the organization. The process begins with the announcement of a topic and date for a K-Caf at a particular location. For example, a K-Caf might ask members of the sales and marketing team to develop business ideas for a specific market, or it might ask people at a plant to think of ways to conserve water. Topics come from senior leaders, department heads, R&D heads, or the KM team. Some topics directly link to the KM imperatives developed as part of the KM long-term strategic plan, but others reflect needs within a particular department or line of business. Once the K-Caf is announced, employees form themselves into teams and start brainstorming ideas related to the topic. At the culminating event, the participating teams present their ideas and then are mixed up into new teams to develop additional ideas on the fly. A panel of judges consisting of business leaders and experts reviews the ideas and evaluates them against six parameters: innovation, novelty, whether the idea is actionable, whether it relies on an inter-disciplinary approach, whether it is futuristic, and its impact on the business. Winners are announced, and the organization immediately orders implementation plans for the top three ideas. In 2011, Tata Chemicals hosted 42 K-Cafs across its locations. The K-Caf process has generated 1,500 ideas to date, 214 of which have been implemented. Tata Chemicals has saved $500,000 (USD) by implementing ideas surfaced during KCafes, and some ideas have opened up new lines of business. For example, a K-Caf spurred the idea for the Tata Swach, an affordable water purifier that operates without electricity. Swach has won numerous awards, including the Global ICIS award for best product innovation and gold at the IDSA Design Awards and Asian Innovation Awards. When an idea from a K-Caf generates significant revenue for the organization, the team that originated the idea receives a financial reward.

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According to Deputy Manager of KM Dr. Milind Gajjar, when Tata Chemicals started hosting K-Cafs, it was a challenge to explain the program in a way that made sense to employees and motivated them to participate. In response, the KM team conducted awareness campaigns and leveraged KM listeners, coordinators, and champions to get the word out. Since then K-Cafs have become extremely popular, and business leaders constantly approach the KM team with potential topics. Currently, the organization is looking at ways to expand the K-Caf concept beyond a specific location so that it can host virtual, enterprise-wide events. Prerana The Prerana suggestion scheme has existed since 1954 to gather improvement ideas from Tata Chemicals work force. However, the scheme was revitalized and folded into the KM program in 2006. The updated Prerana involves using Lotus Notes, email, and Tata Chemicals intranet portal to solicit employee suggestions related to specific problems or challenges. Any employee can suggest a solution or improvement through the Prerana system. Location-based committees review the suggestions to determine whether they are feasible, practical, and worth pursuing. If a suggestion is approved, then Tata Chemicals empowers the process owner of the accepted suggestion to develop an implementation plan, including details on how the change would be carried out and a timeline. The plan must also include an analysis of the savings that would result from implementation. It usually takes between two and five months to complete an implementation plan, depending on the complexity of the changes required. Employees who provide suggestions are informed when their ideas are implemented and, if a suggestion results in reduced costs, the employee receives a percentage of the total savings. The exact percentage varies by business unit, but the potential for financial compensation serves as a powerful motivator for employees at all levels to submit their ideas and proposals. The name Prerana comes from the Hindi word for inspiration. However, as the organization expanded to countries where Hindi is not a predominant language, this name proved to be confusing and served as a barrier to participation. For this reason, the Prerana suggestion scheme is referred to by the alternative name All Ideas Matter (AIM) outside India. Eureka on Demand Eureka on Demand is a portal where Tata Chemicals employees can post questions and problems they need to solve. Unlike the organizations other KM systems, Eureka on Demand is open not only to internal experts, but also to a range of external stakeholders, including consultants and partnering academic and research organizations. The portal facilitates collaborative problem solving with third parties

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and enables employees to take advantage of external relationships they may not even be aware of. Eureka on Demand also has a feature where employees can host virtual brainstorming sessions that include third parties. These sessions enable Tata Chemicals to partner with suppliers, customers, and external experts to look holistically at problems and devise effective solutions. ADDITIONAL KM AND INNOVATION APPROACHES Tata Chemicals supports a range of KM approaches that complement those described above. For example, in 2006, the organization implemented communities of practice as part of its KM framework. Tata Chemicals communities are structured around knowledge domains and enterprise initiatives (e.g., electrical maintenance, safety, etc.). The aim of the communities is to facilitate the transfer of tacit knowledge and best practices among employees at different locations, as well as to record tacit knowledge so that it can be referenced and reused. Additional knowledge-sharing and collaboration approaches follow. Knowledge-sharing sessionsEach Tata Chemicals department hosts regular, in-person meetings at which employees are encouraged to ask questions, exchange knowledge, and share lessons learned. Knowmore bookletsIn 2010, Tata Chemicals started compiling benchmarks, lessons learned, and other information about its processes into a series of booklets. Information in the booklets is tagged at the sub-process, workflow, and work instruction levels, making it easy for employees to find best practices and lessons relevant to their specific work tasks. SAE KaptureTata Chemicals has structured processes for capturing knowledge from retiring employees. Different practices apply to different employee groups (e.g., senior leaders, supervisors, front-line employees, etc.) to ensure that the organization captures the most appropriate level of information. K FairTata Chemicals holds an annual knowledge fair attended by vendors, suppliers, and industry experts. At the fair, each department is given a stall where it can showcase its innovations and the improvements it has made over the course of the year. KM DayThe third Tuesday of every month is designated as a KM Day at Tata Chemicals. On these days, each location organizes a series of KM-related activities, such as K-Cafs, quizzes, and talks by senior leaders or experts.

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According to Kruthiventi, KM Days are an opportunity to remind employees about KM, knowledge sharing, and inclusive collaboration. Additional approaches that support idea management and innovation follow. Tata InnoverseThis is a group ideation portal where employees can network, collaborate, share, revise, and implement innovative ideas. Employees submit ideas not only for their own organization, but also for other Tata Group companies. Innoverse is designed to let ideas flow swiftly through the innovation value chain from invention to selection and, finally, implementation. The portal operates as a marketplace where users can support ideas by voting for or betting on them, suggest improvements to ideas that have been submitted, share opinions, and even volunteer to implement challenging ideas. InnovistaThis Tata Group initiative has become a platform to showcase innovation in its varied forms (e.g., products, services, processes, business models, customer benefit, etc.). Innovista allows employees to submit innovations in three categories: promising innovations, dare to try, and leading edge. Since the programs inception, the awards have become one of the most anticipated events in the Tata Group calendar. Participation has grown from 202 entries in 2008 to 3,234 in 2011. ICareThis program solicits innovative business plans (not just ideas) from employees and then pulls selected individuals out of the business to implement their plans. As this variety demonstrates, Tata Chemicals KM toolkit is designed to appeal to the largest possible number of employees. Some staff members respond to databases and written documents, whereas others prefer virtual collaboration or inperson events. Certain approaches aim to engage specific subsets of the work force: For example, Tata Chemicals created a Yammer group to satisfy members of the Millennial generation clamoring for the latest social networking tools. But the thread that ties all these approaches together is their connection to the organizations strategic goals and desired business outcomes. Employees understand why they are sharing knowledge: to solve problems, improve processes, generate innovative ideas, and build relationships and trust across the global work force. TECHNOLOGY FOR KM K-Connect is Tata Chemicals main KM portal, which provides access to most of the organizations knowledge assets and virtual KM tools. A second portal, called FIBERS, is used to collect competitive intelligence information. Employees in the

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field enter relevant data into the portal, where it is funneled to the relevant internal departments. Department representatives then aggregate this information and analyze it to determine what actions to take. K-Connect was originally developed as custom software, but the organization is in the process of migrating the portal to Microsoft SharePoint. Tata Chemicals outsources its IT functions, and an external vendor is responsible for developing and updating the K-Connect portal. One internal person handles K-Connect maintenance from the business side. In addition to K-Connect, Tata Chemicals uses Lotus Notes for the Prerana suggestion scheme and maintains company-specific groups on Facebook and Yammer.

Culture and Change Management


By sharing, employees become important, they become useful, and then they are an asset to the company. Dr. Devsen Kruthiventi, head of KM
Rather than emphasizing technology, Tata Chemicals KM program focuses on creating an environment that encourages employees to collaborate and share. KM participation is positioned as a way for employees to increase their skills and contribute more to the organization. Participants see clear links between knowledge sharing and business outcomes, and when employees suggest improvements or innovations that have a major impact on the business, they are rewarded. TRAINING AND CHANGE MANAGEMENT Every new hire at Tata Chemicals goes through one week of induction training. As part of this onboarding process, employees attend a half-day program that answers to questions such as: What does KM mean at Tata Chemicals? Why is it important to collaborate and share knowledge? What are the frameworks, portals, tools, and approaches that support KM? Who are the key contacts and experts in various areas, and how can I access them? How do I learn about best practices relevant to my role?

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KM training is also integrated into Tata Chemicals management development program. To supplement formal training, the KM team uses stories, skits, songs, and visuals to reinforce desired behaviors and allow employees to work out their fears about change. The skits developed through the Oorja program are one example of this. Another comes from the launch of the Titli story capture process. As part of rolling out Titli, the KM team created a puzzle based on the Titli butterfly logo. During orientation presentations, KM representatives handed out puzzle pieces to members of the audience and asked them to assemble the puzzle. The message behind this activity was that the story capture process would succeed only if employees worked together and contributed their individual experiences to the collective body of knowledge. FEEDBACK AND CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT Whenever Tata Chemicals implements a new KM approach, it starts small with a pilot at a particular location. Throughout the pilot, the KM team collects feedback and lessons learned that can be applied during future rollouts. In addition, the KM team constantly solicits feedback from the KM coordinators embedded in the business. These individuals are responsible for driving KM adoption across the work force, so they often have insight into whats working, what isnt, and what changes might boost engagement and increase the flow of knowledge. Coordinator feedback is shared through teleconference meetings and sessions built into monthly KM Day activities. KM coordinators often select a specific topic, such as the K-Connect portal, and then relay their experiences and what issues they want the core KM team to address. This feedback loop is vital to the organizations change management and improvement efforts. COMMUNICATION AND RECOGNITION The KM team uses a combination of in-person, e-mail, and Web-based communications to spread the word about knowledge sharing and collaboration. In 2011, it ramped up its use of video to disseminate KM messages. For example, it recently began posting three-minute videos of senior leaders talking about their areas of expertise and the importance of sharing knowledge. Regular KM updates are distributed through e-mail, the K-Connect portal, and notice boards. As part of these updates, the KM team acknowledges employees who have shared valuable ideas, stories, and lessons learned. Sometimes, the updates include photos of outstanding contributors. Tata Chemicals uses a points system to gauge employees participation in the KConnect portal. Points are awarded for every action an employee takes, whether it is

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asking or responding to a question, submitting a story, or downloading a document. Once someone has a certain number of points, he or she receives a prize. ADAPTING TO GLOBAL OPERATIONS As Tata Chemicals expanded its operations outside India, one of the challenges it faced was adapting its KM tools and approaches to appeal to a global audience. Certain names, concepts, and techniques that made sense in India did not translate well elsewhere. A stark example of this relates to the names of certain KM tools and approaches, such as Titli (butterfly in Hindi), Oorja (energy in Hindi), and Prerana (inspiration in Hindi). For employees who do not speak Hindi, it was hard to understand the context around these brands or connect them to specific approaches. Tata Chemicals responded by assigning some KM initiatives alternative names for use in English-speaking countries. The Prerana suggestion scheme, for example, is now called All Ideas Matter (AIM) at the corporate level and all non-Indian locations. Some of the cultural differences go beyond simple language barriers, however. Specifically, the concept of designated listeners who record stories for employees has worked well in India and Africa, but has not caught on in the United States and Europe. Employees in Western countries are not very comfortable with the listener concept, according to Kruthiventi, and they would rather enter their own stories directly into the K-Connect portal. Tata Chemicals has adapted to support this selfservice approach in locations where employees prefer it. Whenever Tata Chemicals acquires a new company or location, it makes sure that employees understand the importance of KM and receive training on KM tools and approaches. If necessary, the organization adjusts its KM toolkit to reflect cultural differences. It also looks at best practices and knowledge present in the acquired organization and ensures they are translated back to the larger enterprise.

Measures
Tata Chemicals KM team works with the corporate-level KM steering committee to determine measures and key performance indicators for KM. The KM coordinators embedded in the businesses support measurement efforts by reporting on locationspecific KM calendars and activities. Every month, the KM team meets with the steering committee to review the data, identify trends, and address any gaps. MEASUREMENT PROGRESSION Figure 27 depicts the evolution of Tata Chemicals KM measurement efforts since 2005. When the organization launched its KM program, it began tracking activity measures related to various KM approaches. At that stage, the KM team wanted to
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ensure that knowledge was being captured and transferred, so the emphasis was on quantity (how many stories were written down, how many documents were viewed, etc.). It had not yet begun to look at the impact of its tools and approaches. The Evolution of KM Measurement at Tata Chemicals

Figure 27 In 2006 and 2007, the KM team started looking at the quality of the knowledge exchanges that were occurring, but the primary focus remained on activity measures. In 2008 and 2009, attention shifted to how knowledge was being used and the business benefits stemming from knowledge sharing, collaboration, and idea management. These efforts culminated with the creation of the KM Meter, which is described below. THE KM METER AND DASHBOARD In 2010, the KM team rolled out a comprehensive KM Meter designed to monitor KM engagement and impact across the organization. The KM Meter relies on three main inputs: 1. percentage of employees who are involved in KM, 2. adherence to the KM calendar, and 3. tangible and intangible benefits realized through KM activities. The KM Meter is available through a dashboard on the K-Connect portal where authorized users can drill down by department and location. The dashboard also
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provides access to internal customer satisfaction data for KM, data on senior leadership involvement, and a KM usage log. Users can access trend analysis to see how the statistics for a particular department or location have changed over time. The dashboard provides separate meters for each of what the organization calls the four Cs: codificationhow much tacit knowledge translated into documents and other explicit knowledge assets, collaborationhow much collaboration occurs in each department and location, conversionhow employees apply knowledge to create business impact, and contributionhow much individuals and teams contribute. By aggregating this data, the dashboard enables managers to see the KM areas in which their departments or locations are strong, the areas in which they are not performing as well, and how they can reach the next level of performance. ADDITIONAL MEASUREMENT EFFORTS Tata Chemicals is in the process of creating its own internal KM audit process, which will be finalized by 2014. It is also involved in an Innometer study, developed based on research by Professor Julian Birkinshaw of London Business School, which aims to explore the process and culture of innovation across the organization.

Critical Success Factors and Lessons Learned


We need to identify our business challenges and be ready to respond. Dr. Devsen Kruthiventi, head of KM
KEY CHALLENGES The most significant challenges that Tata Chemicals has encountered over its sixyear KM journey are: getting buy-in from stakeholders and adapting to their evolving priorities; sustaining KM initiatives over the long term and determining when an approach is no longer relevant and should be retired;

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making sure that messages reach every member of the work force, especially part-time workers and people on the shop floor; changing peoples mindsets in terms of how they seek and share knowledge; maintaining the technology infrastructure and managing the Millennials expectations with regard to technology; embedding KM so that it becomes a way of life; and measuring the return on investment from KM. LESSONS LEARNED Tata Chemicals cites the following KM lessons learned: Identify problems that have long-term relevance the organization. Unless KM is directly linked to strategic opportunities and challenges, the program will not catch on or have a significant impact. Start from a pilot, not a big bang. Trying to roll out an approach all at once across the enterprise can lead to mistakes and a loss of credibility. Give credit to the process owners. The KM team acts as a facilitator, but the real heroes are the people out in the business capturing, sharing, and reusing knowledge. Those individuals and teams should be accountable for KM and get credit for any successes. Focus on people, process, and technology (in that order). Dont try to implement a KM approach by rolling out a software application. Instead, start by looking at the behaviors employees should exhibit and design processes that will prompt those behaviors. Once processes are in place, develop tools to support the processes. Be proactive, not reactive. The KM strategy should identify critical business challenges and address them as early as possible. BENEFITS AND RESULTS Tata Chemicals reports that its KM program has yielded a range of tangible and intangible business benefits. Specifically, KM: enhances functional excellence, reduces duplication of work, helps integrate newly acquired companies into the larger enterprise, builds a sense of community among employees, and leads to better decision making.

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Through participation in KM, employees feel empowered to share their ideas and experiences, and they know that they will be rewarded for speaking up. This cultural change has helped reduce waste, improve employee morale, and decrease absenteeism among front-line workers. Furthermore, the knowledge and ideas exchanged have led to process improvements, an enhanced customer focus, and an increase in the number of patents awarded to Tata Chemicals each year.

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About This Research


The research in this report was collected using APQCs award-winning Collaborative Benchmarking methodology. The process began in September 2011 when APQC compiled a list of potential best-practice partner organizations based on previous research, APQCs extensive knowledge of knowledge management programs, and recommendations from the study sponsors. As part of the preparation for the study, APQC conducted a short, online survey in autumn 2011 to canvass a broader population about the integration of knowledge sharing and collaboration into processes and workflows. More than 80 organizations participated in this online survey. APQC analyzed the data and leveraged the results to help shape the study scope and data-collection materials. In addition, the team added survey respondents that met the benchmarking criteria to the target list of potential partners. After assembling a list of more than 60 potential best-practice organizations, the APQC study team conducted a multistep screening process to refine the list and identify the most suitable candidates. First, APQC approached each organization on the target list to assess its interest in and qualification for participating as a bestpractice partner. Then, team members conducted telephone interviews with the process owners at a subset of qualified and interested organizations to better understand each organizations processes and practices and determine whether it was a good fit for the scope of this research. Finally, APQC presented eight candidate organizations to study sponsors at the study kickoff conference call in January 2012. From the eight final candidates, the study sponsors selected five to participate as best-practice partners: Alcoa World Alumina; MWH Global Inc.; Nalco, an Ecolab company; NASA; and Tata Chemicals Ltd. APQC conducted a virtual or in-person site visit with each selected partner. Key leaders from the partner organizations hosted the site visits in accordance with a discussion guide supplied by APQC. Representatives from the sponsoring organizations provided valuable input into the design of the site visit discussion guide and participated in the site visits. The APQC study team prepared a written case study of each site visit and submitted it to the partner organization for review and approval. The final case studies are separate from this report. SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTISE Darcy Lemons, Senior Project Manager, APQC Darcy Lemons is a senior project manager with APQCs Delivery Services group. During her 13 years with the organization, she has led most of APQCs more than 25 benchmarking studies focused on best practices in KM, covering topics such as
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retaining critical knowledge, communities of practice, Web 2.0 for KM, KM and innovation, and lessons learned strategies and processes. Lemons was a special adviser on APQCs 2011 Collaborative Benchmarking study Improving the Flow of Knowledge in Product Development and the project manager for APQCs 2010 study Positioning Communities of Practice for Success. She also has been the project manager for APQCs KM Advanced Working Group, now in its fifth year. In 2003, she co-authored APQCs Capturing Critical Knowledge from a Shifting Work Force. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS APQC would like to thank all the participants in this study. The sponsor representatives provided valuable input throughout the study by helping to design the site visit discussion guide, influencing the selection of the best-practice organizations, and participating in the site visits. A special thank you is extended to the representatives from the five best-practice organizations, who took time out of their busy schedules to participate in this study. The representatives received no compensation or reimbursement for their time or travel. Each member of the partner group went out of his or her way to guarantee the success of this study.

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