Wednesday, June 17, 2015

You've got institutional knowledge


Hey team ... Great job ... See you next time we need a job done, for sure.

But what are you leaving behind as institutional knowledge?
  • If Agile, then a working product (but who knows how it works?)
  • If traditional, then a working product plus a knowledge base of documents, some useful and some worthless (but how do you know which is which?)
  • If hybrid --- Agile in the waterfall as it were ---  then hopefully you've worked out a protocol of minimum but useful stuff to institutionalize. 

By now you've probably figured out my bias. Team retrospection is good, necessary, but sometimes too private. Some stuff, especially lessons learned, needs institutional storage, indexing, and retrieval capability. 

Of course on the other hand the traditionalists often big down on document authoring and maintenance, the latter being as important as any other function lest the former be obsoleted. 

So message and media are the beginning of a useful knowledge base to be sure. But, there's actually little institutional knowledge if members of the institution can't find it and can't trust it once found. 

So two issues. 
  1. Store for retrieval, and
  2. Validate for trustworthiness. 

Re 1: as any archivist will tell you, there's a big difference in the "store it schematic" and the "retrieve it schematic".  And regardless of schematic (data schema) you will need indexing and a means to form queries. 

Re 2: this one is expensive and consuming. It's clearly pay me now or pay me later. If you don't invest in validation then you will invest in correcting later on.

Hey, did I say you could leave?!

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