Thursday, April 07, 2005


Been reflecting recently on ideas that don't quite come off.

There has been some discussion the ACT-KM list about the Carnival that took place earlier in the year. Normally posters have to display their identities. During the Carnival, posters could call themselves what they wanted. The original idea was to get lurkers to decloak but it didn't really turn out that way. See the message thread for further debate.

And the Book Club seems to have died. Mostly from my neglect.

I think it's important to try things, take risks, and sometimes end up looking foolish.

It's a truism that 70% of projects "fail". But how many should we expect to succeed?

Expertise Location

So there I was, trying to explain expertise location to a colleague yesterday. And whilst I was doing so, I realised that it all hinges on how you define an expert. Most, internal directories or HR systems assume that expertise is something you can quantify based on qualification, experience, or some mix of both.

However, no one ever really goes looking for an expert. You are looking for someone that can help you solve a problem you have. Your measure of their expertise is their ability to solve your problem. Therefore the robustness of an expertise location system is dependent not on the "experts" and their information held within it but on the kinds of problems its users have that cause them to look for experts.

If the information within the system is reliable, sufficiently detailed and structured in a way aligned with the problems the users have(all big "ifs"), then the system will be perceived as useful. Which implies that the problems users apply it to are homogenous - or at least well understood.

What I suspect happens is that organisations design systems that cover a specific subset of cases (e.g. resource management in consulting firms) and then attempt to cover the rest using social networks. My suspicion is also that they do not do this as well as they could.

None of this is earth-shattering but it leads me to ask - has anyone done any work on HOW users leverage expertise location systems in different organisational situations?

KM @ Telstra

So we had Alister Webb from Telstra at NSW KM Forum tonight. I like AW - he's an unpretentious speaker who tells it like it is. And the crowd were involved for over an hour.

He talked about how KM tools (simple stuff like AARs) have been packaged for use by project managers and his team's role in disseminating those tools.

Also got to meet Andrew Mitchell (ex-Telstra) now doing funky KM stuff (along with a bunch of other things) here.