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8-1 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function Chapter 8: Closing the Loop â Implementing Knowledge Management from Strategies to a Full Function Chapter Overview Up to this point in the Guidebook, transit agencies have been introduced to the key elements of KM from identifying ways to create a supportive culture for KM to processes, tools, and practices that support knowledge planning, capture, retention, and transfer. Further, the previous chapters have outlined a series of eï¬ective strategies, techniques, and ways to leverage existing practices to increase emphasis on KM within a transit agency. This chapter is focused on describing how transit agencies can integrate many of the concepts described in the Guidebook thus far to begin to build a robust approach to KM. Speciï¬cally, the chapter ï¬rst describes the steps involved in setting up a roadmap to KM, and then the last section of this chapter describes a process for establishing a KM function responsible for KM strategic planning and the management of all KM processes across the transit agency. Steps to Create a KM Roadmap There is no one-size-ï¬ts-all perfect model for implementing KM; however, there are basic steps that any transit agency can use to create a KM âroadmap.â How these steps are carried out depends on a transit agencyâs unique organizational characteristics. The following steps are presented for any transit agency that is interested in moving forward with some type of KM initiative without standing up a full KM function. The steps are the following: 1. Learn as much as possible about KM including successes and pitfalls, at a minimum by reading this Guidebook and, additionally, by exploring publicly available information on the Internet. 2. Determine the general beneï¬ts that KM could bring organizationally to the transit agency and individually to its employees by helping build capacity to achieve the transit agencyâs mission. Knowing these beneï¬ts will help create a business case for more KM-related initiatives. 3. Discuss with transit agency leadership the beneï¬ts that KM can bring to the organization and the possibility of initiating KM activities to determine whether there is executive support for a KM initiative. 4. Assuming that there is executive support for getting started with KM, decide who will be responsible for initiating KM activities and how the organization will support that person. 5. Conduct a needs assessment to determine What KM-related documentation and sharing practices are already in place; Where there are knowledge gaps about key relationships, data, processes, and systems that are detrimental to employeesâ ability to perform at their highest possible level; and What the agency culture is regarding knowledge sharing and how that culture might impact implementation of new KM practices (consider opportunities that will support KM and barriers that need to be overcome).
8-2 6. In addition to looking at general knowledge capturing, examine the transit agencyâs needs for an approach to succession planning and how KM could support that activity. 7. Based on the results of the needs assessment, review the steps in the following section of this chapter, titled âEstablishing a Full KM Function,â to determine which of those steps may have applicability to the transit agencyâs KM approach, even if setting up a full KM function is not feasible. 8. Begin developing a plan for moving forward with implementing KM that is of a scale and magnitude that meets the transit agencyâs needs within the limits of resources available to dedicate to this eï¬ort. This includes designing short and long-term KM strategies that focus on simple, immediate, KM-related activities that the transit agency can easily take on as well as more comprehensive KM practices that the transit agency can begin to invest in for the future. 9. When deï¬ning the transit agencyâs KM approach and developing a KM implementation plan, refer to the content of Chapter 3 of this Guidebook. 10. Consistent with Chapters 4, 5, and 6 of this Guidebook, ensure that the implementation plan addresses how the transit agency will Capture all types of knowledge needed (including tacit and explicit); Formally document and store the knowledge; and Share that knowledge in a timely way with employees who need it. 11. While in the process of developing the implementation plan, refer to Chapter 2 of this Guidebook to help visualize the organizational cultural changes that may be required at the transit agency to build KM success. 12. Beginning with the end in mind, review Chapter 7 of this Guidebook to get a sense of KM practices that have been eï¬ective across the transit industry and create an organizational vision of the beneï¬ts your KM plan will ultimately bring to the transit agency. 13. As progress is made with implementing KM practices, always celebrate successes and honor employee contributions to those successes while learning from failures and adapting the plan as necessary. Establishing a Full KM Function The concepts discussed in previous chapters of this Guidebook can be used individually as starting points on the path to KM strategy implementation or integrated to create more a holistic KM approach that spans the key programmatic elements from cultural buy-in to KM planning and knowledge capture, retention and transfer. The initial selection of KM practices adopted by a transit agency should be scaled based on the agencyâs needs, resources, and existing infrastructure. Once a transit agency decides to undertake a KM program and start implementing additional practices related to KM, it is valuable to explore ways that the KM program can be sustained and improved over time. Further, after a transit agency chooses to implement a selection of KM practices and recognizes the beneï¬ts of that Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-3 implementation, the agency may wish to embark on more robust activities that will help support a full KM function. A KM function refers to designating a business focus within the organization that is devoted to managing all KM processes across the transit agency. Not every transit agency will be compelled to, or have the resources to, stand up a full KM function within its organizational structure. However, for an agency that wants to be well equipped for the future or is facing major changes due to personnel and knowledge loss, there may be beneï¬ts to a KM function that incorporates KM into job roles and the infrastructure of the organization. A KM function ensures that there is a full-time focus on KM and individuals dedicated to implementing strategies to meet the transit agencyâs KM needs. The remainder of this chapter introduces 17 activities that are all valuable to supporting a KM function. Within each activity, there is a âhow toâ focus that brieï¬y describes the process a transit agency should take to execute each of the activities. The 17 included activities that help support the establishment of a KM function and the purpose of each activity are featured in Table 8-1. In Table 8-1, each activity is organized according to whether the purpose of the activity is foundational, directional, planning- oriented, operational, or sustainability focused. These purposes are described as follows: â¢ Foundational refers to KM-related activities that help articulate the rationale for or value of KM and, thus, promote buy-in for a KM function. â¢ Directional refers to those activities that can be used to help guide future decisions, behaviors, and priorities regarding KM for the transit agency. â¢ Planning refers to activities that help determine sequencing of initial tasks, resource needs, and logistical requirements for getting a KM function started. â¢ Operational refers to activities that support the day-to-day regimen and maintenance of a KM function. â¢ Sustainability refers to activities that not only enhance but also promote continuation of a KM function/program. By reviewing the purpose of each activity in Table 8-1, transit agencies will be better able to determine which activities are essential to establishing their own KM Table 8-1: Activities to Support Establishing a Full KM Function Activity Purpose of Activity Identify Business Problem(s) Foundational Take the Pulse of Senior Management Foundational Establish a Governance Structure Foundational Articulate the Vision, Mission, and Goals for KM Directional Dictate the Guiding Principles and Strategy for KM Directional Deï¬ne KM Job Requirements and Competencies Planning Map Out the KM Launch Plan Planning Outline KM SOPs and Strategic Communication Plan Planning Identify Cultural and Infrastructure Challenges to KM Implementation Planning/Sustainability Identify Potential KM Champions Planning/Sustainability Perform a Knowledge Audit Planning Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function function.
8-4 HOW TO: Table 8-1: Activities to Support Establishing a Full KM Function Activity Purpose of Activity Create a Knowledge Repository Operational Identify Existing Practices to Leverage Operational Prioritize New Initiatives Operational Design New or Use Existing Integrated Tools and Technologies Operational Design Incentives Program Operational Measure the Impact of a New KM Function Sustainability The 17 KM functional activities are further described below. Identify Business Problem(s) This is arguably the most important activity in setting up any new practice or function. Without knowing the problem(s) that need to be solved, it is likely the solution will be misguided and ineï¬ective. Transit agencies have limited budgets and resources to provide services, let alone address the myriad other challenges they face. Thus, for a KM function to have a realistic chance of being supported, problems that are business critical ï¬rst have to be identiï¬ed, which will provide proof of the ROI of the KM function. KM supporters need to present tangible evidence that KM can improve the transit agencyâs organizational and workforce performance in the long term. In transit terms, this ï¬rst activity could be deï¬ned as a âneeds assessment,â a process that transit agencies are typically familiar with. Depending on individual transit agency challenges, a KM needs assessment might look at, among other things: The number of experienced, highly skilled individuals that will soon be retiring or leaving the agency Whether communication strategies are producing desired results How thoroughly and formally standard or emergency operating procedures are documented Whether operations supervisors or mechanics are sharing innovative technical procedures with other supervisors and mechanics The eï¬ectiveness of a wide range of agency processes for managing safety, ï¬nancial, or HR. Given the signiï¬cance of this activity as an entry point into KM, these important factors should be addressed and recorded in written documentation: o Determine why a new KM approach is needed. Specify the challenge(s) or problem(s) in a simple statement: âWe need to identify a new approach to KM to achieve X outcome and we will measure success by Y progress.â For example, the agency may need to do a better job of encouraging knowledge sharing between seasoned and newer staï¬ because some of the newer staï¬ are taking too long to perform their duties as a result of lacking technical knowledge. In this example, the problem is ineï¬ciency and one measure of success could be fewer scheduling delays. When considering what the desired outcomes or solutions need to be (the âXâ in the challenge statement), it is important to identify who the beneï¬ciaries of the services are. Thus, if the beneï¬ciaries are bus passengers, improved performance might be measured by both reduced scheduling delays and improved customer service ratings on a ridership survey. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-5 HOW TO: o Evaluate alignment between KM approach/function and transit agencyâs strategic goals. It is important the KM approach selected supports the transit agencyâs mission and/or strategic goals. In selecting a KM strategy or setting up a KM function, determine how solving the problem(s) will lead to achievement of one or more of the transit agencyâs current goals. To gain buy-in from key members of the organization, it is valuable to lay out which goals or mission successes the KM approach is likely to support and clearly articulate the beneï¬ts of solving the challenges that have prompted the desire for more robust KM. o Provide context for the problem KM will solve. Understanding the context for the problem involves two components: (1) identifying prior initiatives that have failed and why they were not successful (to avoid repeating the same outcome) and (2) ï¬nding examples of other agencies that have had success in solving similar problems through KM to benchmark against. For the ï¬rst component, it is important to acknowledge whether resources or personnel limitations contributed to poor starts or lack of sustainability for other initiatives to ensure that those obstacles are factored in prior to KM implementation. To address the second component, this Guidebook is a valuable starting point for mirroring other success stories. Further, cross-agency knowledge sharing is a useful way to discuss challenges and identify ways KM can be helpful. Take the Pulse of Senior Management A transit agencyâs chief executive is critical to building a culture of trust throughout the organization and is ultimately responsible for presenting budget information to the transit agencyâs oversight entity to gain approval for allocating transit agency resources. Thus, senior management must support the idea of developing a KM function within the transit agency. Those transit employees advocating for a full KM function must be sensitive to senior managementâs perceptions of KM and ensure that those perceptions are positive. KM is a relatively new concept for the transit industry, so transit leadership may need to be briefed on KM including what it is; how it can beneï¬t the agency; and what resources, personnel, and budget the transit agency will need to implement selected KM strategies. This is also where the steps conducted in âIdentify Business Problem(s)â become extremely important evidence, backed by the transit agencyâs speciï¬c data, which demonstrates a KM function will be an investment well worth making to aid the transit agency in improving the way it conducts its business. The process of âtaking the pulse of senior managementâ begins with understanding what goals and outcomes are of most importance to these leaders. Thus, it is recommended that advocates of KM start by asking questions about what is important to leadership. Next, KM advocates should proceed to create a business case for KM based on those leadership priorities and the documentation recorded in the ï¬rst activity. Establish a Governance Structure Decisions must be made on where the KM function ï¬ts into the transit agencyâs existing organizational structure in terms of oversight and reporting hierarchy. Along with this decision comes the responsibility of deï¬ning the following: Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-6 HOW TO: The leadership and structure of the KM function itself; The size and make-up of the core team required to eï¬ectively carry out the initiatives that the function will undertake within the transit agency; What controls and checks/balances will be in place to ensure accountability and sustainability of the program; How data on the program or functionâs milestones will be measured and tracked to monitor success; and The level of authority KM leadership will have in instituting KM strategies in all other functions of the transit agency, such as ï¬nance, HR, safety, training, operations, and maintenance. To help ensure organizational buy-in at all levels, members of the core KM team should have the appropriate knowledge, skills, and abilities to give the KM function cross-functional credibility throughout the transit agency. There are three major components to clarify as part of establishing governance: KM organizational/functional structures: To specify the structure of the functional area, it is helpful to develop a program and possibly a separate organizational chart showing relationships among KM personnel. Structures also include documentation on the direction the program/function will take, reports required and timing of those reports, and details about planning sessions for KM program adjustments as needed (to re-align with overall strategy). KM roles and responsibilities: Important roles to designate for a KM function include designating who will serve as o Executive sponsor(s) of the program: Top-down support is critical to implementation and sustainability of a program or functional area. If KM will serve as a stand-alone function, often there is just one executive sponsor appointed who is primarily responsible for executing the business strategy and achieving the function/program's outcomes, as articulated in the business strategy. If the KM program will become a facet or component program that is tacked on to existing functions or aï¬ects multiple business units (e.g., planning, ï¬nance), then often more than one executive sponsor is selected (i.e., one from each business unit or functional area impacted). o Steering committee lead: This individual helps to facilitate discussion forums among the steering committee and then reports back to the executive sponsor(s) if the sponsor is unable to attend all meetings. o Steering committee: This typically includes executives and leaders that represent each of the key business segments of the transit agency. The steering committee serves in an advisory capacity by sharing expertise, shaping a new program/practice, achieving consensus on a programâs direction, and backing new KM eï¬orts across the transit agency. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-7 o Planning roles and team leads: These roles should be delineated for speciï¬c KM initiatives (e.g., community of practice, knowledge-sharing forum) as the KM function matures and speciï¬c projects are started. KM function mechanisms: This includes SOPs, policies, authority requirements, and decision speciï¬cations. These mechanisms should identify how decisions are made, who has authority to approve those decisions, when approvals are required, and how policies that govern the function will proceed and how new practices will be initiated under the KM function. Michael Hanford of IBM provides a helpful explanation of each of these three components of governance in his web article titled, âDeï¬ning program governance and structureâ (https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/rational/library/apr05/hanford/index.html, retrieved on May 22, 2017). In the article, Hanford explains that for the ï¬rst component, an organizational chart is helpful to show how the function/program will be structured. A visual example of an organizational chart for a KM function is provided in Figure 8-1. Figure 8-1: Sample Organizational Chart for KM Function. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-8 HOW TO: Articulate the Vision, Mission, and Goals for KM Transit agencies are guided by formally stated or informally accepted missions, visions, and goals. In a similar way, a transit agencyâs KM function must deï¬ne its mission, the vision of how it will support the transit agency, and the goals that will guide the functionâs activities. Since other individual transit agency functional areas will play an active role in implementing and using KM strategies, the activities of these other functional areas must be clearly aligned to the overall transit agency KM strategy. In addition to the guiding principles, KM professionals, supported by executive leadership, will establish and articulate short- and long-term goals for KM implementation and ongoing operation at the agency. Similar to developing vision (âwhere we want to goâ) and mission (âhow we will get thereâ) statements for the overall transit agency, KM functions require their own vision and mission statements. A good exercise to create these is to write three to ï¬ve sentences that answer: What does success look like for this KM function/division? Next, it is important to evaluate alignment between the KM function statements and those of the overall transit agency. So for example, if the mission of the transit agency involves providing safe, reliable, and timely service to customers then the KM mission statement must articulate how KM will help to improve service to meet those desired outcomes. In addition to KM-speciï¬c vision and mission statements, it is important that goals represent the direction the KM function intends to take and where the transit agency is expected to go as a result of the new KM function. Developing goals that will be eï¬ective and guide change requires goals that are âS.M.A.R.T.â A S.M.A.R.T. goal is Speciï¬c (and strategic): Linked to transit agency and divisional goals/mission, overall vision, and strategic plans. Answers the questions Who? and What? Measurable: The success toward meeting the goal can be measured. Answers the question How? Achievable: Goals are reasonable and can be achieved in a speciï¬c amount of time. Sample KM scenario: Based on a projection that a signiï¬cant number of key employees in diï¬erent functions of the transit agency were due to retire in the near future, the HR director of a mid-size bus transit agency conducted research on developing a KM function and determined the agency could beneï¬t from the support of such a function. The HR director did not conduct a thorough assessment of the agencyâs problems before taking the idea to the CEO for presentation to the board of directors; nor did the HR director present comprehensive information on KM to fully convince the CEO of its advantages. Nonetheless, the HR director received implied approval to pursue plans to set up a KM function. Before the KM function was fully established, the transit agency learned that local funding for transit was being slightly reduced due to an economic downturn in the region. Due to the CEO and boardâs lack of understanding of the importance of the KM function, funding for the KM function was one of the ï¬rst items under consideration to be cut from the budget. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-9 HOW TO: Time-framed: Goals have a clearly deï¬ned time frame including a target or deadline date. Dictate the Guiding Principles and Strategy for KM The prior activity of deï¬ning the KM mission, vision, and goals is a good starting place in establishing the guiding principles and strategies of the KM function. Guiding principles are strong statements about the transit agencyâs rationale and intent for a particular program or new function. The guiding principles, if developed properly, take a clear stance on what the program is intended to achieve and how the program should achieve it. These diï¬er from policies or procedures in that guiding principles are simple, direct statements that help inspire the workforce and leadership to rally behind the new function. It is important that the guiding principles directly align to the agencyâs KM strategy, overarching goals, mission, and business directives (including those outlined under the governance activity). Prior to outlining guiding principles, it is important to Conduct research on what eï¬ective KM looks like (such as by reading this Guidebook), Identify best practices in KM that have worked in other similar organizations (within and outside the transit industry), Determine how the current culture of the agency will respond to the KM function (to identify potential challenges to work around and supports that can be leveraged for KM), and Bring together the values the KM function will uphold with respect to the current culture of the organization. The greatest beneï¬t of guiding principles is that they are inspirational and help clarify the direction that the transit agency wants the workforce to move in regarding KM. To help set an encouraging tone, some transit agencies may wish to create âwe believeâ statements that support each guiding principle. For example, a guiding principle and related âwe believeâ statements could resemble something like the following statements. (âThe Whatâ) Knowledge Management at Transit ABC achievesâ¦ Guiding Principle #1: Growing a workforce that recognizes success depends on cultivating shared knowledge and expertise with each other We believe involving employees at all levels of the organization in knowledge management is what ensures Transit ABC remains innovative. We believe leaders at all levels have an impact on employee participation in knowledge management. (âThe Howâ) Knowledge Management at Transit ABC includesâ¦ Guiding Principle #4: Focusing on knowledge management as its own function We believe knowledge management is as critical to our business as any other essential function such as planning, operations, and ï¬nance. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function Realistic (and relevant): The goals are aligned with current activities and projects and focus on one deï¬ned area; include the expected results.
8-10 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function HOW TO: HOW TO: Deï¬ne KM Job Requirements and Competencies An eï¬ective KM process requires clearly deï¬ned KM roles and responsibilities for the transit employees working directly within the KM function and throughout all other transit agency functions. It is at this point that the transit agency must determine what the KM requirements will be for each role within the KM function and outline those requirements in terms of common daily tasks and work duties. Next, the transit agency must identify what knowledge, skills, abilities, and competencies are needed to perform each of those tasks. These job requirements and competencies can then serve as the basis for selecting individuals for the KM function and designing an organization-wide orientation/training program. An organization-wide orientation/training program for KM sends a message about the importance of employees sharing ideas, collaborating, and working in productive teams to support KM strategies. It builds employeesâ understanding of the job requirements and capabilities that ensure KM success. If employees do not know what they are supposed to do or do not have the needed skills to perform their roles, they are either going to perform the job incorrectly or do little to further the KM program. Job analytic techniques are valuable for identifying the precise job requirements and competencies required for a KM role. The types of questions to ask in delineating the job requirements include Why does this job exist? What will a typical day in this job look like in terms of work to conduct? What are the major job duties? What decision-making responsibilities and authorities will be a part of this job? How will performance be determined in this job (what indicators will show if the work is good or poor)? What other jobs and/or personnel will an employee in this job have to work closely with to get the tasks accomplished? (Identify interdependencies between jobs, both between diï¬erent KM jobs and between KM and non-KM jobs.) What resources or materials will be required to perform the job? What will be the most diï¬cult element of this job? Who could oï¬er other perspectives on the requirements of this job (e.g., other division leads)? Map Out the KM Launch Plan A KM project plan describes the details of who, what, where, when, and how a transit agency will build its KM system. A plan assists the transit agency in formalizing processes and procedures necessary to develop, operationalize, and verify implementation of KM elements and strategies. The KM project plan organizes and formalizes launch activities and ensures employee engagement and timely, successful task completion. The project plan must be realistic and updated when and if the transit agency decides to alter its approach to KM implementation. Transit agencies typically use basic planning software or Gantt Charts for project plans, which are also eï¬ective in supporting KM functions. To start developing a launch plan, the transit agency should identify the following: Stakeholders who have a vested interest in the KM function, Budget/resources needed to support the function,
8-11 HOW TO: List of potential risks associated with the new function, Tasks/responsibilities and a timeline for each, including major milestones that will indicate progress, and Quality assurance measures and protocol for reviewing and performing quality checks on all products. Outline KM SOPs and Strategic Communication Plan Transit agencies are familiar with the concept of SOPs because activities related to transit service delivery are dictated by SOPs. Just as it is diï¬cult to imagine that a transit agency can function eï¬ectively without SOPs, it is equally diï¬cult to imagine that a KM function can operate without SOPs. The SOP model that supports the overall transit operations and maintenance mission can, in a modiï¬ed version, be a foundation for KM SOPs. These SOPs should complement any of the governance structures previously described (see the third activity herein). SOPs are best documented in a KM handbook that all employees, and particularly KM staï¬, are educated on. A bookend piece to KM SOPs is a KM strategic communication plan. Among other considerations, this communications plan covers Details for communicating KM-related information throughout the transit agency; Intent and content of messaging based on audience needs (what the agency would like to convey about the new KM function to diï¬erent audiences); Methods for transit agency employees to provide feedback on KM activities; and KM-related events, along with when, where, and how these events will take place. The communication plan leverages all possible platforms and media available to the transit agency to keep the workforce engaged in KM. Table 8-2 presents the key elements that should be outlined in a communications plan. Table 8-2: Example Communications Plan Timeline Media Target Audience Source Purpose Content Status Update 12/17/17 Emailed announcement All employees CEO Explain new KM initiative Explanation of initiative Contact information for questions Email language drafted 12/18/17 Roundtable session Frontline employees KM Lead Provide forum for feedback and questions Facilitate FAQ from employees Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-12 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function HOW TO: Identify Cultural and Infrastructure Challenges to KM Implementation Successfully implementing KM strategies is partially dependent on buy-in from employees at all levels of the transit agency, but traditional transit culture could present challenges to implementing KM. KM leadership is responsible for identifying these potential âroadblocksâ and the resources needed to circumvent challenges before introducing a KM program or function. These potential challenges should also be revisited after initial implementation to help support sustainability of KM within the organization. Examples of transit cultural challenges that may need to be assessed include the following: Transit manager and supervisor reluctance to share their experiential knowledge base with others because they perceive that doing so might jeopardize their personal value to the transit agency. An âus-versus-themâ environment, in which transit agency frontline employees distrust management, causing a reluctance to share information. This distrust may be based on previous experiences in which management showed no interest in, or pushed back against, frontline employees when they presented concerns and issues. Peer group pressure among unionized employees that discourages information sharing. The silo syndrome. Larger transit agencies often operate within an established silo infrastructure based on organizational responsibilities. Classic transit examples are the operational silo and the vehicle maintenance silo. Operations is dependent on the vehicle maintenance function to provide mechanically sound and safe vehicles for transit services, and maintenance is dependent on operations to provide clear information on vehicle problems that arise during service delivery, and to operate vehicles consistently with maintenance guidance. However, because these functions often do not openly and frequently communicate with each other, service delivery issues can arise. A good starting point for identifying how current transit agency culture might aï¬ect KM adoption is the use of a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Sample KM scenario: A large bus transit agency was convinced of the value of creating a KM function to support all other functions of the organization and established a KM director position to head the function. This director was a direct report to the CEO, and the function had the equivalent organizational status to the transit agencyâs other direct reporting functions, such as Administration, Finance, Operations, and Maintenance. The CEO encouraged the KM director to take time with KM implementation to ensure its success. The KM director utilized basic strategic-planning principles that the transit agency employed to guide other signiï¬cant organization-wide activities. As a result, KM mission, vision, and values were deï¬ned; KM strategic and project plans were developed; SOPs were stipulated; and an aggressive communication initiative was laid out. The communication plan included emphasizing the CEOâs and executive leadership teamâs support of the KM function; notifying employees about KM events; making certain the entire workforce was aware of the KM functionâs purpose and activities; and sharing methods for employees to provide feedback on KM initiatives. This slow and methodical roll out of the KM function made it clear that ownership of KM did not simply reside in the KM function, but throughout all functions of the transit agency.
8-13 HOW TO: analysis technique. SWOT analysis helps to identify where obstacles might exist that the agency needs to work through and where strengths and external opportunities could be leveraged to build support for the KM function. The key questions to guide a SWOT analysis are presented in Table 8-3. Table 8-3: SWOT Analysis Strengths Weaknesses What is working well? What is making a diï¬erence? What value do we bring to our customers? What do we do really well? What are our diï¬erentiating factors? What is not working optimally? What is not making a diï¬erence? What processes need improving? What hinders our services? What do our customers dislike? Opportunities Threats What needs to be improved or changed? What should we stop doing? What should we start doing? What is missing that we need to be doing? What is threatening our business? Customer trends? Tech trends? Economic trends? Financial threats: Costs? Revenue? Debt? Cash-ï¬ow? Identify Potential KM Champions Any new initiative undertaken by a transit agency will understandably be met with some level of skepticism. Due to limited resources, the workload for some transit employees often is already overwhelming, so more responsibility may not be welcomed. The transit industry also tends to operate in traditional ways, and employees sometimes resist changes that move them outside their comfort zone. The introduction of a KM function is no exception to this reality; therefore, KM leadership must identify the âchampionsâ within the agency who are inï¬uential employees. These are the individuals whom other employees respect and will listen to because they value that personâs opinion. These champions have the leverage to communicate the value of KM strategies. But ï¬rst, the champions themselves will need to be convinced of the value of KM. This could include seeking their input on strategies, involving them in some level of decision making, and empowering them. Key transit agency inï¬uential employees are often not prone to speaking negatively on an initiative but, rather, at times remain silent, which can be interpreted by others as a lack of endorsement. Given that the endorsement of a KM function, or lack thereof, can contribute to the sustainability or ultimate failure of a KM function, it is important to carefully select KM champions. Example criteria to use in selection include the following: Target potential champions early in the design phase of the KM function. Champions are more likely to endorse something that they contributed to developing. Select a champion from each of the major functions/divisions to ensure cross-agency representation; identify those who work in operations management, maintenance management, customer service management, training, and safety. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-14 HOW TO: Identify individuals who communicate regularly with employees and are seen as inï¬uential in the organization (and not solely based on job title). Select champions on a volunteer basis rather than as a paid job duty; authenticity about the value of the function is critical to achieving buy-in from others. Equip champions with deep knowledge about the KM function including its goals, performance metrics, and beneï¬ts to employees, leaders, and the overall transit agency. Champions need to be able to clearly articulate the value to others. Acknowledge the importance of unions (when applicable). In a union environment, frontline champions are often union oï¬cers and stewards. Perform a Knowledge Audit A knowledge audit gathers existing transit agency practices that are being used to capture, retain, and transfer data, processes, procedures, and other information. Transit agencies already perform numerous informal KM-type activities, but usually do not identify them as such. It is important for KM leadership to conduct an organization-wide assessment to document these processes. A knowledge audit consists of conducting interviews, ï¬eld observations, and records reviews within each function of the transit agency. The results are documented and retained in a single location for review and analysis. Successful audit activities will require KM leadership to partner with management of all the transit agencyâs functions to ensure support for the audit and mitigate resistance. When planning an audit, the schedule of activities should not place a great burden on employees or unnecessarily interfere with or interrupt their day-to-day responsibilities. The knowledge audit should include questions that ask about each element of KM: Planning for KM: Ask questions such as âHow would you/your team/your division deï¬ne KM?â and âWhat are some activities your team/division has Sample KM scenario: A large multi-modal transit agency created a full KM function to meet its knowledge capture, retention, and transfer needs in support of rail and bus management, rail and bus technical skill requirements, and administrative and ï¬nancial management. Since KM was a new concept being brought into a traditional transit agency that had a long history of working within silos, employees initially resisted. Further, the transit agencyâs three labor unions often perceived management in a less than favorable light and were skeptical of new initiatives implemented by management. The CEO and the newly appointed KM director determined that for KM to be a success at the agency, it would need key inï¬uential employees and stakeholders to be champions of the eï¬ort and convey the message that capturing and sharing institutional knowledge is critically important for continuity and retaining key facts about transit agency operations. The KM director was able to identify individuals within Administration and Finance; Rail Operations and Maintenance; Bus Operations and Maintenance; and Design, Engineering, and Construction as key inï¬uential employees. Additionally, since KM would involve input from and provide service to frontline unionized employees, the KM director made a special and aggressive eï¬ort to obtain buy-in from union leadership and make them part of the KM implementation team to champion the initiative with their membership. It is this cross-functional team of KM champions that would pave the road for KM implementation success. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-15 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function HOW TO: Knowledge Capture: Ask questions such as âHow does your division/team decide what knowledge is important to hold on to?â and âHow is that knowledge captured or coded for future use?â Knowledge Retention: Ask questions such as âHow is critical knowledge stored and accessed by employees in your division when needed?â and âWhat programs, databases, and approaches are used to help retain knowledge that might be needed in the future?â Knowledge Transfer: Ask questions such as âTo what extent does your team/division actively collaborate and share lessons learned with one another (including mistakes that have been made)?â and âWhat are some techniques or common practices your division/team uses to share important knowledge among employees within a unit and across units?â Create a Knowledge Repository A repository for capturing, organizing, and categorizing knowledge-based information is an essential foundational component of a KM function. Before knowledge can be organized and shared, it must be collected in one place. In short, KM programs need their own KM repositories and practices. Transit agencies are already using some types of platforms to capture and disseminate procedural information, such as accident and incident data, on-time performance information, and vehicle maintenance performance measures. KM implementation will require reviewing current information storage methods to see if they can be adapted to meet KM demands or selecting a new storage method that aligns with the transit agencyâs needs, resources, and available technology. The knowledge repository should be easy to access and use, and users will require orientation on entering information into the repository. It is not enough to just centralize transit agency knowledge assets; transit employees must keep this information current and up-to-date, or the purpose of the repository is defeated and potential beneï¬ts go unrealized. At the minimum, a KM repository should allow the KM executive sponsor to input and store content such as Governance documents and SOPs Records and progress reports Contacts internal and external to the agency to support KM Meeting agendas and KM talking points Schedules for KM events Business case documentation Cost analysis Secure, access-enabled access based on audience needs (restrictions might diï¬er for KM leads vs. KM champions) A portal for hosting discussion/KM forums considered adopting to better manage critical organizational or task-related knowledge?â
8-16 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function HOW TO: Identify Existing Practices to Leverage Based on analysis of the results of the knowledge audit, KM leadership can develop strategies to leverage and build on existing practices. Expanding on what already exists validates the importance of what employees are already doing and accelerates roll out of a KM initiative and buy-in from transit agency functions. Ignoring existing practices gives the impression that these practices are not worthy of acknowledgement or respect, thus alienating those currently using them. Employees that currently work at capturing and documenting information are strong candidates to help further KM strategies within the transit agency since they already understand the basic importance of knowledge capture, retention, and transfer. Additionally, an inventory of existing practices helps prevent a transit agency from wasting precious resources on developing what already exists or âreinventing the wheel.â Start by looking at functions where a transit agency is likely already using KM-related capture, retention, and transfer practices. Such functions include Finance, HR, Operations, Vehicle Maintenance, and Safety and Security. Prioritize New Initiatives It is not enough for a transit agency to just identify new KM initiatives; these initiatives need to be prioritized based on the knowledge utilization needs of the transit agency. KM initiatives can improve the transit agencyâs performance by helping increase productivity, eï¬ectiveness, and communication. As such, the transit agency may wish to ï¬rst focus on initiatives that can be used organization-wide, but are tailored to meet the needs of diï¬erent functions within the agency. For example, the program or practice might involve supporting the transit agencyâs ability to collaborate through communication and information sharing. This collaboration could be across the entire organization or could be within a single element or between multiple elements, such as the procurement, operations, and vehicle maintenance functions working together on new revenue vehicle purchases. One of the fastest ways to derail KM goals and objectives is to allow knowledge silos to control information, which leads to conï¬icts and redundancy, rather than sharing knowledge agency-wide. Sample KM scenario: As part of implementing a full KM function at a large bus transit agency, the KM director and staï¬ performed an intense and comprehensive audit of the activities the transit agency presently undertakes to capture, retain, and transfer data, processes, procedures, and other information. The KM director found that the agency was already doing many things to support KM, even though employees did not recognize them as KM-type activities. Instead of wasting resources, the director was able to identify an existing software program that with some minor adaptations could serve as a KM repository. One of the reasons for this decision was that many employees were already familiar with using this method of information capture, and resistance would be minimal. The KM leadership team then worked closely with Finance, HR, Vehicle and Facility Maintenance, Bus Operations, and Safety Management staï¬ to develop strategies that took maximum advantage of existing practices to support the KM eï¬ort. All involved in this eï¬ort were surprised to learn the extent of information being documented agency-wide and concerned that the information was not making it into the hands of the employees that would most beneï¬t from it.
8-17 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function HOW TO: HOW TO: HOW TO: Key stakeholders, KM champions, and KM function leadership should conduct a series of roundtable sessions to evaluate each new set of KM initiatives and select the top one or two for future development. The initiatives can be placed into categories such as âHigh priority â ready to explore immediate implementation,â âConcept needs more reï¬nement but a near-term priority,â âBest to re-approach in two to three years,â and âRemove from consideration due to misalignment with agency needs or violation of agency values.â The prioritization of initiatives should be based upon factors such as Alignment with current agency mission, Relationship to future industry demands, ROI projections, Type of impact (on workforce; business operations; etc.), and Buy-in and sponsorship by senior leadership. Design New or Use Existing Integrated Tools and Technologies KM is about people and their interactions, and tools and technologies provide the platform for that interaction to take place. Since there are numerous tools that support KM collaborative processes and knowledge sharing, some research in this area may be necessary to ï¬nd the technology that best ï¬ts a transit agencyâs needs. Although the transit industry is increasingly becoming more technology proï¬cient, the overall transit culture generally still lacks technological sophistication. This means that the platform for knowledge sharing should be user friendly and easy to navigate for transit employees at all levels and within all job functions. The ideal tool will stimulate a desire in employees to take advantage of the beneï¬ts it can oï¬er. A transit agency may have existing tools or technologies that can either be used directly or enhanced to facilitate KM, or an agency may need to acquire or design new tools or technologies because the existing ones are not adequate. Along with cost considerations, other aspects to assess include storage capabilities, eï¬ectiveness of real-time collaboration, search features, oï¬ine access, mobile capabilities, and the amount of training required to get employees familiar with, and comfortable using, the tool. Utilize the Knowledge Management Technology Tools and Resources Catalog provided as an appendix to this Guidebook. Design Incentives Program Although capturing information, identifying strategies for KM implementation, and putting tools and technologies in place to support knowledge sharing and transfer are critical activities, the bottom line is getting transit employees to take advantage of knowledge-sharing opportunities. Since KM is somewhat of a new concept for the transit industry, transit employees may need incentives to ensure that they take part in KM activities. In the transit industry, these incentives could take various forms, such as Focus on the individual employee in terms of performance appraisal ratings or promotion opportunities based on KM participation.
8-18 Recognize employees formally for high levels of job success stimulated by KM practices. Reward a function for producing results based on the KM program, such as vehicle maintenance for collaborating to increase preventative maintenance performance. Oï¬er agency-wide recognition to employees using KM in a way that resulted in high- level transit agency mission achievement. This could appeal to employeesâ sense of being a part of a strong team eï¬ort and help facilitate movement of the transit culture away from an âus-versus-themâ environment to an âusâ environment. Measure the Impact of a New KM Function Transit agencies rely on data to measure overall mission achievement and the performance of individual functional areas. Data on on-time performance, ridership, number of accidents and incidents, preventative vehicle maintenance schedule adherence, and miles between road calls are measured. Familiarity with this data measurement concept translates well into determining performance of the KM function. Some transit agencies even go as far as using a system of key performance indicators to help measure how well the agency is carrying out its mission. Transit agency performance indicators generally focus on such things as operations and maintenance performance, safety and security events, ï¬nancial stability, and customer satisfaction. Since a strong KM program supports achievement of transit agency goals and objectives, monitoring this achievement and positive movement in performance indicators is one way to measure the impact of the KM function. Measuring the volume of KM activities is another way to assess the KM functionâs impact. Volume could be ascertained by assessing the number of KM outreach initiatives, activity within a knowledge repository, and use of the KM technology platform. Transit agencies familiar with employee surveys may choose to use a survey to obtain employee ratings on the value provided by the KM function. Further, it is important that the transit agency continuously re-evaluate the KM function and its associated programs by comparing their impact to original intent of the program (i.e., vision, mission, goals). This intent versus impact determination should be based on an unbiased evaluation. It is recommended that the process include staï¬ from other critical transit functions, such as ï¬nance, HR, safety, operations, and maintenance. Sample KM scenario: A multi-modal transit agency was establishing a full KM function and had begun to establish and prioritize new KM initiatives. KM staï¬ researched tools and technologies to support those initiatives and selected the most cutting edge technology available, which greatly excited the IT professionals on the KM staï¬. Unfortunately, this emphasis on technology came at the expense of the employees it was designed to serve. The technology proved to be too sophisticated for most employees, and the training requirements were so demanding that the tool was underutilized and ineï¬ective. In addition, KM staï¬ put little eï¬ort into creating incentives to encourage participation in KM activities, thus a majority of transit agency staï¬ thought the program was a waste of precious ï¬nancial resources that could have been used elsewhere to support delivery of transit services. Unfortunately, this transit agency made the mistake of placing too much emphasis on the technology and not enough on its employees and their interactions. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-19 HOW TO: Scorecards are a great way to specify the performance objectives that the transit agency intends to target via its KM practices. Scorecards should list performance indicators that focus on single, objective constructs that are well deï¬ned. For example, they may focus on âtime to achieve Xâ or âcosts to perform Y.â Within the scorecard, each performance indicator is then rated on a rating scale (preferably ï¬ve-point scale) that includes anchors that clearly deï¬ne each rating. The anchors could be percentages, dollars, hours/days, or satisfaction. For example, the performance indicator âreduced rider complaintsâ could have scale anchors where a â1â on the scale could be a â0â10%â reduction in rider complaints whereas a â4â would be a â90â100%â reduction. Closing Concepts While prior chapters have outlined speciï¬c strategies for action with regard to KM, this chapter has provided a detailed approach to overall KM implementation. The strategies laid out in the chapters could serve as immediate practices for a transit agency to adopt while the activities featured in this chapter could be the future direction of the transit agency once the culture shifts more toward acceptance of KM and its value. Too frequently, KM is thought of as an abstract concept. By articulating the speciï¬cs of KM and integrating KM best practices, the authors of this Guidebook hope to help more and more transit agencies recognize the beneï¬ts of KM. For example, the use of KM strategies has the potential to bring transit agencies the following beneï¬ts: Assist in capturing institutional and individual knowledge and experience that is critically important for continuity and growth. Maximize the value of the transit agencyâs human capital by building, sustaining, and leveraging the institutional know-how and experience of employees to deliver services and manage systems. Improve long-term organizational and employee performance. Facilitate knowledge and idea sharing, collaboration, and teamwork to achieve the transit agencyâs mission. Build a culture of trust. Align transit agency goals and objectives with workforce capabilities. Sample KM scenario: Approximately six months into KM implementation, a mid-size transit agencyâs board of directors asked the CEO to report on whether the transit agencyâs KM function was having an impact on its mission. The board also requested these reports be prepared annually, thereafter. For this report, the CEO advised the KM director to use as much objective data as possible to measure KM eï¬ectiveness. Since the transit agency was already using key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure overall mission achievement, similar kinds of indicators were established to measure KM performance. These KM indicators addressed eï¬ectiveness of succession planning eï¬orts; volume of participation in KM activities, including use of the established KM tool by operations supervisors and dispatchers and administrative and maintenance staï¬; and the impact of KM on overall agency KPI targets. In addition, the KM function conducted an employee survey to quantify the value of KM, whether employees were using KM activities and tools to support their work, and if employees believed KM activities were encouraging positive and collaborative team environments. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function
8-20 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Implementing KM from Strategies to a Full Function Increase a transit agencyâs ability to function eï¬ectively with limited resources and loss of talent. Build eï¬ciencies by encouraging personnel to work more collaboratively, leverage each otherâs expertise and approaches, and facilitate more interdependencies that improve work ï¬ow. Aid a transit agency in managing change and the accompanying rapid transition. The beneï¬ts presented here and throughout the Guidebook build a strong business case for the value of KM for all transit agencies regardless of size, service oï¬erings, location, or resource challenges. Put simply, KM is an intentional way to promote innovation, collaboration, and continued mission success.