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1-1 Chapter 1: Introduction to the Knowledge Management Guidebook This chapter, âIntroduction to the Knowledge Management Guidebook,â provides background information about knowledge management as well as an overview of what the Guidebook includes and how to use it. This Introduction describes the contents of the Guidebook and provides an overview of key knowledge management (KM) components and of the importance of KM to transit. This chapter synthesizes input from transit leadership and employees, transit stakeholders, and non-transit leaders experienced in KM implementation and research. These experts contributed to an in-depth analysis of existing KM systems and eï¬ective KM tools that can be applied in transit agencies to help create an organizational workforce culture that actively supports and engages in KM behaviors. This Guidebook serves as practical guidance for transit agencies on building sustainable KM functions. Following this overview, each chapter in the Guidebook focuses on a single element of KM as follows: Chapter 2: Knowledge Management Culture Chapter 3: Knowledge Management Planning Chapter 4: Knowledge Capture Chapter 5: Knowledge Retention Chapter 6: Knowledge Transfer Chapter 7: Outcomes of Eï¬ective Knowledge Management in Transit Agencies Chapter 8: Closing the Loop â Implementing Knowledge Management from Strategies to a Full Function Appendix: Knowledge Management Technology Tools and Resources Catalog Each chapter provides a description of the topic area and the challenges that may hinder the implementation of KM strategies, articulates the impact of eï¬ectively addressing that particular aspect of KM, and imparts guidance on implementing recommended strategies. Action plans and tips for implementing KM strategies in a transit agency are also provided in this Guidebook as well as examples of how some transit agencies have implemented and used these strategies. Finally, an appendix is included that lists a variety of technology tools and resources that can be used to support KM in transit agencies or provide additional information to those looking to implement elements of KM. Deï¬ning Knowledge and KM KM is the process an organization uses to collect and manage organizational knowledge and information. Transit agencies can use KM to build, sustain, and leverage the know-how and experience of employees to deliver transportation services and manage systems. Before discussing challenges and Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM
1-2 information, and data must ï¬rst be delineated. Understanding these terms is important to successful KM: a) Data â Facts and statistics that require a functional understanding of the necessary context for successful interpretation and application. b) Information â A collection of data that is speciï¬c and organized for a purpose, presented within a context that gives it meaning and relevance, and can lead to an increase in understanding. c) Knowledge â The contextual information that is held by an individual or group. Knowledge helps direct how individuals behave, how they perform their jobs, and how organizational structures are interpreted. The skills, experiences, and insights of individuals impact how knowledge is shared and integrated within oneâs repertoire of thinking. Types of Knowledge There are three types of knowledge that must be incorporated into a KM system to ensure that transit agencies are able to maintain eï¬ective operations and successfully move toward the future while accomplishing transit agency goals. These are tacit, explicit, and embedded knowledge. Characteristics of each knowledge type are provided in Table 1-1. Table 1-1: Knowledge Types Explicit Knowledge Tacit Knowledge Embedded Knowledge Description Formal or factual knowledge; can be readily accessed and expressed Can usually be gained through formal study or education Often expressed logically and is based on facts and proven methods âKnow-howâ that is intuitive and often based on personal experience Diï¬cult to transfer to another person by means of writing or verbalizing Usually gained through direct experience Contextual information about an organization including its processes, routines, culture, history, and organizational structure Location Found in company documents and ï¬les such as databases, instructional materials, or organizational procedures and manuals Found in the minds of individual employees Found in historical documents, organizational mission and vision statements, and the norms and behaviors of the collective workforce strategies related to KM implementation within the transit industry, the diï¬erences among knowledge, Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM
1-3 Table 1-1: Knowledge Types Explicit Knowledge Tacit Knowledge Embedded Knowledge Associated Challenges ï§ Maintaining accessibility and access to information for all employees ï§ Managing the quantity of procedural and process knowledge necessary for continuous operations ï§ Diï¬cult to record and transfer, which needs to be done to help prepare the next generation of workers ï§ Can be a challenge for employees to articulate ï§ Historical accounts that have shaped the organization may not be recorded ï§ Long-tenured workers may hold most of this knowledge without realizing what is important to share ï§ Norms exist but are seldom documented Elements of KM Implementing a KM system involves an understanding of multiple organizational processes that are each part of a complete KM function. These are having a culture supportive of KM, planning for KM, knowledge capture, knowledge retention, and knowledge transfer. Each of these elements is addressed in its own chapter within this Guidebook and deï¬ned in Table 1-2. Table 1-2: Elements of Eï¬ective KM KM Element Name Deï¬nition KM Culture A KM culture refers to creating a positive workplace environment that supports KM implementation and cultivates a shared belief among employees in the positive value of knowledge exchange. KM Planning KM planning refers to the activities required for understanding the transit agencyâs KM needs and determining how KM can ï¬t into existing processes to bring beneï¬ts to the transit agency. Knowledge Capture Knowledge capture is the act of identifying and gathering employee knowledge to incorporate into shared institutional knowledge. Knowledge Retention Knowledge retention encompasses the processes, systems, storage mechanisms, and interactions that are used together to hold on to critical employee knowledge so that it can be readily accessed and used by the transit agency. Knowledge Transfer Knowledge transfer is the intentional communication and integration of knowledge between individuals or groups within an organization. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM
1-4 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM The diï¬erent types of knowledge â explicit, tacit, or embedded â may require diï¬erent methods for capture, retention, and transfer. For example, when sharing information with a new employee, it is likely easiest to share knowledge of technical speciï¬cations for equipment (explicit knowledge) via a written form; but knowledge about how to prioritize bus repairs for the greatest eï¬ciency (tacit knowledge) would be best shared through discussions with a long-term, mid-level maintenance employee. The fact that these diï¬erences exist highlights the importance of planning for KM. Strategies for capturing, retaining, and transferring knowledge can vary along a continuum from a static, or ï¬xed, exchange of data to a much more dynamic data exchange. Static does not mean that activity is not occurring, but rather that individuals do not need to interact with one another for knowledge transfer activities to occur. Capturing, retaining, and transferring tacit and embedded knowledge is likely to require active and dynamic approaches, whereas strategies for capturing, retaining, and transferring explicit knowledge can be more static. Some strategies described in this Guidebook will be better suited to explicit knowledge, while others will be more appropriate for focusing on tacit knowledge. Alternatively, there may be ways to customize implementation of a strategy to ensure it can eï¬ectively focus on the type of knowledge needed. Each action plan that is included in this Guidebook identifies the type of knowledge for which it is best suited and any relevant considerations for using the strategy to hone in on diï¬erent types of knowledge. In Chapter 2, the strategies related to KM culture enhancement focus almost solely on embedded knowledge. Why KM? While it can easily be said that KM is important for transit agencies, this need can be more clearly articulated by various example scenarios in which KM is utilized. Consider the following hypothetical scenarios that could be experienced by a transit agency. Alongside each scenario is a description of the beneï¬t that could have been gained through the use of KM strategies. A key ï¬rst step when focusing on KM is to plan for any eï¬orts. This provides direction and ensures that KM strategies are set up to help the transit agency meet its strategic goals. Then, knowledge must be captured and retained within the transit agency, and then transferred to employees.
1-5 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Multi-modal transit agency with rail service in urban area: â¢ Experienced low-speed derailment of single car; cause found as frozen switch â¢ No database to store causal ï¬ndings â¢ Similar derailment occurs, but passengers are injured; investigation reveals same cause â¢ Investigation found that ï¬eld inspectors had limited experience and lacked the needed knowledge to recognize a problem during routine inspections With a KM strategy: â¢ The transit agency would have had a database of after action reports and lessons learned â¢ Inexperienced inspection personnel would have a place to ï¬nd needed knowledge â¢ Past derailment information would be available to inspectors Large bus transit agency providing ï¬xed route service: â¢ Demand requires more buses to be added to ï¬eet â¢ Maintenance manager with experience in high-tech buses led procurement process; has knowledge to maintain new buses â¢ Promotion of maintenance manager means that no one in division has experience maintaining new buses â¢ Lack of expertise = decreased eï¬ciency KM strategies would have ensured: â¢ Formal capture of the maintenance managerâs knowledge â¢ Ability to share knowledge with mechanics â¢ Chance to ask questions before managerâs departure Small bus transit agency providing demand response service: â¢ Hands-on Transit Director involved in all major administrative, operational, and maintenance decisions â¢ After Directorâs retirement, transit agency experienced signiï¬cant drop in service quality and rise in accidents, and audits revealed questionable administrative and ï¬nancial management practices due to new Director Strong KM strategies would have provided: â¢ Formal processes to capture the retiring directorâs extensive and varied knowledge â¢ Resources for new director â¢ Potential relationship with previous director
1-6 In each of these scenarios, it is apparent that the inclusion of KM strategies within the transit agencies would have led to a more positive outcome. Beyond the scenarios provided above, there are many more beneï¬ts of KM that point to its importance: KM serves as a risk management strategy: Capable, knowledgeable employees are an asset to the organization, and preserving their knowledge is imperative to the success of transit agencies. KM is a strategic enabler for business success: Making sure that all necessary knowledge is held by the transit agency rather than by individual employees helps to prepare for successes, even in challenging or changing situations. KM leads to faster decision making: When knowledge is shared with a wide range of individuals and available to decision makers, they have the ability to make decisions quickly rather than seeking out knowledge that they should have. KM results in greater work eï¬ciency: Because KM involves leveraging and reusing knowledge rather than always ârecreating the wheel,â employees are able to be more eï¬cient stewards of time and transit agency resources. Additional beneï¬ts of KM are described throughout this Guidebook as a way to show the value of the diï¬erent KM strategies included. For example, knowledge sharing helps break down silos within the transit agency and prepare for retirements and turnover. Alternatively, using knowledge retention helps ensure institutional knowledge is documented and available to all employees who need it. Focusing on these beneï¬ts contributes to forming a business case for KM that will help with its adoption into essential transit agency practices. Leveraging Existing Activities for KM Purposes Before adopting speciï¬c strategies or a comprehensive approach to KM, transit agencies can beneï¬t from ï¬rst identifying activities and processes already in place that informally use basic principles of KM. Speciï¬cally, transit agencies of all sizes and operating characteristics currently rely on certain processes and activities to capture the knowledge required for mission achievement. This information drives the management of a cross section of transit agency functions and supports the work carried out in these functions. By considering how KM ï¬ts within the current infrastructure and existing mission-driven functions of the transit agency, it becomes clear that essentially all transit agencies have a foundation upon which to build a more formal approach to KM. Table 1-3 provides examples of some transit agency processes and activities that already capture and distribute knowledge, even though the functions may not traditionally be labeled as KM functions. Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM
1-7 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Table 1-3: Common Transit Functional Areas That Require KM Financial Management Most transit agencies document their ï¬nancial processes that address, among other things: o Establishing and managing a budget, o Procuring equipment and services, and o Managing grants. Reasons for documenting these processes are to ensure o Consistency of activity, o Prudent use of ï¬nancial resources, and o Compliance with grant management requirements, regardless of employee turnover. Human Resource (HR) Management Human resource (HR) products and activities include such documentation as o Job applications, o Interview results, o Comprehensive job descriptions, o Employee performance appraisals, and o Recruitment and selection procedures. This documentation helps demonstrate compliance with regulatory requirements and can assist an agency in addressing future HR outreach by learning from previous recruitment and selection successes and failures. Vehicle Maintenance Plans and Procedures Historical documented data support the development of comprehensive and useful vehicle maintenance plans. Documented procedural data provide guidance on how to eï¬ectively maintain transit equipment and vehicles. Documented plans and procedures guide mechanics in performing maintenance that ensures properly functioning and safe vehicles are available to meet service delivery demands. Facility Maintenance Plans and Procedures Due to the varied and eclectic trade-related skills involved in facility maintenance, transit agencies often document o Their facility maintenance planning process, o The plan itself, and o The procedures required to carry out the plan. These plans and procedures establish how the agency will meet its infrastructure maintenance needs and ensure that the appropriate skills required to meet those needs are available. Operational Service Design The successful delivery of transit services is critically dependent on service design. Eï¬ective future service design is based on documented historical data. Captured operational data include ï¬xed route ridership, bus stop placement, on-time performance, safety-related route information, demand response/paratransit trip scheduling, and customer satisfaction.
1-8 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Table 1-3: Common Transit Functional Areas That Require KM Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) The term standard operating procedure (SOP) implies that the procedures are written in stone and last forever, but in reality, the procedures need to constantly change and evolve to ensure that they address new service demands, equipment and technology challenges, safety and security risk, and various other factors. To ensure that SOPs address current operational reality, a transit agency must frequently update them. This requires ï¬rst capturing and documenting evolving operational requirements and challenges and then analyzing that information. Accident and Incident Investigation Future transit operational procedures, potential liability, and employee performance management rely on detailed and documented investigative procedures. Causal analysis using historical perspectives from previously captured data must be conducted for investigations to be fully successful and lead to solutions that reduce future risk. In addition to considering how KM ï¬ts within existing functions, it is important that the transit agency consider its own unique KM needs based on existing organizational structure, size, operating characteristics, information documentation practices, and available resources. Smaller agencies may choose to have an employee assume some KM responsibilities in addition to their regular duties. A larger transit agency may wish to explore a more comprehensive approach to KM, from adopting strategies presented within this Guidebook to setting up a full KM function (as described in the ï¬nal chapter). This Guidebook is intended to help transit agencies develop an understanding of KM beneï¬ts and how to implement strategies that will be the most eï¬ective in supporting strategic workforce development eï¬orts and meeting the goals of their speciï¬c transit agency. How to Use This Guidebook Chapters 2 â 6: From Knowledge Management Culture to Knowledge Transfer These chapters provide information about diï¬erent elements of KM on which transit agencies may need to focus. Speciï¬cally, one chapter is designated for each of the ï¬ve KM elements described in Table 1-2, beginning with KM Culture. Some readers may not feel it is necessary to proceed in sequential order across the ï¬ve chapters in Guidebook. For example, a transit agency may know that they already capture knowledge from departing employees well, but that they do not store that knowledge for future access. In this case, it might be useful to start with Chapter 5, which includes strategies focused on documenting knowledge. In another transit agency, there may be no current understanding of or focus on KM, so starting at the beginning of the Guidebook and working through each of the chapters would be beneï¬cial. Making sure that transit agencies understand their culture around KM and how to create a While transit agency representatives can pick up this Guidebook and use it as a complete resource from start to ï¬nish, it is laid out such that individual strategies and topics can be pulled out for use on their own or in concert with other strategies. The content contained within the Guidebook chapters is described herein.
1-9 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM culture that supports and values knowledge (Chapter 2) will be an important element of ensuring the sustainability of KM practices. strategies and action plans are organized. The Guidebook has been formatted to provide a framework for understanding KM and how the diï¬erent strategies fall into diï¬erent areas of a KM plan. The same icons are used throughout the ï¬ve chapters to guide readers and clarify content alignment with a speciï¬c KM element. The icons used throughout the report are: To make the resource easier to use, each action plan includes an icon that designates which area of KM is the focus. Further, action plans have the same structure for how they provide information and guidance. Speciï¬cally, each action plan includes the following: Summary Rationale for Implementing Strategy Action Plan Highlights Implementation Factors and Timeframe Type of Knowledge Addressed Estimated Time to Fully Implement Time Required to Realize Results Relevant Positions or Types of Work Implementation Plan Action Lead(s) Targeted Audience(s) Steps to Implement Strategy Useful Internal and External Resources Resources for Strategy Implementation Resources for Sustaining Strategy Examples of Eï¬ective Programs Impact and Cautionary Considerations Positive Outcomes of the Strategy Cautionary Considerations or Potential Negative Outcomes of the Strategy Communication Plan Process for Obtaining Buy-In Valuable Communication Resources Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture To make optimal use of these ï¬ve chapters, it is important to understand how the recommended KM
1-10 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Chapter 7: Outcomes of Eï¬ective Knowledge Management in Transit Agencies In Chapter 7, another valuable resource is provided: examples of how other transit agencies have successfully implemented KM strategies and incorporated them into the transit environment. The chapter includes short case studies of small, midsize, and large transit agencies and their KM implementation stories. For each included transit agency, there is a narrative description of its KM eï¬orts and related outcomes. Then, details are provided about how the agency implemented and used KM to give an example for other transit agencies. The following image details some of the information that is provided in each of the case studies. Information regarding the highlighted transit agencies, their KM-related outcomes, and the elements of KM on which they currently focus is listed in Table 1-4. Table 1-4: Examples of KM in Practice Presented in Chapter 7 Transit Agency and Outcome KM Focus Small Transit Agency A: KM Prepares the Organization for Employee Departures Knowledge Capture Knowledge Transfer Small Transit Agency B: KM Promotes Knowledge Sharing Across a Community KM Culture Knowledge Retention Knowledge Transfer Small Transit Agency C: KM Promotes Employee Awareness of Transit Agency Work KM Planning Knowledge Transfer Demographic information about the transit agency How KM has been used Making a case for these KM strategies, their need, and their beneï¬t Required resources (both people and tools) Implementation steps the transit agency used
1-11 Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention KM Planning Knowledge Transfer KM Culture Intro to KM Table 1-4: Examples of KM in Practice Presented in Chapter 7 Transit Agency and Outcome KM Focus Midsize Transit Agency A: KM Provides Developmental Opportunities and Employee Growth Knowledge Planning Knowledge Retention Knowledge Transfer Midsize Transit Agency B: KM Helps Improve Quality of Services Provided Knowledge Retention Knowledge Transfer Midsize Transit Agency C: KM Improves Organizational Culture and Employee Development Knowledge Planning Knowledge Retention Knowledge Transfer Midsize Transit Agency D: KM Mitigates Risk and Improves Service Delivery Knowledge Capture Knowledge Retention Large Transit Agency A: KM Maintains Consistency and Continuity KM Culture Knowledge Capture Knowledge Transfer Large Transit Agency B: KM Ensures Process Documentation and Establishes Accountability KM Planning Knowledge Retention Large Transit Agency C: KM Provides Broad Transit Perspective and Career Growth Knowledge Transfer Large Transit Agency D: KM Helps Prepare for Upcoming Retirements KM Planning Knowledge Retention Knowledge Transfer Large Transit Agency E: KM Helps Improve Eï¬ciency KM Planning Knowledge Retention Knowledge Transfer Chapter 8: Closing the Loop â Implementing Knowledge Management from Strategies to a Full Function This ï¬nal chapter presents closing thoughts and advice about KM. The chapter describes 17 activities that can be part of setting up a robust KM function and âHow-Toâ guidance for executing those activities.