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38 CHAPTER NINE TRANSPORTATION CASE STUDIES VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION which VDOT plays a coordinating role do include agency people. Most meet face-to-face several times a year. The Virginia DOT (VDOT) was selected to be interviewed because it was identified by the literature survey as an agency These COPs affect procedures, policies, and contracts. with an active, although fairly new, KM program. Dr. Mau- They create new knowledge. The KM officer's role is to reen Hammer, Knowledge Management Officer at VDOT, take decisions that the individual COPs make to a higher was interviewed on May 11, 2006. She reported that the for- decision-making body for a hearing and possible acceptance mal initiation of the KM Office was in 2003. The chief exec- agency-wide. That is the basic process by which the "prod- utive officer (CEO) at the time came from private industry, ucts" of the COPs are embedded into VDOT practices. and although he was not very familiar with KM business Dr. Hammer remarked that each COP is different, and each processes, he believed in its value and created a new division hearing is different as well. All have their own individual as an incubator. The office was located in Charlottesville, outcomes. rather than at the corporate headquarters in Richmond, which was a neutral location. Dr. Hammer was hired in November The KM Office also does knowledge mapping, which is of 2003. The CEO gave the new office one month to set up a especially important given the number of eligible retirees. COP of the mega-construction project managers, of which They use interviews, audio tapes, videotapes, and other elicit there were 17, all leading very-high-cost projects. The office medium to pass on knowledge to the next generation. The got underway during January 2004. managers identify critical knowledge and what must be cap- tured. They are using social network analysis, mapping how Dr. Hammer attempted to form an online community; knowledge flows across the organization. This approach is however, the group had not previously met, and was not in based on networks. It is important not to disturb these net- the habit of sharing. By March, it was clear that it was not works, which, although they are loose and relatively weak, working. Dr. Hammer took the blame and in doing so are extremely important. They use UICNet software to do believes she won their trust. They changed to a face-to-face social analysis, through the University of Virginia, as an style and also enjoyed the support and mandate of the CEO. online data collection tool. Data are consolidated, there is Since then they have continued to meet quarterly. Two other some graphic display, and people are tagged with identifiers, communities were formed: Quality Assurance and Right-of- as well as documents. The intent is that one can go on the Way. One of the important drivers was that 90% of the man- intranet and pull together policies, procedures and other doc- agers were eligible for retirement. uments, as well as people and their expertise. These three communities each now meet quarterly and Dr. Hammer discussed the role of the library in the KM share resources across district boundaries. They act as an process. As a trained librarian herself, she noted the impor- informal apprenticeship to less-experienced members. They tance of professional librarian skills in creating and applying use both online and face-to-face approaches. The HR Depart- taxonomies, indexing, organizing vast amounts of resources ment has been pulled into the communities to some extent in ("the huge outflow" as she put it), collecting important doc- the process of working on strategic staffing plans. The com- uments, pulling external knowledge into the organization in munities use Microsoft Sharepoint Technology to facilitate an organized manner, retrieving explicit resources, and cre- sharing discussions, documents, etc. Lessons learned are ating hardcopy and virtual collections. stored there until they are moved to a more permanent Lessons Learned site for the entire agency. People use tem- The VDOT Knowledge Office is staffed with individuals plates or their own styles to format documents. trained in library science, organizational development, man- agement, and change management. It has 2.5 professional Currently, the agency has 20 COPs. Some have external librarians with Master of Library Science degrees, 2 FTE cler- members and extranet modules for their team software, ical support, and 3 project managers, including an engineer, whereas some are strictly external and the KM Office plays a former auditor, and a PhD in education with special skill in a coordinating role. In that case, they are using an open process mapping. Although there are no IT staff in the office, source software. Some of these "external" members for Dr. Hammer and the IT manager report to the same chief in