Cover Image

Not for Sale



View/Hide Left Panel
Click for next page ( 53


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 52
53 APPENDIX A Survey Questionnaire

OCR for page 52
54 QUESTIONNAIRE FOR NCHRP SYNTHESIS TOPIC 37-02 PRESERVATION AND USE OF INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY Thank you for agreeing to be a responder to this NCHRP Synthesis survey. After reading the Purpose, Background, Definition, and Scope sections below, you may find that specific questions may be better responded to by some other individual(s) in your organization. Please forward as appropriate. Please return the completed questionnaire by February 24, 2006 to: Maryanne Ward NCHRP Synthesis Topic 37-02 Consultant 808 Addison Place Mount Vernon, WA 98273 E-mail: ward.maryanne@verizon.net Phone: 360-848-6568 Fax: 309-439-5215 If you need clarification, or after completing the survey, if there are issues pertaining to preservation and use of institutional memory that you believe are important but which are not addressed adequately by the questionnaire, please feel free to contact the author directly. PURPOSE The purpose of this synthesis is to identify how state DOTs conduct knowledge management practices to preserve and enable use of institutional memory. BACKGROUND There are several reasons for conducting this synthesis at this time. State DOTs are being asked to do more with less. They seek to become more efficient at providing the information and knowledge that managers, technicians, and legal staff need to be able to deliver agency programs effectively, on time, and within budget. In addition, DOTs want to respond effectively and efficiently to requests for information from elected officials, media, historians, researchers, and the general public. Knowledge management practices can facilitate training and succession management. The report generated by this synthesis will provide an overview of practices of state DOTs and a resource for creating or evaluating practices in individual DOTs. DEFINITION AND TERMINOLOGY CLARIFICATION For this synthesis, the term "institutional memory" is defined as the body of knowledge, formal as well as informal, which is essential to the continuous and effective functioning of the agency at all levels. Increasingly, the practices for managing institutional memory within an organization are collectively gathered under the trans-disciplinary approach known as "knowledge management" (KM). In organizations, accumulated knowledge can be considered the fourth asset to be managed as part of typical business processes, along with physical (buildings, equipment) and financial assets, and human resources. For consistency, in this survey we will use the term "knowledge management" or its abbreviation, KM, to refer to these types of practices overall. These practices involve creating or developing knowledge; transferring it from one human mind to another in "non-tangible" form (often termed "tacit") through, for example, face-to-face discussions, interviews, or roundtable sessions; capturing it in explicit form, as in written documents or in media such as videos, training films, photographs, graphics, or presentations; storing it in some fashion for future use, as in databases or physical repositories; providing finding and identification tools such as indexes, codification systems, or search software;

OCR for page 52
55 using by applying prior knowledge to current work; and destroying when knowledge becomes obsolete or is found to be erroneous. Your agency may use different terminology for essentially the same practices. Please respond regardless of your state's particular terminology for programs, job titles, organizational charts, work group names, functions, etc. SCOPE Specifically, this synthesis is focused on practices, at a practical level, for preserving and enabling use of internally generated knowledge resources--that is, on those materials, knowledge, and resources in the unique possession of your individual DOT at the program, policy, project, and project detail levels. This survey deals with resources in both physical and electronic formats, as well as human activities, such as communities of practice or formal roundtable discussions. Resources in physical format include information captured in paper, videos, photographs, maps, films, and other hardcopy media. Usually these resources can be read with the naked eye or relatively simple optical equipment. Sometimes these physical resources are referred to as "hardcopy." Electronic resources include information captured in e-mails, databases, CDs, images, Internet, intranets, and other electronic formats. Sometimes electronic resources are referred to as "digital resources." One needs a computer with appropriate software to read these resources. Examples of the kinds of materials and resources, whether in physical or electronic format, include, but are not limited to: Project-related documents and information, such as planning documents project reports contracts as-built plans construction reports photographs maps after-action reviews Administrative records and documentation, such as correspondence memos policies and procedures budget documents policy changes financial statements management analysis reports delegations of authority agreements audit reports Published information in all formats, such as research reports standards and specifications manuals annual reports newsletters and journals videos

OCR for page 52
56 Knowledge and expertise of staff members, including technical and administrative expertise knowledge developed through on-the-job experience succession plans and related training presentations or papers by staff members published formally in journal articles, papers, etc. or informally in presentations

OCR for page 52
57 PART I. RESPONDENT INFORMATION (ADD NAMES AS NEEDED) Name: Title: Agency: Address: City: State: Zip: Phone: Fax: e-mail: Name: Title: Agency: Address: City: State: Zip: Phone: Fax: e-mail: ____________________________________________________________________________________ PART II. OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT (KM) PRACTICES IN YOUR STATE'S DOT 1. Are specific efforts made to capture knowledge of experienced retiring or exiting employees? Check all that apply We require exit interviews for retiring or exiting staff, and we document the results. When we know someone is close to retirement, we assign the individual to document his/her areas of expertise. We have a succession plan which provides for transfer of knowledge and training of replacement staff. We have a process whereby we assign, on an ongoing basis, knowledge-capturing tasks to senior staff, such as updating operations manuals, writing standards, or leading after-action sessions. Other. Please describe what methods are used or comment if desired: 2. Does your state DOT have an enterprise-wide active, ongoing KM program, or elements of such a program, to preserve institutional memory for future use? (Note: throughout this survey "enterprise-wide" refers to the entire organization; that is, the entire DOT including all divisions, departments, and work units) Yes Yes. We have an enterprise-wide program, but at this point it is in the "roll-out" phase, and is unevenly developed among divisions. We are actively in the process of extending the program throughout the organization. No. We have no enterprise-wide program or elements of a program. Comment if desired:

OCR for page 52
58 3. Does your state DOT have an active, ongoing KM program, or elements of a program, carried out by certain divisions or work units, but not at the enterprise-wide level? Yes No If yes, please specify which division(s) and provide contact name(s) for possible follow-up interviews: In addition, please pass this questionnaire to the contact(s) to complete with respect to their program: Comment if desired: 4. Does your state DOT have an active, ongoing pilot or prototype (start-up) KM program or elements of a program, not necessarily enterprise-wide but at some level within the agency? Yes, and it's robust enough that it probably will be extended more widely throughout the organization. Yes, but it's not likely to be extended beyond its current scope. No If yes, please describe and provide contact name(s) for possible follow-up interview: Comment if desired: 5. Who or where is your DOT's institutional memory point of contact; that is, to whom do people go, or to whom are they referred, if there is a need for historical materials or documents about prior programs or projects? Check all that apply Central functional unit at enterprise level (such as library, archives, records management, IT department, KM department). Please specify: Division level work unit or individuals who have KM-type responsibilities for that division only. We go to different work units, depending on the type of knowledge resource needed. On an informal basis, we go to knowledgeable individuals or supervisor, depending on where one is in the organization. We spend a lot of time just trying to figure out where to find things or if they even exist. There's no organized way to go about finding things. Other. Please explain or comment: ************************************************************************************** If you answered "No" to all three questions numbered 2, 3, and 4 above, there is no reason to continue. Please return the survey. If you answered "yes" to one of questions 2, 3, 4, please continue. The remaining questions are for those states where some type of program exists. Please return this questionnaire to the consultant. Thank you. ************************************************************************************** 6. Overall, how would you rate your organization's cultural receptivity to knowledge management practices? Is knowledge sharing more common than knowledge hoarding? Are KM practices encouraged and supported by management, and entered into willingly by staff--practices such as documenting work, sharing lessons learned in after-action sessions, participating in discussions about what went right or what needs improvement, saving project documentation for future reference, building effective information repositories, or accessing information from external sources? Please answer on a scale of 15 with 1 being overall negative receptivity and 5 being very high receptivity. Comment if desired:

OCR for page 52
59 7. Before beginning new projects or programs, does management expect employees to consult prior organizational experience as evidenced in documents, databases, knowledgeable people, and other resources? Yes No Comment if desired: 8. Who exercises overall authority over KM practices? Job title: Comment if desired: 9. Who exercises the strongest leadership for KM practices? Job title: Comment if desired: 10. Who has overall, day-to-day, enterprise-wide responsibility for KM practices? Job title(s): Comment if desired: 11. Do you have written policies or procedures for KM practices? Yes No If yes, please provide copy. 12. In general, are the authority, leadership, and day-to-day overall responsibilities for KM practices the same for both physical and electronic resources? Yes No If no, please describe or comment: 13. What staffing is dedicated to responsibility for KM practices? Please answer in full-time equivalencies (FTEs) Knowledge management professionals Professional librarians Information technology professionals Records managers Human resource managers/specialists Paraprofessional or technical specialists Clerical support Other. Please specify by title and skill set or professional training, and FTE: Comment if desired: 14. Are KM responsibilities clearly defined? Yes No, there is overlap, or confusion, about who is supposed to do what. Comment if desired: 15. Does your state DOT have a single point-of-contact by which individuals from within or from outside the agency can obtain published information or documents, such as research reports? Yes No Comment if desired:

OCR for page 52
60 16. Does your DOT have a library function that deals mostly with external publications and provides formal or informal links and access to externally published references, literature/reference databases, other libraries, transportation research centers, etc.? Yes. If yes, what is the annual budget? No Comment if desired: 17. Is the library staffed by at least one individual with professional librarian training? Yes No If no, what is the skill set or professional training of the lead staff person? 18. How are costs for KM practices allocated in the budget? Line item in enterprise-wide budget Line item in divisional/department level budgets No specific budget allocation Other or comment if desired: 19. Please estimate the total amount budgeted on an annual basis throughout the enterprise for all KM practices? PART III. KM PRACTICES 20. What methods are used to capture knowledge? (Note: for this synthesis, "capturing" refers to the process of transferring knowledge from employees' minds into tangible resources, such as text documents, maps, photos, databases, websites, etc., so others can make use of it) Check all that apply We have explicit strategies for knowledge development and capture. Management expects staff to document experiences and lessons learned and make these accessible to the rest of the organization. Employees spend time and effort to contribute to the organization's store of knowledge in an ongoing and structured manner. Capturing is essentially achieved as a work by-product, part of the normal routine of project and program work, such as project plans, program proposals, write-ups of roundtable sessions, project reports, etc. More experienced staff members are given knowledge-capturing assignments, such as documenting important procedures or writing standards and specifications. Post-project reviews (also known as after-action reviews or post-mortems) Lessons learned database Best practices database Staff expertise database Communities of practice/expertise groups Oral interviews Oral histories (more formal than "interview," perhaps facilitated by trained historian) Knowledge development teams (specifically formed to develop new knowledge assets for the organization) Knowledge fairs Formal story telling Close-out reports or final project reports Enhanced communication practices (e.g., up-to-date e-mail system, internal listservs or electronic bulletin boards, effective meeting management, ad hoc discussions, team rooms, ad hoc discussions or verbal sharing of expertise among employees is encouraged, etc.).

OCR for page 52
61 Staff specially trained as meeting facilitators Other. Please list or describe: Comment if desired: 21. What tools are available for knowledge capturing? Check all that apply Reasonably up-to-date personal computer systems and business/office software Meeting rooms well-equipped for group interactions (low-tech--whiteboards, markers, tablets, etc., or high-tech--web access, computer projection, video communication center, etc.) Project management software with capability to capture important project documents Specialized software tools such as geo-mapping, CAD, statistical analysis, flowcharting, resource utilization, process control and analysis, business process analysis, voice-to-text software, etc. Databases that are reasonably easy to maintain and search Content-management or text-base-type software specifically targeted to document/text management applications Intranet portals that provide an interface to the organization's knowledge resources Templates, outlines, or other specific content/format guidelines to provide guidance on what to include and how to go about writing Web-building tools for shared or team websites (such as may be used by communities of practice, cross-functional teams, internalexternal teams, etc.) Meeting management software Wiki or blog software Phone systems equipped for conference calling Other. Please describe: Comment if desired: 22. Are there active written administrative procedures to guide the capturing practices? Yes No If yes, please provide copy. 23. Are practices for storing KM resources in place? Check all that apply We have a clear strategy for storing our knowledge assets. Employees generally understand what needs to be stored, and how to get resources from their possession into storage. The process is well-defined for most resource types. Storage practices are well-defined for some critical resources, such as legal or financial documents, but not necessarily for all. Storage practices are well-defined for physical resources but not for electronic resources (please refer to the Scope section above for definitions of physical and electronic resources). Comment if desired: 24. Where are captured resources stored? Check all that apply Physical resources are stored in agency-owned enterprise-level archives. Electronic resources are stored in an enterprise-level repository. We capture a lot, short-term, on personal computers or group-level servers, but we don't really have an organized way or central repository to store electronic resources long-term. We store our resources at another organization (e.g., state archives, museums, etc). Please explain: Other (specify--provide details if possible):

OCR for page 52
62 Comment if desired: 25. Are there active written administrative procedures to guide storage practices? Yes No If yes, please provide copy. 26. How are resources preserved over time, for differing resources types and formats? Check all that apply We have defined retention periods for most resource types. We work with stakeholders such as legal counsel, professionals, and managers, or historians--and also consult laws and regulations, plus records and knowledge management conventions and best practices to determine appropriate retention policies. We have a mix of preservation practices, depending on whether the resource is in electronic or physical format. The same retention rules don't apply across formats for similar resources, such as a project report in paper or in electronic format. Physical resources are retained based on document type or content, but electronic resources are usually retained based on criteria other than document type or content. Comment if desired: 27. How adequate is the storage infrastructure? Check all that apply The physical storage infrastructure is adequate in terms of physical space, in a reasonably convenient location, with reasonable security against environmental damage or natural disasters. Physical storage uses established records management or archival practices, with adequate shelving, durable boxes, folders, labeling, etc. The repository for electronic resources has adequate capacity for long-term storage of electronic resources and is reasonably secured against environmental damage, natural disasters, or intrusion, either computer-borne or physical. The repository for electronic resources is backed up routinely, based on established and enforced procedures and protocols. Comment if desired: 28. How do employees identify and find knowledge resources? We search an enterprise-wide database(s), populated with metadata, to find most resources that have been captured, stored, and preserved. Our intranet portal ties resources together and provides links or keyword-type index data to help find most resources, electronic or physical. We have a plethora of databases, clearinghouse type websites, and portal-type web pages, depending on the division/work group, resource type, or some other criteria. There is no central access point. One has to access each individually. We have various finding tools, depending on who is managing the resource (e.g., library, records management, knowledge management, archives, IT, division staff, etc.). We have a mixture of databases and manual (hardcopy) indexes. We mostly rely on knowledgeable individuals to help us find resources. Comment if desired: 29. Are there active written administrative procedures to guide the practices for identifying and finding resources? Yes No If yes, please provide copy.

OCR for page 52
63 30. Are stored KM resources readily available for use in current work and decision making? Check all that apply The location of stored resources, physical and electronic, is reasonably convenient and accessible. We have a high priority to get as many KM resources as possible available via the personal computer at the desktop. We have a "push" or proactive system that delivers new resources as they become available to the user, based on individually defined criteria. Resources can be delivered to the user within a timeframe that fits reasonably well into the current work stream. There is a system in place that tracks the location of physical resources (check in/checkout). Decisions to move physical materials off-site or destroy them are based on reasonable needs for efficient access by staff for use in current work, as well as on physical space needs. Comment if desired: 31. Are there active written administrative procedures to guide the resource retrieval practices? Yes No If yes, please provide copy. 32. Is there an established practice for destruction of obsolete KM resources? Yes, for most physical and electronic resources. Yes, for physical, but not for electronic resources. No Comment if desired: 33. Are there active written administrative procedures to guide obsolescence/destruction practices? Yes No If yes, please provide copy. PART IV . KM EFFECTIVENESS 34. Do KM practices enjoy continuity and persistence over time? The program is robust and continues through staff and administration changes. The program exists, but is not evenly supported or well-communicated by management. The program may or may not survive, depending on factors such as budget cycles, administrative changes, etc. Comment if desired: 35. Does your agency use metrics to gauge the value-added and/or effectiveness of the KM program, or to justify costs? Yes No If yes, please describe and provide contact name for possible follow-up interview: 36. Does the agency have training and/or mentoring programs for staff transferred to new jobs, new hires, or those new to leadership to help them understand the agency's KM practices and how to make best use of KM resources? Yes No

OCR for page 52
64 Comment if desired: 37. Has your agency found any specific initiatives to be especially effective in creating acceptance of and participation in ("buy-in") of KM practices within your organization? Yes No Comment if desired and if yes, provide contact name for possible follow-up interview: Please add any additional comments as desired: THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP AND COOPERATION Please return the completed questionnaire by February 24, 2006 to Maryanne Ward, Consultant