The Knowledge Continuity Process

Guest Blog by John Hovell

Adjunct Instructor with KM Institute and Senior Manager for Learning Operations at BAE Systems Inc.

The Knowledge Continuity (KC) process was created by Lockheed Martin and has begun to spread to many organizations.  KC is a simple four-step process that is enabled by three roles. Each of the four steps and the three roles have a specific function. The result of the process is the broad sharing of tacit knowledge. In other words, if your organization is experiencing retirements, turnover, transitions or mergers/acquisitions, you will find tremendous business value in the KC process.

The Four Steps

  1. Identification of Unique and Critical Knowledge
  2. Sharing of Knowledge
  3. Documented Knowledge
  4. Application of Knowledge

Steps number two and three are somewhat intuitive. If you think of a standard backfill situation where an employee is leaving a company to be replaced by someone else, most organizations will have the person leaving the company take the time to talk to other employees and document what they know.
 
Steps number one and four are more of the “secret sauce” of KC. Very few organizations actually take the time to put together a plan of what to discuss. Even fewer organizations take the time to “apply” the knowledge. The application step consists of the three roles actually executing the job together (as opposed to only listening or watching the expert do the job). The deepest learning happens when the people serving in the other roles do the job.

The three roles are “expert”, “next expert” affectionately known as “n’expert” and “practitioner”.
 
The ideal team size is five people, two of which are practitioners, two are n’experts and one is an expert. A typical KC team takes about 90 days to complete the process. There are variations on the process, but this is the most typical approach. The process has proven to be quite effective and its well worth a look to see if it might work in your organization!
 
Join us at the KM Solutions Showcase - September 11-12 - to learn more about Knowledge Continuity and other KM topics!


John Hovell is the Senior Manager for Learning Operations and Technology at BAE Systems Inc. and serves on several advisory boards.  John will present a three-hour session on Knowledge Continuity at the KM Solutions Showcase, September 11-12, in Reston, Virginia.