• We are losing control of the project, what can we do?
• Why are the deliverables not up to standard with our project plan?
When project participants actively begin to interact, they eventually encounter challenges due to knowledge gaps and cultural differences. The KET methodology identifies such high-risk areas and can set a price to the hidden waste. The KET-analysis identifies the knowledge gap between the participants and allows us to calculate the time it takes before expected efficiency and skill levels have been met. Project participant expectations and objectives are formulated and shared in a job split matrix so that the receiving organization can take over responsibility for work packages in a shorter time.
Global knowledge transfer, to enable experienced employees to transfer work packages efficiently between countries, for instance Sweden, China, India and USA. Participants are trained how to analyze and define required competence, expectations and responsibilities of the work packages. The objective is to improve the quality of the handover as well as the follow-up routines.
Global business, to minimize information-friction in business transactions with other countries. Global corporations can not settle for gaining only general import and export expertise. Successful global business also requires specific ‘tacit’ knowledge of the foreign market such as business norms, behaviour, cultural codes and relevant local business language skills.
Masters training for key people with unique knowledge and experience, who are expected to onboard and coach new employees. How to transfer tacit knowledge to less experienced colleagues. The objective is to transform new employees to value adding colleagues with the ability to take initiative and be self-propelled.
Succession-planning, when need arises to preserve unique expertise in connection with retirements or change in management.
Acquisitions, when a company is being acquired or divested and unique expertise risks going to waste.
We need early indicators to prevent having to revise the project plan!
• How to evaluate that we have recruited the right people for this Project?
• How to evaluate a new employee’s ability to deliver during a try-out period?
Evaluation and follow-up of results is carried out using KET-indicators that provide an early indication if the knowledge transfer process run into problems. This way, immediate actions can be taken to prevent having to revise the overall project goals and timetables. Articulated knowledge such as technical specifications and drawings are only a subset of the demanded expertise for the implementation of technical projects. A successful result also requires tacit knowledge such as experience, attitude and ability. Presented below are some typical examples of important abilities for development engineers.
• Describe the technology
• Establish a timetable
• Account for costs
ESOW – The ability to absorb articulated knowledge (Engineering State Of Work)
• Ability to communicate effectively
• Ability to independently seek knowledge
• Ability to act tactically
ESOM – The ability to absorb tacit knowledge (Engineering State Of Mind)
A large part of a person´s unique expertise is by nature, tacit. Tacit knowledge is also known as personal knowledge, which gradually has become a part of the skilled worker. These qualities are rarely easy to define or explain in words, whether verbally or in writing. The transfer of tacit knowledge therefore requires methods other than those usually associated with education in schools and Universitys. The single most important factor in KET-methodology is the personal relationship. By stimulating and building a personal relationship between parties creates a kind of human relation-interface, through which both articulated and tacit knowledge can be transferred. Examples of tacit knowledge:
• Ability to communicate effectively. The employee can listen actively and express themselves in both written and spoken. Have the ability to create comprehensible presentations using both text and images.
• Ability to independently seek knowledge. The employee can search out the necessary information to solve the task independently.
• Ability to take responsibility. The employee can manage to complete a mission consisting of several tasks. Can deliver expected results on time and can also handle a delay.
What to do, if Jessica leaves?
• Where do we find the ´tacit´ knowledge in our department?
• What is our needs for strategic competence in 3 years?
There is a direct connection between company’s competence strategy and the business plan objectives. To reach our future goals in the business plan we need to focus already today on the competence we need in both the short and long term. Examples:
• This area of expertise is the core competence in our company
• We buy or hire this competence from time to time – flexible competence
• We will have a need for this area of competence in 12 month – strategic competence
I wish we could “clone” Charlie!
• How do we reduce ramp-up time with our new employees?
• We just don´t have time to teach our new-comers!
A well educated workforce is no longer a scarcity. The BRICs countries alone annually supply themselves, and the rest of the world, with an impressive number of well-educated students. The challenges for knowledge-intensive companies lay rather in how to take control of, and harness, the internal knowledge transfer. The knowledge transfer needed is dependent on the Masters, the knowledge reserve within the company that today is largely wasted. Using modern KET-techniques we acknowledge the importance of the masters, and teach the masters to transfer both their articulated and tacit knowledge to colleagues with less knowledge and experience.
KETM is a young company that delivers management services, primarily to the automotive industry in order to minimize the waste costs related to knowledge transfer.
The company was founded by Tommy Bergh and Ola Stillbäck. Together they have over 50 years of experience of the automotive industry. They realized how difficult it was to transfer knowledge and experience from one completed project to another. They also understood that the lack of knowledge transfer had a negative impact on the projects ramp-up time and that the key to success lies in the ability to transfer tacit knowledge.
Regarding program for global knowledge transfer
– A tool for me when we outsource work-packages to satellite offices, when we
need early indicators ´KPIs´ in our development process, and when I recruit staff.
Manager, Volvo Bus Corporation
Regarding trainee program
– A training that eliminates errors, encourages teamwork and reduces the costs.
The Ramp-up time was reduced by 30 – 50%.
Senior Designer, Volvo Cars Corporation
The KET-Method is an evolution of J. Frischer’s doctoral thesis in Organizational Psychology:
´The Learning Alliance – relational aspects of learning´, published in 2006.
The Senior Engineer´s control questions
Here are some tips and suggestions from Niklas Ridell about how to get less experienced colleagues to independently plan their work and to seek out necessary information. Niklas is a senior engineer with long experience from Volvo Cars.
– This looks good!
Don´t forget to encourage your colleague! Encouragement is unfortunately in short supply.
– All these things are important. What do you think we should prioritize?
It can be difficult for a colleague who is new to the job to prioritize. To make an active choice usually means removing something else! You will probably have to help.
– Hmm, this was not so good. How do we solve it?
Encourage your colleague to think outside the box and not to get stuck in old tracks. Sometimes you have to let go of the old and rethink.
– OK, how can we make this work?
Let the colleague practice explaining something complicated.
– What happens if the tolerance makes this measure longer?
Stretch the thinking, teach your colleague to think one step further.
– This is a rather advanced task, see if you can solve it!
Don´t give to simple tasks. Dare to challenge, your colleague will grow with the task.
– So, what will you do until we meet next time?
Let the colleague sum up what has been said in your meetings. This will make your instructions clearer and you will get a confirmation that they have been correctly understood.
Volvo Car Corporation