(PRWEB) July 16, 2008
Nicholas Goh, Managing Director of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, an ISO 9001:2000 Certified Multilingual Communication Services Provider, provides a tip sheet on how organizations can continously innovate with knowledge creation and stay ahead of competition.
1. Repository of knowledge
Most businesses have vast repositories of knowledge that employees can tap on to complete their assigned tasks. The cumulative wisdom from the history of the organization is an invaluable tool for work on novel projects. When members of staff make a decision, they draw from a pre-existing stock of knowledge, usually step-by-step instructions detailing staff's response to a particular situation. As people observe what happens as a result of their decisions, they learn new facts and make new discoveries about environmental relationships.
Discoveries that people feel can be generalized to other situations are fed back or incorporated into the methodology. However, this approach seems to be effective only in relatively simple environments, where cause-and-effect relationships are straightforward and easily discovered. In more complex environments where projects carry shifting target markers in response to rapidly evolving market conditions, the learning cycle frequently breaks down.
2. Setting goals
Initial estimates for a project shape the trajectory of decisions that a manager makes over the process. It is thus important for project managers to begin with a set of goals related to cost, time, and other factors before embarking on a project. This will help to define the scope of a project and gauge the amount of resources that will need to be set aside. Setting clear goals also gives staff a sense of direction and ensures that the needs of the business and preferred approached are communicated to them, thus reducing the possibility of misalignment or mistakes made in the process of completing the project.
3. Adhering to outdated goals
However, in the dynamic business environment, most projects change in scope or encounter the unexpected, which frequently renders early targets obsolete. When that happens, managers often make the mistake of not reviewing targets. They tend to stick to initial targets, adjusting their resources in order to balance substantial increases in requirements. The results are usually cost overruns and negligence in quality assurance.
The mental model that it is important to meet priory set targets has been ingrained into the psyche of managerial staff. Even when events render the targets inappropriate, managers will continue to pursue the targets set at the outset of a project.
4. Adapting to change
It is critical for an organization to recognize that managers have to adapt to change. If not, the business would stagnate with members of staff not taking into account the consequences of their previous decisions as they made new decisions, as well as not changing their approach even when their actions produced poor results. To address this, organizations can inculcate a culture of constant reflection and evaluation of targets. With the recognition that a dynamic business environment calls for regular reviewing of strategies and targets, employers should be encouraged to discuss and debate the changes taking place and to come up with effective solutions.
5. Productivity of the team
While the envisioned goals of a project affect the deliverables, similarly, estimates of the productivity of the team members influence decisions about the size of the team, which in turn affect the team's actual output. Managers should not only give as accurate an initial estimate of the project team's productivity as they can but also periodically provide their assessment of the team's actual productivity, based on progress made. Progress reports on the project's status with new estimates of productivity can be prepared for review; this will assist the project manager in evaluating the team's productivity.
There are other problems that can crop up in the knowledge creation and application processes of an organization. Nevertheless, adroitly responding to the changes and challenges of a project will greatly assist in overcoming the hurdles and contribute to the overall learning experience.