LocatingExpertise

The expertise is available but people don't know where

Description

At the start of any project, when people don’t know each other, they don’t know where to go for particular types of information.  Roles may be assigned, but not all of the people may be up to speed in their roles.  Other information, ‘local knowledge’ such as how to deal with the HR department, how to clear the printer jam, how to find the system administrator, will not have an explicit role to deal with this information.

Discussion

Finding the information you need frequently starts with finding the person who can tell you where to find the information – but that just puts the problem one step further removed from the solution.  Over time, a team member will build up a picture of who can tell him how to find what type of information.  Anything that can speed up this process will reduce the amount of time spent asking around.

Prevention, Amelioration, Cure

Traditional

One of the starting points in locating expertise is to localize expertise into roles, an issue dealt with by FormFollowsFunction.  Identify the role that should deal with the information, find someone assigned to that role, and they should know how to find out that information.  Once the roles are in place, some effort needs to be taken in ShapingCirculationRealms in order that the relevant people are made aware of information relevant to them.  This does not deal with all problems of locating expertise, however.  It helps to have one or more people in a PublicCharacter role, who actively communicate above and beyond the needs of their job, and help to fill in the cracks in knowledge of where to find relevant expertise.

Modern

Modern Agile methods value interaction and communication highly; in effect all team members are to a greater or lesser degree in a PublicCharacter role.  Having small teams and working in an OpenWorkspace are both advantageous.  Core skills are transferred widely by DevelopingInPairs, and mechanisms for enabling this will necessarily include some method of locating the relevant expertise for development tasks.