!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Integrating Risk Management and Knowledge Management

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Integrating Risk Management and Knowledge Management

As a follow-on to yesterday's post, I'd like to call attention to the initiative NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) has undertaken that seeks to integrate their risk management and knowledge management processes. The end goal is maximizing the chances of success of ESMD missions.

The person spearheading the initiative is Dave Lengyel, ESMD Risk and Knowledge Management Officer, whose presentations (pdf) on the subject are the sources for the quick overview below.

The initiative involves five practices:
  1. Establish Pause and Learn (PaL) processes — Modeled after military After Action Reviews, these are learning events that occur "at the end of selected critical events in the life of a project. ... PaL meetings are structured and facilitated by specialists who are not project members."

  2. Click to enlarge
    (Note: "MSR" stands for Monthly Status Review. A PaL "hotwash report" is a write-up of the findings that came out of the PaL discussion.)

  3. Generate and infuse knowledge-based risks (KBRs) — A KBR is is one that people scope out, in large measure, by taking into account learning from previous experience. KBRs are the source of many, if not most, of the lessons learned that best practice requires incorporating into project requirements, processes, and plans. The lessons center on which mitigation strategies worked for a particular risk and which didn't. A key part of the knowledge-based risk management process is periodic verification of compliance with the mandate to build on lessons learned when making project decisions.

  4. Establish communities of practice (CoP) — As defined by Etienne Wenger, communities of practice are "groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic, and who deepen their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis." ESMD uses wiki software to facilitate collaborative work by its communities of practice.

  5. Provide knowledge sharing forums — ESMD makes a particular effort to set up events, such as seminars, at which current employees and alumni can meet for discussion of experiences and lessons learned. There are also knowledge sharing workshops in which senior project leaders "share their insights, what they learned and what they might have done differently based on a recent project experience."

  6. Promote experience-based training — This practice is being incorporated into ESMD's project management and engineering training, in part by developing relevant case studies.
A complementary paper on "Building a Healthy Learning Organization at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center," by Ed Rogers, a colleague with whom Dave Lengyel works closely, is here (.doc).


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