Friday, February 11, 2011

Human-centric Architecture

I work with a colleague of mine who is a Knowledge Architect. His mission at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is to enable knowledge transfer between employees. The retiring employee should be able to leave the FAA while the FAA retains their knowledge. This is also true for employees who leave the FAA for better jobs. My peer is looking at social media as an enabler for smooth knowledge transfer.

The concept sounds good but I am a skeptic. Here is why:
  • Knowledge Sharing, and Knowledge Management are not quantifiable. I noticed this at the FAA.
  • Knowledge Management is not simply enabled by Social Media. Like Knowledge Management and Enterprise Architecture, Social Media is an ambiguous domain.
  • Implementing Knowledge Management within an immature organization (with respect to repeatable processes which have appropriate controls) is almost impossible
I believe Knowledge Management is not possible within the FAA but Human-centric architecture is possible. Knowledge Management attempts to capture people's knowledge via voluntary or involuntary actions and it is (atleast what I have seen) is a qualitative exercise. Human-centric architecture basically defines your current-state architecture with respect to your workforce. We can also define the target-state architecture with respect to workforce. This is key because you can now quantitatively map how your existing resources will fit the target-state architecture. By doing this, we can create a transition plan on how your existing resources should be retrained or mentor new resources (knowledge transfer). After we do this then we can come up with a program plan on how transform your workforce. During the workforce transformation, we can identify opportunities for training, mentoring and retiring and this is more focused and we can derived KPI. I would now be interested to debate a Knowledge Architect on why my approach is fundamentally flawed. Any taker? ;)