Very few IT departments are fully staffed with every skill they would like to have. Most organizations just choose to live with this problem, but there are more proactive strategies to consider. Chiefly, there is knowledge transfer, the non-boring cousin of knowledge management. Knowledge transfer involves IT managers working with vendors to understand new technologies and develop in-house competencies without hiring more people. In an article for Tech Pro Research, Mary Shacklett offers five tips to do knowledge transfer properly:
- Understand what knowledge transfer is.
- Talk to your vendors about knowledge transfer.
- Identify the skills your staff must gain.
- Identify a project that does not have a strict timeline to perform the knowledge transfer on.
- Do the next project alone.
Knowledge transfer is an ongoing process with the aforementioned goal of developing in-house competencies, so do not expect it to be something you can just schedule into existence with a few vendor meetings. You are in this for the long haul. However, most vendors do not offer knowledge transfer as a standard service, so it is up to you to broach the conversation and be willing to spend for them to come on-site to provide education. If the vendor is not willing to commit to the rigor or your business is not willing to spend the money, then knowledge transfer will not work out.
To maximize the odds that knowledge transfer will work as intended, get specific about which skills you need your organization to develop. Then find yourself a project with a loose timeline to try out the knowledge transfer on:
Knowledge transfer doesn’t happen until your staff can actually complete a working project with the skills and knowledge being transferred. To do this, staff will probably have to work shoulder to shoulder with experts and mentors from your vendor/partner. A vendor expert might start a piece of a project, but they’ll turn the work over to one of your staff members, whom the vendor will mentor and supervise so that the project work is done correctly.
Following that project, pick out a second project upon which to apply knowledge transfer. But this time, do the project without vendor assistance. Only after you have accomplished this is the knowledge transfer complete, and your organization will be all the stronger for its new capabilities.
You can view the original article here: http://www.techproresearch.com/article/knowledge-transfer-an-underutilized-approach-to-developing-it-skills/