Knowledge Transference through Document Sets

By Marc Solomon posted 06-24-2011 23:48



KM people and organizational gurus romanticize that most hallowed of all transactions between two human brains -- the knowledge transfer. In my knowledge neighborhood that's an act of sincerest desperation:
  • Who's been down the road I'm on?
  • And do you know any cutovers, backways or shortcuts from talking points to a proposable action plan?
If necessity is the mother of invention, the mother of all inventions is the hail mary pass down-field from the informal discussions to the statement of work. That's the bartering system of contacts, pointers, and project experience known in consulting circles as a community of practice -- crowdsourcing with clearly defined markers: a deal in need of closing chased by a fast-approaching deadline.
That shortest distance between these two points is a path crossed countless times on email every day. These intersecting points are permeated by guidance and attachments -- the prized IP that a domain expert would never think of uploading to a server but would naturally share with a colleague. 
In SharePoint 2010 that point of interception is best traversed by Document Sets. Document Sets aren't that sophisticated or ground-breaking. But they are a handy way to repurpose the transfer event in ways that enhance how these communities relate to one another.
Those attachments we siphon off are best bets for the taking with the implicit blessing of the collaborator. But these contributions are rarely single definitive works, Most often they're assembled as a composite of several projects that address similar themes and models and zipped together in the form of a "care package." Document sets are practical containers for these assortments because the information request is showcased with the details of "the ask" along with the trailoring answers. This call-and-response routine need not outlive its purpose on email when it can be preserved in SharePoint to address the same perennial issues.
Besides the passion and the time pressure the two most common conventions of an information request is that the requester is humbled to be asking for advice and that they've already "been on KM [SharePoint] and found nothing."
Search our system for "spam" and a cascade of apologies will spill from a healthy number of hail marys. One of these days a document set just might muffle a repeat request for the same expertise. That's one transaction that can clear the way for more opportunities to open and more deals to close.

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