Knowledge Management Collaborations and Agility

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Collaborative-Agile organizations implement processes to manage and share their knowledge (within the organization and with partners). This KM is further extended to the dynamic synchronization of tacit and explicit knowledge within an organization (Unhelkar, 2010) and collaborative knowledge synchronization beyond its organizational boundary. The following are the advantages of KM in collaborative-Agile organizations:

- Supporting decision making: Assisting decision makers through correlations and insights that would otherwise not be possible for an individual. KM enables recording of decisions by leaders and makes it available to all tiers of the organization. This results in speeding up of decision-making capabilities down the hierarchy.

- Recording objective knowledge: Codifying and storing individual experiences enables their use in future; this recording abates the potential loss of that knowledge once the individuals leave the organization through change of jobs, retirement, or replacement.
Creating awareness of knowledge: An Agile organization aims to equip every individual to take quick and accurate decisions that will benefit the customer and the organization. Employees and other users of the organization's systems need to be made aware of a body of knowledge created from certain previously solved problems and situations. Repeated creation and storage of knowledge can be avoided through this awareness, which adds to the collaborative and Agile capacities of the organization.

- Avoiding knowledge repetition: Building on the previous factor, staff and customers may seek the same body of knowledge informally (by talking with each other) and formally (by accessing and searching systems and databases). Agility encourages informal and tacit exchange of knowledge, whereas KMS—through its objective repository of knowledge—prevents repetition of knowledge discovery exercises and efforts.

- Encouraging innovativeness: Agility promotes continuous innovativeness as much as it makes use of such innovative ways of working. Innovative approaches to business processes and technical solutions are aided by making available the knowledge to build upon. Creativity and innovation of products and services in an organization need not start from scratch, and astute KM is a means of providing that launching pad for creativity. This, in turn, enables the organization to remain agile and responsive to the changes in circumstances, including external demands from customers and internal needs of staff.

- Corporate knowledge sharing: Collaborating organizations bring their core knowledge and know-how together. For example, a bank collaborating with an IT service provider need not worry about the IT trends. Issues associated with IT trends will be handled by the collaborating IT partner. This will free up the bank resources, which the bank can then use to focus on its own core banking expertise. Thus, knowledge sharing through collaboration enhances organizational Agility.

- Individual knowledge sharing: Collaborations between people belonging to the partnering organizations, reinforced by KMSs, also result in tacit knowledge sharing by individuals. Collaborations enhance the overall pool of expertise in the organization without "reinventing the wheel." Agile values of trust, honesty, and collaboration are translated here at the tacit level, and knowledge sharing is facilitated. This, in turn, leads to benefits such as faster innovation of products, reduced duplication of efforts, savings in research and development costs, and enhanced employee satisfaction.

Taken from : The Art of Agile Practice: A Composite Approach for Projects and Organizations

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