Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Knowledge Management: More than just a collection of Knowledge Base Articles
4:19 pm pdt
Just the other day, an IT Operations Manager asked me my opinion on just
what Knowledge Management entailed, and more importantly to define what Knowledge Management excellence meant to me.
My answer to his question, while substantive, was no where near as satisfying to me as a short piece I wrote some
two years ago in response to almost exactly the same set of questions. So to make amends and to provide a
more definitive response to my associate's inquiry, I am reposting that piece here for all who choose to view it with
a goal that more than just one individual may find it beneficial.
What is Knowledge Management? -- Braun
Tacon, August 2009
by extrapolation, Knowledge Management does not stand alone. If it is to be useful it must permeate every aspect of
any organized effort. Let's consider the role that Knowledge Management plays in something as common, yet exceedingly
complex, as airline travel.
The pilot who will fly from Las Angeles to New York between 10:00am PDT to 4:00 EDT
will likely begin his business day at about 5:00am PDT. That early start is needed so the pilot can begin his daily
process of Knowledge acquisition, Knowledge assessment and validation, and Knowledge categorization, prioritization
and availability. Then and only then can the pilot build the specific and detailed action plan for his transcontinental
flight of today and make the ultimate and final decision as whether to fly or not to fly.
include the local and destination weather reports and all the major weather in-between. He will need to know the number
of passengers and the estimated weight of the passengers and cargo. He will check to see if there are any notable exceptions
such as runway closures or closed airspace that he may encounter on today's flight (NOTAMS, "notice to airmen").
Finally he will inspect the maintenance records of his aircraft to see if his airship is worthy of flight.
assessment and validationwill begin with the weather reports and additional live briefings from subject matter experts
in order to help him better understand the data presented and to glean information that he can use. Taking the total
weight of his aircraft including passengers, cargo and fuel along with weather information enroute the pilot will decide exactly
how much fuel to put in the plane including a sufficient reserve to allot for any unforseen change in plans or the environment.
Runway or airspace closures will help him determine his approach into the destination, and aircraft maintenance will be assessed
from a "go/no-go" perspective.
Knowledge categorization, prioritization and availability is the
last step of this process which ensures that all pertinent Knowledge is available to the pilot and others at the right time
and place. Weight and weather are factored to determine the optimal takeoff configuration and airspeed. Before takeoff,
the total passenger count has been used to determine the ideal food and beverage load for the flight. Prior to that
the passenger's baggage has been routed via the most expedient means to insure arrival at the aircraft's final destination.
Finally, the weight of the aircraft and weather conditions at the destination are computed at many times during flight in
order to determine the speed and configuration of the aircraft for landing.
Airline travel occurs thousands of
times a day all over the world. And air travel is only possible because of the myriad of disparate yet synchronized
Knowledge Management streams that exist to guide and serve all of the pilot's decisions. In other words just like "no
man", Knowledge Management is not an island.
To summarize: Knowledge Management is both an end to a means,
and a means to an end. Good Knowledge Management is designed to provide timely, relevant, and useful information to key decision
makers and doers. This Knowledge comes from a myriad of dynamic and disparate sources which must be available at any
time and with guaranteed accuracy. The intended outcome of Knowledge Management should always be to provide agility
and confidence when making plans or decisions. It does not matter if your goal is transcontinental flight, open heart
surgery, or making ice cream. The principles, goals, and outcomes are largely the same.
More to follow...
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Try Before You Fly: How Dreamliner Pilots Train Without Lifting Off
An interesting article from WIRED about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The most interesting part is how computers and computer systems have completely taken over modern aviation, including
the training of prospective pilots of these craft. From the article:
10:44 am pdt
"No matter their experience
level, none of them will actually fly a 787 during training. It's all done electronically. There are no books to study, airframes
to inspect or airplanes to fly. From learning about the airplane's hydraulic system to making a virtual walk around pre-flight
inspection to even learning how to take off, pilots learn everything needed for their type rating without ever even seeing
a real 787.
At one of the 787 training centers it all happens inside a nondescript office building south
of Seattle. This is where pilots learn the difference between traditional airplanes that use bleed air to power systems and
the 787 that uses generators. They work through checklists and practicing landing the Dreamliner in a severe crosswind, in
the clouds, and with an engine out.
But even before they learn how to fly a 787, they learn what the cockpit
is like. And they do that sitting in an office cubicle."
Read the rest as they say.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
When you thought you had it all figured out
1:12 pm pdt
...at least you knew that you could count on E=MC squared. Maybe
now...not so much. From an article posted by the AP today, Roll over Einstein: Pillar of physics challenged
GENEVA (AP) -- A pillar of physics - that
nothing can go faster than the speed of light - appears to be smashed by an oddball subatomic particle that has apparently
made a giant end run around Albert Einstein's theories.
The physics world is, to say the least, gob-smacked!
More from the AP article.
"It's a shock," said Fermilab head theoretician Stephen Parke, who was
not part of the research in Geneva. "It's going to cause us problems, no doubt about that - if it's true."
Just goes to show that the more you think you know, the more you realize how little that you actually do.
Read the rest as they say.
Update 9/23/11: The jury remains out on this claim. Scientists stunned, sceptical on faster-than-light particles. Not surprising if you step back and consider the implications. The 70's comedy troupe Firesign Theater probably
stated it most succinctly. Everything you know is wrong! See also Through the Looking Glass.
More to follow...
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Around the World in 60 seconds
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Monday, September 12, 2011
Ant defense can be a sticky business...
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give their all for the colony.
I've always found ants to be fascinating. Not because of what I know about the species, but rather because
how much there is to learn about them.
More to follow...