“The process of refinement and getting acceptable quality took us roughly
two to three months, running two to three knowledge transfer sessions per
week,” explains Mr. Blaya, who says persistence and consistency were key. “We
had to keep pushing back and keep trying, but finally I think we have a fairly
stable process that’s working well.”
Scheduling formal sessions every week can be a drain on resources, but the
payoff is worth the investment, says Ms. Vilkauskas.
“If you schedule your time, and you have a framework for what you want to
accomplish, it can be very effective.”
VALIDATE THE RESULTS
Without the rapid onboarding produced by successful knowledge transfer, organizations risk interrupting project continuity when project team
changes are made. These interruptions can lead to additional turnover,
informational attrition, low performance, inconsistent methodologies and
“The risk could be very strong for a company—especially in a competitive market—if its essential knowledge is concentrated in a small group of
“Peer presentations, conducted
remotely or in person, are
a common and effective
—Mariano Blaya, PMI-SP, PMP, Vodafone Group Services,
Organizations tend to approach mentor- ship as a career development tool. But it can be an effective way to promote and facilitate knowledge transfer as
well. When practitioners take on new projects, they
may not always know where to look for relevant lessons learned. Partnering with experienced colleagues
can help practitioners find the organizational knowledge that will drive project success.
Darline Giraud, project manager at global engineering and technology consulting firm Alten SA
in Paris, France, works with organizations with
varying degrees of project documentation. When
a client’s formal knowledge transfer system is
incomplete—a situation Ms. Giraud encounters
frequently—her mentor functions as an invaluable
compass to point her in the right direction.
“I had a situation where the documented information in the knowledge transfer system was not
up-to-date, but I had no other source of information
to make estimates for a procurement contract,” she
When formal knowledge transfer practices come up short, a
mentor can save the day.
By Alma Bahman
says. So Ms. Giraud turned to her mentor for help
before providing numbers to upper management.
“I reviewed the data with my mentor, who helped
me identify misinformation and advised me to use
benchmarking to solidify my estimates,” she says.
When Jody Pollack, PMP, former senior program
manager, Ricoh Co. Ltd., Atlanta, Georgia, USA,
was left to his own devices to get up to speed
on a new project, he called on a mentor for crucial advice. Mr. Pollack took over the reins from
another project manager who had been on the
project since the beginning.
“The project manager and I met for about 10
minutes before my first weekly status meeting with
the customer,” Mr. Pollack says. “We went our
separate ways after the meeting, and a few days
later the project manager told me he was too busy
with his new client to fill me in. I was on my own.”
Without formal documentation or any other
system to look to, Mr. Pollack turned to another
source of knowledge. “My mentor suggested I
reach out to other members of the team and learn
as much as possible from them regarding the history of the project and to gain insight on the customer’s team, especially their personalities.”