In my previous post, I discussed how knowledge management was an important aspect of transition management. I discussed the use of content management systems to help organize documentation to make it easier for the next person in a position to learn from the person who just vacated the position. This is especially important when the person who left is no longer available to transfer his knowledge to the new person.
But having documentation available really doesn’t solve many transition management issues. Effective transition management requires knowledge and documentation is really only information. Various points of information must be integrated to become knowledge.
A case in point is a Visio diagram. These diagrams are useful for visualizing a process or a system implementation. They lack depth of information about the things they depict. That information is likely found in a separate document, spreadsheet, or presentation. Unfortunately, a decision-maker must have possession and understanding of both documents in order to move forward. That can be a challenge even when a content management system is employed because it is possible that each document was stored without relating it to the other making their association next to impossible to discern.
I know there are applications that are designed to bridge this gap. They started out as computer-aided systems engineering (CASE) tools and have evolved into enterprise architecture (EA) suites. I think these tools are generally directed toward IT professionals for building computer systems. I don’t think these tools are generalized enough to address a larger topic like transition management.
Effective transition management requires knowledge, complete understanding actually, about the current state and the future state. When transitioning people, the future state can be as simple as the current state operation with new people operating it. Transition management would employ gap analysis to create a plan for getting the new people up to speed. When transitioning processes, the transition management plan would be to create a gap analysis of what needs to be done and when to move from the old process flow to the new one. This would include process initiations, process retirements, and training.