Crowd Knowledge: Harnessing the Wisdom of Your Team

October 24, 2019

Companies large and small are looking for ways to engage customers in this digital age, but not all businesses know how to promote their products and services effectively via eCommerce or social media – or even what the best software is for their needs. Companies are also expected to provide an exceptional user experience to create repeat business and instill customer loyalty.

The best way to begin the process is to look within your own team.

Teams typically possess knowledge that is not captured or documented; it lives within the tribe. Teams possess a deep understanding of core business drivers, why workflows are the way they are, and what makes certain teams and people tick. Usually they are the ones closest to the end user. This knowledge base – if harnessed correctly – can be a game changer.

How does a company enable the tribe to keep pace, transfer its knowledge and play an integral role in the design of a new paradigm?  By making crowd knowledge a workstream and pairing it with technology design and implementation.

Here are some areas where crowd knowledge can empower your organization:

  • Enabling transformation. Even when directed from above, change fails or succeeds at the grass roots level.  Identify your best people to act as “change evangelists”, promoting the value of change and leading by example.
  • Adoption of new technology. Knowledge of new tools and approaches might exist in people within your current organization from previous job experiences or from their own exploration. These are the right people to construct a potential tool evaluation/bakeoff, because they know your current needs/processes and probably would enjoy the opportunity to play with new technology while receiving recognition as a thought leader.
  • Historical understanding of workflows. It is important to ensure that controls, security and critical business processes are understood, challenged and implemented in any new tech solution; who knows better how to design the better mousetrap than those using the old one in their daily jobs?
  • Untangling your data. Making sense of what is good vs. legacy/unneeded data and defining the use cases for making it serviceable for Business Intelligence going forward is best done by the people who feel the pain of data issues every day.
  • Skill levels. Your teams have a finger on the pulse of who has the capacity to change and move into new roles and functions – which has the potential of strengthening the team. Can your BA become a product owner, your tester an SDET, your development manager a scrum master? Open the dialogue.

In the absence of robust documentation and formalized process, the truth about how things really get done lives in the minds and traditions of the people who get things done – i.e., the rituals of the tribe.  The challenge might not be lack of knowledge, but how to tap the knowledge that is there.

SQA’s consultants and technical experts have extensive experience in working with the “fuzzy knowledge base” that exists in cultures – and know how to harness the wisdom your team holds to grow your business and keep up with constantly changing technology.   We have helped companies who are documentation/process-poor but experience-rich extract and codify their truths through formal processes such as JAD sessions, individual interviews and mentoring/pair-programming sessions, and exploratory testing and test case refactoring.  Our experts are practitioners who have lived your pain themselves – and fixed it in a wide range of organizations and industries. Learn more.

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