PRESERVING INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY
IN A UTILITY
Brian Gongol
DJ Gongol & Associates, Inc.
June 3, 2015
Iowa WEA Annual Confer...
What is "institutional memory"?
Books contain formal knowledge
The built environment stores knowledge, too
Institutional memory is different
It's what your organization knows because of its people
How institutional memory leaks out
Retirements
Illnesses and injuries
Employee departures
Entropy
Other losses
Test your individual memory
Answer these three simple questions
What's your license plate number?
What was your junior-high locker combo?
What color is your neighbor's front door?
If personal memory is that bad...
...then we have to do something formal
to capture institutional memory
Formal knowledge
I-235 goes from West Des Moines
to northeast Des Moines
Institutional knowledge
If you're going west past Windsor Heights,
get into the left lane before 42nd Street
Funnel of knowledge
Institutional memory is dynamic
Books and the physical world are static
Institutional memory is where knowledge is
synthes...
Fixing problems of institutional memory
Organizations are no better
than individuals at remembering...
In general, they're...
Capture it in three parts
Study
Document
Use
Part 1: Study
Ask why
Nobody knows where the dollar sign came from
Method #1: Recruit most curious staff member
Method #2: Set up (or fake) a job shadow
Method #3: Prepare a new-hire orientation
Method #4: Prepare a process flow diagram
Method #5: Wear a glove & throw yourself off
Method #6: Wear a Go Pro for a day
* GoPro camera not included. Some duct tape required.
Method #7: Mark up your plans and specs
Every process you study has value
If you've never done it before,
you need it explained
Every process you study has value
If you do it infrequently,
you need to capture the best way
Every process you study has value
If you do it routinely,
you need to standardize and improve
Sometimes the study work is done for you
At least six notes posted on one machine
Studying alone doesn't end frustrations
Part 2: Document
Document your history
...and ask why you do what you do
Document what works
Document what doesn't work, too
Demolition job gone wrong
 Source: BBC News, "Turkey demolition goes wrong"
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8179857.stm
 Us...
Demolition job gone wrong
 Source: BBC News, "Turkey demolition goes wrong"
 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8179857.stm
 Us...
Why is this the system we've decided to use?
 Don't judge, just document
 Knowing that a decision was made for trivial r...
What do you need to know in an emergency?
Don't miss hidden indicators
Capture three types of memory
Event memories
What happened?
Decision memories
Why did you do what you did?
Process memories
What steps lead to others?
Memoirs
 Most autobiographies are just memoirs -- what happened
 The useful ones introduce decision memories: "Why I did...
Event memory: History books
Decision memory: The Federalist Papers
Process memory: Recipe books
Why do you have to write it down?
Seek to conserve mental energy
Routine decisions are mentally costly
Save your mental energy for big problems
Supplemental media help, but don't store well
Blogs and wikis may help, but are on probation
You still have to get it on paper
These books are still around
from the 1920s...
but good luck retrieving files
from a Com...
The writing process enforces clear thinking
Supreme Court decisions: Written for a reason
Decisions and dissenting opinions are valuable
Great teams have great playbooks
Documentation doesn't have to be perfect
It just has to be, period.
It gets perfected when we get to Step 3: Use.
Know the recipe for your plant's secret sauce
Keep a log of your vendors
 And regularly ask for updated linecards
Record why you bought what you did
Name your equipment
Numbers are for prisoners
Oval Office · West Wing · White House
Not "Suite 247, 2nd Floor, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue"
Use humane names
 Adequate: Pump 1, Pump 2, Pump 3
 Good: East pump, center pump, west pump
 Better: New York, Chicago,...
Part 3: Use
What can you build into a line score?
Test and measure with a purpose
Standards are the backbone of improvement
Standards require documentation
Employees feel valued when work gets better or easier
Test the manual
Document after every major change
Appoint a historian
Produce an annual report
Warren Buffett: Master of the annual report
Annual report
 Employees:
 Who worked here?
 Who started this year?
 Who left?
 Training: Who, where, and
when?
 Cap...
Produce a yearbook
Even just a scattering of pictures
can trigger your recall
Highlight, underline, and bookmark
Minutes and reports are necessary
But they often aren't used
because they remain static
Book knowledge: Change oil every 3 months
Institutional memory: Change oil on events
 New Year's
 Spring thaw
 Fourth of July
 First freeze
Reward conscientious documentation
Develop documentation into an expertise
 Just like accounting, maintenance, or management
Documentation & standards built Japan Inc.
Honda motorized its first bicycle in 1947
And built its first car in 1962
Today, Honda builds jets
Documentation overcomes a slow start
It must be used to become valuable
Toyota is #1 and Honda is building jets
because they deliberately work
on building inst...
Start with a 3-ring binder and loose leaf
Note external sources of change
 New regulations
 New methods
 New state of the art
Read "The Checklist Manifesto"
Keep a second copy of essentials
 Parkersburg wasn't the first devastating tornado
 It won't be the last
Decisions last longer than you usually expect
Often long past the memories and careers
of those who made them
Utility decisions have unusually long durations
The weakest ink outlasts the strongest memory
Questions?
 Thank you for coming!  Brian Gongol
 DJ Gongol & Associates
 515-223-4144
 info@djgongol.com
 Call or em...
References and credits
 Screenshots of Turkish demolition used under written permission from the
BBC
 Alexander Hamilton...
of 110

Preserving institutional memory in a utility

How to ensure that a utility doesn't lose the accumulated wisdom of its employees when they retire or otherwise leave.
Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Published in: Leadership & Management      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Preserving institutional memory in a utility

  • 1. PRESERVING INSTITUTIONAL MEMORY IN A UTILITY Brian Gongol DJ Gongol & Associates, Inc. June 3, 2015 Iowa WEA Annual Conference Ames, Iowa
  • 2. What is "institutional memory"?
  • 3. Books contain formal knowledge
  • 4. The built environment stores knowledge, too
  • 5. Institutional memory is different It's what your organization knows because of its people
  • 6. How institutional memory leaks out
  • 7. Retirements
  • 8. Illnesses and injuries
  • 9. Employee departures
  • 10. Entropy
  • 11. Other losses
  • 12. Test your individual memory Answer these three simple questions
  • 13. What's your license plate number?
  • 14. What was your junior-high locker combo?
  • 15. What color is your neighbor's front door?
  • 16. If personal memory is that bad... ...then we have to do something formal to capture institutional memory
  • 17. Formal knowledge I-235 goes from West Des Moines to northeast Des Moines
  • 18. Institutional knowledge If you're going west past Windsor Heights, get into the left lane before 42nd Street
  • 19. Funnel of knowledge
  • 20. Institutional memory is dynamic Books and the physical world are static Institutional memory is where knowledge is synthesized with experience and becomes useful
  • 21. Fixing problems of institutional memory Organizations are no better than individuals at remembering... In general, they're even worse
  • 22. Capture it in three parts
  • 23. Study
  • 24. Document
  • 25. Use
  • 26. Part 1: Study
  • 27. Ask why
  • 28. Nobody knows where the dollar sign came from
  • 29. Method #1: Recruit most curious staff member
  • 30. Method #2: Set up (or fake) a job shadow
  • 31. Method #3: Prepare a new-hire orientation
  • 32. Method #4: Prepare a process flow diagram
  • 33. Method #5: Wear a glove & throw yourself off
  • 34. Method #6: Wear a Go Pro for a day * GoPro camera not included. Some duct tape required.
  • 35. Method #7: Mark up your plans and specs
  • 36. Every process you study has value If you've never done it before, you need it explained
  • 37. Every process you study has value If you do it infrequently, you need to capture the best way
  • 38. Every process you study has value If you do it routinely, you need to standardize and improve
  • 39. Sometimes the study work is done for you
  • 40. At least six notes posted on one machine
  • 41. Studying alone doesn't end frustrations
  • 42. Part 2: Document
  • 43. Document your history
  • 44. ...and ask why you do what you do
  • 45. Document what works
  • 46. Document what doesn't work, too
  • 47. Demolition job gone wrong  Source: BBC News, "Turkey demolition goes wrong"  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8179857.stm  Used with permission
  • 48. Demolition job gone wrong  Source: BBC News, "Turkey demolition goes wrong"  http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8179857.stm  Used with permission
  • 49. Why is this the system we've decided to use?  Don't judge, just document  Knowing that a decision was made for trivial reasons is better than erroneously thinking it was a deliberate choice
  • 50. What do you need to know in an emergency?
  • 51. Don't miss hidden indicators
  • 52. Capture three types of memory
  • 53. Event memories What happened?
  • 54. Decision memories Why did you do what you did?
  • 55. Process memories What steps lead to others?
  • 56. Memoirs  Most autobiographies are just memoirs -- what happened  The useful ones introduce decision memories: "Why I did it"  Good biographies introduce the process, but rarely encompass decision memory
  • 57. Event memory: History books
  • 58. Decision memory: The Federalist Papers
  • 59. Process memory: Recipe books
  • 60. Why do you have to write it down?
  • 61. Seek to conserve mental energy
  • 62. Routine decisions are mentally costly
  • 63. Save your mental energy for big problems
  • 64. Supplemental media help, but don't store well
  • 65. Blogs and wikis may help, but are on probation
  • 66. You still have to get it on paper These books are still around from the 1920s... but good luck retrieving files from a Commodore 64
  • 67. The writing process enforces clear thinking
  • 68. Supreme Court decisions: Written for a reason
  • 69. Decisions and dissenting opinions are valuable
  • 70. Great teams have great playbooks
  • 71. Documentation doesn't have to be perfect It just has to be, period. It gets perfected when we get to Step 3: Use.
  • 72. Know the recipe for your plant's secret sauce
  • 73. Keep a log of your vendors  And regularly ask for updated linecards
  • 74. Record why you bought what you did
  • 75. Name your equipment Numbers are for prisoners
  • 76. Oval Office · West Wing · White House Not "Suite 247, 2nd Floor, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue"
  • 77. Use humane names  Adequate: Pump 1, Pump 2, Pump 3  Good: East pump, center pump, west pump  Better: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles  Best (?): Sinatra, Oprah, Madonna
  • 78. Part 3: Use
  • 79. What can you build into a line score?
  • 80. Test and measure with a purpose
  • 81. Standards are the backbone of improvement
  • 82. Standards require documentation
  • 83. Employees feel valued when work gets better or easier
  • 84. Test the manual
  • 85. Document after every major change
  • 86. Appoint a historian
  • 87. Produce an annual report
  • 88. Warren Buffett: Master of the annual report
  • 89. Annual report  Employees:  Who worked here?  Who started this year?  Who left?  Training: Who, where, and when?  Capital equipment and services:  New equipment or contracts? Why?  Removed or canceled? Why?  Repairs, changes, and overhauls  Performance:  How much work was done?  Circumstances affecting the work  Special events or conditions  Customers:  What customers did you serve?  New customers?  Repeat customers?  Lost customers?
  • 90. Produce a yearbook Even just a scattering of pictures can trigger your recall
  • 91. Highlight, underline, and bookmark
  • 92. Minutes and reports are necessary But they often aren't used because they remain static
  • 93. Book knowledge: Change oil every 3 months
  • 94. Institutional memory: Change oil on events  New Year's  Spring thaw  Fourth of July  First freeze
  • 95. Reward conscientious documentation
  • 96. Develop documentation into an expertise  Just like accounting, maintenance, or management
  • 97. Documentation & standards built Japan Inc.
  • 98. Honda motorized its first bicycle in 1947 And built its first car in 1962
  • 99. Today, Honda builds jets
  • 100. Documentation overcomes a slow start
  • 101. It must be used to become valuable Toyota is #1 and Honda is building jets because they deliberately work on building institutional memory
  • 102. Start with a 3-ring binder and loose leaf
  • 103. Note external sources of change  New regulations  New methods  New state of the art
  • 104. Read "The Checklist Manifesto"
  • 105. Keep a second copy of essentials  Parkersburg wasn't the first devastating tornado  It won't be the last
  • 106. Decisions last longer than you usually expect Often long past the memories and careers of those who made them
  • 107. Utility decisions have unusually long durations
  • 108. The weakest ink outlasts the strongest memory
  • 109. Questions?  Thank you for coming!  Brian Gongol  DJ Gongol & Associates  515-223-4144  info@djgongol.com  Call or email anytime
  • 110. References and credits  Screenshots of Turkish demolition used under written permission from the BBC  Alexander Hamilton portrait from the public domain: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/96513526/  "Bender" page screenshot from Wikipedia used under Wikipedia's open terms of use: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Terms_of_Use  Honda history: http://world.honda.com/history/limitlessdreams/atype/index.html  HondaJet image from press release: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140519005444/en/Production -Progressing-Honda-Aircraft-Prepares-HondaJet-Entry#.VUvS8vlViko  "Checklist Manifesto" cover art from author website: http://atulgawande.com/book/the-checklist-manifesto/  All other photos are original work of and copyright reserved by Brian Gongol

Related Documents