Lawrence dropped by at my place this evening, he had some issues with a few of his software packages he apparently had problems solving. In the name of friendship, I solved it for him. It took but a while.
I was asking about his recently operations and soon realized that he was being extremely occupied of late. Majority of the problem revolves around available resources (time Lawrence has available to him) not capable of existing supporting needs (requirements of his customers)
The secondary problem revolved around the inefficiency of information transfer based on the current most predominant long distance channels of communication, namely voice conversation and text email messages.
Suddenly it occurred to me, that a lack of proper knowledge management system might be a contributing source to his problem. He expressed that supposed he got sick one day and one of his colleagues had to take over his duties, that colleague would be suddenly lost in the midst of a strange environment his is not aware of. He said he had the same problems as well when he first took over the duties of one of his colleagues who departed to join another company.
Also there would have been no need for him to drop by at my place had he been able to effectively transfer his knowledge of the problems he was facing to me via traditional channels of communication.
Thinking back, I realized it was such a waste of the time to have to travel from one place to the next to convey a message simply because long distance communications failed.
Further pondering on this issue of knowledge transfer, it suddenly occurred to me weren’t there multiple instances of developers (me inclusive) around wasting more time than they should because of failure in the knowledge transfer process? To draw a simple example from my experience, there were in deed a few times when I had to commit hours to solve a problem that had already been solved by another of my colleague simple because his knowledge of how to solve the problem could not be effectively transferred to be. Had the transfer been successful I would have to waste tons of time attempting to figure out the solution to a problem and he would not have to waste the same amount of time attempting to guide me through the problem over the phone in real time.
What if there is a knowledge repository over the internet where people could go to for detailed instructions of how to solve their problems? What if someone could solve a problem once and thereafter have his knowledge effectively packaged, stored and there after transmitted to the people who need it without as ambiguity?
There have been past attempts to do so over the internet with the use of forums. However, ambiguity often results due to the difference in the way a message was encrypted in words for storing and thereafter decrypted from these same words for usage. The only site that came close to fulfilling this function over the internet thus far is YouTube which is actually becoming quite popular as a self learning tool used by many.
Just for experimentations sake, and partially due to the inspiration I acquired from my reading of the book “the world is flat”, during my next IT project, I will attempt to engage a friend in India to aid me in the development of a few functions and components on Joomla. If this method which I envision to use to further promote effective long distance communications works, I might have for myself a viable outsourcing model. Then again fingers crossed.