Mark Kovacevich, Knowledge Management Advisor, FORSCOM (Contractor)
In an effort designed to bring the latest lessons learned and best practices to the Soldiers in the current fight, the Army initiated the Warfighters' Forum (WfF) Integrated Process Team (IPT) project. The original purpose of the Warfighter Forums (WfF) Evaluation Integrated Process Team (IPT) was to survey the progress of Knowledge Management (KM) initiatives at selected Centers of Excellence (CoEs) within the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) with an emphasis on their Warfighters' Forums.
The surveyed CoEs include Maneuver (Fort Benning), Signal (Fort Gordon), and Maneuver Support (Fort Leonard Wood). The task began in early November 2009, and will be completed on or about April 15, 2010. While the core team included many BCKS personnel, they were joined by the Knowledge Management Advisors (KMAs) and Chief Knowledge Officers (CKOs) from the three target CoEs, in addition to KM professionals from the TRADOC CKO office, Sustainment CoE (Fort Lee), and Fires CoE (Fort Sill), among others.
The effort has focused on evaluating existing KM structures with an eye towards identifying ways of overcoming potential barriers to collaboration. The team has operated following a shared vision and unifying goal:
"Win the learning and knowledge duels in Afghanistan."
"Deliver a pilot WfF-enabled Maneuver Knowledge Network that develops, disseminates and inculcates or embodies Counterinsurgency (COIN) and counter-terror practices and integrated capabilities for Afghanistan faster and better than the enemy creates and transfers insurgent and terrorist practices and capabilities."
A benchmarking event hosted by the Sustainment CoE was held, February 2-4, at Fort Lee to identify best practices from the Sustainment CoE, Fires CoE, and the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). Identified best practices will provide the Maneuver CoE, Signal CoE, and Maneuver Support CoE a solid foundation to make positive changes in their KM efforts. As a result of this event, 28 best practices and 11 issues and insights were identified.
More details are available on milWiki at the following locations:
- Summary of Best Practices: Identified Best Practices from the SCoE Benchmarking Event 2-4 Feb 2010
- Issues and Insights from the SCoE Benchmarking Event 2-4 Feb 2010
This Benchmarking Event also enabled the team to be more successful in the first in a planned series of Maneuver CoE Kaizen events conducted February 8-11 at Fort Benning. The decision was made to pursue the creation of a Maneuver Knowledge Network (MKN) in addition to the stated task of evaluating KM at the Maneuver CoE.
Using the series of sequenced Kaizen events, the Maneuver Center of Excellence will design and pilot a WfF-enabled Maneuver Knowledge Network (MKN). The first Kaizen event produced current and future state knowledge value streams that enabled the creation of an actionable design for the MKN. In order to create the design, the team is utilizing a framework for knowledge networks anchored on three primary building blocks: a Web 2.0 Collaborative and Content Environment, Warfighters' and Professional Forums, and Networked Leader Teams (see Figure 1). These building blocks are supported by a series of capabilities and processes including the Enterprise Portal, Business Intelligence, Business Process Management, etc. Foundational to the design is the establishment of the supporting KMO Office structure. More details on the outcome of this Kaizen event are available on milWiki at this location: Kaizen Event Outbriefs.
The final product from the IPT will be a Warfighters' Forum Survivor's Guide which will be available online. The initial version will contain five chapters on standing up a new Knowledge Network: Overview; Web Presence Standards; Adaptive Value Creation; Disciplined Collaboration; and Best Practices for Knowledge Networking an Adaptive Military University.
David A. Foreman, SharePoint Administrator (Contractor)
Knowledge Management (KM) is often enabled by technology. Mastery of applications and software programs has a direct impact on the success of your KM Mission. This is the first in a series of articles that will provide you with skills in using those applications. This first article talks about some ways to use SharePoint.
Using Outlook to interface with SharePoint: Outlook is a Microsoft PIM (personal information manager) application. It includes several Information functions: Calendar, E-mail, Task management, Contact management, Notes and Journaling functions. Microsoft SharePoint 2007 provides tight integration with Microsoft Office 2007:
- Calendar — Time, Events, Date activities are consolidated and communicated to all team members at once.
- Contacts — By having a cohesive Team contact list of all team members and Support / Vendor / Customer / Cross organizational Contacts eliminates searching and asking who to contact questions. This facilitates external e-mail, newsletters, and communications.
- Task list — teams now have the ability to assign tasks to team members and track the progress of those tasks.
- Document Libraries — Effective document libraries with good content management allows for efficient management of data assets.
- Blogs — By using Outlook to link to blogs, you are kept update on changes to topics you are tracking.
Connecting with Outlook creates a link in your Outlook in a special file called SharePoint PST. One of the advantages of this is working off-line when files are coordinated. Alerts allow you to be notified when changes occur. This provides a tremendous productivity boost, and team coordination management opportunity!
Workflows in SharePoint: Workflows are a tool for allowing the automation of organization processes. Here’s a simple scenario to illustrate: a Soldier wants to go on leave. He fills out a leave request which is signed by a NCO and then signed by the unit commander. Next, the commander notifies the NCO who informs the Soldier that his leave is approved. All organizations have hundreds of these processes.
Workflows can automate these types of activities. Through workflows, you can reduce the labor and time expended in these activities, and, at the same time, improve the tracking and control. To continue with our above example: A Soldier fills out an online form requesting leave.An alert email is sent to the NCO notifying him that a soldier has requested leave. He then logs on and approves the request which then automatically notifies the commander and the Soldier that the NCO has approved the request. The commander can then approve the request and an approval notification is automatically sent back to the NCO and the Soldier.
The key to creating an effective workflow is not the technology, but ensuring you have a well documented manual process before you attempt to automate it. A good process is to talk to all the principles and make sure you understand all of their activities within the workflow: notifications, record keeping, and decision events.
Workflows also were designed to work with InfoPath forms. InfoPath is a Microsoft Office application used to create usable forms, which can be uploaded to SharePoint and used to populate lists, presenting the data in an electronic form for easy interaction.
The predefined workflows that can be utilized without knowing any code are: Approval, Collect Feedback, Collect Signatures, Disposition Approval, and Translation Management. With a little creativity, these can be used very effectively to solve a wide variety of an organization’s process activities.
Timothy Moran, Knowledge Management Leader (Contractor)
"Garrison Command is an informal network of current and recent-past garrison leaders committed to helping each other provide effective leadership of our IMCOM [Installation Management Command] garrisons. You are encouraged to participate in discussions and share best practices, useful tools and lessons learned in a forum of your peers."
With that simple charter, the IMCOM Garrison Commander's Net was started and has become one of the fastest-growing professional forums at the Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS). As a subcommunity to Senior Command Net, the forum has grown to more than 200 members in just six weeks. IMCOM Commanding General Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch requested this forum and has actively promoted its use by IMCOM garrison leaders.
IMCOM Garrison Commander's Net is unique in that it was established for a specific command, one that spans the world and provides "the Army's home." Discussions are held and information exchanged in areas such as plans, training, emergency services, human resources, public works, resource management and safety. The forum makes it possible for the commanders and staffs of garrisons large and small to quickly access the shared knowledge of their professional community.
The forum currently limits access to individuals working within IMCOM (garrisons, regions and headquarters). If you already have an AKO/DKO account, you can request membership to the forum. Once you get to the IMCOM Garrison Commander's Net welcome page, click on "Become a Member" in the upper left corner.
This professional forum is quickly developing into a robust community, providing invaluable assistance to its membership, advancing the mission of excellence in garrison management and increasing the Army's knowledge management expertise.
Lara Aguilar, AOKM Conference Coordinator (Contractor)
We are excited to announce the 6th Annual Army Operational Knowledge Management (AOKM) Conference to be held October 18-22, 2010. Sponsored by the Combined Arms Center (CAC) and hosted by the Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS), this year's conference will again take place at the Kansas City Airport Marriott.
The conference theme, "Knowledge Management in Support of Full Spectrum Operations," highlights the impact KM has on the full spectrum of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conference will bring together military and civilian KM leaders from around the Army and the business world. Their practical examples of the effective application of KM and a full schedule of engaging training sessions will reinforce Knowledge Management understanding and activities among the Soldiers, CKOs, KMOs and other KM practitioners and professionals who attend the conference.
Conducted over four and half days, the conference will include plenty of breaks for networking, an icebreaker the first evening of the conference, and a keynote speaker on Wednesday night. Plan to pack your take-away bags with a wide range of KM Tactics, Techniques and Procedures and favorite practices that you can start applying immediately upon your return home.
The program is still being finalized and we will launch the conference Web site with a registration form soon. Look for additional details in future e-mails and upcoming issues of ConnectedTM.
If you are interested in learning about real solutions to today's KM challenges, or you are looking for how you can help integrate KM across the Army, the 6th Annual AOKM Conference is for you.
We look forward to seeing you in Kansas City in October! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about the conference, please contact the Conference Coordinator at (913) 684-6364, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Uhart, Content Management (Contractor)
Have you ever had a problem sending compressed (.zip) or very large files to others in the military or government domains? There are limitations to e-mail attachments, and file upload limitations for many document management systems, such as AKO and SharePoint, although AKO supports file uploads up to 999MB.
The U. S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) Safe Access File Exchange (SAFE) is an application for securely exchanging files. SAFE was created as an alternative file sharing method to e-mail and FTP large files. Anyone can use SAFE to send files to someone with a .mil or .gov e-mail address. However, only users with valid AMRDEC or Army Knowledge Online accounts can send files to other addresses such as .com or.edu.
SAFE uses the SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol,128-bit encryption, when a file is uploaded and downloaded. Users should be aware that the limited use PIN that they receive to access a file in SAFE is sent via e-mail. Therefore, the PIN is only as safe as your e-mail system's encryption capability. Since this system was designed as an alternative to simply attaching the file to an e-mail anyway, the associated risk is minimal.
SAFE is approved for the transfer of For Official Use Only (FOUO) files and any file format, to include .zip (compressed) files. Files up to 2GB can be transferred through SAFE and up to 25 files can be transferred at one time, although multiple files should be zipped before they are uploaded. There is a SAFE FAQ file on AMRDEC's SAFE Program web site.
Joe Pearson and Paul Nagel, NCO Net Facilitators (Contractors)
On January 20, 2010, NCO Net launched its second digital story called Breakdown. Digital stories are three - five minute animated videos that depict a scenario, event, action or all three at the same time, put into a story line to make Soldiers and leaders think. The benefit of these digital stories is that an organization or unit can use them for training or for identifying problems within their staffs or units. Because they are animated, developers can incorporate several situations into one short digital story in order to enhance training. The video can be used before, during and after the training blocks as appropriate to best emphasize specific teaching points.
Breakdown is a digital story designed to help Soldiers as they work with both the Afghan Soldiers and civilians in their area of operation. The video is supported by the book, Beyond Reason; Using Emotions as You Negotiate by Roger Fisher and Daniel Shapiro. "We cannot stop having emotions any more than we can stop having thoughts. The challenge is learning to stimulate helpful emotions in those with whom we negotiate and in ourselves" (page xi). Accordingly, Breakdown immerses Soldiers into a situation where they confront emotional responses.
Like "Trouble at Checkpoint 4," the purpose of this new 3D video is to stimulate conversation and learning about interpersonal interaction and negotiation across cultures. One of the best tools for this purpose is to deal effectively with five core concerns that are important to everyone: A3RS [ay-3-ars] – autonomy, affiliation, appreciation, role, and status.
Autonomy — The freedom to make one's own decisions. If you dominate other people's decision making process, their autonomy will feel impinged, and it will be harder to influence them.
Affiliation — Maintaining personal relationships with others. Through strong affiliation with others, you increase your ability to influence.
Appreciation — Trying to understand things from another person's perspective and then letting that person know you understand. Even if you disagree, it's important to appreciate where someone else is coming from.
Status — A person's standing in relation to others. How one's rank is addressed makes them feel put-down or respected. Beyond formal rank, people also have areas of particular experience or expertise that trump that of others.
Role — Includes formal roles, such as duty position, and informal roles. For example, if you find yourself in a conflict, is it best to play the role of listener, devil's advocateor mediator? If you have not been involved with the discussion there are several professional forums in which you can participate. We look forward to hearing your comments and reading your similar experiences in negotiation.
Security Force Assistance: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=987561
Civil Affair and PSYOP: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=1002634
Mark Uhart, Content Management (Contractor)
Business Processes Taxonomy Functional Activities Files Management Scheme Information Products Data Asset Types Product Description File-naming Conventions & Metadata Content Indexed Information within Data Asset
The process of organizing content should be based on a defined taxonomy and files management scheme. This requires a good understanding of the business processes performed by the organization; these business processes support the missions performed by units during a specific period of time, for example, counterinsurgency operations, redeployment of forces, civil-military operations, etc. Appendix A, para A-8 (Organize) of FM 6-01.1, Knowledge Management Section, describes the process of organizing content as consisting of three components: archiving, labeling, and identifying. However, the FM does not discuss the indexing or classification of information from the standpoint of library science.
The column on the left in Figure 1 depicts the business process hierarchy. Business processes result in many functional activities. Within these activities, information products are created. These same products must be organized, stored, managed and preserved throughout their lifecycle. These products can be described based on their purpose, attributes and relationships to other content or information products. An example would be the operations plan (OPLAN), which has a specific purpose, attributes (the format), and its relationship to other information products, such as the higher command's OPLAN, the intelligence and operations estimates, and subordinate unit OPLANs. These products contain content that should be easily discovered by searching or browsing.
One of the content management design and development tasks listed in FM 6-01.1 is to, "Develop content management processes for internal management" (Table A-1). Taxonomy is defined in paragraph A-15, but there is no description of the process for "describing, categorizing, and naming data, and placing it in categories to allow retrieval by users." The column on the right in Figure 1, beginning with taxonomy, illustrates the process by which information can be described, categorized and named/cataloged based on business processes and their functional activities.
Information classification requires an understanding of the relationships between like entities. Taxonomically, these relationships are described as subClass/superClass, or parent-child, relationships. For example, there are many types of vehicles, their primary purpose being to transport people or cargo on water, ground or in the air. The subClass/superClass relationship, starting at the top with the vehicle, might be: vehicle > ground > personnel > wheeled > light.
This is the taxonomy for this entity, the vehicle.
The relationships between businesses process, their activities, and information products, can be used to develop a taxonomy for managing information and storing it on a document management system such as Microsoft SharePoint 2007™. This taxonomy leads to the development of a files management scheme, also called information indexing or classification scheme in library science. Within the files management scheme there will be data assets of different genre, or types. When we speak about document genre/types we are referring to the purpose of the document, not the file extension or "file type." OPLANs, trip reports, training plans and personnel rosters are a different genre/type. These are the specific information products produced by functional activities, such as the military decision making process. (MDMP), with the result being the published OPLAN or operations order (OPORD).
The next step is to develop file-naming conventions for each data asset type so they are discoverable by information in the filename. (NOTE: There is a file-naming conventions information paper in the Warrior Knowledge Base.) Metadata, such as the metadata found in file properties (author, title, subject, category), also assists users in browsing and searching for the right data asset. Adherence to file-naming conventions outlined in organization SOPs can also make it easier to sort files of the same type.
Finally, the text within the data asset that is indexed by the information system on which it is stored, is used to enable the discovery of the content within. This is called textual search and discovery.
As described here, the organization and management of data assets should be based on business processes, their functions and activities, the types of data assets created, and their description and attributes. Jumping into the creation of a taxonomy without fully understanding the business processes of the organization is a mistake. Business process management (BPM) is at the heart of good document management.
Professional Forums increase value and membership
BCKS continues to increase Professional Forum features by adding and improving functions and user-friendly navigation. These enhancements increase the forums' value for the membership, which now stands at 157,200, a 23% increase in one year. The growth and impact is reflected in the article about S1Net that appeared March 8 on the Army Home Page.
On Maneuver Net: "The Squad Designated Marksman Equation. Material X Training/Tactics = Mission Success" was an article written by a 1SG and published in Infantry Magazine. This article has sparked a lot of discussion on Maneuver Net about how Soldiers should be trained in a rapidly changing theater of operations. An excerpt from one of Maneuver Net's members states, "NCO's and officers routinely single out Soldiers who cannot zero in 18 rounds. As if this is the fault of the Soldier. Ask yourselves, was the Soldier provided the opportunity to conduct a 25m grouping exercise? If not, then we should have no expectation that the Soldier can zero because he has not demonstrated the capability to group." This was one of many marksmanship issues that were discussed on the forum.
On NCO NET: "What are the thoughts of Multi Compo Academies?" was a portion of the questions directed at the NCOES system asking what were the pros and cons in combining all Army components: Active/USAR/USNG into the Warrior Leader Courses, BNCOC, etc. One of the 20 replies was from an NCO who had experienced this phenomenon first hand. He commented, "This is a great way for Soldiers to share ideas, experiences and ways to deal with leadership issues from all components. Furthermore, that is a major part of what NCOES is all about! The list of PRO's goes on and I feel the only CON's are those in the logistics realm, which I might add is nothing that should steer this concept away from full implementation." He added, "I will be passing on this discussion to others both at Fort Lewis and Fort Carson for their input! As a final recommendation for Multi-Compo Academies: MAKE IT HAPPEN!"
On MilGaming: "Instructions for how to download a copy of VBS2 US Army Lite." The Army has announced the free issuance of Virtual Battle Space 2 (VBS2). This is the US Army Lite official first person tactical training game available to all members of the United States Army. This topic discusses the process for downloading and owning your own copy of the software.
All BCKS Professional Forums require AKO access. Most BCKS forums require membership to view or participate in the forums. To join a forum, it's a simple 3-step process:
- Access the BCKS Professional Forum page at: https://forums.bcks.army.mil.
- Select the link to forum you want to join.
- Then select "Become a Member," fill out the profile and submit.
Links Disclaimer: The appearance of hyperlinks in this newsletter does not constitute endorsement by the Defense Department, U.S. Army or U.S. Army Command Arms Center of those websites or the information, products or services contained therein. Such links are provided consistent with the stated purpose of this DoD website.
Some NECs (Network Enterprise Centers), may have some sites linked from this publication restricted.
- Evaluation of Warfighters' Forums Helps ID Best KM Practices
- Best Practices: https://www.kc.army.mil/wiki/Knowledge_Network_Survivors_Guide/Summary_of_Outcomes/ Summary_of_Best_Practices#Identified_Best_Practices_from_the_SCoE_Benchmarking_Event_2-4_Feb_2010
- Issues adn Insights: https://www.kc.army.mil/wiki/Knowledge_Network_Survivors_Guide/Summary_of_Outcomes/ Issues_Tips_Warnings#Issues_and_Insights_from_the_SCoE_Benchmarking_Event_2-4_Feb_2010
- Kaizen events: https://www.kc.army.mil/wiki/Knowledge_Network_Survivors_Guide/Summary_of_Outcomes/Kaizen_Event_Outbriefs
- Knowledge Management Technology Tips 'n Tricks
- New Professional Forum Supports Garrison Commands in the Army
- 2010 Annual Conference will Focus on KM Impact on Full Spectrum Operations
- New Army File Transfer Service — Safe Access File Exchange (SAFE)
- The Next Digital Story — "Breakdown"
- NCO Net: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=988504
- Leader Net: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=986974
- WO Net: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=983439
- Security Force Assistance: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=987561
- S3 - XO Net: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=984779
- Civil Affair and PSYOP: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=1002634
- Describing, Organizing and Naming Documents on a Document Management System
- FM 6-01.1: https://akocomm.us.army.mil/usapa/doctrine/DR_pubs/dr_aa/pdf/fm6_01x1.pdf
- File-naming, conventions information paper: https://wkb.bcks.army.mil/Search/MetadataSummary.aspx?f=/content/live/bcks/ bcks_file_naming_conventions.pdf
- What's Hot in the BCKS Professional Forums! (AKO account required)
- Maneuver NET: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=69839
- The Squad Designated Marksman Equation. Material X Training/Tactics = Mission Success: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=1029107
- NCO Net: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=556
- What are the thoughts of Multi Compo Academies?: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=1032199
- MilGaming: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=538938
- Instructions for how to download a copy of VBS2 US Army Lite: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=1015997
- AKO Access: https://www.us.army.mil
- BCKS Professional Forum page: https://forums.bcks.army.mil
- Maneuver NET: https://forums.bcks.army.mil/secure/CommunityBrowser.aspx?id=69839
- Links to Other KM Periodicals
- Navy's KM newsletter: http://www.chips.navy.mil/archives/08_Jul/web_pages/index.html
- KMCI Journal: http://www.kmci.org/kijournal.html
- KM World magazine: http://www.kmworld.com
- Journal of Knowledge Management Practice (JKMP): http://tlainc.com/issue1.htm
- The Systems Thinker: http://www.thesystemsthinker.com/
- Knowledge Management Review: http://www.melcrum.com/products/journals/kmr.shtml
- The Collaborator, The 2008 Collection: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/BCKS/2008%20collection.pdf
- Knowledge Transfer ...Through People: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/BCKS/Knowledge%20Transfer%20Book.pdf
Are you a KM professional or someone who's just getting involved with KM? Would you like to share a KM experience, Best Practice or TTP with the other Soldiers? Submit an article for publication in ConnectedTM. KM is about sharing and exchanging knowledge, and ConnectedTM can serve as your platform for doing that.
This is an opportunity for you to discuss your experience with KM and how it helped you or your unit save lives, time or money; prevent injuries; or improve training, a process or a procedure. Many people will have the opportunity to read your article in ConnectedTM and it will also be preserved in archived copies of ConnectedTM that are available online. Whether you'd like to contribute an article or suggest a topic for ConnectedTM to cover, we hope to hear from you soon at email@example.com.
Headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Battle Command Knowledge System (BCKS) is a subordinate organization of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center. ConnectedTM is published quarterly by BCKS and disseminates AOKM news, TTPs and best practices, and is a forum for expressing original, creative and innovative thought about knowledge management.
Information provided is intended to help the Army improve Soldier and unit readiness, training and performance. Contents of this publication are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by the U.S. Government, the Department of the Army or the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth. Links throughout ConnectedTM will work if you have an active Internet connection. Otherwise, you will need to copy and paste the URLs provided into your browser. Some links require AKO (Army Knowledge Online) access.
Send submissions, suggestions or questions for this publication to ConnectedTM, BCKS, 627 McClellan Ave., Bldg. 43, Ft. Leavenworth, KS 66027; or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We're on AKO/DKO. See us at https://bcks.army.mil
Editor: Bill Ackerly (Contractor), Phone: (913) 684-6383, Fax: (913) 684-6352.