Saturday, February 21, 2009

Not Interested in Transfer

This happened in a bank, in the middle of a ten year replatforming project to steadily replace all the old legacy systems, some of them 30 or 40 years old. These legacy systems had 2800 people supporting them. So there they were, building the next generation platform, but forgetting they had all these critical systems, custom built, with all the inhouse knowledge needed to run and maintain them. For example, there was one person in our business, who had been with the bank for 42 years. It turned out he was a key risk, because he was the only person who knew all the ins and outs of how to do reconciliations between the banks. It was all documented, but only he knew what to do if something went wrong – he knew exactly what to do to fix it. He knew exactly who he needed to call for what information to figure out where the problem was. So we tried all sorts of knowledge transfer approaches – the problem was, this was a very boring job, so every time we sent people into the team to learn the job, they would leave after about 6 weeks, it was so boring. He was also a grumpy old man who was not interested in cooperating with a knowledge transfer programme, and he wasn’t motivated by money. The knowledge transfer was impossible to do.

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