OzWater a management decision game 2006 Straits Knowledge

OzWater a management decision game  2006 Straits Knowledge

OzWater a management decision game 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater OzWater - Background Australia-based OzWater is the product of water utility privatization. Formed in 1991 out of three state-owned utility companies, OzWater grew rapidly through acquisitions in Australia through the 1990s. In 2001 it started setting its sights overseas, and targetted municipal water services contracts in Asia Pacific and in South America.

Shareholder value has grown tremendously, and OzWater is touted as one of Australias privatization success stories. The company is finding it difficult to sustain its growth as it takes on larger and more diverse water management contracts. Led by a charismatic Chief Engineer, it had formerly prided itself on the experience and skills of its engineers and managers. Training in consistent methodologies and approaches had been a major emphasis. This is now difficult to sustain as the company is recruiting and absorbing staff at great speed to support its growth. Meanwhile, the core team of engineers and managers who launched OzWater are heading for retirement. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Gruff Petersen CEO Carly Sorrentina

Director Corporate Development Doug Simes DCEO & Finance Director Dhasha Velucca Director Human Capital Jane Mawe Legal Officer Glenda Blane Records Manager 2006 Straits Knowledge David Smith Knowledge Manager

Mark Gettit CIO Charlie Franks Chief Engineer Roy Stead GM Global ICT Suresh Narayan GM, Project & Quality Mgmt Danny Digges Asst Director Business Development www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater OzWater Key Players

OzWater was founded by the current CEO Gruff Petersen, Finance Director Doug Simes and Chief Engineer Charlie Franks all are now in their early sixties. Mark Gettit is CIO and has been with OzWater for five years he has a strong background in IT control systems for utilities plants, and plays golf regularly with Charlie Franks. Carly Sorrentina has been with OzWater for only a year. She is American, and was brought in specifically to head up the newly restructured Corporate Development Division, and spearhead OzWaters international expansion plans. Her background is in technology sales, not in engineering. Dhasha Velucca joined OzWater at the same time as Mark Gettit (five years ago), from a career in public sector HRM. At the time, OzWater was facing union problems with employees who were former public sector workers, so her experience in

public sector employee relations helped in resolving the issues successfully. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater OzWater Key Players Suresh Narayan was previously GM of an acquired OzWater Asian subsidiary in Asia, and has been promoted to corporate HQ to address quality and consistency issues in its international projects. Roy Stead looks after global ICT infrastructure. Hes been with

OzWater since 1995, and knows the systems inside out. Glenda Blane has been with Ozwater from the start, and was previously Registry Manager with one of the original state water companies that made up Ozwater. Jane Mawe joined OzWater two years ago. Danny Digges is a brilliant salesperson who led much of OzWaters early expansion, and was a candidate for Carly Sorrentinas job, but didnt get it, largely because Charlie Franks was unhappy with the messy deals he set up. If he talked to Engineering more often, hed know how to sell contracts that we can deliver on. Doug Simes felt that he lacked the strategic vision that Carly could bring to the company. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater You are David Smith, recently appointed Knowledge Manager for OzWater. This is your first senior post in KM, your previous post was

as an assistant Knowledge Manager with a global mining company. You have just concluded a very successful KM strategy process with the senior management team. You will focus on four core areas to support OzWaters growth: a. b. c. d. Up to speed rapid knowledge transfer for new staff, particularly project managers and water engineers sponsor Charlie Franks Virtual experts cross border collaboration to give OzWaters subsidiaries and project teams access to the expertise they need, when they need it sponsor Suresh Narayan Knowledge base - a reference resource comprising engineering standards, quality management tools, and project

lessons learned repository sponsor Mark Gettit Leadership knowledge pre-retirement interview processes for senior staff to be captured as stories in a special knowledge base, and integrated into OzWaters leadership renewal programme sponsor Dhasha Velucca 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com Evaluation Table. Evaluate each step in your case study by indicating on the chart whether you think it is a positive, negative or neutral contributor to your desired outcomes OzWater VERY GOOD GOOD SO-SO

NEUTRAL STEPS 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 NOT GOOD

BAD VERY BAD 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater 1. Gruff Petersen refers to the new KM strategy as part of his update on the Tapping Growth corporate strategy (pioneered by Carly) in his monthly Newsletter to all employees. He writes: KM is an essential part of our Tapping Growth corporate strategy. Moving forward I expect all OzWater employees will benefit from this exciting development. Your boss Carly is very pleased and tells you well

done. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater 2. You bump into Jane Mawe in the cafeteria. Shes looking harassed, so you ask her whats wrong. That bloody lawsuit. I cant believe its been going on for ten years already. First I heard about it was yesterday when we got the discovery order. Ive been trying to track down the records, but Glenda says shes too busy with her records digitisation project. I have no idea where my predecessor left things. Gotta go. 2006 Straits Knowledge

www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Youre supposed to have a kickoff meeting with Mark Gettit and Suresh Narayan on the new knowledge-base project. Mark sends his ICT Manager Roy Stead, as Mark has to attend a tender committee meeting for OzPort the new global portal project. Suresh is late, and when he arrives seems distracted. You had wanted a brainstorming session with them, but they seem to expect you to have all the answers. Roy isnt pleased Its a good job you didnt waste Marks time with this. I suggest you get your proposal straight before you come back for our approval. You ask him for the tender specifications for the portal as a starting point. He says hell get his PA to email you a copy. 3. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com

OzWater OzWater has just won a huge desalination contract in the Middle East. Carly is jubilant, and her press statement says: This is a first for OzWater, both in its sheer scale and in breaking into the Middle Eastern market against tough competition from Europe and the USA. We see ourselves as becoming the number one water infrastructure providers within the next ten years. National TV news comes in to interview her for their business segment that evening. Internally, however, company gossip has it that Danny Digges is fuming, because he got the sale and Carly took the credit for his hard work. 4. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater 5. Despite the disappointing response from Suresh and Roy you decide to proceed with your plans for a

knowledge audit it was, after all, part of the plan endorsed by the CEO. You call in your KM consultant and she advises you Look, if youre going to mount all this stuff on your global intranet, youd better make sure you develop a proper taxonomy for it. Have they included that in the tender specs for the portal? If not, youll need to make sure its covered somewhere. Otherwise the portal will be a mess. You tell her youre not sure. Your current KM funding doesnt cover a taxonomy. You drop a follow up email to Roy to remind him about the tender specs. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater In your previous job, you got on well with the engineering managers, and this got you a lot of ground level support for KM. So you arrange to have lunch with Suresh. He seems friendly enough, though he admits I dont really know what KM is. I have my work cut out just staying on

top of my project and quality management portfolio. The engineers we are hiring are basically cowboys they all want to do things their own way. Theres no discipline at all. You convince him that KM can help Look, Suresh, if we get some standard KM-type processes in place like after action reviews on projects, and getting project teams to consult the knowledge-base as a standard procedure, then half your job will be done. Suresh seems keen. He agrees to help you draft the Knowledge-base portal plan and to support the knowledge audit among his engineering managers. 6. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Youre finding it hard to pin down Carly for an update meeting. You havent got the tender specs for the global portal from Roy despite several reminders, and youre worried about provision for

a taxonomy. You finally get hold of her, but she seems tired. Charlies been throwing tantrums she says. He doesnt think we should be getting into the desalination business, even though we have a sizable stake in a desalination company in Singapore. Hes so old school. If he doesnt know the engineering, he doesnt think OzWater should do it. However, Carly listens carefully to your concerns and promises to speak to the CIO. 7. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Your knowledge audit is going rather slowly. The KM consultants are annoyed with you because the engineering managers keep cancelling their appointments for the audit sessions.

You ask Suresh to step in, and he sends a stern note around to everybody. This is compulsory he says. Everybody immediately falls into line. 8. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater The HC Director Dhasha Velucca calls you in to find out how things are going on the Getting up to speed project. You tell her you havent started yet, because you cant get an appointment with Charlie Franks, the project sponsor. Oh hes impossible, good luck to you there. He only likes messing around with the boys on the golf course. Look, Im in the middle of doing a competency mapping exercise for the whole engineering division, and I can tell you its been like getting blood from a stone. But this induction project should really be under me, and at the very least I should be involved,

otherwise were duplicating effort. You tell her about your alliance with Suresh, and promise to raise it with him. When you ask her about the Leadership knowledge project, which she is sponsoring, she tells you its not a priority right now. Weve got to get this competency project done first. 9. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater You finally get the tender specs for the global portal and pass it on to the KM consultant for her advice. Youre pleased to see a section on information architecture inside the specs, which refers to provision for taxonomy development. However theres no reference to the knowledge-base project. When you call up Roy to ask him, he says Oh thats too recent, weve been working on these specs

for a year already. Weve already appointed the vendor. Its a generic portal solution, Im sure you can fit your repository inside. 10. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater 11. OzWater is in national news again, this time for the wrong reasons. Apparently its being sued for millions of dollars by five town councils for the incident last year when bacteria in drinking water caused hundreds of people to fall ill. Jane Mawe tells you shes tried and failed to find the plant maintenance records to defend the case. Bloody typical. That Glenda is just interested in getting her records digitised for Mark Gettits new portal, and Carly is never around to help. 2006 Straits Knowledge

www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater 12. Theres a rumour going round that Danny Digges has been fired after a shouting match between him and Charlie Franks over the Middle East project. However, Jane Mawe tells you he resigned, after being headhunted by SchwartzWasser, the giant German-owned utilities corporation. We beat them for the Middle East deal she says, so theyre going after the guy that swung it. Everyone will be pleased to see him go, hes always getting us into trouble. He never discusses anything with Engineering and lands them in trouble every time. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Your KM consultant has come back with the knowledge

audit report, and its grim reading. Shes mapped out all the key knowledge areas covered across Australian operations, but she reports that OzWater is heavily silo-ized and has no consistent information management processes or standards. Furthermore, lack of integration with management of records means that OzWater is susceptible to major business risks through litigation. She is also highly critical of the portal specifications, stating that the resource provision for taxonomy development is inadequate, and the change management plan has no provision for aligning information and records policies and practices with the goals of a central repository. You discuss the report briefly with Carly on the phone, and agree with her to table this report for your next KM update briefing for the senior management team next week. 13. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com

OzWater You have a meeting with the Records Manager Glenda Blane, to follow up on the KM consultants report. She agrees that there has been a history of poor integration of records with information management by the engineering managers. However, the KM consultant didnt speak to me about this survey at all this sounds like Jane Mawes propaganda. She is always trying to get me to firefight, when we are trying to act strategically. Once we get all our records digitized and on the portal, we wont have any more of these problems. If I have to drop everything every time she needs a particular document, then well never get it done. She tells you that the digitization project is already under way, and covers current as well as back records from all of OzWaters Australian operations. Mark Gettit has been very supportive she says, which is more than I can say for my own boss, Dhasha. 14. 2006 Straits Knowledge

www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Your planned quarterly KM update meeting with the senior management team is abruptly cancelled. Apparently theres a high level visit from a bunch of German executives. Jane Mawe thinks the Board has decided to call them in to help on the Middle East project. Charlie Franks is convinced we cant deliver on this project on our own. He keeps saying we need a partner to cover our risk. 14. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Theres another press blow-up. Forty-five minutes an investigative reporting TV show, has done a feature on Water Woes. OzWater features

heavily in it, and the programme claims the company is responsible for sewage leaks in Argentina, irrigation disasters in Thailand, and a bribery scandal in Indonesia, not to mention being tangled up in multiple lawsuits in Australia. The presenter ends the programme by asking Is this the image that Australian business wants to export to the rest of the world? The share price goes into a nose dive, and Carly and all the top executives go into damage control. Jane is the only optimistic one. Now theyll take their records management seriously. 15. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater You have been trying to get Suresh to a meeting on the Getting up to speed project with Dhasha, but hes never around. Finally, you catch him at his desk and he says

Look, cant you see its chaos around here? Were in the middle of a media feeding frenzy, all our projects are under review, and Ive just been told weve acquired a desalination company in Singapore. How the hell Im supposed to integrate them is anybodys guess. Come back next year. 16. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater You have sent several emails to Mark Gettit and Roy Stead about the taxonomy issue. You stress the importance of having a taxonomy to organize the contents of the portal. They dont respond until you cc your request to Carly, Doug Simes and Charlie Franks. Then you get a two line reply that says The taxonomy issue is already in hand. Well be

using the records management classification scheme. 17. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Carly, who has been travelling non-stop since the departure of Danny Digges, announces that shes going on extended non-paid leave for family-related reasons. Her portfolio is temporarily assigned to Doug Simes, Deputy CEO and Finance Director. 18. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Your KM consultant is shocked at the reply on the

taxonomy issue. Are they kidding? The only people who know how to use a records classification scheme are the records managers! The engineers will be up in arms. They call the registry the Black Hole already. Thats one of the main reasons they are hoarding their documents. She suggests you use the knowledge audit results to draft a more user-oriented alternative. 19. You ask for a meeting with the consultant, Glenda, Dhasha and Suresh to discuss it, saying its urgent. At the back of your mind youre thinking this might also be a chance to get everybody on board with the Getting up to speed project. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Doug Simes calls you in to brief him on the status of the KM projects. He seems thorough and

sympathetic and listens to your report very carefully. He agrees with you that a firmer line on information management policy is required, but he seems less interested in the other KM projects. Hes also surprised at the negative comments about records management. Glenda is very good, shes been with us since year one. If theres any document you need, she can get it straight away. I only worry that shes reaching retirement age. We need to capture what she knows. 20. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Youre going to your showdown meeting with Dhasha, Suresh and Glenda, with your KM consultant. Jane asks if she can join you. I cant work like this she says. Glenda just sent me a scanned pdf of an engineering

drawing that is barely readable. I need the original for our lawyers, our opponents are saying the original design was modified without their consent. She wont talk to me any more. Can I come and sort this out once and for all? 21. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater The meeting does not go well. Glenda tells Jane that she cant guarantee they still have the original copy of the engineering drawing. We cant hold onto everything you know, and Doug Simes gave us explicit instructions to make savings on our storage costs. Jane leaves in a huff. Neither Suresh nor Dhasha turn up, so its up to you and your KM consultant to try and convince Glenda to let you see the records classification scheme, so that it can be assessed for suitability. Glenda says

We dont have hard copy of the whole scheme, Ill have to get it printed out from the system. We have different schemes for the different operations so it will take some time. Anyhow, I dont know what you are worried about, the portal consultants are already importing it into their system. You decide to appeal to Doug Simes. 22. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Doug tells you that Carly has resigned, and that there will be some restructuring. He says I think KM needs to be closer to the operations, so people can see the value. He promises to let you know as soon as a decision is made. 23. 2006 Straits Knowledge

www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater 24. You receive a call from a headhunter. Our client, a project engineering firm, is looking for a Director of Knowledge Management and your name came up. Would you like to be considered for the post? 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater 25. Suresh calls you up and apologises for his absence. Its been crazy the last few months. Look, both Doug and Charlie think that KM is much better off looking at the

project management processes and the record-keeping out of projects. How would you feel about moving over to the Engineering Division and helping me? 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Human Capital launch their new competency framework just in time for the annual performance review. As youre browsing it on the HC webpage, you notice that the navigation structure for the competency framework, and also the training directory, both have some similarities with the structure of your knowledge map. When you show it to your KM consultant, she agrees with you: Between the knowledge map, the competency map and the training directory, it shouldnt be too difficult to put together a workable taxonomy for the knowledge-base. You havent yet seen the records classification

scheme, so you send Glenda a reminder. 26. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater When you get in to work, the whole company is buzzing. OzWater has been acquired in a takeover by the German company SchwartzWasser. The joint press release from both companies states We do not anticipate any redundancies in the near term, though some rationalisation will need to take place. As part of the deal, Gruff Petersen and Charlie Franks are both taking early retirement. Doug Simes is interim CEO. You recall reading a case study on SchwartzWassers use of knowledge management to support virtual teams across the organization. 27.

2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater 28. Doug Simes calls you into his office. Glenda has resigned. Ill need you to take over the records management portfolio for the time being. Im transferring all the KM and records projects over to Mark Gettit, since they all feed into his portal, so youll be reporting to him from now on. 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com OzWater Focus Questions

What should David do? What should OzWater do in relation to its knowledge, information and records management? What else do you need to know to help your future decisions? What did OzWater get right, and what did it get wrong? What are the key learning points for knowledge, information and records management generally? 2006 Straits Knowledge www.straitsknowledge.com

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