Wednesday, 24 October 2012

10 Commandments for managing Knowledge Workers

  • Effective Communication :  Over communication is always better than less communication. Hold as many one-to-one touch-base meetings as possible. This helps in better understanding , empathy building and rapport.
  • Proximity Effect :  Co-locate the team as far as possible. Create War rooms. Just pack them in and see the teamwork improve.
  • Data-driven decision Making : Let the data talk. Strive to draw the conclusions using data and derive your decisions from it as objectively as possible. 
  • Use Technology for co-ordination : Keep the people talking by using technology like instant chat , web cams and video conferencing.  These are very effective for distributed virtual teams and acts as grease for team co-ordination.
  • Help them succeed : Make it easy and not hard, for them to perform and succeed.
  • Eat your own dog-food - Make sure to use your own company products. This helps in enhancing the pride for the organization.
  • Encourage Creativity :  Let them come up with creative ideas.  Listen to their ideas - even if they are bizarre and absurd ! Encourage them and implement the ideas if it helps the project. Being democratic works wonders !
  • Consensus wins :  Decision making by consensus works very well with the knowledge workers. Try to make about 75% of the decisions by consensus. 
  • Respect and Integrity : Treat them with respect and integrity. 
  • Hire by committee : Make sure that the new recruits talk to their future colleagues. This helps a lot in  building teamwork.

Can you add anything more to the list  ?


  1. Murugan, Kandasamy2 November 2012 at 03:47

    Additional Points:
    11.Encourage team spirit: Team spirit emerges only when boss does not compare the capability of one member with other and criticize openly. By doing that do not create politics. The weak people may have to indulge in politics so as to hide their weakness. Let the team decides. Team is responsible for the delivery of the product.
    12.Encourage openness: Skilled people normally do not share their important skills to the team members so as to have one-man-up position. This is a curse in IT field. Transparency in knowledge sharing is very much required. Encourage that.

  2. And don't forget about monitoring and project tracking. As we operate in a changing environment there is almost no projects that will not have change requests. You'll need a special process of updating your project plan after any changes.
    I may suggest you to use the tool my company uses for that purposes - Comindware solution for project and process management ( It allows to create and edit processes and to track the project according to them. It's very convenient, especially for Agile group of projects.

  3. Neil Stolovitsky2 November 2012 at 09:51

    I like your "Use Technology for coordination" commandment. You would not believe how many companies approach us to specifically address their project collaboration challenges. In fact, we recently released a social collaboration platform baked into our project management software to address this issues. To learn more:

  4. One comment about the commandment: "Proximity Effect : Co-locate the team as far as possible. Create War rooms. Just pack them in and see the teamwork improve." There is no doubt that osmotic communication dramatically improves the a team's productivity. But rather than "just packing them in", care does need to be given to work space. Open environments that house many teams are problematic because the overall noise level makes it hard for developers to concentrate. Individual workspaces that provide just enough room for a monitor and keyboard also get old very quickly - people need some room for personal effects, etc. A team needs an environment where people can move without bumping into each other. Also, wall space is key for tactile information radiators such as Scrum/Kanban boards.

    I agree - take the cube walls down, but be very careful about how the new workspace is designed.