All teams in an organization thrive on new and shared knowledge, and this is especially true for technology teams. Specializing in a field that constantly sees new developments and trends makes it difficult for any tech professional to keep up with everything. Sharing the burden (and joy) of exploring tech news can keep a team on the cutting edge. Further, teaching teammates established processes and learning efficiencies ensures that all members of a technology team can handle heavy workloads.
In an ever-moving world of work, it can be a challenge to develop a culture of knowledge sharing among technology team members, but a leader who does so will certainly see a significant return on investment for their efforts. Below, 20 of its members Forbes Technology Council Discuss practical, effective ways a technology leader can build a team culture of regular, purposeful knowledge sharing, including strategies they’ve used successfully themselves.
1. Hold regular technology-focused all-hands meetings
Building a culture of knowledge sharing is vital for technology companies. During our two-day “Technology All Hands,” a biweekly meeting involving all technology and product staff, team members can choose to give a presentation on a topic—it could be a new technology, a new feature that introduce or a fix for a performance issue. These presentations are documented and meetings recorded for further review. Everyone is learning! – Anupama Sharma, ASG (Alpine Software Group)
2. Apply the “80/20” rule.
To promote knowledge sharing, apply the “80/20” rule: Engineers spend 80% of their time on projects and 20% on competency groups. In these groups, they share technology trends, best practices and insights from different projects. This encourages inter-group learning and enhances collective skills. – Bhagavati Manukonda, Innocito Technologies LLC
3. Create a knowledge repository
Creating a repository where lessons learned and frequently asked questions are kept for reference is one of the most effective ways a technology leader can build a culture of knowledge sharing. Technology is evolving and it is imperative to have a culture of continuous learning. Therefore, awareness and continuous education about technology trends cannot be overemphasized. Education should be mandatory! – Nihinlola Adeyemi, ErrandPay Limited
4. Always document internal procedures
Make documenting internal processes and procedures a habit and practice. Documentation isn’t always fun for the person doing it, but as the team shares and documents tips, tricks, processes and procedures, it creates a culture of knowledge sharing. – John Brueggeman, CBTS
5. Create a dedicated technology news channel
In addition to tech calls where everyone shares news from the tech world, I suggest creating a dedicated Slack channel for knowledge sharing. This channel should be open for everyone to contribute related tech news, articles, discussions or information. It will serve as a central hub for technological knowledge within the team, enhancing collaboration and awareness. – Oleh Kurtianyk, Pause
6. Ensuring awareness of the need for collective success
To build trust, transparency and a culture of feedback, team members need to know each other well. Creating awareness and urgency around collective success grows team members tremendously. Set incremental development goals, pairing sessions, knowledge transfer sessions and lunch and learn to help. An essential part of getting 360-degree feedback is to excel at the process iteratively. – Sherdar Swat Guduz, Enpal
7. Create an inclusive culture
“Be kind” is the basic principle of our organization. Creating an inclusive culture will make people more comfortable sharing advice and ideas. A collaborative atmosphere enhances your team’s overall effectiveness, but leaders must first make sure staff are encouraged to be authentic with each other. A leadership team that prioritizes kindness helps it permeate the organization. – Hudson Hollister, HData
8. Allow time to create and access learning resources
A technology leader should create very specific learning programs, such as corporate podcasts, webinars, a knowledge repository, and lunch-and-learns and brainstorms. Ensure participants have time and access to resources without additional burden. In order to build a culture of knowledge sharing, it is imperative to promote open communication. – Ramana Bhavaraju, NCompass Business Solutions Inc.
9. Review and reflect after achieving milestones
Run a retrospective after reaching important milestones. During the session, ask all team members to discuss what went well and what could be improved. Document and share knowledge with the whole team. – Pete Kiesler, BrandYourself.com
10. Basic Crowdsource Trainings
Continuous learning and broad sharing of knowledge gained is vital to building a high performing team. One practice I’ve adopted is to “force” crowdsource a core course in our weekly meeting with the R&D lead. These lessons may be about products, processes or our users. In this way, we focus on extracting every lesson we can from ‘failures’, ensuring that we get better over time. – Liz Lee, Velocity Global
11. Encourage the use of centralized knowledge bases
Every business has at least one central knowledge base where their team can track projects, view company policies and information, and refer to other company knowledge and data to answer their questions. Technology leaders should encourage everyone to use this central knowledge base. Additionally, for security reasons, discourage storing work-related items on personal devices. – Steve Gickling, Calendar
12. Hold weekly standups to encourage sharing and brainstorming
Conduct a weekly standup for team leaders that begins with a personal “share” to build engagement, follows a quick review of project updates, and then concludes with a topics and ideas session. Ask the group to vote on an issue to think about and set a recovery plan in motion. This encourages the team to be more open with each other. The byproduct is a great environment for information sharing. – Anthony Brooke, DrFirst, Inc.
13. Take a multifaceted approach
Knowledge sharing is an important initiative, particularly when a business is scaling up. We continue to leverage a variety of approaches. three of them have been the most productive so far. First, we hold regular lunch-and-learns where team members share their knowledge. Second, we have a monthly vote, which includes all of our team members, for TAINA’s “Hero of the Month”, honoring all knowledge sharing within the team. Third, we regularly leverage open group retrospectives. – Maria Scott, TAINA technology
14. Ask team members to share brief updates on their projects
Regularly give each team member a chance to talk for five minutes about their projects and tasks. Challenge them to speak in a way that is easy to understand and clarify their ongoing work. No matter how “small” one’s tasks are, this strategy allows everyone to see our work come to life and builds knowledge quickly and visibly. – Sireesha Chilakamarri, AdMedia
15. Recognize and reward contributions
Foster a dedicated platform for knowledge sharing by facilitating open discussions, regular updates and collaborative documentation. Recognize and reward contributions, fostering a sense of collective learning and reinforcing the importance of shared knowledge within the technology team. – Mark Vena, SmartTech Research
16. Show your own enthusiasm for learning
Be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to show your own ignorance and be enthusiastic to learn from the group. It’s amazing how far a culture that celebrates learning and teaching over knowledge can get you. – Matthew Wallace
17. Start all meetings with a learning roundtable
A simple way to share ideas and knowledge is to open each talk, meeting or standup with a new lessons roundtable, where anyone and everyone is encouraged (perhaps even motivated) to share their key learnings for the week. Providing a forum and discipline around sharing can spark further discussions and promote problem solving among the entire team, increasing overall knowledge. – Len Covello, Engage People Inc.
18. Create a motivation framework
Before exploring knowledge sharing tools, create a motivation framework. Encourage mutual support and a willingness to share ideas among team members. Work with HR to cultivate a non-competitive employee evaluation system. Give equal priority to team KPIs and individual achievements. Shared team goals and mutual empowerment bring superior results, naturally promoting effective knowledge sharing. – Ksenia Maiboroda, Elevatix
19. Encourage reviews and discussions of authoritative research
Regularly review and discuss recent research papers to effectively disseminate insider knowledge. Cultivate a culture that emphasizes consulting trusted sources such as Google Scholar, ACM, and IEEE journals for cutting-edge research. Embed discussions of these documents into the organizational context to foster a culture of progressive knowledge sharing and ensure an informed team. – Amit Verma, Neuron7.ai
20. Hack Days Program
Create regular hack days where team members can learn a new technology or play with an existing one, with a focus on personal development. Provide opportunities to learn from each other through showcases that follow hack days. Through positive reinforcement, encourage team members to experiment with a wide variety of tools and techniques and share what they’ve learned. – Simana Paul, Sum up