Case study: knowledge transfer

As we mention in our home page, we regularly do trips to the US to visit clients. A couple of days after one of such trips, an important North American company contacted us to invite us to an on-going project that was having some difficulties.

The main concern of the client was that it would be extremely challenging due to its size -both in code and in developers- and the absence of a strong figure in the technical area.

We had a couple of interviews with the management team and upon agreeing on everything, we started with the assessment of the project itself.

After checking out the code and taking a look at the backlog, we agreed about a month of transition time would be reasonable. One of the requests was to take a plane back to the US and stay for two weeks to work with them from the main office to accelerate the ramp-up.

As we arrived to the client’s headquarters, the bulk of the transition started.

We plugged into each other brain

First phase: Identifying the knowledge holders

We initially determined who we were going to collect knowledge from and what information we needed to capture as the basis for the whole process.

The easiest way to start to capture knowledge and organize it is to build a matrix break down the following information:

  1. The individual who you are collecting knowledge from
  2. The critical tasks this individual oversees and their importance level
  3. The availability of this information, does anyone else in the organization know or have access to it?
  4. The level impact of others not having this information causes

A brief catch up with the team helped us to identify the referents and the features to be included in the next releases.

Second phase: Delivery method and executing plan

Once the knowledge holders and the critical tasks were identified, it was time to start with the second phase of the process: deciding the delivery method that is most effective and efficient, and executing the transfer plan.

We scheduled a series of meetings with the objective of collect the explicit knowledge. Which is the knowledge that is easily shared and transferred through written documents or, simply, speaking with other people.
Then we implemented paired work, which helped us to extract the knowledge that is developed through a person’s experiences, observations, and insights and requires shared activities with another to transfer or impart that knowledge.

Third phase: Monitoring and evaluating

Monitoring and evaluating was the last phase of the process. It gave us the possibility of adjust the calendar, mitigate the technological gap, and implement a new project management methodology, but also it let us identify missing knowledge. This meant going back to the meeting room and keep building on top of what we already had.

During the transition period, the original team was gradually reduced and a support scheme was put in place.

We have lots more of transitions at Basecodeit, but this one reflected a complex scenario which resulted in a success. If you have any question on how this apply to your case, feel free to contact us at We’ll be happy to assist!