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Resource: Creating and using Knowledge Transfer Report

Prepared by Helen Palmer (October 2013)

Someone is leaving! A 'someone' with useful, relevant, maybe even critical knowledge. And you want to ensure that this knowledge isn't lost because it literally is walking out the door. You also want to make the transition for the incoming person effective, even expeditious, as they become the new steward and repository of this valued knowledge-base.

This resource describes the technique of a Knowledge Transfer Report: a process and a template to utilise in assuring minimal loss of knowledge to the organisation, and increased return to productivity with the successor.

The knowledge that is shared via the Knowledge Transfer Report is akin to 'Table of Contents' rather than 'Chapter and Verse'. Based on the logic that it is not practical nor valuable in the long term to be very detailed, the KTR doesn't hold the details of the knowledge rather it is a guide of where to find it - be it a person, a group of people, a document, a collection or a database.

A. Purpose and outcomes to expect

B. Making it so!
C. And other thoughts

A. Purpose and outcomes to expect

Let's start with the WHY you would do this.

There are outcomes the Organisation can expect from following this process:

There are specific outcomes for the Outgoing person:

Outcomes for the Incoming person (Successor):

Outcomes for Management:

B. Making it so!

The WHAT and HOW for achieving these outcomes are:

B1. The Knowledge Transfer Report (KTR) Template

The Template (DOC) contains structure and format to prompt the creator as they organise their thoughts and output.

The introductory content is:

The body of the report is a table with five columns:

Here's an example of a completed report (PDF). Parts have been modified to obscure potentially sensitive details.

B2. The Knowledge Transfer Process: Outgoing Person

  1. Completes the introductory section and the first three columns of the table as prompted by the headings in the template. 

B3. The Knowledge Transfer Process: Incoming Person

  1. Receives the partially completed report as part of their onboarding activity.
  2. Reads the report, determines the sequence in which they wish to acquire the knowledge and begins to engage with sources.
  3. Modifies the report as they 'receipt' the knowledge by completing the last column of the table. Suggested values are 'Completed'; 'Pending' (about to start); 'In progress'; 'To be scheduled'.

C. And other thoughts

WHEN you might use this technique:

The KTR document doesn't stand alone. It complements a Position Description (PD). The KTR is not expected to have a 1-1 relationship with a PD as it is about 'actual and current' rather than 'espoused and possible' activities and responsibilities. The KTR may also indicate knowledge gaps and indicative knowledge-acquisition activities to include in a Performance or Professional Development Plan.

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This work by RHX Group is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It can be freely shared with attribution to the creator (RHX Group); it cannot be used for commercial purposes; and it can be modified as long as others share alike.