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32 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I MARCH 2023 Tim's Takeaways Feature Column by Tim Haag, FIRST PAGE SAGE ere's a lot to be said about the pros and cons of tribal knowledge in the workplace and there really is more than one definition. To put it simply, tribal knowledge is infor- mation or skills known by an individual or group that is not known outside that group. One of the trademarks of this definition is that it's commonly used to describe functional— but undocumented—knowledge essential to the operation of an organization. Of course, this is a broad generalization and just one definition of tribal knowledge, but it will do for our purposes. ere are good reasons these undocumented processes are usually looked on as a liability. For example, the smooth operation of a PCB design group requires specific functional skills and knowledge. If this information isn't acces- Tribal Knowledge: Not the Villain You Thought sible through clear and concise documenta- tion, it can only be passed from one employee to another through mentoring or by example. Without proper documentation, critical oper- ational knowledge and procedures can be lost. is can be due to employee turnover, or like the children's game Telephone, it can become confused and misapplied. Aer passing from person to person, the final state of a secret message in the game is oen hilariously altered from how it originated. In the workplace, how- ever, wasted time and effort aren't nearly as amusing, especially when it results in lost rev- enue because those processes and procedures were misunderstood. It can reasonably be expected that an expe- rienced PCB designer will understand how to lay out different technologies of circuit

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