Basics

The three basic aspects of CommonKADS:

Knowledge management

Knowledge management is part of a recent trend in business to view knowledge as a valuable asset for a value-adding organization. Companies are defining their own knowledge-management strategies for explicating, developing and distributing their knowledge assets. However, people interested in knowledge management often find that there is a lack of support techniques for practical day-to-day knowledge management.

CommonKADS does not claim to be a full knowledge-management methodology, but is in practice used successfully as a powerful tool to support knowledge management. The CommonKADS analysis framework provides an extensive method for describing business processes in which knowledge-intensive tasks are carried out. The CommonKADS textbook gives a clear roadmap of how knowledge analysis and knowledge-system development can be used as techniques within an overall knowledge management approach. This provides the knowledge manager with clear handles to define a corporate knowledge-management strategy.

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Knowledge analysis

Knowledge analysis is aimed at studying knowledge-intensive tasks at a conceptual level. The analysis results in a description of the information and knowledge structures and functions involved in the task.

The core of CommonKADS is formed by its knowledge analysis framework. CommonKADS provides all the tools required to analyze knowledge-intensive tasks at different grain-size levels. The analyst is supported in the modeling process by powerful “templates”, which constitute predefined reusable knowledge models, that have proven to work in the past. The templates enable a top-down approach and provide handles for quality control and feasibility. assessment.

The results of knowledge analysis are documented in the “knowledge model”. It contains a specification of the information and knowledge structures involved in a knowledge-intensive task.

The knowledge model plays a key role in both knowledge management work and in consecutive system-development activities.

Part of an sample template for an assessment task is shown below. See the textbook for more details.

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Knowledge system development

Results of knowledge analysis can be used as specifications for the development of a system that implements this task. Such knowledge systems had a bad reputation some time ago, when AI was still in its early stages. But now, businesses are building such systems routinely to act as intelligent assistants to human work.

CommonKADS places the emphasis on the early stages of system development. Once you have a detailed specification of a knowledge model, CommonKADS provides you with a clear route to implementation. Typically, the time required for design and implementation is much less than one would expect. Initial prototypes cane be designed and implanted within weeks or even days.

This is a feature common to all moderns development methods, namely that effort is shifted from later phases of development to the earlier phases (analysis). This requires quick feedback cycles for developers, prototyping tools to test specifications, etc. CommonKADS provides those tools and techniques.

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