Peer Assist

People can use a peer assist to gather knowledge and insight from other teams before embarking on a project or activity. It partners those seeking assistance – ‘receivers’ –with a peer or group of peers who have expertise in a desired area.

A peer assist can last from an hour to a full day depending on the size of the project.

Advantages of using a peer assist?

Talking to experienced peers about the best way to approach new projects saves time and money and avoids repetition of mistakes. It also creates strong links across teams and relationships between people.

How to run a peer assist?

A simple method that works well involves of the following steps:

  • Appoint a facilitator
  • Appoint someone from outside the team who will ensure the participants achieve their outcomes.
  • Select the participants
  • Choose participants who have diverse knowledge, skills, and experience. There is no hard and fast rule about minimum or maximum numbers but the right participants are particularly important.

Share information

This is done by dividing the meeting time into four parts:

  1. Clarify purpose –The receivers present the background and objectives of the project or task they are about to begin. They should also say what they hope to achieve in the peer assist.
  1. Encourage the peers to ask questions and give feedback – The peers discuss the receiver’s situation and share ideas and experiences. The receivers should simply listen.
  1. Analyse what’s been heard – This part is for the receivers to analyse and reflect on what they have learned and to examine options. The peers should take a back seat.
  1. Present the feedback and agree actions – The peers present their feedback to the receivers’ analysis and answer any further questions.

Collison C. and Parcell G., 2001, Learning to Fly: Practical Knowledge Management From Leading and Learning Organizations, Oxford: Capstone. 2004.

ISBN: 1841125091 2nd Edition 

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