Familiarity as a concept

Ensuring that people grow and remain familiar with policies, responsibilities, skills, etc is one of the great operational challenges of an organization. And the more often there are changes in people, roles or expectations, the more challenging it becomes to keep expectations and familiarity in sync.

To address this challenge we allow for people to communicate to which extent they are familiar with something. We refer referred to as familiarity.

Familiarity provides us with a more effective and efficient way of identifying and updating people's understanding of, belief in and comfort with something.

We find familiarity to be a great indicator of to which extent a person can realistically be expected to to comply with expectations, and a useful way of communicating the levels involved in reaching an operational and value-adding state.

Familiarity indication levels

When someone indicates their familiarity with something, they are prompted to select from one of four levels. These are:

  1. Aware: I am aware of the expectation
  2. Understand: I understand when and how to meet the expectation
  3. Comfortable: I am comfortable meeting the expectation
  4. Automated: I have automated or intuitively meet this expectation

Here's an example of familiarity indication in the context of a system:


How to think about familiarity

The familiarity levels builds on top of one another. That means that if you indicate that you are Comfortable, you are also expected to Understand, and if you indicate that you are Automated, you are also expected to be Comfortable.

As a leader (or any person having expectations of someone else, for that matter), consider the fact that we can't realistically expect people to predictably meet an expectation unless they have indicated that they are Automated.

Familiarity reporting

When familiarity data is aggregated and reported on, it is reported as two percentages:

  • Awareness
  • Familiarity

The percentage is calculated relative to the context.

You'll usually see these indicators appear next to eachother, in the form of two progress bars:

Skjermbilde 2022-01-27 kl. 14.27.05.png

The awareness percentage indicates if any familiarity has been given (regardless of level), whereas the familiarity percentage takes the explicit familiarity level into account.

The point of distinguishing between the two is that we want to focus on building awareness of expectations first, and then later focus on improving familiarity levels where neccessary.

Read more about how to explore familiarity.

Information types supporting familiarity

The overview of the familiarity information type describes which specific information types that support indicating familiarity (in the "Outgoing associations" column).

You can also identify if a specific page supports familiarity by whether or not the familiarity icon appears on the right hand side of the subheader.


When you have indicated your familiarity with something, the icon is replaced a familiarity indicator indicating your current level of familiarity:


Familiarity vs proficiency

People sometimes confuse the platform concept of familiarity with the platform concept of proficiency (the latter being related to skillsets).

It makes sense to distinguish the two concepts like this:

  • Familiarity is subjective. It aims to communicate your own personal comfort level with expectations.
  • Proficiency is objective. It aims to communicate your skill level as perceived by your peers.

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