I just recently received an email about disaster preparedness, it contained a scan of a document that the person who sent it to me had received. What does this have to do with KM? Nothing and everything. The point the person who sent me the scanned document was making was that he had received this document in the middle of summer, while people were away on vacation, it was poorly produced, there didn’t seem to be an electronic version available, and he believed that if any of these floods, fires, earthquakes etc. ever happened (or maybe that should be when they happen), he wouldn’t be able to remember the information in the document (which was about 10 pages long), and if he remembered that he had received this document, he wouldn’t be able to find it again. Again, so what you say? What does this have to do with KM or learning or information or anything at all? Well, if we are doing knowledge management, or learning management or information management we need to be concerned about how knowledge/information gets transferred and shared. How do the users want to receive it? What is their environment like? What circumstances will they be … Continue reading
Some of you, who know me, will know that I started out my career in accounting; I have an undergraduate degree in accounting and was going to be a Chartered Accountant. This is also how I got my start in KM, although it wasn’t called KM then, it was just how you worked—checklists and reusing last year’s files, talking to the staff who had worked on the audit/tax last year. If you had worked on the engagement the year before you were expected to be quicker in the subsequent year(s) because you were familiar with the client and the file. 15+ years into my knowledge management career, I still run into organizations that think that in order to help them better manage their knowledge that I have to be a specialist in whatever their content is, e.g. if it’s a law firm, I have to be a lawyer, if it’s a manufacturer I have to be an engineer, if it’s a hospital I have to be a doctor or a nurse or some other medical professional. This isn’t always true, there are lots of organizations that understand that KM is a series of processes and activities, largely independent of the … Continue reading
Why do I need a knowledge management strategy? Why can’t I just implement some technology and be done with it? Why can’t I just implement Communities of Practice or Lessons Learned and be done with it? I hear this sometimes from managers who want a quick fix, who are under a lot of pressure from time and resources (money and people). The answer is, you can. I have worked with many organizations that have done just that, jumped in with both feet and “just done something”. I am usually there to fix it. Fix the technology because no one understood what it really needed to do to support knowledge work within the organization; fix the process because no one understands it and it’s not aligned with the rest of the activities in the organization and it’s created extra work for already over-worked staff. Why do you need a strategy? Would you jump in the car and set out on a journey of 5000km/3000miles without having some idea of where you were going and how you going to get there? Making sure that you had selected the right vehicle to get you there in time and a map to help direct you … Continue reading
As a friend of mine pointed out, it’s not enough to just create a strategy, it’s about the execution of that strategy. And he’s right, strategies can sit on shelves, certainly I have had more than one client, that for various reasons did not implement the strategy we had developed together. So what does it take to successfully implement a KM strategy? A bunch of things, senior management buy-in and budget among them, but I would argue the most critical component, and the one that my friend posited, is Change Management. There are many good books on Change Management by authors such as Peter Senge and John P. Kotter, to name two of my favourites. But what it all boils down to for me, is communication. Not just some manager decreeing, “thou shalt do knowledge management,” but a real conversation between the KM team and the rest of the organization. What do they need to be able to be effective in their jobs? How can the KM team help them? What do the users of the KM activities need to know about how to use the technology and the processes? What will aid them in their decision making and other … Continue reading
KM is a lot of things to a lot of people. It seems everyone wants the silver bullet, the one “right” answer to the question of how to be successful in KM. Or they want the one “right” answer to the question of what is KM and what’s included in KM. Well let me save you a lot of time and heartache, there is no one right answer, the answer is, it depends. It depends on your organization’s strategy, objectives, culture, industry, regulations, size, budget, risk profile, staffing profile, technology strategy. Figure out what KM is to your organization and create a strategy that supports that definition, that’s the silver bullet.
Last week (January 28-29, 2015) I was in Amsterdam for KM Legal Europe, I provided some thoughts on that in my previous blog. Also in that blog post I mentioned that the subject of where KM fits with Continuous Improvement, Process Re-engineering, and Six-Sigma came up. We had a discussion about it, but we ran out of time and I’m not sure that we really came to any conclusions. First lets start off with some general definitions/explanations. While Continuous Improvement, Process Re-engineering, and Six-Sigma are all different activities and initiatives, and there are books and courses on each of them separately for the purposes of this blog post I am going to group them all together because for the purposes of this discussion their touch-point with KM is the same. So what are they? They are activities that have the objective of aligning organizational processes with the needs and objectives of the organization. They seek to remove inefficiencies and streamline work processes; they aim for standardization and the reduction of variability. Knowledge Management, on the other hand, is about learning and sharing, and making sure people have the knowledge they need to do their jobs. On the face of it, … Continue reading
Advance copies of our book, Designing a Successful KM Strategy are now available from our publisher, Information Today, Inc. It will officially be published in mid-January, so if you buy it before that, you get 40% of the regular price. I did a workshop based on the book at KM World, on Nov 4th, that was well received, as well as a couple of book signings–it was great to talk to everyone about the book and how it can help them regardless of whether they are just starting with KM or at a point where they are re-evaluating their strategy after implementing KM for a few years. Information Today has also made a chapter available for preview, you can access it here http://books.infotoday.com/books/Designing-a-Successful-KM-Strategy/Making-the-Case-for-a-Knowledge-Management-Strategy.pdf Nick (my co-author) also has some helpful links up over on his blog at http://www.nickmilton.com/p/blog-page.html I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to get in touch if you have any comments or questions.
I guess I have been busy, it’s been 6 months since my last post. One of the things that I have been busy with is finishing the book that I have co-authored with my Knoco colleague, Nick Milton. Nick and I have written and book called, “Designing a Successful KM Strategy,” it’s being published by Information Today, Inc. Advance copies will be available at KM World, where I will be doing a workshop based on the book (Workshop W4) and a book signing. I’ll post a link to their website once it’s available for order. Also, I’m doing a second workshop at KM World called, “W14: Sparking Innovation: Creative KM,” in case any of you are interested in that.
Thanks to John Girard, Success Steps, and my fellow speakers, KM Middle East was a great success. You can read about it in John’s blog post here, http://www.johngirard.net/1371
The following is a list of webinars that I presented over the last couple of months, with a link (click on the name of the webinar) to the recording. The webinars are based on my Ark Group Report, from May 2011, Aligning People, Process and Technology in Knowledge Management. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Date Title Abstract June 4, 2013 KM Technologies There are many types of technologies that can be used to support a KM program; many of them overlap which makes it difficult to pick the right one. Case studies of organizations that picked both the right and wrong technology will be discussed. June 18, 2013 Knowledge Management Risks The common risks encountered in implementing a knowledge management program and what can be done to mitigate them are discussed. Case studies of organizations that both ignored and paid attention to the risks will be examined. July 2, 2013 Aligning KM with Business The key to success with technology is taking a balanced approach, considering people, process, and technology. By understanding people, and processes, the appropriate supporting technology can be selected and implemented. Case studies of organizations that both ignored and paid attention to … Continue reading