Monday, 23 February 2009

Accountability in Knowledge Management (2)




To continue the discussion on Accountabilities for Knowledge Management - lets discuss, who is accountable for KM, and what accountabilities do they have?

In a mature Knowledge Management framework, we see three chains of accountability (see picture).



Ownership, organisation and maintenance of the company knowledge base is the accountability of the functional organisation (orange). Individuals within the functions have accountability for developing and deploying best practice, in order to sustain the capability of the organisation. The chief engineer, for example, is ultimately accountable for the engineering competence of the organisation, and therefore for the state of the company engineering knowledge base. He or she will delegate components of this to individual subject matter experts. In addition, he or she will delegate accountability for coordinating the communities of practice which cover engineering topics.

The line organisation (green) is accountable for the application of the knowledge in the work of the business, and for the creation of new knowledge. If the organisation has clear KM expectations for project or business activity (e.g. that every project should have a knowledge management plan, or that each project stage should be closed by a Retrospect) then the accountability for the line organisation is to meet these expectations. The accountability will probably lie with the project managers, though he or she may delegate some of the KM activity to a delegate (a project knowledge manager for example).

The KM support team (yellow) is responsible for ensuring that the KM system itself (the tools, the processes, the technologies) are fit for purpose, and are well understood.

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