Monday 20 June 2011

Stop adding and start updating

thanks for the addLearning is a lifetime process, but there comes a time when we must stop adding and start updating. Robert Brault,

The earliest Knowledge Management framework I helped build was in Norway. We built a project management system based around knowledge; knowledge of the client requirements, knowledge from previous projects, knowledge captured at the end of each project.

At the end of each project we would conduct a Retrospect, draw out the lessons learned, and put them as sheets into a ring-binder that acted as our database (this was before file sharing and web interfaces and wikis).

What happened was that over time, the folder got bigger and bigger, and thicker and thicker, until it became too daunting to open. People knew that there was so much in there, it would be difficult to find what they wanted, so they skipped the process entirely.

That’s because I was focused only on adding, and not on updating.

I was adding lots of lessons on (for example) geophysical reprocessing (some of which were repetitions, some of which were contradictions) instead of updating the geophysical reprocessing guidelines.

As a result, when I left Norway, the system was shelved for about a year, then someone was given the task of weeding through th lessons file and reducing it to a smaller file of guidelines.

Somewhere in one of Larry Prusak’s books he talks about how too much volume of content is unhelpful, and how knowledge can be “de-knowledged” through too much volume.

Sooner or later we have to stop adding, and start updating.

1 comment:

Pancho said...


Here's an alternatve to "stop adding and start updating":

"small world networks" or "link, prune, link, merge, link".

The trick to availability at points of use is not to stop adding, but to make sure that logically related knowledge units are connected.

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