Friday, 9 September 2011

KM - counting the apples or improving the farm?

apple orchards There are two types of Knowledge Management Assessment you may need when starting up a KM program. They go by different names for different people - a survey, a scan, an audit.

The first, which we in Knoco call a Knowledge Management Audit, reviews the knowledge topics or knowledge areas within this organisation, and looks at the status of each one in terms of Knowledge Management. Is the knowledge widespread, or local? Is it held by one person, or by a community? Is it purely tactit, or is it fully documented? Does the organisation have the knowledge they need, or do they need to learn more?

The second, which we in Knoco call a Knowledge Management Assessment, looks at the status of the Knowledge Management framework. Are communities of practice in place? Is the technology infrastructure deployed? Are there roles and accountabilities for KM? Is there a closed learning loop? Are there KM expectations or policies? Is there a process for "learning before, during and after"? Is Knowledge Management Governance in place?

If you were looking at improving your farming methods in an apple orchard, the first would be counting the apples, the second would be reviewing your farming approach.
Both are needed.

If you don't review your farming approach, then you might know how many apples you have, but you don't know how to increase the yield.
If you don't count the apples, you can't track or demonstrate the increase in yield, and you don't know which trees need the most attention.

If I were to focus on one, however, I would focus on the assessment. If I had to choose just one, I would rather improve the farming method and let the apples take care of themselves.

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