Thursday, 21 November 2013

When half-way policies don't work for KM

nearly there I was working with a major company recently, doing an assessment of their knowledge management capability.

One of the things we always check for is Governance of Knowledge Management - do people know what they are expected to be doing in KM terms, do they have the resources to do it, and is the incentive system aligned with KM expectations (i.e. are they disincetivised, and could they get away without doing KM, and still avoid getting into trouble).

I was reviewing the alignment of project management and KM, and particularly the habit of capturing knowledge from projects.

"Yes", they said. "We are expected to capture knowledge. It says so in our project guidelines".

When I checked they were absolutely correct, there was a line in there about "all projects will document lessons learned from their activity". However there was no guidance on HOW to do this.

As a result, there were a variety of approaches, the most common being for the project manager to jot some things down in a spreadsheet, and file it in the project files.

As regular readers now, this is far from being an effective lesson-capture process, and the lessons were sketchy, inconsistent, poor quality, and very hard to retrieve.

So the company had gone halfway towards having a KM policy for projects (albeit a sketchy one, hidden within the project management guidelines), but had not gone all the way in defining what actually needed to happen.

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