Friday 15 August 2014

A Two-Pronged Approach for Establishing a KM Program

There is a very interesting article by Ron Bascue in the 2011 Fall edition of the US Army KM newsletter, about a two-pronged approach to delivering a Knowledge Management strategy.

Image from wikipedia
Ron makes the good point that Knowledge Management needs to be a strategic long term program of change, based on thorough assessment and analysis, but at the same time people need to see short term progress. This also has the benefit of helping people see KM in action, and understand the value it brings. As Ron says;
"Getting to a fully developed KM strategy takes significant time. And while the assessment and strategy development process is going on, the parent organization is moving forward while the clock is ticking on the KM organisation to show its value."
So Ron recommends a two-pronged strategy to address this issue.
"Our approach incorporates two lines of effort; one a strategic development effort and the other focused on providing immediate tangible results - a series of quick wins".
Ron recommends Kaizen events as a way to deliver the quick wins, each of which should solve a business problem or improve an internal process. However a number of Knowledge Management processes can be used, depending on the nature of the problem to be solved; After Action Reviews for improving team delivering, Retrospects for capturing team lessons, Communities of Practice for improved knowledge sharing, Peer Assists for bringing knowledge into projects, Knowledge Assets for creating knowledge resources, and so on.

Ron's two-pronged approach is also what Knoco recommends.

We refer to the Quick Wins as "Proof of concept" events; small interventions with a Knowledge Management tool or process during the Strategy Creation phase, just so that people can see KM in action, and realise that "Yes, it can work here. No, it's not all smoke and mirrors. Now I understand".

However even after the strategy is complete, the KM team needs to continue to solve business problems. However rather than small proof of concept exercises, you move on to larger scale Pilot Projects as part of the Implementation program.

By solving business problems, the KM team continue to show the value, and engage people in the process without requiring them to buy in at strategic level.

Follow Ron's advice (and ours) - make pilots and "proofs of concept" part of your Knowledge Management strategy.

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