Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Striking the KM Rhythm

Embedding Knowledge Management means making it part of the rhythm of work, so that it becomes a natural component of the operation cycle and not an add-on or an after-thought.

Cuban Samba rhythms

You can do this in a number of ways, depending on your own context.

In a project context, it is quite simple- you embed the processes for Learning before, during and after into your project KM framework.

  • Learning before activities such as Peer Assist, KM planning or reviewing lessons learned as early activities for each project, each project stage, or (for mega-projects) each stage of each workstream.
  • Learning During activities such as After Action review linked to milestones, iterations, or built into regular project meetings.
  • Learning After activities such as Lessons Capture, knowledge handover or learning histories, as late activities at the end of each project, each project stage, or (for mega-projects) each stage of each workstream.
In a service or operational context, it a bit more difficult, but by no means impossible. 

  • You can link KM to the Deming cycle. Variously described as "Plan-Do-Check-Act", or "Plan-Do-Measure-Learn" (the latter being a common oil-sector variant), it is a cycle of action, or a cycle of mindfulness, that drives learning and continuous improvement. KM can be embedded within this cycle.
  • You can link KM to the performance cycle. Performance measurement and benchmarking, target setting and knowledge management can be closely linked in an operation, production, service or manufacturing environment, as part of a performance management system. Benchmarking identifies the areas where a unit needs to improve and/or the business units from which it can learn, Target setting allows it to focus on areas for improvement, and Knowledge management allows it to acquire or develop the knowledge it needs in order to meet its targets. KM can therefore be embedded within the performance management and reporting cycle.
Embedding KM in this way builds it into the cycles and rhythms by which people already work, and go a long way to developing Knowledge Management as a habit.

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