One of the more exciting KM developments in the last few years is the introduction of project-level Knowledge Management Plans. These documents may well provide the ‘missing link’ between an organisation’s desire to learn and improve, and the need of each individual employee to know ‘what I need to do’.
|Project team, KM planning session|
These plans provide a way both to focus the KM effort for the project, and also to make clear the actions needed to deliver the value inherent in that knowledge. We have helped apply KM plans in the mining, construction and petroleum sectors, and are convinced of the value they can bring.
Those of you familiar with risk management processes will understand some of the principles involved. Before a project or major cycle of work, the team members meet in a KM Planning Workshop and define the core knowledge they need to acquire in order to deliver their aspirational performance. They discuss where this knowledge may be sourced from, the processes that need to be put into place to acquire it, the actions which need to be taken, identify accountable individuals, and the mechanisms by which any new knowledge will be captured and shared with the rest of the organisation.
By creating a KM plan and keeping it live as work progresses, the team not only ensures that the right people take the right actions to get the right knowledge at the right time, but also provides an audit trail so that senior management can be confident that their expectations for KM are being met, and that their investment in KM is worthwhile. This auditable demonstration of KM will help you prepare for audits against the KM component of ISO 9001.
A KM plan also gives an external demonstration of KM, and at least one major procurement organisation recently used the ‘inclusion and description of the vendor’s KM plan’ as a key differentiator between bids.