Wednesday 14 September 2016

KM audit - counting apples, or improving the farm?

There are two types of Knowledge Management Assessment or Audit you may need when starting up a KM program.  This is how they differ.

The two types go by different names for different people - survey, scan, assessment, audit or maturity measure, and I explain the difference between the two types with an analogy to assessing the business state of an apple farm.

If you were looking at improving your farming methods in an apple orchard, you could do two assessments; the first would be counting the apples, the second would be reviewing the farming approach.

  • If you count the apples but 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 review the farming approach but 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.

Obviously you would do both assessments.

The first assessment, the KMN equivalent of  which we in Knoco call a Knowledge Management Scan, 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 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. However why choose one?

Why not do both?

Contact us for help in reviewing the status of knowledge management in your organisation.


Suresh Nair said...

Isn't knowing the market as important as the two areas covered here?

Nick Milton said...

Indeed. Thats yet another piece of work

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