Monday, 19 November 2018

4 roles in the simple KM model

Last week I blogged about the simplest and best Knowledge Management model - if you missed it, follow the link. Now let's look at the key KM roles within this model.


This model is a process-based model, and is based on the flow of knowledge in and out of team and project work, and in and out of the tacit and explicit repositories (the Community of Practice, and the Knowledge Base respectively).

We can also overlay the accountable roles for each component, and that is what I have done in the diagram shown here.

We have four main roles, but as described below, two of them may be combined. There may be a number of other subordinate roles, but these four are the minimum. None of these roles need be full-time, especially in small companies, and can be part of someone's role portfolio.

Here are the four roles -
  1. The Owners (/custodians/Stewards) of the Knowledge Assets, represented in the picture by the person in brown holding a pen. We describe this role in our page on the Knowledge Owner role, and in my blog post on Process Ownership. There should be one Knowledge Owner for each important topic.
  1. The Leaders (/facilitators/moderators) of the Communities of Practice,  represented in the picture by the person with the red tie holding a pen. We describe this role in our page on Communities of Practice. There will be one Leader  for each Community of Practice.
Note that in some organisations, the CoP leader also acts as the Knowledge Owner for that area of practice, in which case roles 1 and 2 are held by the same person.
  1. The Knowledge Managers (/KM champion/Lesson Integrator) working in the teams and projects, represented in the picture by the person in a cap holding a spanner. We describe this role in our page on the Knowledge Manager role, and there are several example descriptions of this role in my blog posts tagged "Role". There will be one Knowledge Manager for each major department or major project.
  1. The Knowledge management team, represented in the picture by the person with the necklace. We describe this role in our page on the Knowledge Management team roles, and there are several discussions of this role in my blog posts tagged "Role". There will be generally one Knowledge Management team, although in major multinationals there may be one per business stream.

So together with the simple process flow model, we can map on the organisational design of roles and accountabilities which are needed to ensure KM happens.

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