Wednesday 9 October 2019

The 2 factors that determine the size of KM teams

The size of KM teams depends on the size of the organisation, and the maturity of the KM program.

Yesterday I talked about the need to put your A-team onto the KM implementation program, and discussed some of the skills you need on the team. What I did not discuss was how large that team should be.

I published some statistics on this in 2015 based on our global KM survey in 2014. We conducted a second run of the same survey in 2017 and so have some additional data, with now 596 responses from knowledge managers around the world. The updated plot below shows that the size of the central KM team is controlled by two factors, described below. (There will be other KM roles in the organisation, and this plot does not reflect all KM professionals; just the central implementation and coordination team).

The first factor is the size of the organisation. Larger organisations have bigger teams, but not proportionally to their size, and an increase in organisational size of a factor of 10 is not associated with a similar increase in KM team size. There is an economy of scale here, and the size of the central team remains similar across all organisational sizes. What seems to change instead is the time taken for KM implementation, and a team in a small organisation can implement KM much faster than a team in a large organisation.

The second factor is the maturity of KM in the organisation. Whatever the organisational size, the KM teams in organisations where KM is fully embedded are larger than the teams where KM is still in progress. This is either

  1. Because mature KM requires a larger central team than "in progress" KM, or
  2. Organisations where the KM team is too small do not get to the "fully embedded" stage.

Whatever the reason, this remains a useful plot for organisations to benchmark the size of their central KM team. 

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