Thursday 18 September 2014

7 signs your KM strategy is in trouble

In a great post from 2009, Lucas McDonnell provides 6 signs that your Knowledge Management strategy is in trouble. 

accident waiting to happen
Lucas' signs are as follows, with my comments in brackets.
1. People outside your group don’t understand what you’re doing (a failure in communication)

2. You keep changing vendors/technologies/products (often a symptom that technology alone is not working, which also means that changing technology won't help)

3. You keep layering vendors/technologies/products on top of each other (this seems like a "sweetshop" approach to KM, rather than a strategic view of what technology is needed, as modelled by Schlumberger)

4. You find it difficult to explain what you’re trying to accomplish (because you do not have a business-led strategy)

5. You’re prescribing organizational change (by which Lucas means that change is prescribed, rather than delivered through solving a series of business problems)

6. You’re making big promises (I struggle with this one a bit - but Lucas means "don;t overpromise").

Numbers 2 and 3 make me think there is a missing "sign 7", namely

7. All you are focusing on is vendors/technologies/products

It still amazes me how often you hear "KM is all about people" from teams who are concentrating solely on technology. we have known for Years that Knowledge Management needs a complete framework of Roles, Processes, Technology and Governance

So however much time and money you spend on technology, spend the same on People - coaching people, training people, listening to people, setting people's roles and people's accountabilities, and looking at people structures.

Then spend the same amount of time on Process - work process, knowledge seeking process, knowledge sharing process, community process, team process and project process.

Finally there is the issue of governance, which is often neglected completely. Spend the same amount of time in determining how KM can be embedded into the existing governance processes of the organisation, and how it can be promoted, encouraged, governed, measured, incentivised and quality-assured.

Driving a KM strategy on technology alone and neglecting the other three aspects of people, process and governance, is like driving a truck with only one tyre inflated.

Sooner or later, something is going to crash.

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