Monday 14 September 2020

4 types of KM plan

Knowledge Management plans exist at many scales. Here are 4 of them.

KM planning session

Implementing KM is a project, and a project needs a plan. However KM can be implemented at many scales, and many variants of KM plan may be needed. In this post we describe 4 of them:
  • The organisational KM strategy
  • The organisational KM implementation plan
  • A KM plan for a project
  • A KM plan for an operational department

KM strategy 

A KM strategy is the framework document that sets the context, direction and principles for KM implementation. The strategy ensures that the Knowledge Management implementation proceeds in a way that is aligned with the current business approaches, is targeted on the right problems, and is coordinated with other existing change initiatives.

One of the key components in the strategy is an analysis of “What Knowledge do we most need to Manage? These strategic knowledge areas are identified through discussion at the highest level (CEO if possible).

One of our clients had an excellent discussion with their senior management, while preparing their KM strategy, on this topic of key knowledge, and were given a strong steer to “focus on driving growth in new consumer markets, through knowledge sharing networks”. That decision set their KM strategy, and formed a framework for the next 4 years of KM activity.

KM implementation plan 

Once you have your strategy in place, you can start on your implementation planning. This is where you plan your activities and resources, in order to develop and embed an effective KM “system”. The plan will be based on

  • the Knowledge Management strategy 
  • an assessment and benchmarking of your current state of KM 
  • an outline “desired end state” (KM framework
  • a staged, change management approach 
  • a full analysis of the risks to Knowledge Management delivery 

The KM implementation plan maps out the steps from the current state to the end state, guided by the strategy and the assessment. It defines your timeline, and the resource needs.

Project KM plan 

The project-level Knowledge Management plan is a device that allows KM to be fully embedded into project controls, at the same level of rigour as risk management, or document management. It allows the assignment of accountabilities to individual project team members, and allows these accountabilities to be monitored and reviewed. Some organisations also address.

 A KM plan has three main components.

  1. A Knowledge Register, which defines the key areas of knowledge needed by the project (“key knowledge inputs”), and the assigned actions to make sure this knowledge is accessed. It also defines the key areas of knowledge which the project will be learning about, and which they need to share with the rest of the organisation (“knowledge outputs”), and the actions to make sure this sharing happens. 
  2. A KM Protocol, which defines the system by which knowledge will be managed in the project. It defines the roles and accountabilities, the technologies (such as lessons databases) which will be used, and the processes which will be applied and when they will be applied as part of the project timeline. 
  3. An implementation plan for the project, to make sure the protocol is ready to use. This will require training of staff in the tools and technologies, induction of new staff, registration of staff onto the relevant communities of practice, installation of technology onto people’s desktops, and so on. 

The plan is created at a KM Planning work-shop, early in the project, held as part of the set-up activities; about the same time the team are developing their risk management plan, their document management plan, and other front-end planning activities.

Operational KM plans 

Just as a project KM plan is built into the planning and review framework of a project, an Operational KM plan needs to be built into the operational planning and review framework. This should be done as follows;

  1. During the annual planning cycle, the operation will agree its annual objectives and budget. The next step will be to create the annual KM plan. 
  2. The KM plan will contain the same components as a project KM, though the key topics in the knowledge register will be set by the new operational objectives. The operational management team will get together for a KM planning workshop, and start with the question – “What do we need to know (or to learn) in order to deliver our operational objectives”?
  3.  The main deadline for the operation to capture new knowledge for other operations will be at the end of the year, when they review performance against objectives, and ask “What were the causes of any deviation from planned performance (either a positive or a negative deviation), and what have we learned from these to improve next year’s performance”? They will also review the application of the KM plan through the year.
  4. The operational department may also assess the level of management of key operational topics or knowledge domains, for example through a KM audit or Scan. If any knowledge domain needs to be better managed (better documented for example, or updated, or a community of practice initiated), or is at risk of loss through potential departure of key experts, then the KM plan will define the remedial actions that need to be taken.
Contact Knoco for help with KM planning at all scales

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