Monday 19 October 2020

Why it is important to audit KM regularly.

There is a lot of value in a KM audit, so long as you do it regularly.

Group Audit
In this post, I suggested that there are two types of KM surveys; the audit and the assessment. I said the first was like counting the apples in your orchard, the second was like reviewing your farming methods.

It is the assessment - the methods review - that has the most value, in that it tells you how to improve your knowledge management approach. However the audit is also valuable, in telling you where you need to focus, and which problems you need to solve. There is merit in running both regularly. 

The audit measures the current management status of various knowledge topics - are they documented, are they covered by communities, are they held only in the heads of a few people approaching retirement? When you introduce your improved KM approaches, the audit should show improvement.

Our favoured approach to run the audit on an annual basis. It works like this
  • The KM team works with the knowledge owner, or process owner, to audit their own knowledge area.
  • Based on the results of the audit, they identify actions for the following year
  • The next year, the audit should show improvement
  • The KM team can use the audit results, and the change in results over the year, to construct a KM dashboard for reporting to senior management. If KM is working, all audit scores should show an increase over the previous year.
The Assessment measures how well the KM framework is operating, and whether it needs to be tweaked, augmented or updated. ISO 30401:2108, the ISO management systems standard for KM, requires the organisation to have a plan for regular internal audit of the KM framework against the organisations needs and the requirements of the standard. This is in order to drive continual improvement of KM. The assessment probably does not need to be done annually - maybe every 3 or 5 years might be more appropriate. But it needs to be done regularly. 

As part of your KM governance, make sure you conduct regular audits and/or assessments both of the health of the KM framework, and also of the level of management applied to key knowledge domains. 

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