5 first steps to KM success
Here are the first 5 steps in a successful KM journey
|Buffalo, NY by JasonParis, on Flickr|
At Knoco, we have seen enough Knowledge Management implementation programs by now to know that there a few key steps every organisation needs to take in the beginning. These steps are as follows;
- Assess the current state
- Build a business-led strategy
- Develop a draft KM framework
- Create an implementation plan
- Deliver some early pilots
Here is some more detail around each of these five steps (and if you need even more detail, read my book “Designing a Successful KM Strategy“).
Assess the current state. Before you can plan any future KM development, you need to know where you are right now. Knowledge Management is common sense, even it if is not common practice, and most organisations are already doing some elements of KM under different names. Those elements may not yet be effective, and they may not yet be joined up, but you need to know what’s working, what’s present but not working, and what’s missing. We see three types of assessment;
- An assessment of the current KM system (and by system we mean processes, roles, governance, technology) to see what’s missing. A gap analysis, if you will, and the KM implementation program will largely seek to fill the gaps, and connect the unconnected elements.
- A scan of your current knowledge topics, to see which ones need the most urgent attention.
- An assessment of the supporting culture. Do you have the correct culture to become a learning organisation, or is some culture change also needed?
Build a business-led strategy. Time and again, experience has shown that the most successful knowledge management initiatives are those which are business-led, and which solve business problems. Your KM strategy needs to be closely aligned to the business strategy, to focus on the critical knowledge needed by the business, and to deliver practical ways of managing that knowledge better. Elements of the strategy include
- Business drivers
- Value proposition
- Critical knowledge areas
- Change and stakeholder management
- Potential business-led Pilot areas
This blog contains plenty of guidance on getting your KM strategy correct.
A Knowledge Management Framework ensures that all necessary KM elements (Accountabilities, Processes, Technologies and Governance) are in place, and interconnected. This ensures that there are no gaps in the system, and that knowledge flows freely through the organisation.
Your Assessment (Step 1) should have been planned with a Framework in mind, and will have identified the gaps which need to be filled. we are calling this a “draft framework” at the moment, as the framework will not be finalised until after piloting.
This blog contains plenty of guidance on building an effective Knowledge Management Framework.
Build an implementation plan. Implementing Knowledge Management is not easy. You really only have one attempt, and if this fails, you may find that the concept has become irrecoverably tarnished. An excellent Implementation Plan is needed, based on lessons from successful (and less successful) implementations in other companies, and tailored to your own context.
The plan will be based on
- the results of assessment and benchmarking
- the Knowledge Management strategy
- the draft Knowledge Management framework
- the potential pilot areas, and
- a staged, change management approach.
This blog contains plenty of guidance on Knowledge management implementation.
Start some business-led proof of concept pilots. A key component of your knowledge management strategy involves running some pilot projects. A pilot project is a project where knowledge management can be applied within the business, to solve a specific and important business problem, to deliver measurable results (and therefore prove the value), and also to act as a proving ground for Knowledge Management within the business.
Choosing the right pilots can be a massive springboard for your eventual KM implementation. A spectacular success early in the journey can give you some real momentum.
This blog contains plenty of guidance on Knowledge management pilots.
Follow the five steps listed here and, with advice and guidance from a good experienced consultancy, your road to Knowledge Management success is clear.
Contact Knoco if you need more help.
Tags: implementing KM