How to embed knowledge activities into organizational process

Another post from the archives – this time on embedding knowledge activities into organisational process

Complex BPMN 2 process in ARIS ExpressOne of the aims of Knowledge Management Implementation is to develop and embed a Knowledge Management Framework, including building KM activities into business process. I thought I would expand a little on how to do this.

Most large organisations have pretty well-defined business processes. These may include

  • Marketing process
  • Sales process
  • New Product Development process
  • Manufacturing process
  • Packaging/distribution process
  • Project management process
  • Service-call resolution process
and so on. These processes consist of a series of steps, often shown diagrammatically as a flow chart, like the example shown.
Embedding KM into these processes means putting Knowledge Management-specific steps into that flowchart.

  • You can start, by identifying where, within the business process, there is the greatest need for the team to acquire knowledge, and adding a “Knowledge Acquisition” step, such as Peer Assist, Lessons Review, Knowledge Site Visit, Collaborative work session, or a Knowledge Management Plan. There may be several such steps needed within the business process.

  • You can look at where,  within the business process, there is the greatest need for the team to create new knowledge, and add a “Knowledge Creation” step, such as Deep Dive, Think Tank, or Business Driven Action Learning.

  • Then you can look at where, within the business process, there is the greatest need for  the team to discuss and identify learning. These will be steps which follow points where the greatest knowledge has been created, or the greatest learning acquired, and where you need to add a “Knowledge Capture” step. Some of these will capture knowledge for re-use by the same team, and may include small scale After Action Reviews. Some will capture knowledge and lessons for other teams, and may include Retrospect. Some may  include hand-over of knowledge to later stages in the project or product life-cycle, and may include Baton Passing or Knowledge handover. There may be several such steps needed within the business process.
That is your starting point – looking at the flow of knowledge into and out of the process. You may eventually add other steps where needed.
The important thing is to 1) find knowledge management processes which work in your context, and 2) make sure those KM process appear, as little boxes, within the business process flow chart.

That way, they will be applied.

View Original Source ( Here.

The 5 ways in which KM becomes embedded

There are 5 ways in which KM can be embedded in an organisation. Some of these are more common than others, and to fully embed KM can take over a decade.

The most common ways of embedding KM, from the Knoco 2014 and 2017 surveys

I often have people ask me what “embedding” Knowledge Management actually means, and how you do it.  Embedding Knowledge Management means making part of the normal work process, rather than an add-on. You do this in six ways, listed below in the order of most common applicaiton, as shown in the graph above.

You change the technology suite so that Knowledge Management tools are available, and used, as part of the working toolkit, and linked into the existing work tools. While email remains the number one work tool for many people, then link your KM tools into this, rather than requiring people to acquire a new habit. New habits can develop later, when KM becomes part of natural behaviour.

You change the Organigram to include Knowledge Management roles and accountabilities. You introduce new roles where needed (lesson teams for example, leaders and coordinators for the big Communities of practice, Practice Owners and so on), and change some of the accountabilities of existing roles (the most senior experts, for example, need clear KM accountabilities, as described here. You need to change their job descriptions, so that they are held acountable for stewardship of the company knowledge). Then you measure and reward people against their performance in these roles, and against these accountabilities, just as you measure and reward them against any other component of their job.

You change the high level processes and activities, embedding Knowledge Management processes and activities into the work cycles (using the principles of Learning Before, During and After). Change the project requirements, to include mandatory processes for capture of knowledge at the end of the project or after key milestones, and mandatory processes for reviewing past knowledge at the start of the project. Change the rules for project sanction, so a project gets no money if it hasn’t done any learning.

You change the behaviours through peer pressures and through management expectation.

You change the governance system to include KM. Write it into the policies. Write it into the way people are rewarded. Change the reporting requirements, the HR appraisal mechanism, change the incentive scheme to reward collaboration and discourage competition.  This is the least common embedding approach, but it needs to be done eventually.

These changes should embed KM as part of the way people work, and so make KM part of everyone’s job.  Once this is the case, you can claim KM is embedded and fully mature, as shown below.

The degree of embedding KM into normal activity, vs KM maturity. Results from Knoco 2014 and 2017 surveys

However this takes time. The chart below shows how this level of embedding varies with the length of time organisations have been doing KM.  Even after 16 years working with KM, only half the organisations claim KM is fully integrated and routine, rather than a non-routine activity.

The degree of embedding vs the length of time doing KM. Results from Knoco 2014 and 2017 surveys

View Original Source ( Here.

How Knowledge Management maturity progresses

Here is a nice graph from our global KM surveys that shows how KM maturity progresses.

This graph is a combination of two questions, and we have combined answers from both the 2014 and 2017 surveys, so over 570 answers are included in the graph. The first question was:

Which of the following best describes the current status of KM within this organisation (or part of the organisation)?

  • We are in the early stages of introducing KM 
  • We are well in progress with KM 
  • KM is embedded in the way we work

The second question was

To what extent is KM now integrated with the normal work of the organisation? Choose the sentence that most closely fits your answer.

  • KM is not part of normal activity but is being addressed by a separate group
  • KM is performed as a one-off intervention after which business returns to normal 
  • KM is a non-routine part of normal activity, done as an exception or when requested 
  • KM is fully integrated and is a routine part of normal activity or operations 

 The graph shows how the responses to the second question vary according to the first question, and shows how the integration of KM changes with maturity.

In the early stages of KM, KM is mostly either performed by a separate group (30% of responses) or as an exception to normal process (48% of responses).

For organisations which are well in progress, the role of the separate group is much reduced (to 12% of responses), as is the one-off intervention. The largest proportion of responses is still that KM is an exception to normal process (54% of responses), but the second largest is that KM is fully integrated in normal activity.

For organisations who claim that KM is fully embedded, almost three quarters say that KM is fully integrated in normal activity.

As you might expect, there is a close link between fully embedded KM, and full integration of KM activities into operations.

View Original Source Here.

Skip to toolbar