If you want good knowledge management results, you have to find a way to bridge the divide in your colleagues’ minds between getting their job done and doing KM. If they have a choice between racing to meet client needs and stopping to select and contribute content for the KM system, they will choose their clients every single time. And they should.
So where does that leave your empty KM system? The knowledge management team at HP has a very simple answer to this problem: make contributing content to the KM system an integral part of every client engagement. It should be managed along with everything else required for that client engagement. Managed, measured and rewarded.
In a presentation entitled “Driving Knowledge Management Success in the Service Business by Leveraging the Strength of Project Management” Marcus Funke makes the following observations:
– If KM deliverables are part of project Scope, they are managed along with everything else required for the project.
– Planning for KM increases the probability that Time is allocated for KM and actions will be carried out. (The project team works more efficiently by reusing knowledge generated by others; knowledge generated by the project team is then captured in a timely fashion and made available immediately for use by others.)
– The benefits from knowledge reuse and the efforts for capture are part of the Cost equation and our customers benefit from the overall savings.
– Managing the information about capture assets as part of project Communication ensures timely access to assets.
He also notes the following benefits from this approach:
– Reusing knowledge can greatly reduce the time and effort required to meet client needs.
– Reusing knowledge can help reduce risk.
– The time saved through reuse can be put towards improving quality.
Doing this hardwiring is not easy. It requires significant leadership and follow through. And this must be applied consistently to every client engagement. However, by organizing around this goal and using tools like project management you can significantly increase the likelihood of success. Knowledge Capture and Reuse is one of the basic building blocks of any KM system and also one of the biggest KM challenges. Hardwiring it into your client service workflow is a great way to meet that challenge.
(My thanks to Stan Garfield’s Weekly Knowledge Management Blog for pointing out Marcus Funke’s presentation.)