The tire jack is a great symbol for knowledge management. With the right amount of leverage, you can lift and support something much bigger than your KM effort. In the context of law firm knowledge management, one way of testing your KM leverage is to ask: for every hour I spend on KM, how many lawyer hours are saved? If you can’t answer that question, you need to check your metrics. Are you measuring the right things? If you are, are your results commensurate with the effort expended?
Asking questions like these help you understand part of the value proposition for your KM effort. It also helps you understand what your priorities should be. Presumably, you need to focus on the activities that provide the greatest leverage.
The next question to ask is this: is my current level of KM leverage sustainable without additions to headcount? The answer to that better be yes since additions to headcount in this economy are likely to be close to impossible this year in most law firms. If the answer is no, what are you going to do about it?
At LegalTech 2009, Lee Bryant and I will be leading a discussion on using Web 2.0 tools to create and sustain meaningful leverage for your KM program. The session is on Tuesday at 10:30am in the Sutton Parlor South. I do hope you’ll join us.
[Photo Credit: Tamaki, Creative Commons license]