Launching your KM initiative

March 2, 2007

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You’ve already spent a lot of time identifying where your company is placed in terms of launching an initiative like this as well as chalking out a strategy to deploy KM. Now comes the really difficult part, launching the initiative.

The first step is to identify whether its time to transition to this phase of KM. There are certain key indicators you can look for.

  • You have created strategies to learn from your KM initiatives
  • Strategies have been mapped out to replicate your pilot initiatives across the organization.
  • There already exists certain communitites of practices, or you have a KM intranet site.
  • You have set the stage for initiatives by recruiting and training facilitators.
  • You’ve set up a tracking mechanism to gain valuable feedback on your initiatives.

The points mentioned above are a few indicators that should prompt you to move into the third phase of your KM life cycle.

Now that you’ve moved into this phase there are certain intiatives that you can carry out.

The first being capturing of lessons learnt. This is critical to the long term sustainability of your KM initiative. Unless you know what went right and what went wrong in your pilots you might continue to make the same mistakes when you try replicating it elsewhere. Based on the lessons learnt you can take an informed decision on whether you want to carry on with the intiative or move on to something more lucrative.

Establishing replicable methodologies is another important part of this phase. The launching of a pilot allows you to focus on capturing best practices. Information of this nature can be easily used somewhere else in the organization. So a concious effort must be made to track and capture all best practices during the course of the pilot.

The primary focus of this phase is to identify best practices , processes and lessons learnt so you can replicate it again and again. This is probably the single most profitable take away from a KM initiative.

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Your KM Strategy

March 1, 2007

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When do you know its time to move into the second phase of your Knowledge Management Roadmap?

  • If, you have successful initiatives already been conducted at the grassroots level.
  • If, An executive sponsor decides to support KM initiatives.
  • If, You have identified pilots to showcase the benefits of KM.
  • If, A KM steering committee has been put in place.

The points above make a very good case for establishing a KM Strategy in your organization.

The first and most important step is to identify a KM task force. Unless you have a group of people dedicated to designing and implementing KM initiatives, these activities will start taking a back seat.

Create a set of pilots that can effectively be used to promote KM. If there are already grassroot level initiatives being conducted make sure you bring them under the KM umbrella and provide visibility to them.

Once you’ve have a team set up to tackle KM and have identified a couple of pilots start the process of putting together resources to enable the execution of the pilot. This is a very critical phase as even if you have chalked out a comprehensive KM strategy and found a set of pilots that do showcase KM well a mistake in this phase could complete ruin your chances of successful implementation.

An overall KM strategy is built on the success of its pilots, failures in the initial stages could become a huge deterent towards establishing KM an organization wide initiative.


Getting Started

March 1, 2007

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Over the past few posts we’ve talked about a variety of subjects, Strategies to implement KM , How to run communities of practice, the effect of blogs on KM and so on. The most common question however is not how to implement KM but when. I thought i’d put together a few thought on when you should start think of looking at a Knowledge Management initiative for your organization.

So when is your company ready to start a KM initiative? If any of the following statements are true then its probably time for just that.

  • A number of people have already started exploring the benefits of implementing KM in your organization.
  • Someone has a personal stake in developing KM.
  • KM has emerged as a topic of interest in your organization.
  • The organization has a high-level vision of pursuing and implementing KM.

Right, now you’ve figured out that its time to implement KM in your organization, but how do you go about doing it?

The only way an initiative like this is going to gain traction is if people see a clear benefit to what they are already trying to accomplish. The main aim of any Knowledge Management initiative should be to make a person’s job easier, not more difficult.

The first step is to de-mistify KM, do not use complicated terms and strategies to define what it is, rather use simple definitions and examples that provide a clear, tangible picture of what its all about.

The second step involved finding people who are really interested in pursuing KM activities. Launching an initiative amongst this group of people will most definitely ensure a much higher success rate. Recruiting well respected and influential people in your company is a very smart way to promote the value of the initiative to the rest of your organization.

The third step involved looking for oppurtunties to implement KM. Use groups you feel can benefit with an KM initiative. Target low hanging fruit, market any win you have with the initiative however small , as it can be used as a platform to promote other initiatives as well.

The last step involves creating a technology framework that can support the initiative. While KM is not just about technology it does form a large part of it, without the technology infrastructure it might be difficult to sustain many initiatives.

The biggest road block to any KM initiative is culture, ignoring it is the single biggest mistage many people commit while rolling out KM initiatives. Most importantly – Do NOT sell an enterprise level KM solution without the evidences to back up your initiatives.

While these are just some of the thoughts on how you get started, you will find dozens of smaller ways to improve on it once you get started. Remember, start small and work your way up.


The Knowledge Management Road Map

February 15, 2007

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Every journey has a start point and a destination, making sure you get to the right destination is the job of a roadmap. To ensure you get to the destination on time, within budget and without accidents you need to make sure you have a damn good roadmap and a plan.

The Roadmap listed below is pretty generic and covers most of the basic features , you’ll find the same set of waypoints in most KM roadmaps that you look at. Customizing them to maximize their benefit to you and your organization is where the actual work comes in.

  1. Stage 1 : Get Started
  2. Stage 2 : Develop a Strategy
  3. Stage 3 : Design and Launch KM initiatives
  4. Stage 4 : Expand and Support
  5. Stage 5 : Institutionalize Knowledge Management

Now on the surface these might seem very vague, and to be truthful they are, i’ll try putting together some pointers on how these stages can be adopted in your organization in future posts. So keep an eye out.