KM technology, process, people

The ideas discussed yesterday on project complexity and staffing are still percolating around my head.

There have been a number of articles recently that reinforce an idea I have that projects of any type are much more than they seem on the surface. The installation of new software appears to be an IT project. An organizational redesign appears to be about ego-stroking and change for the sake of change. A new product development project is certainly about the new product. But all these projects, ideally, are part of a much wider array of activities associated with changing and improving the way that particular part of the business operates. It seems far too easy to get wrapped up in the outward activities, and forget that much of what happens in successful projects is an inside job.

Judith Meskill pointed at a good overview article in the May 2004 HR Magazine on Shedding Light on Knowledge Management by Pamela Babcock. Quoting Judith:

Long article, many opinions, and, in the end, Pamela Babcock wraps with the conclusion that knowledge must be embedded into the workflow layer of an organization in order to ensure a level of success and "measurable results". Music to my ears -- and I can say, "been there, done that, and it works!"

The April 2004 Rockley Report has an article on Planning: The Key to Successful CMS Implementation by Judy Glick-Smith. While her specialty is CMS, it won't get anywhere without an understanding of that big picture: What's happening now, where do you want to go, and how will you get there.

So you think you need content management? The temptation is to call your Information Technology (IT) department and ask them to help you choose a content management system (CMS). Being very tool oriented, your IT department will love buying you the latest "silver bullet" without ever looking at your content requirements or your internal processes. This is the best prescription for failure.
[via Column Two]

A third article, this written by James Robertson of Column Two, Intranets and Knowledge Sharing. Robertson's goal is to challenge the traditional view of the corporate intranet as a dumping grounds for documents. Why not use that intranet to build a true system to support what you do in your business. Robertson covers communities, expert location, collaboration, knowledge tools, and finally using the intranet to support culture change.

Much has been made of the emphasis on people and process in knowledge management. While it is certainly true that knowledge management is not a technology issue, effort must still be spent in providing a suitable environment to facilitate knowledge capture and sharing.

2 Comment(s)

I agree 100% with the opinion that:

"knowledge must be embedded into the workflow layer of an organization in order to ensure a level of success and "measurable results"

From my point of view that could be considered as the prime objective of KM. Managing knowledge does not mean buying a tool, and making knowledge explicit. Even sharing knowledge itself has no value. Value comes to light when people apply the things to their daily work.

Software tools, best practice documents and knowledge sharing are only tools to make knowledge "available for use" where it produces value (its application to the daily work). And that can be acomplished by designing processes and workflow that transmit smart ways of carrying out a job.

Lucas Rodríguez Cervera

» Embedded knowledge from Knowledge Jolt with Jack

Comments and recent discussion has me thinking about KM. Knowledge is has to be built into how organizations AND people do business -- and at that point it is almost fruitless to talk about knowledge itself. The important thing becomes questions arou... Read More

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