Kickstarting your KM Initiative

Posted by Arjun Thomas

Over the past week or so I have put up posts on subjects like Knowledge Mapping, Communication Strategies for KM, Why KM is important and Web 2.0Knowledge Management is a vast subject and while it might be a little difficult to address all its facets i hope to have more discussions around specific elements of it in the weeks ahead.

However before we get any further it might be worth taking some time out to ask a very fundamental questions (This is aimed at those of you who have already made a decisions that you would like to start a KM initiative within your project or within your group / organization).

When do i start my KM initiative?

The most common question however is not how to implement KM but when. As a project manager you already have a number of issues to deal with. If, however,  the initial planning was done well the chances of major problems surfacing are slim, and for those that do crop up the risk mitigation strategies put in place should soften the blow. Though experience does tell us that even the most well planned engagements have a way of surprising us in ways we least expect.

Back to the question at hand. When is your project or 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 project.
  • There is an inability to connect with experts when your team needs to.
  • You have a distributed team that has no means of collaborating effectively.
  • The organization has a high-level vision of pursuing and implementing KM.
  • Your clients require you to have a method to manage knowledge within the project.
  • There is a need to create a sustainable knowledge base for new people coming on board ( long term projects with a high cycle rate of resources )
  • You feel the need to improve efficiency within your project.

There could be a number of other reasons why you think you need to start a KM exercise as well, so do list out your reasons for starting a KM initiative as a comment.

Right, now you’ve figured out that its time to implement KM, 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. This is an area that you need to explore very carefully, your team members should welcome the benefits that the new initiate brings along and not consider it an overhead to the work they are already tasked with.

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.

My next post will give you some quick steps to follow that should help you kick start your KM initiative.

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