May 29, 2009

Viewing Projects Through a Knowledge Lens

I structured the knowledge management plan session into two parts. In the first part I gave them a scenario written in the style of a business school case study. It contained context, background information and data. They were then presented with four questions that would help them to create the knowledge management plan for the case study. You could see the light bulbs going off in heads as they started to fully comprehend how powerful a tool this would be when applied to their business.

In the second part I gave them a copy of the downloadable knowledge management plan template and suggested that they either work on their own (normally they would create a knowledge management plan in a workshop setting with the people who would use the plan) or with someone in the group that they wanted to work with. Some worked on their own, some picked a partner or multiple partners to work with. I stressed that this template was not intended to be used on critical projects but smaller, non critical ones.

There was a quiet murmur in the room as they set about the task. In the debrief at the end one of the things that was remarked upon was how when you look at an activity through a ‘knowledge lens’ you see it differently.

I am visiting St Andrews for the weekend. I hope you have an enjoyable weekend.

Knoco Ltd

May 27, 2009

Feedback on Sharing Experience on Knowledge Management Plans

I guess I am like everyone in that I like praise. I don’t have an overwhelming need to be told ‘good job’ every minute of the day but hearing that my efforts have been appreciated is rewarding. I have just found out that a workshop that I recently delivered on the cultural aspects of implementing knowledge management and how knowledge management plans can be a terrific tool with which to engage senior management on the benefits managing knowledge can deliver to the organisation was well received. I had received top scores in all categories by all delegates. It was a really enjoyable session with excellent conversations but to score so highly in the feedback was very great. The feeling that I was able to share some of my many years of experience and provide insights that would hopefully make their journey in knowledge management easier made it all worthwhile.

Knoco Ltd

May 22, 2009

Facilitator Training to Support Knowledge Management

Training in facilitation is a core skill for members of the Knowledge Management team. As you start to move the responsibility for delivery of knowledge management out into the business you will need to provide facilitation training to those who will be involved in delivering it. One of the offers you can make to gain support of the line managers is to offer to include them in the facilitation training. Facilitation skills are very valuable to line managers.

You can view my latest video here. It is on tips for knowledge management workshops.

May 21, 2009

Value Adding Knowledge Management Master Class

The knowledge management master class was excellent. I had been asked to focus on culture and its impact on successful knowledge management implementations and communities of practice. The group were lively and we had conversation that added value to us all.

I ended the session by getting the group to think about the different categories of knowledge that their operation required and how it could be management by a knowledge management plan focused on operations.

Very rewarding day.

Knoco Ltd

May 20, 2009

Culture and Knowledge Management

The main part of the Integrated Operations Conference finished today. Tomorrow is a knowledge management master class so to ensure that I focused on what they wanted to hear I asked the attendees what they wanted me to focus on. Guess what, it was culture.

The feedback that they gave me was that they understood knowledge management processes but they were challenged by how to understand their own company / geographical culture and how to factor that into a successful knowledge management implementation.

I have put together material (slides and stories) that hopefully will entirely delight them and make it a memorable and highly profitable day for them all.

Knoco Ltd

May 19, 2009

Knowledge Management Plans Aligned with Integrated Operations

There were some who attended the Integrated Operations Conference here in Aberdeen who expected it to focus on technology. They would have been disappointed. At the end of the first day of the conference it was very obvious that people, process and technology were all important components in the final solution.

The exercise in creating a knowledge management plan for an operational setting went well. The power of managing your knowledge via a knowledge management plan was well illustrated by the exercise.

The feedback from those who have downloaded the knowledge management plan template from the web site has been excellent. I really feel that we have made a difference to a lot of people by making this available.

Knoco Ltd

May 18, 2009

Knowledge Management Plan Template

Just finished work on the knowledge management plan template. It's now available on the web site and you don't even have to register to download it, just click on the link and you have it. It find it tiresome when you have to put in your email and lots of other data before you can get something. I am Chairing the Integrated Operations Conference this week and was disappointed to find that I had to put in all my details just to download a copy of the agenda.

Have a look at the knowledge management plan template and let me know how you get on with using it.

Knoco Ltd

May 14, 2009

Knowledge Management in Integrated Operations

Just putting the final touches to the presentation on knowledge management and how the knowledge management plan is the key to delivering integrated operations.

Knoco Ltd

May 13, 2009

Knowledge Management Plan

I was just putting the final touches to the materials for the master class workshop that I will be running on knowledge management plans at the integrated operations conference in Aberdeen next week when Nick suggested that we create a knowledge management plan template that could be downloaded from our website. I thought that was an excellent idea and after using the template at the workshop next week will make it available via the Knoco website.

Knoco Ltd

May 11, 2009

Knowledge Management Helps Win Work

When you are designing knowledge management pilot projects try to keep them very simple. Make them tangible and make them achievable. Don't try to overcomplicate things, make them achievable because at the end of the day what you're trying to do is deliver business benefit but at the same time demonstrate some aspect of knowledge management.

In my latest video clip I talk about an example of a company who wanted to get started with knowledge management but were not quite sure where to start. They eventually chose bidding, the sales activity associated with winning new work.

We started by looking at the current practice of how they bid for work. We then went on to understand what knowledge was required for each step in the process and how it could be optimised. In doing so we created a vastly improved process which resulted in an improved win rate (and hence more work for the company) but also illustrated the benefit of managing knowledge.

If you're doing proof of concept or piloting, pick something simple, something achievable and the probability will be that you will be successful.

Knoco Ltd

May 6, 2009

What Can Happen If You Don't Manage Your Knowledge

I read with interest the reported experience of the US electronic retailer, Circuit City, who as a cost-cutting measure dismissed many of its experienced staff. The article reported that Circuit City had as a result eliminated its unique value proposition; knowledgeable, talented and motivated front of office staff and that this had resulted within a matter of months in the company moving from bankruptcy to liquidation.

I can't help but wonder how much of this knowledge was held in the heads of those individuals and as a result can’t be replicated by those who have been left behind. Perhaps this is an object lesson in the need to have a full learning system within the organisation that transfers in a systematic fashion the learning from the most experienced to the least experienced members of staff.

Knoco Ltd

May 4, 2009

Audience Makeup for a Knowledge Exchange

When organising a knowledge exchange you might want to give consideration to the mix and ratio of the people that should attend. I tend to use the following as my rules of thumb;

Knowledge providers – those people who have the knowledge that the other attendees want = 30% of attendees
Knowledge takers – those people who want the knowledge that the knowledge providers have = 60%
Auditor – people who want to learn about the knowledge exchange process = 10%

These ratios are base on a lot of experience of designing and delivering knowledge exchanges. Let me try to share why I suggest these ratios by starting in reverse order.

The ‘auditors’ are those people who want to learn about the knowledge exchange process, perhaps to run them in future, or to understand if it’s a process that could be of value in their part of the organisation. To me they are the least important people in the room. They can attend a training course and learn how to conduct a knowledge exchange if necessary. They could also talk to the ‘knowledge providers’ or ‘knowledge takers’ after the knowledge exchange to learn what they thought of the process and whether they thought the process would work in their part of the organisation. So for me they are the least important people in the room so I tend to limit their numbers to a maximum of 10%.

You now want to get a balance between those that can provide the knowledge and those that need it. I suggest having the balance in favour of those who need it as they ensure that the knowledge providers give the detail that will allow the knowledge takers to be able to replicate that knowledge in their own business. The suggested ratio shouldn’t be slavishly adhered to but taken as guidance.

Keeping your knowledge management implementation simple is the subject of my latest video clip. You can view it here or on the main web site.

May 1, 2009

Managing Safety Knowledge

I had been invited by a well known organisation that has safety and safety management deeply embedded in the ethos of the organisation to review their safety toolbox. This was the toolbox that their safety professionals used to manage safety within the organisation. They wanted me to make comments on how it could be improved and updated.

While much of the toolbox contained excellent material and advice that was the best in class if not world class I also found that it could take up to 9 clicks to reach a document or piece of advice. I also found instances where the advice appeared to be many years out of date. Links within the toolbox were dead and led nowhere. Over the years people had added to the toolbox and it had lost much of its original structure.

I gave a demonstration of the existing toolbox to the executive management team during which the above points where highlight it. When I introduced the suggestions as to how to improve the toolbox they were unanimously accepted without reservation.
Sometimes organisations need to stand back and reflect and verify that the tools and infrastructure that they have provided an adequate to meet today's business challenges.

The safety professionals employed by this organisation now have world class knowledge management processes and toolbox to support their work.

Knoco Ltd