Community Member Profiles; KM Lessons; Free KM Resources; KM for Services, Operations, and Manufacturing

27-Feb-08 Archive of Weekly KM Blog by Stan Garfield

KM Question of the Week

From com-prac

Q: I’m building out a new community member profile and thought I’d ask for your input on the top ten desired elements that other experts have found the useful data elements to consider. For example, name, physical location, company name, role in your organization, current challenges, areas of interest, areas of expertise, etc. I’d be curious on your practices and perspectives.

A: For the internal KM community at HP, we asked people to supply the following in their profiles:

  1. Name
  2. Location
  3. Time in KM
  4. Time with the company
  5. Organization
  6. Personal background and interests
  7. Area of expertise
  8. Current responsibility
  9. What do you consider your greatest success?
  10. Name one thing that you would like to achieve

For the external KM community I lead, I ask for the following: “ When requesting membership, please provide your name, location, organization, role, and links to your organization’s web site, your personal blog (if any), and your LinkedIn or similar profile(s).”

KM Blog of the Week

I participated in a best practice study for APQC and was asked this question: “If you were invited to give a keynote speech on knowledge management, what words of wisdom or lessons learned would you impart?”

I posed this question to many KM thought leaders and will be featuring their answers in future weeks. Here is a reply that was featured in a recent blog post.

Knowledge management lessons by Shawn Callahan

All KM is change management — View every knowledge management initiative as a change initiative, which means helping the leadership group to imagine what it will be like when it’s done and after imagining it, they want it. It also means getting the employees engaged in working out how it’s going to work and then getting people to volunteer to work on it. It will also involve a recognition that most KM initiatives are affected by culture (actually, what isn’t) and culture is never completed, done, ticked off the list of things to do. Consequently, a continuous improvement approach is needed.

Link to what matters — Make sure that the most powerful people in the organization understand and believe the answer to, “so what?” Always link the KM initiative to what people care about. Mostly that’s the business strategy but there have been times when I’ve worked with organizations without a clear business strategy, so a linkage there wasn’t going to help. Find out what matters and if the KM initiatives doesn’t make a difference, dump it rather than try and make it fit. A poor fitting KM initiative will eventually unravel anyway so it’s better to dump it early than to forced to dump it when heaps of resources have been spent and it’s barely limping along.

Collect stories early and often — It’s often hard to quantify the value of KM initiatives. So whenever you hear a real live experience, no matter how small, take a note of what happened and tell others. We’re helping an engineering firm start a community of practice for its draftspeople. At the first teleconference a woman in Newcastle recounted how she was creating a library of screws for a particular type of aircraft. A fellow in Adelaide piped up saying they already have a library of screws and it also includes auto-placement. You could hear the excitement in the woman’s voice on hearing this work had already been done, “and it even has auto-placement.” The couple joined forces and updated the library and made it available to the whole community.

This is a small story but one senior leadership heard from the very beginning of the community’s development and they could retell to other leaders in the company while finishing their anecdote with, “and this is just one thing the community is doing.” While the business benefits must be articulated, the stories gave the community time to establish themselves.

KM Link of the Week

Knoco’s Free Resources

  • Benefits Mapping template - Allows the participants in a benefits workshop to articulate, in the form of a diagram, how knowledge management interventions can yield measurable business results in service of business drivers or goals
  • Communication Plan template - Effective communication is crucial to delivery of the culture change needed to embed Knowledge Management. Use this publicly-available plan template to guide communications during the four main stages of your KM Implementation
  • Knowledge Management Plan template - Deliver KM value for your projects and businesses by developing a Knowledge Management plan using this free template
  • KM Self-assessment tool - Use this free tool to evaluate the KM maturity of your organization
  • KM risk evaluation template - Use this free tool to calculate the risk to successful delivery of your KM implementation

KM Book of the Week

Knowledge Management for Services, Operations and Manufacturing by Tom Young

This book is aimed at those who are involved in Knowledge Management (KM) or have recently been appointed to deliver KM in services, operational or production environments. The models and techniques for KM are well defined within environments with a distinct start and finish to the activity, for example the ‘learn before, during and after’ model.

The book focuses on environments where activity and learning are ongoing, and a different approach to KM has to be taken. It aims to provide managers and practitioners with the necessary principles, approaches and tools to be able to design their approach from scratch or to be able to compare their existing practices against world class examples. The book provides models and methodologies which can be applied or replicated in a wide variety of industries. It also contains numerous case studies which are used to illustrate the journey that various companies are taking as they implement KM.

  • Tom Young is a director and co-founder of Knoco Ltd. Prior to that Tom was founding member and Principal Coach of BP’s Knowledge Management Team and Virtual Teamworking project.
  • Is written by a highly knowledgeable and well-respected practitioner in the field.
  • Draws on the author’s wide-ranging practical experience of implementing KM in various industries around the globe.
  • Provides practical and realistic solutions to real-world problems via case studies from leading companies including BP, BBC, Orange, Chase Manhattan Bank and General Motors.
  • Intended to complement Knowledge Management for Teams and Projects by Nick Milton
  • The GM case study “Adopting and Adapting Product Best Practices across General Motors Engineering Six Years Later” by Steven Wieneke, is included on pages 142–165.

Table of Contents

1. Principles 1

  • Introduction 1
  • What is knowledge? 2
  • Tacit and explicit knowledge 4
  • What is knowledge management? 5

2. Knowledge management models for services, operations and manufacturing 9

3. Performance benchmarking and knowledge management 13

  • Target setting 16
  • What knowledge 17

4. Processes for learning from performance 21

  • After action review 21
  • Performance learning review 25

5. Processes for learning from others 31

  • Peer assist 31
  • Site knowledge visit 34
  • Knowledge exchange 45
  • Business driven action learning 60

6. Communities of practice 65

  • Communities of purpose 68
  • Communities of practice 68
  • Community of interest 71
  • Community tools and processes 71

7. The corporate knowledge base 73

8. Technology 79

  • Portals, or knowledge libraries 79
  • Lessons learned databases 81
  • Yellow pages/people finders 84
  • eLearning 86
  • Community question and answer forums 87
  • Blogs 90
  • Wikis 91

9. Roles 93

  • Corporate knowledge manager 94
  • Business knowledge manager 95
  • knowledge management sponsor 95
  • knowledge management coach 96
  • Community facilitator 96
  • Subject matter experts 97
  • Librarians and cybrarians 98
  • Roles in a legal services context 98
  • The roles of operations technicians in knowledge management 100

10. Assurance and monitoring 103

  • Knowledge management standards 103
  • Knowledge management plans 104
  • Knowledge management monitoring 105
  • Knowledge management metrics 106

11. The linkage with other management disciplines 107

  • Six sigma 107
  • Lean operations 109
  • Quality management, total quality management and quality circles 111
  • Risk management 113
  • Health, safety and environmental management 115
  • Performance management 116

12. Case histories 119

  • BBC Production and Services 119
  • BP’s Operations Value Process (OVP) 130
  • Knowledge Management at CfBT Education Trust 133
  • General Motors 142
  • Orange 165

13. Summary and conclusions 181

  • Strategy 181
  • Communities of practice 181
  • Review 182
  • Benchmark 182
  • Learn 182
  • Do 183
  • Roles 183
  • Assurance and monitoring 183



Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager

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Stan Garfield

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager