Originally published December 15, 2014

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A recent discussion in the SIKM Leaders Community focused on staffing a knowledge management program and community management effort. The initial post was from someone establishing a Knowledge Management Program Office with a focus on Communities of Practice who wanted to build a case for one or more dedicated resources.

You need to have at least one knowledge manager to lead the KM initiative. Knowledge management is everyone’s responsibility, not just the work of knowledge managers. But knowledge managers are needed to raise awareness, align knowledge actions with business priorities, promote a knowledge sharing culture, engage senior leadership, manage the infrastructure, and support all knowledge workers.

A knowledge manager should be assigned to lead the KM efforts of an entire organization, or any group within an organization. In this role, they will be the KM leader for their group. In the ideal case, this is a full-time job, but in some cases for smaller groups, it may be a part-time role.

A KM leader needs to perform the following tasks.

  1. Improve business results by institutionalizing a knowledge sharing culture. With the help of the senior executive and the other leaders in the organization, take steps to achieve a positive culture which rewards caring, sharing, and daring.
  2. Define, maintain, and execute the KM implementation plan for the organization. This is the overall program plan for the KM initiative.
  3. Define, communicate, and implement people, process, and technology components for sharing, innovating, reusing, collaborating, and learning. These are the core elements that enable the KM program.
  4. Define KM measurements and rewards for the organization and KM goals for all relevant members. This aligns individual and organizational objectives.
  5. Report regularly on the organization’s performance against KM metrics. This lets the leadership team know how the program is progressing.
  6. Implement action plans for people, process, and technology projects. These are the detailed implementation plans for each project leader.
  7. Lead the organization’s KM teams. These include the program staff, the core team, and the KM community.
  8. Manage the organization’s KM communications. This keeps all users informed on the program.
  9. Actively participate in communities. Model the desired behaviors by being visible as a leader and member of multiple internal and external communities.
  10. Network with other KM Leaders. Demonstrate the use of social networks to stay current in the field of knowledge management.

For more about knowledge managers, see:

For more about community managers, see:

A follow-up post requested a breakdown of the time a community manager spends on various activities.

This depends on the type of community manager. There are several varieties:

  1. A communities of practice program manager
  2. A community manager for a single community of practice
  3. A community manager for an entire Enterprise Social Network (ESN)
  4. A community manager for a single group in an ESN
  5. A community manager for an external community, e.g., a company’s followers on Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, or other social media tools

For #1 and #3 in a large organization, a dedicated full-time person is ideal. This person might have additional KM-related duties, but they should be able to focus much of their time on nurturing communities and/or the ESN. The duties are similar to those listed above for a KM leader — replace “KM” with “communities program” or “ESN” in the list of tasks.

For #2 and #4, the role can be part-time, depending on the size, activity level, and importance of the community or group. The duties are defined in 10 Tips for Leading Communities.

For #5, it depends on the size of the company and the number of tools being used. At least one full-time person, and possibly many more, will ensure that the desired channels are being monitored, responses are being posted, and regular content updates are being made. The Community Roundtable has details on this role and related roles.

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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