Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program

Stan Garfield
8 min readDec 13, 2017

Originally posted Aug 1, 2017

Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program

My second book is available from Amazon in a print version and a Kindle version. It is a companion to my first book, Implementing a Successful Knowledge Management Program and my fourth book, The Five Cs of KM. Other books I wrote, to which I contributed a chapter, or in which I am quoted are also available. And you can visit my Amazon author page.

You can get a free digital copy or request a free hard copy courtesy of Lucidea, which also hosts these related blog posts.


View the recordings of presentations related to the book:

  1. Selling KM — Leveraging Stakeholders to Promote your KM Program
  2. Selling KM — Define the Essentials
  3. Selling KM — Lay the Foundation
  4. Selling KM — 10 Parts of the Business Case
  5. Selling KM — Educating Stakeholders
  6. Selling KM — Communicating with Stakeholders
  7. Selling KM — Build a Team and Get Outside Help
  8. Selling KM — Embrace Technology Appropriately
  9. Selling KM — Improve Continuously
  10. Selling KM — Nurture a Knowledge-Sharing Culture
  11. Selling KM — Recognize and Reward
  12. Selling KM — Use the Keys to Success
  13. Selling KM — Avoid the Top 40 Pitfalls
  14. Selling KM — Apply Lessons Learned
  15. Selling KMReuse Proven PracticesPart 1: Microsoft and Large Professional Services Firm
  16. Selling KMReuse Proven Practices — Part 2: NASA and Large Systems Integrator
  17. Selling KMReuse Proven Practices — Part 3: Chubb Insurance and Large Defense Integrator
  18. Selling KM — Reuse Proven Practices — Part 4: Large Global Manufacturer and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
  19. Selling KMReuse Proven Practices — Part 5: Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) and The Hewlett-Packard Company
  20. The HP KM Program: Tools and Technology


Proven Practices for Promoting a Knowledge Management Program offers techniques and advice from Stan Garfield, a seasoned KM professional and expert with decades of experience in the field.

You’ll learn the essential elements of a knowledge management program; how to lay the foundation for success; the secrets to obtaining early and ongoing leadership commitment; tips for communication strategies that actually do influence and engage your audience; how to assess and leverage technology appropriately; powerful methods of nurturing a knowledge-sharing culture (including recognizing and rewarding participants), and finally, you’ll read detailed case studies of 10 organizations — among them Microsoft and NASA — that will inspire you as you set your own knowledge management strategy.


I owe a debt of gratitude to the many people who made this book possible, including my editor, Sarah Nichols, and all the KM practitioners who shared ideas, use cases, success stories and proven practices. In particular, I would like to thank Steve Denning, Richard Cross, Jean-Claude Monney, Ed Hoffman, Tom Barfield, John Hovell, Howard Cohen, Dean Testa, Linda Hummel, Dan Ranta, and the others mentioned in the book.


  • Ron Aspe: “Stan’s book helps you build a comprehensive sales and marketing campaign that will ensure your KM project succeeds. Each of its 15 chapters contains valuable nuggets for you to mine. If you’re not into selling or promoting, it’s even more important that you read this book, as it offers plenty of strategies that don’t require ‘cold calls’. At the very least, familiarize yourself with its Table of Contents. The book is designed to be valuable at the point of need; I guarantee even if you don’t read the whole book from front to back, you will reach for it from time to time over the course of your career.”
  • Bruce Boyes: “Well-known knowledge management practitioners Stan Garfield and Dr Arthur Shelley have launched new books.”
  • Boris Jaeger: “Advice from Stan Garfield, a seasoned knowledge management professional and expert.”


  • Gloria Burke: “His fabulous new book is a must-read for KMers. If you are a KM professional, you’ll want to read this book!”
  • Steve Denning: “Knowledge sharing (aka knowledge management or KM) is a key component of Agile management. Read the Proven Practices For Promoting KM by Stan Garfield.”


  1. Howie Cohen: “Stan Garfield’s book is a composition of thoughtful and practical expertise from his own personal experience and years of working with subject matter experts. What makes this book so powerful is the fact that Stan reaches across his vast network to gain insights and when he called.. everyone answered. The book is really tied to a master class of knowledge on Knowledge Management. Stan shares his knowledge and the connections to others and further makes the connection to real organizational value. I have been personally blessed by the opportunity to know him and contribute. I highly recommend this book to anyone working in any business. There are knowledge nuggets for you all!”
  2. Jean-Claude Monney: “A rich and practical source of proven KM programs and practices. I had the great honor to be interviewed by Stan, sharing Microsoft Services’ KM program for his book. Stan’s book is a great example of a KM practitioner walking the KM talk, sharing not only his knowledge, but that of his peers. Stan is well-respected in the KM practitioners’ community, and a fantastic reference source of knowledge on KM. His book covers proven practices and programs, providing actionable, practical recommendations. Thank you, Stan, for having me in your book and for being a continuous source of KM learning.”
  3. Gordon Vala-Webb: “ A cornucopia of KM capabilities here: the author provides an immensely useful listing — and description — of KM practices that do work with enough ‘how to’ information to get any keen knowledge manager started. An essential starting point for anyone new to the KM game.”
  4. Cody Vild: “Great read. As a new practitioner of KM, this book was instrumental in getting me up to speed. This book is filled with great tidbits that are highly flexible for a wide variety of businesses. I strongly recommend picking this up if you plan to do or are currently in the KM field.”
  5. John Hovell: “Stan has written multiple books on Knowledge Management (KM). From my perspective, his writing style is engaging, enjoyable, and easy to follow. I can take his well-thought-out lists and immediately implement them, or I can start with his expert recommendations and then collaborate with others to apply them in specific situations. Its simply a great read!”
  6. Arno Boersma: “If you like lists like I do — preferably of actionable items — you’ll love this book. Too often knowledge management is either too abstract or held hostage by technology. Not in Stan’s latest work. Lots of people-centered insights based on practice, not theory, and the many references to other experts, communities, publications, etc. are like the yellow pages for KM. Thanks, Stan, for practicing what you preach by sharing your vast knowledge.”
  7. Tom Barfield: “If you are looking for a book that covers all the bases for developing and executing a knowledge strategy — this one is for you! The chapters stay at a fairly high level — which makes them more digestible — it gives a solid taste of just about every important aspect of knowledge management and collaboration. The challenge is in figuring out which chapters in the book to focus on first — that will change based on each business situation.”
  8. Ana Neves: “This book is a very practical manual to guide the potentially hard and uncertain work required to gather support to a KM program and ensure resources for its sustainability. It is written by someone with extensive experience in doing just that.”

Table of Contents


  • Why do organizations undertake a knowledge management initiative? 15
  • Whose help do you need in order to promote your program? 17
  • What information do you need to promote your program? 19
  • When do you have to promote your program? 19
  • Where do you sell your program? 20
  • Why do you need to sell your program? 20
  • How can others help you promote your program? 20

2. Chapter Two LAY THE FOUNDATION 23

  • Learn about KM yourself 23
  • Identify the Top 3 Objectives 24
  • Get User Input 24
  • 15 Benefits of Knowledge Management 28
  • Articulate Your Vision 30
  • Define Compelling Use Cases 37
  • Lead by Example 38


  • Tell stories 43
  • Make the Business Case 45
  • Sell the benefits 46
  • Obtain the 10 Commitments 46

4. Chapter Four EDUCATE 51

  • Whom to educate 51
  • Give books and articles to leaders 52
  • Invite guest speakers to present 52
  • Hold workshops with stakeholders and users 52
  • Conduct guided tours 52
  • Create and conduct training 53

5. Chapter Five COMMUNICATE 59

  • Communications channels 59
  • Meetings 65
  • Success Stories 65
  • Leadership Communications 67
  • Documents and Presentations 68
  • User Assistance and Knowledge Help Desk 70

6. Chapter Six SEEK OUTSIDE HELP 73

  • Schedule visits with others who are doing KM well 73
  • Join and participate in communities 73
  • Use analyst reports 74
  • Use a consultant 76

7. Chapter Seven BUILD A TEAM 81

  • Engage Key Leaders 81
  • Establish a small program staff, solicit core team members, and create a KM community 81
  • What to look for in team members 83
  • Meet virtually 85
  • Meet face-to-face 86


  • Find a killer app 91
  • Offer a great user experience 93
  • Embed knowledge flow into workflow and business processes 94
  • Partner with IT 96
  • Understand how technology products are reviewed and approved 101


  • Implement, Improve, and Iterate 105
  • Use the 50 KM Components 107
  • Use KM Methodologies 110
  • Improve Findability 112
  • Use the Power of Pull 115


  • Identify the current culture and values of your organization 119
  • Get people to share knowledge 122
  • Why Share Knowledge? 124
  • Work Out Loud 124
  • Overcome Reluctance 125
  • Increase Trust 128

11. Chapter Eleven RECOGNIZE AND REWARD 133

  • Goals and Measurements 134
  • Incentives and Rewards 139
  • Gamification 146
  • Badging 147

12. Chapter Twelve USE THE KEYS TO SUCCESS 151

  • 10 Tips for Starting a KM Program 151
  • 5 Steps to Follow 151
  • 10 Actions Leaders Can Take 155
  • 10 Principles for Successful Communities 156
  • SPIN Selling 157
  • Insights: A Baker’s Dozen 158
  • Stay Agile 160

13. Chapter Thirteen AVOID THE TOP 40 PITFALLS 163

14 Chapter Fourteen APPLY LESSONS LEARNED 181

  • Learn to sell and accept that you are in sales 181
  • Issues in selling: research advice when selling KM 183
  • Face-to-face selling 184
  • How to make friends and influence organizations to adopt KM 187

15. Chapter Fifteen REUSE PROVEN PRACTICES 191

  • Microsoft Services 191
  • NASA 193
  • Large Professional Services Firm 197
  • Large Systems Integrator 198
  • Large Defense Contractor 200
  • Large Global Manufacturer 203
  • Chubb Insurance 205
  • The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company 207
  • Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) 210
  • The Hewlett-Packard Company 214


Photos from my book signing at the KMWorld 2017 Bookstore

Signing a copy for Gloria Burke
Signing a copy for Cody Vild



Stan Garfield

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