Developing a Knowledge Management Strategy: The start of a new journey

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– José Carlos Tenorio Favero

Since a week ago I have started to work as Head of KM in an IT solutions outsourcing firm. Coming from an engineering company, I must say that it is quite a challenge since it´s a whole new setting. Although I am somewhat knowledgeable of IT, speaking the business jargon is a different issue.

One my lessons learned coming from my previous position is that Knowledge Managers must understand the business scenario and become acquainted with the critical issues that affect productivity and organizational excellence in general. With this idea in mind, I decided to schedule a meeting with the CEO in order to gain his insight of business and understand priorities.

Luckily, the CEO was well aware of KM. The strategy in the company is just a year old and up to now, communities of practices have been created and a lessons learned procedure is also running. A KM portal which serves a platform for community interaction is also available.

The CEO quickly detailed three priorities:

Lesson learned

Value Generation

Critical Knowledge Retention and Development.

The lesson learned procedure has only managed to get to the “register” part since no actions have been taken in order to convert lesson into tangible business improvements.  It´s understandable since at the begging people first need to develop the habit of registering good lessons. A procedure can secure that the process is carried out but finally we must manage change.  It´s not easy. Besides, at the beginning you cannot run. You must walk first and if possible, just crawl.

However, now we have got over that stage and we must start implementing actions quickly.

On the other hand, the CEO talked about value generation. This has to do with managing client knowledge in order to build a formidable and sustainable relationship with them. It´s about discovering things that client’s don´t know that they need and can become catalysts for future projects.

The company has plenty of experience in this point. However “value generation”, which I consider to be critical knowledge, has stayed put in the mind of many projects leads.  So we had to dig up these experiences and register them in the form of “stories” which are linked to the company´s values. Storytelling is very valuable when it comes to transmitting this type of knowledge.(for storytelling tips click here)

Finally, since KM is practically just a new born, many projects function like islands. So we have to start identifying critical knowledge and develop the steps that follow that have to do with acquiring, transferring and applying critical knowledge.

Here it´s important to differentiate between rutinary and critical knowledge. There are many functions that just require standard knowledge which can be easily found. So it´s important to start with the basic steps and get the business line managers involved as well as other crucial leaders.

This actually was the first instruction given to me by the CEO. “Talk to all my managers and senior leads. Analyze how they have been working those three points and detect business requirements in order to reengineer the KM strategy”

This is my starting point. Now it´s time to get busy.

©Jose Carlos Tenorio Favero

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8 responses to “Developing a Knowledge Management Strategy: The start of a new journey

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