Knowledge Management Strategy: Setting the pace for 2015

With another year coming to an end, it´s  time to brush up on the learning points of 2014. At GMD, we have progressed a lot this year: When we kicked off 2014, leadership support for KM was very low. Some would say that KM wasn’t generating value…that it was divorced from the overall objectives and strategy….others heavily criticized the lessons learned strategy since lessons were just being piled up with no further actions taken….something needed to be done and fast.

Coming from implementing KM in an engineering company, I knew the challenge was rough. IT companies have a differente focus and culture. I had a close look at some APQC selected companies in the field of IT (Accenture, TATA, Infosys, Wipro, IBM, etc) and  began to develop a quick benchmark. Some of the best practices I incorporated in GMD´s plan were:

  • Identify strategic/critical knowledge and formulate an action plan to develop that knowledge
  • Align actions with business objectives.
  • Talk to senior leaders in order to incorporate their ideas.
  • Make the lessons learned process lean and simple. Oversee the entire structure and responsibilities in order to apply lessons. (generally people avoid getting involved in the application!)
  • Create transversal communities
  • Communicate a lot and analyze the learning culture.

As a result, the business leaders themselves generated the KM plan and goals were accomplished easier. KM participation incremented almost 65% in comparison to 2014 and by this I refer to the number of people that registered lessons learned, participated in knowledge forums, specialized talks and community knowledge gatherings, etc. Significant impact was drawn from the upgraded lessons learned strategy and KPIs clearly demonstrated savings on an economic level.

The above pointers may sound fairly easy, but putting them to practice is real challenge. We still have plenty of work to get done. For example, the same level of participation and results need to be generated company wide. We began with pilots in three key business lines with 1300 employees. Along the journey I´ve met very resistant leaders and found different levels of maturity regarding processes and results.  What I´ve learned from this is that a single “recipe” for all does not work. Thus you need to understand the business horizon and jargon. Infiltrate yourself in business!

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One of our projects sharing knowledge…they baptized the initiative “Knowledge Thursdays” where they invite a team member to share his experience

Knowledge cycle:  face-to-face and virtual community gatherings in order to collaborate, share and act upon knowledge (Photo: Knowledge transfer session @ Graña y Montero)

Lessons learned group meetings

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The largest project team in GMD sharing knowledge…every Friday on a weekly basis

For 2015 we will continue to work on Strategic Knowledge. However we will only be looking at the centre of the dartboard: the bullseye. This translates in developing knowledge associated with cost reduction, automatization of solutions and client value generation. Knowledge surrounding this topics will be priority and for this we will incorporate innovation (as a way to discover knowledge) and steer lessons learned towards those topics only. The basis for this is that we need to discover proven practices and standardize them fast. Some would argue that lessons need to cover all experiences, but if you analyse the workflow levels of project and teams you can get a good glimpse of  just how much they can give towards developing KM. In the case of Lessons learned, we shall be treating their implementation as special projects, defining responsibilities and schedules. For example, early in January we are starting with the deployment of the methodology of effective meetings in order to reduce costs and time invested in meetings, we are creating new procedures and templates for specific business areas, upgrading the QA process for proposals and many other things as well.

And in case you are wondering…culture is a permanent part of the agenda!

What´s your KM plan for 2015?

© Jose Carlos Tenorio Favero

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