Thursday, November 04, 2004

Communities of Practice ROI

Can one truly measure the return on investment on communities? I guess the answer is it depends. It depends on what the goals of the community are. This past month I had been tasked with return on investment proof for my community. The question specifically posed to me was not what is the impact of the APQC KM community but how or does the APQC KM Community impact the bottom line and how.

So I set out to find correlations between community members and their behaviors. My first attempt was at purchasing behavior. I took the names of my community members and totaled their purchases. I was able to prove that community members are active APQC product and services buyers. Then came the hammer. Would these people have made the same purchases were they not community members? Answer: Yes, possibly. This is the tough part. There is no way for me to tell how being in my community influences a purchase decision.

Next attempt was at membership tenure. Most of you know APQC is a membership based organization, so we live and die by our member retention rate. I looked at the list again and tried to determine how tenured these community members are. Same answer, community members are tenured APQC members. This time I put myself through the scrutiny; would these people have continued to be APQC members if your community did not exist. Same answer, I think so but I don't know for sure. I am not sure how being a member of my community impacts a decision for an individual to renew membership.

Back to the drawing board. I went back to my own advice. What was my community created for? It was created to add value to the membership. It wasn't created to increase revenue (although I wish I could say that it did). So I finally took this message to the management.

The KM community consists of tenured APQC members with purchasing power. I have several testimonials from community members that express this value sentiment. I cannot prove that my community makes them buy or makes them stay, but what I do want to try is to get them more involved and to expand the community offerings so that I can attract more members like these. Because my hypothesis is the more involved members I have the greater the probability of additional purchases and of membership renewal.

I did not ask for a lot of money. Just a little slush if I needed to travel to set up local chapters, a few technology dollars to incorporate this blog into the community site and an approval that I should continue to spend time on this community. (one of my proposals was to nix the community completely - my argument was if its all about the money then let's just not do it. But I know APQC, it's never just about the money, it's about member value, so I knew that was not going to happen:-))

I got all three. So I am going to spend the next couple months really setting strategies. Not just for my KM community but also for my Web site.

Now to the apology. I know I have been gone a while and some of you may have given up on me, but I was in way over my head trying to prove ROI (not just community, site and technology et al) and I had on request from Bill Ives gotten Amanda to conduct a blog review for me. It's pretty cool, she charges $100 and basically gives you some pointers on maximizing your blog.

That will definitely go in as part of my strategy for next year. Stay tuned for lots of changes and innovations from me. I'm crazy that way.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Local chapter

Another thing I forgot to mention in my earlier posting and actually its a completely separate thought so I started a new post. This has to do with trying to gently nudge the community ahead and see if the dynamics of the group change. Right now my community is happy. I do all the work, they attend the call. Bada bing Bada boom. They provide feedback and respond to me when I prod them.
Now I am contemplating the idea of local groups or future chapters. Here is the process. I am going to send out a message to all my Houston KM Community members and say hey, I am organizing an informal dutch dinner for the KM community, this say, this time, please RSVP if you can make it and I will make reservations. I want this to be low cost since I do not have a budget for my community so all I can afford at this time is to pay for my own dinner. At the first dinner I will have something in hand to talk about. I might even get feedback from those who respond with a yea to see what they want to talk about or maybe we all just want time to chill and get to know one another. If my Houston dinner is successful and they want to do it again, I will try say DC where I have another concentration of members. Again same process but this time I will get help from one of my KM buddies in DC to pick the location and make reservations.
The intent is of course to have these informal dinners develop into tiny local KM chapters for APQC maybe introducing new members to the fold, helping out on projects and at conferences, etc. The possibilities are endless. If any of you reading has done this before please share your lessons learned with me. I could use them.

Call for participation - Sustaining Communities of Practice

Hello all, I thought of doing something different with my KM community call next month so I thought I would share it with you and see if I get any feedback. This time instead of having a single presenter I plan on having two or three people talk. Guess what the topic is? OK silly question. The topic is sustaining communities of practice and identifying what high performing communities means. Any of you reading this blog are welcome to send me a note if you would like to present on the call. The criteria is that you must know of a high performing community and be able to come with some characteristics of one.
Its looking like the call will be on October 14 at 10:30 pm central time but all speakers have not confirmed yet.
What I am trying to do is to get someone to speak to Social Networks and if they play a role in sustaining a community or not. Apparently there are several people who believe that social networks are the lifeblood of a community and therefore all organizations should indulge in social network analysis if their communities are to sustain themselves. I look forward to this call because I know I am going to learn a lot.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Communities of Practice and Measurement

Measurement is all the buzz these days! I guess we are all trying to do more with less so organizations are evaluating every dollar it spends since the number of dollars are limited. Communities like any other approach comes under the same scrutiny. The whole "organic" piece works for only so long, before the boss asks "what am I getting out of this?" When we start communities in organizations the cost is relatively low (unless you start with some expensive technology). But as more people get involved you may start needing technology or people may spend more time in the community or you may need funding for events, and before you know it you are asking for a community budget.
The moment you do that, return on investment (ROI) comes into the picture. Like the boss said, "what am I getting out of this?"
Typically in the initial phases you are not necessarily measuring the impact of the community, you are assesing the health of your community. Communities go through some very distinct phases of starting, forming, growing, maturing and sometimes dying. Of course I am not quoting anyone's stages per se I am just saying that they go through these phases.
When you start, an early measure is membership. How many people are in your community? Then you move on to activity. How many times do you meet or get together? What do you do when you get together? and how much do members drive what happens in the community versus what the leader is driving?
As the community matures the group should attempt to put together some outcome measures. Take on a special project to fix something that will impact the bottom line, or gather ideas to create a new product, recommend changes in a process, something that makes a bottom line impact to the organization.
Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying that all communities have to have bottom line results, some of you may be lucky in that your management recognizes the inherent value of a community and knows that sometimes intangible stuff cannot be measured but does pay off somewhere. But that's not the good fortune of most of us that have to account for every hour with a project code.
So here is a basic article on Measurement and KM that Kimberly wrote a while back that is a great overview on KM and Measurement and gives you a framework to think about measures.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Challenges with information technology in the context of communities

This one is my favorite. Partly because I have a small community space on my own site and boy do I have my share of challenges.
In my opinion the biggest challenge is "unavailability" of information technology (IT) resources. I don't know about you but when I go to my IT folks and say please....pretty please can you add some functionality to my site, they look at me and smile and say "Sure, right after we take care of these other 50 million critical things that are right ahead of you." I mean, they are really nice so I can't say anything bad about them and they work really hard every day except that it is frustrating that we have limited resources so they cannot focus on my needs immediately.
Any of you readers identify with my experience?
Lets kind of back track. When do we need IT in a community? We need it when our community really starts to collaborate and share and all of a sudden people are sharing this really cool content with one another and feel the pinch of not having a place to put it. It may also start earlier if the community is more technically oriented and likes to communicate electronically as opposed to the phone. Then you would need to have some collaboration software on at the very least a distribution list that you can send messages to.
There is a ton of "collaboration" type software out there. It is typically the best fit for a community but can be really pricy. I think e-mail works great except it can get cumbersome if everyone is copying everyone on their e-mails and then of course you have to go looking for old e-mails for conversations of things you thought you had, etc.
Software companies such as Groove, Tacit, Askme, and Vignette (bought Inxight or Insight I can't remember now, they are all the same) all play in this space. They have different ways of getting to the collaboration piece. Groove gives you chat rooms, chat groups, e-mail, and a rudimentary data store. Tacit works on filtering e-mails for valuable content and puts it in a repository and tries to identify like users. AskMe is an expertise locator system that profiles individuals and their expertise. It also has collaboration spaces and e-mail, etc. And so does Vignette. This is by no means an official description of what any of these vendors offer its just meant to give you a flavor of what is out there. The reason I even brought these vendors up is because one of the primary challenges in community implementation related to technology is that of vendor selection. My rule of thumb is the amount of analysis I do on a vendor is directly proportional to the cost of the software. If something costs under $1000.00 I try it out almost immediately and don't fret if it doesn't work. What it does is teach me all the things that I want from my other vendors, what questions to ask, etc. Then I go looking for the big guys and am ready to make a more informed decision.
Again, spend as much time on it as it deserves based on the functionality you are looking for.
I know its ideal to have a system that integrates with the main/primary system of the company but in really big organizations that can be quite a challenge. If your needs are simple keep your technology simple.
Another challenge that some organizations face is that they get all the technology in place at first and then as the community forms they find no one uses it. My take on this is that it was too early to implement the community. Without really knowing the members and their needs it is always risky to implement a technology. Don't get me wrong, it could totally work out and if it does then its not a challenge. But if it doesn't it most likely means that your members are not used to communicating in the way that the technology dictates.
So if you all have more technology challenges, please write me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Challenges with Roles

I had written about roles earlier but had focused primarily on the leader and the members. Once a community is established there are several other roles that come into play such as content manager, librarians, subject matter experts, technical, customer service, etc. It so happens that most of the challenges associated with roles lies in finding these resources.
In an ideal situation members in your community would be able to fulfill these roles but some of them such as a librarian or an information technology architect require special skills and you may have to request help from other departments.
There in lies the challenge. The same issue that you have with getting your management to give up resources is the same battle you will have in trying to borrow resources.
Again, all this would be smooth if there was a plan up front, all roles identified, all managers bought in and senior management endorsed. But let's face it, I think that is very much a "best-case" scenario.
The challenge facing the critical role, that of community leader has to do with skills. A leader has to have a mixed bag of skills. Networking, leadership, facilitation, technical knowledge, knowledge of the organization, and access to external experts. Its tough to find someone with all these who also has a passion for the topic. If you have to chose, the most important one is knowledge of the organization and respected individual. This is because a leader has to be very influential to get participation and liked by many since he/she is trying to get participation.
Well, just lost power completely, there's a storm brewing....

Monday, September 13, 2004

Challenges in implementing communities of practice

Sorry y'all! I know I have been gone a long time. Circumstances beyond my control and a great example of some of the challenges we face in implementing communities today. Sometimes we just don't have the time. Between traveling and school and managing a team of content writers, and managing a community.... You get the picture. Every night as I lay down I think darn!!!! I did not put anything on my blog today. And I know I am not unique in this. Most of you share exactly the same or worst predicament in trying to manage work, home and professional growth.
So back to challenges. Lets look at challenges broken down by: Building and managing communities, roles, support and funding, information technology, sustaining, and measuring the impact of communities.
Senior leadership involvement is probably the most common challenge of building and managing communities. Although communities are supposed to be organic and grow and die naturally, if an organization wants its communities to be responsive and innovative it is going to have to support it formally to some extent. That's where management comes in. Ideally senior management would be supportive of communities, however we have found that communities is one of the rare approaches that does not necessarily need upper management approval. In a "real" community, where people get to together because they want to not because they have to, the members don't view community membership as "work." They participate in the community because they get something out of it. Ok! so that was "fantasy-land," reality is that although most of us participate in things we get value from it would be nice if it were recognized as part of our job and we did not have to get burned out and give up on communities completely. That's where the boss comes in. Even if senior management is not involved, general, departmental,line, etc. managers have the authority to give their employees some time to participate in the community and allow their employees to grow professionally.

Time,is the other obstacle in managing communities. You may find the time to participate but where does one find the time to manage. The best solution for this is to break up responsibilities. See if you can get administrative help from your department for things like sending out invites, finding the conference room, arranging for the food ( if there is any), etc. That will leave the community leader to focus on the value add work of finding out what the community members want to talk about, researching the topic a bit, maybe finding a speaker, etc.

The other big issue in building communities is getting people motivated to participate. Again, just remember if you are fighting it, that is people don't want to participate maybe they are not getting anything out of it and its not a good community. Look for pockets of individuals that are already banding together in some form. They will appreciate the attention more than those that are fighting against you.

Another challenge in the build phase, especially if its a new community has to do with scope and focus. It's during this phase that the team has to decide if the community is going to be very specific or general, its its under the radar or a big-bang, and if its grass roots or top down created. So again the logical answer would be to identify stakeholders, to make sure this is a team effort, to make sure that the people who will be leading the community are involved in these decisions.

A lot of what I am writing is run of the mill, how we work. I am listing these in context of creating and maintaining communities with the hope that if you are in the process of creating communities in your organization you will think about and account for these challenges beforehand and be ready with answers when it's your turn to present a business case to your senior management.
As always... please send me some thoughts. I know a few of you are reading this blog now so there is no excuse for not participating. Please send in your challenges so we can have a discussion or at least get some answers or suggestions for you.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Continuing on community activities

My community, that is the KM community that I administer has a mix of several different types of people. There are Kmers, Six sigma folks, quality folks and the like. As you can imagine getting the whole community involved is almost impossible. And because these are all people from different companies their goal for being part of my community is simply this. Keep us posted on up and coming things and challenge our minds by inviting people to speak who don't necessarily agree on everything or who are forward thinking.
So what I do is look for speakers in different areas. One time we had John Biedry from Servicemaster talking about their six sigma initiative. Another time we got a group of banking individuals together just so they could share problems and barriers they were having at banks with regards to KM. Last month, Tom Davenport spoke about managing knowledge-intensive processes. So, I don't look for all 468 members to constantly participate every month. But I usually get at least 50-60.
Are the calls effective? Although I have no formal gauge I know that these people come back every month for the call. If it did not bring any value to them I can assure you they would not come back. We are all too busy these days to attend conference calls with no value.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Community Activities

OK, so we talked about the roles of leaders and members so today I will talk activities. Now, I know a few of you are reading this blog so I want to see some input from you all on activities within ya'll's community. Yes, its "y'all" I am officially Texan you know:-))

The primary goal of any community is typically to get people together. So it seems like a face to face meeting might be a good start. That's not always possible if you are bringing together a global community but you are still attempting to get people together even if its virtually. These days it seems even when we are in the same vicinity most people still prefer to communicate virtually. I never got that. I would much rather go and meet people and get to know them rather than e-mail them constantly. I know of people who work in cubes across each other and send e-mails to one another instead of lifting their heads and talking.

Oh well! back to point. The first meeting should preferably be a face to face one. All the research we have done supports that argument. Face to face meetings build trust. When we communicate face to face we get a ton of physical cues that tell us if we can trust someone or not. Once people have gotten together face to face, virtual communications become much easier and more productive.

So sticking to the topic of trust for a moment, if there is one single issue that bars communication its trust. Therefore in your community efforts should be made to build trust immediately. There are several ways of doing this. Face to face of course is one. If that's not possible try to create an informal environment where people can express themselves. Something like a profile. A profile should have both formal and informal components so that people can identify with one another. Trust is built just as effectively when someone knows you are an expert in airplane design as when someone finds out that you share with them a passion for skiing. After all if you share the same passion you must have more things in common. Besides having a "human" side makes one more accessible.
Another approach to building trust is to have the first meeting focused on writing "community norms." Some communities actually write their "constitution." Personally I think that's a bit much but who am I judge. In communities one size certainly does not fit all. The community norms or guidelines consist of items such as response times, respect, low tolerance for either dominance or non-participation, how often you all want to meet, where, how and when, etc.
The next natural activity would be roles and accomplishments. Usually there is a natural leader. That's most likely the person who put the community together in the first place. If that's not the case then elect a leader. Decide on other roles such as a rotating admin role, a subject matter expert role, an executive sponsor if necessary.
Where accomplishments are concerned you want to agree as a community to what you want your outcomes to be. The outcomes must benefit both the employee and the organization. Depending upon how much time you spend in your community really think through what you want your outcomes to be? We all learn continuously. Even if you are an expert on a topic, you may feel at first that you are "giving" all the time. Be patient! As the community catches up with you, you will have a set of peers that you will find invaluable to run ideas against, to vet your solutions, to give you opinions, etc.
Sometimes community participation may be entirely social. You just like to hang with these people. That's great. However, if its a "work" community you will need to eventually show some professional growth or your manager may frown upon your social activity.
We'll continue tomorrow on some other community activities. I hope I hear from some of ya'll on activities you conduct within your communities.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Role of community members

We talked about the role of community leader(s) so now lets talk a little bit about the role of community members. Community members have the responsibility of being participative. It's nice to have someone do all the work for you and for all the information to be pushed to you. But if you truly want to be part of a live community and you want your group to last forever then everyone has to bear the load. Kinda like marriage! The more you work together the longer you last. At least that's how I think marriage is supposed to work!
Members can take on assistant leadership roles, such as finding speakers, taking the pulse of the community on hot topics, getting someone to sponsor a night out for the community. Whatever you sphere of influence may be use it in some way to benefit the community if you can.
Another very important participative behavior is that of providing expertise, advice, mentoring, or information. A community comes together because people want to learn from one another. All members must give and take almost equally. In fact if you have a weakness of some sort, your community is a good place to overcome that weakness. And it does not have to do with the topic itself. If you have difficulty speaking in public then volunteer to speak in your community gatherings. Your community should be a safe haven for you to practice.
So lesson for the day, communities are about sharing and participating. Hope you are doing that in your community.
Adios for the weekend!

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Role of a community leader

Lets talk today about one of the critical elements of a community. It's a leader. Typically when communities form they do so because there is one or a small group of individuals who are extremely passionate about something. It could be cars, drugs (the good kind), airplanes, engines, or nail polish. It doesn't matter. Having a passionate leader can make or break a community. I have truly come to believe that most of us are just plain lazy. We are interested in stuff but we tend to participate only if someone else does the heavy lifting and we reap the benefits of someone else's hard work. In comes the community leader. The leader will at first bear the whole burden. Arranging meetings, finding speakers, deciding on discussion topics, taking notes, disseminating notes, checking schedules, etc. Once the community has stabilized a bit, the community should take on most of the roles. There should be someone in charge of meetings, a sub group that determines topics of interest, someone else who works with venues, etc. At all points in time you want to constantly ask yourself. Are these activities worth it? Is what I am getting out of this community worth the time I am putting into it. If the answer is yes, you are in the right community. If the answer is no, you are looking at the community experience as something else you have to do and maybe you want to reconsider your membership. This latter point is unfortunately easier said than done. Sometimes you are required to be part of a community. If you are a graphic designer and you are not part of a graphic design community there is no telling what new technology and shortcuts you could be missing out on.
Ah, we digress. The community leader. The primary role that a community leader should play is that of social bee. He/she should be the person everyone knows and that knows everyone in return. When you talk to someone in your organization and you say John Doe is our community leader, the person you are speaking with should recognize the name and smile and say good things about them. A community is all about networking, about getting people together and making sure the experience is a positive one. Who wants to be part of a community that makes you feel bad when you leave. Life's too short for that.
A community leader also brings accountability to a community. Especially within an organization where all of us have goals, the leader should encourage the community in such a direction so as to help meet the member's professional goals. That's a win win for the organization and for community members. Another critical requirement for a community leader is tenure. I know I will have some criticism about that. New hires can be very knowledgeable in their fields, be extremely passionate and be good community leaders. True. That all can happen and I am sure it does.
However, in most organizations if you don't have tenure then you don't have the social bee ability. You don't know people and people don't know you. And if they don't know you and can't trust you then how can you form and sustain a community.
We have seen examples of two kinds of leadership. The single passionate leader as well as team leadership. Guess which one lasts longer! That's right! Team leadership. When you have a leader with a passion and everyone else is just a recipient then when the leader leaves, the community dies. It happens to whole organizations sometimes, so why not to small communities.
This little write-up gives you some specifics on community roles.
If you want to access more information like this please register on my site at Click on Register Here in upper right hand corner of screen, provide information and viola you are in. You never know, your organization may be a member and you may have access to all the research on the site. Got comments!!!!!

Monday, August 16, 2004

Assessing the health of communities

So far we have covered some grounds on communities and I have provided some links that will help you get started (in my earlier posts).
Say for instance that you decided to go looking around in the organization for existing communities and you realize that several exist in different forms. One of the first things you can chose to do is to measure their effectiveness. The key elements in a CoP assessment are alignment to the business, leadership, and structure. Read more about assessing communities of practice on our site.
An effectiveness assessment of communities should also be conducted once your communities are in place and have had some time to form and gel together. Remember communities are living organisms. If they are not evolving and changing with the member's and the organization's needs then they are most likely dying. If they are, let them go.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Building and Sustaining Communities of Practice - Executive Summary

I know its been a couple of days since my last posting. Its been a bit crazy around here I should say. We are still talking communities of practice so I thought I would shoot you a link to two pieces of content that I think are great resources if you are building your own communities.
One is a brief overview on CoPs and the other is the executive summary from our research report on Building and Sustaining Communities of Practice.

Quick note, yesterday the reason I did not post on the blog is because I was hosting a community call. For me that has been a successful activity. I find a speaker, a topic and I set up a call every month for my community members. Oh ya! Did I forget to mention that I am a community leader. So some of this stuff that's coming from me is from experience.

If you are a member of the APQC and want to participate in my community calls on KM send me a line at

Friday, August 06, 2004

Interesting discussion on communities of practice

I am a member of a yahoo listserv on KM and we are having an interesting discussion on communities of practice.
My question to the listserv was regarding research topics for next year. I threw out the concept of "Next generation communities." Steve Denning helped initiate some thought provoking comments by questioning whether "next generation communities" actually existed or if we are just rehashing the same concepts over and thus getting caught in a stale KM initiative rather than focusing on "what's next?" What more should we be doing to make KM effective? Is the answer innovation, blogging, mobile technology....
What are your thoughts? If anyone has any comments please reply to this post.

Continuing on Communities of Practice

I am going to stay on the topic of communities of practice for a bit. I will provide links to more content that I think will help those of you who are starting out. This presentation given by Richard McDermott at APQC's conference in San Antonio a couple years ago is a great concept paper. Richard always does a fine job of making communities easy to understand.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Types of Communities

When we conducted our study on Building and Sustaining Communities of Practice we found a trend in the types of communities that organizations typically have. The three types are helping communities, best-practice communities, and innovation communities.
Helping communities exist in all our organizations. They consist of people helping one another when needed. You could call them your social network. The only difference between a helping community is that its intra-organization whereas a social network crosses organizational boundaries. Of course helping communities can cross organizational boundaries too but in its simplest form its employees (interested in the same topic area or having expertise in a topic areas) informally helping one another.
A best-practice community is a slightly advanced helping community. In a best-practice community, the members not only share tips with one another but make an effort to capture and reuse lessons learned and best-practices uncovered during regular work or special projects. These communities require a bit more formality. They typically have a leader, someone who helps with categorizing the information, maybe some meetings, and some of the member's time is formally allocated to community activities.
An innovation community typically stewards its body of knowledge. If the organization makes cars, then a "brakes" community would be in charge of knowing everything there is to know about brakes on a car. That means that when a new car is being designed, the designers would contact the "brakes' community to find out what types of brakes would work best on the new car. Participation in this type of community is typically not voluntary and working collaboratively is a large part of the community member's job.

These communities are not exclusive of one another. A helping community can morph into a best-practice community, or a best-practice community can morph into an innovation community. It is however not required that communities change. They can stay at the same stage they began in as long as the needs of the members are being met.
Most organizations have several different types of communities at the same time. If we stay with the same example of a car company, the HR department may have a helping community and really never move to best-practice, research and development will typically always have innovation communities, whereas assembly line workers may be part of a best-practice community where they share what they learn on a daily basis with others in the same field.

If you are attempting to introduce communities in your organization, look around. Find groups that meet regularly and see if you can create some structure around their community in order to enable them to spend more time in it. Careful though, communities don't typically like too much structure. If they get too formal they crumble easily because then it starts looking too much like your regular job.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Communities of Practice

In this post I would like to touch upon the concept of communities of practice.  To recap we have talked about getting started in knowledge management, creating a value proposition, a business case, assessing your knowledge management efforts,etc.
So say you decide knowledge management is the way to go.  Now you need to decide what is going to be the most effective solution for your organization's challenges in the area of knowledge management. 
One that I would recommend is Communities of Practice.  I know there is a lot of debate on communities.  What are communities of practice?  How are they different from networks? Is this just another organizational fad? Yes, we have heard it all! 
Simply put communities of practice refers to a group of individuals who share a common interest and who come together to discuss and share information about their interest area because they want to, not because they have to. 
So how do you get communities started, do they already exist in your organization, if so how do you recognize them?  These are all questions I will address in my upcoming posts.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Managing Knowledge in an Unmanageable World

What a cool tag line!  Reality is that not only is the world unmanageable, knowledge is unmanageable too.  When we really think about it, you can't really manage your knowledge but you can put some structure around it so that its easily available and transferable.  Easier said than done of course.
I wanted to highlight this article today because it proves old is still gold.  There are some solid concepts in this article written by our Chairman, Dr. Jack Grayson.  He does a great job of surmising the factors that effect knowledge management, its relationship to TQM and the benefits of knowledge management.

Monday, July 26, 2004

A Roadmap to Knowledge Management

An invaluable resource for those of you starting out in knowledge management.  Our senior consultant Wesley Vestal put on his thinking hat and put down an awesome paper that will provide you with a comprehensive overview of knowledge management.  Checkout our KM Road map Overview.

Friday, July 23, 2004

Embedding KM: Creating a Value Proposition

We are still on the topic of developing a value proposition which in some organizations may also be referred to as business case.  A business case is typically the outcome of a value proposition.  Once you know how the KM effort is going to benefit your organization then you start calculating the cost of resources to make it happen.  Include both people and technology costs to get a true picture.
This quick read article on Value Proposition provides some best-practices in creating a value proposition.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Creating a Value Proposition

So moving right along, if you have been reading any of these posts you now have some idea about what knowledge management means in the business world. So if you are intrigued enough and want to get started the first thing you are going to have to do is to come up with a business case or a value proposition of sorts.  Something that says why should we invest in this effort. Check out this presentation on Creating a Value Proposition to get some ideas from not only APQC but also from several of our member organizations who are kind enough to share.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Critical Success Factors in Knowledge Management

Ok, so sometimes I forget all the stuff I have written about and then I stumble upon it randomly. Today while surfing my own site I found this neat article I had written on critical success factors in knowledge management.  I want to share this with you since I think its well written.  Of Course:-)

Monday, July 19, 2004

Assessing your Knowledge Management Program

In keeping with one of the first steps in knowledge management, that is assessing knowledge managment within your organization, here is another resource.
This brief write-up on the six steps to assessing your knowledge program provides a list of behaviors you should see in your organization if you have a healthy knowledge management initiative.  If you would like an assessment report of your own, fill out the survey I had mentioned in my earlier post.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Facing some interesting challenges

So here I am, a knowledge manager with a Website full of knowledge to manage and I have a very interesting challenge.  I know that having a Website chock full of great content for my members is a great thing but its only one of the benefits of being a member of APQC.  How do I make a direct correlation between my content and the efforts to keep the site current and member renewal rates or increased revenues.
I know a lot of you struggle with this same issue.  I have several measures in place of course and several reports that I run on activity such as number of hits, number of registered users, number of content items, customer sat surveys, number of content views by document, etc.  But still I can't seem to build a convincing enough case that shows a direct relationship between the site and membership renewal.  Got any ideas!!!!
This weekend I will find more links to interesting and free content on my site related to KM.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Failures in Knowledge Sharing

Have you tried knowledge management at your organization and failed? We have seen many instances of stalled knowledge management initiatives. Check out this short summary of failures in knowledge management as reported by APQC.
Click Here for the article.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Welcome to APQC's KM Blog

For those of you interested in knowledge management and its impact on your organization and your daily work lives, this blog is for you.
APQC is a non-profit association that has been researching knowledge management initiatives in organizations for the past ten years. As a result of our research we have acquired a tremendous amount of collective expertise in understanding why people in organizations don't share knowledge, how an organization can start implementing processes to enable organizations to share knowledge, setting up communities of practice, etc.
The aim of this blog is not to sell you APQC's products and services but to share our research with you. I will also post links to interesting articles that may help with ongoing knowledge management initiatives.
My first contribution is the availability of a free survey on our site that will help you assess where your organization stands with regards to knowledge management. Again I mention FREE, as in fill in the survey and get a comparison analysis of your organization against others in the database. It's a great place to start.
Lot more information coming your way. If there is anything specific you need information on don't be shy, I'll see what I can do. If nothing else I can share a few pearls of wisdom.