In my current book on promoting knowledge management initiatives within the corporate world, I offer a collection of practical tips and techniques that can help your KM program thrive. High performing communities are essential to KM success. I have developed 10 principles for KM practitioners to keep in mind as they build and participate in communities.
10 Principles for Successful Communities
- Communities should be independent of organizational structure; they are built around areas upon which members wish to interact.
- Communities are different from teams; they are based on topics, not on assignments.
- Communities are not sites, team spaces, blogs or wikis; they are groups of people who choose to interact.
- Community leadership and membership should be voluntary; you can suggest that people join, but should not force them to.
- Communities should span boundaries; they should cross functions, organizations, and geographic locations.
- Minimize redundancy in communities; before creating a new one, check if an existing community already addresses the topic.
- Communities need critical mass; take steps to build membership.
- Communities should start with as broad a scope as is reasonable; separate communities can be spun off if warranted.
- Communities need to be actively nurtured; community leaders need to create, build, and sustain communities.
- Communities can be created, led, and supported using TARGET:
Types (TRAIL – Topic, Role, Audience, Industry, Location)
Activities (SPACE – Subscribe, Post, Attend, Contribute, Engage)
Requirements (SMILE – Subject, Members, Interaction, Leaders, Enthusiasm)
Goals (PATCH – Participation, Anecdotes, Tools, Coverage, Health)
Expectations (SHAPE – Schedule, Host, Answer, Post, Expand)
Tools (SCENT – Site, Calendar, Events, News, Threads).
The user interface is the knowledge management system point of entry providing navigation, search, communications, an index, a knowledge map, and links.
Best KM search engines enable searching for sites, documents, files, lists, content, and answers to questions, plus ability to search on text or metadata
Knowledge managers use taxonomy, folksonomy, metadata and tags to classify content so it’s easily discoverable through navigation, search and links.
KM leaders should base strategy on user input to determine needs to address. Conduct surveys to capture challenges, opportunities, and suggestions.