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).
Timely communications are critical to successfully introducing a new KM initiative and to keeping the organization informed on implementation progress.
Knowledge management documentation best practices and guidance for supporting training, communications and user assistance, from a KM expert.
Knowledge management training best practices and resources, plus examples of plans for KM overview, knowledge capture, creating team spaces
Communities should be part of any KM program; connecting people is fundamental to getting knowledge flowing; communities are an important way to do so.