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).
Knowledge managers must establish links between different groups; this is boundary spanning; enabling discovery (learning from existing data) is key
Creating and executing a KM program plan involves implementing people, process, and technology knowledge flows that achieve objectives
How a KM program is governed is key to success. Knowledge managers should pay close attention to getting this right, and it will deliver results later.
Knowledge managers must define KM program governance, including team composition, virtual teams, and leader communities